Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises
  • Overview

Viking River Cruises 

Viking River Cruises’ impressive expansion programme has seen it go from a fleet of just four Russian ships in 1997 to the world’s largest river cruise company. Still led by one of the original founders, Norwegian Torstein Hagen, Viking offers itineraries across the rivers of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, South East Asia and Egypt. In 2015, Viking River Cruises has even taken to the seas with the launch of its maiden ocean-going vessel, the Viking Star. 
Viking prides itself on great service, elegant accommodation and a destination-focused ethos, with an emphasis on spending plenty of time in port with a good choice of later evening visits and overnight stays. Guests enjoy the careful mix of well-known tourist destinations and off-the-beaten-track smaller ports that offer something different to the discerning traveller. 


Now with a fleet of 60 ships, Viking River Cruises has the most extensive fleet in the river cruise business, and each ship is cleverly designed for its guests to get the very best out of river cruising. Inside, the décor is clean, light and modern with a Scandinavian feel. Everywhere you go onboard there are fantastic views of the passing scenery. 
Viking is best known for its 40 Longships, whose streamlined design makes them perfect for river cruising. But there’s nothing cramped about them; guests can enjoy sun decks, terraces, observation lounges and bars and airy restaurants, all with the Viking trademark floor-to-ceiling windows. The light, modern feel is continued in the spacious staterooms. 
At Viking River Cruises careful thought is given to which ship cruises which river. In South East Asia, the Viking Mekong and the Viking Mandalay certainly look the part. On Portugal’s River Douro the new Viking Torgil and Viking Hemming, and new for 2016 Osfrid, provide the perfect intimate atmosphere. In Eastern Germany, the Viking Belya and Astrild easily glide down the Elbe, the river they were designed to navigate. 


Viking Longships have 95 staterooms, so while the atmosphere can be lively, it’s never too crowded or raucous. Viking’s guests generally speak English, and are interested in visiting all the places on the itinerary and learning about their history and culture with the lectures, language classes and cooking demonstrations provided onboard. 
Due to the excellent availability of single staterooms, Viking River Cruises is popular with well-educated and well-travelled solo passengers, well as couples. 


Viking’s emphasis on the destination is carried through to the cuisine, so expect good, locally inspired food onboard. The main restaurant operates a relaxed no-booking, open-seating system with generous opening times of breakfast from 6 – 9am, lunch from 11.30am  – 2pm and dinner from 7-9pm, meaning guests can dine whenever they feel like it and sit where they like. There’s also an early risers buffet and casual dining available on the Aquavit Terrace on the Longships and from snack stations throughout the day. 
The dress code is casual, although most diners choose to dress up for the Captain’s dinner and the farewell meal. House wine, beer, soft drinks, tea, coffee and water are included with every meal, and you can also upgrade to premium wines and spirits with the Silver Spirits Beverage Package. 


On a Viking Cruise entertainment is low key. Local entertainers are often welcomed onboard as part of the Viking Culture Curriculum programme, but most guests are happy to unwind over a leisurely dinner, relax with a drink in the bar or sit on the observation deck with a book from the library corner. 


Every day the onboard newsletter, the Viking Daily, provides information about the day’s activities and shore excursions. You’ll even find some background details about your destination. 
As Viking’s focus is on the destination, the Viking Culture Curriculum, where local experts come onboard to give talks on the culture and history of the places you are visiting, gives guests great opportunities to broaden their horizons. 
The Old World Highlights programme allows guests to immerse themselves in the countries they are visiting with hands-on workshops. Apple strudel making, wine and cheese tasting and cuckoo clock making are all firm favourites on European itineraries. 
Offshore, Viking employs knowledgeable local tour guides who make sightseeing easy and illuminating for their interested, engaged guests. 


A Viking River Cruise stateroom makes you feel like you’re in an airy, contemporary hotel, no matter what grade you choose. Phones, fridges, safes, hairdryers, climate control, bottled water, optional twin beds and a Sony flat screen TV come as standard in most staterooms. 
On the Longships, all single staterooms have a French balcony with a sliding glass door, while standard double staterooms feature a half high picture window. Veranda staterooms have lovely private balconies and the floor to ceiling windows with sliding doors mean you can admire the view from your bed. Explorer Suites offer the ultimate in luxury with a separate sitting area and a wraparound veranda with 270 degree views. 
All staterooms are located outside on many of the ship’s fleet, such as the new Elbe ships, the Viking Belya and Viking Astrild. But no matter which ship you choose, you’ll be rewarded with great views. 


On a Viking cruise, there’s plenty of opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after all that offshore sightseeing. The Longships all have herb gardens to wander around, as well as a putting green and a walking track where you can admire the view as you stretch your legs. 
The Viking Emerald, which sails the River Yangtze, has a gym, sauna and hairdresser onboard. 


Viking River Cruises sail all the great rivers of old Europe including the Danube, the Main, the Rhine, the Elbe, the Seine and the Douro, with most itineraries lasting from 7 – 10 days with a minimum of 6 guided tours. 
Having started there, Viking are also experts in Russia, with a cruise programme that takes in the grand Russia of the Tsars interspersed with the folklore traditions of off-the-beaten-track rural Russia. There’s also ample opportunity to cruise the Yangtze River in China in style, or lose yourself in another world as you drift along the Mekong or Irrawaddy River in Southeast Asia. 

Cruise guides & features

Top Viking River Cruises deals 2016, 2017

All Viking River Cruises ships

Destinations visited by Viking River Cruises