Coming up March 24, Viking River Cruises will launch another ten award-winning Viking Longships plus two unique vessels custom-designed for the Elbe River. At a riverside ceremony in Amsterdam, we’ll be on hand as the Viking fleet grows to 64 vessels, more than any other river cruise line on the planet, by far. Today we begin the Countdown To Christening (see this page, right), marking the time remaining until the cruise line that did not even exist 17 years ago launches more of the award-winning Viking Longships that began sailing in 2012.
Of the 12 vessels that will debut in 2015, 10 are Viking Longships, which have scored high with Condé Nast Traveler’s annual readers’ Cruise Poll for best river cruise ships and were named “Best New River Ships of 2012” in Cruise Critic’s® Editors’ Picks Awards.
But what makes these Viking Longships so popular?
What is Viking doing that other river cruise operators are not?
One of the apparent secrets to the success of Viking Longships is a patented corridor design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends.
Interestingly, there are no top deck attractions to occupy the minds of Viking travelers. Instead, a great amount of the experience is focused off the ship, at the interesting places and iconic landmarks Viking Longships visit. Still, there is something to be said for an easy lifestyle on board with world class dining, included amenities such as bow to stern WiFi, a robust offering of en-suite entertainment, locally-sourced beer and wine served at meal times shared while engaging like-minded travelers and much more.
The Aquavit Terrace
A popular feature with Viking travelers, the all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace® reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors that allow guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco.
A favorite place for Lisa and I, a light lunch can be found at the Aquavit Terrace on embarkation day, when most people fall in love with the space. Throughout the day and into the evening, attentive service is exceeded only by the breathtaking views that roll by as your Viking Longship makes its way along rivers of the world; the planet’s original highway.
A Variety Of Accommodations
Viking fans like that each Viking Longship accommodates just 190 passengers in 95 staterooms. That unique ship design allows a unique mix of stateroom features
- Standard Staterooms are nicely appointed riverview spaces with a picture window, 40″ flat-panel Sony TV with infotainment system featuring movies on demand plus CNBC, CNN, National Geographic, private restroom stocked with L’occitane bath products and more.
- French Balcony Staterooms are a step up that add a sliding glass door the opens for full view of riverside attractions.
- Veranda Staterooms add even more space, each with full-size verandas.
- Two-Room Suites- A personal favorite are two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom.
- Explorer Suites are the largest suites in Europe. Each Viking Longship has two of them.
Additionally, all Longships have green upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride.
New 2015 Viking Longships for the Elbe River in 2015
Viking’s two modified Viking Longships will also launch, designed specifically for the company’s popular Elegant Elbe itinerary. Joining recently refurbished Viking Schumann and Viking Fontane,sister ships Viking Longship Astrild and Viking Longship Beyla will be the newest and most modern ships sailing the Elbe River. Each hosting just 98 guests in 49 staterooms, these vessels are smaller than Viking Longships, with customized hulls and engines specially designed to navigate this unique river.
That’s the hardware.
Impressive to be sure, but just one part of the seamless Viking travel experience that goes far beyond a comfortable way to travel. Stay tuned as we take a look deep inside the Viking River Cruise experience, one we highly recommend for the right traveler. We’ll see if Viking is a good fit for you along the way to the Viking Christening Ceremony. Enjoy the countdown.
Get an idea of all that goes into a christening, Viking style, in this video from the 2014 naming ceremony: