Who Owns Viking Cruises?

Viking Cruises is a leading luxury cruise company based in Switzerland. Discover who owns Viking Cruises and learn more about its history.

In this article, we’ll talk about this rich and robust cruise ship company with strong European roots and a foothold in its market niche.

The History of Viking Cruises

The history of Viking Cruises is a rich one. It is a company with over two decades of longevity and a sterling reputation in Europe and America. It has received ratings such as the Best River Cruise Line and the number one Ocean Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards of 2022.

Founded in 1997 by Torstein Hagen, Viking Cruise Line is a smaller cruise ship company dedicated to cultural immersive and destination-focused journeys. Viking Cruises offers trips to all seven continents through rivers, oceans, and other expedition channels.

Viking Offices
Viking Offices (Photo Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock)

It entered the American market at the turn of the millennium, in 2000. Committed to its values of facilitating in-depth excursions for intrepid travelers, each Viking river ship offers deep immersion in its destinations, programs replete with music, art, cooking demonstrations, information-rich port talks, and guest lectures by cultural experts. Some significant rivers it covers include the Nile, Danube, Seine, Rhône, and most recently, the Mississippi River.

About Torstein Hagen

Torstein Hagen started Viking Cruises with only four ships, all purchased from Russia. He brought Viking Cruises into the American market in 2000 and established a sales and marketing office in Los Angeles, California.

Ever committed to careful yet robust expansion of his fleet and its offerings, in 2013, he introduced Viking Cruises to ocean expeditions with its first ocean vessel created in 2015. His ships have stunning verandas, and the ships most recent to the fleet are all named after planets. Viking has just begun to offer cruises on American rivers in 2022.

Torstein Hagen
Torstein Hagen

Hagen is a Scandinavian native, born in Norway, so his company’s name is apropos. His tenure in the cruising industry is vast. From 1980 to 1984, he held the esteemed position of CEO at Royal Viking Line, arguably the most prominent cruise line of its time.

Having also served on the board of directors for two other major cruise lines and as a management consultant for McKinsey and Co. (Europe), his knowledge of the business principles of managing a successful enterprise runs deep. 

Hagen studied computers at the esteemed Wesleyan University, one of the preeminent liberal arts colleges in America. Having received one of the most prestigious university awards available, the Fulbright Scholarship, he also completed his master’s at the Norwegian Institute of Technology and studied Business Administration at Harvard University. 

Features of Viking Cruise Ships

Viking Cruises’ ships are equipped and power-packed with many features and amenities, which differ between its river and ocean ships. 

River Ships

All Viking Cruises’ longships – its river ships – have an abundance of stateroom categories and two-room suites with verandas overlooking the majesty of the ships’ surroundings. Each Viking longship is identical and includes a restaurant, bar and lounge, sun deck, and library.

A separate terrace for al fresco dining (open-air dining) boasts elegant Scandinavian designs that promote environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels, an onboard garden, and high-efficiency hybrid engines.

Viking River Cruise

For the new Mississippi River ship, environmental consciousness was key to its construction and vision. It is designed to maximize energy efficiency and minimize emissions expenditures. It’s a diesel-electric hybrid system (better than most hybrid cars!), electric hydraulic units, and an exhaust scrubbing system that significantly reduces sound and emissions. This ship also has expansive windows and views. 

Ocean Ships

These luxurious vessels are equipped with the connoisseur’s paradise of amenities and features. Every stateroom has a private veranda, several restaurants to choose from – including fine dining, a Nordic spa, and many other cultural resources and gems to make ship goers’ visits indelible memories. 

One of the unique features of Viking Cruises’ ships – and indeed, borne of its philosophy of cultural immersion – is that they dock at ports for travelers to maximize their time off-ship. From Northern Europe (including an emphasis on Scandinavia) to the Mediterranean and everything in between, Torstein Hagen has designed a modern luxury travel fleet to enrich and inspire. 

Lastly, Viking’s ocean ships are also deliberately engineered to respect the environment as much as possible. Their internal mechanics have won the Best Energy Efficient Design Index (EEDI) in its class. Each Viking ocean cruise ship has a closed-loop exhaust system to migrate and dispose of pollutants safely.


Viking Cruises is an exceptional cruise ship line because it cares so much about its visitors being immersed in the culture of their selected destinations. Offering a full boutique of restaurants featuring cuisine local to the countries it visits, it has both Viking river cruises and ocean cruises replete with verandas, haute couture, and educational offerings.

Read Also: Who Owns Royal Caribbean – All You Need to Know

Torstein Hagen, an entrepreneur and systems thinker, designed the company to be highly environmentally conscious, from the outer parts of the ships to their innards.

With hybrid engines, efficient hydraulics and pollutant disposal systems, solar panels, and more, Hagen has built an enterprise based on sound principles and superior attention to detail. Go figure that Viking Cruises has earned coveted top spots in reader’s choice magazines.

Emrys Thakkar
Emrys Thakkar
The founder of Cruise Hive which was established in 2008 as one of the earliest cruise blogs in the industry. Emrys has been reporting on the latest cruise industry news since the site first launched. Expert insights and tips featured on a number of publications including The Express, Business Insider, and more. Worked for Carnival Cruise Line for 8 years and is well and truly dedicated to cruising! Has also been on a number of cruises so can offer an insight into the industry that many will not be able to do. What's even more impressive is that Emrys has traveled the world by visiting more than 34 countries, lived in China for 8 years, and cruised the Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean, Asia, and Europe. Find out more about us here.


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