Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Viking
Cruise StyleLuxury
Ship SizeSmall
Prince Range$$$$
Sails To

Lyo... Amsterdam

Lyon, Paris, Amsterdam
Sails From Avignon
Avignon
Duration8 or 15 days

Sailing European rivers since 2014, the Hermod is one of Viking’s signature Longships, a growing fleet of more than 80 streamlined ships that embody this line’s understated luxury and taste. The Hermod is named for the swift and daring Norse messenger of the gods, known for his bravery in mythology. Yet, there’s no need for this Hermod to speed through its Rhone River route. The atmosphere is distinctly Viking: relaxed, spacious, and meticulously curated down the comfy library corner’s book selections for the route. Less than 200 passengers soak in Provence’s light from walls of glass or the spacious sun deck (think 360-degree views and a large shaded sitting area) while gliding by chateaus and villages in valleys of vineyards. Other sun deck highlights include a walking track; a putting green; a range of solar panels; and an organic herb garden used by the kitchen staff.Read More

Viking tailors to informed guests seeking immersive cultural experiences and focuses on both form and function in the Hermod to ensure it can deliver. Innovative engineering, seen most notably in a squared-off bow and off-center hallways, creates more space for passengers and balconies. Hermod has ecologically friendly hybrid engines that reduce vibrations for those on board.

Viking’s programming caters to those who enjoy soaking in a destination or region through its history, culture, culinary and local shopping.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Every space is designed with light in mind, making the necessarily narrow Longship feel spacious and sophisticated
The ship’s 53-crew ratio is a good fit for guests who prefer more reachable and approachable customer service
At least one complimentary excursion is offered at port each day
Ships sometimes share ports and dock side-by-side, and a room on another ship might periodically block your floor-to-ceiling view
No fitness center or fitness-related programming; there’s also no spa
Rooms do not include irons or steamers, and laundry services cost extra

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Editor Rating
Cabins
Accessibility

The cabin views are an achievement: 70 of the 95 guest rooms have a floor-to-ceiling window with either a French balcony or a full balcony that seats two. Inside, Staterooms range from 135 to 205 square feet. Beds can be configured in either a twin or queen set-up. Nine Suites offer a sitting area and bedroom, topping out 445 square feet. The mid-range Veranda Stateroom provides good space, and the namesake walkout private veranda is worth considering.

All cabins have heated bathroom floors, anti-fog mirrors, premium Freja bath products, ample USB ports and outlets for 110/220 volts, luxury linens and pillows with the comfy Explorer bed, and a flat-screen TV with movies, shows, and all of the cruise’s information at hand.

Viking is attentive to the accessibility needs of its guests, but narrow river ships can provide challenges. Pathways are narrow on Viking’s river Longships, including hallways and rooms, for those using mobility devices. Wheelchairs need to be no wider than 22 inches. The crew is not allowed to lift or push wheelchairs, and guests will need a companion to assist. A glass elevator between the middle and upper deck provides access to the restaurant, lounges, service desk, and all possible disembarking points. However, it does not include the sun deck or the lowest floor of rooms. Guests must complete and return Viking’s Accessibility Form no later than 30 days prior to departure.

Staff provides thorough briefings on what to expect physically and creates strategic small city tour groups to modify paces and paths for mobility.

Food & Drink

Editor Rating
Dining
Bars

Staff serve meals in both The Restaurant and the ship’s Aquavit Terrace on the ship’s stern. Both venues operate at set times with open seating, but no reservations are required.

For breakfast, guests in both locations can choose from an omelet station, a buffet of hot and cold dishes, or table service with the day’s specific breakfast menu. Lunch also has table service or buffet options. Daily standards include salads and cheeseburgers along with local dishes. Dinner is a three-course affair. Viking’s signature classics, like the rib eye steak and poached Norwegian salmon, are available every night.

Rotating specialties complement the port, with chef specialties and a daily regional tasting menu (for example, salade de chèvre chaud, coq au vin, and tarte aux Noix du Périgord in Lyon, France.) Some dishes are delicately crafted and delicious, while others are more standard fare.

The Restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, affording sweeping views in what would otherwise be a stuffy setting. Tables are large and shared; there are no tables for two here.

