If you have never heard of Viking Cruises then you live in a hole, never receive mail, don’t watch TV, have internet or listen the radio. Bottomline, all the river cruise lines have Viking to thank for raising the awareness of river cruising. They brilliantly did a sponsorship on PBS with the popular show Downton Abbey which only further increased its awareness and started putting more heads in beds on their ships and what we love, getting people to explore new parts of the world.
When you are on a river cruise, you will most likely always see a Viking ship. Their fleet includes a class they call their Longships which are powered by diesel-electric hybrid engines. Overall, their ships hold more passengers than other river cruise lines. By end of 2014, Viking will boast an impressive total of 52 ships in their fleet. That’s pretty amazing! They are even in the Guinness Book of World Records for launching the most ships at one time – a total of 10 on March 20, 2013. Clearly, numbers are a big thing for Viking.
The Viking experience really focuses on the destinations. Their cruises aren’t completely all-inclusive but do include wine and beer and soda at meals and at least one complimentary shore excursion at the various stops. The groups will tend to be a bit larger than some of the other ships.
What you may not know is Viking is also adding ocean going ships to their fleet. They actually changed their name from Viking River Cruises to Viking Cruises in 2013 to reflect this change. It will be interesting to see how they make the expansion into this competitive market. They plan to keep the destination the key part of the cruise where other ocean lines are building more focus around the actual ship than the destinations.