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Viking Beyla Review

Viking Beyla
Viking Beyla
Viking Beyla
4.5 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


Shallow draft allows Viking Beyla to sail the Elbe even when waters are low


More compact ship design means no pool, fitness center or spa services

Bottom Line

Excellent option for visiting destinations along the Elbe River


Passengers 98
Crew 28
Passenger to Crew 3.5:1
Launched 2015
Shore Excursions 0
Carolyn Spencer Brown
Cruise Critic Contributor

Viking Beyla Overview

When Viking River Cruises wanted to expand its offerings on the Elbe River, the company encountered a problem: The river between Prague and Berlin is very shallow, making it nearly impossible for large riverboats to make the transit. The design team knew what they had to do: create a purpose-built ship that could navigate those waters and it did so with the invention of the "baby Longship," which is just about half the size of the 190-passenger Viking Longships. Viking Beyla is a baby Longship that accommodates 98 passengers but you won't find many other significant design differences. The ship's decor is still inspired by the cultures and history of the Nordic countries and that means the ship is sleek and stylish on the inside and out. Viking Beyla contains the fleet's signature Aquavit Terrace, which offers both indoor and outdoor dining as well as on-deck barbecues and the ship's sun deck has no lack of loungers, dining setups and shade courtesy of canvas awnings. It's the perfect perch from which to enjoy a bright and sunny day.

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Of course, there are a few differences between a traditional Longship and the more diminutive "baby" versions. While Longships have three decks, Viking Beyla has two indoor decks. What this means is that passengers on the first level have large picture windows in their staterooms instead of the type set up high on the wall in comparable cabins on a Longship. Viking Beyla is also devoid of the aft Explorer category of suites. The lobby and atrium on the ship are also smaller but there was always plenty of space in the Observation Lounge during our cruise.

As a company that's always striving to remain on the cutting edge, Viking also instituted some technological innovations that most travelers won't notice but should. Due to the shallow depth of the Elbe River, the company added pump jets for propulsion and that's what allows them to sail when river levels are low. This system was implemented into Viking Beyla and sister ship Viking Astrild -- though older ships Viking Schumann and Viking Fontane that also sail the Elbe did not get these upgrades. The pump jets can't guarantee passage but should except in the most extreme cases of extended drought. What do these design changes really mean? Baby Longships can navigate at water levels as low as 84 centimeters. That's 10 centimeters less than the traditional Longships.

Viking also used lighter materials, like aluminum instead of steel, to improve the draft. Composite materials were used to replace heavier wood and steel and that means these ships use 20 to 30 percent less fuel.

When we sailed Viking Beyla, we noticed that its smaller size meant there's an even more intimate vibe onboard. The ship was a contemporary and comfortable home base as we explored beyond the riverbanks. The crew is well trained and friendly and fellow passengers were well traveled and convivial, making the trip a complete delight.

Fellow Passengers

The traditional demographic for Viking River Cruises are well-traveled, 50+ men and women from North America as well as a few contingents from the U.K. and Australia, and that held true on our cruise on Viking Beyla.

Viking Beyla Dress Code

Dress is casual by day with passengers wearing outfits that are comfortable for exploring both cities and the great outdoors. Comfortable -- and practical -- shoes are a must since you'll traverse many cobblestone paths and uneven surfaces throughout the itinerary. At night, country club casual rules the dress code. On all evenings aside from the Captain's Welcome, at which men wear jackets (suits and ties aren't necessary), men wore collared Polos, blazers and khakis while women stuck to cocktail-style ensembles.

Viking Beyla 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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Main Deck
Upper Deck

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Viking Beyla Member Reviews

Viking Beyla
Mr Nicol Cameron
Sail Date: May 2017
The ship Viking Beyla, which we boarded at Decin was very comfortable. All members of the crew were extremely friendly, courteous, efficient and clearly knew and enjoyed their jobs....Read More
Viking Beyla
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Itinerary (2 days in Berlin, 5 day cruise including Wittenburg, Meissen and Dresden, 2 days Prague) appealed to us and didn't disappoint. Viking's cruise environment is (for us) a good mix of levity, entertainment...Read More
Viking Beyla
Sail Date: Apr 2018
We chose this one because we wanted to visit two of the places on the itinerary. We were not disappointed. Unfortunately we had not read the brochure properly and had not realised that the first two and last...Read More
Viking Beyla
Sail Date: Aug 2018
Overall, we had a fantastic time. We chose this cruise initially because it included Berlin which had been on our bucket list for a few years - and it seemed overall like a great value (free air/all inclusive,...Read More

Viking River Cruises Fleet