LOS ANGELES, June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- This year may mark the 15th anniversary for Viking River Cruises—and with the launch of six new ships in a single season, the most significant year in the company's history—but the world's leading river cruise line has plans to continue momentum in 2013 and beyond. Viking River Cruises (www.vikingrivercruises.com) today announced its complete 2013 cruise program, offering guests a broader selection of choices than any other river cruise line—from ships and staterooms to destinations and pace of exploration. Viking's 2013 program introduces four inspiring new itineraries and two new land tour extensions, as well as the launch of an additional six Viking Longships and the complete refurbishment of its Russian fleet.
"We take pride in the way we design experiences for our guests—from carefully-crafted itineraries that focus on the destination to excursion choices that allow travelers to set their own pace each day," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises. "By providing guests with the opportunity to tailor every aspect of their cruise, we ensure they have the most personal and unforgettable vacation possible."
With diverse and scenic cruise itineraries in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, China and Southeast Asia, Viking guests experience the heart of a destination along its waterways and during culturally rich shore excursions. And with the world's largest fleet of river cruise ships, Viking offers guests the most stateroom choices—with the new Viking Longships featuring the largest suites sailing Europe's waterways.
Flexible scheduling options allow Viking guests to sightsee at their own pace. Comprehensive guided tours are included each day for those who want to immerse themselves in the culture and history, and Viking's onboard Program Directors can provide all the information and maps guests need to explore port cities independently. Additionally, Viking's complimentary onboard Concierge Service, which launched in 2012, is an industry exclusive and allows guests an unmatched level of vacation personalization. With a vast network of contacts and an intimate understanding of each port city, Viking Concierges can reserve a table at the best restaurant, recommend specialty shops, order theater tickets and even arrange for a private guide and car service.
The 2013 River Cruise Atlas™, Viking's award-winning brochure, is available for order or PDF download at www.vikingrivercruises.com/brochure. Also for the first time, the 148-page brochure has been converted to an interactive "ebrochure" that is optimized for computers and tablet devices and features more than 40 imbedded videos about the Viking River Cruises experience. New additions for 2013 include:
New Cruise Itineraries for 2013
- European Sojourn (23 days; Amsterdam to Bucharest) – See the canals of Amsterdam, the castles of the Rhine Valley, great Danube cities like Vienna and Budapest and many colorful capitals of Eastern Europe on an incredible cruise tour that traverses from the North Sea to the Black Sea, via the engineering marvel of the Main-Danube Canal.
- Grand Rivers of Europe (22 days; Basel to Budapest) – From the stunning scenery of Switzerland to the historic castles and cathedrals of Germany, this spectacular itinerary combines the one-week Rhine Getaway cruise, from Basel to Amsterdam, with the two-week Grand European Tour, from Amsterdam to Budapest.
- Portugal's River of Gold (10 days) – During this journey along the pristine and unhurried Douro River, guests will explore the unique cultural, historical and aesthetic sights of Portugal and Spain.
- China Explorer (18 days) – Explore some of China's many faces, including six astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Highlights include a tour of Beijing's Forbidden City, a visit to the excavation site of the famous Terra Cotta Warriors and a tour of a giant panda sanctuary in Chengdu.
New Land Extensions for 2013
- Oxford & Highclere Castle (The Real "Downton Abbey") – Spend three days in the rolling hills of England's countryside as a pre- or post- extension to Cities of Light or Paris & the Heart of Normandy. Highlights include a tour of Highclere Castle, known to television audiences worldwide as Downton Abbey, with a special champagne welcome for Viking guests, and a visit to the historic town of Oxford.
- Barcelona – Before traveling along the Rhone and Saone, guests are invited to extend their trip by three nights in Barcelona. Highlighted sights include the whimsical architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi and the Miro and Picasso museums.
New Viking Longships
In addition to the six state-of-the-art Viking Longships launching in 2012, Viking will continue expansion in 2013 with the launch of six additional Viking Longships—Viking Bragi, Viking Forseti Viking Rinda, Viking Skadi, Viking Tor and Viking Var. Designed by celebrated maritime architects Yran & Storbraaten—the team behind the Disney Dream and the Yachts of Seabourn—the new ships integrate patent-pending technology and innovations such as diesel-electric hybrid engines, solar panels and onboard organic herb gardens.
Next year will also mark the completion of bow-to-stern refurbishments of Viking's owned and operated Russian fleet, which set a new standard as the best river cruise ships in Russia and are the only entirely Western-managed Russian fleet. In addition to redefining the interior space to create significantly larger staterooms, all four of Viking's Russian ships will feature full, private verandas added to all staterooms on the Upper and Middle decks, which house four Suites, two Junior Suites and 60 Veranda Staterooms. The revamped Russian fleet will sail the Waterways of the Czars 13-day itinerary, traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg, or the reverse.
From now until July 31, 2012, Viking is offering a 2013 Early Booking Discount with up to 2-for-1 pricing on cruise departures and international air. Viking's all-inclusive pricing covers accommodations, all onboard meals, daily guided shore excursions, port charges, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with onboard dinner and lunch service, and more.
For more information or for hi-res images of ships and destinations, contact: [email protected], and for additional details, contact Viking River Cruises toll-free at 1-877-66VIKING (1-877-668-4546).
About Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises, the world's leading river cruise company, offers scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt. The company has been honored multiple times as the top river cruise line on Conde Nast Traveler's "Gold List" and Travel + Leisure's "World's Best" Awards as well as recognized as the World's Leading River Cruise Operator at the World Travel Awards and by the editors of Cruise Critic as "Best River Cruise Line" in the website's 4th Annual Editors' Picks Awards. Travel agents have also recognized Viking River Cruises as "Best River Cruise Line" by Travel Weekly, "Best River Cruise Line" by 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" by TravelAge West. Since its 1997 inception, the company has grown to a fleet of 31 vessels (in 2013), and provides unique, deluxe vacations to experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. For additional information, contact Viking River Cruises at 1‑877‑668‑4546 (1‑877‑66VIKING) toll-free or visit the company online at http://www.vikingrivercruises.com. To join the Viking River Cruises community online, visit http://www.facebook.com/vikingrivercruises.
SOURCE Viking River Cruises