April 16, 2001
With all the hoopla over mega-cruise ship newbuilds in the last two years, it’s easy to forget that other segments of the marketplace -- geared to providing a different experience than today’s more common cities-on-a-hull -- are expanding too. One example? Viking River Cruises, a Basel, Switzerland-based river cruise line (with U.S. offices in California) is christening three (!) new ships this week. The Viking Pride, Europe and Spirit will be cruising the rivers of Europe this summer, along with the rest of the company’s fleet, which currently stands at 24 ships. Their most unique amenity is that many cabins come with panoramic windows that you can actually open.
All three of Viking’s newest vessels have a capacity of 150 passengers and will offer two-week itineraries. They will be joined by yet another sibling -- Viking Neptune -- later this summer. The company owes its large -- and varied -- fleet (some ships even have swimming pools, a fairly rare amenity on river cruisers) in part to the fact that it recently acquired KD River Cruises. Hottest itineraries? According to Viking, book early for trips up (or down) the Rhine, Danube and Russian rivers.