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Torstein Hagen’s Viking cruise success

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Viking Cruises sails favourably from river to ocean
Just over four years since he first announced plans to branch out of river cruises with a luxury ocean cruise product, Torstein Hagen, chairman and founder of Viking Cruises, reveals some of the secrets of his success to Cruise Industry News.
“Our bookings for 2018 are currently 69% higher than they were for 2017,” says the Norwegian billionaire businessman. “We are selling extremely well. One of our problems is that it is a large extent past passengers, so it’s not so easy for newcomers to experience the product. But if we continue to build they will come.”
Two more ocean ships are joining the fleet so that the total is four 930-pax vessels – plus 64 riverboats. The first ocean ship, Viking Star, launched in 2015.
A fifth ocean vessel joins in 2018 – Viking Orion, which will mark the company’s debut in Alaska in summer 2019. And at least three more are set to follow. Hagen likes to describe the ships as having a very Scandinavian feel.
“We have four ships delivered and if you are looking for changes from ship one onwards, they are all the same. My philosophy is if you got it right the first time why mess around.”
Most passengers are 55 and older, and no guests under 18 are allowed. The product is almost all-inclusive, including beer and wine at lunch and dinner, a shore excursion per port, free internet – and port fees.
“You see how many [cruise lines] add on port tax, it’s partly to cheat the travel agent out of commission. We were the first cruise line to abandon all non-commissionable fees,” Hagen says. “Typically if people spend $2,000 on a cruise, very often you hear they also spent $2,000 aboard. With us, everything is included.”
Cruise Industry News

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