Viking Cruises

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Viking Cruises
IndustryTravel and Tourism
Founded1997 (1997)
HeadquartersWoodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
ProductsRiver cruises and Ocean cruises
  (Redirected from Viking River Cruises)
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Viking Cruises
IndustryTravel and Tourism
Founded1997 (1997)
HeadquartersWoodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
ProductsRiver cruises and Ocean cruises

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 sales and marketing 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. The cruises are marketed as being unique from other tours in that they provide vacationers views and access to areas that they otherwise could only visit by driving on their own or by taking a bus tour. Suggested advantage of the river tour is the chance to see the best of the big cities and villages, in a relaxing, affordable and scenic mode of travel. Travelers unpack just once and enjoy scenic cruising on wide, smooth rivers instead of enduring extensive bus rides or long days at sea without scenery.

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 fully escorted tours in China and Russia. Shore excursions showcase the history, culture, art and architecture of the visited cities.[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 staterooms 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.


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 staterooms 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 Viking Longships.

Ships cruising in Europe[edit]

Ship nameYear built/refurbishedClassLengthCrewGuestsStateroomsComments
Viking Aegir2012Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Alsvin2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Atla2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Baldur2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Bestla2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Bragi2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Buri2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Delling2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Eistla2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Embla2012Viking Longship439.6 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Forseti2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Freya2012Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Gullveig2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Heimdal2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Hermod2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Hlín2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Idi2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Idun2012Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Ingvi2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Jarl2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Kara2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Kvasir2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Lif2014Viking Longship443 feet5019095Launching 2014
Viking Magni2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Njord2012Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Odin2012Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Rinda2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Skadi2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Tor2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Var2013Viking Longship443 feet5019095diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Hemming2014Douro262 feet3610653Launching 2014
Viking Torgil2014Douro262 feet3610653Launching 2014
Viking Prestige2011Legend443 feet4418997diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Legend2009Legend443 feet4418997diesel-electric hybrid engines
Viking Helvetia2006--433 feet4419899Sailing on the Rhine River
Viking Sun2005--433 feet4419899Sailing on the Rhine River
Viking Neptune2001--375 feet4015075Sailing on the Seine River
Viking Pride2001--375 feet4015075Sailing on the Seine River
Viking Spirit2001--375 feet4015075Sailing on the Seine River
Viking Sky1999--360 feet3515075Sailing on the Rhine, Main & Danube
Viking Fontane1991/2010--311 feet2811055Sailing on the Elbe River
Viking Schumann1991/2011--311 feet2811060Sailing on the Elbe River
Viking Douro2011--261 feet3012462Sailing on the Douro River

Ships cruising in Russia[edit]

Ship nameYear built/refurbishedLengthCrewGuestsStateroomsComments
Viking Akun1990/2014423 feet115210106fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms
Viking Rurik1990/2012423 feet10519698fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms
Viking Ingvar1990/2013423 feet115210106fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms
Viking Truvor1987/2013423 feet115210106fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms
Viking Helgi1984/2013423 feet115210106fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms

Ships cruising in Ukraine[edit]

Ship nameYear built/refurbishedLengthCrewGuestsStateroomsComments
Viking Sineus1990/2014423 feet110202112fully refurbished with suites & veranda staterooms

Ships cruising in Asia[edit]

Ship nameYear built/refurbishedLengthCrewGuestsStateroomsComments
Viking Emerald2011361 feet138246132Yangtze River, China
Viking Mandalay2002/2013180 feet286030Irrawaddy River, Myanmar (Burma)
Viking Mekong2012168 feet256030Mekong River, Vietnam & Cambodia
Viking Sagaing2011168 feet256030Irrawaddy River, Myanmar (Burma)

Ships cruising in Egypt[edit]

Ship nameYear built/refurbishedLengthCrewGuestsStateroomsComments
MS Esplanade2012253 feet7515075Nile River, Egypt
MS Omar El Khayam2007/2011280 feet7516080Lake Nasser, Egypt

Ocean cruising[edit]

Drawing on its river cruising experience and based on requests and feedback from river cruise guests, in 2013 Viking Cruises launched the travel industry’s first new cruise line in nearly a decade.[15] Developed from the ground up to return the focus of cruising to the destination, Viking’s ocean cruise division will begin sailing its first vessel, Viking Star, in 2015, and more ocean vessels are planned.[16] Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said, "It is our view that in the race to build bigger ships, many cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail. We are applying the same principles behind our award-winning river cruises to our itinerary and ship design; privileged-access excursions; and onboard experiences to make destinations the true focus."[17] 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 is engineered at a scale that allows for easy, efficient embarkation and debarkation. The ship’s design expands on Viking’s signature understated Scandinavian interiors, and features five stateroom categories, all with private verandas; two pools, a spa, multiple lounge and dining choices, and a theater. The ship, which is being built by Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, is designed with environmental features including dual-fuel engines, a hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull for maximum fuel efficiency, onboard solar panels, and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

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.


External links[edit]