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Viking River Cruises, which offers 19 itineraries in Europe, Russia, Ukraine and China, ranging from 8 to 22 days in length, has released its 2009 River Cruise Atlas. The Atlas announces the arrival of the new Viking Legend and several extensive ship renovations, as well as a new 22-day Ultimate European Journey itinerary and some first-time land extensions and enrichment programs.
The company also offers its best-ever early booking incentive. Guests who pay in full for any 2009 Viking voyage by May 30 will save $1,200 per stateroom; those who pay in full by July 31 save $1,000 per stateroom.
“During times when the dollar is weak against the euro, river cruising is an excellent value,” founding chairman Torstein Hagen said. “American and Canadian guests pay for their vacations in dollars, and once they have paid in full their price is locked in with no worries about currency fluctuations, fuel costs or tax increases.”
The Viking Legend, the 22nd ship in the fleet, will debut in 2009 on the Grand European Tour itinerary and on select sailings of Tulips & Windmills, the company’s springtime tour of the Netherlands and Belgium. The new vessel will feature two decks of French balconies and hybrid engines that are 20 percent more efficient than those of typical river cruising vessels. Two other Europe ships, Viking Schumann and Viking Fontane, will be upgraded, and in Russia, the Viking Kirov will receive a full renovation for 2009, similar to that of Viking Surkov in 2008.
The company’s 22-day Ultimate European Journey — new for 2009 — traces a route along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers through eight European countries: the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria.
“Now, the opportunity exists to travel all the way from the North Sea to the Black Sea,” Hagen said. “What a great way to experience Central and Eastern Europe!”
Viking River’s 2009 pre- and post-cruise packages include a week exploring four Baltic capitals, a stay in Istanbul, Switzerland, Nice and the French Riviera, Munich and the Channel Islands.
New programs and amenities include free ship-wide wireless Internet access on all vessels in Europe. In Russia and China, where satellite connectivity is not yet available, Internet access is still available for a nominal fee. And the Viking Explorer Society provides past guest benefits including travel credits on upcoming trips.