New Ships Launched in 3 Countries, Breaking Viking Cruises’ Own Previous Record
When people ask me just how popular cruise travel is, my short answer is simply to point out how many new cruise ships are coming down the pipeline to feed the growing appetite for every style of cruise travel. Maybe this will be my new answer! – Lynn Elmhirst, Ship2Shore.TV
Viking Cruises has set a new world record with the inauguration of its newest Viking Longships™. In a multi-phased event taking place over 24 hours, the company christened 16 of its award-winning Viking Longships – nine were christened in Amsterdam; four were christened in Rostock, Germany; and three were christened in Avignon, France.
The first-of-its kind ceremony was subsequently certified by a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ adjudicator as ‘The Most Ships Inaugurated in One Day by One Company.’ Viking already held the previous record, having christened 10 new ships in one day in 2013.
Adding to the festivities, on Friday, March 21, Viking also christens two new, unique river vessels in Porto, Portugal – bringing the total to 18 new ships launched across four countries in five days.
All of Viking’s new ships will be deployed on its most popular itineraries in Europe, and 2014 marks the first year that the company’s award-winning Longships will sail in France. A total of four Viking Longships will be deployed on Viking’s itineraries in France, including one vessel dedicated specifically to the company’s new Châteaux, Rivers & Wine itinerary in Bordeaux. Also, as a testament to the popularity of Viking’s Portugal’s River of Gold itinerary, the two new ships there will double the company’s current capacity on the Douro River.
“Today we mark a new milestone for Viking and for modern river cruising. We are proud to celebrate the arrival of our newest ships, and it is an honor to have each one named by a prominent godmother,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “River cruising is the fastest-growing segment of travel, and it is in large part because of the enthusiasm of our guests and travel trade partners that we have enjoyed such success.”
Since debuting in 2012, Viking Longships have amassed a long list of prestigious awards. They recently topped Condé Nast Traveler’s annual readers’ Cruise Poll for best river cruise ships – with Viking Odin specifically being named the #1 top-ranking river cruise ship – and the entire class of vessels was named “Best New River Ships of 2012” in Cruise Critic’s® Editors’ Picks Awards.
Viking Longships integrate a patented corridor design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These new features include a revolutionary all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors and allows guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco. Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships have a patented layout that allows for 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, all Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride.
Inspired by the design of the Viking Longships, the company’s two new vessels in Portugal will be smaller, hosting 106 passengers in 53 staterooms, but will tout many of the same popular features as Viking Longships – including an Aquavit Terrace, a wide variety of stateroom choices, onboard solar panels and an organic herb garden, as well as Viking’s signature Scandinavian design aesthetic.
The expansion of Viking’s fleet comes as a response to increased traveler demand for destination-focused cruises. In addition to the new Viking Longships and new vessels in Portugal, the company’s first ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star, is currently under construction and will set sail in early 2015.
About Viking Cruises
Viking Cruises offers destination-centric river and ocean cruising designed for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history and feature onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions. Debuting its maiden season of ocean cruising in 2015, the sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Star will host 930 guests on itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. As the world’s leading river cruise line, since its 1997 inception the company has grown to a fleet of 52 river vessels (in 2014) offering scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, and Southeast Asia. Viking has been honored multiple times in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best” Awards and Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognized by the editors of Cruise Critic as “Best River Cruise Line,” with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named “Best New River Ships of 2012” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. The travel trade has ranked Viking as the “Best River Cruise Line” by Travel Weekly, Recommend and Travel Agent magazines, “Best Cruise Line for Luxury River Cruises” at the Luxury Travel Advisor Awards of Excellence and as “Best Overall Cruise Line for River Cruising” and “Best River Cruise Line for Travel Agent Support” in TravelAge West’s WAVE Awards.