Viking River Cruises’ Viking Skirnir is one of several dozen innovative, European-based ‘longships’ at the line. The name is a nod to the ancient Viking craft used for trade, commerce and warfare during the Viking Age. Introduced in 2015, the 2,670 gross ton Viking Skirnir can accommodate 190 guests in 95 staterooms on three decks. The ship is manned by a crew of 50. All forty Longships were built by the Rostock, Germany-based Neptun Werft shipyard, which is a division of the acclaimed Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Viking Skirnir was christened on March 24, 2015 along with eleven other Viking River vessels in a gala ceremony honoring the line’s top employees at Amsterdam. The ship’s godmother, Donora Anderson, is Viking River Cruises? Senior Director of Operations. The Longships measure 443 by 37.5 feet and have a draft of 5.24 feet, enabling them to navigate the locks and lowest lying bridges of the Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone, Garonne, Dordogne and Moselle Rivers. The Viking Skirnir and its fleet mates often overnight in the ports they visit. The uppermost Sun Deck (shown here with balloons affixed for the inaugural celebration) begins with an open sunning terrace. The wheelhouse and all of the Sun Deck railings on the Longships are telescopic and can be lowered when needed to clear certain bridges on the routes they ply. Aft of the wheelhouse, a walking track encircles the remainder of Sun Deck. One mile equals 12.75 laps. There is sheltered seating that stretches aft under a long canvas on Sun Deck. On the starboard side of Sun Deck, there is a shuffleboard court. On the port side of Sun Deck, there is a small putting green. A spice garden (sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, basil) is located between the shuffleboard court and putting green. Upper Deck begins with the al fresco observation area that adjoins the indoor/outdoor, 44 seat Aquavit Terrace, which can be opened up to the deck area via sliding glass screens. Sheltered outdoor promenades lead to the Reception on Sun and Middle Decks. The forward portion of the Aquavit Terrace has a cluster of dining tables. Sofas and settees are located on either side of the Aquavit Terrace. A buffet counter in the center of the Aquavit Terrace serves guests seeking a quick alternative to the Restaurant. Following the Aquavit Terrace on Sun Deck and framed by full length windows on either side, the Observation Lounge is a handsomely decorated space that can accommodate the ship’s full complement of guests in one seating. The Observation Lounge features a bar in the clinker-built technique, utilizing overlapping panels of wood in the same manner as Viking ship hulls. At the port and starboard entrances to the Observation Lounge, there is a 24 hour self service coffee, hot chocolate, espresso and tea station with delicious baked goods that can be taken “to go”. On the port side of the Reception lobby on Sun Deck, there is a concierge desk. On the starboard side of the Reception area on Sun Deck, an elevator accesses the Middle Deck level of the Reception area. At the top of the Reception staircase, there is a painting of the ship’s namesake, Skirnir (“The Servant of the Norse Gods”) by Roy Christian Lauritsen. The Viking Skirnir has a double deck, skylight-topped Reception area linking Sun and Middle Decks. Intimate seating alcoves are situated on either side of the stairs. At the aft end of the upper portion of the Reception area, there are two computer stations with complimentary internet access. The Viking Skirnir is fitted with wifi in all public areas and accommodations. A Library with a selection of books and DVDs is located directly across from the internet center. Public spaces begin on Main Deck with the Restaurant, which has a dramatically lit entry lobby with a slatted wooden bulkhead. The Restaurant has floor to ceiling windows infusing sunlight to enhance its handsome autumnal color scheme. Dinner table settings in the Restaurant include silver napkin rings, linen napkins, blue bread plates, fine stemware and ergonomic cutlery. In the Restaurant, there is a daily breakfast menu in addition to a generous buffet spread with an omelette station, cereals, fruit, yogurts and cold cuts. Viking’s baked goods, which range from croissants to muffins, dark breads and pastries for breakfast, are consistently excellent. Wines, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. In the Restaurant, multi-course dinners (made with locally sourced ingredients with recipes culled from the region the ship visits) begin with an amuse bouche. This dinner entrée is a sauteed fillet of turbot with mascarpone puree, broccoli, tomato confit and red wine butter sauce. The bottom level of Reception is directly aft of the Restaurant. A unique Viking touch is the moss garden at the base of the stairs. A small boutique is located directly across from the Reception desk offering sundries and souvenirs. Shown from the lower level, the Reception area is a sleek Scandinavian space with inlaid terrazzo decking, marble, brushed steel and indirect lighting. Corridors spanning the accommodation on Upper and Middle Deck are of a patented, off center design to allow enough space for Veranda Staterooms on the starboard side and fore-to-aft configured Suites and/or French Balcony Staterooms on the port side. There are convenient ice dispensers in the corridors of each deck. At the aft end of Upper Deck, two 445 square foot Explorer Suites comprise the top tier of accommodation aboard the Viking Skirnir. Explorer Suites come with a few extra perks, including fresh flowers. A separate living room is located in the aft portion of the Explorer Suites. Sliding glass doors lead to a wrap-around balcony. Explorer Suites also have en suite espresso machines. The Explorer Suite living rooms have a large flatscreen television and a writing desk. Explorer Suite bedrooms have full length windows. This is the aft portion of an Explorer Suite balcony. Explorer Suite bathrooms are particularly spacious and beautifully appointed. Designed in a fore to aft configuration, there are seven 275 square foot Veranda Suites with a separate living room on the port side of Upper Deck. This is the bedroom of a Veranda Suite. Veranda Suite bedrooms have large wardrobes and a flatscreen television. Veranda Suite balconies are accessed via the living room. Veranda Suite bathrooms have a large sink area and plenty of storage space. Veranda Suite showers have a stone finish and massage shower heads Thirty nine 205 square foot Veranda Staterooms are located on the starboard side of Upper and Middle Decks. All staterooms have mini fridges; complimentary bottled water; two pin 220 volt German Schuko safety plugs; one or two 115V razor plugs; hairdryers; movies on demand and a telephone that can dial other staterooms and Reception. Veranda Suite balconies accommodate two chairs and a cocktail table. Twenty two 135 square foot French Balcony Staterooms are located on the port side of Upper and Middle Decks. Their interiors are similar to Veranda Staterooms but instead of a proper balcony, they feature a sliding door with an outer railing. Twenty two 150 square foot Standard staterooms are located at water level on Main Deck and feature rectangular windows. Standard Staterooms have large consoles and similar layouts and appointments to Veranda and French Balcony Staterooms. Bathrooms for Veranda, French Balcony and Standard Staterooms are compact but sensibly laid out. A nice touch is the heated floor and dimmed night setting. Viking supplies high quality L’Occitaine amenities: soap, moisturizer, bath gel, shampoo and conditioner. All staterooms on the Viking Skirnir have a safe. Local walking tours are included in the fare and rechargeable headsets are provided in all staterooms, allowing guests to hear their guides more easily when visiting crowded places.