Posted April 4th, 2013, 04:47 PM
I'm surprised by these responses to this article ...
For more than a year, I have been a passive (non-member) of the Cruise Critic message board community. I have enjoyed reading posts to get insight from avid river cruisers, but never felt the need to join to reply to posts or start my own inquiries. I signed up today because I felt it was important to provide a different opinion to this article.
While I agree that, based on this article, Viking's CEO Tor Hagen is a "character" - I don't look at that description as a positive. As a woman and someone who embraces diversity when I travel, I can tell you I was both disgusted and appalled by Hagen's comments in this article.
I have traveled with Viking in the past, but after reading his views (and his seeming lack of interest in anyone who isn't like him, not to mention his admitting that he cuts corners on amenities and more), I will not travel with this company again.
I'm so glad this article was posted here ... Thank you.
First, let us say we really are happy that you have decided to join the Cruise Critic community. We do wish it was under different circumstances and motivations, but we know—as community members ourselves—that you are going to find it a rewarding experience to participate in these discussions.
Now, to the heart of the matter… We are saddened to hear that this article caused you concern and we’d like to offer some clarification on a few things mentioned.
Diversity in Travel: We too embrace diversity in travel. We travel to more destinations than any other river cruise line and in those destinations we seek out authentic experiences and interactions for our guests. As someone who has traveled with us before, we hope you found this to be true of your own Viking experience. The official language on our river ships is English; both for our staff and for our guests. This guiding principle allows everyone on board to have conversations with each other—an important aspect of enjoying time spent on such an intimate vessel.
Cutting Corners: We do not believe that we cut corners. We do believe that we have been the most creative in efficiently using the space restrictions of a river vessel. In fact, we’ve been awarded patents on certain aspects of our Longships design. (The efficiencies in ship design, along with other efficiencies, such as owning and operating our vessels, allow us to offer our product at a great value.) We also believe that the best spa experience on the river won’t be found on a ship with such size restrictions; the best spa experience will be found in a spa ashore. When it comes to a pool, no pool on a river ship will compare to a swim in Budapest’s Gellért Baths. These are just a few examples… And in terms of amenities, we have premium L’Occitane toiletries, a complimentary bottle of water in the room, bathrobe and slippers upon request, hair dryers, free wireless internet…the list goes on, but the point is we don’t believe we skimp on amenities, but rather the opposite.
Viking is the most-awarded river cruise line, including recent awards from the editors of Cruise Critic and the readers of Travel + Leisure. We take that honor seriously, whole-heartedly believing that we offer an exceptional product, at a great value, on a fleet of ships that display understated elegance.
We don’t mean to sound defensive or cause any additional offense; we simply wanted to respond with our point of view on some of your concerns. If you would like to discuss this any further, please feel free to contact us directly at TellUs@vikingrivercruises.com
. We’d be happy to hear from you.
We wish you many happy posts on Cruise Critic and wonderful travels in the future.
Viking River Cruises