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Riverboat Viking Aton floated out as Viking reports high demand for Egypt

Torstein Hagen before the float-out of Viking Aton. Two more Nile vessels are under construction for delivery to Viking by 2025
Cairo's Massara shipyard floated out the 82-passenger Viking Aton, as Viking reported strong demand for Egypt with the 2023 season already sold out.

Viking Aton, the sister of 2022's Viking Osiris, is set to debut on the Nile River in August, operating the line's 12-day 'Pharaohs & Pyramids' itinerary.

2025 bookings opened early

With many 2024 departure dates also sold out, Viking opening bookings for 2025 cruises sooner than planned.

'We are pleased with the continued strong interest for our Nile River voyages. Our guests are curious explorers, and Egypt remains a destination of great interest for its many cultural treasures,' Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said. 'We are proud to be the only Western company to build, own and operate ships on the Nile, and with the float out of the Viking Aton, we look forward to welcoming more guests to experience this fantastic region.'

At the float-out, Hagen and Sayed Farouk, chairman of the Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Co.), together pressed a button that signaled the lowering of the shiplift at the yard. Viking Aton is now at a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.

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Torstein Hagen and Sayed Farouk press a button that signaled the lowering of the shiplift at the yard

Aton's design is inspired by Viking's other river and ocean vessels, with Scandinavian interiors. It features a distinctive square bow and an indoor-outdoor Aquavit Terrace and 41 staterooms.

Six Nile vessels by 2025

Also sailing on the Nile is 2007's Antares and 2018's Viking Ra. Viking plans to have six vessels in Egypt by 2025, adding Viking Hathor in 2024 and Viking Sobek in 2025. Both are already under construction.

'Pharaohs & Pyramids' Itinerary

The 'Pharaohs & Pyramids' itinerary begins with a three-night stay at a first-class hotel in Cairo, where travelers can visit sites such as the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Sakkara, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali and the Grand Egyptian Museum. They then fly to Luxor, where they visit the Temples of Luxor and Karnak before boarding a Viking river vessel for an eight-day round-trip cruise.

This features Viking's '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 Nubian village, including an elementary school. The journey concludes with a flight back to Cairo for a final night in the city.

Pre- and post-cruise extensions

Pre- and post-cruise extensions provide 'Privileged Access' to archives and exhibits. The five-day 'British Collections of Ancient Egypt' extension begins in London with a private, early morning visit to the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum before it opens to the general public 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 collection of Egyptian antiquities. Participants will also visit London’s Petrie Museum, which houses more than 80,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt and Sudan.

In Oxford, they visit the Ashmolean Museum, home to a varied collection of Egyptian mummies and art, and go behind the scenes at Oxford University’s Griffith Institute with a visit to Howard Carter’s archives, which detail the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The trip ends with a 'Privileged Access' visit to Highclere Castle to view the Earl of Carnarvon's collection of Egyptian artifacts.

Additional offerings include a pre-cruise extension in Jerusalem and a post-cruise extension to Jordan.