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  #1  
Old March 17th, 2013, 07:47 PM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Default Viking River Launch First Major River Event of the Year -- and There's More!

Hi. I'm at the airport, waiting for a flight to head to Amsterdam this week, where Viking River will christen an unprecedented 8 ships at one time (okay, so let's not drink the Kool-Aid too much, we know that not all 8 are really ready but still, kind of neat). This is double the record-setting christening from last year, when the line inaugurated a mere 4 ships at one time!

The Viking event (which takes place on Wednesday) is the first in a series of exciting new launches (both ships and rivers) for 2013. We're also covering Avalon's latest newbuild, and heading out to the Po River, which Uniworld is the first to return to (it was popular some years ago but the water levels, in drought, proved to be challenging).

What can we tell you about river? What questions do you have about Viking's new Longships? What are the newest rivers to emerge (you've got to know that as the river industry booms its cruise lines have to find new and emerging places to go!). We're focusing primarily on Europe on this particular thread (but have Asia, Africa and the Amazon, not to mention the U.S. in our sights as well).

So please -- ask away.

And a heads up: among other events we'll be participating in this week -- we'll be flying up to Rostock's Neptun shipyard (part of Meyer Werft), where Viking is building its next series of ships. We'll be talking with Viking's interior design gurus to learn how the line is tweaking the ambiance of the Longships, and what they've learned along the way, and we'll be presiding at a christening in which no one seems to know who the godmothers are All good stuff.

If you have specific questions about Europe river cruising and/or about Viking, ask 'em here and I'll reply with answers. Thanks.

Carolyn

Carolyn Spencer Brown
Editor in Chief
Cruise Critic

If you want to check out last year's coverage from the mere four ship launch -- go to this link: http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1423.
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  #2  
Old March 17th, 2013, 09:55 PM
id est's Avatar
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Question

I've never been on Viking longships but read many reviews about noisy dining room due to maybe a design drawback or insufficient sound insulator. A question to Viking: if and when it is going to be fixed on existing Viking longships? Hopefully it is already addressed in the new upcoming ships?
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  #3  
Old March 17th, 2013, 11:43 PM
travelfirst travelfirst is offline
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I will be on the Viking Odin next week.
I will see if it is noisy...
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  #4  
Old March 18th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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StartrainDD StartrainDD is offline
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Default Safe travels Carolyn!

We are booked on the third sailing of the Skadi, on April 8. This will be our first River Cruise, and we really don't know exactly what to expect, except to have a great trip!

The christening sounds exciting, have a super time! Hope it warms up a little before our visit or the tulips will still be shivering in their buds!
__________________
Past Cruises: (star ratings reflect our opinion of the on-board experience, not the port calls!)
1985: Commodore Cruise Line - Caribe to Eastern Caribbean
1986: NCL Starward to Western Caribbean / 1988: NCL Starward to Southern Caribbean
2009: Aug - HAL Amsterdam to Alaska ***** / Nov - HAL Ryndam to Western Caribbean (central America) ****
2010: Feb - Celebrity Century to Key West & Grand Cayman ****1/2 / May - Celebrity Summit to Bermuda ***1/2 / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Infinity through the Panama Canal *****
2011: Jan - Crown Princess to Western Caribbean ** / Mar - HAL Westerdam to Southern Caribbean ***** / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Solstice to Western Mediterranean ***1/2
2012: Jan - HAL Eurodam to Eastern Caribbean ****1/2 / May - HAL Ryndam to the Fjords & North Cape ****1/2 / Sept/Oct - Celebrity Summit to Canada & Maine **
2013: Jan - HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal Sunfarer **** / April - Viking Skadi "Tulips & Windmills" *** / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Constellation to Turkey & Greece ****
2014: Feb - HAL Westerdam Eastern Caribbean ****1/2 / May/June - HAL Prinsendam Kiel Canal and Baltics ****
173 cruising days and counting!

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  #5  
Old March 19th, 2013, 04:25 PM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelfirst View Post
I will be on the Viking Odin next week.
I will see if it is noisy...

I will be interested in knowing this as well.... We are on the Viking Aegir at the end of April.

