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Viking Opens Reservations for 2026 River Season Early Amid Strong Booking Demand

Updated: Jan 12

Viking announced the 2026 season of European river voyages is now open for reservations. Strong demand from North American travelers pushed Viking to open 2026 departures early after many 2024 sold out and the 2025 season garnered strong early bookings.

"Our guests are curious travelers who are interested in history, art and culture, which is why Europe remains our most popular destination," said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking. "The idea of a modern river voyage is still new to many, even to some of the most well-traveled individuals. But make no mistake; there is no better way of exploring the heart of Europe than sailing its historic waterways on an elegant Viking Longship. We look forward to welcoming more guests, both returning and new, on board our state-of-the-art vessels in the coming years."

With a current fleet of 80 river ships and more than 50 percent of the market share for North American travelers, Viking is the industry's leading river line. Some of company's most popular itineraries in Europe include:

Danube Waltz: This eight-day itinerary goes from Budapest to Passau, revealing the best of these destinations while cruising leisurely through spectacular scenery. Highlights include: soaking up soothing steam at a Budapest thermal bath, savoring Austro-Hungarian cuisine in Vienna and Budapest, learning to waltz at a Viennese dance school, admiring the Wachau Valley's beauty and witnessing daily monastic life on an exclusive visit to Göttweig Abbey. 

Rhine Getaway: Explore one of Europe's best-loved rivers on this 8-day excursion from Amsterdam to Basel. Discover the turreted fortresses, grand cathedrals, historic cities, medieval towns and stunning scenery of the Middle Rhine, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Passengers can taste the region's renowned white wines, with the roots of its terraced vineyards reaching back to Roman times, and savor the various culinary traditions of Alsace. With calls in Amsterdam, Cologne and Basel, this journey reveals a rich landscape of beauty and culture.

Paris & the Heart of Normandy: Dock in the heart of Paris, admiring views of the Eiffel Tower and a replica of the Statue of Liberty from your ship during this 8-day round trip journey. Travelers can experience history firsthand at the Normandy beaches and delight in Rouen's Gothic architecture. Also, there is an opportunity to explore Giverny and the charming house and gardens where Claude Monet lived and worked, the setting inspiring many of his masterpieces. This voyage celebrates history, art, food and customs in France's most alluring urban and pastoral settings.

Lyon & Provence: (eight days; Lyon-Avignon) – Tap into your inner van Gogh at an Arles painting class during this 8-day journey from Lyon to Avignon along the Rhône. Highlights include discovering Roman Provence at Les Arènes d'Arles and the Pont du Gard and exploring the world's largest Gothic palace at Avignon's grand Palace of the Popes. Gourmands can savor local wines, hunt for truffles and see how chèvre cheese is made.

Portugal’s River of Gold: This 10-day trip from Lisbon to Porto showcases the renaissance of Lisbon, newly invigorated with trending galleries and restaurants. Explore two of Iberia's oldest university towns: Coimbra, Portugal and Salamanca, Spain. Guests can roam the port warehouses of Porto and enjoy traditional cuisine, wine and fado singing. This itinerary cruises the Douro River Valley, the world's oldest demarcated wine region and a UNESCO Site. The package includes a hotel stay in Lisbon and the added bonus of a visit to Spain.

Viking recently announced it will welcome an additional 10 Viking Longships to its river fleet by the end of 2026. Currently under construction, eight of the new vessels will sail Viking's itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, while two additional Viking Longships will join the fleet on the Seine River. To meet the strong demand, five of the new vessels will be delivered in 2025, with the remaining five to be delivered in 2026.

Today's announcement follows a year of accolades for Viking. Most recently, Viking was honored with seven awards—more than any other line—in the 2023 Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards, including Best River Line, Best for First-Timers and Best Service in the river category. Viking was recently voted first place for rivers, oceans and expeditions by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication's 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards. The company was also voted to the top of its categories for rivers, oceans and expeditions by Travel + Leisure in the 2023 World’s Best Awards. No other travel company has simultaneously received the same honors by both publications.

From now through Dec. 31, 2023, Viking is offering North American travelers the Holiday Sale, with up to free international airfare, special fares and a $25 deposit on all 2026 European river voyages, as well as other river, ocean and expedition voyages.

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