Michelle Baran
Michelle Baran

InsightIt’s going to be another busy year of river cruise ship launches, near and far. From the much-anticipated rebirth of Mississippi River cruising to steady momentum-building on the Mekong, it’s getting harder to keep track of all the newbuilds and new itineraries.

There are also newer entrants into the market, such as Boston-based Vantage Travel, which has quietly been building up its fleet of river cruise vessels in Europe. And Ama Waterways will be testing new waters with a charter on the Chobe River in Botswana.

To help keep track of it all, here are some key dates to mark on the calendar.

Jan. 19: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s 60-passenger River Saigon took its maiden voyage along Vietnam and Cambodia’s Mekong River, kicking off a three-year charter agreement with the ship’s owner, Pandaw River Cruises.

Feb. 23: Viking River Cruises starts offering Mekong River cruises on Pandaw River Cruises’ 60-passenger Indochina Pandaw and 66-passenger Tonle Pandaw, ships the company will charter for 2012.

March 18: Vantage Travel launches the 176-passenger River Discovery II in Amsterdam, bringing the company’s European river fleet to four vessels.

March 21: Viking names the 190-passenger Viking Odin and Viking Idun in Amsterdam, formally introducing the company’s new Viking Longships class of vessels, which will feature private balconies and larger cabins and suites.

April 12: Ama Waterways introduces the 164-passenger Amacerto, bringing the Chatsworth, Calif.-based river cruise line’s European fleet size to nine vessels. The Amacerto will mainly sail along the Danube River.

April 15, 18: Two additional Viking Longships launch: the 190-passenger Viking Njord on April 15 followed by sister ship the Viking Freya on April 18.

April 19: The Great American Steamboat Co.’s newly renovated 436-passenger American Queen sets sail on the Mississippi River.

April 25: Scenic Cruises, owned by Australian parent company Scenic Tours, adds a sixth river cruise ship to its European fleet, the 169-passenger Scenic Crystal.

May: Avalon Waterways launches the 166-passenger Avalon Vista and 128-passenger Avalon Visionary, sister ships to the 2011 newbuild Avalon Panorama, featuring larger cabins with floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall sliding glass doors.

May 9: Viking’s newly renovated 196-passenger Viking Rurik relaunches, marking the end of a four-year refurbishment project of all four of the company’s Russian vessels.

June 15: Ama begins offering sailings on the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen, which it is chartering for six departures on the Chobe River in Botswana between June and December.

July 8: The Viking Embla launches, followed by the Viking Aegir on Aug. 15, bringing to six the number of Viking Longships launching in 2012.

Aug. 11: American Cruise Lines’ newly built 150-passenger paddlewheeler, the Queen of the Mississippi, makes its inaugural Mississippi River voyage.

Sept. 13: Avalon Waterways’ 32-passenger Avalon Angkor sets sail on the Mekong River. Avalon is leasing the vessel from Pandaw River Cruises.

September: Century Cruises, a Chinese river cruise line with an office in the U.S., is introducing two 398-passenger ships, the Century Paragon and Century Legend, onto the Yangtze River this fall, which will bring the company's total Yangtze fleet size to seven.


From Our Partners

From Our Partners

What's New 2022
What’s New 2022
Register Now
World of Luxury 12.06.21 Horizontal
World of Luxury
Read More
2021 Virgin Webinar
Sea blue. Save green.
Watch Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI