Viking Hemming Photo Tour

Viking Hemming at her berth in Gaia, Portugal - just across the Douro from Porto. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Viking Hemming at her berth in Gaia, Portugal – just across the Douro from Porto. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

In 2014, Viking River Cruises introduced two brand-new river cruise ships on Portugal’s Douro River: Viking Hemming and her identical sister, Viking Torgil. Operated in conjunction with Douro Azul, they were the first ships to bring the same kind of Scandinavian styling, amenities and features featured on the acclaimed Viking Longships to the Douro.

With the explosive growth of Viking’s passenger base – and the river cruise industry in general – it was critical for Viking to bring Longship-style amenities to regions like Portugal’s Douro, where the Viking Longships are simply too long to operate, or where regulatory restrictions prohibit them from doing so.

That Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil feature many of the amenities that Viking’s guests have come to love – including the indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace and true suites with dual balconies, they’ve also provided some unique enhancements of their own. Stateroom number panels are attractively backlit; electrical sockets seem more numerous and robust; and stateroom bathrooms are ridiculously well-designed. All of those are true complements, as with each successive Longship in Europe, Viking has been subtly tweaking what is an already excellent design.

How good are Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil? There’s features from these two vessels that we wouldn’t mind seeing ported over to the next generation of Longships. Let’s have a look!

MAIN DECK

Come walk the decks of Viking Hemming with us! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Come walk the decks of Viking Hemming with us! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

This is the lowest passenger-accessible deck onboard Viking Hemming, home to four Standard Category F Riverview staterooms and 12 Standard Category E Riverview staterooms. They are identical in terms of size, features and amenities, and are only differentiated by their physical location on the ship. If you’re looking to get onboard as economically as possible, these are the staterooms to book.

A Category E Standard Riverview Stateroom aboard Viking Hemming. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

A Category E Standard Riverview Stateroom aboard Viking Hemming. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Just as spacious and well-designed as accommodations in higher categories. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Just as spacious and well-designed as accommodations in higher categories. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

They’re identical in size to the more expensive French Balcony staterooms, and only slightly smaller than those staterooms with a Full Size balcony – at a fraction of the cost.

On most river cruises, we’re in our staterooms so little that having a river view doesn’t really matter. After all, on these ships, river views are present everywhere.

MIDDLE DECK

Viking Hemming carpet details. Hues of blue and yellow are used more aboard these ships, to great effect. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Viking Hemming carpet details. Hues of blue and yellow are used more aboard these ships, to great effect. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Middle Deck aboard Viking Hemming houses the ship’s main Restaurant and Al Fresco Restaurant, along with a small entry foyer. The entire aft section of the ship is devoted to 11 Category B Veranda staterooms; five spacious Category AB Suites; and a single Category D French Balcony stateroom – one of only two present on the entire ship.

The Restaurant

Restaurant Entrance. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Restaurant Entrance. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Large enough to seat every one of Viking Hemming’s 106 guests, the Restaurant serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner in an open-seating environment. Breakfast and lunch are served between set times, and guests are invited to come in as they please. Dinner is typically served in an open-seating environment around 7:00 p.m., or 7:30 p.m.

For groups or more intimate events, guests can dine in the Al Fresco Restaurant at the forward end of the dining room. This room is distinguished by its electronically-operated windows that can open to let the fresh Douro air in.

Bonus feature: full floor-to-ceiling windows; something many Douro-based river cruise ships lack in their Restaurants.

Balcony Staterooms

Balcony and French Balcony staterooms are attractively designed. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Balcony and French Balcony staterooms are attractively designed. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

At 185 square feet, Category A and B Veranda staterooms are identical, distinguished only by their physical location on the ship.

In keeping with their Viking Longship pedigree, numerous design elements have been kept consistent, right down to the Scandinavian colours and textures used throughout. For the most part, staterooms are similarly-sized to their Longship counterparts, though the difference is most noticeable when you pass between the bed and the desk, where little space exists. Bathrooms, on the other hand, sport some new features like rainforest showerheads and a sliding door configuration that is a little easier to open.

Category B Veranda Balcony Stateroom. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Category B Veranda Balcony Stateroom bathroom. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The usual French-milled L’Occitane toiletries are present in the bathroom, and Viking’s famous infotainment system is strapped into a massive 40-inch flat-panel television that hangs attractively opposite the bed which, unsurprisingly, is also up to Viking’s usual high standards.

