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Cruises, Special Cruise Deals, Cruise Lines, Cruse Destinations, Luxury Cruises…Everything About Cruises by Travel Author/Editor Lillian Africano

Viking River Cruises Takes Guests to Highclere Castle, the Real Downton Abbey

New Land Extension, Co-Created with Highclere Castle Owners, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, Explores England’s Iconic Sights and Offers Viking Guests Privileged Access to the Famous Estate

Viking River Cruises , the world’s leading river cruise line, will next year offer an expertly curated Oxford & Highclere Castle land extension that gives travelers the rare chance to explore Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey on PBS’s MASTERPIECE, and other well-known British landmarks.

Highclere Castle is the real Downton Abbey.

In 2013, Viking Cruises will take passengers behind closed doors at the real Downton Abbey.

“As a national sponsor of MASTERPIECE, Viking is proud of the series, and we are pleased to offer a new itinerary that taps into the excitement generated by the spectacularly popular Downton Abbey,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking River Cruises.

Offered as a pre- or post- extension on the popular Cities of Light or Paris & the Heart of Normandy itineraries, the Oxford & Highclere Castle package is priced at $1,399 per person and is composed of a three-night stay in the rolling hills of England’s countryside. Guests will enjoy an exclusive insider’s look at Highclere Castle, including a special champagne welcome for Viking guests, and a tour co-created with the owners of the magnificent property, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.

The Oxford & Highclere Castle package serves to complement the Cities of Light and Paris & the Heart of Normandy itineraries by giving travelers the chance to visit a magnificent destination that is otherwise inaccessible on a river cruise.

The 12-day Cities of Light itinerary, which visits four countries on the Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers between Paris and Prague, offers a stunning look at the gems of Western Europe, from vineyards in the Moselle River Valley to the baroque beauty of Würzburg. The 8-day Paris & the Heart of Normandy cruise explores the legendary Seine River as it takes guests from Paris to Rouen and the dramatic beaches of Normandy.

The Oxford & Highclere Castle extension is one of many land extensions offered by Viking’s Explore MoreTM program, which allows guests to maximize their time overseas by spending additional days in some of the world’s most fascinating destinations.

“Highclere Castle stands as a spectacular illustration of England’s history, from medieval beginnings to ‘Downton’ times, and we are delighted to welcome Viking’s guests as they explore and enjoy our ancestral home,” said Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the eighth Countess of Carnarvon, who also recently authored the book Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle.

Other highlights of the Oxford & Highclere Castle extension include a visit to the historic town of Oxford, where guests will overnight, and a walking tour of its renowned university. They will also explore Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, and the Cotswolds, the charming range of verdant rolling hills and stone villages that epitomize England’s countryside. Before departing, they will see some of London’s most beloved sights, including Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and “Big Ben.” Guests will travel between Paris and London on the celebrated high-speed Eurostar railway, which transports passengers across the English Channel in less than three hours.

Online Inspiration

Viking River Cruises has also launched a new series of inspiring webisodes, hosted by Karine Hagen, Viking’s brand and product ambassador, to showcase England’s picturesque landscapes and historical sites for online visitors. In the videos Karine takes viewers on a virtual tour of the Oxford & Highclere Castle extension, exploring the fascinating interiors of Highclere Castle and the charm of the city of Oxford. To watch the series, visit the website .

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