All we can say is “wow”! Viking just announced that it’s building 10 more Viking Longships. The river line already operates 80 river vessels globally. That’s the world’s largest river fleet for any cruise line.
So, what’s up with the massive order? Simply put, Viking reports soaring consumer demand for its vacations on European rivers. Still, an order for 10 river vessels is a pretty big one.
Key factors in that decision? Viking says it already has 50 percent of U.S. marketshare for river cruising. Certainly, many of The Meandering Traveler’s readers have taken one or more Viking cruises. We know that many of you love the brand and are already planning your 2024 or 2025 Viking cruise now.
That factor, plus many new Viking guests sailing for the first time have led the line to decide that more ships will absolutely be needed in future years.
(Photo above shows one of the most beloved spots on all Viking Longships — the Aquavit Terrace, delivering casual dining with great views. Photo by Viking.)
Expanded River Fleet: Where and When?
So, to meet the growing demand for European river voyages, Viking says that it will position eight of the new Viking Longships on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. They will sail the line’s most popular itineraries, providing more “space” for more travelers to enjoy those.
In fact, Viking will go year-round on the Rhine starting this month, giving travelers more departure dates throughout the year.
The other two new river vessels will join the line’s fleet on the Seine River. That total order of 10 does include one Viking Longship for the Seine River that was announced earlier in 2023.
In terms of delivery time frame, Viking says five of the new vessels will be delivered in 2025. The remaining five will begin river cruising in 2026.
Exploring the World in Comfort
To officially mark the start of construction on all 10 ships, a keel laying ceremony — a maritime tradition — was held this week at Neptun Werft. That’s a shipyard in Rostock, Germany, that’s certainly highly experienced in building Viking Longships. In fact, all Longships have been built there since the series debuted in 2012.
“Ever since we started Viking 26 years ago, our mission has been to help our guests explore the world in comfort. We focus on the destination, and we build elegant, innovative ships,” says Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking. “We look forward to welcoming these new Longships to our European fleet and introducing ‘The Viking Way’ of exploration to even more guests in the coming years.”
Expanded River Fleet: What’s a Longship?
Offering Viking’s signature Scandinavian design, the Viking Longships each host 190 or fewer guests. Did you know that they comprise the vast majority of the world’s river fleet? So, if you like sailing on a Longship, you’ll find plenty of options.
“Accommodations-wise, guests can choose from a variety of staterooms, all with an outside view,” says Shelby Steudle, president, Pavlus Travel. As top sellers of Viking’s ocean, river and expedition cruises, Pavlus’ personal travel planners are skilled at assisting clients thinking of a Viking cruise.
Seeking the ship’s “top digs”? “Then be sure to check out the spacious Explorer Suites with a wraparound private balcony,” adds Steudle. “You’ll have fantastic views from the forward terrace and through floor-to-ceiling windows. And since the walk-out balcony actually wraps around one side of the ship, you’ll get different views of the scenery outside.
Here’s a good video produced by Viking to show what an Explorer Suite is all about.
River Fleet Features: Longship Public Spaces
In terms of public spaces, the Viking Longships have wonderful dining, lounge and bar spaces. They also have a top deck walking track, so guests can get a bit of exercise while viewing magnificent riverbank scenery at the same time.
The praise we most hear from guests, though, focuses on the indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace.
Nestled at the ship’s bow, this casual outdoor space with tables and chairs is great for sightseeing and also for dining. Offering breakfast and lunch, it’s the ultimate in al fresco casual dining with close-up riverbank views.
Or, as one travel industry friend recently remarked, “Talk about destination immersion, this is it! The Aquavit Terrace puts me right ‘into’ the destination in a simple, satisfying way.” We’d certainly agree in seeing guests dining on their Longship’s Aquavit Terrace (see photo below) in Budapest, Hungary.
Sustainability-wise, these new vessels also feature solar panels and a hybrid propulsion system with batteries. Plus, they’re equipped for shore power, so they can reduce their reliance on fuel while in port.
What Else is New for Viking?
This week’s news from Viking about further expansion of its European river fleet was significant. But, alas, Viking has been busy on other river fronts too.
- In 2024, Viking will add to its Nile River fleet with Viking Hathor, and the following year welcome another Egypt vessel, Viking Sobek
- In Southeast Asia, Viking will launch the new Viking Tonle on the Mekong River in 2025.
In addition, Viking continues to build its robust ocean fleet too. Recently, Viking celebrated the “float out” of its newest ocean ship, Viking Vela. That 998-passenger vessel will debut this month.
New 2024 Ocean Itinerary
One of Viking Vela’s journeys — a new itinerary for Viking in 2024 — is the 16-day “Malta, Morocco and the Mediterranean.” Sailing roundtrip from Barcelona, Spain, Viking Vela will visit seven countries.
Guests will stroll through Marseille, France, as well as visit Corsica, birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. During shore excursions to Seville and Granada, Spain, they’ll learn about Spanish flamenco dancing and Moorish architecture And they’ll go ashore in the North African cities of Algiers, Algeria; Tunis, Tunisia; and Casablanca, Morocco.
This new itinerary for Viking Vela is operated on three dates in November and December 2024. At press time, cruise fares started at $7,999 per person, double occupancy. Contact your personal travel planner to assist with finding the right departure, selecting accommodations, booking value-added contract air travel and more.
If you’re thinking about a Viking vacation, one fact is crystal clear. You’ll certainly have many new ships from which to choose in 2024, 2025 and 2026. From our perspective, Viking truly has honed an excellent shipbuilding formula over the years. The result is consistent high quality.
It’s a great time to plan a 2024 or 2025 vacation along a lazy river or the high seas. And since Pavlus Travel is a top seller of Viking vacations, be sure to ask them about any special promotions, discounts or amenities available.
Important Notes from Pavlus Travel
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