Viking orders 12 ships for 2015

By Michelle Baran
Confirming the fleet expansion plans reported last month, Viking Cruises said that it has placed an order for 12 river cruise ships for 2015 — 10 Viking Longships and two vessels for the Elbe River — that will bring the company’s river fleet total to 64.

Viking revealed its plans for adding ships in 2015 during a christening ceremony last month.

The company said that next year's 190-passenger Viking Longships, the company’s class of vessels that debuted in 2012, will continue to feature the trademark off-center corridor design, the indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace and a variety of stateroom categories ranging from the 445-square-foot Explorer Suites to French balcony staterooms.

Viking also offered a bit more detail about the two ships that will ply the Elbe River. Viking will double icapacity on the Elbe, where it currently sails the 112-passenger Viking Schumann and Viking Fontane.

The new vessels, the 98-passenger Viking Astrild and Viking Beyla, will be smaller than Longships so that they can navigate the shallower waters of the Elbe, which runs between southeastern Germany and the Czech Republic.

Similar to the Longships, the Elbe vessels will have an Aquavit Terrace and a range of stateroom categories.

Viking’s 10-day Elegant Elbe itinerary includes pre- and post-cruise stays in Berlin and Prague as well as stops in Magdeburg, Wittenberg and Dresden in Germany.

For 2015, Viking is also offering two new Rhine itineraries: the eight-day Legends of the Rhine and the 10-day Rhine Rhapsody.

Viking’s first ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star, is currently under construction and will set sail in early 2015.

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly. 
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