Viking Longship Hlin
The Hlin (pronounced ‘Lean’) is one of the 16 Longships that were released in 2014, earning Viking River Cruises a place in the Guinness World Record book for being the holder of ‘the most ships inaugurated in one day by one company’ record. Since then, it has cruised through many of Europe’s most beautiful countries, with particular focus on the Rhine River, voyaging through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. With 95 staterooms onboard, it may be larger than some river cruisers, but the spacious public areas and bright and breezy atrium ensure that relaxation and comfort are at the top of the list of priorities. The Norse goddess after which the ship is named was a wise teacher and protected humankind – it’s exciting culture curriculum and beautifully-appointed facilities that are worthy of a top-rated hotel ensure that the ship follows in its namesake’s footsteps.
Passengers As a Longship-class ship, the Hlin can accommodate 190 guests when travelling at maximum capacity, but the spacious and light design of the vessel ensures that a river cruise onboard never feels cramped. All guests can enjoy full board travel with most elements included in the fare, and will appreciate the impeccable service that the onboard staff provide. The dedicated Programme Director will provide assistance when required to ensure downtime is planned effectively, and the Viking Daily newsletter will keep every passenger well-informed. The majority of passengers are likely to be well-travelled, with a love of culture, history and enriching experiences. Most tend to hail from English-speaking countries, particularly the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia.
Dining Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining room onboard, unless otherwise stated on the itinerary. The main restaurant operates an open seating policy, and guests can enjoy the flexibility that this brings. The lack of formal dress code allows guests to enjoy a relaxed and casual dining experience, but the restaurant’s beautifully-appointed interiors ensure sophistication and elegance are also on the menu. Breakfast and lunch are served in a buffet format, with a range of delicious dishes available from the central stations. Dinner is a sit-down waiter-served meal, consisting of five courses. The menus include options that are regionally specific, so guests can enjoy authentic flavours and taste sensations, if they wish. Otherwise, traditional Western favourites are always available. Complimentary drinks, including local wines, beers and soft drinks, are free-flowing during lunch and dinner, with an optional upgrade to include premium wines and spirits also available. Hot drinks are free of charge around the clock, from the self-serve beverage station. If you do fancy something a little different occasionally, early riser breakfasts and lighter lunches and dinners are available at the Aquavit Terrace, which serves casual al-fresco fare and boasts both indoor and outdoor viewing areas.
Entertainment Guests look forward to the Captain’s welcome reception and dinner, and the gourmet farewell dinner at the end of the cruise – all of which offer great reasons to dress up and mingle with like-minded travellers. The Observation Lounge is the central social hub of the vessel, with most entertainment and events taking place here. It benefits from a full-service bar, and a resident pianist is onboard to provide background music. Occasionally during every itinerary, performers are invited onboard to perform locally-inspired shows, particularly classical music performances.
Activities It’s not uncommon for guests to book with Viking because of their Culture Curriculum as well as the various guided tours and onshore opportunities that are available. While experiences on land can include visits to churches, castles, medieval towns and cultural centres, the Viking Hlin also brings some culture and heritage onboard with a mix of expert demonstrations (including glassblowing!), culinary classes, tasting sessions and expert-led lectures on topics such as current affairs and the origins of Rhine River cruising. All guided tours include the use of individual headsets so that guests don’t miss anything that the local guide is saying, despite where they are in the group. There is also plenty of opportunity to explore independently if you wish, particularly when the vessel is moored for longer, such as in Rudesheim when passengers can appreciate the nightlife of the famed Drosselgasse street.Back onboard, there is a boutique, a library corner and ship-wide Wi-Fi to enjoy.
Accommodation Every stateroom onboard has a river view, so all guests can enjoy beautiful views from their accommodation. The quality of the view depends on the accommodation category you choose, ranging from 150 sq. ft. Standard Staterooms located on the Main Deck, which include half-height picture windows, to 445 sq. ft. Upper Deck Explorer Suites which boast a French balcony leading off the bedroom and a wraparound veranda that offers 270-degree views, that leads off the living area. In total, there are eight different stateroom types, divided according to size and position on the ship. While higher end accommodation boasts obvious space and view advantages, other amenities remain standard throughout, and include hotel-style beds, private bathrooms, ample storage space, in-room safe, individual climate control, refrigerator, hairdryer, telephone, flatscreen TV with entertainment package and infotainment system, complimentary bottled water and bathrobes and slippers on request.
Spa/Wellbeing Challenge friends to a go on the putting green, enjoy a brisk walk around the walking track, smell the aromas of the organic herb garden or simply put your feet up and enjoy the beautiful 360-degree views that the Hlin’s Sun Deck has to offer.
Itineraries The 15/16 itinerary that the Hlin offers is the eight day Rhine Discovery tour which sails between Amsterdam and Basel, and offers six guided tours for its guests to enjoy. From the charming riverbanks to the historic towns and cities, this itinerary is filled with breathtaking and enriching sights to immerse yourself in. Highlights include the Kinderdijk windmills, the pedestrianised Drosselgasse street in Rudesheim, the historic cities of Heidelberg and Strasbourg and the optional pre- and post- cruise stays in Amsterdam and Lucerne. As part of the programme that goes with this itinerary, guests will have the opportunity to try their hand at Dutch shuffleboard, make their own Alsatian Flammkuchen, sample Dutch cheeses and jenever liquor and visit a traditional cuckoo clock in Breisach.