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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

More than ‘Third Times the Charm’ for Viking

PHOTO: Viking Ocean Cruises’ third new Viking Sky in Tromso, Norway. (photo courtesy of Viking Cruises)

Ordinarily, when a third of anything comes out, one might be tempted to think, “well, third times the charm.”

But in the case of Viking Ocean Cruises, the line hit it out of the park with the fantastic Viking Star prototype and followup Viking Sea.

So, the third new Viking Sky sister-ship that I’m now heading out to experience is sure to continue their established excellence.

What’s particularly remarkable is how Viking Ocean Cruises has come to be—starting out from the Viking River Cruises brand and expanding to the sea in award-winning fashion since launching its first ship in only 2015.

Since then, plans have already expanded to repeat the ace design to at least eight other vessels. Viking Cruises chairman and CEO Torstein Hagen has made it no secret that he would love to see a fleet of 10 achieved, and it’s looking more and more likely to happen.

This year also marks Viking Cruises’ collective 20th anniversary, which makes all of these achievements and endeavors that much more sweet for the still relatively small company.

The brand is by no means small on the rivers themselves, however. Its ubiquitous fleet currently consists of 48 modern Longships plus many more classic vessels.

On the ocean, the line may only have three ships for now, but that is already one more than upscale competitor Azamara Club Cruises. By 2022, its count of eight will have surpassed other upmarket competitor Oceania Cruises’ existing fleet of six.

Even compared to the luxury cruise lines it often competes with, Viking has already matched the number of Crystal Cruises’ ocean-going vessels and will soon eclipse the totals of Silversea Cruises (excluding its expedition ships), Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas Cruises as well.

This is by no means insignificant.

Viking dominates Europe with its river product, and it has already dabbled beyond with an inaugural season in the Caribbean navigated by its Viking Star. Future scheduled itineraries do much more than dabble, however.

The Caribbean is set to be reprised with bigger plans for Cuba. South America is also on the calendar; so is Alaska and Asia, as well as Australia. Plus, the fourth new Viking Sun will almost immediately embark on a world cruise fresh from the shipyard.

Once it has eight (or more) ships, there are many areas that Viking likely won’t just visit seasonally but homeport in year-round. In time, it could very easily have a pair of ships permanently in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, each while sending two more to Alaska during the summer months. Meanwhile, one could be perpetually dedicated to world cruising.

The entire coastal globe accessible by the intimately-sized ships is potentially within reach, and guests will be able to travel there on Viking with the line’s unique set of inclusions. International destination lovers especially appreciate the offering of one free shore excursion in every port, but it doesn’t stop there.

The ocean ships also extend complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi internet access; house beers, wines and soft drinks at mealtimes; alternative restaurants; the spa thermal suite; self-service laundry and more—all free of charge.

The best part is—even though it parallels the quality of upscale and luxury lines—Viking can be booked at per diem costs comparable to less expensive premium lines such as Celebrity Cruises or Holland America Line.

The value proposition is astounding, and it’s quickly coming to more regions of the world.

Cruise consumers rejoice!

This post first appeared on TravelPulse.

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