Viking Cruises is set to grow again – but this time, it’s the company’s forthcoming Viking Ocean Cruises brand that is set to see the benefits of expansion.
Recently, Viking announced it would launch two additional oceangoing cruise ships to debut in 2016. Capable of carrying 930 guests apiece, Viking Sea and Viking Sky will sail exclusively in Europe, offering sailings to Northern European regions like the Baltic, British Isles and Scandinavia, as well as venturing south to the Eastern and Western Mediterranean.
The two new ships will be sisters to the forthcoming Viking Star, a 930-guest oceangoing cruise ship that is scheduled to be christened next May in the gorgeous port of Bergen, Norway. Viking Star will inaugurate Viking’s first-ever foray into oceangoing cruising, and will also usher in a new era of cruising. To date, few – if any – river cruise lines have successfully made the jump to an oceangoing product.
“The introduction of Viking Star next year will represent a distinct change in ocean cruising—an alternative to the mega-liners dominating the world’s ports,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “It is our view that in the race to build enormous ships, some cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail. Based on the incredible response we have received, it is clear that our guests want a new experience to truly explore the destinations.”
The Viking Oceans product came about as an informal poll the line had started putting to guests. They queried their passenger base on what they liked and didn’t like about ocean cruising, and then asked the million dollar question: If Viking were to offer an ocean cruising product, would the company’s current river cruise passengers sail aboard it?
The response was overwhelmingly positive. Today, that enthusiasm is measurable by the runaway sales figures Viking Star’s maiden season has received. To date, 70 percent of the total 2015 inventory has already sold out, 11 months from the ship’s inauguration date.
Of course, this announcement – signed with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri – doesn’t mean that Viking will be paying any less attention to its river cruise product. The line has another 12 vessels on-order with Germany’s Neptun and Meyer-Werft shipyards for delivery in 2015, including two new vessels specifically designed to sail within the constraints of the Elbe River.
Onward and upward.
More information on Viking Cruises and its entire river cruise fleet can be found by viewing our Viking River Cruises profile here on River Cruise Advisor.