Twelve new ships plus two new itineraries.
March 2014 saw the launch of a record-breaking 18 new river ships across six countries for Viking River Cruises. And there’s still more expansion on the horizon.
In 2015, Viking will add 12 more river ships making a total of 64 river ships in the fleet. Of the 12 new ships, two will be specifically designed to navigate the Elbe River through eastern Germany on the Elegant Elbe itinerary. The two new itineraries will be on the Rhine River; Legends of the Rhine and Rhine Rhapsody.
The 10 new Viking Longships
Viking’s signature river ship will accommodate up to 190 guests in 95 staterooms. Aside from two super-sized Explorer Suites, there are seven two-room Veranda Suites, 39 traditional Veranda staterooms and 22 staterooms with French Balconies (sliding glass doors). Viking has implemented a few “green” changes on the previous Longships that carries over to the new ships, too. This includes onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduces vibration for a remarkably smooth ride.
On the Elbe River
The two new sister ships Viking Astrild and Viking Beyla ships will accommodate 98 guests in 49 staterooms. Smaller than the signature Viking Longships, these new ships will sport customized hulls and engines specially designed to navigate this unique river. Keeping with the green theme, these ships will also run on energy-efficient hybrid engines, have onboard solar panels, an organic herb garden, and Viking’s signature Scandinavian modern design.
New Itineraries for 2015
Viking’s two new itineraries will feature historic landmark and scenic treasures along the Rhine River during the springtime. Details of the itineraries include:
Legends of the Rhine – This 8-day journey between Amsterdam and Frankfurt provides a window into some of the historic eras and events that have shaped northern Europe. Cruise through the Middle Rhine Valley, lined with dozens of medieval castles, and take walking tours of castles and cobbled streets. Marvel at the soaring carved interiors and stained-glass windows of Cologne’s iconic Gothic cathedral, and sample local beers. Stop in Remagen, the site of World War II’s Operation Market Garden, and Nijmegen for a guided visit to the Overloon War and Resistance Museum. Spend a full day enjoying the delightful Golden Age city of Amsterdam, including a canal boat tour. April and May 2015.
Rhine Rhapsody – On this unique new cruisetour, spend 10 days amidst the timeless elegance of Paris and the breathtaking scenery along the Rhine, Main and Moselle Rivers. Take a guided tour of the French capital to see some of its historic locations; then spend some time exploring its neighborhoods, museums and cafés. Scenic cruising takes you to the heart of smaller European towns like Trier, Rüdesheim and Cochem, where there is so much to discover, right through the Rhine Valley, famous for its many riverside castles. Stop in Strasbourg, the perfect marriage of French and German cultures (and cuisines), and explore the market squares of Basel’s charming Old Town area. April and May, 2015.
If you’ve never experienced an overnight European river cruise, it’s time to start planning for 2015. Springtime is beautiful, especially on the Rhine River. Flowers are in bloom, vineyards are becoming a verdant green and hordes of tourists have not yet descended upon the cities and landmarks.
Plan to spend a couple of extra days either before and/or after your cruise or cruisetour and experience a bit of the region on your own. With nearly 3 months of European river cruising under my belt, these are itineraries that I love to do again and again. You will, too.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath… stop for a meal and a glass of wine along the way.