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CruiseClout score: 95.0
Viking Hemming: Sailing Portugal’s scenic Douro River
Viking Hemming was built exclusively to sail Portugal’s Douro River, offering state-of-the-art engineering, deluxe accommodations and Viking’s signature Scandinavian decor.
Smaller than other Viking ships, with 106 passengers rather than 190, Viking Hemming feels more intimate and cozy. The ship was named for the Danish king and peacemaker.
Portugal's Douro River is known for its scenic valleys and irrigated fields, and it's a prime wine-growing region. Since entering the river cruise market, Viking River Cruises has received numerous awards for its itineraries and innovative ship designs and onboard programming.
Who will like sailing on Viking Hemming
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 Hemming 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 now has several ocean ships. See other Viking sailings.
Where Viking Hemming sails
Viking Hemming sails Portugal’s “River of Gold” itinerary from the capital of Lisbon to Porto. Explore Lisbon, then see unspoiled vistas, stop at ports of call largely unchanged for centuries and sample the local cuisine and port wines on your Douro River cruise.
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 Hemming 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 Hemming has one restaurant. The atmosphere is casual yet elegant. When Hemming 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.)
For breakfast, there is an ample buffet with a lot of variety. You can 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.
All staterooms include hotel-style beds and a 40-inch, flat-panel television with an infotainment system. There are riverview, balcony and suite categories to select from. The highest category is a Category AA Veranda Suite that has two full rooms with a veranda located off the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom.
Entertainment & activities
River cruising is very mellow. There are not 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, people 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. Programming can include cooking classes, lectures about significant historical events, or traditional performances of folk music and dance. Don't miss the onboard opportunities to discover local tastes such as sampling local cheeses, coffees, liqueurs, beers and other delicacies (Christmas cookies and Gluwein, for example, during a Christmas Markets cruise).
Interested in a cruise on this ship?
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Top highlights on this ship
- Observation lounge and bar
- Tours included in the cruise far
- Free Wi-Fi on board
- Cultural programs and activities available on board
“With a blond-wood interior, Viking Hemming is a stylish, contemporary river ship for a really well-organized cruise. The restaurant and alternative ‘Aquavit Terrace’ should offer good, unfussy food.”