When it comes to the river cruising, Viking has become one of the most well-known and established brands in the industry. With as many as 62 vessels currently traversing the waterways of Europe, Russia, Asia and the US, the line has become synonymous with river cruising. If you are embarking on a journey along one of these fabulous waterways, you are almost certain to catch a glimpse of one of their vessels. In addition to these river vessels, Viking has also launched three ocean-bound vessels – each offering a Scandinavian style interior that passengers are familiar with.
It is quite incredible to think that all of this growth has taken place over the last 20 years, following the company’s inception in 1997. Viking’s Chairman, Torstein Hagen, said: “We knew there was an opportunity to do things differently when we started this company 20 years ago.”
It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Viking is looking towards further expansion over the next few years with the introduction of seven new river-based vessels, bringing the total number of ships to 69 by 2019. Additionally, the line plans to unveil two brand new ocean-bound vessels, with Viking Orion coming in 2018 and a currently unnamed vessel to be delivered in 2019 - for which construction commenced just last week.
Hagen added: “In the last two decades, we have led the industry to define what modern river cruising looks like today. We continue to lead the industry with the largest fleet, the widest selection of itineraries and stateroom categories, and the most awards of any river cruise line. The Viking way of exploration has resonated with our target audience of experienced travellers, and this new ship order is a reflection of strong demand for more destination-focused cruises.”
Despite the line being set to operate more vessels than any other river cruise brand or small ocean cruise line, Viking has strived to offer a familiar feeling across all of its ships. Each river vessel offers cabins with outside-facing windows or balconies, while guests can also enjoy a range of homely amenities including restaurants, bars, lounges, libraries, sun decks and herb gardens.
The first ocean-bound vessel to sail for Viking, Viking Star, was also the first purpose-built ship since the launch of Disney Magic in 1998. She offers private verandas across all 465 staterooms, each of which also offers a square footage that exceeds that found on most other cruise ships. Guests can enjoy a number of lounge and dining areas as well as an impressive three-story atrium, theatre, library, Nordic-inspired spa, gym and two outdoor pools – one of which is an infinity pool based at the aft of the ship.
While established ocean-bound lines including Crystal Cruises and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines have both embarked on ventures into river cruising in recent years, Viking has gone the other way and it is interesting to see how these lines attempt to maintain their heritage across both ventures. Wherever your passengers decide to travel, they will be able to enjoy a unique Scandinavian atmosphere which has never been replicated.
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