Viking River Cruises today marked 20 years of innovation and growth by welcoming two new additions to its fleet of Viking Longships®. During a celebration that took place at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers in Koblenz, Germany, Viking Hild® and Viking Herja®, were officially christened by ceremonial godmothers and now join Viking’s award-winning, state-of-the-art fleet of more than 60 river vessels sailing the world’s waterways. Viking Hild will sail the Rhine River this spring on Viking’s new Paris to the Swiss Alps itinerary, and later this year both new ships will sail Viking’s popular Danube Waltz and Rhine Getaway itineraries.
“Two decades ago when we started this company, modern river cruising was still unknown to most travelers. Now 20 years later, we are pleased that most travelers know river cruising, and they know Viking as a household name,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “The naming of a new ship by a ceremonial godmother is a sacred maritime tradition. We are honored that the godmothers of our two new Longships are also important partners who will help us deliver thoughtful and enriching experiences for Viking guests this year.”
The christening of two new Longships marks another year of impressive growth for Viking. The company launched its third ocean ship, Viking Sky®, in February and will add a fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun®, in November. By 2019, Viking will have a fleet of six ocean ships and will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line.
In keeping with a maritime tradition that dates back thousands of years, Viking invited two prominent women to serve as honorary godmothers to the new ships. Both godmothers represent key aspects of The Viking Difference: destination-focused food and wine experiences and cultural enrichment.
Godmother to Viking Hild, Dr. Princess Stephanie Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg is the CEO of Weingut Fürst Löwenstein, a family-owned and top-rated winery in Lower Franconia. Along with her father-in-law, Prince Alois-Konstantin, Princess Stephanie serves as a steward for Schloss Löwenstein in Kleinheubach, the family’s ancestral home that was built in 1725. Viking Longships on the Main River sail past Schloss Löwenstein, and in conjunction with Prince Alois-Konstantin and Princess Stephanie, Viking created a Privileged Access excursion for guests to tour the estate and winery. Fürst Löwenstein wine is also offered to guests on Viking river and ocean cruises.
Godmother to Viking Herja, Debbie Wiseman MBE is an award-winning British composer and conductor with more than 200 credits including recognizable compositions from both the small and big screen. She is also currently Classic FM Live’s Composer in Residence. To commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary, Viking commissioned Debbie to compose a new signature piece of music, which will be recorded at Abbey Road Studios and will premiere on Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall on April 18, 2017.
The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking Difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local culture at night or evening performances. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.
Since their debut, Viking Longships have amassed consumer and industry acclaim. Viking’s accolades include recognition by the editors of Cruise Critic as “Best River Cruise Line and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s “Editors’ Picks Awards.” More recently, Viking topped USA Today’s annual Readers’ Choice Cruise Poll for “Best River Cruise Line,” and was named “Best Danube River Cruise Operator” in AFAR magazine’s 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards.
The Viking Longships integrate a patented corridor design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These features include a revolutionary 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. Staterooms include comfortable amenities such as hotel-style beds, heated bathroom floors, mini fridge, and both U.S. and EU outlets. Additionally, all Viking 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.