Viking River Cruise Longship Overview

I am not much for crowds, especially while on vacation. That means when I cruise, I tend to favor small luxury cruise ship lines that carry just a few hundred passengers. You won’t find me on a mega-ship with thousands of other vacationers vying for a lounge chair or waiting in the buffet line. Having always enjoyed intimate-style cruises, I turned to Viking, a leader in the industry, to try river cruising for the first time. Recently, I had the opportunity to sail onboard the Viking River Cruise Longship Atla from Budapest to Nuremberg along the Danube River.

As a first-time river cruiser, I had no idea what to expect onboard this type of ship and how it might differ from being on an ocean liner. I found that by utilizing thoughtful design techniques, Viking makes great use of all of the spaces throughout their Longships.

Viking River Cruise Longships Layout

Each Viking River Cruise Longship is made up of four decks. There is space for relaxing, eating, socializing, and sleeping. With enough areas for everyone to enjoy, the luxurious ship never feels crowded. Due to unusually low water levels in Europe, which required a ship transfer mid-cruise, I could sail on both the Danube River. and the Viking Jarl. From experience, I can tell you that these two vessels are exactly alike.

The Sun Deck

Viking River Cruise Longship Jarl

You will enjoy the best-unobstructed views of the river on the Sun Deck. From your lounge chair, you can literally watch the world go by. Seating is plentiful, with comfortable loungers for sunbathing and tables and chairs for gathering with friends. The large sunshade shields you from the sun.

Viking River Cruise Longship Deck

The ships sail at a leisurely pace allowing passengers to really take in the spectacular scenery. As you cruise along the Danube River, picturesque villages like Dürnstein in the Wachau Valley of Austria will come into view. Make sure you have your camera with you at all times!Dürnstein in the Wachau Valley of Austria

For those who can’t sit still, there is a walking track that makes a complete loop around the sundeck. There is also a shuffleboard court and putting green for outdoor entertainment.
Viking River Cruise Golf

Note: For safety reasons, sometimes you will find the sun deck closed. When a longship goes under a bridge that has low clearance, the railings around the top deck collapse to lie flat, the wheelhouse lowers, and all of the chairs are put away. Passengers are also not allowed on the Sun Deck during lock transits.

The Upper Deck

The lounge, library, and Aquavit Terrace are all found on the upper deck. If you enjoy, al fresco dining, chose to have your breakfast or lunch in the Aquavit Terrace. Additionally, on some nights, they’ll offer a bar-style menu for dinner.

Aquivit Terrace Viking Longship

The indoor lounge is quite large and is capable of accommodating all 190 passengers. Each evening before dinner, guests gather here to listen to the program director review the excursions for the next day.

Viking River Cruise Longship LoungeThe small library space has a large selection of books that can be borrowed, as well as some board games. There are a few computers as well in the Internet Cafe that you can use to get online.

Note: There is free Wi-Fi throughout the ship, although connection speed may vary. You might consider some of these options for staying connected while cruising if you find that you just cannot unplug for the week.

The Middle Deck

The Middle Deck is home to the reception area and the ship store. The Restaurant is also on this deck. In the evening, dinner service begins promptly at 7:00 pm. Although seating is open, and no reservations are necessary, it is likely that you will have to dine with other passengers. The smallest table accommodates six people. If you desire more privacy, there are a few tables for two or four people up in the Aquavit Terrace.

Viking Cruise

Note: Room service is not available on a Viking River Cruise Longship. For that reason, unless you will be dining onshore or during an excursion, plan to eat during the scheduled service times.


Viking Veranda Stateroom

We had a Veranda Stateroom on the middle deck. Even though the stateroom is only 205 square feet, it felt spacious, not small. The floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors let in plenty of natural light making the cabin feel large and open. It is lovely to have a small outdoor living space to enjoy. The Veranda has two chairs and a small table.

Note: The Lower Deck staterooms are at water level and have half-height picture windows.

Veranda Suite Viking River Cruise Longship

The hotel-style bed is very comfortable and appointed luxury linens and pillows. There are two different types of lights on the headrest, which provide plenty of light for reading at night.

Viking River Cruise Longship Cabin

In the cabin, there are both 110/220-volt outlets and USB ports, as well as a safe, refrigerator, and hairdryer. A large flat-screen TV has movies on demand, several major news networks, National Geographic, and more. Each day you will find a copy of the Viking Daily on the credenza along with fresh water, which is replenished daily. Housekeeping comes twice a day.

Viking River Cruise Longship Veranda Cabin

Often times I find clothing storage can be limited on a cruise ship, with not enough space to put away your belongings properly. The Viking River Cruise Longship staterooms have roomy wardrobes with shelving and space for hanging clothes. Under the bureau that runs the length of the room, there is a set of six soft-closing drawers. Additionally, there is bedside storage and space under the bed for suitcases or other bulky items.Viking River Cruise Atla Bathroom Although it is not very large, the bathroom design is smart and makes good use of all the space. In contrast with most cruise ship bathrooms, there is a very roomy glass-enclosed shower and enough shelving space to store toiletries. The real luxury, though, is the radiant floor heat. There is nothing quite like stepping out of the shower onto warm tiles.

A Viking River Cruise is the perfect way to explore multiple European countries in the span of just one week. The longships are extremely comfortable and have many of the same amenities found in luxury hotels.

Disclosure: Complimentary accommodations, meals, transportation, and some activities were provided by Viking Cruises. No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.

Commenting area

  1. For a cruise, this looks wonderful and a pleasant way to take in the rolling hills alongside the Danube. I been to a few cities along the river but never done a boat trip. I love the rooms, the decor and the bed does look rather appealing. The food setup looks nice as well. Would consider doing one of these one day.

