In 2016, the new Viking Osfrid will be making its way along the Douro River in Portugal, joining two other vessels that are already accustomed to this beautiful river – the Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil. The Viking Osfrid was built with the Douro River in mind, and while it’s not technically a Longship, it does boast similar features. Its streamlined design and state-of-the-art engineering ensure guests can enjoy the phenomenal river views, as well as the luxurious, Scandinavian-style public areas and accommodation. Plus there’s an onboard swimming pool – a rarity on a river cruiser that’s on the small side.
As with the other vessels in the Viking fleet, passengers choosing a voyage onboard the Osfrid will be predominantly from the USA and UK. Solo travellers enjoy the single stateroom option, but you’ll find plenty of couples and groups of friends onboard, who enjoy nothing more than broadening their horizons, exploring the ports and enriching their minds.
The maximum capacity of the vessel is an intimate 106 guests, and the 36 crew onboard endeavour to meet every passenger requirement with attentive and personalised service. The Viking Daily newsletter ensures every guest knows the day’s plans well in advance.
There is one main restaurant onboard, which has a casual yet refined atmosphere. Situated on the Middle Deck, it is where you’ll find every breakfast, lunch and dinner service, with an open-seating policy at every meal. For breakfast and lunch, guests have a choice of a variety of options, from cereals, pastries and egg dishes for breakfast to soups, sandwiches and entrees for lunch. Dinner is a sit down, five-course menu filled with traditional and regional specialities. Local wines are served free of charge with lunch and dinner, as well as beers, soft drinks and water. Hot beverages are available throughout the day, and premium beverage packages, including premium wines and spirits, can be purchased.
There’s also an al-fresco area of the main restaurant, for meals in the open air. Alternatively, the Observation Lounge leads to the Aquavit Terrace, where limited al-fresco dining is available. Similarly, there’s an area on the Sun Deck for relaxed meals.
Dress code is casual onboard Viking ships, although some guests choose to dress up a little for the Captain’s Welcome and Farewell dinners.
If guests wish to socialise, have a drink and enjoy the evening entertainment, the Observation Lounge is where it happens. Every itinerary includes an array of entertainment options, including local acts performing music and dancing that is specific to the region, such as Portuguese folkloric shows and Spanish flamenco acts.
Alternatively, guests can choose to retire to their stateroom for the evening to watch a movie on the flatscreen TV, or watch the sunset from the terrace or their private balcony or veranda.
Activities onboard, and onshore, reflect the itinerary perfectly, with a variety of enjoyable options available. Onshore, guests can choose to visit port wine distilleries, enjoy walking tours of Lisbon’s Bairro Alto or enjoy dinner in a monastery that’s been converted into a museum.
Onboard, there’s a variety of multimedia talks and demonstrations that can help to enrich the guests’ experience, with subjects including the history of the Iberian Peninsula, local art and architecture being discussed and explained by destination experts.
There is also an onboard library corner if you just wish to sit and read, and complimentary Wi-Fi is available across the ship – perfect for staying in touch with friends and family back home. The onboard boutique is ideal for browsing or picking up gifts and souvenirs.
All staterooms onboard, regardless of the category chosen, are outside and have views of the Douro River. Every category has either a French balcony or veranda (or both!), apart from the standard staterooms, which can be found on the Main Deck and have picture windows instead.
Staterooms and suites vary in size between French balcony staterooms (150 sq. ft.) and Veranda Suites (302 sq. ft.) and feature similar amenities, including hotel-style beds, private bathroom with shower, bathrobes and slippers, premium bath products, flatscreen TV with infotainment system and movies, climate control, hairdryer, telephone, in-room safe and bottled water that is replenished daily. In addition, suites benefit from separate sleeping and sitting areas, both a veranda and a French balcony, an extra TV and larger bathrooms.
There is a pool and putting green on the Sun Deck for guests to enjoy, as well as an organic herb garden which is used by the onboard chefs, but is also worth admiring by guests, too.
The Sun Deck is also equipped with a shaded sitting area and plenty of sunloungers, where guests can kick back, relax and unwind.
Following its maiden voyage, the Viking Osfrid will offer the ten-day ‘Portugal’s River of Gold’ tour to its passengers, giving everyone onboard an opportunity to explore the country’s capital of Lisbon, before setting sail from Porto and sailing through Bitetos, Regua, Pinhao, Barca d’Alva and Salamanca in Spain, and then back to Porto via Vega de Terron and Pinhao. The voyage may be of particular interest to wine lovers, who would like to find out more about the local speciality – Port.