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.
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 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.
To help immerse passengers in the local culture, experts and performers come on board at port. One day you might catch a demonstration from a traditional German glassblower, the next a classical-music performance. Along the way, members of the ship’s staff might give a German lesson or teach you how to make an Alsatian flammkuchen, a kind of German pizza.
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 walking tour of Heidelberg and a visit to the Black Forest. More involved outings—such as a culinary tour through Alsace or a brewery-hopping excursion in Cologne—generally cost extra.