8 Ways Viking Cruises is Conquering the World
Photo by Jason Leppert
Viking Cruises and its Viking River Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises brands are booming. Not only is their river product the most ubiquitous in Europe, now they are on track to transform the face of ocean cruising with the acclaimed new Viking Star, next headed for North America and the Caribbean, and five more cruise ships on the way. Is the next step for Viking world domination?
Let’s do the math.
They Have Strength in Numbers
Currently, Viking River Cruises sails an impressive 60 vessels, 40 of which are the line’s signature new Viking Longships, and another six of the latest design are scheduled to come online in 2016. Plus, the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy recently announced an agreement with Viking Ocean Cruises to build another two sister ships for the line, bringing the total fleet count to six by 2020. What’s more, Torstein Hagen, founder and chairman of Viking Cruises, has expressed an interest in growing that number to 10 oceangoing cruise ships. Clearly, the company is well on their way towards achieving that goal.
They’re Crossing the Pond
Just this week, Viking Ocean Cruises revealed plans to bring the inclusive Viking Star to North America and the Caribbean for an introductory season with five unique itineraries – including two transatlantic crossings, a fall foliage exploration of New England and nine 11-day roundtrips from San Juan, Puerto Rico – from September 2016 to February 2017. By then, the line’s second ship, the Viking Sea, launching in March 2016, will be covering the European sailings.
“We have always had a vision to reinvent ocean cruising – to bring destinations back to the forefront of the itinerary and to build ships that are designed to help our guests better explore their destinations,” said Hagen. “We launched our ocean cruises in Europe earlier this year, and just as the Viking explorers before us, we are now looking across the Atlantic for new discoveries. Our new itineraries in North America and the Caribbean will offer travelers experiences that broaden their horizons both on and off the ship.”
Fulfilling that promise are extensive new itineraries up to 15 days in length, which feature at least one complimentary shore excursion in every port. Viking details the sailings as follows:
In the Wake of the Vikings (15 days; Bergen to Montreal) – Trace the route of Viking Leif Eriksson, setting off from his homeland, Norway, sailing from the old mercantile city of Bergen to the rustic Shetland Islands of Scotland the Faroe Islands, once home to the Viking Parliament.
Witness the magnificent natural beauty of Iceland and Greenland; then, as Eriksson before you, land at Newfoundland, where L’Anse aux Meadows reveals evidence of Norse settlements. Sail on to Quebec, with explorations of Saguenay and Quebec City, before arriving in Montreal. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $6,499 per person. Sailing Date: September 18, 2016.
Eastern Seaboard Explorer (13 days; Montreal to New York) – Witness the shores of Canada and New England come alive with fall’s vibrant hues during this once-annual sailing. From cosmopolitan Montreal, cruise the St. Lawrence River to French-flavored Quebec City. Learn about Canada’s colonial past in Saguenay and about its Scottish and Acadian heritage on Prince Edward Island and in Halifax.
An overnight in Boston gives you ample time to visit its historic treasures. Then, enjoy a rare crossing of the Cape Cod Canal en route to New York City, where you’ll experience the highlights of Manhattan. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $4,999 per person. Sailing Date: October 2, 2016.
Eastern Seaboard to the West Indies (15 days; New York to San Juan) – Trace the Atlantic seaboard of the United States into the Caribbean, calling on an array of vibrant capitals and lush islands. An overnight in exhilarating New York City lets you take in its dazzling sights. Then explore Newport’s grand mansions and Baltimore’s historic riches. Immerse yourself in colonial Jamestown from our port in Norfolk, and enjoy an overnight stay amid the coastal beauty of Port Everglades. Then explore the lush and lively Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos, Antigua and St. Thomas. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $4,999 per person. Sailing Date: October 14, 2016.
West Indies Explorer (11 days; San Juan to San Juan) – After time to explore the colonial treasures of San Juan, Puerto Rico, immerse yourself in the British, French and Dutch cultures of the Lesser Antilles. Take in the steep green hills of Tortola and Antigua. Explore settlement towns on St. Lucia and Barbados. Witness the rainforest beauty of Guadeloupe and the rich past of St. Kitts.
And marvel at the French and Dutch sides of St. Martin and the splendid vistas of St. Thomas. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $2,999 per person. Sailing Dates: October 28, November 7, December 17 and December 27, 2016; January 6, January 16, January 26, February 5 and February 15, 2017.
West Indies to Iberia (18 days; San Juan to Barcelona) – Embark in colonial San Juan, and call upon the Dutch side of St. Martin. Then, enjoy a leisurely six-day trans-Atlantic crossing, savoring the offerings onboard Viking Star. You’ll make landfall on the garden-draped Portuguese island of Madeira and visit the French-inflected Moroccan city of Casablanca before exploring Spain in Cádiz, Valencia and finally, Barcelona. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $3,299. Sailing Date: February 25, 2017.
All Rivers Lead to The Ocean
With so many new vessels yet to come online, the long-term future of Viking Cruises appears to be a bright one indeed. While the above itineraries are seasonal for now, year-round deployments to the Caribbean seem very likely once six to ten ocean ships are setting sail. After all, Viking River Cruises is set to introduce six variations of its Viking Longships to the Mississippi River, departing from New Orleans, Louisiana beginning in late 2017. Surely, it’s only a matter of time before Viking Ocean Cruises sails from the Big Easy as well so that guests can combine back-to-back river and ocean cruises.
Beyond that, it’s feasible to expect the Vikings anywhere from Alaska to South America. Only time will tell.
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