Viking Cruises is a privately owned, professionally managed company offering river and ocean cruises. Its destination-focused river and ocean itineraries are designed for experienced travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history. It is the parent company of Viking River Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises. In 2015, the company began offering ocean cruises on ocean vessels that sail the coasts of Scandinavia and the British Isles, and the waters of the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Viking has a primary sales office in the United States, secondary sales offices in the United Kingdom and Australia, and operational offices in Switzerland. Viking Cruises was initially founded as Viking River Cruises in 1997 by a Scandinavian and Dutch consortium. Viking River Cruises expanded into the American market in 2000, establishing U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Over time, the company has acquired and refurbished additional ships and built new ones. As of 2015, it operates a fleet of 64 ships. The company employs more than 4,000 staff worldwide and it markets its river cruises primarily to English-speaking customers in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia.