Vik­ing sees triple digit growth in Oz

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VIK­ING Cruises’ “unique po­si­tion” in ocean cruis­ing has seen the com­pany ex­pe­ri­ence ex­cep­tional sales growth over the last 18 months, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s Aus­tralian md Michelle Black ( pic­tured).

Speak­ing to Cruise Weekly aboard Vik­ing Orion in Italy this week, Black said heavy in­ter­est in the com­pany’s fast-grow­ing ocean prod­uct was be­ing com­ple­mented by strong sales for Vik­ing’s river cruises - so much so that itin­er­ar­ies for 2020 have al­ready opened up for sale.

“Rus­sia and Egypt are prov­ing very pop­u­lar, along with the clas­sic Grand Eu­ro­pean voy­age between Am­s­ter­dam and Bu­dapest,” Black said.

While Vik­ing’s river cruise busi­ness is a leader in the USA, in Aus­tralia the com­pany’s strat­egy is to fo­cus on “ocean to river” - ex­pect­ing avid Aussie cruis­ers to ex­pe­ri­ence the ocean prod­uct and thereby dis­cover its river of­fer­ing, which has been used as the ba­sis for the prod­uct de­sign aboard Vik­ing’s ocean fleet.

Black said Vik­ing was de­ter­mined to be true to its tar­get mar­ket of the 50+ de­mo­graphic, with no chil­dren on board and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to cap­ture the travel dol­lar of con­sumers in their last 20 or so years of trav­el­ling.

She wasn’t able to com­ment on spec­u­la­tion that Vik­ing is plan­ning ex­pan­sion into other sec­tors of the cruise mar­ket.

How­ever there’s no doubt that Aus­tralia is play­ing a key role in Vik­ing’s global plans, with Orion head­ing down un­der later this year for a three month sea­son cruis­ing between Syd­ney and Auck­land, which is al­ready al­most sold out.

There’s also been keen Aussie in­ter­est in the up­com­ing 23day voy­age between Ja­pan and Van­cou­ver via Rus­sia and Alaska’s In­side Pas­sage, which al­ready has over 550 lo­cal pas­sen­gers booked.

Black said as well as Vik­ing’s ex­ist­ing five ocean-go­ing ves­sels a fur­ther ten are on or­der, with the huge ca­pac­ity growth mean­ing “we’ll prob­a­bly end up with more than one ship in Aus­tralia”.

To­day’s is­sue of CW is com­ing to you cour­tesy of Vik­ing Cruises, aboard Vik­ing Orion en route from Venice to Rome.

VIK­ING Orion is now about half­way through its Ital­ian So­journ itin­er­ary, hav­ing vis­ited Venice, Sibenik in Croa­tia, Bari and to­day ar­riv­ing in Cro­tone.

The voy­age is tak­ing us right around the “boot” of Italy, with the ship call­ing in Si­cily to­mor­row be­fore head­ing to Naples and fin­ish­ing the week­long trip in Rome.

In each daily desti­na­tion Vik­ing of­fers a host of shore ex­cur­sions, in­clud­ing an op­tion pro­vided at no ex­tra cost, plus a range of more ex­ten­sive paid ex­plo­rations and ex­pe­ri­ences.

Mean­while, on board the Aus­tralian agents are en­joy­ing the var­i­ous din­ing venues and the ar­ray of bev­er­age op­tions.

The huge spa and fit­ness cen­tre is a stand­out, as are the many com­mon ar­eas around the ship which of­fer an ar­ray of places to meet oth­ers or just sim­ply chill out.

Last night the ship’s pool deck fea­tured a movie un­der the stars, while guests have also made the most of the high tea in the Win­ter­gar­den plus a nightly show in the Star The­atre

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