The rapidly growing cruise line Viking River Cruises has made cruise history by naming 16 new ships within a 24-hour period!
As of March 17th, three of the ships were christened in a waterfront ceremony in Avignon, France; the Viking Heimdal, the Viking Hermod, and the Viking Buri. Simultaneously, four others were also christened in Rostock, Germany at the Neptun shipyard, where most of the vessels were built.
In addition, the remaining nine of the first 16 were christened in Amsterdam, and Viking has plans to christen two more vessels on Friday in Porto, Portugal. And as each button was pushed to welcome the new ships, a champagne bottle was smashed against the ships’ hulls, while the godmothers of the ships each recited a traditional maritime blessing at the ships were named.
Except for two of the ships that are debuting in Portugal, all of the new vessels are part of the new “longship” design that Viking began debuting in 2012. These ships have a 190-passenger capacity, and a layout that includes the largest suites ever for European river ships. These ships also feature cabins with balconies, which was made possible by an innovative new layout that includes offset main corridors.
Aside from the new ships, Viking will have 52 vessels up and running this year, whereas last year they had 35, which is an unprecedented expansion that cements its lead as Europe’s biggest river cruise line that caters to North Americans.
The 16 longships christened will sail in 2014 on the Rhine, Maine, Danube, and Rhone rivers. Viking has also taken a one-year old longship to sail the Dordogne, Garonne, and Gironde rivers of France’s Aquitaine region.