From left, Lady Fiona Carnarvon with Karine Hagen at Highclere Castle
Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the eighth Countess of Carnarvon, has been chosen as godmother for Viking’s new ocean ship Viking Mars, which has been floated out of dry dock at Fincantieri’s yard in Ancona, Italy.
The countess has a long-standing relationship with Viking, having opened up her home, Highclere Castle in Newbury, UK, to the brand’s river and ocean cruise guests since 2013. Working in collaboration with Viking’s executive vice president Karine Hagen, she has co-created Privileged Access Pre & Post Cruise Extension options, including ‘Oxford & Highclere Castle’, ‘Great Homes, Gardens & Gin’ and ‘British Collections of Ancient Egypt’, where guests on selected river and ocean cruise itineraries can gain access to archives and museum exhibits that are not normally accessible to the public.
In addition, Lady Carnarvon has been hosting a weekly ‘At Home at Highclere’ series on Viking’s enrichment channel Viking.TV for more than a year, taking viewers on virtual tours of Highclere Castle and its grounds, which are well known as the filming location of TV series Downton Abbey. Her books are also sold on board Viking’s fleet of river and ocean ships.
Lady Carnarvon was also godmother for Viking Longship, Viking Skadi.
“The day that a new ship meets water for the first time is always a special moment in time, and today is especially meaningful because for the second time, my dear friend Lady Carnarvon will honour us by serving as godmother to a new Viking ship,” said Hagen.
“The last year and a half has been a period of uncertainty for all of us, and it is in those times that you know your true friends. Lady Carnarvon has done so much to help Viking, including opening her home almost weekly for our guests to experience life ‘At Home at Highclere’ on Viking.TV. She is truly a like the sister I never had. We are delighted to celebrate this important milestone, and we look forward to welcoming Viking Mars to our award-winning ocean fleet next year.”
Viking Mars, which is now undergoing final construction and interior outfitting, is scheduled to debut in early 2022. She will spend her inaugural season sailing cruises in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, and then offer itineraries in Asia and Australia.
"I am both honoured and privileged to be chosen as godmother to the Viking Mars, the latest addition to Viking’s beautiful cruise ships,” said Lady Carnarvon. “I’ve no doubt she will delight the many guests who travel with her across the seas and oceans.”
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