Left to right: Princess Stephanie Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg and Debbie Wiseman MBE (Image: Viking River Cruises)
Viking River Cruises christened two new longships – Viking Hild and Viking Herja – on the Rhine and Moselle rivers in Koblenz, Germany on 7 March 2017.
Simultaneously marking the 20th anniversary of the river cruise company, the christening ceremony enabled Viking to officially welcome the two new vessels and bring its fleet to more than 60 river vessels.
“Two decades ago when we started this company, modern river cruising was still unknown to most travellers,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises. “Now 20 years later, we are pleased that most travellers know river cruising, and they know Viking as a household name.”
Award-winning British composer and conductor Debbie Wiseman MBE served as godmother to Viking Herja. Wiseman, who is currently Classic FM Live’s Composer in Residence, will also compose a new signature piece of music to celebrate Viking’s 20th anniversary. The piece will be recorded at Abbey Road Studios and will premiere on Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 18 April 2017.
Godmother of Viking Hild was Princess Stephanie Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg is the CEO of family-owned winery Weingut Fürst Löwenstein, in Lower Franconia, Germany. Along with her father-in-law, Prince Alois-Konstantin, Princess Stephanie also serves as a steward for Schloss Löwenstein in Kleinheubach, the family’s ancestral home that was built in 1725.
Viking Longships sail past Schloss Löwenstein on the Main river, and Viking has now worked with the family to create a Privileged Access excursion for guests to tour the estate and winery. Fürst Löwenstein wine is also offered to guests on Viking river and ocean cruises.
“We are honoured that the godmothers of our two new longships are also important partners who will help us deliver thoughtful and enriching experiences for Viking guests this year,” said Hagen.
Like Viking’s other longships, Viking Herja and Viking Hild have onboard solar panels, organic herb gardens, energy-efficient hybrid engines, a patented corridor design and an all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors. The ships accommodate 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, including two Explorer Suites; seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom; 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas; and 22 French Balcony Staterooms.
This spring, Viking Hild will sail Viking’s new Paris to the Swiss Alps itinerary on the Rhine, and later this year both new ships will sail the line’s popular Danube Waltz and Rhine Getaway itineraries.