As is the case on all riverboats, Viking Longships have only a few public rooms, making it easy to get to know this ship -- not to mention many of your fellow passengers.
The lower level of the light-filled, glass-ceilinged atrium houses the reception and concierge desks, cushioned couches with views, and a small corner shop selling Viking logowear, batteries and a few itinerary-specific souvenirs. Glass doors lead to the main dining room. A staircase leads to cabins on the main deck below. A glass elevator, the first for Viking, also connects the three main passenger decks but does not go up to the top-level sun deck.
Walking up the striking grand staircase from Middle to Upper Deck, topped by a modern-art depiction of a historic Viking ship, takes you to the upper atrium. Public space in this part of the ship consists of an Internet corner with complimentary laptops on two desks and a library corner with wooden bookcases. Kudos for the terrific selection of France-oriented books – ranging from culinary history to armchair travel. There are couches where you can enjoy coffee, tea and sweets from two self-service stations while watching the passing views through large sliding-glass doors. Through the doors, on either side of the upper atrium, you'll find a small balcony to do the same.
The main draw on the upper atrium level is the spacious, windowed lounge, featuring seating areas with couches and plush chairs and a handful of tables for those either dining via the adjacent Aquavit Terrace or just wanting to work on laptops. This room is the social hub of the ship. There's a nice wooden bar with 10 barstools at one end of the lounge, adjacent to a dance floor. Nearly everyone gathers in the lounge for the nightly cocktail hour, which includes details of the next day's program, delivered by the ship's Program Director. At the other end of the lounge, glass doors lead to the Aquavit Terrace cafe.
Up above, the top sun deck -- an expanse that runs the entire length of the vessel -- has the lovely addition of an organic herb garden. There's a shuffleboard court, a pair of putting greens and a giant chess set, too, but views are the main reasons to be up there. Retained from earlier Viking ships are the two wonderful canopy areas, providing lots of shaded space for those who don't want too much sun. Tables, chairs and cushioned loungers are available aplenty.
The ship's bridge lowers and rises to fit under low bridges and is an attraction unto itself.