Viking Cruises

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Viking Cruises
Type Private
Industry Travel and Tourism
Founded 1997 (1997)
Headquarters Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
Products River cruises and Ocean cruises
Website www.vikingcruises.com

Viking Cruises is an international company that operates a fleet of river cruising vessels along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt; in 2015 it will begin offering ocean cruises as well. Viking has a primary sales office in the United States, secondary sales offices in the United Kingdom and Australia, and operational offices in Switzerland.

Company history[edit]

Viking Cruises, a global corporation with headquarters in the United States, was initially established as Viking River Cruises in 1997 by a Scandinavian and Dutch consortium. Viking River Cruises expanded into the American market in 2000, establishing U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles, California.[1] As a result of acquisitions and new builds, as of 2014, Viking Cruises will operate a fleet of 52 ships with nearly 9,200 berths. The company employs more than 2,500 staff worldwide. River cruises are marketed primarily to English-speaking customers in North America, the UK and Australia.[2]

In the mid-1990s, the company’s founder and chairman, Torstein Hagen, took a river cruise through Russia and decided to create a river cruising company so that others could enjoy similar experiences. Educated at Norwegian Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School, Mr. Hagen was formerly CEO of Royal Viking Line, and also served on the boards of Holland America Line and Kloster Cruise Ltd.[3]

The company started with the purchase of four Russian vessels in 1997. In 2000, Viking purchased the multi-night portion of Europe’s KD River Cruises, founded in 1827.[4] KD retained its Rhine Line passenger ferries, scheduled services and day-excursion operations. Viking’s combined fleet consisted of 26 river cruise vessels accommodating approximately 4,200 passengers, resulting in Viking managing the largest fleet of river cruise vessels in the world.[5] The KD acquisition included the landing stages (docks), an extremely valuable asset—Viking owns docks in more European cities than it stops in, ensuring prime docking locations for easy passenger access and the ability to walk directly into town in many ports, while sailing past other ports without stopping.

The company expanded into China in April 2004 with Yangtze River “cruisetours” that include hotel stays in various cities like Beijing and Shanghai.[6] The company's latest acquisition, in 2006, was the UK river cruise specialist Travel Renaissance which is now known as Viking Cruises in the UK.[2]

On May 17, 2013 the company announced the launch of an ocean cruise division [7] and modified its name to Viking Cruises. The ocean cruise division focuses on destination-centric cruising in the small ship category, priced for value. Debuting its maiden season in 2015, its first ship, Viking Star, will sail ocean cruise itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic, and on the Mediterranean Sea.[8]

River cruising[edit]

Viking Odin, sailing on the Danube River, arrives in Budapest, Hungary.

Viking’s European ships have a typical capacity of 190 passengers; its Russia ships hold an average of just over 200 and the China ship holds up to 246.

Viking itineraries range from seven to 23 days along Europe’s Rhine, Main, Danube, Seine, Saône, Rhône, Elbe and Douro Rivers; Russia’s Volga and Svir; Ukraine’s Dnieper; China’s Yangtze; Egypt’s Nile and Lake Nasser; Vietnam’s Mekong and Myanmar’s Irrawaddy. Some voyages, including those in China, Southeast Asia and Egypt and a few in Europe, are “cruisetours,” which include both hotel stays and river cruising. All itineraries include at least one guided shore excursion (or tour) per day.

Viking’s river cruises are priced to include accommodations, onboard meals, most shore excursions and cultural activities. Wine, beer and soft drinks are included with onboard lunches and dinners.[2] All ships have nonsmoking interiors with a smoking area available on the sun deck. Since the focus is on the river and the ports of call, onboard activities are geared toward enrichment lectures and activities that enhance the destination experiences. Air travel, including transfers, can be purchased through Viking.

Viking provides English-speaking staff on its ships and escorted tours in China and Russia.[9]

River cruise ship design innovations[edit]

In 2009, Viking launched Viking Legend, the first of its ships to have hybrid diesel-electric engines. According to the company these engines use an estimated 20% less fuel than conventional engines. Noise-insulated engine rooms reduce noise and vibration and the ship has its own membrane water treatment plant to further reduce environmental impact.[10] Viking’s next new vessel, Viking Prestige, launched in 2011 with the same "green" features as Viking Legend.

In 2012 Viking introduced its Viking Longships class; each of these ships has the same environmentally friendly engine system, plus a patented interior design configuration (Corridor configuration designs U.S. Patent No. 1832106-0001 to 1832106-0011) that creates large two-room suites, full-size rooms with full-size verandas and French balcony staterooms. Three-quarters of the cabins on each ship feature a veranda, French balcony or both; staterooms near the water line have a window. Additional features include an indoor-outdoor "Aquavit Terrace" for alfresco dining at the prow of the ship, large "Explorer Suites" at the stern; solar panels and an organic herb garden. The first six Viking Longships that launched in 2012 collectively won Cruise Critic’s award for Best New River Ship;[11] the company launched 10 more in 2013[12] and will launch an additional 14 in 2014[13] plus two smaller vessels purpose-built for Portugal’s Douro River. Each Viking Longship is named for a figure in Norse mythology.

