Viking Longship Gullveig
Viking River Cruises’ Viking Longships, with their patented corridor design, sleek décor and cutting edge technology, have won award after award in the travel industry since their launch in 2012. So high is the demand for cruises on these ships that Norwegian-owned Viking became a Guinness World Record Holder for ‘The Most Ships Inaugurated in One Day by One Company’ when it launched 16 new Longships in a 24-hour period in March 2014. The Viking Longship Gullveig is one of the new additions to the Viking Fleet. With four decks and 95 staterooms, this ship is large for a river cruiser, and the onboard atmosphere from the staterooms to the large, airy hotel-style atrium is calm and spacious. True to her roots in Amsterdam where she was christened, Gullveig, whose name means ‘gold branch’ in Norse folklore, spends her time cruising the beautiful rivers of the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Hungary.
Passengers The Gullveig’s discerning passengers tend to be English-speaking and attracted to Viking’s great service and immersive approach to experiencing the culture and history of the areas being visited. The modern luxury and fantastic facilities of the ship itself are just as important to them as the high quality offshore experience exploring Europe’s heartland.
Dining With panoramic views from its floor-to-ceiling windows and stylish, spacious design, the restaurant is a wonderful setting to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. The casually elegant tone is reflected in the high quality tablecloths, china and glass but lack of formal dress code. The open-seating policy means you can sit where you like, when you like. The breakfast buffet offers a great range of cereals, pastries, cheese, eggs, cold meats and fruit. At lunchtime you can treat yourself to a main course and dessert or opt for a lighter lunch at the soup and salad bar. Dinner is a five-course event. Alternatively, you can dine at the casual Al fresco grill on the ship’s lovely Aquavit Terrace. Located at the bow of the ship, this spacious terrace boasts stunning views and an innovative indoor/outdoor viewing area. Viking’s passion for enhancing passengers’ experience of the itinerary means that meals onboard the Gullveig often include locally-inspired options to try. Tea, coffee and cappuccino are always available at the 24-hour beverage bar and soft drinks, beers and regional wines are included with meals. There’s also the option to upgrade to the Silver Spirits Beverage Package for premium beverages.
Entertainment The ship’s social highlights are the Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner and the farewell dinner where you can mingle with your fellow passengers. These are casual occasions, although some passengers like to dress up for them. Local musicians are often invited onboard, but evenings are generally low key, with passengers who wish to socialise heading to the bar in the Observation Lounge which is the ship’s natural social hub.
Activities The library corner, boutique and free Wi-Fi all offer browsing opportunities. The excellent onboard Culture Curriculum includes multimedia presentations on itinerary-relevant subjects like the Dutch Masters, the formation of the EU, the life and times of Mozart and the castles of the Rhine valley. There’s also the opportunity to pick up a bit of basic German or Dutch, depending on your itinerary. Local wine and food tastings, cooking classes and other hands on demonstrations also prove very popular. The in-depth offshore excursions are conducted by handpicked local guides and enhanced with high-tech headsets. The Daily Viking newsletter provides handy information ahead of each port visit and there are also opportunities to enhance your visit with extra excursions.
Spa/Wellbeing The Viking Gullveig’s Sun Deck has a large walking track and a herb garden for gentler strolls. There’s also an elevator to make getting around this large ship easier. Or you can challenge your companion on the putting green.
Accommodation The beauty of the Viking Gullveig is that no matter which stateroom you choose, you’ll enjoy a room with a stunning river view. All staterooms are decorated in Viking’s trademark Scandinavian style with elegant neutrals, blue accents and contemporary light wood. The Upper Deck is home to the two sumptuous Explorer Suites which at a huge 445 sq. ft., boast an amazing private wraparound veranda with 270 degree views just off their large living area. Additionally they have a French balcony in the bedroom. There are also seven Veranda Suites, which at 275 sq.ft. also have a veranda off the living room and a French balcony. The rest of the deck is devoted to 20 Veranda Staterooms measuring 205 sq.ft. and also featuring the full-size veranda. On the Middle Deck you’ll find 19 more Veranda Staterooms and 17 French Balcony Staterooms measuring 135 sq. ft, which, as their name suggests, have floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to create a French balcony.
The Main Deck houses 25 Standard Staterooms. These are slightly bigger than the French Balcony Staterooms at 150 sq. ft. but what they gain in space, they lose in view as instead of the French balcony they have a half-high picture window. All classes of stateroom on the Viking Gullveig feature hotel-style beds, configured to your liking, and a private bathroom with shower and upmarket bath products. Storage is ample with room under the bed for your case and a spacious wardrobe with wooden hangers. Climate control, phone, fridge, safe, hairdryer and daily replenishment of bottled water come as standard. Bathrobes and slippers are provided on request for added comfort. All staterooms also have a 40-inch Sony flat screen TV with a good choice of English-speaking channels and the ‘View From the Bridge.’
Itineraries Currently, the Viking Gullveig is sailing European Inland Waterway itineraries. The 10 day Tulips & Windmills round trip from Amsterdam takes an extensive tour of the Netherlands and Belgium’s heartland and includes eight guided tours. The 10 day Romantic Danube itinerary from Budapest to Nuremberg or the other way round passes through beautiful Austrian scenery as well as Hungary and Germany with six tours included. The 15 day Grand European Tour itinerary from Amsterdam to Budapest includes 13 tours and is an odyssey through the fairytale landscapes of historic Germany and Austria, making it the Viking Gullveig’s most popular cruise. All itineraries offer the chance to extend your stay on dry land.