Five Things to Know About Viking River Cruises' Rolf Cruise Ship
Best for: Adults who loves food, wine, culture, and Scandinavian design
Sails: The Rhone River and the Seine River
At a Glance: One of six new Viking Longships launched in 2016, the Rolf continues the line’s tradition of destination-centric river cruises with an emphasis on cuisine and culture.
The Design Is Nordic
As befits Viking’s Scandinavian roots, the ship is all blonde woods, light fabrics, and clean lines. Even the bar in the Viking Lounge is “clinker” built with planks overlapping planks, a method made famous by the original Vikings who constructed their longships using this technique. Floor-to-ceiling windows are everywhere, flooding the public spaces with light and giving everyone in the room a view of the castles and villages rolling by.
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Most Cabins Have Balconies
Reflecting the airy design of the rest of the ship, staterooms are filled with earth tones and splashes of light blues. 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 huge shower with a floor-to-ceiling window. (Turn a switch and you’ll be invisible from the outside.) Seven Veranda Suites (275 square feet) and 39 Veranda Staterooms (205 square feet) also have full balconies, while Standard staterooms (150 square feet) all have a window.
The Food Impresses
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 something more casual, head to Aquavit Terrace, for a light breakfast, lunch, or dinner on the bow of the ship. The space has retractable glass walls, which means passengers can eat al fresco 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 you might attend a French-cheese tasting, the next a lecture on Joan of Arc or the French Impressionists. Along the way, members of the ship’s staff might give a French lesson or teach you how to make an authentic tarte au citron.
Almost Everything Is Included
In keeping with Viking’s no-nickel-and-diming philosophy, everything from unlimited WiFi to beer and house wine at lunch and dinner are wrapped into your cruise fare. And so are many shore excursions, including a tour of Paris at night. More involved outings—such as a visit to a working farm in the Rouen countryside or a private tour of the Palace of Versailles—generally cost extra.