#1 Ocean Cruise Line Will Launch Seventh Ocean Ship; Viking Sky Will Return to Istanbul with New Voyages
Los Angeles, CA, 2019-Sep-18 — /Travel PR News/ — Viking® (www.vikingcruises.com) today (September 17, 2019) announced its seventh ocean ship, Viking Venus®, will join its award-winning fleet in early 2021, further solidifying the company’s standing as the largest and world’s best small-ship ocean cruise line. The newest 930-guest sister ship will spend her maiden season sailing popular itineraries in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, including British Isles Explorer, In Search of the Northern Lights, Viking Homelands and Into the Midnight Sun .
“The spirit of exploration is at the heart of everything we do. We have always drawn inspiration from the original Viking explorers, who were the first to use the stars and constellations for long-distance navigation. Many elements onboard our ships honor those Viking explorers, and we are proud to host our guests on itineraries that sail some of those historic trading routes,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “I am pleased to announce that Viking Venus will join our fleet in 2021, allowing us the ability to introduce even more travelers to the Viking way of exploration.”
Viking will also expand its offerings in the Mediterranean and today announced five new itineraries that include stops in Istanbul, marking the company’s return to the iconic city. The new 8-day Ancient Mediterranean Treasures will sail between Athens and Istanbul, with overnight stays in both cities. Guests looking for an extended experience in the region can choose a longer versions of the itinerary, including the 15-day Ancient Adriatic Treasures, which sails between Venice and Istanbul; the 15-day Ancient Mediterranean Antiquities, which sails between Rome and Istanbul; the 22-day Iconic Mediterranean Treasures, which sails between Barcelona and Istanbul; or the 29-day Mediterranean’s Iconic Shores, which also sails between Barcelona and Istanbul and includes stops in Montenegro and Croatia.
Beginning in April 2021 and sailing on Viking’s award-winning 930-guest all-veranda Viking Sky®, guests embarking on the new Ancient Mediterranean Treasures itinerary or its longer combination cruise options will witness the origin of civilization while cruising the fabled Aegean Sea. Highlights of the new itinerary include:
- Istanbul, Turkey: Guests begin their journey with an overnight stay in Istanbul, allowing more time to explore the iconic city. Guests can visit a wealth of religious sites including the “Blue Mosque” one of the city’s most recognizable sites, watch the mesmerizing whirling dervishes perform at a local venue, or participate in a centuries-old tradition at a hammam, a Turkish bath. Plus, Viking’s Privileged Access® offers guests the chance to tour the legendary Hagia Sofia free of crowds.
- Troy (Çanakkale), Turkey: Guests can explore the nearby well-preserved ruins of Troy, most remembered as the setting of the Trojan War, described by Homer in theIliad, or visit the nearby Battlefields of Gallipoli, the tranquil memorial site of one of World War I’s longest and deadliest battles.
- Ephesus (Kuşadasi), Turkey: One of the best-preserved cities of antiquity in the world, Ephesus is rich in history and ancient relics. While in port, guests can visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, walk through the Byzantine Basilica of St. John, or visit the modest home where, according to legend, the Virgin Mary lived out her final days.
- Rhodes, Greece: While on the island of Rhodes, guests can explore within the city walls of Old Town, Europe’s largest active medieval town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, learn about island culture through a visit to a traditional village home, or head to one of the island’s scenic mountaintops for sweeping views of the island and the Turkish coast.
- Heraklion, Greece: Located on the island of Crete, Heraklion boasts millennia-old history and was once the strongest fortified city in the Eastern Mediterranean. Guests can take in archeological splendors whose history is interwoven with the legends of Greek mythology, including the Palace of Knossos and the village of Arolithos, or explore the ruins of the Minoans, Europe’s oldest recorded civilization.
- Athens, Greece: The journey concludes with an overnight stay in Athens, known as “the birthplace of democracy,” where guests can witness iconic sites such as the Hellenic Parliament, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the mighty Parthenon atop the Acropolis. Viking also offers guests Privileged Access to the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation’s exhibit on British naval icon Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson and the chance to tour a reconstructed ancient Athenian warship, the Olympias, once the dominant warship on the Mediterranean Sea from the 7th to 4th centuries BC.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of several recent accolades for Viking. For the fourth consecutive year, Travel + Leisure readers voted Viking® to the top of its categories in the 2019 World’s Best Awards, which were announced in by the publication. Earlier this year, the company’s first five 930-guest sister ships, Viking Star®, Viking Sea®, Viking Sky®, Viking Sun® and Viking Orion® dominated the Cruise Critic® 9th Annual Cruisers’ Choice Awards, receiving 11 First Place honors. All six of Viking’s ships have been awarded a top rating of five stars by Cruise Critic – and Viking also received five awards in the luxury ocean and river categories of Cruise Critic’s 2018 Editors’ Picks Awards. Viking was again named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards – and has also been honored as “Best Cruise Line for Luxury Ocean Cruises” and “Best Luxury River Cruise Company” in Luxury Travel Advisor magazine’s 2018 “Awards of Excellence” for a second consecutive year.
The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. On board, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is both beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. With the most al fresco dining opportunities whether on the rivers or at sea, featuring regional cuisine and always-available American classics, Viking’s guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences on shore, on board, and even at home, through premier partnerships such as National Geographic, PBS’ MASTERPIECE,Downton Abbey: The Exhibition and the upcoming new film Downton Abbey from Focus Features and Carnival Films, only in theaters this September. And only The Viking Way® of exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences. Local Life excursions shine a light on everyday activities and include experiences such as Viking Chef-hosted trips to local farmers markets, tea at home with local residents and visits with local schoolchildren. Working World excursions feature behind-the-scenes “making of” experiences, illuminating destinations through their most famous exports, such as factory and farm visits. Privileged Access excursions include experiences such as a behind-the-scenes tours at Highclere Castle, the “real Downton Abbey;” visiting St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum “behind closed doors;” a private cooking class in a Tuscan castle; an intimate organ concert in the Berlin Cathedral; and an exclusive dinner in the Churchill War Rooms in London.
In addition, Viking offers a compelling value compared to other cruise lines. Every cruise fare includes an outside stateroom, a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; alternative restaurant dining; free Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service.
From now through September 30, 2019, U.S. residents can take advantage of special savings on cruise fares, and up to free air on select 2019, 2020 and 2021 ocean and river itineraries.
About Viking Cruises
Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. Designed for discerning travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. In its first four years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 “World’s Best” Awards. Viking currently operates a fleet of 78 vessels, offering scenic cruising on rivers and oceans around the world. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as “Best Overall” Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, “Best River Cruise Line” and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. For additional information, contact Viking at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464) or visit www.vikingcruises.com.
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Source: Viking Cruises