LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Viking® (www.vikingcruises.com) today announced the addition of two new itineraries and a variety of new pre- and post-cruise extensions to its river cruise offerings for 2019. Debuting in March 2019, the new 10-day Holland & Belgium itinerary will sail between Amsterdam and Antwerp, allowing guests to explore the inland waterways of the Low Countries and visit new ports of call for Viking: Rotterdam, Maastricht and Nijmegen. Also, in commemoration of World War II and D-Day, Viking will offer a new 11-day cruisetour, Paris & D-Day 75th Anniversary, with two special departures that coincide with the June 6, 2019 anniversary. On this historic journey, guests will travel from London to the maritime city of Portsmouth before boarding their ship in Paris and sailing through Normandy, where they will visit and honor D-Day landing sites.
"As we begin this new year, one thing is certain – river cruising remains one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. And it is no surprise that experienced travelers love river cruising. There is simply no better method of travel in the heart of Europe – sailing from iconic cities past castle-dotted landscapes into storybook villages, all in the comfort of a modern, Scandinavian-designed Longship," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "For more than 20 years, we have led the industry in developing the largest, most comfortable fleet of ships, the most culturally enriching itineraries, and the best value in pricing. We are proud to continue that innovation and leadership as we expand our river cruise offerings for 2019."
New Pre- & Post-Cruise Extensions
With more guests looking to extend their destination-focused travel experience beyond the core cruise itinerary, Viking has also continued to add to the slate of pre- and post-cruise extensions for new and popular river itineraries. These fully escorted offerings include:
- Timeless Istanbul (New: Pre/Post Extension for Kiev to the Black Sea itinerary) – Prior to or following the river sailing, guests can extend their experience and join Viking in Istanbul for three nights. Where East meets West, guests will visit important religious sites such as the "Blue Mosque" and legendary Hagia Sophia.
- Brussels (New: Pre/Post Extension for Holland & Belgium itinerary) – A perfect complement to the new itinerary, guests can explore Brussels, Belgium's vibrant capital during this two-night extension. Discover the lively café scene, multicultural roots and hidden architectural gems of this important river city.
- Historic Bruges (New: Pre/Post Extension on the new Holland & Belgium itinerary) – Guests can extend their journey with a three-night experience in Bruges, one of Europe's most well-preserved medieval cities. Guests will also enjoy exploring the surrounding area, including the architectural treasures of Ghent and the World War I battlefields of Flanders.
- Churchill's Britain (New: Pre/Post Extension on various river itineraries) – Building on the success of the Oxford & Highclere Castle program – Viking's highest-rated Pre/Post Extension that visits "The Real Downton Abbey" – the company has applied the same degree of Privileged Access to a new curated Pre/Post Extension that explores the remarkable life and times of Sir Winston Churchill, the British statesman who led Britain through its darkest hours during World War II. Guests will have the opportunity to trace Churchill's life, from his birthplace – the English baroque Blenheim Palace – and his family home at Chartwell, to his final resting place at St. Martin's Church in the village of Bladon. Over the course of the five-night extension, guests will also have Privileged Access to the Churchill War Rooms, the prime minister's secret underground headquarters, as well as Bletchley Park, the Victorian estate in Buckinghamshire, where Alan Turing and a team of mathematicians and scientists worked tirelessly to break German codes during World War II.
- From the Bulge to Remagen (New: Post Extension for Paris & D-Day 75th Anniversary itinerary) – As a four-night extension option for this special itinerary, guests will continue to follow in the footsteps of Allied troops who marched across France toward Germany during World Wars I and II. Guests will visit Meuse-Argonne and Luxembourg American Cemeteries, the Bastogne War Museum in Belgium, walk the streets of the ancient city of Mainz and more.
- World War Battlefields (New: Post Extension for Paris & D-Day 75th Anniversary itinerary)– Also offered during the special anniversary sailing, Viking will escort guests during a four-night cruise extension, exploring the battlefields of northern France and the Low Countries. Along the way, guests will visit Dunkirk, walk through the trenches of Flanders Fields, and pay their respects to British and Canadian servicemen at the Menin Gate.
- Burgundy's Vineyards (New: Post Extension for Lyon & Provence itinerary) – During this three-night extension in France, guests can experience the grandeur of Dijon and the world-renowned wine country of Burgundy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will enjoy the French lifestyle while visiting the Ducal Palace, the local market designed by Eiffel, and the beautiful Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune.
Viking's Growing River Fleet in 2019
Today's announcement comes as Viking prepares to launch seven new river ships on European waterways in 2019. The new ships include six award-winning Viking Longships®, which will sail the company's most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Daube Rivers, and one additional vessel, inspired by the Longships and specifically designed to sail Portugal's Douro River.
After more than 20 years on the waterways of the world, Viking continues to celebrate accolades from the industry and guests, alike. Most recently, Viking was again named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication's 2018 Readers' Choice Awards. Viking has scored in the top of the list every year since the river cruise category was introduced.
The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. On board, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is both beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. With the most al fresco dining opportunities on the waterways of Europe, featuring regional cuisine and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences on shore and on board. And only The Viking Way® of exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access® experiences.
In addition, Viking offers a compelling value compared to other cruise lines. Every cruise fare includes an outside stateroom, a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; and cultural performances as part of the Viking's Cultural Curriculum® onboard programming.
From now through January 31, 2019, Viking is offering U.S. residents special cruise fares on select 2019, 2020 and 2021 river and ocean cruise itineraries, with additional savings on international air. Call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464) or contact a travel agent.
Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. Designed for discerning travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. In its first three years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure's 2016, 2017 and 2018 "World's Best" Awards. Viking operates a fleet of 78 vessels (in 2019), offering scenic cruising on rivers and oceans around the world. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler's "Gold List" as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as "Best Overall" Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers' Choice Awards, "Best River Cruise Line" and "Best River Itineraries," with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named "Best New River Ships" in the website's Editors' Picks Awards. For additional information, contact Viking at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464) or visit www.vikingcruises.com.