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Viking River Cruises Injects $250 Million Toward DevelopmentMay 25, 2010 By: David Eisen
Viking River Cruises is putting up $250 million toward a three-year fleet development program, which includes eight new builds and two comprehensive refurbishments. The addition of eight new ships will bring the total number of ships operated by the company to 26, an increase in capacity of more than 40 percent. The first new ship, Viking Prestige, will debut in Europe in 2011. Also making its debut in 2011, Viking Emerald will sail in China as a replacement for Viking Century Sun. Additional European vessels will follow in 2012 and 2013.
“Over the past decade, Viking has established river cruising as a mainstream means of travel,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking River Cruises. “At the same time, we believe that river cruising is still in its infancy, and has tremendous growth potential. Our fleet plans will benefit the industry as a whole, by increasing supply in a marketplace in which demand is exceeding available inventory.” Viking says it is the only river cruise company to operate in the five regions of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China and Egypt.
Viking Prestige, a 189-bed sister ship to the company’s flagship Viking Legend, will host guests on the company’s eight-day Romantic Danube itinerary, sailing from Budapest to Nuremberg. The ship will have French balconies on the top two decks and some of the largest suites on the Danube.
In 2011, Viking will also introduce Viking Emerald in China. The 264-guest vessel will feature large suites, including the 840-square-foot Presidential Suite with separate sitting and sleeping areas, two flat-screen TVs, panoramic windows and a private wrap-around balcony.
In addition to new ships, Viking River Cruises has announced plans for two complete refurbishments to its existing fleet. Scheduled for completion in 2011, Viking Pakhomov will undergo a full bow-to-stern renovation like those of its Russian sister ships, Viking Surkov and Viking Kirov. Public areas, such as the restaurant, lounges, library and bar, will also be completely remodeled with Viking’s signature Scandinavian décor.
In Europe, Viking Schumann, a ship purpose-built for the Elbe River, will receive bow-to-stern refurbishments to match those of sister ship Viking Fontane for 2010. While all public areas of Viking Schumann, including the restaurant, bar and lounge, will be refurbished, the most substantial changes are planned for stateroom accommodations. On the upper deck, eight 180-square-foot deluxe staterooms are to be created, while all standard staterooms will be upgraded with standard-size beds.
Ship details and deck plans, itinerary information, dates and pricing as well as travel agent benefits are available on the company’s travel agent portal at www.vikingrivercruises.com/agents.