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Travel + Leisure Survey Ranks Viking Number One
Viking River Cruises Ranked Number One River Cruise Line of "Top 10 Small-Ship Cruise Lines"

Viking River Cruises was on Travel + Leisure magazine's World's Best list in 2004 as well. Viking River Cruises, the world leader in river cruising, offers quality service, gourmet cuisine and comfortable scenic cruising along Europe, Russia and China's majestic rivers. In addition to ranking on Travel + Leisure magazine's "World’s Best" Awards, Viking River Cruises has also appeared on Condé Nast Traveler's "Gold List" in 2004 and 2005. Two of Viking River Cruises ships, Viking Europe and Viking Pride, were voted as "The Best Cruise Ships in the World" by a Condé Nast Traveler's readers' poll in 2005. Since its 1997 inception, the company has grown to a fleet of 23 vessels and provides a unique, affordable vacation to experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history.

Award lists were compiled based on a questionnaire made available to Travel + Leisure subscribers during the first quarter of 2005. Respondents rated recent travel experiences on several characteristics. The final scores were index averages of responses concerning applicable characteristics; additional information is available in the August issue of Travel + Leisure, and online at travelandleisure.com/worldsbest.

Launching of Viking Century Sky
Viking River Cruises Celebrates Launch of Second Ship on Yangtze River


Viking River Cruises celebrated the inaugural launch of Viking Century Sky along the Yangtze River on Sunday, April 10, 2005. Over 150 attendees, including special guests, New Century Cruise Company and Viking River Cruises representatives, joined Viking Century Sky in Chongqing for an exclusive celebratory dinner and sail-away party. The group then visited mystical Shibaozhai Temple, Qutang Gorge, the Lesser Three Gorges, and majestic Three Gorges Dam during a three-night cruise.

"China is becoming an extremely popular vacation destination, and Viking River Cruises received very positive feedback from passengers in 2004 on Viking Century Star and China itineraries," said Viking River Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen. "So now, we're excited to introduce a second ship that sails along the Yangtze, allowing passengers even greater flexibility when deciding on their Viking River Cruises China itinerary.

Viking Century Sky was built in partnership with the Chongqing New Century Cruise Company, who built Viking Century Star the previous year. Viking Century Sky is Viking River Cruises largest ship to date, and includes an observation lounge, restaurant, sauna, sun deck, bar, business center, gym, shops, and beauty salon. An Internet bar allows passengers to keep in touch with the world around them, and two elevators provide easy access the ship's five decks. The décor is Scandinavian-influenced and reflects the cruise line's Viking heritage while surrounding passengers with elegant contemporary style in all cabins and public areas.

Measuring 415 feet in length and 56 feet in width, Viking Century Sky has 153 cabins, accommodating more than 300 passengers. All cabins have a private balcony, bathroom and shower, hotel-style beds, telephone, TV, air conditioning, in-room safes and hair dryers.

For 2005, Viking River Cruises offers five different Cruisetour itineraries in China. The all-inclusive programs, ranging from nine to 18 nights, feature either a three- or four-night cruise (depending on direction) between Chongqing and the Three Gorges Dam, or a nine-night cruise between Chongqing and Shanghai, in addition to in-depth land packages highlighting Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Hong Kong and Lhasa. Each program includes all-shore excursions and tours, meals aboard and on land, hotel nights in five-star and deluxe properties, intra-Asia flights, and a Viking River Cruises English-speaking escort from airport arrival to departure. Passengers can choose from more than 200 departures through December 2005.

Launching of Viking Sun

Viking River Cruises celebrated the inaugural launch of Viking Sun on the Rhine River Thursday, March 31, 2005. Dignitaries included Mr. Bjorn Tore Godal, Norwegian ambassador to Germany; and Norwegian entertainer Wenche Myhre, who was named the ship's Godmother, as well as representatives from Merewede Shipyard and Viking River Cruises. Priest Markus Kolzer of Mainz blessed Viking Sun before she began sailing; she cruises the Belgium to Switzerland itinerary from Antwerp to Basel for 2005.

