LOS ANGELES – This year Viking Cruises marks two decades of leadership and innovation on the world’s waterways. Founded in 1997, Viking is now the world’s leading river cruise line with the largest fleet of river vessels, including the two new Viking Longships, which launched in March. Having debuted its small ship ocean cruises in 2015, Viking now also has three 930-guest sister ships and will add a fourth by the end of the year. To commemorate its 20th anniversary, Viking has released a new video in which Founder and Chairman Torstein Hagen reflects on the company’s history, from its start with four river vessels in Russia and the launch of the revolutionary Viking Longships – to the introduction of Viking Ocean Cruises, which in its first year of operation was named #1 Ocean Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016 “World’s Best Awards” and recently dominated Cruise Critic’s 2017 “Cruisers’ Choice Awards.” This announcement comes on the heels of Viking this week being named by Luxury Travel Advisor magazine as the Best Cruise Line for both luxury ocean cruises and luxury river cruises in its 2017 Awards of Excellence. Viking’s new anniversary video, “Celebrating 20 Years of Exploration,” can be found online here.
“Twenty years ago, river cruising was unknown to most North American travelers, and today we are proud that Viking is a household name. We have spent more than $1 billion marketing the concept of destination-focused cruising,” said Torstein Hagen. “We lead the river cruise industry, and with our ocean cruises, we have transported the intimacy of a river cruise onto the open seas. With the arrival of our sixth ocean ship in 2019, we will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line, and we look forward to introducing even more guests to the Viking way of travel.”
Viking’s Award-Winning Tradition Continues
Acclaimed for its innovation, distinctive modern Scandinavian design, inclusive value and immersive destination-focused offerings, for the past 20 years Viking Cruises has amassed awards from industry experts and the travel trade. Rounding out a record-breaking year of wins, Town & Country named Viking Ocean Cruises “Best for Design” and “Best Overall, Contemporary Luxury” in the magazine’s recent Cruise Awards. It also named Viking River Cruises “Best for Suites” and “Best for Design.” Kicking off 2017, Viking’s two ships won the top two placements in nearly every category where they were eligible in Cruise Critic’s 2017 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, including “Best Overall” and “Best for First-Timers.” Viking was also voted “Best River Cruise Line” in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards and earned second-place honors for “Best Ocean Cruise Line.” Viking Star and Viking Sea® also took second and third place honors, respectively, in the “Best Cruise Ship for Dining” category.
The Town & Country and USA Today awards are just the most recent wins in two decades of industry accolades. Viking has also been honored multiple times on Conde Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” and “Readers’ Choice Awards” and in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards,” including being named #1 River Cruise Line in 2013 and 2015. Viking was also recognized by the editors of Cruise Critic as “Best Luxury Ocean Cruise Line for Value” and “Best New Ocean Ship” for Viking Star and “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.” Additionally, Viking is an 11-time winner of “Best River Cruise Line” from Recommend, Travel Weekly and TravelAge West, as well as many other award wins from respected industry experts.
Viking’s 20th anniversary year will also be a year of significant expansion. By the end of 2017, the company will have welcomed two new Viking Longships on Europe’s rivers and will have doubled its ocean fleet with the addition of Viking Sky, which launched in February, and Viking Sun®, which debuts in October. Viking’s fifth ship, Viking Spirit®, will join the fleet in 2018, and will sail itineraries in Australia, Asia and Alaska. A sixth, yet-to-be-named sister ship will be delivered in 2019 and will mark Viking as the largest small ship ocean cruise line. The company has also placed orders for two additional sister ships to debut in 2020 and 2022, respectively.
The Viking Difference
Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. Onboard, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. With the most al fresco dining on the rivers and at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking’s guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences onshore and onboard. And only The Viking Way brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.
In addition, Viking Inclusive Value provides a small ship experience and no nickel-and-diming – with every cruise fare including an exterior stateroom, a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; and coffee, tea and bottled water available 24 hours a day. Viking’s ocean guests also enjoy additional complimentary amenities, including: dining in alternative restaurants, self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service.