Viking River Cruises today announced it has placed an order for 10 additional Viking LongshipsTM, bringing the total number of new ships launching next year to 10 and the number launching in 2014 to eight. The launch plan will easily surpass the industry record Viking set in 2012 with the introduction of six new ships in a single season. By the end of 2014 the company will have introduced a total of 24 new ships in a three-year period, a fleet expansion unprecedented in the cruise industry.
“The river cruise segment is rapidly growing, as more travelers are inspired to experience old destinations in a new way,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises. “Because of the overwhelmingly positive response we have seen from our passengers in the first season of our revolutionary new Viking Longships, we are pleased to continue our expansion to meet that demand.”
Viking plans to inaugurate the first eight Viking Longships of 2013 in a first-of-its-kind simultaneous christening ceremony in late March in Amsterdam. The two newest ships, Viking Baldur and Viking Magni, will join the fleet in late August and September, respectively. Both vessels will sail Viking’s 15-day Grand European Tour (Amsterdam-Budapest), with Viking Baldur also sailing the 8-day Rhine Getaway (Amsterdam-Basel) and Viking Magni also sailing the 8-day Danube Waltz (Passau-Budapest). The eight new ships in 2014 will also sail Viking’s most popular itineraries in Europe.
Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships feature two Explorer Suites – the largest river cruise suites in Europe – as well as seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom, 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas and 22 French Balcony Staterooms.
Additionally, Viking Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, as well as energy-efficient hybrid engines that reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride. Viking has applied for a number of patents for various aspects of the Longship design.