Viking Cruises was founded by Chairman Torstein Hagen in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. In 2000, the company purchased Europe’s KD River Cruises in order to grow its fleet, to leverage 40 years of river cruising experience and to acquire rights to prime docking locations in key European cities.
Under the Viking River Cruises brand, the company expanded into the American market in 2000, establishing US headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Through rapid expansion, the company has grown to be the world’s leading river cruise line, with double-digit growth in recent years.
With operational headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Viking provides destination-centric river and ocean cruising designed for experienced and curious travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. Each journey includes daily shore excursions, and an exclusive Viking Culture Curriculum program that provides deep immersion in the destination through performances of music and art, cooking demonstrations, informative port talks and carefully selected guest lecturers.
River Ships and Itineraries
Viking River Cruises award-winning Longships offer a variety of stateroom categories and true two-room suites with full-size verandas. Onboard amenities include a restaurant, bar & lounge, library and expansive sun deck. The ships feature an elegant Scandinavian design and “green” features, such as solar panels, an onboard organic herb garden and energy-efficient hybrid engines for a remarkably smooth ride.
River cruises range from 8 to 23 days, with itineraries featuring Europe’s Rhine, Main, Danube, Seine, Rhône, Douro, Moselle, Elbe, Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers; Russia’s Volga, Neva and Svir; Egypt’s Nile; China’s Yangtze; and Southeast Asia’s Mekong.
Ocean Ships and Itineraries
In 2015, Viking introduced its first ocean ship with the christening of the 930-guest all-veranda Viking Star. In 2016, Viking launched its second ocean ship, Viking Sea, and will launch four additional sister ships in the coming years, including Viking Sky and Viking Sun in 2017, Viking Spirit in 2018, and the sixth, yet-to-be-named ship, in 2019.
Viking Ocean Cruises award-winning ships are engineered at a size that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Each ship boasts a private veranda in every stateroom, a choice of restaurants offering a variety of fine dining options, the most al fresco dining at sea, an infinity pool, a Nordic-inspired spa, panoramic Explorers’ Lounge and carefully curated book collections throughout the ship, and more–all designed in understated elegance.
Base ocean cruises range from 8 to 15 days, with itineraries designed to maximize the amount of time travelers spend in their destination. Destinations include Scandinavia and the Baltic; the western and eastern Mediterranean; the British Isles; and North America and the Caribbean, as well as combination cruises of those itineraries available ranging from 22 to 50 days.
The fourth ship, Viking Sun, will spend her maiden season sailing the company’s first-ever world cruise, spanning 141 days and visiting five continents, 35 countries and 66 ports, with 12 port overnights. Starting in 2018, the fifth ship, Viking Spirit, will embark on journeys in the Middle East, Australia, Asia and Alaska.