In a grand celebration at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, Viking, the famous cruise line, unveiled its latest ocean ship, the Viking Saturn®, amidst great fanfare. The boat, which can accommodate 930 guests, was christened by the esteemed philanthropist and Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, Ann Ziff. The event marked a moment of pride for Viking and showcased the strong partnership between the cruise line and the Metropolitan Opera.
As the ceremonial godmother, Ann Ziff, offered a traditional blessing, invoking good fortune and safe voyages for the Viking Saturn. This age-old maritime tradition symbolized the beginning of a new chapter in the ship’s journey. Following the christening ceremony, the Viking Saturn embarked on its inaugural season, set to sail on two exciting voyages: Iconic Iceland, Greenland & Canada, connecting New York City and Reykjavik, and Iceland & Norway’s Arctic Explorer, connecting Reykjavik and Bergen.
Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, expressed his pride and excitement about naming the newest ocean ship in the vibrant cultural hub of New York City. Hagen also emphasized the significance of Ann Ziff, Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, serving as the godmother of the Viking Saturn. He commended her loyalty as a Viking guest and acknowledged her remarkable contributions to the arts and various essential causes.
In a statement, Ann Ziff shared her honour and delight in being the godmother of the new Viking Saturn. She highlighted the shared objective between Viking and the Metropolitan Opera, both dedicated to creating enriching experiences worldwide. Ziff expressed confidence that Viking Saturn would fulfil this mission for its guests.
Staying true to the time-honoured naming tradition, Ann Ziff used the steel sword from the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore to cut a ribbon, allowing a bottle of Norwegian aquavit to break against the ship’s hull. Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky had once wielded this prop sword in the role of Count di Luna in David McVicar’s iconic production. The sword was presented to Ziff by Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the godmother of the Viking Mars® and the Viking Skadi, and the Countess of Carnarvon herself.
The ceremony witnessed captivating performances by world-renowned artists. Sissel Kyrkjebø, a leading crossover soprano and godmother of the Viking Jupiter®, enthralled the guests, as did Norwegian violinist Tor Jaran Apold. Later, the stars of the Metropolitan Opera—soprano Susanna Phillips, tenor Charles Castronovo, and baritone Quinn Kelsey—took the stage and treated the audience to a mesmerizing performance of opera classics, including selections from Verdi’s La Traviata, Dvořák’s Rusalka, Puccini’s La Bohème, and a collection of beloved American musical classics.
Ann Ziff’s philanthropic endeavours extend beyond the Metropolitan Opera. She actively supports the arts, education, culture, and environmental conservation. In addition to her role as Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, Ziff serves on several boards, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Sing for Hope, the World Science Festival, and the Los Angeles Opera. Her dedication to bringing culture and arts to underprivileged children led her to co-found Smile Train and serve on the board of Maloto, an organization providing education and housing for abused and abandoned girls in Malawi. Ziff’s eponymous fine jewellery brand, Tamsen Z, showcases her unique creations inspired by her love for culture, art, music, and her experiences as a loyal Viking guest.
The partnership between Viking and the Metropolitan Opera has flourished since its inception in 2016. As one of the world’s most renowned cultural institutions and North America’s largest classical music organization, the Metropolitan Opera boasts an impressive lineup of talented singers, conductors, composers, musicians, and artists. On Viking’s ocean ships, guests are treated to the Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning Live in HD series, including exclusive viewings of productions such as Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Viking’s commitment to enriching cultural programming is further exemplified through exclusive partnerships and sponsorships with Ballet Sun Valley, BBC, Highclere Castle, Los Angeles Philharmonic, PBS’ MASTERPIECE, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Oslo’s Munch Museum, TED, and many others.
The Viking Saturn joins the prestigious fleet of Viking’s award-winning ocean ships, known for their Scandinavian design, all-veranda staterooms, light-filled public spaces, and abundant al fresco dining options. This new addition aligns with Viking’s ongoing celebration of its 25th anniversary and recent successes, including its most successful month of bookings in January 2023. Viking’s fleet has expanded significantly, with 17 new ships introduced since 2020, including river ships, purpose-built vessels for the Mekong, Nile, and Mississippi rivers, four identical ocean ships and two Polar Class expedition vessels. The industry recognition has been overwhelming, with Viking receiving accolades such as “Best Cruise Line” by Food & Wine readers and top honours in multiple categories at Cruise Critic’s Cruisers’ Choice Awards.
Viking continues to set new standards in the cruise industry, delivering extraordinary experiences that combine cultural enrichment, world-class entertainment, and impeccable service. With the Viking Saturn as the latest addition to its exceptional fleet, Viking reaffirms its commitment to providing guests with remarkable journeys at sea.