BASEL: Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director of Viking Cruises, has become godmother to Viking Longship, Viking Sigrun, at a ceremony in Switzerland.

“I was very honoured to be invited to become the godmother of Viking Sigrun,” said Wendy Atkin-Smith.  “This year Viking has chosen to honour women whose individual contributions to Viking have helped make the company the success it is today so you can imagine how extremely proud I am to have been recognised in this way.

“As well as being named as a godmother, 2019 is an exciting year for us at Viking as we are expanding our fleet – we are launching seven new river vessels this year, including Viking Sigrun and an additional ship which has been specifically designed for the Douro River in Portugal – one of our most popular river itineraries.

Viking Sigrun is named after the leader of a band of nine Valkyries, strong, horse-riding women who featured in Norse mythology.

The ship will sail on the Rhine, including Viking’s classic Rhine Getaway itinerary.

“Viking revolutionised the river cruise industry in 2012 with the launch of our signature Viking Longships so to be a godmother to one of these vessels is particularly significant to me,” added Atkin-Smith. “Viking Sigrun will sail on the Rhine which is also very close to my heart – it was my first ever cruise 25 years ago;  I fell in love with river cruising on that trip and the rest, as they say, is history.”

As Managing Director of Viking’s UK office, Wendy recently celebrated 25 years of working in the cruise industry.

After leaving school at 16 with an appetite to see the world, Wendy kick-started her successful career in travel in the retail sector, working for independent and corporate agencies in her home town of Lincoln in the East Midlands.

10 years later Wendy moved to the South East of England to seek new challenges and took the opportunity to work for KD River Cruises and later specialist river cruise operator Travel Renaissance Holidays, where a love of river cruising was born.

Wendy worked across every department within the company, including senior roles in reservations, operations and marketing, before being appointed Managing Director of Travel Renaissance Holiday within 10 years.  Wendy maintained her position when Viking Cruises acquired Travel Renaissance Holidays in 2007.