On Viking Ocean Cruises,Mamsen's Deli Serves Mum's Recipes On Mum's China

Torstein Hagen, chairman and CEO of Viking River Cruises, with 61 vessels and counting, is building on its success with the introduction of Viking Ocean Cruises, a fleet that will soon consist of six identical ships. The first two, Viking Star and Viking Sea, have already garnered awards that put them at the top of the premium cruise segment. 

To that Hagen is hands-on would be an understatement. In a recent interview, he went on at some length describing how he had developed Viking's Freya toiletries to make them supremely easy to open in the shower. This attention to every detail is unquestionably why Viking has taken the cruise world by storm. 

As to Hagen's culinary input, it's visible on the menu of Viking Ocean's Restaurants in the form of the Chairman's Poached Salmon, a simple preparation involving boiled potatoes and a cucumber salad.  But nowhere is it more personal than at the Norwegian deli, Mamsen's which is just down the hall from Hagen's personal accommodations aboard every Viking Ocean ship.

Mamsen's is named in honor or Torstein Hagen's mother — mamsen is Norwegian for "mum".  Both sweet and savory dishes are said to come from his mother's cookbook. Mamsen's is a treasured spot for breakfast — out of the way and a perfect spot to watch the sunrise, opening as it does at 6:30 a.m.  Greeting the day with freshly made waffles topped with anything from Norwegian cheeses to fresh fruits to chocolate sauce is an indescribable treat. But lunchtime is Hagen's preferred time to visit.  A koldtbord, or Nordic buffet, features open-faced sandwiches both hot and cold and there's always a soup. His favorite dish? Reke — Atlantic shrimp on white bread (click here for the recipe).  

But there's one detail at Mamsen's that telegraphs above all just how much each Viking ship is Hagen's personal domain: He found the actual china dishes his mother had used at their home in Norway and had them reproduced at a factory to use on the ship. Now the china sails the seven seas upon which Hagen feels supremely at home.