After a lull, Viking gets back to growing river fleet

A christening ceremony for six Viking Longships in 2016.
A christening ceremony for six Viking Longships in 2016.

NEW YORK -- Viking River Cruises said Wednesday that it plans to launch seven new ships in 2019. 

The news comes after a slower shipbuilding pace for the river cruise division.

Viking will launch six of its Longship class of vessels on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers in 2019: the Viking Einar, Sigrun, Sigyn, Tir, Ullur and Vali. It will launch a smaller Longship-style vessel, the Viking Helgrim, on Portugal's Douro River.

Viking launched two Longships this year after launching six in 2016, 12 in 2015 and 18 in 2014.

Meanwhile, Viking has been growing its ocean cruise division, which has required a lot of the company's attention and investment. But Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said that the company hasn't forgotten its river cruise roots and plans to continue growing that business.

"Our business started on the rivers and we also have aspirations on the rivers," Hagen said at a press conference in New York aboard the Viking Sky, one of the company's oceangoing ships.

Viking in 2012 launched its Longship class, featuring ships with an off-center corridor that allows for a variety of cabin configurations. It was also the start of offering balcony cabins onboard Viking river ships.

The 190-passenger vessels are outfitted in a sleek Scandinavian-style design and feature an Aquavit Terrace with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors for dining inside or al fresco, depending on the weather.

Johanna Jainchill contributed to this report.

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