Viking may have launched 'a couple ships too many this year,' CEO says

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Viking christened six ships in Amsterdam earlier this month.
Viking christened six ships in Amsterdam earlier this month.

Viking River Cruises recently launched six new Longships, and CEO Torstein Hagen admitted that it was "probably a couple ships too many this year," given the drop-off in Europe demand.

The company experienced challenges following the Paris attacks in November, when there was a 58% drop in bookings, according to executives.

Nevertheless, the company feels confident in the strength of river cruising. Viking had its biggest sales day in the company’s history on Feb. 29 with more than $25 million in gross sales, according to Viking’s senior vice president of marketing, Richard Marnell.

“We’re confident that demand will return, and having had our best sales day ever last week is an indication of demand starting to move in the right direction again,” said Marnell. “River cruising is an attractive way of travel and sure, there are market conditions that have caused concern, but the fact remains that quality scores continue to increase year after year.”

Viking has launched 52 Longships in Europe in five years. It launched 12 last year, following a record-breaking 18 in 2014.

The company will introduce just two ships next year, which is more in line with its competitors.

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