River cruising is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry and due to its popularity, Viking River Cruises recently announced they will be increasing their original order of twelve Viking Longships by an additional two vessels and will next year launch fourteen new Longships

This increased order reflects Viking’s position as the world’s leading river cruise line and by the end of 2014, they will have introduced a total of thirty new ships over a three year period, making this the most rapid fleet expansion program the cruise industry has ever seen. Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises said “We are working hard to match supply with demand and with these new builds, we have the best designed, newest and most extensive offer of ships on the rivers, more than double all our competitors combined.”

River cruising has grown at an average annual rate of approximately nine percent over the last few years and in March this year, Viking set a world record with the inauguration and simultaneous christening ceremony in Amsterdam of ten new Longships for the 2013 sailing season.

Offering modern design and comfortable amenities, plus their exceptional standard and variety of food, Viking Longships give passengers an unforgettable experience which ensures a high rate of return passengers. A revolutionary all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace is a new feature that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor to ceiling glass doors and allows passengers to enjoy the views and dine al fresco

Freya Cologne HorizViking Longships layout allows for two Explorer Suites and seven two-room Veranda Suites with full size veranda in the living room and French balcony in the bedroom. The 39 Veranda Staterooms have full size verandas and there are 22 French Balcony Staterooms.  All Longships have sustainability upgrades such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens.  The energy efficient hybrid engines reduce vibrations, giving a very smooth ride.

Since Viking’s 1997 inception, their fleet has grown to 35 river vessels, cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China and Southeast Asia. Featuring included shore excursions and on board cultural enrichment, excellent dining choices with included wine, it is easy to see why river cruising with Viking attracts passengers.

One of Viking’s most popular river cruises is the fifteen day Grand European Tour from Amsterdam to Budapest or return along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. This cruise offers a variety of sights, from Holland’s windmills and tulip fields to Germany’s fairytale castles and the picturesque vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley.

Viking Cruises is a major partner of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s upcoming exhibition “Vikings – Beyond the Legend” commencing on 19 September for a limited time.  Located at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, this exhibition, direct from Sweden, will display a variety of treasures and reveal how the Vikings lived, going beyond the myth of Vikings as ferocious plunderers in horned helmets.

Amongst the artefacts that have never been seen in Australia are Viking swords from 700-1100AD, bronze and silver jewellery, statuettes of Norse gods, gold and silver pendants as well as an eight metre replica of a Viking boat plus a restored reconstruction of a 9th century ship.     Sandra Tiltman 


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