Orange County, CA
CruiseClout score: 20.0
Viking Skadi: Longship overview & photo tour
Viking Skadi, named for the Norse goddess of winter, was built in 2013 during the Viking Longships invasion that took river cruising by storm. Having a chance to sail on one of the new Viking Longships for the first time was an exciting way to discover the Christmas Markets along the Danube River.
One of my favorite features on Viking Skadi was the Aquavit Terrace, a new concept and design that encompasses an outdoor seating area at the bow of the ship. I also loved the natural light that streamed through the ship's two-story atrium lobby. The Scandinavian ambiance on board complemented the nature of the destinations we visited, either at a dock near the center of town or along the river banks while cruising.
Who will like sailing on Viking Skadi
Viking River Cruises attracts an older demographic that is continuously getting younger. People who like a very slow pace and want to have guided tours (part of your cruise fare) of some of Europe's most fabled cities will love Viking Skadi.
Other options: Viking river ships ply the rivers of Europe, Russia, Egypt and Asia, and Viking is introducing an ocean-going fleet starting later 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 Skadi sails
Viking Skadi offers itineraries on the storied Danube River, with sailings to ports in Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Hungary. She 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.
- Tulips & Windmills' 10-day itinerary introduces cruise passengers to some of Belgium’s most beautifully preserved medieval cities as they journey through the Low Countries. Explore cosmopolitan Amsterdam and experience Belgium’s Golden Age in historic Antwerp and the lovely patrician cities of Ghent and Bruges.
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 Skadi 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 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. We were given a daily briefing the night before we arrived to our new location. The cruise director would inform us of the highlights of the town's history, art, food, music and architecture of the cities and towns we visited.
Also on board, we were invited to sip local beer, sample local fare — it sometimes seems that every day is Oktoberfest in Germany — and watch performances from local musicians and dancers.
Viking Skadi has one restaurant fittingly called The Restaurant. During breakfast, I ordered an omelet or I enjoyed fresh yogurt and fruit. Depending on what time our tour was over, I either ate in town or headed back to the ship to eat in the dining room. Dinner was always served in the main restaurant. Seating is open, so be prepared to sit with new people.
There was also an alternative choice upstairs in 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 also equipped with grills for outdoor cooking.
When Skadi was not scheduled to leave port until later in the evening, people were permitted to come and go from the ship as they pleased. Our group went to a Hungarian restaurant in Budapest, for example.
I stayed in a balcony room that was average size for a river boat. There was plenty of closet space, and extra storage was available under the bed. The bathroom has a pocket door, which was nice because the lack of a swinging door saved space. The issue I had with the pocket door is that it did not close all the way.
I loved scenic cruising on the Danube and leaving the windows open to enjoy the scenery. The extra space from the balcony area was welcome, and we took advantage of the chairs and small table in our balcony. The 40-inch flat-panel TV and in-room refrigerator were nice additions to our stateroom.
I was cruising during winter, so taking advantage of the sun deck was not optimal (brrr). But I could see that the space was perfect for scenic cruising. There is an oversized chess game and lounge chairs to kick back. Other activities included learning about making gingerbread, making Gluwein and listening to a lecture about the history of the Christmas markets.
River cruising is a pretty mellow activity. 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. While I was on Skadi, there was a performance by a local singing group and a lecture about the history of Christmas markets in Europe.
After dinner, people 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.
- 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: "In Norse mythology, Skadi is a jötunn and goddess associated with bowhunting, skiing, winter and mountains." Who knew?
Carrie Finley-Bajak sailed on Viking Skadi on a social media outreach cruise as a guest of Viking Cruises. See Cruiseable's Ethics & Disclosure policy.
How about you? Have you sailed on Viking Skadi? I'd love to hear about your experience — please share!
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Interested in a cruise on this ship?
Top highlights on this ship
- 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
Top dining options on board
“This stylish vessel, characterized by light colors, is airy and very comfortable with spacious double-sized suites. The unfussy cuisine is tasty, and there are a good variety of dishes.”