Live From Amsterdam Aboard Viking Skirnir
Sunday, March 22, 2015
We’re here in the gorgeous Dutch capital of Amsterdam once again for an event that has become something of an annual pilgrimage for us each March: the christening of the newest Viking Longships to join the ever-expanding Viking River Cruises fleet. Our home for the next four nights: the beautiful (and brand-spankin’ new) Viking Skirnir.
This is our fourth go-round with Viking, ever since the first four humble Viking Longships were welcomed into their service career back in 2012. Over the next three years, they would go on became the most numerous river cruise ships currently sailing the waterways of Europe and in turn make Viking River Cruises both the fastest-growing and arguably most-visible river cruise line on the planet.
That’s not a knock against the competition; rather, Viking actually did the entire industry a service. Like a bolt of lightning, they thrust river cruising into the consciousness of the average traveller. Prior to 2012, river cruising was well known – sure. In fact, it had been around for decades. New river cruisers might even be surprised to learn that Viking River Cruises has been around since 1997 – the year that Hong Kong was handed back to China from the United Kingdom; Bill Clinton began his second-term Presidency; and the year when James Cameron’s Titanic was released in theatres.
Last year, I wrote that Viking had effectively become the Kleenex of river cruising. That’s an amazing marketing and branding feat: when people think “river cruising”, they now think “Viking” – even if they’ve never set foot aboard a Viking Longship.
From the outside,