Bound for Amsterdam, Viking Aegir, and the Longship 10 Christening

KLM 682 to Amsterdam waits at the gate in Vancouver. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Off to Amsterdam! Photo © Aaron Saunders

It’s Live Voyage Report time again here on From the Deck Chair, and this month we’re headed to the beautiful Dutch city of Amsterdam to witness river cruise history: on Wednesday, Viking River Cruises will christen 10 of their brand-new Viking Longships in a single sweep.

Viking Embla sails down the Danube, in the wake of Viking Freya. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Viking Embla sails down the Danube, in the wake of Viking Freya. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

The largest number of simultaneous christenings in the history of the cruise industry, Viking will beat the previous record holder by six ships. Did I mention that Viking is the previous record holder? Last March, the first four Viking Longships – Viking Odin, Viking Idun, Viking Freya and Viking Njord were all simultaneously christened.

While Wednesday’s event is sure to impress, the real stars here are the Viking Longships themselves. I’ll be reporting from onboard the beautiful Viking Aegir, my third Longship following previous voyages onboard Viking Freya and Viking Odin.

The beautiful Atrium lobby aboard Viking Freya is bright, airy and attractive. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

The beautiful Atrium lobby aboard Viking Freya is bright, airy and attractive. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

As I discovered in December, there are plenty of differences between successive Longships. Rather than just making each vessel a carbon-copy-clone, refinements and unique features have been added to each successive ship. My stateroom aboard Viking Freya featured illuminated (and electrically-transparent) glass walls in the shower that were not aboard Viking Odin. Likewise, the frosted sliding glass closet and bathroom doors aboard both vessels were absent from Viking Embla during a tour, replaced instead with sturdier woodgrain ones.

Little modifications and alterations were also apparent, right down to the placement of reading lights and light switches in staterooms.

The benefits of a balcony, French or otherwise: stunning vistas that can be enjoyed indoors and out. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

The benefits of a balcony, French or otherwise: stunning vistas that can be enjoyed indoors and out. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

One aspect that didn’t change has been the ship’s much-talked-about interior design. Viking tapped Norwegian firm Yran & Storbatten to design the spacious and open interiors of the Longships, made even moreso by the enormous amount of glass included in their construction.

The atrium spans two decks in height, and is bright and airy by day and warm and cozy by night. With glass walls and a glass skylight, you’re never far from the amazing sights of Europe’s waterways. Sometimes, I’d be heading to the Reception Desk with a simple query, only to get sidetracked by something I saw outside. This happens more than I’d like to admit!

Crew line the bow of the Viking Idun. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Crew line the bow of the Viking Idun during her christening in 2012. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

On a personal level, I am just as excited about this year’s christening ceremonies as I was last year. This is for two reasons: one, I love river cruising. But secondly – and perhaps most importantly – I realize that these Longships are something of a dream come true for all involved in their design, construction, and day-to-day operations. They’re understandably proud of their achievements, and I feel very fortunate to be able to witness the culmination of their hard work once again.

The full itinerary, both here and onboard Viking Aegir:

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Bicycles and Amsterdam go hand-in-hand. These are pictured outside the classic facade of Amsterdam's Centraal Station. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Bicycles and Amsterdam go hand-in-hand. These are pictured outside the classic facade of Amsterdam’s Centraal Station. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

While the ceremonies themselves will be ending on Friday morning, I will be staying on in Amsterdam for two additional days, both of which will be reported here live.  Part of this will be sightseeing and offering advice for future cruisers bound for this beautiful city, while another part – if I am lucky – will hopefully be to tour some of the other river cruise ships in town. Either way, it’s sure to be an interesting look at one of Europe’s most interesting cities.

So stay tuned for a week of European river cruising fun here on From the Deck Chair!

Sailing into the setting sun along the Danube just after 3:30pm. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Sailing into the setting sun aboard Viking Freya in December. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report continues tomorrow, as we embark Viking River Cruises’ beautiful Viking Aegir in advance of the christening ceremonies on Wednesday! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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