Viking Sun is a state-of-the-art river cruise vessel designed by world-famous architects Yran & Storbraaten, who have designed cruise ships for Seabourn, NCL and Disney. Viking Sun provides all 198 of its passengers with the level of comfort, elegance and service one would experience in a fine hotel. All-outside cabins guarantee passengers picturesque river views and the ship's 50-person crew ensures intimate, personalized service for all guests. The three-deck ship also features a restaurant with panoramic windows, lounge with dance floor, bar, library/game room and sundeck.

The ship is 433 feet long and offers 99 all-outside cabins, 37 with floor- to-ceiling opening French windows; 30 with opening large picture windows; 22 with fixed picture windows; and 10 standard cabins with windows. All cabins are equipped with a private bathroom and shower, telephone, television, safe, hair dryer and air conditioning.

"The launch of Viking Sun reinforces Viking River Cruises continued commitment to providing our passengers with engaging, intimate travel experiences, while transporting them in style and comfort," said Viking River Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen. "Viking Sun features deluxe accommodations and amenities, as well as the quality service, gourmet cuisine and captivating itineraries that are the standard of all Viking River Cruises vacations."

Viking Sun sails the 12-night Belgium to Switzerland itinerary along the Rhine River between Antwerp, Belgium and Basel, Switzerland, with departure dates April through December. Passengers can experience demonstrations of silversmithing and cuckoo clock making, folkloric entertainment, brewery visits, a Black Forest excursion, cathedral visit, and much more. Ports of call include Antwerp, Brugge, Delft, Schoonhoven, Gouda, Amsterdam, Arnhem, Cologne, Koblenz, Rudeshiem, Heidelberg, Speyer, Strasbourg and Breisach, before ending in Basel, Switzerland.

Viking River Cruises Announces New Ship for 2006 China Season

[Cruising the Yangtze with Viking River Cruises]

Industry leader Viking River Cruises announces that it will contract with Chongqing New Century Cruise Company to add a third ship, Viking Century Sun, to its China fleet to meet the strong demand for its China Yangtze River cruises. Viking Century Sun will join the recently launched Viking Century Star on the Yangtze for the 2006 season.

"China's attraction as a tourist destination continues to increase, and the Yangtze River and Three Gorges Dam is considered one of the country's 'must-see' highlights," noted Viking River Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen. "Our Yangtze cruises have proven extremely popular because the Viking River Cruises and New Century Cruise Company's partnership continues to ensure the highest standards of comfort, safety and style for passengers."

Viking River Cruises will be responsible for the hotel and catering management on board the vessels to ensure the same quality standards as the line's European ships. Viking River Cruises continues to provide the only vessels on the Yangtze equipped with a Western kitchen and Swiss-managed service, which have proven extremely popular with passengers.

"We are very pleased that Viking River Cruises has chosen us as their partner in China," says New Century Chief Executive Officer Peng Jian Hu. "We are delighted to continue our partnership as the leaders in China tourism on the Yangtze."

Viking Century Sun will include an observation lounge, restaurant, sauna, sun deck, bar, massage room and beauty salon. An Internet bar will keep passengers in touch with the world, and two elevators will enable passengers to easily travel between the ship's five decks. The ship is a sister ship to Viking Century Sky, and her Scandinavian-influenced décor will reflect the cruise line's Viking heritage by offering passengers elegant contemporary interiors. Viking Century Sun will measure 126.8 meters in length and 17.2 meters in width with a capacity of more than 300 passengers. All cabins will be equipped with a private balcony, telephone, hairdryer, air conditioning, and private bathroom with shower.

For 2005 and 2006, Viking River Cruises offers three- and four-night cruises, as well as nine-day cruises between Chongqing and Shanghai, offered as part of cruisetour packages including Beijing, Xian and Shanghai.

