Launched in 2014 alongside its twin sister the Viking Torgil, the Viking Hemming is expertly designed by Viking River Cruises to sail the Douro River in Portugal. With the Portuguese Prime Minister’s wife, Laura Ferreira acting as godmother, Viking Hemming truly is a Portuguese thoroughbred. Her innovative streamlined design and décor is designed to bring the famous Viking Longship experience to the Douro, where there are ship size restrictions. As a result, the Viking Hemming offers everything Norwegian-owned Viking Longships are known for, with the added bonus of an intimate atmosphere of only 106 passengers.
Thanks to its Culture Curriculum programme, Viking cruises attract a well-heeled, well-educated, generally English speaking clientele. On a Viking Hemming cruise, this is still true, however on Portuguese cruises many passengers enjoy combining cultural enrichment with the chance to sample port and bask in the Portuguese sun.
Days on Viking Hemming start with the breakfast buffet, with a wide choice of eggs, fruit, cheese, cold meats, pastries and cereals. At lunchtime you can pick from the soup and salad bar or opt for a more substantial main course and dessert. In the evenings, dinner consists of five delicious courses. Reflecting Viking’s ethos of immersing its passengers in the itinerary, all menus include seasonal inspiration from the cuisines of Portugal and Spain.
Viking Hemming’s restaurant has a laid back feel with its panoramic views, open-seating policy and casual dress code, but table linens and high quality china and glassware give an upmarket feel. The restaurant includes the Al Fresco Restaurant, where meals can be enjoyed outside. Alternatively, you can have a casual meal or a drink on the Aquavit Terrace on the upper deck.
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer and delicious Portuguese wines are included with meals. and there’s also the option to upgrade to the premium Silver Spirits Premium Package. You can also help yourself to coffee, tea and cappuccino at any time of day from the beverage bar.
Every itinerary includes a Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner and a farewell meal. These are not formal occasions but some people choose to dress up. Portuguese and Spanish musicians are regularly invited onboard, however most evenings are relaxed with most passengers happy to watch the world go by with a drink on the Sun Deck or in the stylish, contemporary Observation Lounge with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that serves as the ship’s social hub.
Free Wi-Fi, a boutique and the services of the ship’s concierge are always on hand onboard. There’s also a great programme of multimedia presentations on subjects like Fado, Flamenco and other traditional music and dance, the regions’ architecture and art, the viticulture of port wine and the fascinating history of the Iberian Peninsula.
Offshore excursions are also devoted to immersing passengers in the places of the Douro, aided by handpicked tour guides and high-tech headsets. Your newsletter, the Viking Daily, will brief you with all you need to know about the day’s sightseeing ahead. From touring Lisbon’s iconic Bairro Alto and dining in a museum converted from a monastery, to touring the famous Mateus Palace, or enjoying a flamenco show, it’s all covered.
There is plenty room onboard to stretch your legs and the Viking Hemming also has a putting green and herb garden on the Sun Deck. Unusually for a Viking ship, there is also a swimming pool – a welcome addition when the sun is shining over Portugal!
Standard Staterooms, French Balcony Staterooms, Veranda Staterooms and Veranda Suites make up the accommodation onboard the Viking Hemming. The Scandinavian-inspired décor features light woods and neutrals with calming accents of blue.
Apart from 1 French Balcony Stateroom, the Upper Deck is devoted to six Veranda Suites and 13 Veranda Staterooms. The 302 sq. ft. Veranda Suites boast a full-size veranda next to the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom. The 186 sq. ft. Veranda Staterooms also feature a veranda which you enter through the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.
The Middle Deck is home to one French Balcony Suite, five more Veranda Suites and 11 Veranda Staterooms. The Main Deck has 16 Standard Staterooms with half-height picture windows and a 155 sq. ft. area.
40 inch flat screen TV, underbed storage, spacious wardrobe with wooden hangers, climate control, phone, safe and hairdryer come as standard on all staterooms. Also, you can choose a double or twin configuration for your hotel-style bed. Premium bath products, daily bottled water and bathrobes and slippers available on request all add to the feeling of pampering.
The Viking Hemming’s 10-day Portugal’s Rivers of Gold Itinerary is a meandering easterly odyssey through Lisbon, Porto, Regua, Barca d’Alva and Pinhao. There’s also a visit to Salamanca in Spain on day 7. The itinerary includes eight in-depth guided tours.