Viking Celebrates 25th Anniversary and Names First Two Expedition Ships

Ann Bancroft, polar explorers, assists in breaking a bottle of Norwegian aquavit as part the naming of the Viking Polaris in Amsterdam.
Ann Bancroft, polar explorer, assists in breaking a bottle of Norwegian aquavit as part the naming of the Viking Polaris in Amsterdam.

On 30SEP, Viking marked its 25th anniversary with a celebration in Amsterdam with the naming of its first two expedition ships.

Also, to commemorate the milestone, for the first time ever, three classes of Viking ships—a river ship, an ocean ship and the company's newest expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris—met in Amsterdam and sailed in a special convoy to IJmuiden, Netherlands. Participating in the convoy with the Viking Polaris were the Viking Longship, the Viking Mani, and the ocean vessel, the Viking Mars.

During the Amsterdam event, Viking named the Viking Polaris and its identical sister ship, the Viking Octantis, which is currently sailing its inaugural season in the Great Lakes. Both ships will spend the Austral summer in Antarctica, before traveling north to the Great Lakes for a series of voyages during spring and summer 2023.

For the first time ever, three classes of Viking ships—a river ship, an ocean ship and the company’s newest expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris—met in Amsterdam and sailed in a special convoy to IJmuiden, Netherlands. Participating in the convoy with the Viking Polaris (center) were the Viking Longship, the Viking Mani (right), and the ocean vessel, the Viking Mars (left).

"Today is historic for Viking—to celebrate our 25th anniversary, to have all classes of our ships sailing together for the first time, and to name our phenomenal new expedition vessels. We are very grateful to their godmothers, Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, for honoring us. As renowned explorers who became the first women to ski across Antarctica, they are the perfect choice for ships that are designed for expeditions," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.

"I am very proud of what we have accomplished in our first 25 years. And in our view, we are just getting started. Where do we go next? Onwards."

Explorers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, the respective ceremonial godmothers of the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, were in attendance in Amsterdam and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the new ships—with Arnesen offering her blessing remotely via video to the Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes. In keeping with the naming tradition, Arnesen and Bancroft assisted in breaking a bottle of Norwegian aquavit on each of the ship's hull.

Four Viking “godsisters” together in Amsterdam: from left to right, Sissel Kyrkjebø, godmother of the Viking Jupiter; Liv Arnesen, godmother of the Viking Octantis; Ann Bancroft, godmother of the Viking Polaris; and Viking Executive Vice President Karine Hagen, godmother of the Viking Sea.

During the ceremony, guests enjoyed performances from Sissel Kyrkjebø, soprano and godmother of the Viking Jupiter, and violinist Tor Jaran Apold. Guests on all three Viking ships in Amsterdam were able to join in the naming ceremony, as well as witness the historic convoy from their ships' respective outdoor viewing areas.

Viking's 25th anniversary celebration in Amsterdam is the most recent event during a milestone year in which the company has also welcomed to its fleet eight new Viking Longships on the rivers of Europe and new purpose-built vessels on the Mekong, Nile and Mississippi rivers. By the end of 2022, two new, identical ocean ships will have also joined Viking's fleet.

For more information on Viking, visit its web site.

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