Channel continues to offer virtual exploration and cultural interest for grounded travellers during the pandemic
It is one year since Viking, the ocean, river and expedition cruise line, launched Viking.TV, its award-winning enrichment channel that has kept travellers amused and entertained in challenging times.
Launched last March in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Viking.TV was conceived as a way to build community, stay connected and share positive experiences while people are staying home. One year on, Viking.TV has broadcast more than 340 live sessions featuring original cultural content and virtual access to people and places around the world. The free daily livestreams and on-demand archived content have reached more than two million viewers, among them previous passengers, employees and those who have yet to sail with Viking.
The one-year milestone follows 12 months of accolades for the channel, including winning the ‘Breakthrough Award for Product Innovation’ in the 2020 Silver Travel Awards. Travel industry judges of this prestigious award said that “Viking has clearly demonstrated its ability to pivot its business even in the toughest of climates. Viking.TV has allowed Viking to create positivity and ensure that their customers remained part of a community with daily live streams including a NASA Astronaut, the curator of the Royal Academy of Arts, and Lesley Nicol, better known as Downton Abbey’s Mrs Patmore. A great initiative, done exceptionally well.”
“This time last year, we were all trying to find our way in a changed world” said Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking. “We launched Viking.TV because we felt there was a need to connect our guests, crew and other curious people to the world during a time of great isolation, uncertainty and fear. Now after 12 months, we are honoured to have welcomed so many esteemed speakers and to have brought them virtually into the homes of so many people. We greatly look forward to restarting limited operations in May, and in the meantime, we are pleased to continue offering Viking.TV as a source of daily positivity and learning.”
In the past 12 months, Viking.TV has featured some of the world’s most beloved and respected institutions including, in the UK, Highclere Castle, Chatsworth House, the British Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Scott Polar Research Institute as well as local destinations from the Cotswolds to Liverpool to the Orkney Islands. Broadcaster, journalist and Viking Venus godmother Anne Diamond has been hosting interviews with inspiring people every Thursday since the channel launched. Renowned British guests have included Sir Michael Palin; composer and musician Debbie Wiseman OBE; the Duke of Devonshire; the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon; ballet dancer Xander Parish OBE; and yachtswoman Tracy Edwards MBE.
Viking.TV Year of Highlights
It has long been known by explorers and astronauts that a daily routine is essential to maintaining overall well-being during periods of stress and isolation. Viking.TV provided people caught in lockdown with a new daily routine for watching live content as well as archived material.
Mondays – Museum directors, curators and experts from Viking Cultural Partners have hosted virtual ‘Privileged Access’ to cultural institutions around the world, including Oslo’s Munch Museum, St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum and Iowa’s Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.
Tuesdays – Viking Resident Historians, who typically provide destination-specific talks on ocean itineraries, have shared virtual lectures about world history. Additionally, Viking Resident Photographer Alastair Miller has hosted conversations with notable individuals such as filmmaker Ric Burns and wildlife filmmaker, Amos Nachoum.
Wednesdays – In the spirit of exploration, Wednesdays have featured sessions with explorers including archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad and Thor Heyerdahl, Jr., whose father famously crossed the Pacific Ocean on the Kon-Tiki raft. Other Wednesday sessions have been dedicated to the arts featuring interviews with Los Angeles Opera Maestro James Conlon, Royal Academy of Arts curator Ann Dumas, plus more.
Thursdays – Every Thursday, Anne Diamond interviews significant figures, including Yo-Yo Ma, the world-renowned cellist; NASA astronaut Dr Anna Fisher; and polar explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft.
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 recognised as the filming location of Downton Abbey. Additional ‘At Home’ sessions have been hosted by members of the Viking family, providing local insights into iconic cities. A special session even explored space as home with a panel of former astronauts.
Saturdays – Yoga instructor Mona Therese leads Mind & Body yoga sessions every Saturday.
Sundays – Sunday sessions featured musical performances from our onboard artists and Sissel Kyrkjebø, a Norwegian National Treasure and Viking Jupiter godmother.
Livestream sessions on Viking.TV start every day at 7pm BST, and all content is archived and available to watch on demand from the following day. There are also more than 200 original short-form Destination Insight documentaries and 60 additional pieces of content from Viking’s Cultural Partners, with programming from TED, BBC’s Wonderstruck, Libera and more.
Upcoming highlights on Viking.TV also include an interview with Edith Devaney, the curator of the Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, which is sponsored by Viking. The exhibition, which brings together the work of renowned British artist Tracey Emin and the Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch – who were born exactly 100 years apart – is set to re-open on 18 May 2021.
Viking.TV Viewer Feedback
A year after launching Viking.TV, travellers from all around the world have continued to write to Viking with comments of gratitude for the opportunity of exploration and cultural enrichment from home. Examples of viewer feedback include:
“Due to the Covid circumstances, perhaps ‘Happy’ Anniversary is not the appropriate term, but I really need to express my appreciation for the full year of Viking.TV, which I have followed from the beginning. The team which was introduced today have done amazing, professional, and stimulating work in bringing this channel together in a brief period of time. And then to have filled an entire year of programming with informative and enriching content on the various pages of the site, is nothing short of remarkable! Congratulations to everyone involved!! It has made an intolerable year far more tolerable. A big thank you, of course, to Tor and Karine for their leadership in setting the course and maintaining the helm for such an extended journey!” – Bill M.
“I cannot thank you enough for all you have done to bring me (and countless others) through this past very trying year. Viking.TV has been my daily companion, bringing the treasures of art, history, culture, music, travel, and adventure from all over the world. Your many wonderful hosts have educated, entertained, and encouraged me to expand my horizons, once travel again becomes possible.” – Mary S.
“I am a retired teacher and I live by myself. You have no idea how much your Viking.TV has helped me survive the loneliness of this awful pandemic. I have learned so much, been entertained and charmed, and have thoroughly enjoyed your programmes!!!! THANK YOU for doing this. Taking a cruise on one of your ships is now on my bucket list. I am so grateful to you all, for this great gift!” – Debi B.
“I would like to thank you for creating Viking.TV and continuing to introduce us to places and peoples and sights that we hope to get to someday in our own travels. I particularly enjoy the features on Fridays with guides showing us their hometowns and what we could expect to see, and experience.” – Donald R.
“I just wanted to thank you for creating Viking.TV. Your website allows us to ‘travel’ across the world while staying safely at home.” – Tom C.