Named for the Norse god of heroic glory, Tir (pronounced "tier"), this four-deck ship is scheduled to sail a 14-night "Grand European Tour" from Amsterdam to Budapest and a new-for-Viking nine-night "Holland & Belgium in Bloom" route from Amsterdam to Antwerp in springtime; think gardens galore and those famous tulips. Viking Tir will launch in 2019 along with fleetmates Einar, Sigrun, Sigyn, Ullur, and Vali.
The destinations might be classic, but this river ship is contemporary all the way, with eco-conscious elements like hybrid diesel-electric engines (burning less fuel and reducing emissions), solar panels on the sun deck that help fuel the engines, and an organic garden that produces fresh herbs for the galley. Happily, Viking Tir features some of the things passenger like best about the Viking Longships, including roomy suites comprised of two full-sized rooms (there are nine of these in two room categories) and the Aquavit Terrace, an alfresco cafe located at the ship's bow with indoor and outdoor seating. The design is minimalist-modern (lots of earth tones and textures) with abundant natural light. Rooms feature all the amenities you'd expect in a boutique hotel, like USB ports, Wi-Fi, and a 40-inch flat panel TV.
Like other Viking cruises, the focus is on the destination as opposed to the ship -- there's no gym, pool, casino or spa. But there's an excursion in every port included in the price and enrichment activities highlighting local cuisine, art, history and culture.
Meals are served in the main restaurant (aka The Restaurant) and Aquavit Terrace, with open seating at all meals. The menu skews toward local cuisine (Viking calls it "destination-focused dining"), with a few American classic options. Water, tea, coffee, soft drinks, house wines and beers are included with onboard lunches and dinners; the line also offers a for-fee premium package for upgraded beer, wine, and spirits selections.
Continental breakfast is served in the Aquavit Terrace. Passengers looking for a heartier repast with meats, cooked-to-order omelets, eggs Benedict and French toast can find all of that -- plus complimentary mimosas -- in The Restaurant. At lunchtime, the Aquavit Terrace offers a lighter, buffet-style lunch (salads, soups, sandwiches) and a grilling station in warm weather. Guests at The Restaurant have a choice of items at the full salad bar and buffet, a made-to-order pasta dish, or lunch entrees on the menu.
Come dinnertime, the Aquavit Terrace is the place for casual dining with a smorgasbord of options. Meanwhile, The Restaurant offers a one-seating, three-course dinner. Entree options include regional specialties such as a forest mushroom veloute, tornedos Rossini, and Alsace pink roasted duck (Germany), Hungarian cabbage roll (Budapest), or Viennese beef goulash or weiner schnitzel (Austria.) Favorites like steak frites and poached salmon are always available. Once during each sailing, passengers are treated to a signature "A Taste of…" dinner at the The Restaurant, featuring an array of local dishes and local entertainers.
Cabins are set on three of the ship's four decks. All of the 95 cabins offer exterior views. The five cabin categories include two Explorer Suites (with balconies off the living room and French balconies in the bedrooms) measuring 445 square feet; seven Veranda Suites (two-room suites with balconies and French balconies like the Explorer Suites, but at 275 square feet); 39 Veranda staterooms (205 square feet); 22 French Balcony staterooms (135 square feet); and 25 Standard staterooms (150 square feet) with half-height picture windows. All staterooms have free Wi-Fi, 40-inch flat screen TVs, multiple USB ports, a telephone, safe, hair dryer, individual climate control, refrigerator and premium toiletries. All bathrooms have heated floors. Laundry service is available (fee applies). Note: There's a glass elevator that runs between Decks 2 and 3 only.
Public spaces include the sun deck (with lounge chairs, shaded seating, solar panels, an organic herb garden, putting green, shuffleboard and walking track), the Aquavit Terrace, and the Viking Lounge and Bar (with floor-to-ceiling windows). There's also a library and a dedicated gift space next to the reception area.
Viking's Culture Curriculum features lectures on history, art, wine and food, highlighting local products, folkloric performances, musicians playing regional and classical music, and an onboard cooking school. These will be part of shipboard life on the Viking Tir.
Gratuities are paid at the end of the voyage, typically in euros and in cash or by credit card. These are divided among the ship's staff. Tour escorts, program directors and coach drivers are customarily tipped separately, in cash.
Viking is focused on travelers ages 55 and older with an interest in art, history, culture and exploration. The shipboard experience -- both onboard and ashore -- is designed expressly for those travelers. Passengers under the age of 18 are not permitted onboard.
The 14-night "Grand European Tour" traces the Rhine, Main, and Danube Rivers, an iconic itinerary that features canals and castles, medieval towns and modern cities. This cruise begins in Amsterdam and continues on to Kinderdijk, The Netherlands; Cologne, Germany; Koblenz, Germany; Miltenberg, Germany; Wurzburg, Germany; Bamberg, Germany; Nuremberg, Germany; Regensburg, Germany; Passau, Germany; Melk, Austria; Vienna, Austria; and Budapest, Hungary.
The nine-night "Holland & Belgium in Bloom" tour follows the inland waterways of these countries, cruising through a vast network of canals and rivers. Stops allow for immersion in Dutch and Flemish culture; passengers cycle or stroll through the lush tulip fields of Keukenhof Gardens, take in the windmills of Kinderdijk, tour dynamic Rotterdam, and conclude the tour in Antwerp. Note: These cruises also travel in the opposite direction on some sailings.
Viking Prestige, which debuted in 2011, was Viking River Cruises' last new-build before it introduced its revolutionary Longship series in 2012. It has a lounge, dining room, library, a sun deck and cabins on three decks.
One of the original "Longships," Viking Aegir and its sister ships represent a new take on river hospitality, one in which a sleek, Scandinavian ambience is the antithesis of river's traditionally fusty vessels.