If you’re a believer in New Year's Resolutions, have you ever included travel among them? Many people do, which may help to explain why the peak vacation-planning season starts on January 1 every year.

What’s in store for you in 2008? Will you venture where you have never gone before?

Will you step foot on a new continent, will you sail a new sea? Will you watch the sun rise or set in a new corner of the globe?

Will you hear a new language? Will you taste a new food? Will you encounter new customs, and will you make any of them your own?

Viking River Cruises is one of the world's leading river cruise operators, offering guests a relaxing, scenic way to explore the waterways of Europe, Russia and China. In this week's newsletter, I'll tell you about more about the company, as well as highlight Viking's new itineraries for 2009.


Viking has a fleet of 21 intimate river cruise ships, carrying an average of 150 guests in Europe, 200 in Russia and 300 in China. Onboard, guests can socialize in an observation lounge lined with large picture windows or stretch out in lounge chairs on the expansive sun deck. The air-conditioned staterooms have river views, and in China, all staterooms have private balconies.

On a river cruise, you only need to unpack your bags once, and all your meals are included. And, virtually every Viking itinerary includes one shore excursion in port each day.

Danube Delight -- Experience the varied cultures of five countries on this 8-day vacation: Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Departures take place in November and December, when locals are preparing for the holidays. On certain sailings, guests can visit the famous Christmas markets, which usually are open from the last week of November through December 23.

Paris to Prague -- Those who enjoy both the excitement of big cities and the charm of small towns will like this 12-day itinerary. It includes two-night hotel stays in Prague and Paris at either end of the cruise. In between, you'll visit wine-producing villages and well-preserved medieval towns that are characterized by narrow, cobblestone alleys and magnificent cathedrals.

Russian Rhapsody -- This 16-day adventure offers an in-depth Russian experience. The itinerary includes a three-night hotel stay in St. Petersburg and three nights on the ship while it's docked in Moscow. Port calls, lectures and cultural experiences capture the country's intriguing history from the czarist era to modern times.

Silk Road Adventure -- China is expected to be a popular destination next year when Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympics. This 17-day itinerary follows the famed ancient trade route, revealing 2,000 years of commerce and culture. You'll spend six days cruising the Yangtze River and the rest of the time traveling over land. Highlights include the Three Gorges Dam, the terra cotta warriors of Xian, the Great Wall and a performance of the Peking Opera.

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