Imagine this: You are invited to serve as godmother to a brand-new cruise ship. Pretty spiffy opportunity, right? It definitely seemed that way to Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of PBS’ “Masterpiece Theater” and to Gail Wiswedel, chosen because she’s Viking’s most well-traveled cruise passenger. They, along with two others, were set to be part of an unusual quartet of cruise-ship christenings in Amsterdam during Viking River’s ceremony on Wednesday.
For Eaton and Wiswedel, however, there was bad news.
A delay in construction at Neptun Werft, Viking River’s shipyard, meant that the cruise line had to postpone two of its four launches.
And it left Eaton and Wiswedel, whose ships would not be ready in time, without ships to christen. Thinking fast on its proverbial feet, Viking River came up with a solution: In a most unusual fashion, it figured out a way to allow all four ships to participate in the christening (via satellite and some excellent tactical arrangements), even though two remain moored at Neptun Werft’s shipyard in Warnemunde, Germany. So they’ll still be part of Wednesday’s ceremony.
And here’s the good news: Eaton and Wiswedel got an extra trip in the bargain. On Tuesday, the godmothers, accompanied by Viking River Cruises founder Torstein Hagen and Neptun Werft Managing Director Manfred Muller-Fahrenholz, were flown from Amsterdam to Warnemunde by private jet (accompanied by a lavish serving of caviar and Champagne) to visit their ships. Eaton, who is godmother to Viking Freya, and Wiswedel, who will preside over Viking Njord, got a chance to take a look around the nearly finished vessels, practice snipping a red ribbon with scissors to launch the Champagne bottle and were presented with lush bouquets of American Beauty roses.
This warmup christening, especially with the visit to the shipyard (the ride on a Russian mogul’s Lear jet was nice, too), could well make their experience even more memorable, rather than less so.
Viking Freya and Viking Njord will debut in April.
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