What do agents think of Viking Star?

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As a travel agent, what exactly do you get out of Fam trips? Do you go there to get an idea of the product, notebook in hand, sample the food, and explore the ship inside and out? Or have you ever been guilty of going off on a jolly…? 

Having recently been on board Viking Star, Cruise Adviser’s Simon Leeming was lucky enough to experience the ship first hand, along with a group of the company’s best-performing agents. We asked them what they thought about their time on board, and whether the experience would help them sell more when they were back on dry land.

Are Fam trips as good as many believe? Here are their answers.


Eleanor Tilby, World Wide Travel Department

vkingWhat are your thoughts on the Viking Cruises experience following your Fam trip?
The ship felt more relaxed and welcoming than I was expecting. I think because of the size of the ship it really didn’t feel clinical at all. The experience in the restaurants was fantastic, the food was amazing. Having experienced a river cruise with Viking, the high standard has been pulled across to ocean cruise very well.

Have you booked Viking ocean cruises before?
We regularly booked Viking Ocean cruises before and continue to do so.

The experience in the restaurants were fantastic, food amazing

What were your particular highlights of the Viking Star?
The spa facilities, infinity pool and dining. Afternoon tea is a must.

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from your trip that you wouldn’t have known without being able to experience the product?
The standard of the cabins are excellent, even at the lead-in price. They’re very comfortable with good facilities, and there is a huge variety of food on offer.

What type of customers would you expect to be most suited to cruising with Viking Cruises and on Viking Star?
First-time cruisers, who do not want the formal evenings. Regular travellers who want a relaxing holiday with some culture across different destinations.

Do you think the fam trip will help you sell more Viking cruises in the future?
I definitely believe so. Having the experience, even a short one, will enable me to talk first hand about the facilities, experience and ship and sell with confidence.


Nikki Smith, Affinion

Viking Star

Viking Star

What are your thoughts on the Viking Cruises experience following your Fam trip?
That I never realised such an incredible product existed!

Have you booked Viking ocean cruises before?
No

What were your particular highlights of the Viking Star?
The size of the stateroom and bathroom fixtures were great. Great choice of food and drink, the grill which made burgers to order was fantastic. Afternoon tea was a lovely touch. The spa is the best I have ever seen.

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from your trip that you wouldn’t have known without being able to experience the product?
The wonderful service provided; it was exceptional but also very discreet and low key at the same time. The small extras touches and attention to detail in the stateroom were very well thought out (his and her’s slippers, full size complimentary toiletries, the mini bar and snacks catered for all needs).

The grill which made burgers to order was fantastic

What type of customers would you expect to be most suited to cruising with Viking Cruises and on Viking Star?
The 60-plus market, those who like to explore and take advantage of the complimentary excursions. I would not recommend for a younger or family market. The evening entertainment is low key, so again it would not suit customers who are looking for a high energy entertainment programme.

Do you think the Fam trip will help you sell more Viking cruises in the future?
Absolutely, I have shared my experiences with my colleagues in the contact centre at every opportunity since returning.

Have you sold any Viking cruises since coming back?
No, but one of my colleagues is looking at 2017 itineraries with a view to booking shortly, she is a keen cruiser and we have spoken at great length about my experience and how well suited the product would be for her needs.


Juliet Archer, Blue Water Holidays

Viking Star's infinity pool

Viking Star’s infinity pool

What are your thoughts on the Viking Cruises experience following your Fam trip?
I was impressed with the high standard of Viking Star, it was very spacious and had a quality feel to it.

Have you booked Viking ocean cruises before?
Yes

What were your particular highlights of the Viking Star?
The sheer space and public areas on board, there was always somewhere quiet to sit. The pool area and spa were particularly impressive.

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from your trip that you wouldn’t have known without being able to experience the product?
The high level of quality, better than I expected and better than the river ships.

The pool area and spa were particularly impressive.

What type of customers would you expect to be most suited to cruising with Viking Cruises and on Viking Star?
Traditional cruisers of 60-plus, but having seen the ship, I think it should appeal to 45-plus as the facilities on board are superb. However, given that the cruisers on board are generally a lot older than this, there might not be enough atmosphere for them.

Do you think the Fam trip will help you sell more Viking cruises in the future?
Yes

Have you sold any Viking cruises since coming back?
Yes


Rebecca Martin, Bolsover Cruise Club

Nail bar Viking Star

Nail bar Viking Star

What are your thoughts on the Viking Cruises experience following your Fam trip?
The Viking Cruises experience exceeded my expectations and has totally changed my perceptions. I hadn’t anticipated how well Viking would translate the river cruise feeling into ocean cruising.

What were your particular highlights of the Viking Star?
I loved the ambience on board and think it really did feel like a relaxing river cruise vessel, just on a much larger scale. Afternoons in the Wintergarden were a highlight as it is such a gorgeous space and I really liked the Explorer Lounge – it is so cosy in there and I think it’d be a fab spot to lose entire afternoons in. I also thought the spa was incredible, one of the best I’ve ever seen on board.

Afternoons in the Wintergarden were a highlight as it is such a gorgeous space

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from your trip that you wouldn’t have known without being able to experience the product?
The most important thing I have learnt is how well Viking Cruises have translated the river cruise concept onto ocean. It feels like a natural progression, taking the benefits of both and combining them. Without experiencing the product I wouldn’t have been able to advise readers how similar the two are, only on a much grander scale.

What type of customers would you expect to be most suited to cruising with Viking Cruises and on Viking Star?
I think Viking Star would especially appeal to those who have river cruised in the past and are considering their first ocean cruise.

Do you think the Fam trip will help you sell more Viking cruises in the future?
I’m not in a selling position but I have also passed on information to the sales team that they have said helped them a huge amount in conveying life on board to the customer. In terms of getting a better understanding of what Viking Cruises offer, and curating content to accurately share this, the Fam was invaluable.


Jo Rigby, Flexicruise

vikingWhat are your thoughts on the Viking Cruises experience following your Fam trip?
Absolutely fantastic, I have some loyal customers who this would suit perfectly.

Have you booked Viking ocean cruises before?
I haven’t, although I have considered them. But my customers feel more comfortable when I have seen the product.

What were your particular highlights of the Viking Star?
The spa is a big winner for me and I particularly liked the feeling of the Viking River Cruises experience on board – relaxed and sophisticated. Free wi-fi and the shuttle service were also great extras.

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from your trip that you wouldn’t have known without being able to experience the product?
Getting to experience the atmosphere on board. The service, and standards in general, were far beyond my expectations.

What type of customers would you expect to be most suited to cruising with Viking Cruises and on Viking Star?
Perfect for experienced river cruises. What you get on board lends itself very to that type of cruise.

Do you think the Fam trip will help you sell more Viking cruises in the future?
Absolutely, I have customers who wait on my recommendations before booking their own holidays.

Sam Ballard

Sam Ballard is the publisher of CRUISE ADVISER and has been writing about the cruise industry for a number of years. His CV includes the likes of shipping magazine International Cruise & Ferry Review and the digital publication Cruise News. He can be contacted on:sam@cruise-adviser.com.

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