Viking River Cruises Announces 2005 Europe and China Schedule
2005 Season Includes 2 New Ships, 6 New Itineraries, and $700 Savings

Viking River Cruises, the world's #1 river cruise line, has released its 2005 sailing schedule featuring six new itineraries and two new ships. "There's a lot to be excited about," said Jeff Dash, President, Viking River Cruises. "We're responding to increased demand from the American market with new ships in Europe and China, and we've designed new itineraries to offer our passengers unparalleled cultural opportunities."

Early Booking Discount Allows Travelers to Save Big on 2005 Vacations
The cruise line also announced its two-tiered Early Booking Discount. Passengers who book their 2005 cruise by October 29, 2004 will save $350 per person ($700 off per cabin maximum); passengers booked prior to December 30, 2004 will save $250 per person ($500 per cabin). To book, passengers should request offer "02River" and clients should pay in full at time of booking to get maximum savings.

Enhanced European Vacations Give Passengers More In-Depth Experiences
Reacting to customer feedback and suggestions, Viking River Cruises expanded its already popular Europe itineraries by adding the following programs in 2005:
  • Heart of Germany: A new late-season roundtrip Frankfurt itinerary which allows passengers to explore traditional Christmas Markets along the Rhine River. The 7-night trip includes Heidelberg, Mainz, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cologne and Eltville.
  • Treasures of the Rhine: This popular Antwerp-Basel itinerary has been expanded to 12 nights to include additional time in Amsterdam and Germany's breathtaking Black Forest region. Passengers sail on the 198-passenger Viking Sun, a new-build for 2005
  • Viking Seine, a ship previously deployed by the company's European office, will carry American passengers on the 7-night Paris &the Heart of Normandy cruise.
  • Exclusive extension: Passengers on either Burgundy & Provençe or Paris & the Heart of Normandy itineraries have a unique opportunity to extend their vacation with a 3-night stay at the 17th century Chateau du Fey that includes private wine tastings, cheese sampling with a master cheesemaker, and a private cooking class with chateau owner and world-renowned chef Anne Willan. The chateau only offers 8 rooms, making the experience ultra-private.

Five New Yangtze River Trips Offer Passengers Wider Range of Choice
Following the success of its inaugural season, Viking River Cruises offers five new China itineraries for 2005, each including a Yangtze River cruise and land tours:

  • Imperial Jewels of China (9 or 10 nights): 3 nights in Beijing, 1 night in Xian, 3-/4-night Yangtze cruise from Chongqing to Three Gorges Dam and 1 night in Shanghai
  • Imperial Jewels & Shopper's Paradise (13 or 14 nights): All stops on Imperial Jewels, plus 1 night in Guilin and 3 nights in Hong Kong
  • China's Cultural Delights (14 nights): 3 nights in Beijing, 1 night in Xian and a 9-night Yangtze cruise from Chongqing to Shanghai
  • China's Cultural Delights &Shopper's Paradise (18 nights): Same itinerary as China's Cultural Delights, with an additional night in Guilin and 3 nights in Hong Kong
  • Roof of the World (13 nights): 3 nights in Beijing, 1 night each in Xian and Chengdu, 3 nights in Lhasa (Tibet); a 3-night Yangtze cruise from Chongqing to the Three Gorges Dam and 2 nights in Shanghai

New-build Viking Century Sky sails the Roof of the World and both Cultural Delights itineraries.

Viking River Cruises operates a fleet of 23 river vessels with itineraries that span the globe. The deluxe, intimate vessels, each carrying an average of 150 passengers, have Scandinavian-designed interiors, sundecks, and glass-walled observation lounges and dining rooms. Some ships have a library, souvenir shop and sauna. Gourmet meals are served at single, open seating, and cuisine incorporates regional specialties. The comfortable outside cabins have hotel-style beds, picture windows (some that open) and air-conditioning; TVs, telephones and hairdryers are available in Europe only. Onboard staff is English speaking.

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