Viking definitely knows its way around a river voyage, with more than 70 ships currently navigating the world’s waterways – including seven new ones recently added to the fleet. These Scandinavian-designed, 190-passenger ships promise to get cruisers closer to destinations around the world, via an array of itineraries that offer more time in port and more overnight stays.
“Once you take a Viking river cruise, you’ll always want to take another,” say Virtuoso husband-and-wife advisor team David and Carol Porter.
Here, a quick look at what passengers can expect from Viking’s newest additions.
Plenty of Room to Spread Out
Viking Longships embody functional luxury at its best, with onboard comforts styled with a nod to the line’s Norwegian heritage. Virtuoso travel advisor and Godmother to the Viking Ingvi, Anne Scully, applauds Viking chairman Torstein Hagen for his innovative vision: “Instead of the main hallway going down the center of the ship, he moved the aisle to allow more room for the balconies. The lounge area is one wide open space, instead of being cut up like you see on other cruise ships,” she says. “Torstein is a brilliant designer with a Midas touch – everything he touches turns to gold.”
Streamlined architecture, light-filled spaces, and comfortable staterooms with full-size verandas (Viking has the largest suites on Europe’s rivers) create this elegant onboard experience. Five stateroom categories range from a 150-square-foot Standard Stateroom with heated bathroom floor tiles and Freyja Natural bath products from South Africa, to the 445-square-foot Explorer Suite with a private wraparound balcony, an additional French balcony that opens directly from the sleeping quarters, welcome Champagne, private airport transfers, and other perks. In this small-ship cruise setting, alfresco dining is a major highlight: The glass-ceilinged Aquavit Buffet opens to an airy outdoor dining deck where passengers can have breakfast while admiring the sights. Just imagine taking that first bite of a fresh buttery croissant as the Eiffel Tower slides into view.
The new Viking Einar, Sigrun, Sigyn, Tir, Ullur and Vali Longships – all named after historic and mythical Nordic figures – sail the Danube, Main, and Rhine rivers on itineraries ranging from 8 to 23 days. Spend two weeks cruising these three waterways on a 15-day, Budapest-to-Amsterdam sailing aboard the Tir or Vali, tasting traditional dobos sponge cake at Budapest’s Café Gerbeaud, learning the Viennese waltz in Vienna, and touring Holland’s bucolic, windmill-dotted landscapes. Or, head farther east on the 11-day Budapest-to-Bucharest cruise on the Viking Sigyn, which includes a daredevil exposition of Hungary’s puszta horse riders, a visit to the sixth-century Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade, and more.
A New Way Down the Douro
For travelers seeking new sights, Viking Cruises added the Viking Helgrim to its four-vessel fleet custom-designed to sail Portugal’s Douro River. Similar in style to the Longships, with three stateroom categories, the Helgrim offers upper- and middle-deck accommodations with full-size verandas or French balconies; a shaded Sun Deck complete with a swimming pool, organic herb garden, and putting green; and cozy shared spaces such as a library and a lounge area. On a ten-day cruise-tour dive into Portugal and Spain, travelers begin in the labyrinth streets of Lisbon before boarding the ship in Porto. (Pro tip: Book a helicopter sightseeing tour or embark on a tasting of Quinta da Aveleda wines.) Passengers sail on to Salamanca, Spain; Pinhão, Portugal; and more, with pre- and post-trip opportunities to extend their stays in either country.
Excursions for Every Appetite
No matter where you sail, cultural insights are a highlight of Viking’s river cruises. “All cruises have excursions, but Vikings’ are truly immersive. You go into the shops and watch people make bread or pretzels and olives, and interact with locals, rather than running around in a bubble,” the Porters add.
Passengers can create tailored shore excursions organized into three experience types: Local Life, Working World, and Privileged Access. Gain a deeper understanding of daily activity in Saigon, for example, with a Local Life street tour via pedal cab. In the Working World workshops, travelers fascinated with “behind the scenes” looks at life can meet spice harvesters in Goa and try wood carving in Bali. And if you dream of the Downton Abbey lifestyle, Privileged Access encounters offer VIP-style, monk-led tours of Göttweig Abbey, private dinners in London’s Churchill War Rooms, and more.
This article is sponsored by Viking.