Maybe it is time to reread this interview with Mr. Torstein Hagen

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#1
Bluffton,SC
3,951 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Here is the article with Mr. Hagen on the occasion of the christening of the 10 Viking Ships in Amsterdam this Spring.
He made some comments. At the time I posted it, there were some who defended him. I wonder how people feel about him now.

One of his comment is

"Riding on the bus is not nice"

Here is the article again:
Enjoy

http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cr...on-the-rivers/
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#3
White Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
2,611 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
And this speaks volumes about the man and his views:

He's equally clear about people he is not interested in: "We have no need whatsoever to say we want some younger people onboard. If you have teenagers, then you should go somewhere else. We don't encourage [inter]generational travel. We market to North Americans, Brits, Australians. Nothing else. No Turks, no Brazilians. They may sneak on a person from Hong Kong or whatever, but the language is English, and it's the ambience of these types of people [that we strive for]."

I have no desire to give Viking my business and be considered "these types of people". I can only imagine what he thinks of his international crew members!
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#5
Vancouver BC, CANADA
1,242 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by tbrein
Here is the article with Mr. Hagen on the occasion of the christening of the 10 Viking Ships in Amsterdam this Spring.
He made some comments. At the time I posted it, there were some who defended him. I wonder how people feel about him now.

One of his comment is

"Riding on the bus is not nice"

Here is the article again:
Enjoy

http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cr...on-the-rivers/
I had not seen this interview before altho I did see the big frooo hahah about the christening of the 10 new ships.
I am not sure i want to give my hard earned money to someone with theses thoughts ...and i have a large " credit" with Viking to,be used for a future cruise ( hahahahaha...come on, laff with me...who doesnt!?)

I' m thinking " uniworld, here i come!"
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#6
Bluffton,SC
3,951 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by remydiva
I had not seen this interview before altho I did see the big frooo hahah about the christening of the 10 new ships.
I am not sure i want to give my hard earned money to someone with theses thoughts ...and i have a large " credit" with Viking to,be used for a future cruise ( hahahahaha...come on, laff with me...who doesnt!?)

I' m thinking " uniworld, here i come!"
I posted this interview a few months ago and it generated a lot of discussion. Some defending Viking and others saying they would never give Mr. Hagen a dime of their money. After reading that article the first time I was quite pleased I had booked with a company other than Viking. Now, after the flood fiascos we've read about I know we made the right decision.
Terri
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January 2010-MS Maasdam-Panama Canal Transit-14 Days
January 2011-MS Maasdam-Southern Caribbean-11 Days
September 2011-MS Nieuw Amsterdam-Magic of the Mediterranean-24 Days
March 2012-MS Veendam-South America and Inca Explorer-31 Days
January 2013-MS Noordam-Southern Caribbean-21 Days
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#8
New York
7,323 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
I read the article when you first posted it, and just reread it. I don't see anything in Mr. Hagen's remarks that I find offensive. In fact, I like it that he has a clear vision of what Viking should be and that he states his opinions clearly without regard to political correctness [I just retired from a place that made such an art of PC that terrorists were called "freedom fighters," even after 9/11...]

Here is the crux of the Viking vision in the article: "While others focus on luring customers with extras, Hagen's strategy assumes economics will trump those amenities and services and that passengers will be more than happy to book his "similar product" if they can get it for less. One gets the sense that Viking's management understands that its product doesn't need to be best, as long as it's good enough."

This explains, for me, everything about Viking's ship designs and marketing. And it was working very well before the floods -- we'll see how many people are aware of the CC Viking-bashing [we are a small minority of cruise passengers].

Viking isn't for me -- I would rather pay a little more for something better than "good enough" -- but I am glad that this cruise line has a clear vision and sticks to it. I am much more concerned about lines like Celebrity that are blurring their vision in an effort to widen their appeal -- they used to be special, but now they are rapidly becoming just "good enough."
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#9
6,446 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Originally posted by tbrein
After reading that article the first time I was quite pleased I had booked with a company other than Viking. Now, after the flood fiascos we've read about I know we made the right decision.
Terri
Same here. We were more than pleased with our Uniworld cruise. A couple of time we were docked (tied together) with Viking ships, and a couple of times we were able to pass through a couple of Viking ships. We both commented that we made the right choice. It's nice there are options out there, but Viking just isn't for us. And then add in the flood fisacos and I know for sure Viking isn't for us.
#10
Texas USA
1,516 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by jiminyC_fan
Sorry, but I'm still pleased that I booked with Viking. No regrets.
We look forward to our first river cruise, on Viking, and don't have regrets either. We have done 50 + ocean cruises - mostly on Princess. We were not looking for what some have described as a "high-end" river cruise company. Experiencing the world, moderate price and cleanliness are important. We don't expect to travel high class on our inside cabin or below the water line budget.

