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Viking Hlin Review

86% of cruisers loved it
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Why Choose Viking Hlin?

  • Tours and most drinks included in price
  • Real balcony cabins; a rarity in river cruising
  • Sails Europe's Rhine and Danube

Viking Hlin Overview

by Jamey Bergman, Production Editor
Editor Rating
4.0
Editor's note: This review reflects the experience onboard Viking Aegir, a twin to this Viking Hlin. Viking Hlin launches in July 2014.


Beyond the airy vibe of its public spaces, Viking Hlin and the rest of Viking's longships float a whole raft of features that are true innovations in European river cruising.

There is a sense of minimalism on Hlin and the other longships. You can perhaps best see the efficiency and maximization of available area onboard in the surprising new signature spaces that have been conjured: 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. The designers' creation of such spaces required a lot of rethinking about 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 Hlin's upper deck during growing season.

Viking Hlin Fellow Passengers

The general age for river cruise passengers is 60 and older, but Hlin 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 Hlin 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 Hlin 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 Hlin Member Reviews

This was our first trip to Europe so we decided to try a river cruise. The PBS advertisements were so enticing for Viking we contacted them. We also contacted other river cruise lines and compared. Viking had everything we wanted and more. The ... Read more
Traveled from Basil to Amsterdam, via Rhine. Unfortunately, the river was to shallow to pass and we were moved to another Viking ship on the other side of low section. The transfer was done very efficiently however it did interrupt some of the ... Read more
Second River Cruise Waters aerobics
11/15
My sister and I signed up for this cruise because of the Christma markets and were lucky enough to book one of the Explorer Suites. The accommodations were outstanding, our cabin steward (Ria) was terrific. The excursions were good, but difficult ... Read more
1 - 3 of 36 Reviews
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