Wendy Atkin-Smith is the md of Viking UK, one of the world’s leading small ship cruise lines, and has worked in the travel sector for more than 30 years. In 2019, Wendy was made godmother to river ship Viking Sigrun, in recognition of her contribution to Viking’s success.
6 AM: The alarm goes off when my husband gets up to take our two dogs, Wren and Hazel, out for a walk. I now split my time between our home in Norfolk and London where Viking’s UK office is based, right opposite leafy Wimbledon Common. I really enjoy my days in Wimbledon — I get to catch up with the team and there is always an energetic buzz with the phones ringing off the hook and our team busy helping guests with their bookings, often for trips of a lifetime. I sometimes take my dogs to the office. They make sure I get some fresh air at lunchtime.
9 AM: I usually catch up with Neil, our head of sales, first thing to discuss what’s happening and any booking trends we’re seeing. One of our biggest challenges as a business is meeting demand, especially on our ocean ships and certain itineraries, such as the Nile, are always fully booked. We plan at least two years ahead — we are already taking bookings for 2024, and 2025 bookings are just around the corner.
2 PM: I’ll catch up with members of our marketing and research teams — we enjoy brainstorming ideas together. One day we might be adding the finishing touches to our quarterly magazine, Explore More, or negotiating a major television sponsorship, or I could be joining a call with the PR team to discuss plans for a new launch.
7 PM: If I’m in London, I may attend an event. It could be a new exhibition opening at the British Museum, a new show we are sponsoring at the Royal Academy of Arts, or a fundraising event for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, one of the charities we support — no two weeks are ever the same. If I’m at home in Norfolk, I’ll take our dogs for a walk on the beach. It’s good to have some time at the end of the day to reflect. For dinner, my husband and I both enjoy cooking so we always try to cook from scratch if we’re at home. I’m a dab hand at a cannelloni or a risotto and my Yorkshire puddings are legendary!
11 PM: It’s finally time to put my phone away and try to read a chapter or two of a book to relax. Reading is a real passion of mine and I very often have two books on the go at the same time. I am currently reading Where The Crawdads Sing and I am also re-reading A Gentleman In Moscow, as I loved it so much the first time. I’ve also read Agatha Christie’s novels since I was about ten and always find myself going back to her books time and time again.