More Viking longships on the way

Viking River Cruises has placed an order for two additional Viking Longships to be delivered in 2013.

The Viking Jarl and Viking Atla, each 443 feet long, will accommodate 190 guests in 95 staterooms. The ships bring to 14 the number of new Viking Longships launched over a two-year period.

"As the fastest-growing segment of travel, river cruising is inspiring more vacation plans than ever before," Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking River Cruises, said in a statement, noting that the company has received very positive response to its new ships and so it is continuing its expansion to meet growing demand.

Viking Longships employ design, technology, and amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends, the company said.

The new ships include two Explorer Suites, which Viking calls “the largest river cruise suites in Europe.” At 445 square feet, they are definitely generous, eclipsing even many land-based hotel rooms. Each suite features a separate living room, bedroom and private wraparound veranda, and offers a 270-degree view.

The ships also include seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom, 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas, and 22 French Balcony Staterooms.

The indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace allows guests to experience a panoramic view of the riverscape in any type of weather, thanks to retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors, which also allow guests to dine al fresco when weather permits, according to the company.

The new ships will feature luxury in-cabin amenities that include heated bathroom floors and mirrors, Sony HD TVs, and premium bath products.

Sustainability upgrades include solar panels, an on-board organic herb garden, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations and provide a smoother ride than conventional engines.

The ships are scheduled to sail four of Viking's most popular European itineraries. More details are available at

Visit my main page at for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.