Fleet[edit]

Viking Freya sails through the Rhine Valley.

Viking River Cruises operated a fleet of 37 vessels in 2013 and will operate 52 in 2014. All of its ships have been built or fully renovated since 1999; 100% of the cabins are "outside" staterooms with picture windows, sliding doors ("French balconies") or full balconies ("verandas"). Other onboard amenities include restaurants, bars, lounges, libraries, sun decks, telephones and private bathrooms; most ships have additional in-room amenities like televisions, safes and refrigerators. All ships are air-conditioned. The company launched an unprecedented 10 ships at one time on March 20, 2013, earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.[14] As of 2014, more than two-thirds of the company’s European fleet are classed as "Viking Longships".

Ships cruising in Europe[edit]

Ship name Year built/refurbished Class Length Crew Guests Staterooms Comments
Viking Aegir 2012 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Alsvin 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Atla 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Baldur 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Bestla 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Bragi 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Buri 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Delling 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Eistla 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Embla 2012 Viking Longship 439.6 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Forseti 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Freya 2012 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Gullveig 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Heimdal 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Hermod 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Hlín 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Idi 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Idun 2012 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Ingvi 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Jarl 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Kara 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Kvasir 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Lif 2014 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 Launching 2014
Viking Magni 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Njord 2012 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Odin 2012 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Rinda 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Skadi 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Tor 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Var 2013 Viking Longship 443 feet 50 190 95 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Hemming 2014 Douro 262 feet 36 106 53 Launching 2014
Viking Torgil 2014 Douro 262 feet 36 106 53 Launching 2014
Viking Prestige 2011 Legend 443 feet 44 189 97 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Legend 2009 Legend 443 feet 44 189 97 diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Helvetia 2006 -- 433 feet 44 198 99 Sailing on the Rhine River
Viking Sun 2005 -- 433 feet 44 198 99 Sailing on the Rhine River
Viking Neptune 2001 -- 375 feet 40 150 75 Sailing on the Seine River
Viking Pride 2001 -- 375 feet 40 150 75 Sailing on the Seine River
Viking Spirit 2001 -- 375 feet 40 150 75 Sailing on the Seine River
Viking Sky 1999 -- 360 feet 35 150 75 Sailing on the Rhine, Main & Danube
Viking Fontane 1991/2010 -- 311 feet 28 110 55 Sailing on the Elbe River
Viking Schumann 1991/2011 -- 311 feet 28 110 60 Sailing on the Elbe River
Viking Douro 2011 -- 261 feet 30 124 62 Sailing on the Douro River

Ships cruising in Russia[edit]

Ship name Year built/refurbished Length Crew Guests Staterooms Comments
Viking Akun 1990/2014 423 feet 115 210 106 fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms
Viking Rurik 1990/2012 423 feet 105 196 98 fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms
Viking Ingvar 1990/2013 423 feet 115 210 106 fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms
Viking Truvor 1987/2013 423 feet 115 210 106 fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms
Viking Helgi 1984/2013 423 feet 115 210 106 fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms

Ships cruising in Ukraine[edit]

Ship name Year built/refurbished Length Crew Guests Staterooms Comments
Viking Sineus 1990/2014 423 feet 110 202 112 fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms

Ships cruising in Asia[edit]

Ship name Year built/refurbished Length Crew Guests Staterooms Comments
Viking Emerald 2011 361 feet 138 246 132 Yangtze River, China
Viking Mandalay 2002/2013 180 feet 28 60 30 Irrawaddy River, Myanmar (Burma)
Viking Mekong 2012 168 feet 25 60 30 Mekong River, Vietnam & Cambodia
Viking Sagaing 2011 168 feet 25 60 30 Irrawaddy River, Myanmar (Burma)

Ships cruising in Egypt[edit]

Ship name Year built/refurbished Length Crew Guests Staterooms Comments
MS Esplanade 2012 253 feet 75 150 75 Nile River, Egypt
MS Omar El Khayam 2007/2011 280 feet 75 160 80 Lake Nasser, Egypt

Ocean cruising[edit]

In 2013 Viking Cruises launched the first new cruise line in nearly a decade.[15] Viking’s ocean cruise division will begin sailing its first vessel, Viking Star, in 2015, and more ocean vessels are planned.[16] Initial ocean cruising destinations include Scandinavia and the Baltics, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Viking Star[edit]

Viking Star launches in 2015 (artist’s rendering)

Classified by Cruise Critic as a "small ship," the new 930-passenger all-veranda Viking Star has five stateroom categories, all with private verandas; two pools, a spa, multiple lounge and dining, and a theater. The ship, which is being built by Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, is designed with features including dual-fuel engines, a hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution.[citation needed]

Viking Star’s technical specifications[edit]

Length overall: 745.4 ft. (227.2m); beam 94.5 ft. (28.8m); draft 20.7 ft. (6.3m); gross tonnage (GRT) 47,800t.

References[edit]

External links[edit]