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Viking Forseti Review

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73% of cruisers loved it
  • Bordeaux cruising on the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers
  • Huge focus on the wine and food of the region
  • Real balcony cabins, a rarity in river cruising

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Viking Forseti Overview

(4.5) 4.5 out of 5+ star rating

Since 2012, Viking River Cruises has undergone a dramatic fleet expansion with the inauguration of 32 of its innovative, 190-passenger Longships (this is in addition to 17 other ships that preceded the new design). Viking Forseti, nearly identical to its fellow Longships, represents a sleek, Scandinavian ambience, the antithesis of river's one-time fusty vessels.

What first strikes you as you step onboard? Sunlight. Streaming in through the glass-enclosed, two-story atrium is enough light to allow real flowers to grow. With backlit marble panels rising above a terrazzo floor and wood-and-glass staircase, and pale, earth-toned decor, the space has energy and natural appeal. If the ambience reminds some of Seabourn's Odyssey class, that's not a coincidence -- the vessels share the same lead designer, Norwegian firm Yran & Storbraaten.

But beyond the airy vibe of its public spaces, Viking Forseti floats a whole raft of features that are now part of the company's hallmark river cruising in Europe.

Fittingly for a line named after Scandinavian conquerors, there is a sense of minimalism on Forseti. You can perhaps best see the efficiency and maximization of available area onboard in the signature spaces: the Aquavit Terrace, the two largest true suites on a riverboat in Europe (each with separate living room and bedroom), not to mention seven slightly smaller true suites with separate living and sleeping rooms, and an increased number of cabins with full and French balconies.

Don't be fooled, though; creating those spaces was more hard work than magic, and required rethinking the basic structure of river ships. To fit under the bridges and through the locks of Europe's inland waterways, riverboats have to meet specific size requirements. If length or depth is extended past those limits, the ship won't sail.

As a workaround, designers blunted the traditional pointy-nosed bow of Viking's ships to provide more space. The result was Aquavit Terrace. A lovely open-air cafe on the ship's bow, the venue provides something of a river rarity: an alternative casual eatery with indoor/outdoor seating.

It also positioned interior corridors off-center to accommodate cabins -- full balconies on one side and narrower cabins, some elevated to suites with separate sleeping and living areas, placed sideways on the other side.

Less visible, but no less cutting-edge, are the ship's "green" advances, including hybrid diesel-electric engines which burn less fuel and produce 20 percent fewer emissions, making longships cleaner and quieter than their competitors. There are even solar panels on the sun deck that help to fuel the engines. And the ship's chef maintains an organic garden on Forseti's upper deck during growing season.

Viking Forseti Fellow Passengers
The general age for river cruise passengers is 60 and older, but Forseti and other longships, with their contemporary design, were built with an eye toward attracting a slightly younger traveler. Regardless of age, passengers tend to be well-traveled (though many are visiting Europe for the first time).
Viking Forseti Dress Code

Casual, comfortable attire is encouraged for both ship and shore on Viking Longships. The must-pack item is, without question, a comfortable pair of walking shoes for shore tours. As the ship sails in Europe, with its lovely and historic landscapes, tours frequently involve cobblestones and other uneven surfaces. Both the staff and the daily program provide ample notice when this is the case.

Generally, passengers "dress up" to varying degrees in the evenings, but never to the level of a big-ship formal night. Most don the kind of attire worn at a country club dinner, but others don't bother to change from their sensible shore excursion gear. Save your best outfits (maybe casual dresses for women and collared shirts and blazers for men) for events like the Captain's Welcome and Farewell Dinners.

Viking Forseti Gratuity
Tips are not included in the cruise fare. They are paid at the end of the cruise in cash or by credit card. (Euros are the onboard currency, but dollars are also accepted for gratuities.) The recommended amount on Viking's Europe cruises is 12 euros per passenger, per day, which is divided up among the crew.
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Viking Forseti Member Reviews 12 Reviews
   Bordeaux July 12-18
July 2014

My wife and I went on the July 12 voyage henceforth known as the “Oops I left the rope in the water cruise” where a crew member forgot to pull in the docking rope into the boat, causing it to wrap around the propellers, causing the ...continue


The cruise was absolutely a graceful gliding down the rivers into the magnificent world of storybook chateaux and quilted tapestries of green vineyards. Add to that picture all of the wines we learned about of this region and so many we all ...continue


   More than two thumbs up
May 2014

You have heard the phrase "all thumbs"? If I had more than two thumbs I would point them all upwards for this cruise. We had a wonderful time.

We cruised on the Forseti from Bordeaux on May 24 on the Dordogne, Gironde, and Garonne ...continue


1 - 3 of 12 Reviews


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