The three sorts of Viking cruise ships, defined
Editor’s word: This can be a recurring put up, repeatedly up to date with new info.
Viking is uncommon amongst main cruise traces in that it operates each ocean ships and river ships. Regardless of this, it has one of many easiest-to-understand fleets.
The overwhelming majority of Viking’s river ships — eventually depend, there have been greater than 80 — function the identical design. In case you’ve seen one among them, you’ve seen all of them.
Ditto for the road’s ocean ships. Seven of Viking’s 9 ocean ships are almost equivalent. The 2 exceptions are the just lately unveiled Viking ocean vessels particularly designed for expedition cruising — a sort of cruising that includes touring to distant, hard-to-reach locations on hardy vessels that carry their very own touchdown craft.
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In consequence, the majority of Viking’s almost 100 vessels falls into one among simply three teams; all of the ships in every group sport almost equivalent designs.
An introduction to Viking cruise ships
Viking has expanded enormously in recent times with the addition of dozens of recent river and ocean ships.
Based in 1997 with 4 river vessels, the corporate operated simply 29 ships as just lately as 2012. Now, there are almost 90 ships in its fleet.
The overwhelming majority of those ships are river ships — the corporate’s sole focus for its first 18 years in enterprise. The corporate dominates the marketplace for river cruises geared toward North Individuals, accounting for about 50% of all such journeys.
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Beginning in 2015, Viking started rolling out ocean cruise ships, too.
In early 2022, as famous above, Viking had 80 river ships in its fleet — nearly all of which have the identical primary design. The exceptions are just a few vessels that Viking operates on rivers in Russia, Ukraine, Egypt and Asia (extra on these ships beneath). The road can even quickly provide cruises on the Mississippi River and its tributaries utilizing a brand new sort of vessel.
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Viking’s ocean ships fall into two distinct teams: a collection of 930-passenger conventional ocean ships that started debuting in 2015, and a collection of 378-passenger expedition ships that started debuting in 2022.
In contrast to most cruise traces, Viking doesn’t use the time period “courses” to outline completely different units of ships in its fleet. As a substitute, it refers to its collection of conventional ocean ships because the “Viking ocean ships” and its collection of expedition ships because the “Viking expedition ships.” We’ve adopted the identical breakdown of the road’s ocean and river fleet beneath.
Viking ocean ships
Ships: Viking Saturn (coming in 2023), Viking Neptune (coming in 2022), Viking Mars (2022), Viking Venus (2021), Viking Jupiter (2019), Viking Orion (2018), Zhao Shang Yi Dun (2017), Viking Sky (2017), Viking Sea (2016) and Viking Star (2015).
Measurement: 47,800 tons.
For years, Viking solely operated river ships, and a few cruisers nonetheless consider the model primarily as a river cruise firm. Nevertheless, since 2015, Viking has been quickly rolling out a collection of upscale ocean vessels; these new additions are more and more dominating the world of higher-end ocean cruising.
By the tip of 2022, Viking may have 9 ships crusing the world’s oceans, every with a capability for 930 passengers. That may give Viking 8,370 berths within the upscale ocean cruise market — greater than opponents Oceania Cruises and Azamara mixed.
The collection is way from completed. Three extra of the vessels are on order from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for supply in 2023, 2024 and 2025; the corporate additionally has choices with Fincantieri for 4 extra of the ships to debut in 2026 and 2027. Assuming they’re all constructed, Viking’s ocean division will quickly be larger than Oceania, Azamara, Seabourn and Silversea Cruises mixed.
The very first thing to know in regards to the ships on this collection is that all of them are just about equivalent. When crusing on any one among them, you can be hard-pressed to inform what’s completely different.
They’re additionally fairly upscale. Whereas Viking doesn’t market itself as a luxurious line, some nonetheless contemplate it so. The vessels are filled with luxurious touches, from luxurious bedding in cabins to heated flooring in cabin bogs.
