LOS ANGELES, Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid record levels of consumer interest in river cruising, Viking Cruises (www.vikingcruises.com) today announced it has increased its order for additional Viking Longships, bringing the total number of new ships launching in 2014 from 12 to 14 vessels. The increased order reflects the popularity of river cruising as the fastest growing-segment of the travel industry and the leadership position of Viking, the world's leading river cruise line. By the end of 2014, Viking will have introduced a total of 30 new ships in a three-year period – the most rapid fleet expansion program the cruise industry has ever seen. The 14 new ships in 2014 will sail Viking's most popular itineraries in Europe.
"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," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "More than ever, travelers want experiences that bring them closer to the destination, which is why we continue to design ships and itineraries with destinations and enrichment as the focus."
Over the last few years, river cruising has grown at an average annual rate of approximately nine percent*. Within this segment, Viking has grown at a much faster clip than its competitors – an average of 22 percent per year, compared to the estimated four percent* annual growth of other river cruise lines.
In March of this year, Viking set a world record with the inauguration of 10 new Longships for the 2013 sailing season in a first-of-its-kind simultaneous christening ceremony in Amsterdam. This made way for its most successful sailing season, with more than 90 percent of all available staterooms sold during the spring and summer months and record sales for the holiday sailings. Customer satisfaction is also central to Viking Cruises' growth, specifically in attracting repeat travelers. In fact, for the 2011 sailing season, 97 percent of Viking passengers rated their experience as "above expectations."
Named "Best New River Ships of 2012" in Cruise Critic's® Editors' Picks Awards, Viking Longships integrate patent-pending design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These new features include a revolutionary new 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.
For more information, visit http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/longships-feature/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional details, contact Viking Cruises toll-free at 1-877-66VIKING
*Source: Cruise Lines International Association, Inc.; http://www.cruisemarketwatch.com/growth/ Jan 28, 2013
About Viking Cruises
Viking Cruises offers destination-centric river and ocean cruising designed for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. Featuring onboard cultural enrichment and included shore excursions, Viking's journeys are competitively priced for genuine value. Debuting its maiden season of ocean cruising in 2015, the sophisticated state-of-the-art Viking Star will host 928 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 35 river vessels (in 2013) offering scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt. 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. For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 1‑855‑8-VIKING (1‑855‑884‑5464) or visit www.vikingcruises.com. To join the Viking Cruises communities online, visit www.facebook.com/vikingcruises, www.facebook.com/vikingoceans and www.facebook.com/vikingrivercruises.
SOURCE Viking Cruises