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Cruise Reviews

Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises

Home > Reviews > Viking River Cruises

General Information

Viking River Cruises

Chairman:
Torstein Hagen
Ships in Fleet: 40
Year Established: 1997
Corporate Location: Woodland Hills, CA
 
Overview
The Viking River Cruises Fleet
Destinations & Itineraries
Onboard Experience
Past Passenger Program
Links to Viking River Cruise Ships:

Viking River Cruise Overview
Chairman Torstein Hagen, a Norwegian of Viking descent, founded Viking River Cruises in 1997. The company started with the purchase of four ships in Russia, with continued growth ever since. A major expansion move was made by Viking River in 2000, when they purchased Europe's KD River Cruises, a company with over 100 years of river cruising history. Today, Viking River Cruises is the world's largest river cruise line and is a consistent winner of numerous travel awards on a yearly basis. For example, Viking River has been named to Condé Nast Traveler's "Gold List" multiple times.

A special feature that Viking River Cruises offers its guests is guided shore excursions that are included in the cost of the cruise. These excursions are led by knowledgeable English-speaking locals, who know both the typical tourist hot spots and the special hidden gems of each destination. Typically there is at least one tour included for free at each port of call. There are other "optional" tours available, at an additional cost.

Exciting news in 2009 was the launch of Viking River's beautiful (three-deck) Viking Legend, which accommodates up to 189 guests. During 2010, Viking River debuted another new ship, MS Elegant.

In 2012, Viking River launched 6 new ships, dubbed the Viking Longships. These ships include the Viking Aegir, Viking Embla, Viking Freya, Viking Idun, Viking Njord, and Viking Odin. These ships continue Viking River's campaign of green sailing that started with Viking Prestige and Viking Legend in 2009. This includes an environmentally friendly design, more efficient engines, noise-insulated engine rooms, and its own water treatment plant on board. Other features of the new longships include larger staterooms and more balconies throughout the ship.
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Viking River Cruise Destinations
Viking River Cruises divides the destinations in which their ships sail into four main sections: Europe, China, Russia & Ukraine, and Egypt. Since they have small ships they are able to offer excellent itineraries, allowing for as many sightseeing opportunities as possible. In China, Viking River offers cruisetours that combine a river cruise with an escorted land package (including stays at luxurious 5-star hotels).
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Onboard Viking River Cruises
Being small river cruise ships, the Viking River ships do not have many of the popular mainstream features found on the new "mega" ships. For example, none of the ships have a casino. Most of the ships do not have a spa or fitness center either; however, some of the Viking River ships do have a sauna and/or hair dresser. There is usually only one or two bars and/or lounges onboard each ship, if that.

What the Viking River ships lack in onboard amenities they make up for in personal service, food quality, destination-rich itineraries and complimentary shore excursions. The Viking River cruise ships have a very comfortable atmosphere, allowing their passengers to really relax and enjoy their time onboard. All cabins have a telephone (except those in Russia and Ukraine), air conditioning, heat, and a private bathroom. TV's with local and English shows are on all of the ships, except those in Russia and Ukraine. In-cabin hairdryers and safes are available on most ships. Cabins on the Chinese ships all have private balconies. The most premium staterooms onboard the Viking River cruise ships are not very large relative to those throughout the cruising industry, but they are quite cozy and nice.

Viking River features a nice onboard enrichment program, like many of their competitors in the small ship cruising world. This program features lectures, demonstrations, and theme dinners with regional specialties. Also onboard will be some type of entertainers. For example, there may be folk singers or local musicians. All of the ships have libraries and internet access (available for a fee).

Dining onboard the Viking River fleet is often times influenced by the region that the ship is cruising in. For example, while in the Orient many of the meals will be Asian themed (with most of the others being European in style). On a Viking River cruise in China, you can enjoy family-style Chinese meals designed by celebrity chef Martin Yan. While in Europe and Russia the food is mostly European-style. Breakfast is usually a buffet, featuring fresh juices, eggs, pastries, cheeses, cold cuts, cereal and more.

Most of the passengers onboard a Viking River cruise are well-traveled senior citizens (55 and older), that are especially interested in good service and unique itineraries.
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Viking River Past Passenger Program
The past passenger program for Viking River is called the Viking Explorer Society. The program has two separate levels. The Silver Tier starts after taking only on trip with Viking River and allows you access to special onboard cocktail parties, travel credits, and a Viking Explorer Society phone number. The Premier Tier starts after your third Viking River Trip which include all Silver benefits plus free onboard credits and complimentary air services.
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Viking River Cruises Fleet
There are 40 river cruise ships in the Viking River Cruises fleet, including the new Viking Longships(which debuted during 2012).

MS Esplanade

MS Esplanade
Inaugural Year: 2012
MS Mayfair

MS Mayfair
Inaugural Year: 2010
MS Omar El Khayam

MS Omar El Khayam
Inaugural Year: 2003
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2011
MS Vienna

MS Vienna
Inaugural Year: 2013
RV Indochina

RV Indochina
Inaugural Year: 2008
RV Tonle

RV Tonle
Inaugural Year: 2002
Viking Aegir

Viking Aegir
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Atla

Viking Atla
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Bragi

Viking Bragi
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Danube

Viking Danube
Inaugural Year: 1999
More Info on Viking Danube
Viking Douro

Viking Douro
Inaugural Year: 2011
Viking Embla

Viking Embla
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Emerald

Viking Emerald
Inaugural Year: 2011
Viking Europe

Viking Europe
Inaugural Year: 2001
More Info on Viking Europe
Viking Fontane

Viking Fontane
Inaugural Year: 2001
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2010
More Info on Viking Fontane
Viking Forseti

Viking Forseti
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Freya

Viking Freya
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Helgi

Viking Helgi
Inaugural Year: 1984
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2007
Viking Helvetia

Viking Helvetia
Inaugural Year: 2006
Viking Idun

Viking Idun
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Ingvar

Viking Ingvar
Inaugural Year: 1990
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2011
Viking Jarl

Viking Jarl
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Legend

Viking Legend
Inaugural Year: 2009
More Info on Viking Legend
Viking Lomonosov

Viking Lomonosov
Inaugural Year: 1979
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2006
More Info on Viking Lomonosov
Viking Neptune

Viking Neptune
Inaugural Year: 2001
More Info on Viking Neptune
Viking Njord

Viking Njord
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Odin

Viking Odin
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Prestige

Viking Prestige
Inaugural Year: 2011
Viking Pride

Viking Pride
Inaugural Year: 2001
More Info on Viking Pride
Viking Primadonna

Viking Primadonna
Inaugural Year: 1998
Viking Rinda

Viking Rinda
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Rurik

Viking Rurik
Inaugural Year: 1975
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2012
Viking Schumann

Viking Schumann
Inaugural Year: 1991
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2001
More Info on Viking Schumann
Viking Skadi

Viking Skadi
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Sky

Viking Sky
Inaugural Year: 1999
More Info on Viking Sky
Viking Spirit

Viking Spirit
Inaugural Year: 2001
More Info on Viking Spirit
Viking Sun

Viking Sun
Inaugural Year: 2004
More Info on Viking Sun
Viking Tor

Viking Tor
Inaugural Year: 2012
Viking Truvor

Viking Truvor
Inaugural Year: 1984
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2008
Viking Var

Viking Var
Inaugural Year: 2012


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