Associated: The whole information to Viking cabins and suites
Every of the ships on this collection has a classy, Scandinavian-influenced design that may be a Viking trademark, and the cabins are massive by cruise ship requirements. Even the smallest cabins on every of the vessels have 270 sq. toes of house — a beneficiant quantity. Many cabins are considerably larger than that, with 14 two-room suites on every of the vessels ranging in dimension from 757 to 1,448 sq. toes. Many of those larger suites provide sweeping views from wrap-around non-public balconies.
Every of the ships’ inside areas is constructed round a sublime, three-deck-high atrium stuffed with comfy seating areas which have a dwelling room-like really feel. Every additionally has a bar and visitor relations desk. On the prime of the ships, you may discover two-deck-high, glass-walled lounges that supply gorgeous views over the bow. Different inside areas embrace a health middle and a classy spa with a thermal suite space that’s open to all passengers at no additional cost (one thing that’s not widespread on cruise vessels).
A number of eating places on board every of the vessels embrace Italian eatery Manfredi’s (named after former Silversea proprietor Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, a buddy of Viking founder Torstein Hagen) and The Chef’s Desk. The latter options rotating themed menus.
The centerpiece of the highest deck of every of the ships is the principle pool space, which includes a glass magrodome that may shut throughout inclement climate. The principle pool space on every of the ships sits subsequent to a beautiful, glass-topped lounge with comfy seating referred to as the Wintergarden, which is house to afternoon tea. A den of serenity, it’s one among our favourite locations on these vessels.
A secondary pool space with an infinity pool is behind every of the ships.
Whereas the entire ships on this collection are primarily equivalent, you will see small variations on just a few of them. Most notably, two of the latest vessels within the collection — Viking Orion and Viking Jupiter — have a small planetarium constructed into the highest stage of the two-level lounge at their fronts (often known as the Explorers’ Lounge). Among the later ships within the collection have barely bigger health facilities and barely smaller hair salons.
Word that one of many eight ships at present working on this collection, Zhao Shang Yi Dun, completely transferred to a three way partnership that operates for the China market. When it debuted in 2017, the ship initially catered to the North American market and was referred to as Viking Solar.
Viking river ships
Ships: Viking Fjorgyn (2022), Viking Kari (2022), Viking Radgrid (2022), Viking Skaga (2022) and greater than 60 different Longships constructed since 2012, in addition to extra river vessels.
Measurement: 4,000 to five,000 tons.
River ships initially put Viking on the map, they usually’re nonetheless on the core of the model.
As famous above, the road has greater than 80 river ships in its fleet. The overwhelming majority of them have the identical primary design and are often known as Longships — a reference to the historic vessels utilized by Vikings within the Center Ages.
Unveiled in 2012 and designed particularly to suit into the locks used throughout a lot of Europe’s rivers, the Longships broke new floor in river ship design in a number of methods.
For starters, they’ve a configuration that features a few of the largest suites ever for river ships in Europe. Additionally they have a big variety of cabins with balconies — which is made potential by an modern cabin space format that offsets principal corridors. (In different phrases, the corridors don’t run down the center of the ship, making a wider facet with house for balconies and a narrower facet with cabins turned sideways to additionally create room for verandas.)
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Different improvements embrace a squared-off bow that enables for eight extra cabins than equally sized ships operated by opponents. Additionally, quieter engines enable for extra cabins on the rear. An unlimited quantity of groundbreaking engineering went into redesigning the bow areas of the ships, particularly, to allow additional cabins whereas nonetheless leaving room for wanted equipment.
On account of such improvements, the Viking Longships can carry extra passengers than equally sized ships operated by opponents. This has allowed Viking to supply decrease costs than different river cruise traces and nonetheless usher in an analogous quantity of income per ship — a indisputable fact that has contributed significantly to the corporate’s speedy progress.
Like many river ships, every of the Viking Longships has one principal restaurant the place most passengers eat their meals in addition to one principal inside lounge with a bar. There’s additionally a secondary, informal eating space on the entrance of every vessel with indoor and out of doors seating. (The out of doors portion, referred to as the Aquavit Terrace, additionally serves as a forward-facing out of doors lounge throughout off hours.) In contrast to many river ships, the vessels don’t have any spas or health facilities.
