On a cruise ship
Viking Eistla: Longship overview & photo tour
Launched in 2014, Viking Eistla (named for one of the nine wave maidens, according to Norse mythology) was designed for river cruising. Since entering the river cruise market, Viking River Cruises has received numerous awards for its itineraries and innovative ship designs and onboard programming.
Some of the innovative spaces on Viking Eistla include the indoor-outdoor Aquavit Terrace at the bow of the ship, an expansive Sun Deck and interiors that represent spacious public spaces, lots of natural light and light-blonde wood accents. Viking Eistla is a "green" ship because of energy-efficient hybrid engines, solar panels and an organic herb garden.
Longships can transport 190 guests in comfortable, understated elegance, with hotel-style beds and amenities like 26-inch flat-panel TVs and in-room refrigerators.
Who will like sailing on Viking Eistla
Viking River Cruises attracts an older demographic that is continuously getting younger. If you have an interest in exploring art, culture or history, then sailing on Viking Eistla will make an ideal vacation, especially with the onboard educational activities available.
Other options: Viking river ships ply the rivers of Europe, Russia, Egypt and Asia, and Viking introduced ocean-going vessels starting in 2015. See other Viking sailings.
For guests who want a river cruise experience that's more upscale — less crowded, more amenities, often bigger cabins — you may want to check out itineraries from AmaWaterways, Uniworld or Scenic Cruises. But remember, Viking is one of the most popular river cruise lines in the world and remains a good choice if you're just beginning to try river cruising.
Where Viking Eistla sails
Viking Eistla sails the following itineraries:
- Grand European Tour is a 15-day cruise along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. Cruise passengers will visit everything from the windmill-studded tulip fields in Holland to Germany's fairytale castles, as well as the Main-Danube Canal and Austria's Wachau Valley vineyards.
- Danube Waltz takes cruise passengers on an eight-day voyage, where they will visit countries — Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia — along the storied Danube River. See the range of architectural wonders in Budapest and Bratislava, sail through the Wachau Valley and take a tour of the 900-year-old baroque Benedictine abbey at Melk.
- Rhine Getaway is an eight-day cruise that sails the Rhine River. You will see the many charming castles that command the riverbanks as you sail through Germany. Experience the lush landscape of the Black Forest region, explore Holland’s famous windmills and waterworks and take part in the inviting nightlife in Rüdesheim’s Drosselgasse.
- Legend of the Rhine's eight-day itinerary provides a window into historic eras and events that have shaped northern Europe. Cruise through the Middle Rhine Valley, lined with medieval castles; marvel at Cologne’s Gothic cathedral and the Golden Age city of Amsterdam; and visit key World War II sites.
River cruising: It's about destination immersion
River cruising is about the destination probably more so than the ship. The ports of call shadow the onboard amenities; however, Viking helps guests learn about the local culture, history and highlights of the places that they visit. Don't be surprised to see local dishes on the menu or local entertainers sharing their music, dancing and stories.
Viking Eistla includes daily tours with the cruise fare, which makes the hassle of figuring out logistics less challenging. Most tours are done around lunch and then you are free to do what you choose until the ship leaves port. You'll be given a nightly briefing in the evening before dinner to get updates on the next day’s call to discuss the upcoming day’s activities, tours and logistics. Plan to attend the session to discover highlights of the upcoming town's history, art, food, music and architecture.
Viking Eistla has one restaurant called, fittingly, The Restaurant. The atmosphere is casual yet elegant. Dinner is at a set time, and you are welcome to sit with whomever you wish. When Eistla is not scheduled to leave port until later in the evening, treat yourself to a night on the town and sample cuisine at a nearby restaurant (at your own expense, but a nice way to experience the local culture).
This from the cruise line’s website about their dining options on board: “For breakfast, choose from a selection of pastries, cereals, breakfast meats, egg dishes, fresh fruit and selected cheeses. At lunch, select from the soup and sandwich bar, or from a choice of entrées and dessert. And for dinner, expect a five-course menu with regional specialties. Wherever you sail, you will find enhancements reflecting the itinerary — it is all part of experiencing the local culture."
Don’t miss: Al fresco dining aboard Viking Eistla. One of the unique features on Viking Eistla is the Aquavit Terrace, which is an outdoor space for you to watch the river while enjoying a coffee, cocktail, pint or al fresco dining. The Aquavit Terrace is equipped with grills for outdoor cooking.
There are 95 outside staterooms on Viking Eistla (two Explorer Suites, seven Veranda Suites, 39 Veranda Staterooms, 22 French Balcony Staterooms and 25 Standard Staterooms). The top category on a Viking Longship is an Explorer Suite. These spacious cabins measure 445 square feet and offer 270-degree views from a wraparound veranda.
Overall cabins are average size for a river boat, but there is plenty of closet space and extra storage available under the bed. The bathroom has a pocket door, which is a nice feature because that design saves space.
Entertainment & activities
River cruising is very mellow. You won't find any large production shows or comedy clubs. What you will enjoy is some light piano music played by the house musician and local entertainers who are brought onto the ship to sing, dance or tell stories from the local perspective. After dinner, cruise passengers can hang out in the lounge and have an after-dinner drink, or they can walk back into town if the ship is not leaving port until later in the evening.
To complement your onshore excursions, take part in immersive learning and enhancement activities both on board and ashore. Classes in cooking specialties such as apple strudel and Alsatian flammkuchen; traditional performances of folk music and dance or waltzes by Strauss; and tastings of local cheeses, coffees, liqueurs and other delicacies are some examples of in-depth experiences that are included as an essential part of discovering more about the places through which you cruise.
- Viking Longships are 443 feet long and 38 feet wide because those are the maximum dimensions possible for river ships navigating the locks on some of Europe's waterways. If they were even two inches longer or wider, they wouldn't fit in some locks.
- Viking names its ships after Norse mythology. As Wikipedia tells us: "Eistla is one of the nine sisters who gave birth to the god Heimdallr in Norse Mythology."
Have you cruised on Viking Eistla? What was it like? We'd love to hear about your own experience.
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Interested in a cruise on this ship?
Top highlights on this ship
- Sun deck with 360-degree views and shaded sitting area; organic herb garden and solar panels; putting green, chess and walking track
- Free shipwide wireless Internet service
- Balcony cabins have floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors
- Aquavit Terrace at the bow of the ship is great place to watch the river roll by
- Ecologically friendly hybrid engines producing less vibrations for a smoother ride
- Restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views
- Observation lounge and bar with floor-to-ceiling glass doors
- Library corner and onboard boutique