Los Angeles (November 24, 2020) – Viking® (www.viking.com) announced today that it has hired Raquel C. Bono, M.D. as the company’s Chief Health Officer. A board-certified trauma surgeon and retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps, Dr. Bono most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Principal at RCB Consulting, she partnered with Viking earlier this year to help develop and define new protocol enhancements; as Chief Health Officer, Dr. Bono will be instrumental in Viking’s restart of operations, with a focus on public health.
“Dr. Bono brings valuable perspective informed by an extraordinary career that has included decorated military service, trauma surgery and health care administration. Additionally, her work as the head of Washington state’s COVID-19 health care response team makes her uniquely qualified to be our Chief Health Officer as we finalize plans for operating cruises safely,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “We are proud to officially welcome Dr. Bono to the Viking family, and we will soon be sharing more details about the Viking Health & Safety Program, which we believe is one of the most well-researched and comprehensive COVID-19 prevention and mitigation plans in the travel industry.”
“I am delighted to join the Viking family and am proud of the significant work we have already done together. I look forward to continuing to create the safest environment possible for Viking’s guests and crew members, while also contributing to the collective public health efforts to address COVID-19,” added Dr. Bono.
Commissioned in June 1979, Dr. Bono received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and M.D. from the School of Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She completed a surgical internship and General Surgery residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, and a Trauma and Critical Care fellowship at the Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine in Norfolk, Virginia. She saw duty in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and is the first female Navy medical officer to have achieved three-star rank. As Chief Executive Officer and Director for the Defense Health Agency (DHA), Dr. Bono led a joint, integrated combat support agency that enables all branches of the U.S. military medical services to provide health care services to combatant commands in times of both peace and war. Dr. Bono integrated an unprecedented $50 billion worldwide health care enterprise for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, composed of 50 hospitals and 300 clinics that provide care to 9.5 million military personnel, oversaw the Department of Defense deployment of the electronic health record, and facilitated the collaboration between the largest federated health systems of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Dr. Bono holds an MBA from the Carson College of Business from Washington State University, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Senior Fellow with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Her personal decorations include a Defense Distinguished Service Medal, three Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legion of Merit Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.
Today’s announcement follows news that Viking has become the first cruise line to complete the installation of a full-scale polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing laboratory at sea. The laboratory on board Viking Star has enough capacity for up to daily testing of every crew member and guest, which provides flexibility to respond to COVID-19 prevalence levels around the world. In the coming months, Viking will complete the installation of PCR laboratories on the remainder of its ocean ships – and will also have a strong network of shoreside laboratories for its river ships.
Viking was founded in 1997 and offers destination-focused journeys on rivers, oceans and lakes around the world. Designed for experienced travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” in contrast to mainstream cruises. In its first five years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 “World’s Best” Awards. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as “Best Overall” Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, “Best River Cruise Line” and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. For additional information, contact Viking at 1-800-2-VIKING (1-800-284-5464) or visit www.viking.com. For Viking’s award-winning enrichment channel, visit www.viking.tv.