Overview of Viking River Cruises' Longship
Viking River Cruises launched the Viking Heimdal in Avignon, France in March 2014. She was christened along with two other Longships to sail the "Portraits of Southern France" 8-day itinerary between Avignon and Chalon-sur-Saône on the Rhône and Saône Rivers. These three river vessels are the first Viking Longships sailing this itinerary, and they traveled on a barge from the shipyard in northern Germany to the mouth of the Rhône River in southern France.
The Viking Heimdal is almost identical to the other Longships like the Viking Njord that the company launched between 2012 and 2014. There are subtle differences amongst the ships, but they all carry 190 guests and have identical layouts. In addition to the photos on the next several pages, the Viking Heimdal also has a spacious sun deck similar to this one.
When guests board the Viking Heimdal, the first area they usually see is this airy reception lobby. They immediately get a sense of the simple, open Scandinavian decor seen throughout the Longship. Reception is located on deck 2, the Middle Deck. Next to the reception desk is a small shop. On the port side of deck 2 is the concierge desk, and the Restaurant is forward on deck 2.
Aft of the reception area are cabins. The cabins on the port side have a French balcony, and the cabins on the starboard side have a veranda with two chairs and a small table. The innovative, off-center hallway allows the cabins on either side to be of different sizes.
After a quick check-in, most guests walk the short distance (or take the steps or elevator) to their cabin, which might be on deck 1, 2, or 3.
All the accommodations on the Viking Heimdal and the other Longships feature:
- Private bathroom with heated floor, shower, and premium bath products
- Hotel style beds that can be converted to Twins
- Telephone, refrigerator, safe, hair dryer and bottled water replenished daily
- Bathrobe and slippers available upon request
- Individual climate control
- Space under bed for storing suitcases
- Closet with wooden hangers
- Voltage: Both 220V and 110V in stateroom
- Sony 40-inch flat-panel TV with premium entertainment package including: CNBC, CNN, National Geographic, MGM Movies, Sky Cinema, videos on demand and “View From the Bridge”
The Viking Heimdal has five different types of stateroom accommodations:
- Standard - Category E and F Standard cabins are on deck 1, the Main Deck. These cabins are on the water level, so do not have French balconies, verandas, or windows than can be opened. They do have small windows that are half-height picture windows. These are the least expensive staterooms on the Longship and measure 150 square feet.
- French Balcony - Category C and D French balcony cabins are on deck 2 and deck 3. As the photo shows above, these cabins feature a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door that opens to let in the fresh air. The French balcony cabins are smaller than the standard cabins, measuring 135 square feet.
- Veranda Cabins - Category A and B Veranda cabins are on decks 2 and 3 and measure 205 square feet. These cabins have a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door that opens to a balcony with two chairs and a small table. The veranda cabins on the Viking Heimdal look much like this one on the Viking Aegir or this one with twin beds on the Viking Njord.
- Veranda Suites - The Category AA Veranda Suites are on the port side on deck 3 and measure 275 square feet. These suites have a sitting room and separate bedroom. The sitting room has a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door that opens to a balcony, and the bedroom has a French balcony with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door. The bathroom is larger in this suite also. The Veranda Suite living room is similar to this one on the Viking Aegir.
- Explorer Suites - The two Explorer Suites are aft on deck 3 and measure 445 square feet. The separate bedroom has a French balcony like the one in the Veranda Suites. What sets this suite apart is the private 270-degree wrap around balcony just off the living room. The views from it are quite marvelous!
Living Room in Veranda Suite
The seven Veranda Suites on the Viking Heimdal have this separate living room with a full sized balcony. The bedroom has a French balcony and the bath and shower are larger than in the Veranda cabins.
Shower in Veranda Suite
I love the tile in the showers of the Veranda Suites on the Viking Heimdal. Although they are the same size, this tile makes them look much more luxurious than the same class on the Viking Njord.
Shower in Cabin
The showers in the Veranda, French balcony, and Standard cabins on the Viking Longships are slightly smaller than the ones in the Veranda Suites, but are still a good size and have a glass door and heated floor.
Computer and Internet Center
The Viking Heimdal has two computers with complimentary WiFi on deck 3 next to the library. The complimentary WiFi covers the entire ship, and many guests bring their own laptop or tablet to access the Internet or read/send emails.
The Viking Heimdal has a small library next to the computer/internet center on deck 3.
Deck 3 Seating Area
Many people who are using their own computer or who like a change of scenery from the Observation Lounge often sit in this quiet area on deck 3. There's a similar space directly below on deck 2 near reception.
The Viking Heimdal has two Coffee Corners, one at each entrance of the Observation Lounge on deck 3. Guests can enjoy a selection of coffee, specialty coffees, tea, cocoa, or cold water all day (and night) long. There's also usually some type of snack available, too.
The Observation Lounge is forward on deck 3 (the Upper Deck). This large room with wrap-around windows is the hub of the ship, and guests sit here much of the day, watching the world go by on the river. Meetings, cocktail parties, lectures, and entertainment are all held in this lounge, so it's a busy place.
Bar in the Observation Lounge
This large bar in the Observation Lounge of the Viking Heimdal serves drinks throughout the day and evening.
Indoor Seating at the Aquavit Lounge
The Aquavit Lounge is forward of the Observation Lounge and has both indoor and outdoor seating. An extended breakfast is offered here on the Terrace in the morning from about 6 am to 10 am, and a light lunch is available during the regular lunch hours. The Aquavit Lounge is also a great place to enjoy a drink since its glass walls feature great views but protect guests from inclement weather.
Terrace Breakfast in the Aquavit Lounge
This photo shows some of the breakfast offerings at the Aquavit Lounge.
Aquavit Lounge Outdoor Seating
In addition to the outdoor table seating at the Aquavit Lounge, the Viking Heimdal also has a few of these marvelous rocking chairs. Can't you just imagine yourself rockin' along as the ship moves along the river?
Although guests can have a light breakfast or lunch in the Aquavit Lounge, three meals are served each day in the main Restaurant on deck 2 forward.
Guests can select from either buffet or menu items at breakfast and lunch, but all dinners are presented on a menu. The buffet selections are varied and delicious, and the dinner menu always has a nice selection of dishes. Those with special diets or allergies need only consult with the chef to arrange a menu or know which items to avoid.
Since I was only on the Viking Heimdal for two nights, and the christening dinner was held at Pont du Gard, this article on dining on the Viking Njord provides more details since all the Longships feature similar offerings, with a few adjustments made to include local specialties.
Like the other Viking Longships, the Viking Heimdal should provide a memorable cruise vacation to those sailing itineraries in southern France. The sleek, contemporary style is comfortable and relaxing--perfect for a great river cruise vacation.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.