As Tourism in China Booms, Viking River Cruises Launches New Luxury Ship on Yangtze

Travelers Can Now Explore China on the Two Newest Ships on Yangtze River

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ — As tourism in China expands dramatically, Viking River Cruises is rising to meet demand with the launch of their third ship in three years. Viking Century Sun will join sister ship Viking Century Sky on the Yangtze, allowing Viking River Cruises to offer even more cruisetours featuring the most popular Chinese cities of Beijing, Xian (home to the Terra Cotta Warriors) and Shanghai plus the dramatic Three Gorges of the Yangtze River.

Viking River Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen noted that China will be the #1 tourist destination in just a few years. Hagan said, “We’ve had such praise and demand for our China cruisetours, with the new Viking Century Sun we can now share this experience with a larger audience. With our unique Swiss hotel management and the newest, most luxurious ships on the river, we offer travelers the ability to see all the key attractions while traveling on all-inclusive, fully-escorted tours with Viking’s own English-speaking guides. It makes travel to this exotic destination carefree and comfortable.”

China’s tourism continues to grow. The Asia and Pacific region saw a 50 percent increase in tourism in 2004, with China’s growth accounting for roughly half the increase according to January 2005 World Tourism Organization statistics. River Cruising is also a growing trend with a 23 percent increase in bookings from 2003 to 2004, according to the UK and Europe Cruise Information Service.

For 2006, Viking River Cruises offers 4 all-inclusive itineraries in China. These range from 9 to 15 nights; each highlights China’s top “must-see” landmarks such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Terra Cotta Warriors, and Shanghai’s Bund plus the legendary Three Gorges and Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze. All itineraries include 5-star hotel stays, with 3 nights in Beijing, 1 night in Xian, and 2 nights in Shanghai; plus a Yangtze cruise on either the new Viking Century Sun or Viking Century Sky (built 2005) for 3, 4, 7, or 9 nights, depending on selected itinerary. Each program includes: all shore excursions and tours, meals, hotel stays in 5-star properties, intra-Asia flights, and a Viking River Cruises English-speaking escort from airport arrival to departure. An optional 4-night Hong Kong and Guilin extension can be added to any itinerary. Passengers can choose from more than 100 departure dates running March 2006 through November 2006.

Both Viking Century Sun and Viking Century Sky were built in partnership with the Chongqing New Century Cruise Company. With these two new ships, Viking River Cruises continues to provide the only vessels on the Yangtze with Swiss-managed service and Western food, both of which have proven extremely popular with passengers. Viking River Cruises also maintains offices in Beijing and Chongqing to manage all operations and oversee the company’s English-speaking guides.

Like her sister ship, Viking Century Sun features an observation lounge, restaurant, sauna, sun deck, bar, massage room and beauty salon, plus Internet access and two elevators enabling easy access to the ship’s five decks. The ship measures 415 ft. in length and 56 ft. in width with a capacity of 300 passengers. All cabins are equipped with a private balcony, telephone, hairdryer, air conditioning, and private bathroom with shower.

About Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises, the world leader in river cruising, offers quality service, gourmet cuisine and comfortable scenic cruising along Europe, Russia and China’s majestic rivers. Honored as the top river cruise line on Travel & Leisure’s “World’s Best” Awards for the past two years, Viking River Cruises also appeared on Conde Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” in 2004 and 2005. Several of Viking River Cruises ships have been named to “Best Small Cruise Ships in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler’s readers’ polls in 2005 and 2006. Since its 1997 inception, the company has grown to a fleet of 23 vessels and provides a unique, affordable vacation to experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. For additional information, contact Viking River Cruises toll-free at 1-877-66VIKING (1-877-668-4546) or visit the company online at vikingrivercruises.com.

About Chongqing New Century Cruise Company

New Century Cruise Company is a modern and innovative tourism company based in Chongqing, a starting point of many cruises on the Yangtze River. It has been promoted by the government of Chongqing with its 31 million inhabitants, and by the China Ministry of Transportation.

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