If you're a devotee of PBS, no doubt you've been enticed by the commercials for Viking River Cruises. The Los Angeles-based river cruise line shrewdly agreed to sponsor an untested series a few years back. The bet paid off. The show was Downtown Abbey, the most successful venture in the history of Public Television.
The heightened interest in river cruising has snowballed for the company (and for other lines, if truth be told).
Viking River Cruises has gone through a huge growth spurt that began in 2012. Since then, it's introduced a record number of its new Longships. Here's a history of the Viking building boom:
- Six ships debuted in 2012
- Ten joined the fleet in 2013. They were christened in Amsterdam in March of that year in the largest one-time event of its kind.
- In 2014 the line broke its own record by christening 16 Longships over a course of 24 hours.
- An additional 12 Longships debuted in 2015.
That's an impressive statistic distinguishing Viking River Cruises in the increasingly competitive river cruise industry. Here are some key facts to know about the Viking Longships.
- Each of the ships is named for a Viking god, in honor of the line's Norwegian heritage. Founder Torstein Hagen launched the line in 1997.
- The Longships will sail popular itineraries, such as the Grand European Tour; Romantic Danube; Tulips & Windmills; Danube Waltz; Rhine Getaway; Grand Rivers of Europe; Passage to Eastern Europe and European Sojourn.
- Each of the vessels accommodates 190 passengers. The ships include a number of sustainability features, including solar panels, energy-efficient engines, and organic onboard herb gardens.
- Longship features include an array of different stateroom categories. Those categories include two 445 sq.-ft. Explorer Suites, seven 275-ft. Veranda Suites, 39 Veranda Staterooms, 22 French Balcony, and 25 Standard staterooms.
- Staterooms on the Longships feature private baths with showers, heated floors and additional amenities that include premium toiletries. Staterooms also include refrigerators, safes and hair dryers.
- The retractable glass panels of the Aquavit Terrace create an indoor-outdoor dining and lounge area.
- Various design elements on board the ships were inspired by the line's Norwegian heritage, as well. Examples include embroidery on the backs of chairs in the main foyer, which emulates the traditional Norwegian "rosemaling" style of decorative painting.
- Images of a carved Viking ship's prow appear on emblems on the glass doors of the ships. And the hills of historic Viking ships served as the inspiration for the design of the bars aboard the Longships.