(3 a.m. EDT) -- Viking named its newest ocean ship, Viking Venus, with a celebration in the English Channel as the cruise ship set sail on its inaugural voyage May 17.
As part of the event, Viking Venus's godmother, British journalist and broadcaster Anne Diamond, offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the ship, which sets out on its first passenger sailing May 22 from Portsmouth.
In addition to commemorating the 930-passenger vessel, the event also marked the line's return to service following 14 months of paused operations.
"Today is one of the proudest days in Viking’s nearly 24-year history. When we became the first cruise line to suspend operations in March 2020, we certainly did not know it would be 14 months before guests would be welcomed back on board," Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said.
"Now, we are among the first to set sail again -- and with our industry-leading health and safety protocols in place, we believe there is no safer way to travel the world than on a Viking voyage."
He added: "On behalf of the entire Viking family, we are delighted to celebrate the naming of our newest ship in England."
He also praised Anne Diamond for her many "journalistic and selfless contributions".
Our Favorite Things Aboard Viking Venus
Regent Seven Seas Splendor Returns to the Seas
Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials
Wonder of the Seas Completes Sea Trials
Scarlet Lady Video Ship Review (2021)
60-Second Video Tour of Virgin's Scarlet Lady
Carnival Mardi Gras: Free Dining on the Lido Deck
Carnival Mardi Gras: RedFrog Tiki Bar & Summer Landing
Carnival Mardi Gras' Excel Suite and Loft 19
Live From Carnival's Mardi Gras: The French Quarter
BOLT: We Try Carnival Mardi Gras' Roller Coaster at Sea
NCL's Restart: What It's Like On The First Norwegian Cruise Ship Back in 16 Months
Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months
Perfect Day at CocoCay: Here's How We Spent 2 DAYS at Royal Caribbean's Private Island
Our Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Experience: March 2020 vs. July 2021
Back on Celebrity Silhouette: Here's What It's Like On One Of Our Favorite Ships 15 Months Later
Freedom Of The Seas Resumes Sailing With New Rules
Celebrity Millennium -- Video Tour & Ship Review (2021)
Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of The Magic Carpet
Q&A: Cruisers and Crew Chat About The Joy of Cruising's Return
Celebrity Apex -- Eden
Celebrity Apex -- The Retreat
Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of the Infinite Veranda Cabin
Q&A with Celebrity Apex's Cruise Director
Celebrity Apex -- Pools & Resort Deck
Celebrity Apex -- Embarkation Process (2021)
Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?
5 Reasons MSC Cruises' Yacht Club Is Worth The Splurge
Video Highlights From The Impractical Jokers Cruise 4 (2018)
Love Luxury Resorts? Here's Why You Should Cruise Seabourn
5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie
MSC Virtuosa Ship Tour: What It's Like Onboard MSC's Newest Ship (May 2021)
Video Scenes From The Golden Girls Theme Cruise 2019
River Cruising: Video Q&A With John Waggoner On American Countess, American Queen Steamboat Company's Newest Ship
How River Cruising Allows You To Explore Like A Local
5 Ways A Seabourn Cruise Will Make You Feel Special
Inside Look 2018 Ship-Hop: A Cruise Vacation For '90s Lovers
5 Best Onboard Spots For Wine And Tapas
Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day
Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship
The Most Luxurious Cruise Ship Suites at Sea - Video Guide
4 Best Places To Get Craft Beer At Sea - Video Guide
Sneak Peek: Disney Fantasy Highlights For Kids - Video Tour
7 Can’t-Miss Experiences on Allure Of The Seas
Highlights From Regent Seven Seas Explorer
Harmony Of The Seas Cabins - Video Tour - Cruise Critic
Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)
HRH Prince Phillip Visits Cunard's Fleet
"It is a huge honor to be chosen as godmother to Viking Venus and to be officially part of the Viking family. Over my many years as a journalist I have reported and been part of many historic events, but I never dreamt I would be godmother to an ocean ship or that I would be celebrating the occasion with my family and friends on board the beautiful Viking Venus on the very first day that we are able to cruise again in the U.K.," she said.
Viking will offer five round-trip "England’s Scenic Shores" sailings this summer, which are all sold out. The eight-day voyages will call in Liverpool, and the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland. Diamond will also join passengers for the first three cruises and will serve as a guest lecturer with her presentation about the untold story of British radar inventors, including her father, during World War II.
Delivered in April 2021 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Ancona, Italy, Viking Venus is the seventh to join Viking’s ocean fleet of identical ships.