Viking to Delay Launch of Longship River Cruise Ships

February 22, 2012

(8 a.m. EST) -- Viking River Cruises, which, beginning this year, is embarking on one of the most ambitious series of new ship launches in recent cruise history, has suffered a minor setback. The line, which had planned in March to christen four brand new vessels simultaneously, tells Cruise Critic that only two will be ready for the event in Amsterdam. The other two will go into service in April, instead.

The naming of the 190-passenger Viking Odin and Viking Idun will take place as planned on March 21, but Viking Freya and Viking Njord will not now be delivered until mid-April, when they will start sailing scheduled departures straight away, without a splashy launch party.

Five 'Tulips and Windmills' sailings on Viking Freya and Viking Njord have been cancelled, all of which were due to sail round-trip from Amsterdam. The affected dates are March 22, March 31 and April 9 for Viking Freya and March 28 and April 6 for Viking Njord. Guests impacted by the delay are being offered the chance to rebook a similar itinerary on a different ship and receive up to a 50 percent credit on a future cruise booking; or if they choose not to rebook, a full refund.

Viking's Longships are part of a $250 million investment programme. Ten identical Longships have been ordered, with six due this year; Viking Embla and Viking Aegir, identical to the first four ships, are scheduled for delivery in summer. Interiors on each ship have been designed by Yran & Storbraaten, the team behind Disney Dream and Seabourn's Odyssey-class ships, and features will include staterooms with balconies big enough to feature deck furniture (in addition to cabins with the more standard French balconies featured on modern riverboats), indoor-outdoor casual dining and ‘green' advances like solar panels, environmentally friendly hybrid engines and an organic herb garden on the large sun deck.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor