Cruise Ferries provide the luxury of ocean going ships on shorter trips
Viking Lines has been plying the passenger lanes of the Baltic for more than half a century, and provides short and medium length ferry cruises between Sweden, Finland and Estonia. Some passengers are on mini vacations, some are commuting and some are using the economical, leisurely means of transport as a welcome respite from the hustle and noise of the city. But whatever their reason for boarding, all of them are treated to a memorable experience on a safe, comfortable ship providing all of the amenities that discerning travelers have come to expect from the venerable ferry line.
For many decades, large ocean going luxury vessels have provided their passengers with vacations onboard. Cruise lines such as Holland American Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Cunard Lines take their passengers to practically any port in the world which can handle a large ship. And the fares charged can be breathtaking. For instance, Regent Seven Seas recently offered an around the world cruise departing in January, 2017. Fares started at $110,000 per cabin and ranged all the way to $320,000. The ship, which will stop in more than 60 ports, was 70 percent booked after the first day!
Port to Port in Style
Ferries have been around for hundreds of years, shuttling passengers and freight for short distances all over the world. Today, there is a special kind of ferry called Cruise Ferries, which are true luxury vessels. These boats are often comparable, although on a smaller scale, to ocean going cruise ships. They have many of the same features, often draw 15,000 tons or more, and provide a safe and reliable travel experience. Daily users can commute in style, while vacationers enjoy a special touch when visiting cities near the water at very little added expense. Both types of traveler get to enjoy the amenities of a cruise ship without the outsized expense.
Trips on a Cruise Ferry last from a fraction of an hour to a couple of nights, and are an incredibly convenient way to get from one port to another. Tourists and commuters with cars can save literally hundreds of miles of driving and save money at the same time while taking advantage of the boat’s restaurants, recreational facilities and shopping opportunities.
Cruise Ferries can be a perfect mini vacation by themselves, or they can be integrated into visits to almost any place that has a port. Passengers are treated to views that are simply unavailable from land based transport; many of the world’s great buildings and landscapes look completely different, often better, from the water. The pace is relaxed, the breeze is always fresh, and adding a quick cruise to an otherwise land bound vacation makes for an experience you won’t quickly forget.
Viking Line Sets the Standard
One such Cruise Ferry operator that has been around for more than fifty years is Viking Line, which provides service in the Baltic Sea between Sweden, Finland and Estonia. Passengers can visit Turku, Finland´s former capital and oldest city, founded in 1229. Helsinki, Finland´s modern seaside capital, is surrounded by dozens of islands and is particularly connected to nature. Stockholm is one of Europe’s cleanest urban centers and has more museums than any other city on the continent. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is the medieval gateway to a country with fine roads and quaint villages, and only 2 ½ hours by ferry from Helsinki.
Then, there are the Åland islands, halfway between the Swedish and Finnish mainlands, whose 6,500 islands offer an experience that can’t be duplicated. Tourists and locals alike get around with free ferries and small outboard motorboats, and the observant traveler will frequently come across colonies of seals and other marine life while exploring the nooks, crannies and inlets of this natural paradise.
Passengers and Freight Companies both get World Class Service
Viking Lines moves passengers and cargo among this region with its mix of wildness and uniquely Nordic civilization with a style and class that is emblematic of the friendly, hardy people that populate this region. And their passengers notice. On Trip Advisor, for instance, a recent review of responses showed that passengers rated their experience with Viking either “Excellent” or “Very Good” 85% of the time.
Viking has also been an important driver of economic development in the region. Before Viking’s ferry service began, it was quite expensive to travel between Finland and Sweden, despite their geographical proximity. Trade was hampered by the fact that the overland route between the two Scandinavian capitals around the Gulf of Bothnia is impractical and takes days rather than the 16 hours it can be made by ferry. Since initiation of its service, people and goods have moved freely and road infrastructure to the ports Viking serves has been improved to handle the increased traffic.
High Tech Means High Quality and Safety
Viking is committed to continuous improvement in quality, safety and technology. All of Viking’s vessels feature the latest in navigation and safety systems, including constant on board monitoring of systems. Mechanical sensors are supplemented by crewmembers inspecting every part of the vessel 24 hours a day. The staff is continually trained to make sure that passenger comfort and safety is the most important priority. In fact, Viking Line was the first shipping company on the Baltic Sea to be certified as complying with the International Safety Management Code (ISMC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and Viking collaborated with the Finnish Red Cross in producing a pamphlet on human responses to traumatic events. Passenger illness occurs from time to time, and there is trained staff with a sickroom on board all of Viking vessels, and emergency transportation to hospital at the first port of call can be arranged.
In the Baltic, the Environment comes First
Viking is also known as a responsible steward of the environment, with a recycling and emissions control regime in place to ensure that its environmental impact is as small as possible. Viking goes above and beyond the requirements of law, and not only features food and coffee on board produced in an environmentally responsible way, but it also actively recycles and reuses waste produced on board. In 2014 alone, for instance, Viking recycled 16 tons of plastic, 4 tons of aluminum, 2,279 tons of used oils, 446 tons of glass, 78 tons of scrap metal and 635 tons of paper and cardboard. In addition to the energy savings from recycling, this activity also equated to a reduction of more than 4,000 tons of CO2 emissions. The nearly 1000 tons of waste food brought ashore yielded 71,000 cubic meters of biogas, the equivalent of 80,000 liters of gasoline.
Viking Line lives up to traditional Nordic values of quality, concern for the environment, efficiency and style. On a Viking cruise ferry passenger get the trip of a lifetime in a few hours while enjoying the best that both man and nature and nature can provide.
Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, Viking Line has been selected to receive the BID International Star Award for Quality for 2015 at the convention in Geneva.
About BID and the International Star Award for Quality:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.
The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.
Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.