LOS ANGELES, July 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Viking® (www.viking.com) celebrated today its first Welcome Back sailings in the Mediterranean—the latest milestone in the company's return to service. Last week, guests embarked the award-winning Viking Sea® and sister ship Viking Venus® in the Maltese capital city of Valletta—a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site—where the ships are homeporting this summer. Offered as part of Viking's Welcome Back collection, exclusively available for vaccinated guests, both ships are sailing three new itineraries sailing roundtrip from Valletta. The new voyages include the 11-day Malta & the Adriatic Jewels, the 11-day Malta & Greek Isles Discovery and the 21-day Malta, the Adriatic & Greece itineraries. Viking has also partnered with Lufthansa to offer non-stop flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Malta, exclusively for Viking guests—making the transatlantic journey to Europe even easier.
"We are delighted to be back in the Mediterranean and to be homeporting in Valletta. On behalf of the entire Viking family, we thank the government of Malta for its support and partnership in developing these fantastic new voyages," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, from on board Viking Sea in Valletta. "With its rich history and stunning natural beauty, Malta is truly a gem in the Mediterranean that many American travelers have yet to discover. My daughter, Karine, and I have enjoyed our time in Malta immensely, and we look forward to introducing even more travelers to this wonderful country."
Last month the Maltese Government eased rules for the arrival of international travelers—and now allows vaccinated Americans with CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards to arrive in the country. Full details of Malta's Traffic Light System for travelers can be found on Visit Malta's website here. Also in June, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it has eased travel recommendations for 110 countries and territories. As part of the new recommendations, the CDC specifically ranked Malta as "Level 1" or the lowest for risk of COVID-19.
Viking restarted the company's ocean operations in May 2021 with sailings in England for British guests. By keeping ships in warm layup, Viking was able to restart more quickly than most cruise lines. In June, the company welcomed American guests back on board for new journeys around Bermuda and Iceland. Guests on Viking's Welcome Back voyages have enjoyed the experience so much that they have provided some of the highest-ever ratings in post-trip surveys—a strong indication that experienced travelers are ready to be exploring the world in comfort once again. This month, Viking has also restarted its European river operations with select itineraries in Portugal and France.
Mediterranean Voyages Beginning in July 2021
- Malta & Adriatic Jewels (11 days; Valletta to Valletta; Croatia, Montenegro & Malta) – Discover Malta's millennia of history and visit ancient UNESCO sites. Explore Croatia's captivating coastline and some of the great iconic cities of antiquity. Stroll the majestic city walls of Dubrovnik and visit Diocletian's Palace. Or immerse yourself in nature and the great outdoors during a visit to Krka National Park. Join us for a fascinating journey as you witness rolling landscapes and ancient architectural treasures along Adriatic shores. Multiple sailing dates July through October 2021.
- Malta & Greek Isles Discovery (11 days; Valletta to Valletta; Greece & Malta) – Immerse in the ancient world as you discover the early empires of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Visit historic UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Maltese capital of Valletta and Rhodes' Palace of the Grand Masters. Enjoy dramatic views of the Parthenon in Athens, uncover the mysteries of the Minoans on Crete and admire the white facades and azure domes of the clifftop villages of Santorini during this enchanting voyage through the centuries. Multiple sailing dates July through September 2021.
- Malta, the Adriatic & Greece (21 days; Valletta to Valleta; Croatia, Montenegro, Greece & Malta) – Follow the routes of ancient mariners as you set out on a voyage through the ages. Discover the early empires of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas as you visit historic UNESCO Sites, such as the iconic Parthenon, the Maltese capital of Valletta and Rhodes' Palace of the Grand Masters. Admire Santorini's clifftop villages and the walled city of Dubrovnik, and witness the rolling landscapes and captivating coastlines as you journey through the Adriatic Sea.
Viking Health & Safety Program
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. The easy access to robust PCR testing also simplifies guests' travel experience with a final COVID-19 test taken onboard that satisfies the requirement for pre-flight testing before arrival into the U.S. 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.
Limited space is still available on 2021 summer and early fall sailings. Non-stop Lufthansa flights from Newark to Malta, exclusively for Viking guests, are now available. Space and departure dates for flights are limited. Call Viking toll free at 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464) or contact a travel agent for details.
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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.
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