(8 a.m. EDT) -- Viking River Cruises has announced that instead of launching four new "Longship" river cruisers in 2013, it has increased its order to six.
The boost to the already ambitious order is simply a result of demand, according to Viking chairman Torstein Hagen, who said in a press statement: “The new orders reflect the great interest in Viking River Cruises and its revolutionary Longships.”
The six new ships will bring the total of the line's newbuilds to 12 by the end of next year. Two -- the 190-passenger Viking Odin and Viking Idun -- will be named in Amsterdam next week, with two more, Viking Freya and Viking Njord joining the fleet in mid-April. (The original intention was to launch all four together, but two are arriving late following a delay in the Neptun shipyard in Rostock, Germany.)
Two more Longships (Viking Embla and Viking Aegir) will debut this summer, followed by the six new vessels in 2013.
All 12 ships are named after ancient Viking gods, with all featuring innovations like indoor-outdoor dining, cabins with full-sized balconies and environmentally-friendly engine design.
Viking's original investment in fleet upgrades originally was estimated at $250 million, but the line now confirms the total investment to date at $400 million.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor