Our colleague Phil Reimer, who writes Ports and Bows blogs and column for readers across Canada, recently made a long trip to see Longships, the moniker the rapidly-expanding Viking River Cruises gave its newest line of vessels.
What Phil found, among other things, was the most ambitious river cruisers in the world. He witnessed the christening of the first four of six Longships being launched this year, and discovered Viking has not just six more coming next year but possibly six more in 2014.
Granted, river cruise ships don't cost nearly as much as ocean liners to build, but clearly Viking is hoping to dominate what has always been a niche market. Maybe it's not so niche now. How ambitious is spending $600 million or so?
Generally, river cruisers carry fewer than 200 passengers. More have more balconies, and they don't have the big-production entertainment that their ocean cousins have. What they have is quality, in food and accommodation and pricing. It's a generally more sedate surrounding, watching the land go by instead of oceans of water.
Having been on a self-styled canal cruise in France — and that's a story for another day — we are intrigued by the astounding growth of river cruising. Why, it's grown to the point where Phil is now dedicating a blog every Friday (20% of his weekly content) just to river cruising, and he's the best there is at taking the pulses of people who cruise.
Holland America Eurodam
June 2, 2012
Amsterdam, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Edinburgh, Invergordon, Alesund, Geiranger, Flam, Bergen, Kristiansand, Oslo, Copenhagen
Cost per day: $74