Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. Designed for discerning travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. In its first four years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure's 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 "World's Best" Awards. Viking currently operates a fleet of 78 vessels, offering scenic cruising on rivers and oceans around the world. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler's "Gold List" as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as "Best Overall" Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers' Choice Awards, "Best River Cruise Line" and "Best River Itineraries," with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named "Best New River Ships" in the website's Editors' Picks Awards.