Viking Longship Series, Viking River Cruises, United States of America
Viking Longship is a series of 12 new river cruise ships on order by the American river cruise operator, Viking River Cruises. These ships are scheduled for delivery in 2012 and 2013. The first four Longships, Viking Odin, Viking Idun, Viking Njord and Viking Freya, were christened in March 2012.
Viking Odin and Viking Idun were officially christened in Amsterdam, while the other two ships were christened via satellite from the Neptun shipyard due to a delay in delivery.
Two more Longships, Viking Embla and Viking Aegir, are to be delivered in the third quarter of 2012. The remaining six will be introduced in 2013.
The Viking Longship series is being built by the German shipbuilder Neptun Werft at its Rostock shipyard in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Yran & Storbraaten Architects, one of the world's leading maritime architects, and Los Angeles-based Rottet Studios have designed the ships.
Viking River Cruises fleet expansion
Viking River Cruises is one of the top river cruise operators in the world. It is also the only river cruise liner to serve Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China and Egypt.
The company announced a $250m fleet development programme in May 2010. The programme includes construction of eight new ships and two detailed refurbishments. Two new ships were built in 2011 in the first part of this programme.
The next phase of the programme was announced in March 2011. It called for construction of four new ships of a new class named Viking Longships.
Two more Longships were ordered in August 2011. Six more ships were announced in March 2012, bringing the total number Longships to 12.
The six additional ships will increase Viking's investment in its fleet development programme by $150m.
Design and features of the Longships
The design of Viking's Longship class of vessels is characterised by that of ancient Nordic ships. To reflect this spirit in the design, the new ships were named after central characters of Norse mythology.
Since river cruise ships have to meet specific length or height standards due to bridges and locks, the basic structure of Viking's new riverboats required a lot of thinking and practical creativity. To use the limited space judiciously, the designers adopted pug-nosed bow against conventional pointy-nosed ones.
Additional space was created by shifting the corridor off-centre to the side of the ship by one metre. This asymmetrical corridor configuration enabled the designers to accommodate a variety of staterooms.
As per the designers and operator, the Viking Longships are the only river cruise ships in Europe to feature more full-size verandas and full-size rooms.
Sustainability features include use of energy-efficient hybrid engines which reduce vibrations and associated noise. The ship is even installed with solar panels that help meet the engines fuel requirements. Moreover, there is an organic herb garden on the sun deck.
Suites and staterooms aboard Viking River Cruises' ships
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Each Longship measures 135m in length and carries 190 passengers in 95 outside-facing cabins. Suites and staterooms aboard the Longship are broadly divided into five categories.
The two Explorer Suites, each measuring about 41 square metres in area, are located on the upper deck. Each suite has a separate sitting room and bedroom. There is also a private wraparound veranda with 270° degree views.
The seven Veranda Suites too are located on the upper deck. Each of them has two rooms: a living room with a full-size veranda, and a bedroom with a French balcony.
There are 39 Veranda Staterooms. These are located on the upper and middle decks, with each featuring a full-size room with a full-size veranda. Another 22 cabins with French balconies are fitted with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.
The remaining 25 cabins, located on the main deck, are standard staterooms. Each of them measures approximately 14 square metres in area and features a half-height window.
Dining, entertainment and other facilities
The main dining venue 'The Restaurant' is located on deck two. It has an open-seating arrangement. Food is prepared from locally grown vegetables.
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Aquavit Terrace, an indoor / outdoor lounge located on the upper deck, is one of the best places aboard the Longship sisters. Light lunches, continental breakfasts and other items are served here.
It is also the place where guests can sit and enjoy the open sky at night.
The Observation Lounge and a bar are located on the upper deck. It is furnished with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows for scenic river views.
In addition to the organic herb garden, the Sun Deck houses shuffleboard court, a pair of putting surface and a large chess set. Other facilities include a library corner with wooden bookcases, boutique, wireless internet service and laundry service.