Viking is the largest river cruise company in the market. Their vast fleet includes the immensely successful ‘Longships’, designed in an appealing Nordic style with energy-efficient hybrid engines for a smoother ride. Cruise fares include all necessities: flights, luxury accommodation, meals with drinks, tea and coffee, cultural enrichment programme and daily shore excursions. Leisure facilities are minimal on board, in comparison with other lines, but good value fares compensate. Torstein Hagen, who founded Viking River in 1997, owns the company.
The largest in the industry with over 60 ships and an ambitious expansion plan. The ‘Longships’ are unilaterally admired and provide a blueprint for further vessels.
Viking reaches out across the globe with an exciting and vast range of destinations offered. Europe is well covered with trips available on the Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone, Seine and Douro. Russia is also a popular choice for Viking travellers along with China’s Yangtze River, Egypt and Southeast Asia. There are exciting plans to launch USA cruises along the Mississippi River.
Most rooms on board are classed as Veranda Staterooms with spacious Scandinavian designed interiors and modern bathrooms. Suites have two rooms with a veranda off the living room and French balcony in the bedroom. ‘Infotainment’ centre, Wi-Fi and bottled water are standard.
Food and Drink
The main restaurant is an elegant space where first-rate cuisine is served along with complimentary drinks. The Aquavit Terrace, with revolutionary indoor/outdoor viewing area at the bow of the ship and grills for al fresco dining is well-liked, as is the bright and airy Lounge.
Onboard amenities are more limited on Viking than other lines. There are no hot tubs, pools, exercise bikes or spa facilities. Instead guests are encouraged to relax on the sun deck, stroll the walking track, practice their putting, take shore excursions and engage in the enrichment series of lectures and classes available throughout the trip. As well as the standard shore trips included in the guest fare, there are further options to book more immersive experiences with locals or take VIP tours of special places.
The Viking Explorer Society is a community-based membership scheme open to all Viking guests offering a range of benefits and rewards including a magazine and invitations to events.
Photos courtesy of Viking River Cruises