Veranda Category B closet aboard Viking Hemming. Note the lights that turn on when the closet door is opened. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Veranda Category B closet aboard Viking Hemming. Note the lights that turn on when the closet door is opened. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

There are also some very cool new features, like the electronically-controlled blinds that open and shut at the push of a button, and seemingly endless array of potential lighting combinations. Fit and finish is excellent, matching the quality of the German-built Viking Longships perfectly.

Category AB Suites

How Suite It Is: The living area in one of Viking Hemming's Category AB Suites on Middle Deck, 2. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

How Suite It Is: The living area in one of Viking Hemming’s Category AB Suites on Middle Deck, 2. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

True, full-sized suites have also made their way onboard Viking Hemming. Just like their Viking Longship counterparts, these feature separate living and sleeping areas Attractive and well-appointed, these rooms feature both French and full step-out balconies, oversized walk-in closets, and plenty of living space at 302 square feet apiece.

UPPER DECK

Upper Deck hallway corridor aboard Viking Hemming. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Upper Deck hallway corridor aboard Viking Hemming. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Upper Deck houses more accommodations along with the Reception Area, the Viking Lounge and the bow-mounted Aquavit Terrace.

Reception Area

It's not as glamorous as the space aboard the Viking Longships, but the Reception Area aboard Viking Hemming serves its purpose. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

It’s not as glamorous as the space aboard the Viking Longships, but the Reception Area aboard Viking Hemming serves its purpose. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

While not as visually-striking as the multi-story area aboard the Viking Longships, the Reception Area aboard Viking Hemming is nonetheless attractive and functional. An elevator is located on the port side of the ship, with a single staircase situated on the starboard side of the ship. Access to the Sun Deck above is provided via a series of exterior staircases situated on both port and starboard sides of the vessel.

Viking Lounge

Just as attractive as ever: the Viking Lounge, Viking Hemming's main social gathering area. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Just as attractive as ever: the Viking Lounge, Viking Hemming’s main social gathering area. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

A scaled-down version of the room of the same name aboard the Viking Longships, the Viking Lounge aboard Viking Hemming nonetheless adds some very impressive features. The colour palette here is more vibrant and pleasing than onboard the Longships, and a number of seating options are available for larger gatherings or more intimate conversation.

Complete with floor-to-ceiling windows...Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Complete with floor-to-ceiling windows…Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

...and rich, attractive upholstery. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

…and rich, attractive upholstery. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

A full-service bar is situated at the aft end of the Viking Lounge. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

A full-service bar is situated at the aft end of the Viking Lounge. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

A full-service bar lines the aft bulkhead wall on the starboard side, and a series of small boutique-style shops flanks the portside entrance to the lounge.

All the way forward, however, is one of Viking’s signature elements…

Aquavit Terrace

The Aquavit Terrace aboard Viking Hemming at night, facing aft. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Aquavit Terrace aboard Viking Hemming at night, facing aft. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Perhaps one of the greatest innovations Viking made when designing their Viking Longships, the famous Aquavit Terrace has made it onboard the Viking Hemming and her sister, Viking Torgil. By day or night, this beautiful space is one of the most popular outdoor venues aboard these intimately-sized river cruise ships.

When conditions are right, the glass partitions open, creating an outdoor dining venue perched on the bow of the ship. When inclement weather threatens, these partitions enclose this area, allowing you to continue to take your meals in one of the brightest, most inviting areas of this ship. After all, few things can compare to taking breakfast outdoors in the sunshine as your ship sails along the storied Douro River.

THE VIKING HEMMING

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

With Viking Hemming and her sister Viking Torgil, Viking River Cruises has raised the bar for Douro river cruising; a region that, until recently, wasn’t noted for the comfort or grand designs of their river cruise vessels. Together with partners Douro Azul, Viking has succeeded in consistently transitioning their product to the Douro, bringing with it a taste of Longship-style cruising through one of Portugal’s most important and historic regions.

The Douro awaits...Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Douro awaits…Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

More information on Viking Hemming and Viking Torgil can be found by visiting the Viking River Cruises Website.

 

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