Viking Longships Sign of the Times?

Down in the fine print of the cruise news, there was an event in Amsterdam last week that warrants more credence than it probably gets.

It was the story of the Viking Longships.

Anybody who follows cruising — be it ocean or river — knew they were coming. Six new river cruisers this year, six more next year. And now, according to our pal Phil Reimer who was on the Viking Odin after it was christened, there's talk of six more in 2014.

Hello, river cruising.

There's more than a fine line between ocean cruising and river cruising. More like a gulf.

Ocean cruisers like to entertained, with shows and bars and casinos. River cruisers like to be informed, and see places where history was made, whether it's on the Rhine or the Mississippi. Ocean cruisers sometimes like the privacy and anonymity of a city (or a large town) on water. River cruisers don't always have that option, with passengers loads often under 200. Ocean cruisers feel like they get more bang for their buck (say, about $100 a day). Rivers cruisers usually pay twice as much.

But "going on a cruise" has always been the phrase for spending days on Caribbean waters, seeing Alaskans glaciers or crossing oceans. River cruising is more like "going on a barge" except when you consider the kind of luxury that comes with it "barge" is an inappropriate word.

In any case, river cruising — obviously — is growing fast. The question is: Will it be at the expense of the "other kind" of cruising?


Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas
7 nights
April 7, 2012
New Orleans (return): Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $389
Cost per day: $55

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