Viking Cruises has announced it will introduce two more ocean cruise ships to its fleet in 2016.
Viking Sky and Viking Sea will join the cruise line’s fleet as its prepares to launch its ocean programme in May 2015 with Viking Star.
Both ships will be designed the same as Viking Star with 930 guests each and will sail on popular itineraries in Scandinavia including the Viking Homelands itinerary.
Viking Star’s first season is already 80% sold ahead of its christening on 17 May in Bergen.
“Our ocean programme was developed following feedback from our customers who wanted the river cruise experience on the ocean,” said Viking’s head of sales Neil Barclay. “We hope to take a large market share with our new ships.”
All cabins on the ships have verandas, with facilities including a Nordic spa and snow grotto; an infinity pool and an inside pool with retractable roof, although there will not be a casino.
Barclay also revealed the ocean ships will be visiting the UK. Viking Star will visit a yet-to-be-named port in 2015, while two ex-UK departures will be available to the Norwegian Fjords in June 2016.
“We will be testing the UK for ex-UK cruises in 2016, with the market currently taking 35% of our passenger count,” he said. “These are exciting times for Viking Cruises and is on the back of our river cruise growth.”
He encouraged travel agents to “jump on the bandwagon” and promote the ocean cruises as it has for the river options. Its ITV advertising, which has been instrumental in Viking’s growth, could see more ocean promotion moving forward.
Earlier this year Viking added 16 new ships within 24 hours to add capacity to its popular itineraries on the Danube and Rhine.