Viking River Cruises

Return to River Cruising

Viking Hlin, Longship in Basel, Switzerland
Viking Hlin, Longship in Basel, Switzerland

Viking River Cruises is a privately owned company that started in 1997 with cruises in Russia. In 2000 they purchased Europe's KD River Cruises. In 2012 they began an extensive ship building program, with the introduction of their Longships.  From 2012 - 2016 they built 45 European river cruise ships and, in doing so, dominated the river cruise industry.  They converted their European fleet to longships during this period and expanded the number of ships to give them 75% of the European cruise market.  In 2013 they started Viking Ocean Cruises and began building ocean cruise ships. By the end of 2016 they'd built two ocean liners and had 4 more under construction. Viking has become so popular that despite their large volume of ships, they regularly sell out cruises a year in advance and in some circumstances require payment in full at the time of first booking.

Viking's European Longships

Viking's Europe fleet is now entirely Longships on the Rhine, Danube, Main, Moselle and Rhône Rivers. The Longship details are:

  • Room for 189 passengers.  Due to constraints of lock sizes and river width, the fleet of longships in Europe won't be getting bigger in size.  This is refreshing to ocean cruisers who may be dismayed by the boom in mega ships there.

  • Two Explorer Suites with 445 sq ft and separate livingr room, bedroom and wraparound veranda with 270 degree views. These are the largest suites in river cruising.

  • 7 two - room Veranda Suites.

  • 39 Veranda Staterooms that are 205 sq ft.  These have been created by moving the hallway off center.  The units on the non-veranda side are 135 sq ft and have French balconies.

  • All-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace with retractable floor-to-ceiling windows and views to both sides of the river.

  • Heated bathroom floors and mirrors.

  • Solar panels and low vibration hybrid engines.

Douro and Elbe Rivers

Viking operates 3 ships on the Douro in Portugal and 4 ships on the Elbe in Germany. These are not Longships due to the smaller size of these rivers, but Viking has made the newer ships here with a similar design.

Other Continents

Unlike most river cruise companies, Viking maintains its own ships on other continents instead of affiliating with other compaines. The only exception is their cruises in Egypt.  Viking operates 4 ships in Russia, which is where their company first started.  Their 3 ships in Asia operate in China, Myanmar and Vietnam / Cambodia. Viking also operates 1 ship in the Ukraine and 2 ships in Egypt.

Explorer Suite


  • Age of 50+ with a median age of 61

  • Close to retirement

  • Usually dual income travelers

  • Often own the book "1,000 Places To See Before You Die"

  • Women traveling in groups without their partners

  • Experienced ocean cruises looking more intimate and educational experiences

Veranda Stateroom


Viking has conducted a campaign for many years where they offer special pricing that expires at the end of the month and then the next month they offer the same specials over again for one additional month. This creates a continual sense of urgency to book their cruises, which is apparently successful or they wouldn't keep doing it.



  • All meals (no specialty pricing)
  • Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks are served with lunch and dinner on board.  Passengers can help themselves to tea, coffee and cappuccino at any time.  Complimentary bottles of water are supplied in your stateroom each day.

  • Shore excursions for every destination

  • Port charges

  • Internet -  All Viking River Cruises have free internet access.  Wi-fi is available in Europe & Russia.

  • Lectures and local entertainers brought on board at various ports of call.

  • Hair dryers

Not Included

  • Tips & Gratuities

  • Laundry (available for a fee)

  • Premium wines and beers, cocktails and sparkling wine.  These can be purchased through the Silver Spirits beverage package. 

  • Airport transfers. These are included if airfare is booked with Viking.

Not Available

  • Room Service

  • Fitness Center (gym and sauna aboard Viking Emerald in China)

  • Children's Programs

Aquavit Terrace


Children - Children under 12 are discouraged by Viking River Cruises.

Smoking - All Viking ship interiors and staterooms are nonsmoking. Each ship has an outdoor smoking area.

Tipping - Tips are not included in the cruise price.  Gratutites are not automatically deducted at the end of the cruise.  In 2015 Viking provided suggested daily rates for the Program Director and for the rest of the staff.  You could tip onboard staff in cash or charge your tips to your credit card on the last day of the cruise (except in Egypt and Southeast Asia).

Viking Cancellation Policy
121 days or more | $100 per person
120-90 days | 15% of full fare
89-60 days | 35% of full fare
59-30 days | 50% of full fare
29-0 days | 100% of full fare

Singles supplement offers are rare with Viking.