On a cruise ship
CruiseClout score: 95.0
Viking Embla: Longship overview & photo tour
Launched in 2012, Viking Embla was designed for river cruising. As with other Viking Longships, guests can personalize their trip by choosing from a variety of stateroom classes, onboard entertainment options and ship locations for enjoying the passing scenery, all the while enriching your time in some of Europe's most remarkable waterways.
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 Embla 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 Embla 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 Embla
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 Embla 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 Embla sails
Viking Embla 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.
- Passage to Eastern Europe takes cruise passengers on an 11-day voyage, where they will visit capitals of Hungary, Serbia and Romania plus towns in Croatia and Bulgaria.
- European Sojourn's 23-day itinerary combines the Grand European Tour with the Passage to Eastern Europe itineraries for the ultimate European sojourn. See the canals of Amsterdam, the castles of the Rhine Valley, historic Danube cities such as Vienna and Budapest and many other colorful capitals of Eastern Europe.
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 Embla 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 Embla 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 Embla 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 Embla. One of the unique features on Viking Embla 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 Embla (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: "Embla, a female, was one of the first two humans created by the gods in Norse mythology."
Have you cruised on Viking Embla? 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
- Ecologically friendly hybrid engines producing less vibrations for a smoother ride
Top dining options on board
“This stylish vessel is excellent for a well-organized cruise, boasting extremely spacious suites. The food is tasty and there’s a variety of dishes – unfussy, simple fare rather than fancy cuisine.”