VIKING ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UPCOMING DOWNTON ABBEY FILM AND EXPANDED PRIVILEGED ACCESS TO HIGHCLERE CASTLE
New “Great Homes” Cruise Extension Offers Additional Privileged Access to Highclere Castle, the filming location of “Downton Abbey”
Los Angeles – Viking® ( www.vikingcruises.com) today announced it has partnered with Focus Features, Universal Pictures and Carnival Films for the release of the new full-length film Downton Abbey, based on the Emmy® Award-winning series. Viking became a household name during its sponsorship of the celebrated series MASTERPIECE through the years Downton Abbey aired on PBS, and this new premier partnership builds on the company’s continued commitment to enriching cultural programming. Today marks the film’s global premiere in London, which will be in U.S. theaters on September 20.
For years Viking has offered a variety of ways for its guests to experience life at Highclere Castle, the filming location of Downton Abbey. In celebration of the premiere, the company today unveiled a new Pre/Post Cruise Extension, Great Homes, Gardens & Gin , which was designed to give guests an exclusive look at several country estates that have served as the settings of acclaimed PBS and MASTERPIECE productions. Starting in 2021, the new five-day extension will be available on Viking’s Rhine Getaway river cruise itinerary and British Isles Explorer ocean cruise itinerary and allows guests to explore Oxford and experience English country life. The program includes Viking’s Privileged Access® tour of Highclere Castle, as well as a visit to Broughton Castle, home to the influential Fiennes family, whose members include the renowned British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes. The castle also served as a setting for the award-winning MASTERPIECE series Wolf Hall. As part of the extension, guests will visit Chavenage House in the Cotswolds, best known for its appearance in the MASTERPIECE series Poldark – and stroll the gardens of Highgrove House, the private home of Charles, The Prince of Wales. While visiting Highclere Castle, guests will have an opportunity to taste the recently-launched Highclere Castle Gin, a super-premium London Dry Gin inspired by botanicals from the castle’s gardens. The extension also includes a visit to the nearby Bombay Sapphire Distillery to learn the history and production of gin.
“Many of our guests were introduced to both Viking and Highclere Castle while watching the Downton Abbey series. For this reason, we are linked in the minds of many Downton Abbey fans,” said Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking. “Partnering for the release of the new film is a natural extension of our close relationship with Highclere Castle and our close personal friendship with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – with whom we proudly created Viking’s highest-rated cruise extension.”
“Not only are Viking and Highclere linked through Downton Abbey, but Karine and I are linked through life and our dogs, and we warmly welcome our extended Viking family to explore our home,” said Lady Carnarvon.
Viking & Highclere Castle
Today’s announcement of the new extension visiting Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, builds on the success of Viking’s longstanding relationship with the Carnarvon family. In addition to the new Great Homes, Gardens & Gin cruise extension, Viking also offers Oxford & Highclere Castle – its highest-rated Pre/Post Cruise Extension, which is available for guests on select river and ocean cruise itineraries. This Privileged Access extension was co-created and made possible by Karine Hagen and the Carnarvon family. The extension provides guests with an exclusive three-day experience in the rolling hills of England’s countryside with a champagne welcome and a tour of the castle and estate. Earlier this year, Viking also announced the five-day British Collections of Ancient Egypt , a Pre-Cruise Extension for the Pharaohs & Pyramids Nile River cruise itinerary, which gives guests an introduction to Egyptian antiquities in preparation for their Nile experience, and includes retracing the steps of the world’s most famous Egyptologist, Howard Carter, and his benefactor, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Guests experience Privileged Access to archives and museum exhibits not normally accessible to the public, and at Highclere Castle, have the opportunity view the earl’s magnificent private collection of Egyptian artifacts.
The Viking Way
The Viking Way® of exploration goes beyond the expected and iconic, providing guests with itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences. Local Life excursions shine a light on everyday activities, such as Viking Chef-hosted trips to local farmers’ markets, tea at home with local residents and visits with local schoolchildren. Working World excursions feature behind-the-scenes “making of” experiences, illuminating destinations through their most famous exports, such as factory and farm visits. Privileged Access excursions include experiences such visiting St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum “behind closed doors;” a private cooking class in a Tuscan castle; three different extensions that visit Highclere Castle, the filming location of Downton Abbey; and an exclusive dinner in the Churchill War Rooms in London.
From now through September 30, 2019, U.S. residents can take advantage of special savings on cruise fares, and up to free air on select 2019, 2020 and 2021 ocean and river itineraries.
Viking hosts a library of online videos about daily life at Highclere, available here.
About Viking Cruises
Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. Designed for discerning travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. In its first four years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 “World’s Best” Awards. Viking currently operates a fleet of 78 vessels, offering scenic cruising on rivers and oceans around the world. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as “Best Overall” Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, “Best River Cruise Line” and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards.