After making cruising history by christening no less than 16 ships in 3 different countries – all in less than 24 hours – Viking River Cruises are enjoying a great start to 2014. Not only were these magnificent events attended by some of the industry’s top brass, but seven ships were even gifted their own ‘godmother’, as hundreds of invited guests watched Champagne smashing against the various hulls via video link.
From Mary Berry, iconic host of The Great British Bake Off, to France’s multi-award winning singer Mireille Mathieu, no expense was spared in the celebration and promotion of Viking’s new range of vessels. But when we take a closer look at the ships themselves, just what is it that makes them stand out of the crowd? Quite simply, the answer is everything.
Longship: The Unprecedented Expansion
The Longship design, which Viking began rolling out in 2012, has helped to bolster the company’s vessel numbers from 35 in 2013 to 52 in 2014 – an unprecedented expansion to say the least. With room for 190 passengers to enjoy spacious and bespoke luxury, the Longship boasts the largest river ship suite in Europe as well as completely redesigned cabins and corridors.
Furthermore, the Longship’s design was voted Best New River Ship by Cruise Critic Editors in 2012, due to their “sleek lines, stunning atrium, balcony cabins with full-sized verandahs, and hotel-style suites.” Viking aren’t running out of superlatives either, describing their vessels as “revolutionary” and “inspired by Viking gods”, so just why is the Longship so heavenly?
Well, to start with, the Longship series has been built by Neptune Werft, the historic German shipbuilder at their Mecklenburg-Vorpommern shipyards, and designed by one of the world’s leading maritime architect companies, Yran & Storbraaten.
Viking are also awaiting patent on the designs too, which include French balconies, full-size staterooms and verandas offering 270 degree views in their 445 sq.ft Explorer Suites. And that’s not all; the rooms are quite a talking point as well, with HD entertainment and deluxe spa products in the bathrooms as standard.
Environmentally Friendly Features
Based on the ancient Nordic vessels, Viking River Cruises has tried to encapture the spirit of Norse mythology within their Longships by naming them after characters featured in Scandinavian folklore. Furthermore, with more and more people travelling by river and cruise ship than ever before, ensuring vessels are environmentally friendly has never been so important.
Not only is the Longship built with hybrid engines that reduce noise and vibration on board, but they’re also fitted with solar panels too, supplementing the fuel requirements of the engines. You’ll even find an organic herb garden on the sun deck for the chefs to source fresh seasoning.
There’s no doubt that Viking represent the future of river cruising, not only in Europe but also throughout the globe. And although their new range of Longships has been attracting all the attention as of late, they also offer numerous other vessels for their cruises to Russia, China and Southeast Asia.
The Russian fleet, which includes the Helgi, Truvor, Rurik, Ingvar and Kaun, have recently benefited from a comprehensive upgrade, offering deluxe staterooms and public areas comparable to the Longships. Guests can also enjoy panoramic views from the luxury restaurant, laundry service and even an on-board doctor.
The state of the art Viking Emerald is the stand alone ship representing the China fleet, and built in 2012 it really is a giant among men. Offering 128 staterooms, an on-board tailor and boutique, spa facilities and even a library, it’s a shame that its longest cruise is only 18 days. This is a ship you really can live on.
River cruises have always been popular, but if you’re looking for an alternative type of holiday that packs in the best of Europe’s cities and waterways, it’s hard to look past Viking River Cruises. 2014 is set to be a busy year for the company, and with their huge increases in bookings already, maybe it’s time to order a brochure.
For more information visit www.vikingrivercruises.co.uk