If river cruising in Europe is riding a massive wave, Viking River Cruises, which has christened 16 of its new 190-passenger "Longships" in the past two years, is its Chief Cheerleader. The cruise line is currently experiencing a building boom so unprecedented it's received a nod from Guinness World Records for most ships christened in a single day. 12 more Longships are slated to debut in 2014 (and the line has also announced it will build a brand new design, aimed at cruising U.S. waterways, in 2014). Read on for full coverage of the Viking invasion.
The Invasion: 2014 and Beyond
Viking to Build Modified Longship for Mississippi Cruising
A first for America's burgeoning river cruise industry: Viking will build the first riverboat without a paddlewheel on the Mississippi. In eschewing the paddlewheel, Viking will use a modified Viking Longship design, similar in style to the ships that sail Europe's riverways but different in dimension and passenger capacity. Read more.
What's Behind Viking's Unprecedented Expansion?
How many more Longships does Viking intend to build? Viking embarked on its ambitious expansion in 2012 when it launched an unprecedented six new Viking Longships. Next year, the line will launch 10 and in 2014, eight more. But Viking CEO Torstein Hagen tells Cruise Critic the line is barely keeping up with demand. Read more.
The Invasion: 2013's Record-Breaking Launches
Viking River Wins Guinness World Records Nod
At a historic naming ceremony, held in Amsterdam, Viking River Cruises inaugurated so many new ships into its fleet (eight) that it was presented with a Guinness World Records nod. The fastest-growing river cruise line goes into history for having the “most ships inaugurated in one day by one company.” Read more.
Behind the Scenes: How to Snag a Guinness World Record
If some world-record stunts seem a bit more silly than substantial (and let's just say right now that we see Viking's record as ranking right up there with 'heaviest weight lifted by the tongue'), we had no idea, until we witnessed Viking's World Record event, how seriously Guinness takes these efforts.Read more.
The Invasion: First Longship Christenings
Cruise Critic was in Europe on March 20-22, 2012, to chronicle the christening of the 190-passenger Viking Odin and three sisters, Viking Idun, Viking Freya and Viking Njord. Get inside the longships with our photo tours, stories and poll.
Slideshow: 8 Impressions From Viking Odin
Viking has for years been calling its new "Longships" series as revolutionary. These ships, it boasted, would have the first true suites on the rivers. They would have full-sized balconies, just like ocean-going big ships. And they would feature the first genuinely outdoor cafe on a riverboat. Did they live up to the hype? Read more.
4 Godmoms Name 4 Boats in Lavish Ceremony
Red and white balloons, acres of red carpet, and special effects including a pirouetting fireboat created a lavish spectacle in Amsterdam. The occasion, of course, was for Viking's launch of four ships at once. It claims to have smashed the previous record for multiple and simultaneous christenings (three), which it also held. Read more.
Slideshow: 6 Riverboats Take Shape
For Viking's new Longships, what a difference a day (week, month) makes. Twelve nearly identical riverboats will be launched by summer 2013. Their signature feature? The sleek and airy lobby and atrium area, which is the most beautiful we've seen on a riverboat. Said lobby is at various points of construction. Read more.
Poll: Who's Your Favourite British Godmum?
Joanna Lumley, star of "Ab Fab," played the role of godmum to Viking Odin, a boat named after the the Zeus of Norse mythology. "I've never been godmother to a god before," she told a crowd at Viking's quad christening. As Lumley is just one of many well-known Brit Champagne smashers, we wondered: Who's your top British godmum? Vote here.
Viking River Cruise Godmothers Get Pre-Christening Warmup
Imagine this: You are invited to serve as godmother to a ship. Pretty spiffy opportunity, right? It definitely seemed that way to Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of PBS' "Masterpiece Theater" and to Gail Wiswedel, Viking's most frequent passenger. For Eaton and Wiswedel, however, there was bad news. Read more.