Viking® today announced it has taken delivery of the company’s newest ocean ship, the Viking Mars®. The delivery ceremony took place this morning when the ship was presented at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Ancona, Italy. The Viking Mars will now make her way to Valletta, Malta, where she will be officially named on May 17, 2022—Norwegian Constitution Day—by her ceremonial godmother, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the Countess of Carnarvon. The ship will then sail itineraries in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Northern Europe before repositioning at the end of the year for voyages around Australia and New Zealand.
“As we celebrate our 25th anniversary and a year of important milestones for Viking, today we are very proud to welcome the newest ocean ship to our award-winning fleet,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “Lady Carnarvon has honored us by serving as godmother to the Viking Mars, and we look forward to welcoming guests on board this beautiful new sister ship in the coming weeks.”
Viking and Highclere Castle
For years Viking has offered a variety of ways for its guests to experience life at Highclere Castle, which is the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Highclere Castle is known as the filming location of Downton Abbey, and Viking became a household name during its sponsorship of the celebrated series MASTERPIECE through the years Downton Abbey aired on PBS. Viking Executive Vice President Karine Hagen worked closely with the Carnarvon family to develop Privileged Access® Pre/Post Extensions that feature the estate, including the highly-rated Oxford & Highclere Castle and Great Homes, Gardens & Gin extensions, both of which are available for guests on select river and ocean voyages. Also, for guests on the popular Pharaohs & Pyramids Nile River itinerary, Viking offers the five-day British Collections of Ancient Egypt Pre Extension, which gives guests an introduction to Egyptian antiquities in preparation for their Nile experience—and includes retracing the steps of the world’s most famous Egyptologist, Howard Carter, and his benefactor, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Guests experience Privileged Access to archives and museum exhibits not normally accessible to the public, and at Highclere Castle, have the opportunity to view the Earl’s magnificent private collection of Egyptian artifacts.
Lady Carnarvon has also welcomed viewers to Highclere Castle on Viking’s award-winning enrichment channel, Viking.TV (www.viking.tv). In her ongoing series, At Home at Highclere, Lady Carnarvon offers virtual Privileged Access to the historic home and its grounds. In the past two years, she has led more than 20 virtual tours and offered glimpses of life at her home. Additionally, Lady Carnarvon has served as godmother to a Viking Longship, the Viking Skadi, which sails Viking’s popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.
The Viking Mars
The delivery of the Viking Mars comes as Viking continues to mark its 25th anniversary. In January 2022, the company launched Viking Expeditions and its first purpose-built Polar Class vessel, the Viking Octantis®; in March 2022, the company named eight new European river ships during a special event in Paris. By the end of the year, Viking will have also welcomed a second identical expedition ship, another identical ocean ship, and new purpose-built vessels for the Nile, Mekong and Mississippi rivers.
The Viking Mars is the newest ship in Viking’s award-winning ocean fleet of identical sister ships. Classified by Cruise Critic as “small ships,” Viking’s ocean vessels have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can host 930 guests; the ships feature all veranda staterooms, Scandinavian design, light-filled public spaces and abundant al fresco dining options.