Viking River Cruises Announces Two More New Builds for 2012

Viking River Cruises just announced that it has ordered two more ships in the Viking Longships class for delivery in 2012, bringing the total of new vessels to six. This announcement marks an unprecedented number of ships launching in a single season, an accomplishment that eclipses Viking’s own record of four ships christened into the fleet in 2001.

“Ever since we announced the introduction of the Viking Longships earlier this year, the response has been overwhelming,” stated Torstein Hagen, chairman and CEO of Viking River Cruises. “To accommodate the demand, we have decided to accelerate the new builds schedule and bring two more Viking Longships into the fleet in 2012.”

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These two new ships are part of the company’s $250-million fleet development program, comprised of several complete refurbishments plus the introduction of 10 new Viking Longships by 2014. The two new state-of-the-art ships—Viking Embla and Viking Aegir—will make their debut in July and August 2012, respectively, joining sister ships—Viking Freya, Viking Idun, Viking Njord and Viking Odin—to be christened in March 2012.

Building upon the company’s reputation as an industry innovator, Viking is setting a new standard in onboard amenities, energy efficiency and guest comfort. By shifting the corridor one meter and reorienting the staterooms, this patent-pending design of an asymmetrical corridor configuration creates additional space and a variety of stateroom choices. The result is the largest real suites in Europe—featuring separate sleeping and living rooms in each of its Explorer Suites and Veranda Suites—as well as more full-size rooms and full-size verandas than other European river cruise vessels. Plus, three-quarters of staterooms will feature a veranda, French balcony or both.

Each of the state-of-the-art Viking Longships will be 443 feet long, feature 95 staterooms per ship and will boast key innovations such as:

•    Two Explorer Suites—which will be the largest river cruise suites in Europe at 445 square feet—each featuring a separate living room, bedroom, bathroom and private wraparound veranda, offering 270-degree views.

•    Seven 275-square-foot Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom.

•    Thirty-nine Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas, each at 205 square feet.

•    A new all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the lounge by bringing the outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors.

•    Al fresco dining areas on the Upper deck, adjacent to the lounge to present more dining choices to guests.

•    Sustainability upgrades such as energy-efficient hybrid engines, solar panels and an onboard organic herb garden.

Named after key individuals from Norse mythology, the six ships are scheduled to sail Viking’s most popular European itineraries including the 15-day “Grand European Tour,” 8-day “Romantic Danube,” 8-day “Danube Waltz,” 10-day “Tulips & Windmills” and 8-day “Rhine Getaway.” In addition to the introduction of the new ships, additional departures were added in late 2012 where guests can experience Europe’s festive Christmas markets.

Viking River Cruises generous commission policy pays agents commission on everything they sell, with payment 29 days prior to departure; commissions average more than $1,200 per booking. (www.vikingrivercruises.com/agents)

Randy Mink

Contributor: Randy Mink

Randy Mink is the Managing Editor of Leisure Group Travel Magazine. He is based in Chicago, IL.

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