Viking Kara Review

Editor Rating: 4.0
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Why Choose Viking Kara?
  • Tours and most drinks included in price
  • Real balcony cabins; a rarity in river cruising
  • Sails Europe's Rhine and Danube

Viking Kara Overview

What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Kara, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class sisters? 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.

Beyond the airy vibe of its public spaces, Viking Kara 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 Kara 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 Kara's upper deck during growing season.

Viking Kara Fellow Passengers

The general age for river cruise passengers is 60 and older, but Kara 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 Kara 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 Kara 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.
Next:  Viking Kara Cabins
by Jamey Bergman, Production Editor

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Viking Kara Editor Ratings

  • Category
    Member
    Editor
  • Dining
    4.7
    4.0
  • Public Rooms
    4.7
    5.0
  • Cabins
    4.6
    4.0
  • Entertainment
    4.1
    3.0
  • Spa & Fitness
    3.9
    1.0
  • Family & Children
    0.8
    1.0
  • Shore Excursions
    4.8
    4.0
  • Enrichment
    4.5
    4.0
  • Service
    4.9
    4.0
  • Value-for-Money
    4.4
    3.0

Ship Facts

Sailing From
Cruises To
Ship Stats
Crew:  48
Launched:  2014
Decks:  4
Tonnage:  443 feet
Passengers:  190
Registry:  Switzerland
CDC Score:  Not Yet Inspected
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47 Viking Kara Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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Bill and Trudy
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
1 helpful vote
Sailed April 2016
Been to and lived in Europe. but not this particular area of the Rhine. Like history and cathedrals, and this area has a number of them. River cruising is a convenient and practical way to see a number of cities and attractions in a ... Read more
adelljayne38
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
This trip was a gift to ourselves for our 50th wedding anniversary. It was well worth it. We decided on the Rhine River Cruise because it fit our interests and looked like an experience we would enjoy. We like history and the shore ... Read more
Lisa P in MS
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
We had heard good things about Viking, and we wanted a 10-day cruise. This 7-day cruise, with a 2-day extension in Amsterdam, fit our schedule perfectly. We have been all over Europe, but we wanted to see the cities of the Rhine, the ... Read more

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