The open-air Aquavit tables seat two to four guests. A shade can extend partway over the deck and provides some protection from dripping water when navigating river locks. These tables are a hot commodity, and many will sip cocktails outside ahead of time to hold down a table.

Complimentary house wines, beers, and soft drinks are offered with onboard lunches and dinners. Specialty coffees and assorted hot teas are available from self-service coffee stations based at both entrances to the lounge area.

For those who would like to upgrade to unlimited beverages, Viking offers a Silver Spirits beverage package for a flat fee per guest. It includes a selection of premium local wines by the glass, cocktails, beers, specialty coffee drinks, soft drinks and juices throughout the day, plus an open bar during operating hours. The package must be purchased for the full length of the cruise by all parties sharing a stateroom.

The one bar on the ship is in the lounge, but guests can take drinks anywhere. The range of options is broad for lovers of spirits, and the bartenders will whip up any cocktail you desire.

Entertainment

Editor Rating

Typical of most river ships, there are no big shows common on many ocean lines. A ship musician performs nightly in the lounge, crooning along to the piano with crowd favorites. Guest singers, bands, and dancers bring talent and local flair several evenings a week. If you feel like dancing any night of the week, the odds are good you won’t be the only one. The staff remains attentive even after the performances for those wanting to talk into the evening. A few putt-putt golf holes and a shuffleboard court on the sun deck are popular when cruising. At times these are not available when navigating a stretch with low bridges.

The lounge hosts some onboard programming, consisting of destination-centered lectures and presentations and live music performances. “Port Talks,” nightly guest briefings that casually discuss the next day’s agenda and other important cruise announcements, happen here too.

All cabins and staterooms have a flat-screen TV with an infotainment system, where you can choose from a selection of live TV channels, complimentary movies on demand, and in-house programming.

 

Spa & Fitness

Editor Rating

Viking Longships do not have spa or fitness facilities in order to maximize living quarters for guests. The sun deck does have a full walking track with panoramic views. Most ports of call have excursion offerings with higher activity levels, like hiking, or kayaking, or walking tours.

The ship’s concierge services are also happy to help connect guests with reservations for spa and fitness services in their ports.

Key cruising tips

Health & Safety

Viking adheres to all safety and health regulations for ships with passengers, and guests will participate in a brief safety drill to learn muster stations during embarkation. Life vests are in every cabin, with extras in strategic locations. The crew is diligent about ensuring everyone is on board, and cameras in public spaces support safety.

Viking offers a Travel Protection Plan that covers unforeseen circumstances before or during your trip, including ones relating to COVID-19. More information on protocols can be found at Viking’s Health & Safety Program on its website.

Dress Code

Dress is casual during the day, and comfortable shoes are crucial for excursions. While there are no formal nights at dinner, Viking recommends “elegant casual” for guests with dresses, skirts, slacks, and collared shirts. Remember that Viking caters to sophisticated travelers 55 or older, and elegance abounds in the evening. A tie and jacket are optional for men, though not uncommon.

Junior Cruisers

Viking cruises are adults-only, and guests must be at least 18 years old at departure.

Service

Viking service is flawless across the ship, professional but personable, and staff genuinely seem to enjoy their positions and teams. Don’t be surprised if staff are greeting you by name within the first day. Cabin attendants are detail-oriented in turn-down service without being intrusive. Dining and bar staff will do all they can to accommodate spontaneous requests and are diligent with dietary needs. The captain makes frequent personable appearances. The guides Viking partners with at port are professional and knowledgeable.

Tipping

Viking generally offers two ways to manage gratuities. One option is to pre-purchase gratuities on the My Viking Journey section of Viking’s website, at the standard recommended rate per guest per day, subsequently listed by destination. Or, Viking can automatically add a discretionary service charge per guest per day to your shipboard account, which appears on your final invoice at the end of your cruise.

Any additional tipping, for local guides or drivers or Viking representatives, is at your discretion.

Acknowledging appreciated staff by name in the survey at the end of the sailing can also support staff in their career progression.

 

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2014
Number of Cabins
95
Passenger Capacity
190
Crew Members
53
Passengers to Crew Ratio
3.58
Gross Tons
5000
Width
37.6 feet
Length
443 feet

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