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ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER: Tune in and turn on to Viking

Sick of the news? Getting bored with the boob tube? Luxury cruise company Viking is offering an alternative during the pandemic with its own online “TV” station, designed to take armchair travel to a new level while both inspiring, educating and entertaining past and future guests.

The Viking.TV digital platform offers a program of cultural enrichment not unlike a regular PBS-style television channel, with daily programming and live stream video from around the world that ranges from music to history and arts, exploration, language lessons, kids content, and even includes weekly visits to Highclere Castle (filming site of Downton Abbey) hosted by the owner, Lady Carnarvon.

The program goes well beyond typical aspirational messaging and product marketing with dozens of options that include partners like TED Talks, the British Museum, and the Metropolitan Opera.

“Right now, we are all staying at home instead of travelling together, but that does not have to mean that the only thing we can do is watch the news,” says Viking executive VP Karine Hagen. “My father, Torstein Hagen, and I felt that if we cannot for the time being bring our guests to the world, let’s bring the world to our guests. Viking.TV is a way for us to continue exploring the world in comfort—from the comfort of our homes.”

Viking.TV was conceived as a way to build community, stay connected and share positive experiences at a time when people are staying home, rather than travelling. In addition to housing a library of enriching content that Viking guests would have enjoyed onboard their respective cruise itineraries, Viking.TV also features live content from a variety of experts, cultural partners and notable individuals.

For example, each day at 2 p.m. EST in the “Conversations with Karine and Friends” section, there is a livestream conversation, demonstration or virtual tour where viewers can participate by submitting questions in real time. All content sessions are also available on demand after the live broadcast.

The schedule of weekly participants is announced on the site every Sunday, with the following daily themes:

• Museum Mondays – Viking is a long-time sponsor of Oslo’s Munch Museum and hosts “Munch Moments” onboard its ocean ships every afternoon, showcasing a curated collection of Norway’s most famous artist, Edvard Munch. On Viking.TV, Museum Mondays take the place of the onboard event and viewers can expect streamed sessions with the museum’s director and various curators, providing virtual access to exhibitions, experts and restoration facilities. Additional museums may also participate in the future.

• Resident Historian Tuesdays – As part of Viking’s onboard cultural enrichment program and commitment to destination-focused learning, Viking’s Resident Historian faculty provides guests with lectures and roundtable discussions on significant milestones in world history. Each Tuesday, a Resident Historian will host an iconic lecture followed by a livestreamed Q&A session.

• Wednesdays with Music – One of the most important cultural aspects of any destination is its music. On Wednesdays, Viking.TV brings some of the world’s most interesting artists, composers and conductors of the musical world.

• Guest Speaker Thursdays – Viking cruises feature guest lecturers – many experts in the fields of science, the arts and exploration. Every Thursday, Viking.TV viewers can have conversations with a variety of academics and individuals who have led extraordinary lives, such as veteran British broadcaster journalist Anne Diamond; world-renowned Norwegian explorer Liv Arnesen; and Xander Parish, principal dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg.

• Fridays at Home at Highclere Castle – Together with her husband Geordie, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, the Countess of Carnarvon manages affairs at Highclere Castle, widely recognized as the filming location of Downton Abbey. Through her friendship with Karine Hagen, Viking has enjoyed a long relationship with Highclere Castle, to which many Viking guests each year enjoy privileged access. Every Friday, visitors to Viking.TV can get a glimpse of life “At Home at Highclere,” as Lady Carnarvon broadcasts tours and conversations.

• Wellness Weekends – Saturdays and Sundays on Viking.TV are dedicated to wellbeing during uncertain times and will feature staff from the LivNordic spas onboard Viking’s ocean ships, as well as other selected hosts, largely focusing on yoga and meditation.

“The Viking and Highclere families are tightly linked through friendship and dogs, and I am delighted to open our castle doors and lives to the extended Viking family to give a little virtual insight into our history and lives… as we go behind-the-scenes, with stories about royal visits, entertaining and heritage,” Lady Carnarvon says of her weekly segment.

In addition to the daily content sessions, viewers can access Viking-produced destination insights, which are hosted by Hagen and showcase the history, art and culture from around the world.

Viking.TV also features reading lists, filmography and music playlists by popular itinerary, so visitors can read, watch or listen their way around the world from right at home.

Those who are looking to get creative in their home kitchen – and journey around the world through global cuisine – can access “The Kitchen Table,” a digital cookbook that features recipes browsable by country and the ability for visitors to submit their own favorite recipes.

And for guests who were especially looking forward to seeing their Viking family of onboard crew during their voyage, Viking.TV includes a forum where guests and crew can exchange greetings – reinforcing the tight community bonds that form as part of the travel experience.

The online station can be found on Viking’s home page or directly by clicking HERE.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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