Viking announced today that it will restart river operations in Europe in July 2021 with select itineraries in Portugal, France and along the Rhine. Offered exclusively for vaccinated guests as part of Viking’s Welcome Back collection, the first five European river itineraries now available in July are among the company’s most popular: Rhine Getaway (8 days; Amsterdam to Basel), Portugal’s River of Gold (10 days; Lisbon to Porto), Paris & the Heart of Normandy (8 days; Paris roundtrip), Lyon & Provence (8 days; Avignon to Lyon) and France’s Finest, a 15-day journey that combines the northern and southern France itineraries in one seamless experience. This announcement comes immediately after the European Union agreed today to reopen its borders to vaccinated Americans and other travelers.
“The response to our initial Welcome Back ocean voyages has been overwhelmingly positive. It is clear that many people are eager to get back out into the world, and I would like to thank all of our destination partners for their support as we plan our return to service,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “We have been delighted to greet our first guests back on board in England this week—and we are looking forward to welcoming travelers back on board some of our European river vessels in July.”
The announcement of Viking’s restart of European river cruise operations follows the launch of Welcome Back voyages exclusively for vaccinated guests in England, Iceland, Bermuda and the Mediterranean. Earlier this week Viking also named its newest ocean ship, Viking Venus®, in England—and the ship is currently sailing her maiden voyage along the coast of England with Chairman Torstein Hagen on board. The company is actively working on developing additional Welcome Back itineraries in a variety of other destinations, with the goal of announcing further 2021 sailings as soon as possible.
Those who sail these new voyages will also experience Viking’s industry-leading health and safety program. Grounded in scientific research, the Viking Health & Safety Program was developed in partnership with an international team of medical advisors, including Raquel C. Bono, M.D., Viking’s Chief Health Officer. Dr. Bono is a board-certified trauma surgeon and retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps—and most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing a full-scale laboratory installed on every Viking ocean ship—and a strong network of dedicated shoreside labs for Viking river ships in Europe—all guests and crew will receive frequent quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests. New air purification technology has also been installed on all Viking ships, which have always featured independent air handling units for all guest staterooms. And additional health checks, sanitization and physical distancing measures will provide further protection for Viking guests and crew at all points of the journey. A complete overview of the Viking Health & Safety Program can be found at: www.viking.com/health-safety.