5 Secret Reasons Why The Viking Empire Is Expanding

Included in the price of a Viking River cruise is just about everything needed to enable a quality travel experience. A tour of each place visited along the way is standard fare as are Beer, wine and soft drinks with meals. Complementary unlimited satellite Internet access is part of the deal too, among other features. All of the above are well advertised, setting a clear expectation for Viking passengers. Still, benefits of traveling with Viking River Cruises are slipped in to exceed expectations and are probably a considerable factor in passenger satisfaction. These little things may very well be one of the main reasons for the company’s phenomenal growth.

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Ending a day in Passau, Germany the Taste of Austria dinner foreshadowed what we would experience the next day in Vienna

Galley Dinner
Viking takes passengers behind otherwise closed doors, inviting them into the ship’s galley where they find the first of a number of buffets set up around the ship. Going from station to station, the event provides a behind-the-scenes look at their culinary department, themed to the current itinerary.

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A featured dessert on the Taste of Austria dinner; a Sacher Torte. Two days from this event we would be in Vienna where the Sacher Torte was born.

Called the Taste Of Austria dinner on our Romantic Danube itinerary, we entered a spotless production area that reminded me of when we were in the restaurant business, expecting a health inspection. I’m pretty sure we could have eaten off the floor with no adverse results.

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Our last day in Germany, it seemed only fair to include a good German beer on the menu.

Throw in some local musicians, period costumed crew and more ‘stations’ set up throughout the Viking longship and this interesting event proved to be a big hit with passengers.

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Onboard language lessons might not have taught us how t read these signs, but enabled communication skills that would direct us to someone who could.

Language Lessons
We have talked here before about the rich collection of video offered by Viking that covers much of the experience, quite accurately. Some of those videos offer a few words to know in the language of places visited on Viking River Cruise itineraries. Still, an in-person lesson on board means more and produces better results.

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Focusing on words that look a lot like what they mean was an effective way to teach us some basic German.

On board, passengers ask questions, get answers and have a two-way dialogue that produces very good results. We try to learn a few words of the local language before arriving at a new destination with limited success. Learning some basic words that will help us navigate a foreign land, on the ship, in the country, works much better.

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With so much of the Viking experience weighted off ship, the rapidly-expanding river cruise company takes the actual experience received by their guests uber-seriously.

Green Cards/Red Cards
Much of the Viking experience is focused on the places visited on their diverse itinerary offerings as opposed to onboard features and attractions. Appropriately, Viking wants to insure that those off ship experiences go well. Beyond having a bus ready at a certain time, taking passengers to iconic landmarks and getting them back safely, Viking wants guest feedback, while the experience is fresh in their minds.

Available at the ship’s reception desk, green-colored comment cards to complement an exceptional tour guide along with red-colored cards to report a guide that falls short of spectacular.

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One of the few opportunities to add bonus value to a Viking River Cruise, a $100 certificate gets $200-worth of payment on an existing booking.

On Board Booking Credit
Viking River Cruises are available only through travel agents or by calling Viking directly. Online sales are not an option. There is no click-to-buy manner of booking directly with Viking, although they do allow some Internet Cruise Brokers to offer their travel products. Still, once sold and sailing, Viking passengers can buy $100 certificates good for $200 off the price of a future cruise.

This is not a variation of the future cruise booking option offered by ocean cruise lines that takes care of the deposit or grants onboard credit. Still, getting $200 worth of payment for $100 is a no-brainer for happy passengers who think they might sail with Viking again. I bet they will.

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The time to book a Viking cruise is now as most sailings sell out far in advance

The Future
Regular readers know Viking River Cruises has added more ships in the last few years than all other river cruise lines combined. We talk about that growth quite a bit here, covering their inaugural events with great detail. Coming up, Viking River Cruises transitions from the world’s most popular river cruise line into simply ‘Viking Cruises’ as they enter the world of specialty ocean cruises.

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In Passau, Germany we visited Simon Bakery where the senior Simon works alongside his son to insure success of the business in the future.

There is something to be said for doing business with a company that is red-hot and going places, making ‘the future’ a solid benefit of sailing with Viking right now. Well, not right now really; most Viking sailings are sold out much farther in advance than other cruise lines. Even with launching 18 new Viking longships this year and another 10 in 2015, the line has still not caught up with demand.

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Requested by passengers, Viking River Cruises will transistion into simply ‘Viking Cruises’ when they launch their first ocean-going ship in 2015.


In 2015, Viking Star will debut, followed by two more sister-ships in as many years. Like the Viking longships, Viking ocean ships will also be a revolutionary design, inspired by what they do on the river. Complementary in the ocean too will be a tour of each place visited, Beer, wine and soft drinks with meals and complementary unlimited satellite Internet, among other features.

There are a bunch of other ‘little things’ that help fuel the growth of Viking River Cruises and keep their guests coming back for more. Let’s face it; who doesn’t want to get more than they bargained for? But take away all of the above and a Viking river cruise is still a stand-alone great travel value.


-Follow along a number of ways on our Christmas Markets Romantic Danube river cruise, hosted by Viking River Cruises:  

NEW- The social focus of this sailing is bringing you some interesting, different and engaging elements to our normal event coverage.

  • Via Instagram (http://instagram.com/chriscruises), look for at least one photo post every half hour during the 8-day Viking River Cruise.
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