Viking River Cruises’ newest ships, deemed ‘Viking Longships’ after the ships used by the Norse people around 800 A.D, are finally bringing the luxury found on high-end ocean cruise ship lines to river cruising. Winning the Cruise Critic Editor’s Pick for Best New River Ship was an expectation for Viking when the longship Aegir launched in 2012. Their use of hybrid engines and vibration-dampening mountings mean that sailing is much smoother than any full-size cruise ship, with increased fuel efficiency too. Their staterooms feature 270° views with a veranda, allowing you to take in all the sites as you cruise down the Rhine or Danube. They also include 40” flatscreen TVs in every room, as well as personal refrigerators to store midnight snacks or cold champagne.
Glass features throughout the designs, allowing you to see the ever-changing views in the restaurant, lounge or even some of the suites. The ships all offer free wireless internet access anywhere on the vessel, with a library, putting green, organic herb garden (used by the on-board chefs) and solar panels making up some of the other notable features. A lobby akin to that found in a luxury hotel greets you as you board, and lounge areas feature throughout where you can take a drink, relax or read.
Food can be taken al fresco in nice weather, or in the glass-panelled restaurant. Dinner consists of a five-course menu with foods from the region, including locally produced vegetables.
River cruise ships have certain limitations in terms of their size, since they not only have to float through narrow sections of the river, but also under low bridges and through lock gates. The Viking long ships have pushed these limitations to the max, in order to create the most space for their guests as possible. The limits on size also mean that a river cruise ship carries a fraction of the guests that an ocean-going vessel takes, meaning the quality of food tends to be higher and the service more personal. The Viking Longships are 135 metres long and can accommodate 190 passengers in 95 staterooms.
Record Breaking Ships
Each Viking Longship has a female ‘godmother’ attributed to it, consisting of an eminent woman from around the world. The Aegir’s Godmother is Eszter Völner, secretary of National Development in Hungary with a passion for classical singing. During the longships’ inauguration, Viking broke the Guinness World Record for ‘The most new ships inaugurated in one day by a single company’. This large fleet expansion shows the increase in the popularity of river cruising, and the high specification and levels of luxury mean these are aimed at those who appreciate the finer things in life.
River Cruising - It's Not Your Usual Cruise
River cruising is a relaxing way to discover places like Europe, China or Egypt; taking life at a slow pace. It does not feature the usual entertainment found on an ocean-going cruise, opting instead for more sophisticated activities, such as wine tasting, classical music recitals and cooking demonstrations. Regular stops means passengers are not stuck on board a ship for long periods, allowing them to explore a country , town by town. If an ocean cruise ship is a floating resort, consider a river cruise ship as a floating hotel. River cruise companies tend to aim their cruises at retired people, however it's perfectly possible to enjoy a river cruise as a younger person - just consider it a different way to explore a country.