Viking Longships are sailing European waters again, only this time, instead of creating havoc, they’re creating unforgettable vacation experiences for river cruisers aboard six new Viking River Cruises longships in 2012, four of which were christened a couple of months ago in Amsterdam.
The six new ships for 2012—Viking Odin, Viking Freya, Viking Njord, Viking Idun, Viking Aegir and Viking Embla—will be followed by six more new Viking Longships currently being built for 2013. At the time of the christening, Viking also announced they had taken an option for six more longships for 2014, as well.
Each Viking Longship carries 190 guests in comfortable, understated elegance, with hotel-style beds and amenities like in-room refrigerators. Other ship amenities include a sun deck with 360-degree views and a shaded sitting area; an observation lounge and bar with floor-to-ceiling walls of glass; a restaurant with panoramic views; an onboard boutique; a library corner; and free, ship-wide wireless Internet service. The six new ships sailing European rivers this year and the six being built for next year represent a 35 percent increase in capacity for the Viking inventory and they’re truly a marvel of design and engineering, which means more inventory for you to sell—and believe us when we say it’s selling.
According to Richard Marnell, senior v.p., marketing for Viking River Cruises, “River cruising is at an infection point and Viking is leading the way. Viking has spent over $300 million in marketing over the past 10 years and with the development of these longships, our success with our trade partners, the advertising we’ve been doing over the years, as well as our advertising on TV, we are extremely confident that the market is ready for this increase in capacity and the industry, and Viking will do very well.”
With 87 percent of the bookings for all of 2012 made by mid-March, they are indeed doing very well. Still, Marnell adds, “There is certainly space in November and December—our Christmas markets still have space although they’re selling quite well. We have a holiday catalog that speaks to what we’re doing in November and December. There’s certainly the odd cabin between now and the end of October, but for the most part—on the longships, at least—we’re primarily sold out.” We attended the recent christening in Amsterdam, where it had been originally planned to have four of the ships in port for a record-breaking four christenings in one day, but two of the ships were still in the shipyard where workers were working around the clock doing last-minute changes. All four were still christened, however, with the ceremonies shown on large video screens that were connected to video of the last two ships being finished in the Rotterdam shipyard.