Viking’s newest ocean ship was ‘floated out’ on Thursday (July 15) during a traditional ceremony at the Fincantieri’s shipyard in Italy.
It marks a major construction milestone and the first time the ship has touched water. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Mars afloat, it will be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.
Viking Mars, which is scheduled to debut in early 2022, will officially be named by its ceremonial godmother, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the eighth Countess of Carnarvon.
The maiden season will feature itineraries in the Mediterranean and northern Europe before a series of voyages in Asia and Australia.
Karine Hagen, executive vice-president of Viking, said: “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.
“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.”
Viking and the Carnarvon family have a longstanding relationship. Since 2013, Viking has offered excursions at Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and the filming location of Downton Abbey.
Passengers on the Pharaohs & Pyramids Nile River cruise itinerary can book a pre-cruise extension which includes retracing the steps of famous Egyptologist, Howard Carter, and his benefactor, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon.
Lady Carnarvon has served as godmother to a Viking Longship, Viking Skadi, and her books are sold on Viking’s fleet of river and ocean ships.
During the week of July 26, Viking will celebrate its partnership with the Carnarvon family with a week of content on Viking.TV, dedicated to Highclere Castle and stories from the estate.