|Viking Prestige // (c) 2011 Viking River Cruises|
The booming river cruise market got another boost with Viking River Cruises’ christening of the Viking Prestige in Amsterdam. Janice Farrar-Titus, wife of the late renowned cruise industry innovator Warren Titus and the ship’s godmother, officially named the 443-foot vessel with a traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne while blessing it on all future voyages.
“May you begin your cruising days under a rainbow and sunny skies, and may you follow that rainbow around the bends in the river to the pot of gold,” said Farrar-Titus.
Viking River Cruises Chairman and CEO Torstein Hagen called the event especially moving since it occurred on the day that would have been Mr. Titus’ 96th birthday. Mr. Hagen commented that Mr. Titus set the standard of excellence in all areas of cruising. “Warren influenced three cruise lines during his lifetime—Royal Viking Line, Seabourn and, indirectly, Viking River Cruises.”
The 188-passenger Viking Prestige will embark on its inaugural voyage, the 15-day Grand European Tour, on July 2. It will then will begin its regular service on the popular 8-day Romantic Danube itinerary which travels Budapest to Nuremberg (or reverse), visiting ports in Hungary, Austria and Germany. The launch of the Viking Prestige represents the first phase of Viking’s $250 million dollar fleet development program and will be the first European ship in a series of 10 newbuilds to follow for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Reminiscent of the design philosophy of the storied Royal Viking Line, the concepts have been realized by renowned Norwegian maritime architects Yran & Storbraaten, designers of The Yachts of Seabourn, Oceania and Disney vessels, among others. Viking Prestige is the first ship in the fleet to feature the new open-air Aquavit Lounge at the bow, where passengers can enjoy a drink or meal al fresco. With all-outside staterooms and French balconies on both the Upper and Middle decks, the ship will feature Viking’s signature décor: sophisticated, understated elegance.
Built at the Neptun Shipyard in Rostock, Germany, Viking Prestige is the company’s second “green” river cruise vessel powered by an efficient, hybrid propulsion system. Using significantly less fuel and producing less vibration, this cutting-edge technology offers a smoother, quieter ride than other ships and represents the environmentally responsible future of Viking’s European vessels.
To celebrate the launch of Viking Prestige, Viking is currently offeringtwo-for-one cruise fares with complimentary wine, plus savings on all-inclusive roundtrip international airfare. These special offers for both the 2011 and 2012 sailing seasons are valid through July 31, 2011. Viking River Cruises commission policy pays agents commission on everything they sell, with payment 29 days prior to departure; commissions average more than $1,200 per booking. Viking also offers many commissionable upgrades to make the most of each reservation, including a Travel Protection Plan, land extensions and various air programs.
Dates and pricing as well as ship and itinerary information are available on the company’s website at www.vikingrivercruises.com Viking’s all-inclusive pricing features accommodations, all onboard meals, daily guided shore excursions and more. Also, Viking says it is the only river cruise line to include port charges in the cruise fare.