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The shipyard STX France has announced that Viking River Cruises has ordered two seagoing, 888-passenger ships for delivery in 2014 and 2015, along with the option for a third vessel. Named Project Odin and intended for the luxury market, the order is in addition to Viking’s six previously announced longboats for river cruising, which will begin to debut this year. The unprecedented move is particularly interesting since Torstein Hagen, Viking’s chairman, was previously president and CEO of Royal Viking Line.
The implications of the announcement — which could include everything from shared loyalty programs to itineraries matched for back-to-back cruises by sea and river — are still unclear. However, since much of the river cruise business comes from seagoing cruisers, shared programs could be very successful. www.vikingrivercruises.com