UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
So we did our homework, consulted a number of recommended sources and booked what we hope will be a fabulous cruise vacation. We might have used a travel agent, booked directly with the cruise line or some online source. However we got to this point, we did, we’re happy about it and now we wait. On other cruise lines. Not on Viking Cruises. By booking we have become Viking Explorers and prepared Viking explorers begin and end the experience in a number of unique ways.
The road to adventure for Viking Explorers, either on a Viking River Cruise or Viking Ocean Cruise might start in their mailbox. Colorful brochures provide tantalizing summaries of interesting itineraries, life as a Viking Explorer and money-saving offers. Turn that switch on one time and the flow of coffee table quality catalogs begins. Significant here, that’s the first on a list of things other cruise lines no longer do. The other guys may have electronic catalogs available, but don’t take the time or go to the expense necessary to put one in your hands, frequently. Don’t want to cut down a tree for your Viking brochure? Viking has electronic versions too.
Deciding which Viking cruise itinerary to choose is sometimes easy, sometimes more difficult either helped or hindered by online resources for prepared Viking Explorers. A rich collection of video resources depicts an accurate representation of what we have experienced traveling with Viking both on rivers and in oceans. Far more interesting and detailed than the short attention span efforts of many other cruise lines, Viking’s video collection presents a quality of the Viking operation unlike any other: they respect our intelligence. Rather than a travel experience set to satisfy the lowest common denominator, Viking challenges travelers to get the most out of travel and provides the tools to do just that.
Exploration Is Not A Static Experience
While traveling through history and visiting associated iconic landmarks in comfort with like-minded fellow travelers may be what attracts Viking explorers initially, it’s simply a starting place. What Viking does is always evolving in every aspect of operations. Frankly, the process of becoming a prepared Viking Explorer I am describing today will not be the same a year from now. It will be even better. Case in point: Viking’s new Exploring More standalone web site features a collection of short films aimed to engage travelers in an entirely different way. This is Viking shouting from the mountaintop: We mean business when it comes to destinations. Video resources mentioned above are extremely helpful in making the buying decision then moving along to initial planning. Viking’s Exploring More web site is singularly focused on destinations.
Outstanding Value Verified, Now Forget That
A number of Viking Advantages make a Viking River Cruise or Viking Ocean Cruise an outstanding value. Including beer, wine and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner as well as specialty coffees, teas and bottled water is good. Shipwide complimentary Wi-Fi is appreciated as well. That every port of call includes an interesting excursion highlights Vikings commitment to engaging their prepared Viking Explorers. On rivers or in oceans, Viking wants all who travel with them to connect with destinations. As a result, booking in inside cabin without a view is not an option. Add in 24-hour room service to get excited about again and specialty restaurants that carry no cover charge for bonus value. It’s a value that can easily add up to over $200 per person without trying.
Let The Exploration Begin
Very shortly after booking, preparation begins to make your Viking journey a stellar travel experience, on a Viking website of the same name. Also early on in the process comes an email from Karine Hagen, Senior Vice President of Viking Cruises. If we did our homework up to this point, Ms Hagen is already familiar as the friendly person who guides us through that extensive collection of video on the Viking River Cruise or Viking Ocean Cruise website as well as the Exploring More collection of short films.
Thank you for choosing to travel with us on your upcoming cruise. I always feel that a journey starts long before I leave home, and that the better informed I am before setting off, the more I get out of my trip.To that end, we have collected some of our short cultural insight videos, most of them hosted by me, sharing with you my favorite people, places and traditions, recipes, reading lists and more. We will be sending you these emails periodically before you travel, and hope you will find them both interesting and useful, and that they help ensure that you have an even more meaningful experience on your trip with us.
A few words of thanks and welcome here >VIEW VIDEO
With thanks and best regards,
Sr. Vice President
But First Let’s Review
Very early on in the process of becoming a prepared Viking Explorer, once the booking has been made, Viking reviews and presents your itinerary again. Not just with a simple itinerary pasted on the bottom of an invoice, but with details of the proposed itinerary we have selected and deposited.
And The Preparation Continues In Meaningful Ways
Other cruise lines do have a series of emails they send out along the way, between booking and boarding. They may introduce the Captain in one, the Cruise Director in another with promises that they are looking forward to meeting us upon arrival. We know odds are that won’t really happen but it’s a nice touch anyway. A substantial difference that prepared Viking Explorers know well: they do not promise anything they can not deliver. As vivid as the experience is described in advance, what actually happens to us on the way to and during a Viking voyage exceeds our expectations a far higher percentage of the time than on any other cruise line. Period.
It begins with the My Viking Journey website where immediate access to your booking happens from the start. Like Princess Cruises Cruise Personalizer or Royal Caribbean International’s Cruise Planner, personal information and documentation requirements can be completed. Odds are your travel agent already did this though. But that’s about the only commonality between My Viking Journey and the efforts of other cruise lines, mainly because Viking is not like any other cruise line and to compare would be unfair.
Example: A marvelous tour is included at each port of call but different times are available. Prepared Viking Explorers can choose a convenient time, online and in advance.
Experienced travelers know booking far in advance is the way to go, especially for lifetime quality travel experiences. Prepared Viking Travelers most often do that as well. Capitalizing on the average amount of time between booking and traveling, another asset shared is a voyage-specific Filmography.
GO ON LOCATION WITH A VIKING FILMOGRAPHY
“Films provide a vivid window into your travels, especially when their settings shine through as a main character. Such is the case with many of these films—whether biographies or histories, comedies or dramas. We hope these selections will complement your travel experience, inspire your wanderlust and provide a cultural lens through which to view a place.”
Preparing for our upcoming Caribbean sailing with Viking Ocean Cruises we select “Caribbean” from the list and find an interesting mix of films to explore along the way:
This resource is right along the lines of suggested reading we enjoyed before our Viking River Cruise through Southern France. Verified by our actual experience: that pre-travel information, combined with viewing Viking’s rich video collection brought a far greater appreciation for what we were experiencing, as it happened. Then, we had to hunt for those suggested titles. In another example of how Viking is always trying to improve what they do, now we get that information in advance, not long after the suggested film list.
All Of The Above And Why You Should Care
The choice of which cruise line to do business with commonly considers itinerary and price in an attempt to match a particular sailing with the time we have available for travel. Those considerations obviously hold true for Viking Cruises as well. Far different from other cruise lines though is Viking’s intense and genuine interest in our experience from beginning to end. Prepared Viking Explorers gain far more from the experience from the moment they book, throughout the planning process, live on the adventure and after, in reflection.