Fred. Olsen River Cruises has returned to Europe's waterways with a five-night 'Springtime Dutch Discovery' fly-cruise from Amsterdam and a further 27 fly-cruises on offer this year. 156-guest Brabant will return to the Danube, Moselle, Rhine and Main rivers, with five to 25 night itineraries and an expanded enrichment programme of expert speakers to allow guests to experience the best of each destination.
Keith Norman, River Sales Manager at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said:
“We enjoyed a successful first year with Brabant in 2018, but this year we stop being 'newcomers' and will stake our place in the river cruise market. Bookings are already up by more than 30% on the same time last year. Our guests can enjoy an expanded enrichment programme with knowledgeable speakers, experts in their fields, who join a number of sailings to enhance the holiday experience. This adds to our immersive programme of shore excursions, led by insightful guides local to various ports of call. "
Experts set to enhance the guest experience on Brabant include: cyclist and travel writer, Andrew Sykes; Hugh Ellwood, with expertise in history and architecture; wine expert Martin Ward and WW2 historian Philip Sanders. They will deliver lectures which they will then build upon by accompanying some tours and providing hands-on advice and guidance to guests.
Viking welcomes the latest additions to its river fleet with the naming of seven new ships during a celebration on the River Rhine in Basel. In keeping with a maritime tradition dating back thousands of years, Viking invited seven long-serving employees and members of the company's family to serve as honorary godmothers of the new ships including Wendy Atkin-Smith, MD Viking UK.
Wendy was named as godmother to Viking Sigrun, which will sail the eight-day Rhine Getaway itinerary between Basel and Amsterdam. Viking Sigrun, named after the leader of a band of horseriding female Valkyries from Norse mythology, is one of six new Viking Longships. The other ships, Viking Einar, Viking Sigyn, Viking Tir, Viking Ullur and Viking Vali, will be deployed on Viking's most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube. The seventh new ship, Viking Helgrim, was inspired by the design of Longships and built specifically for the Douro River.
“We began hosting guests on the rivers of Russia 22 years ago, and have always done things differently. We focus on the destination and provide travel experiences that allow our guests to learn, enrich their lives and explore the world in comfort. It is 'The Viking Difference' that has made us the leading river cruise line in the world and has helped river cruising become one of the fastest-growing segments of travel,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.
The naming event was executed by connecting the new ships via satellite across four European cities. Viking Einar and Viking Sigrun were docked in Basel and named in person by their godmothers. The other five ships were “virtually” named, Viking Sigyn and Viking Ullur in Rostock, Germany; Viking Tir and Viking Vali in Brunsbüttel, Germany and Viking Helgrim in Porto, Portugal. In keeping with another maritime tradition, a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit was broken on the bow of each new ship. Gammel Opland comes from the same area in Norway where Chairman Hagen's mother, Ragnhild, also known as 'Mamsen', was born and was her favourite brand of aquavit. Following the naming event, guests had dinner at Basel's Fondation Beyeler museum, set amidst the museum's newest and most ambitious exhibition: The Young Picasso. Blue and Rose Periods. Guests were also treated to a performance by Alma Deutscher, the 14-year-old English composer, pianist, violinist and child prodigy.
Wendy Wu Tours, the UK's number one Asia travel specialists, say cruise lovers are setting their sights on Asia. The Mekong, once seen as an adventurous destination for intrepid explorers, is now a serious contender to European rivers, including the Rhine and Danube. One of the best ways to explore life along the Mekong River is by ship and Wendy Wu Tours are set to shake up the Mekong River cruise market with the launch of their new, state-of-the-art, deluxe river cruise ship, Victoria Mekong. Billed as one of the most exciting and eagerly awaited cruise ship launches of 2019, Victoria Mekong takes river cruising to a new level adopting a stylish, contemporary design with an Asian twist. The ship makes its maiden voyage at the end of this year and will sail four group tours and two private tours through Vietnam and Cambodia.
State-of-the-art features on board include Victoria Mekong's signature cocktail pool and pool bar, contemporary Asia-themed bar and lounge with luxurious soft furnishings plus signature restaurant with locally-inspired menu showcasing native cuisine. The ship has 33 spacious deluxe cabins and two luxurious VIP suites, all with private balcony.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. Website gillypickup.co.uk