Viking River Cruises is about more than just wonderful ships and fascinating destinations – this is a line dedicated to inspiring its guests.

The river cruise market is booming. From the European favourites – think the Rhine, Danube and the like – to emerging markets in Russia, Asia and what some term exotic destinations, there are now more itineraries than ever before.

The benefits of a river cruise are well told; getting into the heart of a city, mingling with the local community, partaking in wellness activities, either on board or ashore. However, the recent success in the sector now requires constant innovation in an effort to stay ahead of the rest.

Such innovation has many aspects – new ships – some designed with just one river in mind –  itineraries, on-board guest lectures, specially curated excursions to take in more than just the common tourist hotspots. Enter Viking.

The line has announced the launch of four new ships custom-built to navigate the Seine in the heart of Paris. The ships, which are inspired by the design of the award-winning Viking Longships, will debut this year, and as of May will sail Viking’s eight-day Paris and the Heart of Normandy itinerary.

Claude Monet, viking river cruises, France
Claude Monet’s famous farmhouse and gardens

The 168-guest Viking Fjorgyn, Viking Kari, Viking Radgrid and Viking Skaga will usher in a new era of cruising on the Seine, “opening doors” into a world of history, art and culture, according to Viking chairman Torstein Hagen.

“We have always had a strong vision for how to help guests explore the world in comfort,” Hagen adds. “For 22 years, we have led the industry in defining what modern river cruising looks like for experienced travellers

“We continue to lead because we focus on the destination and we continue to innovate for our guests, offering them new and different opportunities for learning.”

Magical France

Such an opportunity can be found on the ‘Paris and the Heart of Normandy’ voyage. The cruise celebrates history, art and food, and includes one-of-a-kind experiences that delve deep into French history.

For starters, guests can explore Giverny and visit the picturesque gardens and farmhouse where celebrated artist Claude Monet lived and worked. Alternatively, they can go all the way back to the time of Joan of Arc in Rouen, or pay their respects at Normandy’s American Military Cemetery and World War Two beaches.

There are extensive pre and post options for guests to choose from; entice clients with a three-night stay, post-cruise, exploring the Loire Valley, complete with guided tours of its most famous cathedrals; or a three-night pre-voyage stay in the French capital, which oozes charm and romance.

Viking river cruises, travel, cruise, France, Seine,
Viking restaurants offer a range of culinary delights

At no extra cost, guests can also take advantage of Viking’s shore excursions, many of which are included in the cruise fare. They can take a walk through the provincial town of Vernon, or visit La Roche-Guyon, which is overlooked by an imposing château carved into white cliffs. Those with a penchant for fitness can also take a leisurely bike ride through Monet’s garden – all this and so much more is available.

Viking UK head of sales Neil Barclay says: “There has never been a better time for agents to book their guests on a 2021 Viking river cruise.

“With added capacity and a wide choice of departure dates, guests can relax in the knowledge that they will be getting the right itinerary, a selection of dates to suit their requirements and a choice of staterooms.

“Suites and verandas are generally the first to go, as they offer great views of everyday life during the sailing.

“Demand for our Paris itinerary has grown. The introduction of these new ships, which feature customised hulls and engines specifically built to navigate the Seine – along with the central docking locations – makes the Paris and Heart of Normandy cruise a must-do, even for those seasoned Paris travellers.”

Visit vikingrivercruises.co.uk for more information.