As is typical for river ships, the highest of each Viking Longship is roofed with an expansive lounge space. There’s additionally a strolling monitor and an herb backyard — the latter utilized by the kitchen workers to develop herbs used through the preparation of onboard meals.
Most Viking Longships are 443 toes lengthy — the right size to suit into the locks on a lot of Europe’s rivers. Viking additionally constructed barely smaller variations of the Longships, measuring 361 toes or 410 toes in size, particularly to sail on rivers the place lock sizes or different navigational components require smaller vessels. The 410-foot-long variations of the vessels, as an illustration, had been particularly constructed to sail into the center of Paris on the Seine River.
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Whereas the Longships are available a number of completely different lengths, they’re primarily equivalent of their choices and decor. The one notable distinction is that the smaller variations of the ships have fewer cabins and thus maintain fewer folks. The 443-foot-long variations of the ship are designed for 190 passengers, for instance, whereas the 410-foot-long variations of the vessels maintain 168 passengers (since they’ve 11 fewer cabins).
Whereas most Viking river ships are Longships, there are just a few exceptions within the Viking river fleet. Viking operates a number of smaller, purpose-built vessels on the Nile River in Egypt. Plus, it has a number of older river vessels, which predate the Longships that function in Russia and Ukraine. (For now, river cruise itineraries in each nations are on maintain because of the struggle in Ukraine.)
Viking additionally just lately started sailings on the Mississippi River with a brand new ship particularly designed for the river and its tributaries.
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Viking expedition ships
Ships: Viking Polaris (2022) and Viking Octantis (2022).
Measurement: 30,150 tons.
Designed to carry simply 378 passengers, the Viking expedition ships are particularly designed to take vacationers to probably the most off-the-beaten-path elements of the world, together with Antarctica and the Arctic.
As of now, Viking operates simply two ships within the collection, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, each of which debuted in 2022. No extra are at present on order.
As is typical for expedition ships, these are powerful vessels with bolstered bows that permit them bump by ice in polar areas; the ships even have additional tanks for gas and meals.
Every of those vessels has its personal touchdown craft on board to convey folks ashore in distant areas, in addition to kayaks and even submarines for exploring. (The latter is the new new factor for expedition ships — upscale cruise manufacturers Scenic Luxurious Cruises & Excursions and Seabourn have been including them to expedition ships, too.)
Like different expedition ships, each Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are designed to function with a big and seasoned “expedition group” that features biologists, botanists, geologists, glaciologists and ornithologists who lecture repeatedly.
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Every of the vessels has a number of new and strange options, too. Most notable is The Hangar: an enclosed marina that enables passengers to switch to a 12-seat tour craft whereas nonetheless within the protected inside of the ship. It’s a primary for an expedition cruise ship.
In one other first for a polar expedition cruise vessel, each cabin has floor-to-ceiling glass partitions that slide partially open from the highest to create a balcony-like really feel.
Each Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are designed to be upscale. Like all Viking’s vessels, they boast elegant Scandinavian designs. The eating places on each vessels embrace a model of Viking’s signature Italian spot, Manfredi’s and the Scandinavian-inspired Mamsen’s outlet.
One other function of each ships that will likely be acquainted to common Viking clients is a top-of-the-ship, glass-walled Explorers’ Lounge providing gorgeous views of passing surroundings.
In case you’re curious, Viking Octantis is called after Sigma Octantis, the present “south star” that hovers over the South Pole (also referred to as Polaris Australis). Polaris is called after the present “north star” that hovers over the North Pole. The names are a nod to the polar areas the place these expedition ships will possible spend a lot of their time.
Viking operates extra cruise vessels than some other main cruise firm catering to North Individuals. That is partly as a result of it’s concerned in each the ocean cruise and river cruise companies. Regardless of its massive dimension, its fleet of vessels is comparatively simple to grasp. The overwhelming majority of each its ocean ships and river ships are nearly equivalent of their designs.
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