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The Vikings are Charting New Courses for 2013

01/26/2013 06:03 EST | Updated 03/28/2013 05:12 EDT
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Viking River Cruises is planning to leave an even bigger wake in 2013.

The company will launch eight new longships in 2013. Expansion will include four new itineraries, among them a 23-day European Soujourn from Basel to Budapest.

The new ships have integrated innovations such as diesel-electric hybrid engines, solar panels and onboard organic herb gardens.

"Our new Viking Longships have been amazingly popular this year. In 2013, we will launch an additional eight vessels for a total of 14 Longships in our fleet," said Torstein Hagen, founder and Chairman of Viking River Cruises.

Viking Riverboat Cruises also announced two new land extensions, Oxford & Highclere Castle (The Real "Downton Abbey") and Barcelona.

Viking already runs cruises in several regions, including Africa, Asia, Russia and the Ukraine and there are many excursions to choose from depending on the destination.

Prices for the Viking Tulips & Windmills Tour start at $2,772 (all figures USD) pp for 10 Days over two Countries. Go on an excursion and check out the windmills at UNESCO Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout, try some pesto cheese in the beautiful city of Edam or walk in the shoes of Van Gogh at his birthplace in Zundert.

Viking held a christening reception last March in Amsterdam to welcome four new ships to the Viking fleet.

Viking Odin, Viking Idun, Viking Njord, and Viking Freya--all named after Viking gods -- are designed by maritime architects Yran & Storbraaten, the same team behind the Disney Dream and the Yachts of Seabourn.

Features include 95 outside staterooms, a sun deck with 360-degree views and shaded sitting area, an observation lounge and bar with glass doors and a restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views.

This experience is geared toward the more affluent traveller and the prices reflect that. The riverboat's smaller size in comparison to larger cruise liners creates a less rushed experience. Getting off and on the longboat to go for excursions is much easier and quicker than a large cruiser.