Five Things to Know About Viking River Cruises' Alsvin Cruise Ship
World's Best 2016 Awards Rank: #8 River Ship
Best for: Adults who loves food, wine, culture, and Scandinavian design
Sails: The Danube River, the Maine River, the Moselle River, the Rhine River
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2016 winner, placing eighth in the River Ship category. One of Viking’s much-lauded Longships, the Alsvin debuted in 2014 and continues the line’s tradition of destination-centric river cruises with an emphasis on cuisine and culture.
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The Design Is Nordic
As befits Viking’s Scandinavian roots, the ship is all blonde woods, light fabrics, and clean lines. Floor-to-ceiling windows are everywhere, from the dining room to the sleek two-deck atrium, flooding the public spaces with light and giving everyone in the room a view of the castles and villages rolling by.
Most Cabins Have Balconies
Reflecting the airy design of the rest of the ship, staterooms are filled with earth tones and accents of light gray, and all of the bathrooms have heated floors. Sizes range from 135 square feet for French Balcony rooms to 445 square feet for the two Explorer Suites, each of which has a private wraparound verandah and a French balcony off the bedroom. Seven Veranda Suites (275 square feet) and 39 Veranda Staterooms (205 square feet) also have full balconies, while the 25 Standard staterooms (150 square feet) have a window.
The Food Reflects the Destination
The first sign that this ship takes food seriously: the organic herb garden on the open-air top deck. You’ll find the greens—along with ingredients purchased fresh in each port—in the regionally inspired meals at The Restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and a three-course dinner at night. For example, in Germany, passengers might be served dishes like forest mushroom velouté and Alsace pink roasted duck. (Classics like steak frites and poached salmon are also served.) For something more casual, head to the indoor-outdoor Aquavit Terrace, for a light breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the bow of the ship. Some tables sit on the deck, while others are located under a glass roof and walls, with a retractable glass wall that open up to the outside on warm days.
There’s an Emphasis on Culture
To help immerse passengers in the local culture, experts and performers come on board at port. One day it might be a traditional glassblower, the next folk singers or a classical quartet. Or you might take in a lecture on the European Union or learn how to make the perfect German bread pudding.
Almost Everything Is Included
In keeping with Viking’s no-nickel-and-diming philosophy, everything from unlimited WiFi to beer, house wine, and soft drinks at lunch and dinner are wrapped into your cruise fare. And so are many shore excursions, such as a guided stroll through Heidelberg’s Old Town, and a visit to Marksburg Castle in Koblenz, Germany. More involved outings—such as a wine-tasting trip in the Moselle Valley—generally cost extra.