Fran
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  #6  
Old March 20th, 2013, 09:53 PM
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Dear Carolyn,


We just did Viking Grand European on the beautiful Prestige this past September, Budapest to Amsterdam. We absolutely loved it.
One itinerary ( of many we are contemplating) is the Elegant Elbe . Berlin to Prague . One issue that has us hesitating is the OLD ships on the route. I know it has something to do with the river and the type of propulsion they must used.

If you could get some info on the Elegant Elbe if they plan on updating the vessels ( really mostly the bathrooms..lol) I would be so grateful.

We'll be looking forward to your postings.

Oops...just realized the date you mentioned was today ....duh...
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LIFE IS TOO SHORT.
SO LOVE THE PEOPLE WHO TREAT YOU RIGHT,
FORGET THE ONES WHO DON'T
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  #7  
Old March 21st, 2013, 04:45 AM
ingo_e ingo_e is offline
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The Elbe river is very shallow. Therefore the ships used on the Elbe do not draw as much water as on other rivers.

At the moment there are just 3 ships on the Elbe addressing the US / International market: Vikings Schumann & Fontane and Grand Circle Travel's River Allegro. Their draft is around 1m - 1.20m, while most 'regular' sized ships for 150pax on the Rhine,Main,Danube are 1.30 - 1.70m, the new Viking Longships (and other ships for 170+ pax) are at 1.70 - 2.10m. If you want a short fact check, select them from the dropdowns here: http://rivercruiseinfo.com/content/compare-ships

In my opinion, no one will build new ships for the Elbe, as you have to design ships just for this one river. Instead of taking that financial risk, cruise lines rather explore new rivers (last two years: Po in Italy, the Gironde in France) than getting on the Elbe. I think it is going to be a niche. Maybe we'll see some refurbishments.
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  #8  
Old March 21st, 2013, 06:15 AM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Hi. We addressed that and were told that on the ship I'm on (Viking Aegir) the ceiling panels have been upgraded/replaced to eliminate the noise. But it's still too noisy for my ears....

Carolyn

Quote:
Originally Posted by id est View Post
I've never been on Viking longships but read many reviews about noisy dining room due to maybe a design drawback or insufficient sound insulator. A question to Viking: if and when it is going to be fixed on existing Viking longships? Hopefully it is already addressed in the new upcoming ships?
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  #9  
Old March 21st, 2013, 07:12 AM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Hi, StartrainDD. For what it's worth, the Skadi, which is a bit of the "next" generation of Longships, has a couple of differences from the first series to launch last year. First it's absolutely just as charming and comfortable as Odin, Idun, Aegir et. al. The lobby feels a bit more airy (they've used wood rather than marble-like materials, and the chandelier has been replaced so there's no obstruction from the skylight above). And I really liked that tables were added to the lounge (taking away some of the bar-style seating) -- I think Aquavit, the casual, indoor-outdoor dining area, has proven so popular they needed more space.

Have a great trip. I don't what next week's going to be like, weather-wise, but it's so so so so so cold here. And I hear snow is in the forecast for Sat. Definitely, the tulips must be freezing

Carolyn

PS Please write a member review when you come back!
Quote:
Originally Posted by StartrainDD View Post
We are booked on the third sailing of the Skadi, on April 8. This will be our first River Cruise, and we really don't know exactly what to expect, except to have a great trip!

The christening sounds exciting, have a super time! Hope it warms up a little before our visit or the tulips will still be shivering in their buds!
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  #10  
Old March 21st, 2013, 07:14 AM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Ingo's provided a great answer. Lines on the Elbe will have to refurbish the boats, no question there. But I'm with Ingo in that they won't build new ones because of the tricky conditions there. Shame, cause it's a fascinating itinerary but still, worth taking regardless.

Carolyn

Quote:
Originally Posted by ingo_e View Post
The Elbe river is very shallow. Therefore the ships used on the Elbe do not draw as much water as on other rivers.

