So far, 2013 has been an incredible year for new ship launches, especially for river cruise lines. No launch has been more attention-getting than one held March 20 in The Netherlands, where Viking River Cruises christened 10 new ships in a single day. In fact, the event received recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records: Viking is now entered as having “the most ships inaugurated in one day by one company.”


All 10 ships are identical Viking Longships, a series first introduced in 2012. These long and low ships (made to glide under low bridges and into narrow docks) include river cruise ship innovations such as indoor-outdoor viewing areas and two-room suites; they are also equipped with herb gardens, solar panels and energy-efficient hybrid engines. The ships are now sailing major rivers in France, Germany and Austria; in the Eastern European countries of Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria; and through the springtime tulip fields of The Netherlands.


River cruise line AmaWaterways just launched the AmaPrima and the AmaVida, which  offer sun decks, pools (still unusual on river ships), and a choice of dining venues. The AmaPrima is sailing the Danube and other great rivers of Europe; theAmaVida is sailing Portugal’s Douro River.


Avalon Waterways is expanding its fleet of river-going “suite ships” in 2013 with the Avalon Artistry II and the Avalon Expression. Avalon’s suite ships have two full decks of 200-square-foot Panorama Suites and 300-square foot Royal Suites, designed to provide ample storage, comfort and great views through a wall of windows. Board the Artistry IIto sail between Amsterdam and Zurich or Basel, Switzerland, while the Expression


As for ocean cruise ship launches, some of the most highly anticipated new ships are Norwegian Cruise Line’sBreakaway, set to debut in early May; and Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, scheduled to be christened by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on June 13.

For more information on new ships and their itineraries, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.