September 6, 2013
The line launched a record-breaking number of ships in March this year -- eight -- bringing its fleet total to 35. It has added 30 new ships to the fleet since 2011.
Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said in a statement on the line's Web site: “We are working hard to match supply with demand, and with these new builds, we have the best designed, newest and most extensive offer of ships on the rivers – more than double all our competitors combined.”
Last year, Viking's new ships were named 'Best New River Ships in 2012' at the Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards.
In May, Viking announced that it would be entering ocean cruising with the launch of two 47,000-ton, 900-passenger new-build vessels in spring 2015, Viking Star and an as-yet-unnamed sibling. Pitched at the premium cruising niche occupied by Oceania, Azamara and Windstar, the two ships will cost around $800 million in total.
The announcement is yet another example of the exponential growth of river cruising -- last month, Scenic announced the launch of a brand-new, two-vessel river cruise line called Emerald Waterways.
--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor