The Viking Sun sailed into the Port of Los Angeles last week with a full contingent of passengers who, fittingly enough, spent two sunny days exploring Southern California.
The ship's visit marked a number of firsts: It was Viking Cruises' first world cruise, its first West Coast port of call, and the first opportunity for the line’s U.S.-based employees, who work in Woodland Hills, to see one of the ships they help to market and create.
The Sun, which was launched in September, is the company's newest ship. It left Miami on Dec. 15 on a five-month, 141-day itinerary with 64 port calls and rates that started at $50,000 per person.
After it left Los Angeles on Friday, the Sun set sail for Papeete, French Polynesia.
Viking, a 20-year-old company, is known for its fleet of 64 river boats, which command about 50% of the market in Europe. The company now has four ocean-going ships and has four more under construction.
Despite its relatively recent entry into the ocean-going cruise ship market, it scored well this year in annual popularity contests sponsored by CruiseCritic.com and other cruise websites and publications.
Its river and ocean ships feature modern Scandinavian design. They are a departure from some of the more flamboyant looks that can be found on other ships.
"We call it understated elegance," said Viking chairman Torstein Hagen, addressing ship visitors in Los Angeles. "No neon, no casinos, no umbrella drinks."
Among Viking's other departures from standard cruise lines: It doesn't allow children younger than 18; has no giant slides or other huge activities for guests; has no inside rooms or formal nights; and doesn't charge for Internet usage.
"We don't try to be all things to all people," said Hagen, noting that the company's target audience is made up of experienced travelers 55 and older.
Viking's recent awards include being rated a top ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016 and 2017 world’s best awards, Cruise Critic’s 2017 Cruisers’ Choice Awards; and Luxury Travel Advisor magazine's 2017 Awards of Excellence, where it picked up best cruise line for luxury ocean cruises and best luxury river cruises awards.