Viking Hemming, along with Viking Torgil, is one of two "baby" Longships to debut in Portugal's Douro region in 2014. It's smaller, both in length and in passenger capacity, than regular Longships due to constraints of the Douro. There are some notable differences, mostly good, but, by and large, many areas are consistent and familiar: the airy, light-infused ambience; numerous real suites, each comprising two rooms with a generous balcony off the living area and a French balcony in the bedroom; and a lovely alfresco deck with plenty of seating areas.
What's new? The top deck has a swimming pool -- the first for a Viking Longship, baby or otherwise. Tweaks to the suites include actual walk-in closets, a vast improvement over the closets offered on the regular Longships. And the decor is softer and prettier, with Portuguese tiles and colors.
As Viking Hemming only carries 106 passengers, there isn't quite as much public space, which makes sense. However, what's missing is the true Aquavit lounge, the indoor/outdoor dining area. While the existing lounge has an alfresco aspect to it, no food is served either inside or out. For diners, the substitute is a series of nooks, all the way forward in the dining room, where windows can be opened. This offers fresh air, but it's not quite the same.
For these ships, Viking has positioned its interior corridors off-center to accommodate cabins. Full balconies can be found on one side, and narrower cabins -- some elevated to suites with separate sleeping and living areas -- have been placed sideways on the other side.
Less visible, but no less cutting-edge, are the ship's "green" advances, including hybrid diesel-electric engines that 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. Additionally, the ship's chef maintains an organic garden on Hemming's upper deck during growing season.