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Last year, Viking launched its newest ship to date, the Viking Prestige. While many subsequent announcements have been made in regard to the company’s future Longships as well as its ocean-going ships, the Viking Prestige still has a formidable career ahead. I was able to discover her beauty and functionality during an eight-day Romantic Danube cruise, an itinerary on which the Prestige truly shines.
What really impressed me about the ship was its layout and design. Every detail of the Prestige seemed to have been planned with functionality in mind. The placement of the coffee, tea and drinks station, for example, located on the way into the lounge and in the center of the ship, made it accessible from both sides, limiting crowding and speeding service.
There is nothing ostentatious about the ship, either. Its decor is simple and nautical — there is little flash to distract from the beautiful scenery as guests sail by castles, monasteries and medieval towns.
Staterooms are a standard size for a European river ship, but are ergonomic and utilize what little space there is for functional storage. There are also numerous outlets for all the modern-day gadgets that clients travel with, meaning that guests can charge their camera batteries and mobile phones at the same time.
The Viking Prestige carries 188 guests with 97 staterooms and two 340-square-foot suites. On the upper two decks, staterooms feature a French balcony. Standard staterooms on the main deck offer a large picture window. Both standard and balcony staterooms measure 170 square feet. There are also six single staterooms onboard measuring 150 square feet. All staterooms feature hotel-style beds, a telephone, a refrigerator, a safe, a hair dryer and bottled water replenished daily. There is space underneath the beds for storing suitcases and other luggage and a roomy wardrobe for hanging clothes. Staterooms also feature a 26-inch, flat-panel television with premium entertainment, including videos and music on demand as well as a variety of English-language television channels.
The sundeck was one of my favorite spots on the ship. Since we were sailing in the summer, I — and many other passengers — would walk on the deck every morning before breakfast. There is ample seating, both shaded and open-air, as well as a giant chess set and shuffleboard.
My other favorite features onboard the Prestige were the free shipwide wireless Internet access and the library, which was the perfect spot to curl up with a book or check e-mail. The library also doubled as a fitness room for a morning stretching class.
Another area in which Viking excels is in its onboard programming. Not only was our cruise director informative, but he was also entertaining. I looked forward to each evening’s briefing. Since we were cruising through Bavaria, crewmembers provided a themed Bavarian lunch with traditional bratwurst, a selection of local cheeses, Bavarian beer and more. There was also an onboard glassblowing demonstration as well as musical performances by local musicians.
Viking’s included tour offerings were also impressive. The local guides were informative as well as entertaining. I especially loved the tour of the Weltenburg Abbey where our group enjoyed a beer tasting at one of the oldest monastic breweries in the world. Optional excursions, such as an evening concert in Vienna, Austria, were also well worth the extra money. While it’s certainly a tourist activity, the musical performance was outstanding — something that can be said for the Viking Prestige as well.