At the moment there are just 3 ships on the Elbe addressing the US / International market: Vikings Schumann & Fontane and Grand Circle Travel's River Allegro. Their draft is around 1m - 1.20m, while most 'regular' sized ships for 150pax on the Rhine,Main,Danube are 1.30 - 1.70m, the new Viking Longships (and other ships for 170+ pax) are at 1.70 - 2.10m. If you want a short fact check, select them from the dropdowns here: http://rivercruiseinfo.com/content/compare-ships

In my opinion, no one will build new ships for the Elbe, as you have to design ships just for this one river. Instead of taking that financial risk, cruise lines rather explore new rivers (last two years: Po in Italy, the Gironde in France) than getting on the Elbe. I think it is going to be a niche. Maybe we'll see some refurbishments.
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  #11  
Old March 21st, 2013, 08:35 AM
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ingo_e View Post
The Elbe river is very shallow. Therefore the ships used on the Elbe do not draw as much water as on other rivers.

At the moment there are just 3 ships on the Elbe addressing the US / International market: Vikings Schumann & Fontane and Grand Circle Travel's River Allegro. Their draft is around 1m - 1.20m, while most 'regular' sized ships for 150pax on the Rhine,Main,Danube are 1.30 - 1.70m, the new Viking Longships (and other ships for 170+ pax) are at 1.70 - 2.10m. If you want a short fact check, select them from the dropdowns here: http://rivercruiseinfo.com/content/compare-ships

In my opinion, no one will build new ships for the Elbe, as you have to design ships just for this one river. Instead of taking that financial risk, cruise lines rather explore new rivers (last two years: Po in Italy, the Gironde in France) than getting on the Elbe. I think it is going to be a niche. Maybe we'll see some refurbishments.

Thanks ,

You have explained it in a nutshell . My hope is just to refurbish the bathrooms to eliminate the flooding when using the shower ! We are not fussy about space as much, you hardly are in your cabin anyway....just fix the bathrooms ..lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Ingo's provided a great answer. Lines on the Elbe will have to refurbish the boats, no question there. But I'm with Ingo in that they won't build new ones because of the tricky conditions there. Shame, cause it's a fascinating itinerary but still, worth taking regardless.

Carolyn
Thanks, Carolyn...looking forward to your other 'scoops' on new itineraries etc.

Have a safe rest of the trip . Take care.
__________________
Terry

LIFE IS TOO SHORT.
SO LOVE THE PEOPLE WHO TREAT YOU RIGHT,
FORGET THE ONES WHO DON'T
AND BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING
HAPPENS FOR A REASON !


Waiting
Carnival Legend 8/17/14
Carnival Liberty 1/24/15
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  #12  
Old March 21st, 2013, 01:22 PM
pacmom pacmom is offline
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We were on the Schumann in 2006-pre refurb. Bathroom never flooded. There was no lip to keep in the water, but we never had water all over the bathroom. This was our first Viking trip and it was sooo good. Cabins are small, now there are "suites. If I were to go again, I would pick the Fontaine because the food /beverage manager for this season was on the Emerald last season. His name is Oliver and dining room was extremely well run. Pat
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  #13  
Old March 21st, 2013, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Hi. We addressed that and were told that on the ship I'm on (Viking Aegir) the ceiling panels have been upgraded/replaced to eliminate the noise. But it's still too noisy for my ears....

Carolyn
Thanks, Carolyn. Hopefully they fixed other ships too. Are you doing "Grand European Tour" on Aegir?
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  #14  
Old March 23rd, 2013, 11:54 AM
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Now that the season has started, it time for the reviews. Some reviews from last December were written after high waters so it will be good to see reviews from more normal river conditions. High waters like last December did affect several river cruises and subsequently the reviews written but high waters are a part of the normal cycle of nature on the rivers contrary to what many climate science alarmists will want you to believe. We are looking forward to the reviews of the early season river cruisers.
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  #15  
Old March 23rd, 2013, 05:46 PM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Hi, id ests. Gosh, I wish I were doing Grand European Tour (loved the Aegir and our professional review will be launched in the next week or two). Had a great three nights onboard, now on the way home....

Carolyn

Quote:
Originally Posted by id est View Post
Thanks, Carolyn. Hopefully they fixed other ships too. Are you doing "Grand European Tour" on Aegir?
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  #16  
Old March 24th, 2013, 12:32 AM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Hi, id ests. Gosh, I wish I were doing Grand European Tour (loved the Aegir and our professional review will be launched in the next week or two). Had a great three nights onboard, now on the way home....

