Introduced in 2013 to the ever-expanding fleet of Viking River Longships, Baldur maintains the line's inspiring and modern design, adding tasteful little touches and continued updates to keep the ship one of the most sustainable and elegant sailing Europe's rivers.
Baldur's foyer and reception is bathed in natural sunlight, thanks to the glass ceiling, which allows the sunlight to beam in and illuminate the contemporary entrance. Slightly changed from those found in the first round of Longships, the two-story atrium features soothing wood accents, both in the stairs and in the furniture, a muted white tile floor, sheer curtains to let in as much light as possible and sleek yet comfortable chairs situated around the library and staircase. Small track lighting guides your eyes to the architectural elements that give the space character, like the glass banisters, marble tapestries and artwork and hanging photography.
Paying homage to the line's Scandinavian ancestry, a large, bold statement art piece hanging above the grand staircase portrays an abstract reflection of a hearty Viking and his fleet. In addition to the art, the Scandinavian influence is felt throughout the ship, from the symmetrical light gray accent chairs and loveseats flanking either side of the stairs to the simple library bookcase and the cozy staterooms. These accent changes give the ship a refreshed, updated look and feel.
One of the most popular features of Viking Longships is the Aquavit Terrace. Aquavit was created to maximize the space allowed for river cruising and offers an outdoor dining experience that comes with 270-degree views of Europe's enchanting scenery. Featuring a la carte options, cocktails and small bites, the terrace is a popular mingling and snacking spot on sunny days. To further encourage photos, sightseeing and castle spotting, the comfortable outdoor chairs are arranged facing the starboard of the ship with nothing but a small glass panel to keep you from the Instagram-worthy views.
By far the most coveted of staterooms on Baldur are the Explorer Suites, which feature a separate living room with plush couches and accent chairs, a separate queen or king bed, a large bathroom with an expansive vanity and rain shower and a wraparound veranda terrace showcasing the view from the back of the ship. Boasting a larger square footage than the earlier ships due to a slight change in design, Baldur's suites offer a comfortable, and impressive, private oasis for discerning guests.
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Baldur's other staterooms, including the rooms on decks two and three, feature floor-to-ceiling windows, French balconies or real balconies and slightly more room to navigate. The bed (a queen) or twin beds are simple but plush, featuring soft pastel headboards and ample lighting. Each room comes with a new model Sony flat-screen TV, offering a selection of movies, TV shows and Viking news, free of cost. Thanks to a partnership with PBS, you're free to watch as much Downtown Abbey as you can during sea days and between meals. On the lowest floor are the most affordable staterooms, which feature the same modern designs and amenities, just with a smaller port window.
To navigate Europe's complex river system, Baldur was built without an inch to spare so it can fit through the series of locks that monitor and oversea the water levels of Europe's inland rivers and squeeze beneath the mid-century bridges. To combat the strict size requirements, Baldur offers an enormous upstairs deck that runs the entire length of the ship, offering more open-air space for passengers to enjoy. In addition to a jogging path for active passengers (the ship does not include a fitness facility), the sun deck is also furnished with lounge chairs, a fresh herb and vegetable garden and tables and chairs for those seeking a 360-degree view with their evening cocktail. The deck is open throughout the cruise (weather permitting), except for when the ship is passing through locks or gliding underneath the 16th-century bridges. It's the perfect spot to enjoy a more uninterrupted view of the scenery.
The general age for river cruise passengers is 60 and older, but Baldur 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).
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.
Wonderful 2-week exploration of central Europe's history, art, architecture, music, people, and food.