Viking Introduces New Year-Round River Cruises in Europe

Viking is expanding its operations in Europe, with the cruise line announcing year-round operations on the Rhine river starting this winter.

Viking is pioneering a new route with a year-round offering for those looking to explore Europe’s waterways during a time of the year when the masses of tourists have left.

With the announcement of the “Treasures of the Rhine” itinerary, Viking sets sail into uncharted waters, becoming the first cruise line to operate throughout the year on Europe’s legendary rivers.

The first winter itinerary on the Rhine River explores Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands and sets sail for the first time in December.

Treasures of the Rhine Itinerary

The new “Treasures of the Rhine” voyage, debuting in December 2023, aims to offer guests a unique opportunity to experience European culture and winter sights during the colder months of the year.

As the first line to offer year-round cruises on Europe’s rivers, Viking hopes to provide guests with more intimate access to landmarks, away from the usual crowds.

The ten-day cruises sail from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Basel, Switzerland, and vice versa. The voyage from Basel first sails to Breisach, Germany, a charming town nestled on the banks of the Rhine, before reaching Strasbourg, France.

Viking River Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: xbrchx / Shutterstock

Further along the Rhine, the voyage continues to Heidelberg and Mainz, both known for their historical significance. The cruise then reaches Cologne, a city renowned for its Gothic cathedral. In the Netherlands, guests visit Arnhem before ending their journey in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.

The identical Viking Longships carry up to 190 guests in 95 staterooms. The ships have state-of-the-art amenities, including a restaurant, bar and lounge, library, and an expansive sun deck. 

Also Read: Viking Doubles Capacity For 2023 Great Lakes Season

The ships also boast green features like solar panels, an onboard organic herb garden, and energy-efficient hybrid engines. In addition, guests can enjoy al fresco dining on the revolutionary Aquavit Terrace.

The Appeal of Rhine River Cruises

The Rhine River has long been a popular destination for river cruise enthusiasts. This major European waterway passes through captivating landscapes, bustling cities, and historical landmarks, making it a great choice for those seeking to immerse themselves in European culture during winter. 

The Middle Rhine is often hailed for its stunning vistas of hilltop castles, historic towns, and terraced vineyards, and is an absolute favorite destination among guests. No wonder Viking is planning to begin operating cruises when most tourists have left, and guests can explore the region during a quiet time of the year.

Viking River Cruise

With the new “Treasures of the Rhine” itinerary, Viking is doing just that, says Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking: “The Middle Rhine is one of our most popular destinations—with constantly changing views of hilltop castles, historic towns, and terraced vineyards along the steep valley sides, it is a region that will always be best explored by the river,” 

“Many of our guests have sailed the Rhine during other seasons, so we are pleased to offer a new option for those who may be interested in experiencing Europe during a quieter time of year.”

Many European river cruise ships typically go through a lay-up period in winter. Given that the demand for river cruising in Europe is traditionally significantly lower during the winter, cruise lines often use this time for maintenance, refurbishment, and preparation for the upcoming sailing season.

The inaugural journey of the “Treasures of the Rhine” cruise begins in December 2023, extending through early March 2024. With fares starting at $1,999 per person, the cruise line is also offering its 25th Anniversary Sale for residents of the U.S. and Canada through May 31, 2023. This offer includes free airfare and special savings on all river voyages from 2023-2025.

Besides the Rhine River in Western Europe, Viking is also busy in expanding its operations in other areas, such as river cruises on the Nile River in Egypt.

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