Viking, whose sponsorship of the television series “Downton Abbey” brought the allure of European river cruising into American living rooms, has formed a partnership to promote the Sept. 20 release of the Downton Abbey movie.
While Viking for years has offered a variety of ways for guests to visit Highclere Castle — the filming location of Downton Abbey — Viking is now offering a new pre- and post-cruise extension called “Great Homes, Gardens & Gin.” The five-day package is designed to give guests an exclusive look at several country estates that have served as the setting of the show.
Viking is also sponsoring a sweepstakes through Oct. 31 giving U.S. residents a chance to win a trip to Highclere Castle. The grand prize includes roundtrip international business class air for two, an eight-day “Paris & the Heart of Normandy” river cruise and a three-night land extension visiting Oxford and Highclere Castle.
“Many of our guests were introduced to both Viking and Highclere Castle while watching the Downton Abbey series,” said Karine Hagen, executive vice president of Viking. “For this reason, we are linked in the minds of many Downton Abbey fans.
“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.”
The new five-day extension will be available in 2021 on Viking’s “Rhine Getaway” river cruise and “British Isles Explorer” ocean cruise. The itinerary enables guests to explore Oxford and experience English country life. It 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 British explorer Ranulph Fiennes and actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes. The castle also served as a setting for the award-winning Masterpiece series “Wolf Hall.”