I have delayed writing this review to await the dust to settle from the river cruise and to ensure objectivity rather than dwelling on the usual high or low experiences firmly fixed in your mind from the just completed cruise.
The information available about the Viking Njord from fellow Cruise Critic Reviewers prior to the cruise my wife and myself went on consisted of only one review, so I had no pre-conceived views prior to the cruise.
The ship is a new build of the Viking Long ships and this was the Njord's 7th cruising of the rivers between Budapest and Amsterdam and return. The ship is visually appealing and being new, is presented very well as would be expected from a brand new multi million dollar build.
There are several design flaws throughout the ship, one being the inability to comfortably seat and fit all passengers into the lounge/bar area at the same time. There are periods during the cruise when this is not an issue as passengers are spread though-out the ship or ashore, but it is not acceptable for people to stand when daily briefings are held prior to the dinner meal.
The dining area acoustics are another serious flaw and trying to engage with other passengers during the meal periods near to and across the table is almost impossible due to the din generated in the room and amplified by the ceiling design and material used in the manufacture.
The cabin design is functional and although quite small compared to ocean ships, is functional and adequate. The bathroom area is very generous and first rate. Hanging space for clothing is very limited due to the design of the hanging closet with the "bump". Again, it is not insurmountable because of the adequate drawer space.
I must point out here, the senior management of the ship are well aware of these design flaws from past passenger complaints and feedback and are apparently working with the builder to apply a fix. Due to the complexity of the issues I would suggest this will be done when the ship is "down" for maintenance during the off season and not in the foreseeable and immediate cruise season.
Apart from the above mentioned design flaws of the ship, it is a state of the art ship with contemporary fittings and well laid out.
The dining room experience was good and it was apparent all staff were trying to meet the needs of the passengers. The staff were attentive and professional and alcohol and refreshments flowed freely during the meal periods. The staff were very cohesive and it was very visually apparent senior management were working positively with all staff to ensure passenger comfort.
The quality of the food for the dinner meal was, in the main, adequate but not exceptional. Servings, although small, were adequate. The breakfast and lunch menus were good and you had several choices. This cruise was not an ocean going 24hr food feast to tempt you to over eat and I found that enjoyable as did my waist! You would have to be an extremely fussy eater not to find something you like at meal times but after 15 days some meal selections can be repetitious.
The only big downside to the cruise was the inability to sit above on the sun deck when we wanted to watch the world go by. The weather on our cruise was exceptional and the ability to sit above deck with 360 degree views would have been (and should have been) the highlight of the trip.
Viking Cruises (and other cruise companies as well in fairness) do not mention in advertising that a significant amount of days, in our case almost 2/3 of the cruise, you were not able to access the top deck due to low bridges.
My wife and myself were a disappointed in the land tours as they were too slow and did not cover enough ground but again in fairness to staff and guides, they had to cater for passengers who were not as fit or mobile. The age demographics of the cruise were generally in the 60+ group.
After many sea going cruises and this being our first river cruise, it is our opinion river cruising is not for us. In comparison to Sea Cruises, it is not value for money, does not allow enough time in ports and due to the sun deck being closed does not provide sufficient entertainment aboard during down times.
That is not to say other people would not enjoy river cruising but be aware the bling and glamour portrayed in advertising can be somewhat less appealing when experienced in the flesh.
In any event, this is just our opinion and everyone has different expectations. Do your research, be positive and enjoy the world of cruising whether it be by river or by sea.