Travel Leaders Executive Pam Young Among Viking Cruises Honorees Invited To Serve As Godmothers For Guinness World Record Launch Of 18 New Ships

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Travel Leaders Executive Participates in Christening Ceremonies Taking Place Across Four Countries in Five Days

Travel Leaders ( executive Pam Young was among a very distinguished group of honorees invited by Viking Cruises ( to serve as Godmothers for the inauguration of its newest Viking Longships, which set a new world record. As part of a multi-phased event taking place over 24 hours, the company christened 16 of its award-winning Viking Longships, including in Amsterdam where the Viking Bestla was personally launched by Young as its Godmother. Young serves as Vice President of Industry Relations for Travel Leaders Franchise Group, which along with its parent company Travel Leaders Group, is headquartered in Plymouth.

"Being asked to serve as a Godmother for any ship would be a tremendous honor, but to be invited to christen the Viking Bestla during this record-breaking launch was nothing short of extraordinary," noted Young. "With the dramatic growth in demand - including among Minnesotans - that Travel Leaders has seen in river cruising, particularly over the past five years, we have great peace-of-mind in knowing that those we entrust to Viking will enjoy an excellent experience wherever they sail."

In addition to Monday's launch in Amsterdam where nine Viking Longships were christened, the historic multi-phased event also featured the christening of four ships in Rostock, Germany, and three ships in Avignon, France. The first-of-its kind ceremony was subsequently certified by a Guinness World Records adjudicator as "The Most Ships Inaugurated in One Day by One Company." Viking already held the previous record, having christened 10 new ships in one day in 2013. Adding to the festivities, on Friday, March 21, Viking will also christen two new, unique river vessels in Porto, Portugal - bringing the total to 18 new ships launched across four countries in five days.

Young was among those selected as a ceremonial Godmother as Viking recognized the travel trade's contribution to the growth of the river cruise industry. Additionally, Hanh Haley, partner of Travel Leaders Group Chairman Michael Batt, helped launch the Viking Gullveig as its Godmother.

According to a statement by the company, "Viking highlighted esteemed travel agent partners by naming them as ceremonial godmothers for seven of the 18 new ships. With cultural enrichment and privileged access at the heart of every experience Viking offers its guests, women representing distinct elements of travel, food, wine and entertainment were selected to honor that focus and serve as godmothers for another seven of the new ships. And in the spirit of strong business partners, Viking selected four valued representatives from the banking and shipping sectors to serve as godmothers for the additional four new ships."

Since debuting in 2012, Viking Longships have amassed a long list of prestigious awards. They recently topped Conde Nast Traveler's annual readers' Cruise Poll for best river cruise ships - with Viking Odin specifically being named the #1 top-ranking river cruise ship - and the entire class of vessels was named "Best New River Ships of 2012" in Cruise Critic's Editors' Picks Awards.

"Travel Better" on a river cruise. To find the Travel Leaders location nearest you, visit or call 800-335-TRIP (8747).

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Travel Leaders is transforming travel with a name that boldly embodies our commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. As one of America's top ten-ranked travel companies, Travel Leaders has assisted millions of travelers through our strong roots "" the former Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group joined together in 2008 to form one of the industry's fastest-growing and robust networks of travel agents. Travel Leaders Franchise Group can trace its beginnings to 1984 as the franchise system "Ask Mr. Foster Travel," which itself was North America's first travel agency chain established in 1888.

About Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises offers destination-centric river and ocean cruising designed for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. Featuring onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions, Viking's journeys are competitively priced for genuine value. Debuting its maiden season of ocean cruising in 2015, the sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Star will host 930 guests on itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. As the world's leading river cruise line, since its 1997 inception the company has grown to a fleet of 52 river vessels (in 2014) offering scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, and Southeast Asia. Viking has been honored multiple times in Travel + Leisure's "World's Best" Awards and Conde Nast Traveler's "Gold List" as well as recognized by the editors of Cruise Critic as "Best River Cruise Line," with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named "Best New River Ships of 2012" in the website's Editors' Picks Awards. The travel trade has ranked Viking as the "Best River Cruise Line" by Travel Weekly, Recommend and Travel Agent magazines, "Best Cruise Line for Luxury River Cruises" at the Luxury Travel Advisor Awards of Excellence and as "Best Overall Cruise Line for River Cruising" and "Best River Cruise Line for Travel Agent Support" in TravelAge West's WAVE Awards.

Franchise Ranking History
Franchise 500: #207 (2014), #267 (2013), #187 (2012), #287 (2011), #400 (2010),
Low-Cost: #64 (2011)

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