Viking River Cruises has two almost identical river vessels in its Viking Prestige Class: Viking Legend, launched in 2009, and Viking Prestige, which debuted in 2011. These sister ships were the company's first vessels built with fuel-saving hybrid diesel-electric engines — and the last two ships launched before Viking began rolling out its expansive Longship fleet in 2012.
Prestige-class ships are modern and include some, but not all, of the popular features of the Longships. One notable difference is that some Longship staterooms and suites have full balconies, while none on the Prestige-class vessels do. Like all Viking River Cruises journeys, itineraries are structured with prearranged guided group excursions — all passengers need to do is go with the flow.
What We Love
Aquavit Terrace: This outdoor relaxation area, located in front of the Observation Lounge on both Prestige-class ships, offers the best views forward while cruising. It's the perfect place for sipping a drink, savoring a light meal, or just watching the scenery slide by. Since most of the Aquavit Terrace is covered, you can stay out of the sun or wind but still get some fresh air.
The Library: If the Aquavit Terrace is crowded, the library — located aft on the same deck — usually is not. The space offers both indoor and outdoor seating and nice views off the back of the ship.
Best Known For
Great Danube River Itineraries: The two ships in Viking's Prestige Class are the company's only ships sailing the 12-day Castles & Legends itinerary, which is a seven-night cruise on the Danube River paired with two-night hotel stays in both Munich and Salzburg.
Effortless Touring: While you can explore on your own (just heed all-aboard times), the appeal of Viking River Cruises for many passengers is that the company makes sightseeing exceptionally easy, offering group tours with local guides in each locale.
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Who It's Best For
English-Speaking Adults: Most passengers on Viking Prestige-class ships are adults over age 55 from North America and Great Britain who enjoy group travel with other English-speakers.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
No Balconies, Pool, or Casino: Some of the staterooms on Viking Prestige and Viking Legend have French balconies with huge panoramic windows, but there are no full balconies — not even in the suites. However, at 170 square feet, Prestige-class French balcony staterooms are larger than their 135-square-foot equivalents on the Longships. And as is the case with many river ships, you won't find a pool, casino, or much nightlife on either vessel.
Don't Expect Haute Cuisine: While some river cruise lines have a culinary focus, Viking is not one of them. That's not to say the food is bad. Meals on board — which include nightly five-course dinners — are satisfying, just not exceptional.
Linda Garrison is a Georgia-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes on cruise travel for About.com.
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Prestige Class at a Glance
- Line: Viking River Cruises
- Class: Prestige Class
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