Again? Viking River Cruises Announces Second Launch Delay for New Riverboat

April 16, 2012

(3 p.m. EDT) -- The Viking invasion has suffered another minor defeat. Viking River Cruises revealed that the delivery of Viking Njord, the fourth of 12 "Longships" scheduled to launch over the next two years, has been scuttled for a second time.

Delays at Germany's Neptun Werft shipyard have forced Viking to cancel Njord's April 24 cruise, reports industry publication Seatrade Insider. Njord -- along with Viking Idun, Viking Odin and Viking Freya -- was originally set to debut in late March immediately following a four-in-one christening ceremony in Amsterdam. But delays in February meant only Idun and Odin were ready to welcome passengers. The line cancelled a number of Njord and Freya cruises at the time, but the under-construction pair were christened anyhow -- by live video link. (Viking Freya will debut on April 27.)

Seatrade is reporting that Viking received "assurances that Viking Njord will be ready to depart from Amsterdam, as planned, on May 3 for a 10-day 'Tulips and Windmills' cruise through Holland and Belgium."

Passengers booked on the April 24 departure will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit worth 25 percent of the amount paid, said spokesman Ian Jeffries in an e-mail to Cruise Critic. Viking has communicated with all affected passengers or their travel agents, Jeffries added.

By sheer number of ships, Viking is in the midst of one of most ambitious fleet expansions in recent history. Twelve identical Longships have been ordered, with six due this year; Viking Embla and Viking Aegir are scheduled for delivery in summer. Six more are set to launch in 2013.

--by Dan Askin, News Editor