Viking has moved to meet the demand for more information around the 2021 and 2022 European seasons, offering guests the chance to chat to the company about new itineraries and activities.
And those who book can get discounts of between $200 and $400 per person.
According to Viking’s MD for Australia and New Zealand Michelle Black, Australians are already keenly booking river cruises next year, and showing their adventurous side, “looking at ‘country-intensive’ itineraries, like France’s Finest and Pharaohs & Pyramids in Egypt – as well as multi-country, comprehensive experiences.”
Ms Black also revealed the new Mississippi journeys in 2022 are also sparking interest among Australians.
The line has designed free Virtual Information Sessions which will talk to cruisers about the future of travel, destination information and departures for 2021, 2022 and 2023 including new itineraries.
The line are also offering bonus bookings.
The team from Viking will also be talking about their new Mississippi River itinerary, which will commence in 2022.
The 45-minute sessions include a presentation from a Viking destination and product expert followed by an interactive Q&A with a Viking sales representative.
The webinars are free to join however registration is essential. The presentation will be available to view afterwards for those who have registered.
River cruising sessions include:
- Monday 11 May: New to Viking River Cruising
- Tuesday 12 May: Central Europe – Our ‘Grand European Cruise’ from Amsterdam to Budapest
- Wednesday 13 May: Russia – Sail the ‘Waterways of the Tsars’ from St Petersburg to Moscow
- Thursday 14 May: France – Explore the Rhone, Seine, Dordogne or Gironde
- Friday 15 May: Portugal’s River of Gold, the Douro
- Friday 22 May: Mississippi River
Speaking to Cruise Passenger, Michelle Black, the Managing Direct of Viking in Australia and New Zealand gave us an insight of what you can expect.
What will you be talking about in the information sessions?
Even though we can’t travel right now, that doesn’t mean we have to stop dreaming and planning for the future. So depending on their area of interest, we’ll be taking viewers through different destinations – from the most popular European cities like Budapest and Amsterdam, to lesser-known locales like Porto in Portugal, Bordeaux in France and New Orleans in Louisiana – and the details of our itineraries in those locations. We’ll offer exclusive sessions for travellers who are new-to-Viking, or new to cruise altogether, as well as a window into our brand-new ship on the Mississippi – currently under construction but filled with features that Viking fans will know and love. And we’ll also be sharing what makes Viking so different to other cruise lines, because we understand that in tomorrow’s world, what people will be looking for from their travel providers will be fundamentally different.
And what kind of questions do you expect river cruisers to be asking?
Your typical Viking guest is an experienced traveller, however we understand that even they may be hesitant about making travel plans right now. So at these sessions, we’ll be ready to discuss our flexible booking options, including our Risk-Free Guarantee for all new bookings and what makes a cruise with Viking so different to the mainstream lines. For example, no kids, no casinos, no crowds and no inside staterooms on our small and modern ships, staffed by our Viking-trained and employed crew members.
Which rivers are the most popular with Australians over the last few years?
While the Grand European Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam tends to be the quintessential introduction to European river cruising and therefore the most popular, in the last few years we’ve seen growing interest in Portugal’s Douro River, the Rhone in France and the Volga in Russia. Australians are adventurous travellers, and we find these destinations tend to appeal to those who have already sailed Central Europe and are looking for something a little different.
And what do you think are the up and coming itineraries for 2021 and 2022?
Overall – we’re seeing an increase in the popularity of our river cruises generally. So much so that we’ve released the majority of our 2022 departures in response. And we’re also seeing two key trends for 2021 and beyond – ‘country-intensive’ itineraries, like France’s Finest and Pharaohs & Pyramids in Egypt – as well as multi-country, comprehensive experiences. For example, the 23-day European Sojourn is an incredible voyage through the heart of the continent. It sails from Amsterdam to Budapest, then onwards into Eastern Europe, to Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria – ending in Bucharest (or vice versa).
Which river itineraries generated the most interest for 2021 and 2022?
Since launching our inaugural Mississippi 2022 voyages in March, we’ve been absolutely blown away at the response from Australian travellers. So much so that our 15-day America’s Great River itinerary is completely sold out! Watch this space – 2023 to be released soon.
What’s been your favourite Viking itinerary and why?
My most memorable river cruise was an autumn trip down the Volga River, on our Waterways of the Tsars itinerary from St Petersburg to Moscow. Most people don’t consider visiting Russia outside of peak summer season, however it’s truly special at this time of year. The colours of the leaves are brilliant, avoiding the crowds is even better, and everybody needs some traditional Russian headwear in their lives. This is the country where Viking began life as a river cruise company more than 20 years ago, so we really are the destination experts – you get a chance to experience the real Russia on this itinerary.
When do you think river cruising in Europe will resume?
Viking was the first cruise line to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean cruises on 11 March, and we’ve extended that pause until July for now. To quote our Chairman and founder Mr. Torstein Hagen: “The safety and well-being of our guests and crew are our utmost priority. During this time, we are working on scientific steps to reduce any health concerns on our ships and we will only return to sail again when it is safe”.