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Viking Kara Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
140 reviews
See all photos
Editor Rating
4.0
Very Good
Jamey Bergman
Cruise Critic Contributor

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.

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About

Passengers : 190
Crew : 48
Passenger to Crew : 3.96:1
Launched : 2014
Shore Excursions : 37

Sails To

Sails From

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.

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More about Viking Kara

Where does Viking Kara sail from?

Viking Kara departs from Amsterdam

Where does Viking Kara sail to?

How much does it cost to go on Viking Kara?

Cruises on Viking Kara start from $2,299 per person.
Viking Kara Cruiser Reviews

Great learning experience

The journey: From October 13 to 20th, we sailed on Viking Kara from Basel to Amsterdam.... Read More
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rayjitsu

10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Extreme pampering

The staff of Viking guided us every step of the way, arranged transportation from the airport to the ship, settled us into our stateroom & made us feel comfortable.... Read More
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sally.bluehen

First Time Cruiser

Age 70s

A wonderful experience from start to finish!

The only hitch came when they switched our ship from the Hjin to the Kara shortly before our departure date due to low river levels. But as far as we could tell, it made no real difference.... Read More
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TimH99

First Time Cruiser

Age 60s

Wonderful

What a beautiful trip, Viking did everything to make sure our trip was the best from the service, cabin, dinning, entertainment and various activities.... Read More
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SherryU

First Time Cruiser

Age 70s

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