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Torstein Hagen Biography

Chairman of Viking

Torstein Hagen is Chairman of Viking, which includes river, ocean and expedition voyages. Viking was established in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. In 2000, the company purchased Europe’s KD River Cruises in order to grow its fleet, to leverage 40 years of river cruising experience and to acquire rights to prime docking locations in key European cities.

The company expanded into the American market in 2000, establishing a sales and marketing office in Los Angeles, California. Since then Viking has grown to be the world’s #1 River Cruise Line, and with the launch of its ocean fleet, it has also become the leader in small ship ocean cruising.

Hagen announced the company’s entry into ocean cruising in 2013, and in 2015 Viking introduced its first ocean ship with the naming of the 930-guest all-veranda Viking Star. 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 launched its second ocean ship, Viking Sea in 2016, which was joined by sister ships Viking Sky and Viking Sun in 2017, Viking Orion in 2018 and Viking Jupiter in 2019. Six more sister ships are on order, with options for four additional ships. These options could bring Viking’s total ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027.

In early 2020, Hagen announced that Viking will launch new expedition voyages, with its first 378-guest vessel, Viking Octantis, debuting in January 2022 and sailing to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. A second sister ship, Viking Polaris, will launch in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic.

Also in 2020, Hagen announced that Viking will launch new destination-focused travel experiences on the Mississippi River. The company’s first 386-guest custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi, between New Orleans and St. Paul.

A Norway native, he has extensive experience in the shipping and cruise industries and from 1980–1984 held the CEO position at Royal Viking Line, the industry-leading cruise line of its time. Hagen also served as a member of the board of directors for Holland America Line and Kloster Cruise Ltd., and was a partner of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in Europe. As the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, he studied computers at Wesleyan University. He holds a degree in physics from the Norwegian Institute of Technology, where he completed his Master’s Thesis related to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Hagen also holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.

*Ship size category: 600–2,199 guests