One complimentary shore excursion is offered in almost every port as part of Viking River Cruises' fare. Excursions are generally two to four hours long, and feature a walking or bus tour, or a combination of both. A handful of full-day tours are occasionally provided, as well. In towns in which an excursion is not offered (on our sailing that included Rudesheim and Bernkastel), the tour director usually leads a short introductory walk to familiarize people with the town. Tours might or might not include visits inside museums, cathedrals or palaces; there is almost always an hour or more of free time for people to go inside attractions sometimes seen only from outside (the New Residence in Bamberg, Old University in Heidelberg or the Amphitheater in Trier, for instance).
All walking tours have an easy walking option for those who can't do the full-length version. On our sailing, one all-walking tour was offered in which the bus ride to the start of the tour was replaced with an on-foot option; other than that, there were no opportunities for anyone who wanted something more active. (When asked about this, the hotel director said the concierge is always available to help people plan something more active, but alternative arrangements almost always incur an additional fee.)
Several extra-fee excursions are also offered throughout the sailing. These tours never overlap the included ones, so cruisers can always choose to do both. Selections on our sailing included a bus tour to Rothenburg and two wine tastings (one near Rudesheim and another near Bernkastel). Extra-fee tours were also offered in our pre- and post-cruise city stays in Prague and Paris.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
There is little in the way of daytime and evening entertainment onboard Viking Odin as the port stops are the raison d'etre for any river cruise. On days when prolonged sailing is required, the tour or hotel director might provide a cooking demonstration or wine tasting. (During Christmas Market cruises, daytime activities include Christmas cookie baking demos and gingerbread decorating classes.) Evening entertainment is offered every night for one to two hours, with in-house piano music and dancing alternating with acts brought in from the local towns. Options could include a glass-blowing demonstration, a classical trio or a German oompah band.
Of the six full days we spent on Viking Odin (the first and last days are much abbreviated), some form of enrichment was offered on five days. Enrichment came in the form of lectures (the Main-Danube canal, Germany Today), live demonstrations (glass blowing, making Rudesheim coffee, cooking demo) and a shore side culinary walk with tastings with Viking Odin's executive chef in Bernkastel.
Other than that, the only other enrichment is the tour director's 15-minute evening talk about the next day's activities.
Viking Odin Bars and Lounges
There is only one proper lounge onboard Viking Odin -- the Observation Lounge. Gold wooden flooring, gray and silver hued area carpets, and upholstered armchairs and sofas in gray and taupe with bursts of orange, give the space a modern, but warm, aura. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide lots of natural light. The multi-use space serves as the perfect spot for reading, catnapping and quiet card playing during the day, but livens up around 9 p.m. with performances by guest musicians or live piano music and a little dancing. The Observation Lounge is also the site for all onboard lectures and the evening briefing about the next day's activities.
The ship's bar, with counter side seating for about 10, is at the front of the Observation Lounge. Immediately outside the Observation Lounge are two 24/7 DIY tea, coffee, espresso, cappuccino and hot chocolate stations.
Not quite a lounge, the ship's upper atrium (located around the main staircase) is home to a handful of small sofas. This is also where you'll find the library, delineated from the rest of the space by change in colors from gray, taupe and cream to brown and blue. A single bookcase along one wall hosts a sparse collection of travel and photography books related to the boat's itinerary, as well as a handful of board games, including scrabble and chess. Those not staying connected to the news via other means will find annotated copies of Canadian, British and U.S. newspapers.
During warm-weather cruises, many passengers also spend time on the sun deck (Deck 4). Up here, you'll find places both in the sun and in the shade for relaxing, reading and chatting with new friends.
Viking Odin Outside Recreation
The only outdoor recreation on Viking Odin is limited to a small putting green and a walking/jogging track on the sun deck -- 12.75 times around is 1 mile.
Viking Odin Services
Viking Odin is a four-level boat; an elevator services only decks 2 and 3, which is where you will find most of the passenger cabins, as well as the Restaurant and Observation Lounge. Passengers with difficulty climbing stairs should not book a cabin on Deck 1 and also might not be able to take advantage of any activities offered on the sun deck.
Most of Viking Odin's services can be found on Deck 2, including the reception desk where you register upon first getting on the boat, pick up city maps for each port of call, settle your account at the end of the sailing and pick up and drop off your boarding card, which is needed any time you get off the boat in port. You can also pay for any items from the small shop -- essentially several shelves of Viking River Cruises-branded items, ranging from clothes to baseball caps, umbrellas and mugs; a handful of travel books are also available for purchase. Also on Deck 2, immediately outside of the Restaurant, is the concierge's desk, where you can arrange restaurant reservations in overnight ports of call, spa appointments or visits to fitness centers in ports that have them and any other special requests.
For more information about what to do in ports, cruisers receive a four-page printed Viking Daily newsletter each night in their cabin. On top of the daily schedule, there is historical information about the day's port of call, interesting tidbits about Germany or the region the boat is sailing in and a list of things to see and do in the day's port, including restaurant recommendations.
Wi-Fi is available throughout the boat, free of charge. For those who do not have mobile devices with them, there are two computers on Deck 3, across from the library.
There are no DIY launderettes on Viking Odin, but a for-fee laundry service is available. Self-service ice machines are located on decks 2 and 3; ice buckets can be found in every cabin.