Viking River Cruises is certainly giving the industry a lot to look forward to. When Mike Wiersema, Vice President of National Accounts took the stage at Vacation.com's 15th International Conference and Trade Show, he wowed the audience with a slew of exciting announcements.
First up, the company is setting out to build 31 new river cruise ships in three years. Next year alone will say hello to 12 new Viking Longships, two new ships built for the Douro River in Portugal and one new ship in Russia, the Viking Akun.
But perhaps the most exciting announcement was that Viking will no longer be looking to conquer just rivers. The Vikings are taking to the seas. Wiersema was able to share more details with Travel Agent about Viking Ocean (which, together with Viking River will be known as Viking Cruises).
The first ship to debut will be the MS Viking Star, a 928-passenger vessel with all veranda cabins. Viking Ocean will be small ship cruising with great value and emphasis on function, comfort and elegance. Food will be a major focus, as will shore excursions and onboard programs. And, like Viking River Cruises, there will be no NCFs.
Viking Ocean is designed for the 55+ crowd. The cruises will be English speaking and for the well-educated, affluent, curious and active. Onboard guests will see a lobby atrium, lobby bar, Wintergarden for tea and coffee, a two-deck Explorer's Lounge, Aquavit Terrace, infinity pool and a LivNordic Spa. (We hear the spa will have an ice room with real snow.)
There will be six different room categories, the largest capping out at 1,448 square feet. Lastly, there will be no casino on board.