RIVER CRUISES: Viking announced an expansion of its Egypt fleet with Viking Aton, a new river vessel. Inspired by the design of the award-winning Viking Longships and built specifically to navigate the Nile River, Viking Aton is currently under construction and scheduled to debut in September 2022.
Sailing on Viking’s popular Pharoahs & Pyramids itinerary, the new vessel will join Viking’s existing Egypt river fleet, which includes its identical sister ship Viking Osiris and Viking’s first owned and operated ship on the Nile, Viking Ra.
“Egypt remains a top destination for many of our guests who are inspired to discover the rich history and beauty of the region,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “We will always maintain our commitment to creating meaningful experiences that are focused on the destination. The addition of Viking Aton is a reflection of our continued investment in Egypt; we look forward to introducing the country’s cultural treasures to even more Viking guests in the future.”
Hosting 82 guests in 41 staterooms, Viking Aton will be a state-of-the-art ship with the clean, elegant Scandinavian design for which Viking is known. Viking Aton‘s features include all outside staterooms with river views; spacious suites with two full-size rooms and verandas; a pool and sun deck with 360-degree views; Viking Lounge with floor-to-ceiling glass doors; and Viking’s revolutionary Aquavit Terrace ideal for al fresco dining and indoor/outdoor viewing along the Nile River.
Viking Aton will join the company’s other ships on the Nile, Viking Osiris, which is set to launch in 2021, and Viking Ra, which launched in 2018. Viking is the first and only Western company to build, own and operate ships on the Nile.
Pharaohs & Pyramids
During the 12-day, Pharaohs & Pyramids cruisetour itinerary, guests begin with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo, where guests can visit iconic sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.
Guests then fly to Luxor, where they visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding a Viking river ship for an eight-day roundtrip cruise on the Nile River, featuring Privileged Access to the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens and the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, and excursions to the Temple of Khnum in Esna, the Dendera Temple complex in Qena, the temples at Abu Simbel and the High Dam in Aswan, and a visit to a colorful Nubian village, where guests can experience a traditional elementary school. Finally, the journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a night in the ancient city.
For guests looking to extend their journey, Viking also offers Pre and Post-Cruise Extensions that provide Privileged Access to archives and exhibits. Building on the success of the Oxford & Highclere Castle program – one of Viking’s highest-rated Pre/Post Extension that visits the filming location of “Downton Abbey” – the company has applied the same degree of Privileged Access to a new curated Pre-Cruise Extensions that allows guests to retrace the steps of the world’s most famous Egyptologist, Howard Carter, and his benefactor, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.
Guests on the five-day British Collections of Ancient Egypt extension will begin the journey in London, where they will meet their Viking Tour Director, an expert Egyptologist, and experience Privileged Access to two museums: first a private, early morning visit to the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum before it opens to the general public – and then a visit to the home and personal museum of world-renowned architect, Sir John Soane, where the tour will be illuminated by candlelight, a re-enactment of how Soane entertained guests and showcased his exquisite collection of Egyptian antiquities, including a 3,000-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus.
Guests will also visit London’s Petrie Museum, which houses more than 80,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt and Sudan. In Oxford, guests will visit the Ashmolean Museum, one of the oldest in the world, and home to a varied collection of Egyptian mummies and art – and go behind the scenes at Oxford University’s Griffith Institute, where they will enjoy a Privileged Access visit to see Carter’s archives, which detail the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Lastly, guests will have further Privileged Access with an exclusive visit to Highclere Castle – the country seat of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – to view the Earl’s magnificent private collection of Egyptian artifacts, as well as archives and exhibits not normally accessible to the public.
Additional offerings include a Pre-Cruise Extension in Jerusalem where guests will explore the ancient history and vibrant culture of Israel’s fascinating capital and a Post-Cruise Extension to Jordan-Petra, Dead Sea & Amman to view Roman antiquities at Jerash, Crusader-era castles at Kerak or Shobak and experience the lost city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From now through January 31, 2021, U.S. residents can take advantage of special savings on cruise fares and up to free international airfare on select 2021-2023 ocean and river itineraries.