Viking and Fincantieri shipbuilding yard agree on a deal for six new ocean ships

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Viking has agreed to a deal with Fincantieri Shipyard to build six new ocean ships.

The agreement with the Italian manufacturer for the new vessels would increase the ship’s ocean fleet to 16 if all the options are taken up.

Viking revealed the six additional ships will be delivered between 2024 and 2027.

In a statement, Viking said the agreement is subject to “specific conditions”.

The announcement comes ahead of Viking’s officially naming its fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun, on March 8 in Shanghai.

The ocean fleet will welcome two more ships in the next two years, including Viking Orion in June 2018.

Ten additional ships are now on order for delivery starting in 2021, which will bring the ocean fleet to 16 vessels by 2027.

Torstein Hagen, Viking’s chairman, said the latest ship order from the line was in response to the positive feedback Viking had from its passengers and the industry.

He said: “As we continue to expand our brand, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration.”

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Ocean-river combos alluring option for cruise lovers

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It seems like something true cruise enthusiasts could really get onboard with: the marriage of a blue water sailing with one that ventures into the inland waterways.

So, it comes as little surprise that the one company with a solid stake in both the ocean and river markets, Viking, quietly launched itineraries that combine an ocean and river cruise.

Viking currently has three itineraries it calls its Ocean & River Voyages. The 15-day Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords combines a Rhine river cruise with a North Sea sailing (with both 2018 and 2019 departure dates); the 22-day Grand European & Viking Fjords combines a Danube, Rhine and Main cruise with a North Sea sailing (with departures in 2019); and the 18-day Rhine and Amsterdam to Catalonia brings together a Rhine cruise with a sailing along the Atlantic Ocean (with departures in 2018).

It’s an approach worth watching as a slowly growing number of cruise lines build and offer both ocean and river products. In addition to Viking, Crystal Cruises now has vessels that sail both blue and inland waters, and Scenic is gearing up to make its first foray into ocean cruising with the launch of the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse this summer.

On a smaller scale, Pandaw River Cruises has started to offer coastal sailings in Southeast Asia in addition to its numerous river cruises on the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers. Closer to home, American Cruise Lines has cruises both along the U.S. and Canada coastlines as well as on U.S. rivers, and UnCruise offers a Columbia and Snake river sailing in addition to its numerous coastal cruises. French river cruise company CroisiEurope has some coastal ships as well. Since for the most part, river cruises can’t go where ocean cruises can and vice versa, it seems the two would work well together as a combined offering for passengers that have the time and the willingness to experience two very different types of cruising.

Perhaps for Viking, there’s a larger goal at play with the combination cruises, too. Travel Weekly’s cruise editor Tom Stieghorst recently reported that Viking’s senior vice president of marketing Richard Marnell admitted that one of Viking Ocean’s core challenges is that the Viking name is still associated primarily with river cruises. Combining the company’s ocean and river offerings could be seen as a way to introduce those river cruisers to the ocean product.

For companies with access to both markets, the opportunity to cross-market and introduce river cruisers to the oceans and ocean cruisers to the rivers is definitely an advantage worth weighing. While some might argue that they are very different markets with distinct passengers, river cruise line surveys of their passengers often find that many of them are ocean cruisers as well, suggesting that there is a potential marketplace for the ocean-river combination cruise.

Viking Cruises Kicks Off 20th Anniversary Celebration

Viking Cruises Kicks Off 20th Anniversary Celebration

PHOTO: Viking Cruises founder and chairman Torstein Hagen in front of a Viking Longship under construction. (photo courtesy of Viking Cruises)
 

Viking Cruises is celebrating its 20th anniversary of operation this year, and a new video showcases its founder and chairman Torstein Hagen reminiscing about the company’s humble beginnings and great success since.

“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 Hagen, in a press release.

“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.”

Altogether, Viking Cruises now consists of two brands: Viking River Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises. The journey began with the former and just four riverboats in Russia but that has now accumulated into a fleet of acclaimed Viking Longships, another two of which were just launched this March.

The company’s first three ocean ships have been equally applauded since coming online in 2015. Now, another five 930-guest sister-ships are scheduled, with options for an additional two.

By 2019, Viking will become the largest small ship ocean cruise line.

Among the many recent awards won by Viking, Town & Country called Viking Ocean Cruises “Best for Design” and “Best Overall, Contemporary Luxury,” as well as Viking River Cruises “Best for Suites” and “Best for Design” in its Cruise Awards. Plus, Viking has received top honors in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” and “Readers’ Choice Awards” and in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards.”


Above Video. Celebrating 20 Years of Exploration ~ 20th Anniversary ~ Viking Cruises

Viking differentiators include more intimate vessels on the world’s rivers and oceans, along with more overall time spent and overnight calls in destinations. Cultural enrichment also focuses on Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

Viking’s unique river and ocean value proposition features a free shore excursion in every port, onboard meals and all port charges and government taxes. Also included in the cruise fare are beer and wine at lunch and dinner; always available coffee, tea and bottled water; and unlimited Wi-Fi internet access.

Ocean ship guests additionally get complimentary alternative restaurant dining, self-service laundry, LivNordic Spa thermal suite access and 24-hour room service.