Viking Longship Hermod
Since its inauguration into the Viking River Cruises’ Longship fleet in 2014, the Viking Longship Hermod – named after a brave son of Odin in Norse folklore - has cruised some of Europe’s most beautiful rivers, with emphasis on the Rhine, Saone and Seine through some of France’s most beautiful landscapes. The continual high demand for Longship-class cruises has meant the Viking line has won awards, and it has also become the Guinness World Record Holder for ‘the most ships inaugurated in one day by one company’ – the Hermod being one of them.
Incorporating contemporary and sleek designs that benefit from Scandinavian influences, an airy and bright atrium that welcomes guests as soon as they step onboard, and well-appointed staterooms and suites that make every guest feel as though they’re in a home away from home, cruises on the Viking Longship Hermod tick all the boxes.
The majority of guests who travel with Viking are English-speaking, with most travelling from the USA, UK, Canada and Australia. Many have similar things in common, with a keen interest in travel, history, culture and enriching experiences. The impeccable service onboard, including the services of the Programme Director, will help all guests to ensure their time onboard is used wisely.
As with other Longship-class ships, the maximum capacity of the Hermod is 190 guests, meaning that there is plenty of opportunity to meet and mingle, without feeling too crowded.
There is one main dining room onboard, and an alternative, the al-fresco Aquavit Terrace, for when guests fancy something a little lighter. The main dining room is spacious, bright and beautifully decorated, with floor-to-ceiling windows, crisp linens and elegant table settings. However, the open seating policy and the lack of formal dress code ensure a casual, friendly and relaxed ambience is maintained.
Breakfast and lunch are served in buffet format, with a range of delicious options available from the self-serve station. Made-to-order eggs at breakfast and hot entrees at lunch can also be ordered. Dinner is a five-course, a la carte meal with a choice of regional specialities and Western favourites that are prepared using fresh, locally sourced and seasonal produce. Local wines, beers and soft drinks are complimentary with lunch and dinner, and hot drinks are free 24/7 from the beverage station onboard. Guests also have the option to upgrade their drinks package to include premium wines and spirits if they wish.
River cruises tend to feature low-key evenings, with many guests retiring to their staterooms early in order to rest up in advance of the next day’s activities. However, social events including the Captain’s welcome reception and dinner, and the farewell dinner, are highlights that are always well-anticipated. The Observation Lounge includes a lively full-service bar and in-house pianist, and local groups and acts are often invited onboard to perform local revues that are in-keeping with the itinerary, including enjoyable French accordion classics.
There is a boutique and a well-stocked library corner onboard, and guests can enjoy complimentary use of the ship-wide Wi-Fi – perfect for staying connected with loved ones back home. The Viking Culture Curriculum also ensures that every guest has plenty of exciting opportunities to enrich their cruise, which are selected to complement the itinerary booked, ranging from culinary classes which will teach you how to make fondant au chocolat or tarte au citron, and cheese and wine tasting sessions, to language lessons. Expert-led lectures also prove popular, with topics including French Impressionists and Provence art, Jeanne d’Arc and French current affairs.
Every itinerary includes several guided tours, often including UNESCO-recognised sites, which allow guests to explore the various destinations in-depth. Individual headsets help guests to gain insight provided by the local guides, without worrying about where they are in the tour-group crowd. Shore excursions to towns including Giverny (once home to Monet), the poignant Normandy beaches, and a wine-tasting afternoon in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, may be included, among others. Independent exploration is also possible.
All 95 staterooms onboard provide a river view, either via a half-height picture window in Main Deck standard staterooms, French balconies or private verandas. Staterooms are divided into eight different accommodation categories which vary in size between 135 sq. ft. and 445 sq. ft., and all feature similar high quality amenities including hotel-style beds (with optional twin configuration), private bathroom with shower and upscale bath products, bathrobes and slippers on request, complimentary bottled water, climate control, in-room safe, telephone, hairdryer, flatscreen TV with English channels and infotainment system, fridge and ample storage space.
Higher end suites are more spacious and feature separate living and sleeping areas, as well as French balconies off the bedroom and full-size verandas off the living area. The verandas in the two Explorer Suites onboard feature wraparound verandas which offer up beautiful 270-degree views of the riverside.
The Sun Deck provides plenty of sunloungers and a shaded seating area - ideal if you wish to take the weight off your feet for a while. Sensational 360-degree panoramic views sweeten the deal! Active sorts will enjoy the walking track and putting green available, and the aromatic organic herb garden provides an alternative area to enjoy a stroll.
There are two itineraries currently sailed by the Viking Longship Hermod – the eight day ‘Portraits of Southern France’ which sails between Avignon and Chalon-sur-Saone, and the 15 day ‘France’s Finest’ which includes elements of the latter, and another of Viking’s itineraries – the ‘Paris and Heart of Normandy’ tour - for a fortnight extravaganza.
The itineraries sail along the Saone, Rhine and Seine Rivers, and provide guests with a first-hand look at some of France’s most beautiful regions. From the wine-making regions of Burgundy and Beaujolais and the gastronomic capital of the country – Lyon, to the northern Normandy beaches and the romantic City of Love – Paris, these two itineraries offer passengers plenty of unique experiences that will be remembered forever.