Viking.TV went live in mid-March in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and was conceived as a way to build community, stay connected and share positive experiences while people are staying home, rather than traveling. Now six months later, Viking.TV has broadcast more than 160 sessions featuring original cultural content and virtual Privileged Access to interesting people and places around the world. The digital platform, where all content is free to watch, has resonated well with people during this unusual year. Livestreams and archived content on Viking.TV have been enjoyed by more than two million viewers, which include past Viking travelers and Viking crew, as well as those who have not traveled with Viking. Additionally, Viking.TV was recently honored with the “Breakthrough Award for Product Innovation” in the 2020 Silver Travel Award.
“There is no doubt that we are living in an unusual time that has disrupted all of our lives. It is well known that having a daily routine is important during times of stress and isolation, so we launched Viking.TV to livestream at a set hour each day, when our guests, crew and other curious people can continue to explore the world and have a daily session of positivity and learning,” said Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking. “After just six months, we are honored to have welcomed so many esteemed viewers on Viking.TV and to have received such positive feedback. We look forward to once again traveling together, but in the meantime, we are pleased to continue fostering the Viking.TV community—with daily livestream sessions and conversations with some of the world’s most fascinating people.”
Since its launch, Viking.TV has featured exclusive interviews and live Q&A with remarkable explorers, museum curators, musicians, astronauts, actors, artists, performers, photographers, filmmakers and more. Highlights include:
- Museum Mondays – Museum directors, curators and experts have hosted virtual Privileged Access to cultural institutions around the world, including Oslo’s Munch Museum and The Viking Ship Museum, The British Museum in London, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Iowa.
- Tuesdays – Viking Resident Historians, who typically provide a destination-specific curriculum on every ocean cruise itinerary, have shared Iconic Lectures about world history, including “Greek Civilization,” “The History of France,” “The Italian Renaissance,” and “The Vikings.” Additionally, Viking Resident Photographer Alastair Miller has hosted conversations with notable individuals such as filmmaker Ric Burns, wildlife filmmakers Amos Nachoum and Gavin Thurston and artists Magne Furuholmen and Alexander Talbot-Rice.
- (Explorer & Music) Wednesdays – In the spirit of exploration, Viking has hosted sessions with explorers from around the world including, Thor Heyerdahl, Jr., whose father famously crossed the Pacific Ocean on the Kon-Tiki raft; anthropologist Benedicte Ingstad, who has written biographies about her parents, famed Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad; and Paralympic skier Cato Zahl Pedersen. Other Wednesday sessions have been dedicated to arts and music and have included interviews with Los Angeles Opera Maestro James Conlon; Royal Academy of Arts curator Ann Dumas; and composer and conductor Debbie Wiseman, OBE.
- Guest Speaker Thursdays – Every week since the launch of Viking.TV, iconic British broadcast journalist Anne Diamond has interviewed significant figures, including Xander Parish, principal ballet dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre; the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon; the Duke of Devonshire; explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison, OBE; former PBS MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton; Downton Abbey’s “Mrs. Patmore,” actress Lesley Nicol; polar explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft; and classical musicians Alma and Helen Deutscher.
- At Home Fridays – The Countess of Carnarvon has led more than a dozen virtual Privileged Access tours and glimpses of life at her home, Highclere Castle, widely recognized as the filming location of Downton Abbey. Additional “At Home” sessions hosted by members of the Viking family have provided insight into their local life in Basel, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Sydney, Prague, Budapest, Russia, the Orkney Islands and more.
- Wellness Weekends – Yoga instructor Mona Therese has led Mind & Body yoga sessions every week since the launch of Viking.TV.
- Sissel Sundays – Sissel Kyrkjebø, a Norwegian National Treasure and one of the world’s most beautiful voices—and Viking Jupiter® godmother—will by Christmas have performed 52 songs for Viking.TV viewers.
Livestream sessions on Viking.TV start every day at 2 p.m. Eastern Time / 11 a.m. Pacific Time, and all content is archived and available on-demand for anyone who cannot view at the original time of the broadcast. Also on Viking.TV there are more than 200 original short-form Destination Insight documentaries and 60 additional pieces of content in from Viking Cultural Partners, with programming from TED, BBC’s Wonderstruck, Libera and more.
This Week—Space Week on Viking.TV
As Viking.TV continues to plan new content, each month will feature one week dedicated to a single theme. This week is dedicated to taking viewers out of this world with space-themed content. Beginning today, “Space Week” features Viking Resident Astronomer Ray Arvidson speaking about the exploration of Mars; a conversation with photographer Benedict Redgrove, creator of the book NASA: Past and Present Dreams of the Future; and Anne Diamond will interview retired NASA veteran Charles Armstrong, who worked on a variety of projects including the Space Shuttle. The week will be capped by a special At Home Friday—”When Space is Home”—with broadcast journalist Lynn Sherr hosting a conversation between Dr. Anna Fisher, godmother of Viking Orion®, and three additional astronauts: Colonel Jack Fischer, Richard Linnehan and Barbara Morgan.
Viking.TV Viewer Feedback
Many travelers continue to write Viking with comments of appreciation for this new opportunity to explore the world in comfort…from home. Examples of viewer feedback include:
- “We can’t thank you enough for the wonderful 24 weeks of programs-one more interesting than the last!…We have loved every day of programs and have learned so much while whetting our appetites to once again begin cruising with Viking.” – Bob and Maryann O.
- “As a lifelong learner, I look forward to being able to access and view more from your library of weekly programs.” – Henriette and Klaus
- “Since I cannot be with you on board one of your fabulous ships, the next best thing is attending an enrichment…I only wish that I was sitting in the Star Theater or having success cake and tea or a glass of Prosecco in the Explorer’s Lounge.” – Brenda G.
- “I have learned and seen so many new things. My world during this lockdown has been opened.” – Valerie
- “I just wanted to say thank you again for offering your weekly yoga sessions through Viking tv. I have been following them since day 1 and enjoy the gentle spirit and guidance that Mona provides. I have done yoga before but I feel that this series is perfect for the challenging times we are experiencing because they are instructive, relaxing and geared to different levels and abilities. Please pass on my heartfelt thanks and Namaste!” – Jennifer A.
- “This has been such an enjoyable way to ‘travel’ and educate ourselves during the pandemic crisis – – – truly one of the “silver linings” in the clouds of our difficult and uncertain days…This is armchair traveling at its finest!” – Patti F.