Viking is possibly the most recognisable name in the river cruising industry and the company have been doing what they do best for many years now. They are constantly adding new ships, itineraries, and experiences and this has helped them to become the most honoured river cruise line in the world. They have earned acclaim from trusted and popular sources such as Cruise Critic, Cruise International and Travel weekly on their way to establishing the world’s largest fleet of river vessels.
The all-inclusive package offered by Viking River Cruises not only covers the things you would expect, such as meals on board and the speciality beverages which accompany them, they go much further too. Also included in the price you pay will be daily shore excursions, enrichment programmes on board, and even Wi-Fi internet.
The extensive fleet is expanding all the time and includes no less than 38 innovative vessels known as ‘Viking Longships’. They can take you all over Europe, as well as to destinations in Russia, China, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia. There are ways to customise your own experience too. This includes personalising your shore excursions so that they suit your desired pace, as well as offering a concierge service which allows you to arrange restaurant bookings, theatre tickets, private tours, and much more.
Overall, Viking River Cruises aims to provide the best ships that sail a wide range of carefully created itineraries, offer wonderful service and provide excellent value for money. This includes fantastic cuisine, excursions that take in the main sights as well as those off the beaten track, and immersive cultural experiences. And with many guests choosing to sail with them again and again, they must be getting something right.
Your suite or stateroom will provide everything you would expect from a land-based hotel. Space and comfort are present in abundance and thanks to carefully designed cabins that are thoughtfully decorated; there is a light and airy feeling present throughout the fleet. Mod-cons such as TVs, infotainment centres and internet connectivity are all included, and most ships also offer in-room climate control.
You’ll be able to get a great night’s sleep on the hotel style beds, whilst fine linens, premium bath products and comfortable slippers will also help you relax. As for the views, well, they come as standard. Whether you are enjoying them through a picture window, from your French balcony, or whilst standing on your private veranda (suites only), you’ll be able to make the most of every passing landscape.
The fresh and elegant cuisine featured on a Viking river cruise includes the use of locally sourced ingredients. And by locally, we mean as local as you can get. Even to the point of utilising herbs that have been grown on the ship’s Sun Deck. The menu will feature a range of regional and international dishes and Viking’s signature ‘Taste of…’ events are a great way to sample the flavours of the destinations you will visit.
Breakfast and lunch will be a casual affair, as you help yourself to a range of buffet choices. However, when the evening rolls around, you will be treated to a five-course dinner that is accompanied by carefully chosen speciality wines and beers. And the best part is that it’s all included in your cruise fare.
Finally, when it comes to deciding where to eat, the options are just as varied as the menu choices. You can choose to dine in the main restaurant, enjoy something light in the lounge, make the most of the weather on the Sun Deck or, on board the Viking Longships, take a seat on the glorious Aquavit Terrace.
In 2012 Viking introduced its state of the art Viking Longships to operate within Europe. These cutting edge vessels earned acclaim for their innovative design which allows them to be spacious and airy whilst also letting light flood in from outside. In an unprecedented move, Cruise Critic editors even named the entire Viking Longship class as their ‘Best River Cruise Ship’ for that year.
The facilities on board these ships include expansive atriums, a large Viking Lounge, the main restaurant, the sun-drenched Aquavit Terrace, a library, a putting green and a walking track. There’s also free Wi-Fi across the entire ship and the hybrid engines help to keep vibration to a minimum.
Ships in Russia and Asia are designed differently to suit the waters that they travel through, although the types of facilities and public areas are largely the same.
Viking River Cruises creates excursions that take you to the main attractions as well as those hidden gems that you’ll only find off the beaten track. The goal of these trips ashore is to immerse you in the local culture and enable you to see things that you wouldn’t normally have access to.
There’s also the option to customise your shore excursions to create your own personal experience. If you don’t want to join the group on a specific day; you don’t have to. And if you’d rather go off exploring on your own; that’s totally OK too. Plus, if you are looking for extra, more personal, activities in a certain destination; just ask the concierge. They will be able to arrange things such as restaurant bookings, theatre tickets and much more.
Finally, when taking part in a group shore excursion, you’ll be able to wander at your own pace and still hear everything the guide is saying. This is thanks to the audio headsets that Viking give to their guests during their tours.