Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. In 2000, the company purchased Europe’s KD River Cruises in order to grow its fleet, to leverage 40 years of river cruising experience and to acquire rights to prime docking locations in key European cities.

The company expanded into the American market in 2000, establishing US headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Through rapid expansion, the company has grown to be The World’s Leading River Cruise Line, with double-digit growth in recent years. And with the launch of its ocean fleet in 2015, the company has also become the leader in small ship ocean cruising.

With operational headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Viking provides destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers who have an interest in geography, culture and history. Each journey includes a shore excursion in every port, and an exclusive Viking Culture Curriculum program that provides deep immersion in the destination through performances of music and art, cooking demonstrations, informative port talks and carefully selected guest lecturers.

The company currently operates a fleet of more than 60 vessels, state-of-the-art ships that have received numerous accolades since their launch from industry experts and travelers alike. Viking was recently voted the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in their 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards, and for the second year in a row, has been rated the #1 Ocean Cruise Line* by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards 2017.

River Ships and Itineraries

Sailing Europe’s storied rivers, the award-winning Longships offer a variety of stateroom categories and true two-room suites with full-size verandas. Onboard amenities include a restaurant, bar and lounge, library and expansive sun deck. The ships feature an elegant Scandinavian design and “green” features, such as solar panels, an onboard organic herb garden and energy-efficient hybrid engines for a remarkably smooth ride.

River cruises range from 8 to 23 days, with itineraries featuring Europe’s Rhine, Main, Danube, Seine, Rhône, Douro, Moselle, Elbe, Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers; Russia’s Volga, Neva and Svir; Egypt’s Nile; China’s Yangtze; and Southeast Asia’s Mekong.

Ocean Ships and Itineraries

In 2015, Viking introduced its first ocean ship with the christening of the 930-guest all-veranda Viking Star. One year later, Viking launched its second ocean ship, Viking Sea, which was joined in 2017 by sister ships Viking Sky and Viking Sun. The fleet welcomes Viking Orion in 2018 and Viking Jupiter in 2019, making Viking the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Four more yet-to-be-named ships are scheduled to launch by 2023.

The company’s award-winning ships are engineered at a size that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Each ship boasts a private veranda in every stateroom, a choice of restaurants offering a variety of fine dining options, the most al fresco dining at sea, an infinity pool, a Nordic-inspired spa, panoramic Explorers’ Lounge and thoughtfully curated book collections throughout the ship, and more—all designed in understated elegance.

Base ocean cruises range from 8 to 15 days, with itineraries designed to maximize the amount of time travelers spend in their destination. Destinations include Northern Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, the Americas and the Caribbean, as well as combination cruises of those itineraries available ranging from 22 to 50 days.

Viking Sun will spend her maiden season sailing the company’s first-ever world cruise, spanning 141 days and visiting five continents. And in 2019, she will embark on her second global crossing on the 128-day Viking World Cruise. Starting in 2018, Viking Orion will embark on journeys in the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Alaska.

*Ship size category: 600–2,199 guests