Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry helped Viking Cruises to a world record yesterday as it named 14 new longships in 24 hours.
The 78-year-old cook christened Alsvin in Amsterdam by smashing a bottle of champagne across its bow, while other ships were named in Avignon, France, and Rostock, Germany.
She said: ‘It’s an honour, as well as an amazing experience, to christen a vessel which I know will be home for Viking guests as they embark on river cruising throughout Europe.
‘After spending some time on board the Alsvin, I can see why people are so taken with river cruising. As someone who is fascinated by travel, culture and food destinations you certainly get a sense of the Viking spirit on board.’
Each of the new longships will sail along one of the company’s European river routes, including the Danube, Rhine and Rhone.
Wendy Atkins-Smith, the British MD of Viking Cruises, said: ‘It’s great to team up with Mary to launch our new longships and set another Guinness world record. As someone with a reputation for embracing new challenges and reinventing herself all through life, Mary embodies the Viking spirit of exploration – and also the spirit of the curious, experienced travellers who sail with us all over the world.
‘For us, though, the real achievement of these launches comes from being able to offer our guests a fleet of new, state-of-the-art Viking Cruises longships on which to enjoy some of Europe’s most iconic river routes.’
Like the other vessels in the company’s 50-strong fleet, the new longships are named after gods from ancient Norse mythology, such as Buri, Delling and Heimdal.
Next year, Viking will start its maiden season of ocean cruising with the 930-passenger Viking Star.
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