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Extensively Rebuilt Victoria Cruises' Vessels to be Rechristened Victoria Lianna & Victoria Selina

NEW YORK, NY (April 10, 2011) – Following last month's announcement of the structural renovation of Victoria Cruises' (http://www.victoriacruises.com) older premiere vessels and retirement of its last remaining classic-category ship, the company known for pioneering five-star river cruising on China's mist-shrouded Yangtze has decided to re-launch two of its vessels – the Victoria Queen and Victoria Star – as the Victoria Lianna and Victoria Selina, respectively.

Newly redesigned Victoria Cruises lobby

The newly redesigned lobby area of the Victoria Lianna, Victoria Selina, and Victoria Prince

"Initially, our intention was to update the look and feel of these ships to bring them up to speed with our newest vessels, while preparing them for the fleet-wide introduction of our 'Executive Deck' program," said James Pi, chairman of Victoria Cruises, who named the ships after his grandchildren, Lianna and Selina Pi.

"Rather than settle for marginal improvements, however, we ultimately decided a full overhaul was necessary, particularly in the case of the Victoria Queen and Victoria Star, which saw several decks gutted and rebuilt them from scratch," said Pi. "Essentially, the Victoria Lianna and Victoria Selina will have the appearance of entirely new ships with little or no resemblance to their previous incarnations."

Throughout the winter season, Victoria Cruises has invested millions and mobilized an impressive workforce to mount a complete overhaul of the ships now designated as Victoria Lianna and Victoria Selina, as well as the Victoria Prince, which will retain its original name. All three vessels will feature renovated lobbies and hallways with a refreshing new look as well as new carpeting throughout each of the ships. All staterooms will be enhanced with new curtains, and in some cases, new furniture as well.

Victoria Prince hallway

Elegant new carpeting adds to the enhanced look and feel of the Victoria Lianna, Victoria Selina and Victoria Prince

The Victoria Lianna and Victoria Selina in particular will set sail with an entirely new deck featuring an additional Executive Lounge and à la carte restaurant for Executive Deck passengers (3rd and 4th decks), as well as an elevator for all passengers' convenience.

"There's a fine line between a structural renovation project and a completely new build – and we've certainly blurred that line," said Pi. "The fact we started with previous vessels is merely a technicality. Passengers who have sailed the Queen or Star would never believe they were on the same ships."

The new ships were projected to be ready for the beginning of the regular sailing season commencing mid-March, but Pi's vision for quality, style and elegance will not allow corners to be cut – even at the expense of a delayed launch.

The cruise line has informed its tour partners of a two-week delay for the Victoria Selina and Victoria Lianna. Passengers booked on those ships from March 16-31 will be placed on other five-star ships sailing no more than one day before or after the original departure date. Where necessary, Victoria Cruises will make land arrangements at the cruise line's expense in order to prevent changes from impacting the passengers' connections and overall tour schedule.

Fleet-Wide Executive Deck Amenities Raise The Bar On Luxury River Cruising

Beginning April 2011, Executive Deck passengers on the Victoria Lianna, Victoria Selina, Victoria Prince and Victoria Empress will enjoy the same enhanced privileges as passengers on the Victoria Jenna, Victoria Anna and Victoria Katarina. This includes "white glove" Concierge service, enhanced accommodations and ship placement, access to exclusive VIP areas, à la carte meal service, private cultural lessons and reserved seating for evening entertainment at the Yangtze Club (pictured below).

"After we expanded our Executive Deck program to the Victoria Anna and Victoria Katarina, we noticed a trend in terms of booking requests from our tour partners," said Larry Greenman, manager of public relations and customer service for Victoria Cruises. "Our newer premiere-class vessels were selling out in record time.

"While this winter's renovations were an enormous undertaking, the end result places these ships on equal footing with our flagship, the Victoria Jenna," noted Greenman. "In fact, we anticipate the Victoria Lianna and Victoria Selina will now become our most requested ships."

As an American-managed company adhering to the strictest Western standards, Victoria Cruises retained an interior design firm from New York to plan and oversee the renovations. Additional cosmetic alterations for the Victoria Prince and Victoria Empress are currently being considered and tentatively scheduled for next winter so as not to impact regular cruise season.

"Executive Deck level upgrades have proven popular with our most discerning guests, particularly those who come to us through tour operators catering to affluent markets," said Greenman. "As we introduce these upgrades to the rest of our five-star fleet, they become the new standard in small luxury river cruising on China's Yangtze."

A number of leading U.S. tour operators have already blocked significant space on the newly installed Executive Decks of the Victoria Lianna and Victoria Selina, which will feature 101 Superior Staterooms, seven Executive Suites and two Shangri-La Suites with a total passenger capacity of 220 guests.

Victoria Cruises

Based in New York, Victoria Cruises established new standards of excellence for sailing China’s Yangtze River when its first ship edged out of port in 1994. Since that time, Victoria Cruises has achieved tremendous success by introducing the majesty of the Yangtze River to travelers worldwide. A true pioneer and innovator, Victoria Cruises delivers an unrivaled and unsurpassed Yangtze River experience. An American-managed company, Victoria Cruises operates the largest fleet of vessels with the coveted five-star rating from the China National Tourism Administration. Victoria Cruises offers a variety of itineraries varying from four to nine days including Grand Yangtze Discovery, Three Gorges Highlights, and Three Gorges Explorer.

Victoria Cruises has earned numerous awards and recognitions over the years and has most recently received the 2010 TravelAge West WAVE Award Editor’s Pick for Best River Cruise Line as well as Best New River Cruise Ship with the launch of the luxurious Victoria Jenna. Travel Weekly also recently selected the Victoria Jenna as a Silver Award Winner for the Magellan Awards’ River Cruise Ship category.

China’s magnificent Yangtze River continues to awe and inspire and Victoria Cruises remains the finest guide for the journey.

For more information and a free color brochure or promotional DVD, contact Victoria Cruises at 57-08 39th Avenue, Woodside, NY 11377; phone (800) 348-8084, (212) 818-1680; fax (212) 818-9889. Send e-mail to contact@victoriacruises.com or visit http://www.victoriacruises.com.

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