    • Dana Freeman October 22, 2018 at 9:25 am · · Reply

      A Viking River Cruise is a great way to explore multiple non-coastal European cities. Much better than getting in a car or on a bus. Plus your hotel room moves with you, so you only have to unpack once!

  2. I have always wanted to do one of those river cruises. The Viking longship looks wonderful and luxuriously comfortable. Also, it looks like it is just the right size for a cruise to sit and watch those gorgeous Danube scenes drift by.

    • Dana Freeman October 22, 2018 at 4:02 pm · · Reply

      The Viking Longships are a very comfortable way to travel. They are not too big and have most of the same amenities that you would find in a luxury hotel.

  3. Looks right to me. These ships are used on most of the European rivers – different ships on the rivers in Portugal and in Egypt, China and Russia. We have been on lots of Viking river trips. The only thing I would add is don’t miss their cookies 🍪 . Sounds silly but I am a decent cook and have never made better ones. The other thing is that they will change to twin beds on request in case someone wants that configuration .

    • Dana Freeman October 22, 2018 at 8:03 pm · · Reply

      I did forget to mention the cookies and coffee machine (yummy lattes). They always had different treats throughout the day in the space right before you walk into the Lounge.

  4. This looks like a wonderful way to see the countryside. I took a river cruise along the Nile many years ago and appreciated the small ship concierge service. They were very attentive to our needs and we could really focus on the sites along the river. Dining on the middle deck and watching the cities of the Danube float by would be a world class experience.

    • Dana Freeman October 22, 2018 at 8:02 pm · · Reply

      I really loved the Aquavit Terrace for drinks or dinner. It was a really beautiful way to dine and sight see at the same time!

  5. Nice to hear an inside perspective of the Viking cruises along the Danube. They do sound wonderful. Though I must admit to preferring the bike tour we did along the Danube, when we are pedaling almost faster than the Viking boats we would see beside us or below us. 😉

  6. The different levels are really interesting, good to note about no room service as well. I think these river cruises are a nice way to see lots of places without being in a giant city on the sea like a sea cruise can feel like. I loved the images of Dürnstein and the other towns.

    • Dana Freeman October 23, 2018 at 8:13 am · · Reply

      After taking several small ship ocean cruises, I was surprised there was no room service. It wasn’t a bad thing but I think future passengers would want to know so they could plan accordingly and eat in the dining room when meals are served.

  7. I truly love to go on cruises, but hate the hoards of people – so this looks like it is right up my alley. I love all that natural light and think I would need to be on an upper deck if I was going to go on something like this. What sold me though, was that they have BOTH plugs and USB ports though, many of the big cruise ships have a dinky one outlet plug that is usually worthless.

  8. Who knew you could still sail a Viking Longship?! haha. Very cool. The Ship looks like a very nice and comfortable place to stay in while observing some great sites on the shore. I’d definitely try this for sure.

  9. Enjoyed seeing such a wonderful description of a cruise and having a virtual tour of Viking River Cruise Longship. Indeed a thoughtful design to provide Sun Deck, Upper Deck and Middle Deck which have designated sections. The rooms are spacious too with a wonderful sit out. Hearing about the radiant floor heat for the first time! What fun 🙂 Would like being on a cruise like this for sure.

  10. The Viking River Cruise Longship looks like an experience that we would love to. The fact that they are not one of those mega ships that carry such a huge load of passengers ensures a relatively secluded and leisurely experience. The sundeck and its facilities sound really awesome. Love the look and spaciousness of the Veranda State room. The cruise has all the makings of a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

  11. William Henry October 28, 2018 at 1:46 pm · · Reply

    FYI, you mention Middle Deck and the Restaurant, yet directly below that you show the Aquavit Terrace AGAIN! You might replace that Picture with one from the Restaurant on the Middle Deck.

    • Dana Freeman October 28, 2018 at 2:01 pm · · Reply

      Hi Bud. I only use my own photographs and didn’t have one of the Dining Room. Also, I was illustrating this point about seating “The smallest table accommodates six people. If you desire more privacy, there are a few tables for two or four people up in the Aquavit Terrace.” I wanted to show the two top tables. But thanks for your feedback.

  12. Sherry Overstreet October 30, 2018 at 9:50 pm · · Reply

    I don’t think you mentioned the in-room refrigerator. Also the rooms on the first (bottom) level only have 3 drawers. We still had plenty of room for our clothes. Robes are available, too, just ask if your room doesn’t have them. Saves having to pack one. Oh, and the heated bathroom floors are really nice.

    • Dana Freeman October 31, 2018 at 9:18 am · · Reply

      Thank you Sherry! I did forget to mention the fridge and the fact that you can purchase your own beverages on shore to store in them. We often bought local beers and wines to enjoy in our room during our voyage.

  13. I took my first Viking River Cruise in October, 2017. We were on the Gullveig from Budapest to Nuremberg. I wasn’t sure what to expect and Viking did not disappoint. We took all the tours that Viking included and I can honestly say no complaints here. The food was excellent. Really enjoyed the coffee and cookies they offered every day. Of course my favorite thing about the boat was the heated floors in the bathroom. Will be taking my second Viking River Cruise this December on the Longship Ullur for the Rhine Getaway. Will be starting at Amsterdam and ending in Basel. So looking forward to this cruise.

    • Dana Freeman January 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm · · Reply

      So glad to hear you have had a great experience with Viking. I think sailing out of Amsterdam would be wonderful. Enjoy your trip!

  14. Hi Dana,

    What types of toiletries are provided on the ship?

    • Dana Freeman May 29, 2019 at 10:52 am · · Reply

      Hi Cindy-
      They use the Freyja Brand Toiletries. There are enough shampoo and conditioner in each tube to last at least 2 days. They are not the tiny sized ones and your cabin steward will bring you as much as you need.

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