In just twenty years, Viking River Cruises has evolved from a fledgling operation with four Russian river ships to a company that conveys 350,000 guests each year, sailing Europe’s rivers as well as those in Egypt, Asia and Russia.

Crowds at Viking River Cruises' record-breaking Christening ceremony

World Record-breaking Christening ceremony

In the last few years the growth of Viking River Cruises has known no bounds. In March 2012 the company staged the cruise industry’s first quadruple naming ceremony, and the following year, they entered the pantheon of Guinness World Record holders for having the ‘most ships inaugurated on one day by one company’. The company currently has 64 vessels including 48 Longships; fifteen more of which will be launched in 2019.

The high-tech 190-passenger Longships (named after Norse gods and heroes) are sleek and modern, with a Scandi-chic décor as well as light-filled atriums and alfresco Aquavit indoor/outdoor terrace at their bow. They boast the industry’s highest ratio of cabins with balconies, a feature made possible by a new cabin layout that includes offset main corridors.

The peaceful bedroom area in a Veranda Suite on-board Viking Longship Hlin

Viking Longship Hlin – Veranda Suite bedroom

As the Longships are virtually interchangeable, passengers can now pick a route rather than trying to get on a particular ship. Accommodation comprises two Explorer Suites; seven Veranda Staterooms; 30 Veranda Staterooms; 22 French Balcony Staterooms and 25 Standard Staterooms.

The elegant Atrium on-board a Viking River Cruises ship


The obliging crew (mostly from Eastern Europe) are all trained by Viking’s Swiss management hotel team and deliver exceptional standards of service. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style, while five-course dinners reflect the culinary prowess of the chefs who combine locally-sourced ingredients with flair. Specially-selected wines, beer and soft drinks are complimentary at lunch and dinner.

A Viking River Cruises ship sailing down the Durnstein

As a holiday option, European river cruises offer very different experiences to ocean cruising. They are much more relaxed, passengers get to see more of the destination, and it takes place on a much smaller scale full of personal touches. By the very nature of their cruise concept, Viking River Cruises does attract a more mature age group, many from the United States. Later evening departures and overnight stays afford the time to see leisurely days transform into fun evenings, often in some of the world’s most iconic venues.

The elegant and relaxing library on-board a Viking River Cruises ship

The Library

From short breaks to festive Christmas market cruises; longer explorations from the North Sea coast to the Danube Delta; there is a an array of river cruises to suit all tastes and budgets.

The renaissance in river cruising has somehow tapped into the psyche of today’s cash-rich, time poor generation as well as those seeking a self-contained haven of conviviality and exploration.

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Gary Buchanan

About Gary Buchanan

Gary Buchanan has been an influential cruise writer for almost 30 years. Based in Scotland, he writes for Britain’s leading national newspapers and respected consumer magazines on a variety of cruise topics. Recipient of several awards for his creative writing, he has also written five books about cruising. His other skills include being an expert lecturer on maritime history aboard Cunard ships during transatlantic voyages. His favourite cruise destinations include the Greek Isles, Thailand and the Norwegian fjords. When it comes to river cruises he rates the Irrawaddy, Mekong and Seine as real gems.

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