As a result of strong customer demand, Viking Ocean Cruises today announced it will launch two additional ocean ships, bringing the total number of ships in its new fleet to three. Viking Sea and Viking Sky will both debut in 2016 and will be sister ships to the 930-passenger Viking Star, which is currently under construction and will set sail in early 2015. Like their sister ship, Viking Sea and Viking Sky will sail in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean – as well as two new itineraries for 2016 that explore the British Isles.
It was just one year ago that Viking announced its plans to expand into the ocean cruise segment, marking the travel industry’s first new ocean cruise line in nearly a decade. With Viking Star’s 2015 maiden season now more than 70 percent sold out – and sales of 2016 sailings well underway – the company is expanding both its ocean and river product lines aggressively to meet increased traveler demand for destination-focused cruises. This announcement comes directly on the heels of Viking’s news last month that it will launch 12 new river vessels in 2015, bringing the company’s total river fleet to 64 vessels.
“The introduction of Viking Star next year will represent a distinct change in ocean cruising—an alternative to the mega-liners dominating the world’s ports,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “It is our view that in the race to build enormous ships, some cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail. Based on the incredible response we have received, it is clear that our guests want a new experience to truly explore their destinations.”
Leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruises passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travelers in mind. Itineraries are curated for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports include both cosmopolitan cities and “collector ports,” and appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides unparalleled value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; wi-fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.
From breakingtravelnews.com May 16, 2014