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Viking River Cruises has christened the second of its specially designed hybrid propulsion ships, the new 443-foot Viking Prestige. Janice Farrar-Titus, widow of the late cruise industry innovator Warren Titus, is the ship’s godmother. Viking River Cruises chairman and CEO, Torstein Hagen, called her role especially moving on what would have been Warren Titus’ 96th birthday.
“Warren influenced three cruise lines during his lifetime — Royal Viking Line, Seabourn and, indirectly, Viking River Cruises,” said Hagen.
Prestige, the company’s second green river cruise vessel, uses significantly less fuel and produces less vibration, offering a smoother, quieter ride than ships with a conventional propulsion system. Her launch represents the first phase of Viking’s $250 million fleet development program, and she is the first European ship in a series of 10 newbuilds scheduled to launch during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Reminiscent of the design philosophy of the Royal Viking Line, Prestige’s concept was realized by Norwegian maritime architects Yran & Storbraaten, designers of The Yachts of Seabourn, Oceania and Disney vessels, among others.
Prestige is the first ship in the fleet to feature the new, open-air Aquavit Lounge at the bow, where passengers can enjoy a drink or meal al fresco. With all outside staterooms and French balconies on both the upper and middle decks, the ship displays Viking’s signature decor: sophisticated, understated elegance.
The 188-passenger Viking Prestige embarked on her inaugural voyage in early July with the 15-day Grand European Tour, afterward launching regular service on the eight-day Romantic Danube itinerary between Budapest, Hungary, and Nuremberg, Germany, visiting ports in Hungary, Austria and Germany, with pricing starting at $1,656 per person. An 11-day, Dec. 17 departure from Budapest to Nuremberg includes five Christmas markets and services in Vienna and is priced from $2,180 per person.
Viking’s all-inclusive pricing features accommodations, all onboard meals, daily guided shore excursions and more, and the company includes port charges in the cruise fare. The line’s policy pays agents commission on everything they sell, with payment 29 days prior to departure; commissions average more than $1,200 per booking. Viking also offers many commissionable upgrades to make the most of each reservation, including a Travel Protection Plan, land extensions and various air programs.