David first entered the travel industry as a travel agent back in the early 70’s. He reminisces “In those days there was no such thing as automation…all tickets had to be handwritten. I can remember even having cruise line ticket stock!” He became an area manager for a Florida department store chain of agencies before owning his own travel agency for 8 years. After selling his agency he entered the supplier side of the travel industry as a district sales manager for small cruise line which was followed which was followed with 11 years as a BDM for a major cruise line. He joined the Viking team in May 2010 and is extremely proud to work for the largest river cruise line that’s consistently voted the best in the world by consumers and travel trade organizations alike. David has experienced many of Viking’s itineraries including Russia, China and a number of the European rivers so be sure to tap on his knowledge of these areas! And he notes while “Russia wasn’t on my bucket list it turned out to be one of the most fascinating and rewarding trips I have ever taken”.
Founded in 1997, Viking pioneered the boom in river cruising which is now the fastest growing sector of the cruise market, with a 10% passenger growth year on year. Viking has heavily invested in its fleet development program, including its innovative and award-winning ‘Longships’ offering the highest levels of service, style and comfort. Last year David along with management from Travel Planners International witnessed Viking set a new Guinness World Record when it christened 10 Longships on the same day – combining those vessels and 14 more Longships in 2014 it will bring Viking’s total fleet size to 51 ships worldwide. Recently Conde Nast readers voted the Viking Longship Odin #1 River Cruise Ship in its 2014 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Poll.
David is proud to share that due to your outstanding support of Viking Cruises, Travel Planners Int’l has been instrumental in our growth and has consistently been one of Viking’s top agencies. TPI has been a member of Viking’s elite agency program called Platinum Circle since its inception 4 years ago. Currently all Viking bookings made through March 2014 are eligible for the Platinum Circle $50 VISA reward. If you haven’t already registered please do so at http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/special-offers/platinum-circle-rewards.aspx to be eligible to receive the VISA card rewards.
And there’s even more exciting news for the future – Viking last year announced the launch of its ocean product line, Viking Ocean Cruises, marking the introduction of the travel industry’s first new cruise line in nearly a decade. Viking’s first ship, the Viking Star, will begin sailing in April 2015 and will bring the all-inclusive nature of river cruising and longer port stays to the cruise industry.
Viking is proud to be a sponsor of the TPI Extravaganza again this year and David looks forward to seeing you all again in October. For those of you that experienced Viking’s “winning” breakfast the last few years they promise it will even be better this year!