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On Norway Day, Malta names the Viking Mars with the Norwegian flag. During a private ceremony in Valletta, Malta, Viking® (www.viking.com) named their newest identical ocean ship, the Viking Mars®. The ship’s ceremonial godmother, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the Countess of Carnarvon, gave the ship a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing as part of the ceremony, which is a centuries-old nautical tradition. The new ship will start operating in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe this week, before repositioning at the end of the year for cruises around Australia and New Zealand.
The Viking Mars had a brief naming ceremony today while docked in Valletta’s Grand Harbour, which was attended by Viking’s friends and business partners, including Maltese politicians. A bottle of Norwegian aquavit was crushed on the ship’s hull, and Lady Carnarvon gave her approval via video from Highclere Castle.
Because all Viking ocean ships are registered in Bergen, Norway, the event honored Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17 with a performance by Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjeb, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest crossover sopranos and the godmother of the Viking Jupiter®. Valletta is noteworthy as the ship’s naming location because Malta was one of the first countries to welcome Viking ships when they resumed service in 2021.
In lieu of a large-scale celebration, Viking and Lady Carnarvon decided to honor the naming of the Viking Mars and Viking’s 25th anniversary in a more intimate and meaningful way by presenting GBP10,000 each to 25 outstanding charities that are important to both Viking and the Carnarvon family.
For years, Viking has provided a number of options for guests to experience life at Highclere Castle, the ancient estate best known as the filming location for Downton Abbey. During the years that Downton Abbey ran on PBS, Viking gained known for its sponsorship of the acclaimed MASTERPIECE series.