Viking Cruises was founded in 1997 by current CEO Torstein Hagen. Originally founded as Viking River Cruises, the company had 4 ships, but after acquiring KD River Cruises of Europe in 2000, the fleet totaled 26 vessels, making it the largest river cruise company in the world.
The company overhauled many of their ships, targeting older Americans who wanted to travel but weren’t necessarily interested in paying for luxury accommodations such as swimming pools and gymnasiums. Viking Cruises opened an office in California in 2003 and China in 2004.
In 2013, the company modified its name to Viking Cruises as it launched small oceangoing ships, christening 10 new ships in a single day.
Most of the ocean cruise ships are one-third smaller than typical cruise ships, which allows the company to dock in smaller ports, offering new cities and land trips for tourists. The company launched its newest vessel, Jupiter, in July 2019.
In March 2019, Viking Cruise ship Sky encountered engine trouble and headed into heavy Norweigean seas, tossing the 1300 passengers about and forcing them to be rescued via helicopter. The company says all passengers were given refunds and tickets for a new cruise of choice.
US headquarters are located in Woodland Hills, California.