Viking River Cruises, announced the next phase of its $250 million fleet development program as it unveils details of four, state-of-the-art vessels set to launch at the start of its 2012 sailing season. This is the second time in a decade that Viking River Cruises has engaged in four new ship builds in one season—an accomplishment that no other river cruise company has matched since Viking did it in 2001.
Building on the company’s reputation as the industry innovator—Viking Freya, Viking Idun, Viking Njord and Viking Odin—are the first of Viking’s Longships, a new class of vessel within the fleet that is marked by sophisticated and inviting design coupled with high-tech and patent-pending features. Designed by celebrated maritime architects Yran & Storbraaten—the team behind the Disney Dream and the Yachts of Seabourn—the new ships are characterized by the long and graceful design of ancient Scandinavian vessels and were named after key members of the Norse pantheon.
“Innovation has been a hallmark of how Viking River Cruises has grown its business from its inception, with our guests serving as our inspiration,” says Torstein Hagen, Chairman and CEO of Viking River Cruises. “We were the first to introduce hotel-style beds in Russia, the first to design purpose-built ships to navigate the Elbe, the first to introduce hybrid engines that deliver a quieter and more peaceful experience to guests with Viking Legend and the first to operate Western-style ships on China’s Yangtze, amongst many other firsts.”
Integrating cutting-edge technology with amenities that reflect guest preferences and travel trends, Viking River Cruises is changing the industry once again with this class of vessels by setting a new standard in onboard amenities, energy efficiency and guest comfort. By shifting the corridor one meter and reorienting the staterooms to create additional space, the new Viking Longships will boast 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.
“For our 2012 new builds, we have stretched ourselves creatively and technologically, evaluating every aspect of the guest’s cruising experience and asking ourselves how we can surpass it,” Hagen continues. “What has emerged are vessels that will deliver a peerless travel opportunity to aficionados of river cruising and those that have yet to try this unique way to see the world.”
Scheduled to sail four of Viking’s most popular European itineraries, including the 10-day Tulips & Windmills, 8-day Romantic Danube, 15-day Grand European Tour and 8-day Danube Waltz, each of the new Viking Longships will be 443 feet (135 meters) long, and feature 95 staterooms per ship. Representing a $120 million investment, each of the new ships 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 270-square-foot Veranda Suites with full-size verandas in the living room and French balconies in the bedroom.
* 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas at 205 square feet.
* Sustainability upgrades such as energy-efficient hybrid engines, solar panels and an onboard organic herb garden.
* 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.