Fodor’s Expert Review
Refurbished in 2013, the intimate Viking Mandalay was designed specifically to sail the waters of Burma’s Irrawaddy River. It accommodates only 60 guests in 30 cabins outfitted with hotel-style bedding, windows that open, and private baths. The ship has a shared sundeck.Read More
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.
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.