Los Angeles (June 16, 2021) – Viking® (www.viking.com) celebrated today that France and Portugal have reopened to American travelers. As of this week, both countries now allow vaccinated visitors from the U.S. to arrive without further restriction. Additionally, the European Union today recommended that its member countries begin lifting restrictions on American travelers, with a formal announcement expected on Friday. These positive developments come as Viking prepares to restart its European river operations in July 2021, starting with some of its most popular itineraries in Portugal and France. Offered exclusively for vaccinated guests as part of Viking’s Welcome Back collection, limited space is still available on these river sailings with departures as early as July 2021.
“We applaud the governments of France and Portugal for encouraging international travel while keeping public health a top priority,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “Our guests are eager to return to Europe, with France and Portugal at the top of many travel lists. We look forward to welcoming guests back on board our Longships in France and Portugal in a few short weeks.”
Viking successfully restarted operations in May and has been sailing in England with British guests since May 22. Nearly 100 percent of guests on these sailings provided exceptionally high ratings. Yesterday, the company welcomed American guests back on board in Bermuda for the first of eight sailings of Bermuda Escape. Later this month, Viking will launch Welcome Back sailings around Iceland and in the Mediterranean.
With new summer and early fall 2021 sailing dates now available Viking’s Welcome Back river voyages in France and Portugal include:
River Departures – Voyages Beginning in July 2021
- Portugal’s River of Gold (10 days; Lisbon to Porto) – Experience the renaissance of Lisbon, newly invigorated with trending galleries and restaurants. Explore two of Iberia’s oldest university towns: Coimbra, Portugal and Salamanca, Spain. Roam the port warehouses of Porto. Enjoy traditional cuisine, wine and fado singing. Cruise the Douro River Valley, the world’s oldest demarcated wine region and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our 10-day cruisetour includes a hotel stay in Lisbon and the added bonus of a visit to Spain. Multiple sailing dates July through October 2021.
- Paris & the Heart of Normandy (8 days; Paris to Rouen to Paris) – Explore Giverny and visit the beautiful gardens and charming farmhouse where Claude Monet lived and worked – the setting that inspired many of his masterpieces. Trace the footsteps of Joan of Arc in Rouen. Walk hallowed ground at Normandy’s American Military Cemetery and World War II beaches. Savor Normandy cuisine. This 8-day cruise along the Seine River celebrates history, art, food and customs in the country’s most dazzling urbane and pastoral settings. Multiple sailing dates July through December 2021.
- Lyon & Provence (8 days; Avignon to Lyon) – Tap into your inner van Gogh at an Arles painting class. Discover Roman Provence at Les Arènes amphitheater and the Pont du Gard. Explore Avignon’s Palace of the Popes. Excite your palate in Lyon, capital of French gastronomy. Savor Beaujolais wines. Hunt for truffles and see how chèvre cheese is made. Come witness the beauty that inspired artists like Cézanne and Chagall on this 8-day Rhône cruise. Multiple sailing dates July through November 2021.
- France’s Finest (15 days; Paris to Avignon) – Pay your respects at Normandy’s World War II beaches. Walk in Joan of Arc’s footsteps at Rouen. Luxuriate in Paris’s sophistication. Savor Lyon’s culinary heritage. Toast the Beaujolais vineyards. Explore Avignon’s Palace of the Popes. Celebrate the Provençal lifestyle. Art, cuisine, style, joie de vivre—if you love everything Français, this is for you: a 15-day journey that combines our popular Paris & the Heart of Normandy and Lyon & Provence cruises into one tour de force. Multiple sailing dates in August and September 2021.
Those who sail Welcome Back voyages will also experience Viking’s industry-leading health and safety program. Grounded in scientific research, the Viking Health & Safety Program was developed in partnership with an international team of medical advisors, including Raquel C. Bono, M.D., Viking’s Chief Health Officer. Dr. Bono is a board-certified trauma surgeon and retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps—and most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing a full-scale laboratory installed on every Viking ocean ship—and a strong network of dedicated shoreside labs for Viking river ships in Europe—all guests and crew will receive frequent quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests. New air purification technology has also been installed on all Viking ships, which have always featured independent air handling units for all guest staterooms. And additional health checks, sanitization and physical distancing measures will provide further protection for Viking guests and crew at all points of the journey. A complete overview of the Viking Health & Safety Program can be found at: www.viking.com/health-safety.
Viking was founded in 1997 and provides destination-focused journeys on rivers, oceans and lakes around the world. Designed for experienced travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests The Thinking Person’s Cruise® in contrast to mainstream cruises. In its first five years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 “World’s Best” Awards. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as “Best Overall” Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, “Best River Cruise Line” and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. For additional information, contact Viking at 1-800-2-VIKING (1-800-284-5464) or visit www.viking.com. For Viking’s award-winning enrichment channel, visit www.viking.tv.