The clock was ticking, Guinness Book Of World Records adjudicator standing by, as Viking River Cruises eclipsed its own record, christening 18 longships in one day. A ginormous feat never attempted before by any other cruise line, it was business as usual for the company that did not even exist a short time ago.
“Today we mark a new milestone for Viking and for modern river cruising. We are proud to celebrate the arrival of our newest ships, and it is an honor to have each one named by a prominent godmother,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises in an Avignon, France ceremony that sealed the win.
Indeed, much like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America and Princess Cruises took the business of ocean cruising in a new direction decades ago, Viking River Cruises has single-handedly energized river cruising.
Bringing a lazy niche of the travel industry mainstream, travel professionals on hand cheered as what might have been thought impossible not long ago became reality. “River cruising is the fastest-growing segment of travel,” said Hagan, “and it is in large part because of the enthusiasm of our guests and travel trade partners that we have enjoyed such success.”
We reported that enthusiasm, witnessed aboard Viking Odin last summer on a 15-day Viking River Cruise where cruise travelers aboard agreed, the revolutionary Viking longships are the way to see Europe in style and comfort. Some had been on big ship ocean cruises before and liked Viking’s truly all inclusive style. Others had done Europe by land, flying from place to place, staying at a number of hotels and recognized the outstanding value of a Viking River Cruise. Nearly all agreed, it was their best travel experience ever and vowed to return again for more.
“Not bad for a company that did not even exist thirteen years ago,” said Hagan at a christening celebration held after the event. Not bad indeed and the future of Viking River Cruises looks to be equally as amazing. 2015 will see Viking entering the ocean cruise business with Viking Star, a 930-passenger ocean ship that will follow the same recipe for success as the all inclusive Viking river product.
That’s the headline. Taking you inside cruise vacations, here’s the story:
A great deal of Viking’s success comes from the passion for travel demonstrated by Hagan and evident on each Viking ship. Passion is a quality we like, respect and support in any business. In a world where dollars and cents seem to rule supreme over customer satisfaction, Viking has made both work together, a rare accomplishment that we don’t often see.
How powerful is passion in a travel company? Viking River Cruises began in 1997 with nothing. Now, Viking operates over 50 longships with 10,000 berths. In 2015, Viking will add Viking Star, a 938-passenger ocean ship that will take the same all-inclusive way of traveling to sea and be the first of what we predict to be a fleet of a dozen or more ships in a decade.
Vikings, it seems, are a passionate bunch.