Viking Longship Mani
The Viking Longship Mani is one of ten new-for-2015 Longship-class vessels that have taken up residence on the rivers of Europe, and includes the top-class specification points that have become synonymous with Viking River Cruises’ Longship-class ships. From the environmentally-friendly credentials onboard, including the solar panels and energy-efficient hybrid engines, to the bright, spacious and inviting public areas and well-appointed staterooms, the Viking Longship Mani offers guests a well-rounded, relaxing and comfortable voyage from beginning to end.
The Viking Longship Mani cruises through France, Holland, Germany and Switzerland thanks to the two itineraries it operates, and includes plenty of exciting elements that make up the fantastic Viking Culture Curriculum, ensuring all guests walk away from their river cruise enriched.
Viking River Cruises tend to attract guests predominantly from the USA, but passengers from the UK, Australia, Canada and other English-speaking countries also find the itineraries appealing. The onboard Programme Director and dedicated staff and crew provide an impeccable service throughout the voyage, and will help all guests to make the most out of their river cruise experience. The informative Viking Daily newsletter is also extremely helpful.
As with all Longship-class vessels, the Longship Mani can accommodate 190 passengers when travelling at maximum capacity. However, the size and design of the ship ensures that it will never feel overcrowded, even when full.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available from the main dining room, where guests can enjoy an open seating arrangement which emphasises the relaxed and laidback ambience onboard. There is no formal dress code either, although many guests choose to change into something ‘dressy casual’ for evening meals. Breakfast and lunch are available from a self-serve buffet, with the option for hot dishes also available. Dinner is served by waiters, with an a la carte five-course gourmet menu available every evening. Guests have a choice of regional specialities and Western favourites that will suit every palate – all of which are freshly prepared onboard, using locally sourced, seasonal goods.
Alternatively, passengers have the option of enjoying lighter fare in the Aquavit Terrace, which is located at the front of the Observation Lounge. This casual venue features both indoor and outdoor seating areas, which can be transformed according to the weather outside. On nice days, al-fresco dining is offered, which allows guests to appreciate the beautiful scenery and fresh air as they dine.
Drinks including local wines, beers and soft drinks, are available with lunch and dinner, free of charge. Hot drinks are also complimentary and available from the self-serve beverage station. Guests also have the option to upgrade their drinks package to include premium wines and spirits, if they wish.
The evening entertainment programme is carefully-selected to reflect the itinerary and local region, but remains low-key and relaxed throughout the voyage. Guests can enjoy classical music performances by local musicians in the Observation Lounge on occasion, or can just sit back with a refreshing after-dinner drink as they listen to the resident pianist. The space also benefits from a full-service bar.
Social highlights of every trip are the welcome and farewell dinners, and the Captain’s cocktail reception. These are perfect for guests who wish to mingle with fellow travellers, and most choose to dress up a little for the occasions.
Onboard, guests can enjoy complimentary use of the ship-wide Wi-Fi, or can browse the well-stocked library and boutique. The Viking Culture Curriculum also ensures that all passengers have the opportunity of enjoying itinerary-specific enriching activities, from learning how to create your own Alsatian Flammkuchen and sampling Dutch cheeses and jenever liquor, to having a game of sjoelen (Dutch shuffleboard) and listening to expert-led lectures on Germany’s current affairs and the origins of Rhine River cruising. In Miltenberg, a glassblowing artisan is invited onboard for a glassblowing demonstration, which is usually welcomed and enjoyed.
All guided tours include the use of audio headsets, so guests can enjoy the informative narrative delivered by the local guide, regardless of where they are in the crowd. There are plenty of guided tours available as part of the itinerary, with other optional shore excursions also available. There is usually time in most ports to explore independently, too.
There are a total of 95 staterooms onboard, including seven Veranda Suites and two Explorer Suites. These higher end choices feature both a French balcony and a full-size veranda. In Explorer Suites, the verandas wrap around the room to provide unrivalled 270-degree views. Guests can choose from eight different categories of accommodation altogether – all of which benefit from an outside view, of varying degrees. It is only the Main Deck standard staterooms that don’t have either a French balcony or veranda, instead providing a half-height picture window.
Stateroom sizes vary between 135 sq. ft. and 445 sq. ft. but most amenities remain standard throughout. These include hotel-style beds (with optional twin configuration on request), ample storage, climate control, refrigerator, safe, telephone, hairdryer, flatscreen TV with infotainment system and various channels, complimentary bottled water (replenished daily) and bathrobes/slippers on request. All bathrooms are private with shower and bath products. Some also include heated mirrors and floors.
There is a putting green and a walking track on the Sun Deck, as well as plenty of sunloungers and a canopied seating area. The views from the deck are always phenomenal.
The Viking Longship Mani currently operates two river cruises – the eight day ‘Rhine Discovery’ that travels from Amsterdam to Basel, and the ten day ‘Voyage to Switzerland’ tour that travels that little bit further, to Lucerne in Switzerland. As part of each itinerary, guests can add pre- and post- extensions in Amsterdam and Lucerne.
The Rhine Discovery itinerary includes six guided tours, and the opportunity to sail through the lush Black Forest region of Germany. Highlights include the opportunity to explore the famous windmills at Kinderdijk, wander the iconic Drosselgasse avenue in Rudesheim, visit a cuckoo clock workshop in Breisach or discover the charm and history of Heidelberg and Speyer.
The Voyage to Switzerland tour includes many similar stop-offs to the above itinerary including Cologne, Koblenz and Strasbourg, with an extended stay in Lucerne in order to make the most out of this fabulous Swiss city. Appreciate the opportunity to ride to the top of the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, or embark on a guided tour of the Old Town incorporating the Water Tower, Chapel Bridge and views of Mount Pilatus.