On the eve of the christening of your first ocean going ship, Viking Star, I hope you won’t mind my sharing a personal note with a few readers. Our past goes back many years and has had it’s ups and downs.
I was kindly invited to the Amsterdam ceremony in March 2013 where you first broke a world record with multiple Longship christenings. I was honored. I was also honored to be on the same ship as you, your family and Lord and Lady Carnarvon. The day after the christening, your daughter, Karine Hagen who I admire and has been my friend for many years urged me to go have breakfast with you. I hesitated as I did not want to bother you with so many VIPs on board. She pushed me so I sat down beside you. I introduced myself in case you did not remember me and you said,
“Well, are we good enough for you now?”
Clearly you did remember me and we had some things to discuss.
Let me back up for the readers.
Several years earlier you visited our offices at the Smithsonian Institution. I was overseeing the international portfolio of Smithsonian Journeys and you met with our Director, Amy Kotkin and me. It was an interesting meeting as you explained your plans to expand Viking River Cruises. The plans seemed grandiose but you certainly knew cruising and had a vision we had not heard from other suppliers. However, we decided that at that time, we were not ready to add Viking to our program. End of story? No.
Fast forward four years and here we sat on one of your brand new ships and Viking had indeed realized those grandiose plans–perhaps even more than you had imagined–or so I thought.
So what to say?
” Tor, have you seen the movie Pretty Woman?”
I seriously doubted that you had but I was grasping for an analogy.
” Yes, I have” he said.
“Do you remember the scene when she returns to the store that refused her service, shows them all the bags and says ‘Big Mistake’? Well, I made a big mistake….clearly.” Silence for a moment and then the shocker.
” Well, I have another favorite line from Pretty Woman”, he said. ” Do you remember when Richard Gere tells Julia Roberts he wants her to be his mistress and stay with him?”
“Yes” , I mumbled, wondering where this was going.
“Do you remember her response?”
He repeated it for me……” No thank you…I want it all.”
Well sir, on the eve of the christening of your first ocean going ship, which is almost fully sold out for two years, you are now at the top of that fire escape and Richard Gere (or me) is climbing up offering you flowers. Job well done.
Thank you for inviting me to the christening in Bergen. I am so sorry to miss it but loved being onboard as the amazing Viking Star sailed the Thames earlier this week and received the keys to Greenwich from the mayor. Where to go from here? I can’t wait to watch. And by the way, I was pleased to see that “Pretty Woman” was one of the movies offered onboard. Touche.
Jean Newman Glock
This article also appeared in Huffington Post. Click here.