Carolyn
Glad to hear the positive comments re: the Aegir... We board the end of next month!!

Fran
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  #17  
Old March 24th, 2013, 02:11 PM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Default Trip to shipyard

In my original post on this thread I referred to a quick trip up to the Viking Longships' shipyard, Neptun Werft, in Germany. Just a heads up that due to weather constraints (also known as a major snowstorm) the trek got cancelled. However, we got to go last year and he's our take on how Viking is building these fantastic ships.... http://www.cruisecritic.com/blog/ind...hape/?isalt=0#


Carolyn
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  #18  
Old March 25th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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StartrainDD StartrainDD is offline
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Default Review will be coming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Hi, StartrainDD. For what it's worth, the Skadi, which is a bit of the "next" generation of Longships, has a couple of differences from the first series to launch last year. First it's absolutely just as charming and comfortable as Odin, Idun, Aegir et. al. The lobby feels a bit more airy (they've used wood rather than marble-like materials, and the chandelier has been replaced so there's no obstruction from the skylight above). And I really liked that tables were added to the lounge (taking away some of the bar-style seating) -- I think Aquavit, the casual, indoor-outdoor dining area, has proven so popular they needed more space.

Have a great trip. I don't what next week's going to be like, weather-wise, but it's so so so so so cold here. And I hear snow is in the forecast for Sat. Definitely, the tulips must be freezing

Carolyn

PS Please write a member review when you come back!
Thanks Carolyn! I've noticed the weather is still very cold. It's snowing here in PA (and NJ) today! The 10-day for Amsterdam shows a little moderation, and we are at 12 days from arrival and 14 days from actually boarding the Skadi.

I've written review/logs of all our cruises and expect to do one for the Skadi as well. The information gained from cruise critic is invaluable and I feel this is one way we can give a little back.

All the best!
__________________
Past Cruises: (star ratings reflect our opinion of the on-board experience, not the port calls!)
1985: Commodore Cruise Line - Caribe to Eastern Caribbean
1986: NCL Starward to Western Caribbean / 1988: NCL Starward to Southern Caribbean
2009: Aug - HAL Amsterdam to Alaska ***** / Nov - HAL Ryndam to Western Caribbean (central America) ****
2010: Feb - Celebrity Century to Key West & Grand Cayman ****1/2 / May - Celebrity Summit to Bermuda ***1/2 / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Infinity through the Panama Canal *****
2011: Jan - Crown Princess to Western Caribbean ** / Mar - HAL Westerdam to Southern Caribbean ***** / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Solstice to Western Mediterranean ***1/2
2012: Jan - HAL Eurodam to Eastern Caribbean ****1/2 / May - HAL Ryndam to the Fjords & North Cape ****1/2 / Sept/Oct - Celebrity Summit to Canada & Maine **
2013: Jan - HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal Sunfarer **** / April - Viking Skadi "Tulips & Windmills" *** / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Constellation to Turkey & Greece ****
2014: Feb - HAL Westerdam Eastern Caribbean ****1/2 / May/June - HAL Prinsendam Kiel Canal and Baltics ****
173 cruising days and counting!

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  #19  
Old March 31st, 2013, 08:37 PM
gski gski is offline
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Default Some questions

Hello, Carolyn:

I'm considering an Amsterdam-Budapest (or the reverse) trip in late May 2014. Have not been on a river cruise (or any other cruise) before. Viking will have two 2014 vessels (Idi and Kvasir) in service that match our intended travel time, as well as several launched in 2013.

Main question: how much does the stateroom category matter on the new Longships? Veranda suites (category AA) look quite nice, though are at least $2800pp more than less expensive categories. The Veranda and French Balcony staterooms also appear quite nice, the former being 50% larger. Can one expect to spend much time in one's stateroom, or perhaps more on deck and on excursion?

Other questions: should one prefer port or starboard? Again, if on deck or on shore at most times, the side does not seem important. The ship layout places verandas on the starboard side.

Should midships be preferred, or is the newer propulsion system quiet enough not to matter near the stern (particularly if on upper deck)?

Any other noteworthy observations would be much appreciated.

Regards,

Gary
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