Viking Hlin Review

Viking Hlin
Viking Hlin

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Jamey Bergman
Cruise Critic Contributor

Viking Hlin Overview

What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Hlin, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class sisters? Sunlight. Streaming in through the glass-enclosed, two-story atrium is enough light to allow real flowers to grow. With backlit marble panels rising above a terrazzo floor and wood-and-glass staircase, and pale, earth-toned decor, the space has energy and natural appeal. If the ambience reminds some of Seabourn's Odyssey class, that's not a coincidence -- the vessels share the same lead designer, Norwegian firm Yran & Storbraaten.

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Beyond the airy vibe of its public spaces, Viking Hlin and the rest of Viking's longships float a whole raft of features that are true innovations in European river cruising.

There is a sense of minimalism on Hlin and the other longships. You can perhaps best see the efficiency and maximization of available area onboard in the surprising new signature spaces that have been conjured: the Aquavit Terrace, the two largest true suites on a riverboat in Europe (each with separate living room and bedroom), not to mention seven slightly smaller true suites with separate living and sleeping rooms, and an increased number of cabins with full and French balconies.

Don't be fooled, though; creating those spaces was more hard work than magic. The designers' creation of such spaces required a lot of rethinking about the basic structure of river ships. To fit under the bridges and through the locks of Europe's inland waterways, riverboats have to meet specific size requirements. If length or depth is extended past those limits, the ship won't sail.

As a workaround, designers blunted the traditional pointy-nosed bow of Viking's ships to provide more space. The result was Aquavit Terrace. A lovely open-air cafe on the ship's bow, the venue provides something of a river rarity: an alternative casual eatery with indoor/outdoor seating.

It also positioned interior corridors off-center to accommodate cabins -- full balconies on one side and narrower cabins, some elevated to suites with separate sleeping and living areas, placed sideways on the other side.

Less visible, but no less cutting-edge, are the ship's "green" advances, including hybrid diesel-electric engines which burn less fuel and produce 20 percent fewer emissions, making longships cleaner and quieter than their competitors. There are even solar panels on the sun deck that help to fuel the engines. And the ship's chef maintains an organic garden on Hlin's upper deck during growing season.

Fellow Passengers

The general age for river cruise passengers is 60 and older, but Hlin and other Longships, with their contemporary design, were built with an eye toward attracting a slightly younger traveler. Regardless of age, passengers tend to be well-traveled (though many are visiting Europe for the first time).


Viking Hlin Dress Code

Casual, comfortable attire is encouraged for both ship and shore on Viking Longships. The must-pack item is, without question, a comfortable pair of walking shoes for shore tours. As the ship sails in Europe, with its lovely and historic landscapes, tours frequently involve cobblestones and other uneven surfaces. Both the staff and the daily program provide ample notice when this is the case.

Generally, passengers "dress up" to varying degrees in the evenings, but never to the level of a big-ship formal night. Most don the kind of attire worn at a country club dinner, but others don't bother to change from their sensible shore excursion gear. Save your best outfits (maybe casual dresses for women and collared shirts and blazers for men) for events like the Captain's Welcome and Farewell Dinners.


Viking Hlin Gratuity

Tips are not included in the cruise fare. They are paid at the end of the cruise in cash or by credit card. (Euros are the onboard currency, but dollars are also accepted for gratuities.) The recommended amount on Viking's Europe cruises is 12 euros per passenger, per day, which is divided up among the crew.


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Deck:
Main Deck
Middle Deck
Upper Deck
Sun Deck

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Viking Hlin Member Reviews

Viking Hlin
RocktheBruce
Sail Date: Sep 2018
were wonderful and the food, service, and accommodations on Viking Hlin. We were scheduled to cruise on Viking Kara, but switched to Viking Hlin because the water level on the Rhine River was low because...Read More
Viking Hlin
RVfromAZ
Sail Date: Apr 2018
My husband and I sailed on the Viking Hlin - Rhine Getaway. What a Fabulous time we had! We extended our trip pre cruise 2 days in Amsterdam, and 2 days post cruise in Lucerne, Switzerland. Viking...Read More
Viking Hlin
cozzello
Sail Date: Jun 2019
Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords (Basel to Bergen) We planned our three week trip exclusively through Viking Cruises using AAA as our agent, and took the afore mentioned vacation May 29 - June 16. Our flights...Read More
Viking Hlin
AugieM
Sail Date: May 2019
Got a cabin cancellation three weeks out, seemed like a good deal. Cabin 119 with just a small window was fine. Viking did an outstanding job, everything exceeded my expectations, this was our first river cruise...Read More

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