In theory, it was music to the ears of savvy travelers: take us to interesting places, in comfort, along with other well-traveled individuals we can relate to. A rather simple message that had served Viking Cruises well on the rivers of the world, applied to the world of ocean cruising. As one ship then two and now three have made a rather substantial splash as they hit the water, theory has become reality. Travelers like what they are actually experiencing in real time, bringing solid Viking growth.
“As we officially welcome our third ship to the fleet, it is a proud moment for the entire Viking family. We continue to see a positive response from our guests and the industry, which makes us confident in our future growth,” – Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises.
Dominating the Cruise Critic 2017 Cruisers’ Choice Awards was a substantial accomplishment, albeit not surprising. We have seen the result of the Viking ocean effort applied in several parts of the world frequented by other cruise lines. Brilliantly.
Like how Spring paints a fresh coat of lovely after the thaw of Winter, The Viking Way of exploration has brought new life to an industry that had lost its way. Not once. Not twice. Three times now with the launch of Viking Sky, sister ship to award-winning Viking Star and Viking Sea.
Viking Sky will sail maiden season itineraries throughout the Western and Eastern Mediterranean before touching base in Viking territory to sail Scandinavian and Baltic itineraries in the summer. The fall will bring Viking Sky across the Atlantic to finish out the year sailing itineraries in the Americas and the Caribbean.
A significant element of The Viking Way is an included, guided excursion in each port of call. Stop right there, think of what one might spend on the shore excursions of other cruise lines, and we see verifiable value. But that’s not even close to the total value brought by The Viking Way.
Start with a website rich in resources for planning travel. Verified in this space: online video depictions of the actual Viking experience exceed expectations. Preparation for travel continues along the way too, with well-schooled Viking travel partners engaging their clients throughout the booking and planning process. Once on the ships of Viking, destinations come alive in advance of the physical visit as appropriate enrichment efforts range from resident historians to destination-specific menus, activities and other programming put travelers in the best possible position to get the most out of their time ashore. And they do.
Surprising to us when sailing with Viking in the very familiar Caribbean: Viking travelers enjoyed not only the included tour but many chose an optional interest-specific excursion as well. Not surprising, the optional excursion program offers decidedly different experiences. Some examples include:
- The Hermitage Behind Closed Doors, St. Petersburg, Russia – Offered on the 15-day Viking Homelands itinerary, guests receive a Privileged Access view of the vaults of one of the world’s greatest art collections at the magnificent Hermitage Museum.
- Vistas, Vikings & The Village Woodturner, Torshavn, Faroe Islands – Available on the 15-day In the Wake of the Vikings itinerary, guests can gain insight into daily village life and the rich Viking heritage as they explore the village of Kvivik, site of a 10th-century Viking settlement.
- A Taste of Provence, Toulon, France – Guests on the 17-day Catalonia to Greece itinerary can enjoy a private cooking lesson at a magnificent 19th-century house in the scenic Provençal countryside from Michelin-star rated Master Chef of France, Monsieur Bérard.
- Nazareth & The Sea of Galilee, Haifa, Israel – Offered on the 15-day Cities of Antiquity & the Holy Land itinerary, guests can choose to visit some of the most important places in the life of Jesus on this fascinating excursion through Canaan, Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum and Tabgha.
- King Crab Safari, Honningsvåg, Norway – Available on the 15-day Into the Midnight Sun itinerary, guests can set off in a deep-sea raft into the pristine waters of Sarnesfjorden to catch their own king crab in this thrilling excursion.
- Evening Concert on the Island of Our Lady of the Rocks, Kotor, Montenegro – On the 10-day Empires of the Mediterranean itinerary, guests can embark on a boat for the island of Gospa od Škrpjela, or Our Lady of the Rocks, to enjoy an exclusive and intimate guitar recital by two eminent Montenegrin musicians, Darko Nikcevic and Srdjan Bultaovic.
Better yet, Viking Inclusive Value brings a small ship experience at a big ship value. The considerable list of inclusions:
- Veranda staterooms for all and all have an unobstructed view
- Shore excursions in each port of call
- The price you see is the price you pay, including all port charges, taxes and government fees
- All onboard meals are included and that brings a variety of choices, many of which would be extra on other cruise lines.
- Beer and wine are included with lunch and dinner service. Choices reflect destinations visited.
- Complimentary shipwide Wi-F
- Self-service laundry
- Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa