VIKING RIVER CRUISES
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: vikingrivercruises.com.au.