Even if none of the main characters from the spectacularly popular “Downton Abbey,” part of the PBS’ series Masterpiece, have stepped foot onto a cruise ship gangway, the show still has some surprising connections to cruising. As any fan of the series, which begins its third season premier on January 6, will recall, the original plot twist centered on Titanic when the heir to the Downton Abbey throne presumably died on the doomed ship.
And, of course, as we chronicle in our Viking River Highclere Castle/Downton Abbey Tour slideshow, an intimate and exclusive tour of England’s Highclere Castle, the setting for “Downton Abbey,” is part of Viking River Cruises’ pre- and post-cruise program (on Seine River itineraries).
Beyond these connections between “Downton Abbey” and the world of cruise are a handful of smaller cruise coincidences that tie the show into its fictional home. Hugh Bonneville, who stars in “Downton Abbey’s” title role as Lord Grantham, is a great fan of the U.K.’s P&O Cruises, and in fact served as master of ceremonies for the launch of Adonia (he was also a guest at Ventura’s christening, and I was lucky enough to share a table with the pre-”Downton Abbey” star at dinner).
Another P&O tie-in? If you venture into the wilds of Hampshire to visit Highclere, stop at Marco Pierre White’s Carnarvan Arms, a fantastic gastropub with moody ambience and terrific British comfort food, which is just about at the end of the castle’s drive. Among other things Pierre White (or is it just White?) is P&O’s best-known celebrity chef.
Curious: Does your favorite television program have a cruise connection? Tell us about it.
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