Tuesday, October 4, 2022
HomeLuxury TravelAn Interview with Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking

An Interview with Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking


shipFollowing a tough yr for the cruise trade, Viking has introduced its ships again to the world’s oceans and rivers. In the intervening time, 45 of its 78 river ships are crusing once more as are all of its six ocean ships. Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, shares his ideas on the corporate’s profitable return to crusing, what vacationers ought to know earlier than taking a cruise and the way Viking is about to make some thrilling adjustments to its fleet.

Are you requiring vaccinations for sailings?

shipSure, all of our passengers and crew should be vaccinated. We would not have kids beneath 18 on board our ships anyway. The vaccine requirement is for anybody that boards or visits the ship.

To restart crusing, what pandemic-related adjustments have you ever made onboard?

We employed a chief medical officer to assist navigate a secure restart to cruising. Dr. Raquel Bono is a board-certified trauma surgeon, John Hopkins Fellow and retired Vice Admiral of america Navy Medical Corps who led Washington State’s medical and healthcare techniques in the course of the pandemic.

servers in restaurantOur small ships already had a number of benefits together with numerous public areas and out of doors house for under 930 passengers. Every cabin already had unbiased air con and air flow techniques. As well as, we’re in a position to reduce airborne pathogens by 99.9%, based on a scientific assessment, by including ultraviolet-C (UVC) lights and electrostatic air filters.

Onboard, we even have a UVC robotic that goes by means of the general public areas of the ship at evening to disinfect surfaces. Workers conduct testing of the handrails and elevator buttons recurrently to verify they’ve been completely cleaned each day, too. Passengers put on masks on the ship besides when of their cabin, consuming, consuming or sitting open air. Solely vaccinated passengers, crew and guests are allowed aboard.

When touring, we encourage masks sporting whereas on the bus, indoors and whereas strolling by means of crowded areas. It comes right down to what native rules require in every port.

Do you require testing to board the ship?

labWe’re the one cruise line to have full PCR testing labs on every of our ocean ships. Now we have additionally partnered with labs on shore for our river ships. Passengers and crew submit every day saliva samples, together with upon boarding, in order that we are able to conduct free PCR checks. Saliva sampling has the identical sensitivity as nasopharyngeal swabs, and permits us to catch sickness in its earliest phases earlier than neighborhood unfold can happen.

Everybody on board is already vaccinated, and this additional measure is working effectively. We’re limiting onboard capability as a result of varied necessities of every nation, and every day testing helps us to maintain infections off the ships or catch them early earlier than there may be neighborhood unfold.

Do these adjustments have an effect on shopper curiosity or demand?

poolNo. Actually, reservations are 40% larger than they have been at this similar time in 2018 for the subsequent crusing season. Individuals are able to get again to touring once more, however need to know they are going to be as secure as attainable.

When will the rest of your river ships be crusing once more?

river shipWe hope quickly. For now, it is dependent upon the totally different nation restrictions in place that make it tough to restart.

For somebody new to Viking, what ought to they know when deciding between cruise strains?

In contrast to different cruise strains that deliver passengers aboard after which cost for quite a lot of facilities, we see ourselves extra like the best way cruise strains “was” with a extra all-inclusive strategy. Now we have complimentary shore excursions in each port, shuttles accessible to take visitors into city in the event that they need to wander on their very own (the place native guidelines allow), wi-fi web, laundry, and wine and beer throughout meal instances. There isn’t a nickel and diming on board.

cafeThere aren’t any casinos, no inside state rooms and no cost for our specialty eating places. Every of our ocean ships is equivalent with 930 passengers and options these similar options.

Now we have the biggest share (24%) of the North American luxurious market based on a 2019 Cruise Trade Information report. In terms of river cruises, we even have the biggest American market share (50%). Our strategy to all-inclusive cruising appears to be working effectively.

What does Viking do on the sustainability entrance?

poolOur ocean ships have 40% much less gas consumption and 40% much less greenhouse gasoline emissions than equally sized ships constructed round 2000. The ships even use particular scrubbers to take away the sulfur from the smoke stack, which generally seems as white smoke. It’s truly water vapor not smoke, however we nonetheless discovered it vital to take away it so that folks across the ship didn’t really feel prefer it was air pollution.

shipsWe’re including hybrid know-how to our river ships with large-scale battery packs to cut back gas consumption, and they’re outfitted for shore energy, which reduces noise from the ship.

See Additionally

What does the longer term maintain for Viking?

Now we have six ocean ships deliberate for the approaching years, which implies we are going to basically be doubling our fleet.

river shipWe’re including a brand new river ship on the Mekong River and two new ships on the Nile River within the subsequent two years. In mid-2022, we’re including a game-changing new river ship on the Mississippi River crusing with an all-American crew from St. Paul, Minnesota to New Orleans.

river ship in egyptNow we have new docking areas in among the greatest positions at many ports together with in entrance of the Eiffel Tower on the Seine in Paris and on the Nile subsequent to the Karnak Temple in Luxor. These are unique to Viking.

Throughout the previous yr, we have now developed a brand new dwelling port for ocean sailings in Malta. They’ve handled us very effectively there, and it’s a lovely place that has been fashionable with vacationers. We hope to proceed crusing from Malta going ahead.

shipViking Mars, our subsequent ocean ship, is coming in 2022, and we are going to take supply of our first expedition ship by the tip of the yr with its first crusing by early 2022. It would sail within the Arctic, Antarctic and Nice Lake areas.

By 2025, we can have 101 vessels. Viking sails to 403 ports, 95 international locations, 5 oceans and 20 rivers in the intervening time with extra to come back.

For these not able to set sail simply but, what would you say to them?

It will be significant for passengers to be prepared and comfy earlier than they sail. Now we have carried out what we are able to to cut back dangers significantly, however some individuals will not be prepared but.

shipWe’re particularly pleased with our on-line TV channel, Viking.TV, which was launched in the course of the pandemic and is hosted by Karine Hagen, Viking’s govt vice chairman. It presents at-home viewers (a lot of whom are loyal Viking passengers) one thing to stay up for each day with inspiring content material together with interviews and travel-related programming. It has been fairly fashionable and we’re contemplating holding it so everybody can benefit from the sights and sounds of a Viking cruise from dwelling. We welcome them on our ships each time they really feel snug.

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