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On my last evening in Amsterdam, I happened to overhear two women at a table near mine talking excitedly about something. It turns out they were talking – I kid you not – about Viking River Cruises, and their new Viking Longships.
I love when something like that happens, because it lets me be a “fly-on-the-wall” and find out what other people think. Plus, having just attended a Guinness World Record-breaking christening event for the line, I pretended to nurse my Merlot and just switched into full eavesdropping mode.
The one woman was embarking a Viking river cruise in a few days, and was telling the other woman how great river cruising is. She hit all the major talking points: it’s convenient; it’s enriching; it’s relaxing. “You unpack once,” she said, “and then they just take you everywhere.”
She went on for probably 10 minutes about how excited she was to sail on one of the new Longships.
These are the moments I wish I could record with some small device (speak clearly into the salt shaker, please) and send off to Viking’s PR team, because that really is as good as it gets: word of mouth referrals.
With 16 Viking Longships scheduled to enter service by the fall, and another 12 coming online next year (plus options for even more after that), you can expect to see and hear plenty about Viking River Cruises – and for good reason.
A recap of our full Live Voyage Report:
Day 3 – Cruising to Hoorn, Netherlands
Day 5 – Cycling Amsterdam
As amazing as the christening of 10 ships in a single day (and winning a Guinness World Record for it) is, that’s not the reason I find these ships so special. As I said the other day, their key strength lies in the fact that they’re so universally-appealing and technologically advanced.
Viking has already produced a short video of the ceremonies:
The ship’s propulsion system is the quietest I’ve ever heard on any ship. There’s so little noise and vibration that it’s caught me off-guard on a number of occasions – you won’t realize you’re moving until you look out the windows.
Then there’s the neat, quirky little features like the onboard herb garden, the solar energy panels, the 40-inch Sony Bravia flat-panel TV’s that border on being absurdly large, and the multitude of lighting options in each stateroom. All of the features I’ve listed are ones that would likely get scrapped on other lines, but here they’re given high importance. Even little details like the relocation of the light switches aboard Viking Aegir, or the addition of North American-style electrical outlets makes a huge difference to the cruise experience.
Another wonderful feature: I’ve never seen so many fresh flowers on a river cruise ship as the stunning tulips and roses aboard Viking Aegir. Are fresh-cut flowers a make-or-break feature? Not at all – but you’ll be surprised how much you miss them when you sail aboard a ship that lacks them.
A few readers emailed to ask about food and activities onboard; both of those are tough questions to answer because of the fact that this was a christening where the ships remained primarily docked in Amsterdam. For a full overview of what a day-by-day voyage aboard a Viking Longship is like, check out my Christmas Markets Live Voyage Report aboard Viking Freya.
Last week was truly all about the record-breaking christening event in Amsterdam. When I attended the inaugural christening of the first four Viking Longships this time last year, I thought that really was a monumental achievement.
This year, when the motorcoach I was on turned the corner to the dock at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam and all I could see were Longships lined up two and even three abreast, it was a stunning sight.
They’re an excellent testament not just to the popularity of river cruising, which continues to explode, but also of Viking River Cruises itself, which continues to fill these new ships as quickly as it can build them. While you can find a deep-ocean cruise departing next week that you can still get a spot onboard, many of Viking’s sailings are sold out right through the summer. Even certain categories on their popular Christmas Markets voyages – which take place in December – are booked up.
My personal advice: if you haven’t been river cruising, this is the year you should.
Stay tuned to learn all about our next Live Voyage Report – coming soon here on From the Deck Chair! From the Deck Chair will return on Wednesday.
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