Viking has floated out its newest ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Mars, which is slated to debut in early 2022. The new ship, which will have 465 cabins, will officially be named by its ceremonial godmother, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the eighth Countess of Carnarvon. The ship will spend its maiden season sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean and in Northern Europe before embarking on voyages in Asia and Australia.
The traditional float out ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard and is significant because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. Following a two-day process that will set Viking Mars afloat, it will then be moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.
The announcement that Lady Carnarvon will serve as the godmother to Viking Mars builds on the longstanding relationship between Viking and the Carnarvon family. Since 2013, Viking has offered guests a variety of ways to experience life at Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and known as the filming location of “Downton Abbey.”
“Oxford & Highclere Castle” and “Great Homes, Gardens & Gin,” are two of Viking’s pre-/post-cruise extensions that are available for guests on select river and ocean itineraries. Also, for guests on the “Pharaohs & Pyramids” Nile River cruise itinerary, Viking offers a five-day “British Collections of Ancient Egypt” pre-cruise extension, allowing guests to retrace the steps of 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 view the earl’s private collection of Egyptian artifacts.
Lady Carnarvon has also been a regular on Viking.TV. In her ongoing series, “At Home at Highclere,” a segment airing on select Fridays, Lady Carnarvon offers virtual “Privileged Access” to the historic home and its grounds. Additionally, Lady Carnarvon has served as godmother to a Viking Longship, Viking Skadi, and her bestselling books are sold on board Viking’s fleet of river and ocean ships.
Viking Mars will join an ocean fleet of sister ships, including Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Orion, Viking Jupiter and Viking Venus.