Vidar is a member of Viking's award-winning Longship series, and is currently used for its Rhine Getaway/Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland itinerary. The route is among the line's most popular, and the ship, built in 2015, is a good example of Viking's advanced engineering, efficient design and minimalist sophistication. Its environmentally conscious hybrid engines yield fewer vibrations than most older vessels, resulting in a smoother voyage for passengers.
The vessel fits well into the Rhine parameters, which are dictated by the river's lock system. Amenities are limited -- there's no gym or spa onboard -- so passengers who desire ample facilities or a wide variety of specialty restaurants may not enjoy this boat. The long, narrow ship has a single hallway in the center. The decor and general ambience are upscale-casual and Nordic in appearance.
The ship appears to have been primarily designed to accommodate its port excursions rather than as the center of the activity, although the lounge does draw a crowd before dinner and during scenic cruising. The itinerary and vessel are best recommended for the intellectually adventurous rather than those who desire a posh or party vacation. Passengers who are particularly interested in medieval or World War II European history will appreciate the Rhine ports of call.
Vidar serves its passengers much as the rest of the line's European fleet: as a simple floating hotel enabling travelers to visit points of history, as well view them from the ship. Wine and beer are provided at lunch and dinner, and there's at least one complimentary shore excursion in each port. Crew and staff are highly personable, and apparently recall all passenger names by the end of embarkation.
Vidar passengers are overwhelmingly of the baby boomer age demographic, with many in their late 60s. The majority of passengers are from the United States; on our cruise, they seemed mostly to be from the northeastern states (although this can vary from sailing to sailing). Programming is in English.
The dress code is largely casual at daytime meals and port excursions. Passengers should pack rain gear for Germany's particularly unpredictable weather as well as comfortable shoes for touring castles and other historic sites. Because notable cathedrals are on the excursion schedule, travelers should pack some fairly modest apparel to cover shoulders and legs when necessary. Approximately half of the passengers wear business-casual or somewhat dressy clothes to the evening dinner seating at the main restaurant.
Viking cruise fare includes wine and beer at lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi and at least one complimentary shore excursion per port (for-fee options are sometimes available). Tips are not included in the cruise fare, except for passengers from Australia and New Zealand. Gratuities 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.
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.