Fodor’s Expert Review

Cruise StyleRiver

In the luxury river cruising niche, Viking is an absolute winner, receiving praise from both the industry and demanding clientele. In 2013, Viking will operate 30 vessels. Nearly half of these were added in the last two years as the new Longship-class of next-generation vessels, inspired by ancient Norse longships and designed with sophisticated elegance by famed Norwegian maritime architects Yran and Storbraaten. All-inclusive fares, superb service, and sleek rooms with exceptional views are showcased. Apart from minor design flaws, river cruising doesn’t get any better than this.Read More

Viking’s two smallest ships are the intimate 124-passenger Fontane and Schumann, both built with the shallow Elbe River in mind. Among Viking’s other ships, capacity ranges between 150 and 160 guests. These include the Danube, Europe, Neptune, Pride, Sky, and Spirit. With capacity for 198 guests, Helvetia and Sun are larger. The first “green” ship, built in 2009—the 189-passenger Legend—features diesel electric hybrid engines. The wow factor is high for newer green vessels Aegir, Embla, Freya, Idun, Njord, and Odin—all launched in 2012.

Cruises in Europe are offered on the Rhine, Main, Danube, Elbe, Saône, Seine, and Rhône rivers, as well as the canals of the Netherlands and Belgium. Viking also has five ships in Russia and Ukraine. Kirov, Pakhomov, Peterhof, and Surkov sail on the Volga, while Lomonosov meanders the Dnieper.

Is This Line Right for You?

Choose this Line If
Don’t Choose this Line If
You like newer ships with hotel-style appeal. Recent fleet additions offer larger suites, wraparound balconies, and a modern lounge with retractable floor-to-ceiling windows for indoor/outdoor dining.
Control is important when dining. Open seating for all meals means you sit where you like, with whom you want.
Classic European waterways are on your To-Do list. Included in fares are guided shore excursions at each port of call.
Standing room–only lounges and poor acoustics bother you. At full capacity, there are not enough seats to accommodate all passengers at daily briefings. Dining areas can get noisy.
You enjoy sitting on upper outside decks. Some cruises have many low bridges, prohibiting passengers to access the sunny 360-degree panoramic level.
You’re a die-hard oenophile. While wine is free for lunch and dinner, expect the same red or white to be served at every meal.

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