Viking Jarl Review

Viking Jarl
Viking Jarl

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Viking Jarl
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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About

Passengers 190
Crew 50
Passenger to Crew 3.8:1
Launched 2013
Shore Excursions 21


Jamey Bergman
Cruise Critic Contributor

Viking Jarl Overview

German-built Viking Jarl and its sister "Longships" represent a new take on river hospitality, one in which a sleek, Scandinavian ambience is the antithesis of river's traditionally fusty vessels.

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What first strikes you as you step onboard? 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.

But beyond the airy vibe of its public spaces, Viking Jarl floats a whole raft of features new to river cruising in Europe.

Fittingly for a line named after Scandinavian conquerors, there is a sense of minimalism on Jarl. 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 new 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 Jarl's upper deck during growing season.

The ride onboard is slow and smooth as you pass by scenery that includes the Rhine Gorge -- or Upper Middle Rhine Valley -- a UNESCO World Heritage site littered with history-rich vistas of castles and medieval towns.

Fellow Passengers

The general age for river cruise passengers is 60 and older, but Jarl 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 Jarl 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 Jarl Gratuity

Tips are not included in the cruise fare, except for passengers from Australia and New Zealand. Gratuities 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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Deck:
Main Deck
Middle Deck
Upper Deck
Sun Deck

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More about Viking Jarl

Where does Viking Jarl sail from?
Viking Jarl departs from Budapest.
Where does Viking Jarl sail to?
Viking Jarl cruises to Budapest, Passau, Vienna, Durnstein (Krems), Regensburg and Nuremberg.
How much does it cost to go on Viking Jarl?
Cruises on Viking Jarl start from $1,964 per person.

Viking Jarl Member Reviews

Viking Jarl
Donnelly1951
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Originally intended to do Budapest to Amsterdam but had to cancel. A year later we looked into Budapest to Nuremburg with add on to Prague. Loved everything about the whole trip. Impressed with the guides on...Read More
Viking Jarl
Michele Zim
Sail Date: Jul 2019
From the moment your arrive at the airport the Viking Staff is there to greet you and your only concern is to relax and enjoy yourself. Food was delicious. Service was impeccable. The Cabin was immaculate. The...Read More
Viking Jarl
cruisinggmak
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted a memorable time with my mother-in-law and step father-in-law and I wanted to see Prague. We knew from previous cruises that Viking would not disappoint. Traveling with...Read More
Viking Jarl
Rotheme1
Sail Date: Dec 2019
I went with my parents for Christmas vacation. I will list the pros and cons. Pros: -The ship is well heated -The rooms and showers are clean -They will bend over backwards to accommodate you -Some...Read More

Viking River Cruises Fleet