The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

OSLO-BORN Torstein Ha­gen, one-time chief ex­ec­u­tive of the il­lus­tri­ous but now de­funct Royal Vik­ing Line, launched Vik­ing River Cruises in 1997. Ships: The com­pany’s first ‘‘Long­ships’’, with the cen­tral cor­ri­dor moved to one side to cre­ate more space, launched this year. Named af­ter Norse gods and ves­sels used by Vik­ings, there will be 14 Long­ships in Europe next year, in­clud­ing the 190-pas­sen­ger Vik­ing Jarl and Vik­ing Atla. Ac­tiv­i­ties: Walk­ing. Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor Tere­sia Fors says the ships dock in the heart of vil­lages and cities and pas­sen­gers stroll to most ma­jor at­trac­tions. Unique fea­ture: The chef’s or­ganic herb gar­den on the sun deck. At­trac­tions for Aus­tralians: The $995 a per­son re­turn air­fare for any state­room booked by Novem­ber 30. A free drinks pack­age val­ued at $900 for peo­ple who book by that date, plus $500 a cou­ple off the cost of the cruise, gra­tu­ities worth $500 a cou­ple and a daily shore ex­cur­sion. Sam­ple 2013 cruise: De­part Am­s­ter­dam on July 5 for Bu­dapest aboard Vik­ing Em­bla, with a trans­fer to Vik­ing Ae­gir for the for­ward jour­ney to Bucharest on a 23-day Euro­pean So­journ. From $8845 a per­son twin­share. More: vikingriver­

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