We have grandsons who are teenagers and we have chosen where and when to cruise with them. With such a small passenger base, I would not enjoy a river cruise with a large group of high school graduates taking their senior trip. I do not think there is anything politically incorrect about marketing to mature, English speaking passengers. If you object to Mr. Hagen's phrase "these types of people" perhaps you are reading into it something he did not mean to say. I think he meant people who are not mature and are not English speaking. It would be hard to have enough translators onboard a small ship to accommodate different languages.
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#11
White Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
2,611 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Originally posted by SeaTheWorldBySea
I do not think there is anything politically incorrect about marketing to mature, English speaking passengers. If you object to Mr. Hagen's phrase "these types of people" perhaps you are reading into it something he did not mean to say. I think he meant people who are not mature and are not English speaking. It would be hard to have enough translators onboard a small ship .
I respect your opinion however, I believe I am not reading into it something he did not mean to say, as he continues on to state:
"No Turks, no Brazilians. They may sneak on a person from Hong Kong or whatever, but the language is English, and it's the ambience of these types of people [that we strive for]."
There are other lines that do market to a mature, English-speaking demographic, no need to use Turks, Brazilians and those sneaky people from Hong Kong as examples of the undesirables. Perhaps you are reading into his remarks by justifying the marketing strategy as consideration of the need for translators. I think he's pretty clear on his views of his target audience, and Viking sure does corner that market.
Regardless, I'm sure you will enjoy your cruise, I would just be uncomfortable spending my money with Viking,
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Past Cruises:
Celebrity Silhouette - TA
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas - Arctic Circle
Disney Fantasy - Souhern Caribbean
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
#13
984 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
For those who attack the Viking ceo for specifically targeting an English only market, you need to attack Uniworld as well.

I remember clearly back in 2004 when I booked my first river cruise with Uniworld that they made a point in their brochures and on their website of being "English only", with all tours being conducted in English and the language onboard being English. I remember my TA touting this as she sold me on why I should travel with Uniworld.

Avoid multiple languages, have a tailored product for English speakers, travel with people of a similar culture and similar norms, book Uniworld.

In this regard Uniworld is no different than Viking.

I'm curious how "diverse" Tauck and AMA passengers are?
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#14
Texas USA
1,516 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by oysterdam
http://www.travelpulse.com/invasion-...longships.html


Here's a video interview of the same CEO that offers more context than the Travel Weekly article.
I notice a bit of an accent. Perhaps his being raised in a different culture would explain his choice of words when he explained the demographic Viking wants to appeal to. Even if he did intend to make a racist statement - should we boycott a cruise line because of one man's misguided remarks? There are many others working for Viking that should not lose out because of what the CEO said.

Destination Focused - Value Cruising - fits us. Thank you for posting this link.
#15
White Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
2,611 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Originally posted by oysterdam
For those who attack the Viking ceo for specifically targeting an English only market, you need to attack Uniworld as well.

I remember clearly back in 2004 when I booked my first river cruise with Uniworld that they made a point in their brochures and on their website of being "English only", with all tours being conducted in English and the language onboard being English. I remember my TA touting this as she sold me on why I should travel with Uniworld.

Avoid multiple languages, have a tailored product for English speakers, travel with people of a similar culture and similar norms, book Uniworld.

In this regard Uniworld is no different than Viking.

I'm curious how "diverse" Tauck and AMA passengers are?
You present a great example of what I was referring to - targeted demographics without, IMHO, the derrogatory references to specific exclusionary ethnic groups. I don't feel the need to "attack" any business for knowing who their clients are. Mr. Hagen on the other hand, as the head of his company, sets a poor example of how to accomplish this.
It is helpful to know the type of passengers onboard, any good TA will do their homework and let their clients know so they can make in informed decision. Personally, we like being immersed in a cultural mix when we travel internationally, feeling it enriches our experiences. That being said, it would be important to us to know that English tours are available on a river cruise. I imagine there is a large population of travellers that find a level of comfort in being surrounded by those of their own culture.
Diversity of passengers is influenced by so many factors, including the home base of the line, the types of passengers that river cruising appeals to in general, income, etc. I'm guessing the mix may be similar on other lines due to those reasons.

Originally posted by SeaTheWorldBySea
I notice a bit of an accent. Perhaps his being raised in a different culture would explain his choice of words when he explained the demographic Viking wants to appeal to. Even if he did intend to make a racist statement - should we boycott a cruise line because of one man's misguided remarks? There are many others working for Viking that should not lose out because of what the CEO said.

Destination Focused - Value Cruising - fits us. Thank you for posting this link.
Point well-taken. The nice part is that there are many lines to choose from We make personal choices due to our beliefs and priorities. Some choose to do business with companies based on their financial, environmental, ethical, and religious policies, etc. Genrally, the CEO is considered the voice of those companies. I'm sure the employees of Viking will not be negatively impacted by the few of us here on CC that have decided to bring our business elsewhere.
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Past Cruises:
Celebrity Silhouette - TA
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas - Arctic Circle
Disney Fantasy - Souhern Caribbean
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
#16
984 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by sippican
You present a great example of what I was referring to - targeted demographics without, IMHO, the derrogatory references to specific exclusionary ethnic groups.
I interpreted the ceo's comments as referring to a shared language and a similar shared culture as opposed to ethnic group. I guess one's interpretation depends on the lens one views the world through.

His quote:
"We have no need whatsoever to say we want some younger people onboard. If you have teenagers, then you should go somewhere else. We don't encourage [inter]generational travel. We market to North Americans, Brits, Australians. Nothing else. No Turks, no Brazilians. They may sneak on a person from Hong Kong or whatever, but the language is English, and it's the ambience of these types of people [that we strive for]."
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#17
Nuremberg
371 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
"We have no need whatsoever to say we want some younger people onboard. If you have teenagers, then you should go somewhere else. We don't encourage [inter]generational travel. We market to North Americans, Brits, Australians. Nothing else. No Turks, no Brazilians. They may sneak on a person from Hong Kong or whatever, but the language is English, and it's the ambience of these types of people [that we strive for]."
Well, I had one tour this year on a Viking ship with one group of 40 Chinese Canadian, they had even brought their own guide who translated from english (our guide) to (mandarin/cantonese). In fact I would say, the only companies who could give such a statement (or control this restriction) are those who do not sell via TAs.