With the release of the new full-length film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, the team at Viking Australia treated guests to a special lunch and a screening of the movie, taking them to a Sydney theatre in a red double-decker London bus.
Viking credits the popular Downton Abbey TV series with putting the cruise line on the map, after it sponsored the celebrated show for years on the American PBS network.
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The privately-owned line, based in Basel, Switzerland which operates both river cruises and ocean-going vessels is celebrating its 25th anniversary and shows no sign of slowing down.
“We’re having a very big year ahead”, says Michelle Black, Managing Director of Viking Australia/New Zealand.
Speaking to LATTE in Sydney, Black said she kept up Viking’s marketing effort throughout the long COVID pandemic, advertising heavily in the media when most other cruise lines pulled back when cruising came to an abrupt halt.
“It wasn’t a waste of money, it paid off. April was one of our best months and I’m pleased to say forward bookings are exceptional”.
“Australians are dying to get out, not able to travel for over two years, they are now looking for longer experiences – they used to book 14-day cruises, now they’re booking 23- to 28-day voyages, 7-days now 14”, she says.
Viking believes these extended cruises give guests more time to explore and discover and make the most of their time away, and it seems they’ll have the ships to do it.
The company is launching 11 ships, making it the biggest year yet.
Four new 930 passenger ocean ships include Viking Saturn, Neptune, Polaris and Mars. Four river ships were launched in March joining eight others that have already been christened.
Four were purpose-built for the Seine River. They’re shorter than others which means they can dock in the heart of Paris near the Eiffel Tower at a company-owned docking station.
“We also have a new ship for the Mekong River, also an expansion of the Nile fleet with the new Nile river vessel, Anton for 2022 coming in September, a state-of-the-art ship sailing on Viking’s popular Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary,” added Black.
“We’re not for everyone, we’re very clear about who we are, we’re adults-only and there are no casinos, we’re more about the destination, not the ship,” she said.
Lead image: Vikings Sydney team, left: Jane Moggridge, GM Marketing & Communications; Michelle Black MD AU/NZ, Ethan Larkin, Senior Trade Marketing Executive; Lee Siefken, Head of Sales and Keira Smith, Director of Service Delivery.