Viking Longship Forseti
Making its entrance in 2013 and offering river cruises in France, the Viking Longship Forseti was named after the Norse god of justice and means ‘presiding one’. Perhaps it’s the top-class service, design, features and itineraries that allow Viking River Cruises to lead the way when it comes to award-winning voyages along some of Europe’s most dramatic riverways. Enjoy a smooth ride down the rivers of the Bordeaux region, thanks to Forseti’s eco-friendly hybrid engines which produce fewer vibrations in comparison to normal fuel engines. Viking’s ‘green’ initiative doesn’t stop there, either. All Longship-class vessels, including the Forseti, also have solar panels fitted to the ship, which make energy that the vessel can then use as power, and possess a charming organic herb garden which the onboard chefs use for some of their culinary creations.
Passengers The majority of passengers who choose a Viking river cruise come from a discerning, well-travelled and mature audience, with most being English-speaking, particularly American, Canadian, British and Australian nationalities. Drawn to the line by the excellent hospitality, immaculate vessels and well-rounded itineraries, guests can enjoy first-class, friendly and relaxed experiences onboard. The Viking Daily newsletter is delivered to every stateroom, every evening, and the Programme Director is also available to help guests to plan their days effectively.
Dining Guests have full board included in the fare, with breakfast, lunch and dinner options served in the main restaurant. With an open seating policy, and no formal dress code, guests can enjoy a casual, laidback yet sophisticated dining experience, morning, noon and night. Breakfast and lunch are served in a buffet format, with an extensive range of tempting dishes available, ranging from pastries to continental meats for breakfast and salads, soups and desserts for lunch. Hot dishes are also available to choose from, including made-to-order eggs and entrees. Dinner consists of a five-course meal, served a la carte by professional waiters. Chefs onboard create menu options from locally sourced, seasonal produce. Thanks to the enriching ethos onboard, guests have the opportunity to sample some regional specialities, as well as popular Western favourites. Complimentary drinks, including beers, wines and soft drinks, are served with lunch and dinner, and hot drinks are available 24-hours a day via the self-serve beverage station. There is also an optional beverage package for anyone wishing to upgrade their drinks to include premium spirits and fine wines. In addition, guests have the choice of dining al-fresco at the Aquavit Terrace, which offers both indoor and outdoor viewing areas, and casual lighter bites made freshly on the grill.
Entertainment Entertainment onboard may be low-key but the programme still includes a range of captivating events that guests can enjoy as part of the itinerary that they have chosen. The in-house pianist will provide relaxing background music most evenings, and local acts are often invited onboard to perform region-specific shows. Social highlights include the Welcome and Farewell dinners, and if guests are wishing to enjoy their evenings with friends, the Observation Lounge on the Middle Deck is the main social hub.
Activities The Bordeaux region of France is synonymous with beautiful wines, and as such, there are plenty of activities planned onboard that reflect this, including wine tasting, masterclasses with a professional sommelier, and lessons on how to pair wines with meals perfectly. The itinerary also offers the chance to brush up on your French. Shore excursions and tours also fill up the itinerary, and provide plenty of opportunity to enrich the mind. Guided tours led by experts (including the use of headsets and earphones), and independent exploration, are available so that every guests can appreciate the destinations in the way that best suits them. During downtime, guests can spend time in the library corner or the boutique onboard, or catch up with loved ones back home using the complimentary Wi-Fi connection.
Accommodation The Longship Forseti has eight different types of staterooms onboard, with varying levels of space, from 135 sq. ft. to 445 sq. ft. In total, there are 95 staterooms available, all with an outside view of some description, including 25 standard staterooms with half-height picture window, 22 French balcony staterooms, 39 veranda staterooms, seven veranda suites and two Explorer Suites. Suites have full-size private verandas as well as a French balcony off the bedroom. The verandas in the two Explorer Suites are a wraparound design and provide incredible 270degree views of the river. Some of the amenities that guests can enjoy include hotel-style beds, private bathroom with shower and premium toiletries, telephone, refrigerator with complimentary bottled water, hairdryer, climate control, flatscreen TV with infotainment system and entertainment package, and in-room safe. Guests can also request bathrobes and slippers, if needed.
Spa/Wellbeing The Sun Deck features a walking track and a putting green for guests who wish to partake in a little fitness and exercise while onboard. It’s also home to a number of reclining sunloungers and a shaded seating area if you would prefer to simply sit, relax and watch the world go by. The 360degree panoramic views are a major draw, too!
Itineraries The Longship Forseti sails the ‘Heart of Bordeaux’ tour from Bordeaux to Saint-Emilion and back again, over the course of eight days. As part of this itinerary, which sails along the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers, guests can enjoy six guided tours in regions of France that produce some of the finest wines possible. Highlights of the itinerary include optional excursions to Sauternes, where guests can learn how the region’s sweet wines are made, Bergerac, where guests can learn about truffles, Cognac where guests can try their hand at blending the brandy, and wine tasting at a nearby chateau. Guided tours of cities and citadels such as Cadillac, Bordeaux, Saint-Emilion and Blaye are also included, as are trips to Pauillac, Bourg and Libourne. Pre- and post- cruise extensions are available in the Loire Valley and Paris, if you hope to prolong your time in France.