Viking River Cruises will celebrate it’s 15th anniversary this year in a number of ways. New ships certainly made a splash earlier this year as Viking launched six new ships and plans on more in seasons to come. That does not mean that rivers around the world will be clogged up with a never-ending stream of ships. It means, among other things, the opportunity to explore new regions or areas that before were rarely visited. Viking’s 2013 program introduces four inspiring new itineraries and two new land tour extensions, as well as the launch of an additional six Viking Longships and the complete refurbishment of its Russian fleet.
“We take pride in the way we design experiences for our guests—from carefully-crafted itineraries that focus on the destination to excursion choices that allow travelers to set their own pace each day,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises.
When we sailed Viking Odin earlier this year, it was a short preview sailing after the ship’s inauguration. But it only took a day or two for those on board, new to river cruising, to see some of the unique differences compared to ocean sailing.
“By providing guests with the opportunity to tailor every aspect of their cruise,” added Hagen, “we ensure they have the most personal and unforgettable vacation possible.”
Here is how they do that:
- The world’s largest fleet of river cruise ships– more ships can go more places.
- The most stateroom choices- It’s something we don’t even think about when booking an ocean cruise where there can be up to 40 different categories to choose from.
- Comprehensive guided tours are included each day for those who want to immerse themselves in the culture and history.
- Viking’s onboard Program Directors– (like a Cruise Director on an ocean cruise) provide all the information and maps guests need to explore port cities independently. Additionally,
- Viking’s complimentary onboard Concierge Service– allows guests an unmatched level of vacation personalization. With a vast network of contacts and an intimate understanding of each port city, Viking Concierges can reserve a table at the best restaurant, recommend specialty shops, order theater tickets and even arrange for a private guide and car service.
New Cruise Itineraries for 2013
- European Sojourn (23 days; Amsterdam to Bucharest) – See the canals of Amsterdam, the castles of the Rhine Valley, great Danube cities like Vienna and Budapest and many colorful capitals of Eastern Europe on an incredible cruise tour that traverses from the North Sea to the Black Sea, via the engineering marvel of the Main-Danube Canal.
- Grand Rivers of Europe (22 days; Basel to Budapest) – From the stunning scenery of Switzerland to the historic castles and cathedrals of Germany, this spectacular itinerary combines the one-week Rhine Getaway cruise, from Basel to Amsterdam, with the two-week Grand European Tour, from Amsterdam to Budapest.
- Portugal’s River of Gold (10 days) – During this journey along the pristine and unhurried Douro River, guests will explore the unique cultural, historical and aesthetic sights of Portugal and Spain.
- China Explorer (18 days) – Explore some of China’s many faces, including six astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Highlights include a tour of Beijing’s Forbidden City, a visit to the excavation site of the famous Terra Cotta Warriors and a tour of a giant panda sanctuary in Chengdu.
New Land Extensions for 2013
- Oxford & Highclere Castle (The Real “Downton Abbey”) – Spend three days in the rolling hills of England’s countryside as a pre- or post- extension to Cities of Light or Paris & the Heart of Normandy. Highlights include a tour of Highclere Castle, known to television audiences worldwide as Downton Abbey, with a special champagne welcome for Viking guests, and a visit to the historic town of Oxford.
- Barcelona – Before traveling along the Rhone and Saone, guests are invited to extend their trip by three nights in Barcelona. Highlighted sights include the whimsical architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi and the Miro and Picasso museums.
New Viking Longships
In addition to the six state-of-the-art Viking Longships launching in 2012, Viking will continue expansion in 2013 with the launch of six additional Viking Longships—Viking Bragi, Viking Forseti Viking Rinda, Viking Skadi, Viking Tor and Viking Var. Designed by celebrated maritime architects Yran & Storbraaten—the team behind the Disney Dream and the Yachts of Seabourn—the new ships integrate patent-pending technology and innovations such as diesel-electric hybrid engines, solar panels and onboard organic herb gardens.
Next year will also mark the completion of bow-to-stern refurbishments of Viking’s owned and operated Russian fleet, which set a new standard as the best river cruise ships in Russia and are the only entirely Western-managed Russian fleet. In addition to redefining the interior space to create significantly larger staterooms, all four of Viking’s Russian ships will feature full, private verandas added to all staterooms on the Upper and Middle decks, which house four Suites, two Junior Suites and 60 Veranda Staterooms. The revamped Russian fleet will sail the Waterways of the Czars 13-day itinerary, traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg, or the reverse.
Attention to detail is always the mark of a good operation and Viking surely is one. This video, offering a helpful Dutch Language Lesson is one example of how far they will go to do it right:
Photo joiseyshowaa via Compfight