Ship of the Month - Viking Embla Review
Each month Cruiseabout will be reviewing a different ship in a brand new Blog feature called "Ship of the Month". This review will highlight the overall features, including staterooms, dining, public rooms and entertainment, of the ship and give you a greater insight into what you can expect onboard.
German-built Viking Embla was one of the original six Longships to initially be launched in 2012 by Viking River Cruises, representing the cruise line’s new take on river hospitality. Setting new innovative standards in style, space and comfort, Viking River Cruises’ longships took a quantum leap in design, elegance and state-of-the-art engineering that revolutionised European river cruising.
Designed by legendary naval architects, Yran & Storbraaten, the team behind Seabourn’s ships, Viking Embla offers guests a sleek, Scandinavian ambience and a sense of minimalism, efficiency and bright, open space. Choice is a core theme to the design, with a variety of stateroom classes, onboard entertainment options and ship locations, from which to enjoy the scenery, to choose from.
All of Viking’s Longships are identical in design, so while the focus is on Viking Embla, this review will also give you insights into the other Longships that have been launched.
Viking Embla boasts 95 staterooms in total – 25 Standard Staterooms; 22 French Balcony Staterooms; 39 Veranda Staterooms; 7 Veranda Suites and 2 Explorer Suites. Every stateroom comes with a view (there is not one inside stateroom to be found) – from porthole windows to full balconies, you will have a view from your stateroom. All staterooms are impeccably designed, and feature light wooden cabinetry, fluffy white duvets, faux suede headboards, grey and tan accents and modern Norse art. They offer a light, airy and comfortable sleeping environment for guests.
An important distinction to note onboard Viking Embla is the difference between a Veranda stateroom/suite and a French Balcony stateroom. A French Balcony is the term used for floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors which can be opened to let the fresh river breeze in, while a Veranda is a full balcony which has space for two chairs and a table.
The 7 Veranda Suites can be found on the Upper Deck, and feature a small living room with a veranda, and a separate bedroom with a French Balcony. The 2 Explorer Suites, situated on the Upper Deck, are the largest Suites to be found on a European river vessel, measuring in at 4,455 square feet. They both have a living room with a private wrap-around veranda offering a 270-degree view, and a separate bedroom with a French Balcony.
All staterooms can access the ship-wide complimentary Wi-Fi, and they all have complimentary fresh fruit and bottled water provided daily.
As with many river vessels, there are only a few public rooms onboard Viking Embla, making it easy to get around and to get to know the ship. The light-filled, glass-ceilinged atrium has a lower and an upper level. The lower levels houses the reception area and concierge desks, as well as cushioned couches so you can soak up the view in comfort, and a small shop. The main dining room is also found on the lower level, but you can read more about this in the dining review.
A glass elevator, a first for Viking, connects the 3 main passenger decks, including the upper and lower levels of the atrium. The upper level has an internet corner with laptops, a library corner, couches and self-service coffee and tea stations. The Lounge is also found on the upper level of the vessel, and this is the social hub of the ship, with a bar, dance floor and doors leading out to the alfresco dining area, Aquavit Terrace.
The top sundeck runs the entire length of the ship and offers 360-degree views; a shaded sitting area with tables, chairs and sun lounges; an organic herb garden; a shuffleboard court; a putting green; a giant chess set; a walking track and solar panels.
There is no spa, fitness centre, pool or hot tubs on this ship.
The main dining room onboard Viking Embla offers the epitome of fine dining. The décor is simple yet contemporary, with floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the outside in. Meals are prepared daily with fresh, seasonal local product, and the menu usually features European specialities to give you a taste of the region you are visiting. Breakfast in the main dining room is usually a buffet affair, with a selection of pastries, cereals, breakfast meats, egg dishes, fresh fruit and cheeses on offer. For lunch you can head to the soup or sandwich bar, or choose from a selection of entrées and desserts. Dinner is a five-course gourmet menu that is complemented by regional wines. Dining is by open-seating at set times.
The indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace is a popular choice among guests for a casual alternative, especially for lunch on a sunny day. This space connects the main lounge to a conservatory-style room with a glass ceiling and sides that open, leading to a small alfresco dining area with tables and chairs. Glass windbreaks block some of the breeze, and heaters are available for chillier days. There are also tables and chairs, and some comfortable couches, in the glassed-in space if the weather is bad. It offers the perfect place to start your day sipping on a cappuccino as you cruise through the early morning light, or to unwind in the later afternoon with a pint of beer or glass of wine and a light bite.
Entertainment & Activities
Onboard entertainment usually takes place in the Lounge, where there is a baby grand piano, as well as space for pub trivia, cruise slideshows, movies and regional performances. Guest activities are generally focused around immersive learning and enhancing your cruise itinerary and include onboard lectures, demonstrations and classes, with each activity crafted to illuminate your itinerary.
These classes or demonstrations can range from hands-on cuckoo clock-making, wooden show-carving, and glass-blowing demonstrations, to classes in cooking regional specialities or traditional dances. Daily shore excursions are also offered, including some offered as part of your cruise fare and others that require an extra fee.
Viking River Cruises have done a lot of work in adding “green” advancements to their Longships, Viking Embla included. This vessel features hybrid diesel-electric engines that burn less fuel and produce 20% fewer emissions, making it cleaner and quieter. The solar panels on the sun deck also help to fuel the engines, and the organic herb garden is tended to during growing season.
River cruising in general tends to attract an older cruising crowd of 60 years and over, however the contemporary design of Viking Embla does help to attract slightly younger passengers that are well-travelled and looking for that next adventure. If the modern, contemporary and comfortable design of this river cruising vessel appeals to you, Viking River Cruises will be sure not to disappoint. Your every need will be well-catered to, and you will be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Europe in complete style, luxury and comfort.
For more information on cruising onboard Viking Embla, or on any of Viking River Cruises' Longships, call one of our Cruise Specialists on 1300 954 661 today.