All 10 ships are identical Viking Longships, a series first introduced in 2012. These long and low ships (made to glide under low bridges and into narrow docks) include river cruise ship innovations such as indoor-outdoor viewing areas and two-room suites; they are also equipped with herb gardens, solar panels and energy-efficient hybrid engines. The ships are now sailing major rivers in France, Germany and Austria; in the Eastern European countries of Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria; and through the springtime tulip fields of The Netherlands.
River cruise line AmaWaterways just launched the AmaPrima and the AmaVida, which offer sun decks, pools (still unusual on river ships), and a choice of dining venues. The AmaPrima is sailing the Danube and other great rivers of Europe; the AmaVida is sailing Portugal’s Douro River.
Avalon Waterways is expanding its fleet of river-going “suite ships” in 2013 with the Avalon Artistry II and the Avalon Expression. Avalon’s suite ships have two full decks of 200-square-foot Panorama Suites and 300-square foot Royal Suites, designed to provide ample storage, comfort and great views through a wall of windows. Board the Artistry II to sail between Amsterdam and Zurich or Basel, Switzerland, while the Expression will take you between Amsterdam and Budapest.
As for ocean cruise ship launches, some of the most highly anticipated new ships are Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway, set to debut in early May; and Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, scheduled to be christened by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on June 13.
For more information on new ships and their itineraries, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.