Viking River Cruises announce the launch of its ocean cruise line.

I have used Viking River Cruises as a case study on numerous occasions, to illustrate how it is possible to use outstanding ‘customer service’ as the strategic driver to business development and success. Well, their remarkable expansion continues. Following their world record breaking christening of 10 new Longships for river cruising, back in March, Viking have just announced the introduction of the travel industry’s first new ocean cruise line in nearly a decade. This is big news for those interested in cruising.

Developed from the ground up to return the focus of cruising to the destination, Viking Ocean Cruises will begin sailing in May 2015 with its first vessel—the 928 passenger Viking Star—embarking on maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Viking Cruises has aggressive plans in both the ocean and river cruise categories, with a second ocean ship on order for delivery in 2016 and 12 more new river ships planned to launch in 2014.

UK Managing Director, Wendy Atkin-Smith told me: “We are very excited about the introduction of Viking’s new ocean ship; allowing us to offer our customers the chance to experience even more destinations in style and comfort.  We look forward to launching to the UK market later in the summer and until then we continue to focus on our ever popular river product and the overwhelming demand for the new Longships.”  

Leveraging extensive feedback and input from Viking River Cruise passengers, Viking Ocean Cruises was developed with experienced travellers in mind. Itineraries are planned for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights. , so guests can experience local nightlife or evening performances. Ports will particularly appeal to those with an interest in history, art and culture. In addition, they will offer all-inclusive pricing, with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all on board meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Passengers will also receive many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner, wi-fi; self-service laundry and 24-hour room service.