Viking Longship Eir
The Viking Longship Eir is one of the more recent additions to the growing Longship-class fleet that Viking River Cruises offers. Having debuted in 2015, providing sensational cruises along the Rhine River, the Eir – named after the powerful Norse goddess – showcases some of Viking’s most innovative design features, from the sleek and contemporary décor to the Scandinavian touches that can be admired throughout the vessel. Innovative, ecologically-friendly concepts including diesel-electric engines and solar panels also contribute to the line’s ‘green’ initiative that can be seen throughout the Longship fleet, meaning guests can enjoy quieter, cleaner and more efficient cruising along one of Europe’s most beautiful rivers.
Passengers Viking clientele tend to be mature, well-travelled and affluent, with a love for exploring Europe and immersing themselves in the culture and heritage of every destination. Most have a keen interest in history, the arts and appreciating new experiences, and the onboard Cruise Director can help every guest to make the most out of their time on the Eir. When sailing at full capacity, the Longship Eir can hold 190 guests – all of whom can enjoy top quality hospitality that will ensure their comfort throughout the voyage.
Dining Guests are offered a buffet breakfast and lunch, and a sit-down gourmet five-course dinner, every day that they are onboard. The main dining venue provides stunning views of the river via the floor-to-ceiling windows, and combines laidback dining – with an open-seating policy and casual dress code – with upmarket sophistication, thanks to the white linens, silverware and polished glassware on every table. Every dish is prepared expertly, from the pastries, fruit platters and made-to-order eggs that are available at breakfast, and the soups and salads on offer at lunch, to the authentic local dishes and popular favourites that make the menu at dinnertime. Drinks including regional wines, beers and soft drinks are complimentary with lunch and dinner, with the option to upgrade to a premium package, including fine wines and spirits, also available. If guests prefer, they can opt to dine at the casual al-fresco Aquavit Terrace, which has both indoor and outdoor viewing areas. Early riser breakfasts and lighter lunches and dinners are available.
Entertainment The entertainment programme is low-key, but well-formed and reflects the itinerary perfectly. An in-house pianist provides perfect background music after dinner in the Observation Lounge, and local performers are often invited onboard to showcase classical music revues as you sink into a comfortable chair with a refreshing after-dinner drink. The Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner, and the farewell dinner, are cruise highlights, and give guests perfect opportunities to dress up a little and mingle with fellow travellers.
Activities Guests can sample a wide range of activities and experiences, thanks to the extensive Viking Culture Curriculum that complements the Rhine-based itineraries perfectly. Onshore, guests can sightsee with a guide or independently, and enjoy walking tours of charming towns and iconic cities such as Amsterdam, Cologne and Strasbourg. There are also numerous excursions available, including trips to pedestrian-only Drosselgasse and an evening in Kehl, and guests can also enjoy visits to a cuckoo clock workshop in Breisach, a chocolatier in Bruges and the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. Back onboard, the Culture Curriculum extends its reach a little further, with a choice of interesting lectures, presentations and demonstrations on offer, from lectures on the current affairs of Germany and the origins of Rhine River cruising, to glassblowing demonstrations, Dutch cheese and jenever liquor tasting and trying their hand at sjoelen (Dutch shuffleboard). During downtime, guests can make use of the onboard library corner, complimentary Wi-Fi and boutique.
Accommodation There are 95 staterooms onboard, split across eight different categories, ranging from Standard Staterooms on the Main Deck (150 sq. ft. with half-height picture windows) to Explorer Suites on the Upper Deck (445 sq. ft. with French balcony and wraparound veranda offering 270degree views of the river). All staterooms provide outside river views, and apart from the standard staterooms on the Main Deck, all have either a French balcony or a veranda to enjoy. Apart from the extra space in the higher end accommodation classes, the amenities on offer remain the same and include hotel-style double beds with optional twin configuration, private bathroom with shower and premium toiletries, climate control, flatscreen TV, in-room safe, fridge, hairdryer, telephone, complimentary bottled water (replenished daily). All guests can also request bathrobes and slippers, if required.
Spa/Wellbeing Guests can relax on the Sun Deck at any time during their voyage, with a number of sunloungers and a shaded seating area available for their use. There is also a putting green, a walking track and an organic herb garden to enjoy.
Itineraries The Viking Longship Eir offers one itinerary that focuses its attention on the beauty of the Rhine River. The eight-day Rhine Discovery, which includes six guided tours, takes guests on a journey between Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Basel in Switzerland. As part of this enthralling itinerary, guests can appreciate the stunning landscapes that the Rhine passes through, including the amazing Black Forest region of Germany. Highlights of the itinerary include Holland’s Kinderdijk, Rudesheim’s lively Drosselgasse area and medieval Bruges and Ghent. Pre- and post- extensions in Lucerne and Basel, and extra nights in Amsterdam and Bruges are also possible.