VIKING RIVER CRUISES has become familiar to millions of TV viewers, chiefly through its sponsorship of the hit PBS series Downton Abbey. Those beguiling ads paint a picture of a premium cruise line delivering unforgettable experiences on the legendary riverways of northern Europe — the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine — and the picture is accurate. Passengers can expect a grand river tour filled with spectacles and special experiences, rendered in sophisticated style. Founded in 1997 by Torstein Hagen, who often appears in the Viking ads, the line grew especially rapidly, adding 40 of its signature 190-passenger Longships between 2012 and 2016 to become the largest river cruise line in the world.
Viking River Cruises has long catered to the North American market, its all-inclusive sailings replete with free unlimited WiFi; complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner; one shore excursion in every port at no charge; and cultural enrichment programs galore. The hallmark of a Viking cruise is luxury without pretense on a sleek, modern, Scandinavian-style vessel, delivering what chairman Torstein Hagen dubs “the thinking person’s cruise.” Hagen explains, “Our guests are experienced travelers who appreciate immersive cultural experiences, while also exploring the world in comfort.”
While several river cruise lines are even more upscale than Viking, no line comes close to Viking’s vast choice of European riverways, ports, itineraries and cruising dates. Moreover, Viking is set to introduce seven new river ships in 2019. And while North Americans remain the main focus for Viking, the Chinese gain market share. This year, Viking River Cruises added 100 sailings on the Rhine and Danube for Chinese travelers, with Mandarin the onboard language.
Viking River Cruises is also bolstering its presence on riverways worldwide. It already sails in the Dnieper River in Ukraine, the Volga River in Russia, the Yangtze in China, the Irrawaddy in Myanmar and the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam. With a rebuilt and redesigned 48-passenger ship, the Viking Ra, Viking now offers 12-day cruises of the Nile in Egypt. It even has its eye on the Mississippi, where Viking hopes to discover America by launching a fleet of 300-passenger expanded Longships as early as the 2019 season.
Meanwhile, Viking’s latest innovation is to combine the two main types of cruising into one, seamlessly linking a river cruise with an ocean cruise, entirely on Viking vessels. In 2019 it offers two such itineraries, one joining a Longship on the Rhine with a journey to the fjords of Norway (15 nights) and another combining a Danube and Rhine sailing with an ocean cruise ending in Bergen, Norway (22 nights). As chairman Hagen says, a Viking combo cruise “marries the river and sea into a single, unified journey.”
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
Are you looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own refined adventure of a lifetime. You can custom order your new Volvo, tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
Dance the night away with Grand Hotel’s Ballroom Dance offer, available May 16–18. Dancers of all skill levels will experience a diverse range of ballroom dance styles, alongside daily breakfast and dinner, a welcome reception and complimentary golf green fees.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.