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“If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em” – Viking River & Ocean Cruises

Many of my fellow Travel Advisors used to scorn Viking River & Ocean Cruises since they are the biggest cruise line in the world with 100 ships and there was some animosity towards them since they seemingly wanted to only sell directly to the public rather than work through Travel Agents. I have since learned that Viking actually embraces Travel Agents and wants to work with us since we are able to bring value to them as they do to the travel business as well. This is why I entitled my blog, “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em”.  It’s a little tongue in cheek but I think, quite appropriate.

Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises - Greenwich (London) England

Viking is obviously the best-known brand out there for river cruising, in particular, but also ocean cruising since they’ve done so much television advertising. They’ve ultimately helped the cruising industry, especially river cruising, and I very much appreciate this myself. They happen to also be one of my host agency’s preferred partners along with AmaWaterways and they’re also a Virtuoso partner as well, as is AmaWaterways. With these endorsements, there’s no question that Viking is a very good option and so I’ve decided to focus on them this week.

Photo courtesy of Viking - Atrium of Viking River Cruise Ship

Viking is a Global Brand that has been in business since 1997.  They have 27 years of experience and innovation. They are the world’s leading river cruise company. They actually started their river cruise sailings in Russia of all places on the rivers there. It was initially a truly niche product. They quickly expanded to the European market, though, and have since become a force to be reckoned with.

They are now a multi-billion-dollar, award winning company with over 10,000 employees worldwide, sailing 18 rivers, 5 oceans, the 5 Great Lakes and having itineraries in all 7 continents. They have something for almost everyone. Their target market is 55+ and their ships are adults only. You have to be 18 or over to travel with them. Their demographic includes experienced travelers often doing 4-5 trips per year, they’re well educated, affluent, curious & active and their average age is 65.

Photo courtesy of Viking - Aquavit Terrace Guest Dining on the Ocean

Their ocean cruises are considered Premium luxury and they have smaller ships with less then 1000 passengers. A size that I tend to prefer. They don’t have casinos on board, have no formal nights or butlers and they don’t like to nickel and dime their clients. Their inclusions are one excursion per port, Wi-Fi, taxes & fees, wine and beer with lunch and dinner and more. “Their Silver Spirits beverage package for a flat fee per guest, includes a variety of beer and upgraded select wines, spirits & whiskeys from around the world, premium wines by the bottle, cocktails, aperitifs & house champagne by the glass, specialty coffee drinks, soft drinks and juices throughout the day; plus an open bar (during operating hours)”.

Photo courtesy of Viking - Chef's Table on Ocean Cruise

Their huge fleet of vessels enables them to offer a tremendous choice of itineraries and departures although many of the more popular itineraries tend to sell out early so that you’re advised to book earlier than normal. Although they require more upfront payment, they do offer optional “cancel for any reason” insurance and ensure that you won’t suffer from either currency fluctuations or any fuel surcharges with paying in advance.

Photo courtesy of Viking - Parthenon in Greece Included Excursions

They’re one of the few options for domestic river and lake cruising right here in North America. The other primary operator is American Cruise Lines that I focused on in a previous blog a couple of weeks back. Here’s their link for interest sake: American Cruise Lines - A Domestic Alternative River and Cruising Option (

Photo Courtesy of Viking - Mississippi River Cruises

Viking have some phenomenal opportunities with their China focused cruises from Hong Kong to Beijing that are English speaking and scheduled for the Fall this year.

Another unique option with Viking is their Air Ambassador program with locations in 4 international airports including Paris, Amsterdam, Heathrow (London), and Frankfurt. These ‘meet & greet’ Viking folks make you feel welcome the minute you step off your flight and whisk you away to your departing transportation upon arrival.

Photo Courtesy of Viking - Air Ambassadors at CDG in Paris

The interior of their ships is very consistent and is described as elegant Scandinavian. As I mentioned earlier their ocean vessels have 930 guests, their Expedition ships have 387 guests, their river cruise ships have 190 guests, and their Mississippi River cruises have 386 guests.

Photo Courtesy of Viking - Explorer's Lounge Ocean

They also offer pre and post tours along with air and if you’re interested in traveling on a Viking river, ocean, expedition or North American cruise, please don’t hesitate to connect with me as it won’t cost you any more than booking it directly and I can also offer some added amenities on many of their sailings and give you my utmost in quality service for your entire journey.

Photo Courtesy of Viking - Pre & Post Options in Sydney, Australia

Thanks for reading this right through to the end.

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