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Viking Beyla Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
93 reviews
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Editor Rating
4.5
Very Good
Carolyn Spencer Brown
Cruise Critic Contributor

When Viking River Cruises wanted to expand its offerings on the Elbe River, the company encountered a problem: The river between Prague and Berlin is very shallow, making it nearly impossible for large riverboats to make the transit. The design team knew what they had to do: create a purpose-built ship that could navigate those waters and it did so with the invention of the "baby Longship," which is just about half the size of the 190-passenger Viking Longships. Viking Beyla is a baby Longship that accommodates 98 passengers but you won't find many other significant design differences. The ship's decor is still inspired by the cultures and history of the Nordic countries and that means the ship is sleek and stylish on the inside and out. Viking Beyla contains the fleet's signature Aquavit Terrace, which offers both indoor and outdoor dining as well as on-deck barbecues and the ship's sun deck has no lack of loungers, dining setups and shade courtesy of canvas awnings. It's the perfect perch from which to enjoy a bright and sunny day.

Pros

Shallow draft allows Viking Beyla to sail the Elbe even when waters are low

Cons

More compact ship design means no pool, fitness center or spa services

Bottom Line

Excellent option for visiting destinations along the Elbe River

About

Passengers : 98
Crew : 28
Passenger to Crew : 3.50:1
Launched : 2015
Shore Excursions : 0

Sails To

Sails From

Of course, there are a few differences between a traditional Longship and the more diminutive "baby" versions. While Longships have three decks, Viking Beyla has two indoor decks. What this means is that passengers on the first level have large picture windows in their staterooms instead of the type set up high on the wall in comparable cabins on a Longship. Viking Beyla is also devoid of the aft Explorer category of suites. The lobby and atrium on the ship are also smaller but there was always plenty of space in the Observation Lounge during our cruise.

As a company that's always striving to remain on the cutting edge, Viking also instituted some technological innovations that most travelers won't notice but should. Due to the shallow depth of the Elbe River, the company added pump jets for propulsion and that's what allows them to sail when river levels are low. This system was implemented into Viking Beyla and sister ship Viking Astrild -- though older ships Viking Schumann and Viking Fontane that also sail the Elbe did not get these upgrades. The pump jets can't guarantee passage but should except in the most extreme cases of extended drought. What do these design changes really mean? Baby Longships can navigate at water levels as low as 84 centimeters. That's 10 centimeters less than the traditional Longships.

Viking also used lighter materials, like aluminum instead of steel, to improve the draft. Composite materials were used to replace heavier wood and steel and that means these ships use 20 to 30 percent less fuel.

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When we sailed Viking Beyla, we noticed that its smaller size meant there's an even more intimate vibe onboard. The ship was a contemporary and comfortable home base as we explored beyond the riverbanks. The crew is well trained and friendly and fellow passengers were well traveled and convivial, making the trip a complete delight.

Fellow Passengers

The traditional demographic for Viking River Cruises are well-traveled, 50+ men and women from North America as well as a few contingents from the U.K. and Australia, and that held true on our cruise on Viking Beyla.

Viking Beyla Dress Code

Dress is casual by day with passengers wearing outfits that are comfortable for exploring both cities and the great outdoors. Comfortable -- and practical -- shoes are a must since you'll traverse many cobblestone paths and uneven surfaces throughout the itinerary. At night, country club casual rules the dress code. On all evenings aside from the Captain's Welcome, at which men wear jackets (suits and ties aren't necessary), men wore collared Polos, blazers and khakis while women stuck to cocktail-style ensembles.

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Viking Beyla Cruiser Reviews

A superb cruise on the River Elbe

The ship Viking Beyla, which we boarded at Decin was very comfortable. All members of the crew were extremely friendly, courteous, efficient and clearly knew and enjoyed their jobs.... Read More
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Mr Nicol Cameron

2-5 Cruises

Age 70s

"Elegant Elbe" gives fascinating view of former East Germany

Viking reps were helpful, but the Viking experience of these days was limited to the panoramic/walking tours of each city. Airport transfers (we used Viking Air) were fine.... Read More
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Andy_Ottawa

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Another great experience with Viking.

However, we had informed the London office of our difficulties and we were met by a charming Viking courier and driven to the ship.... Read More
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Banburybun

2-5 Cruises

Age 60s

Elegant Elbe was Wonderful

An unexpected surprise was we forged a great friendship with another couple and made plans to take another Viking Cruise with them next fall.... Read More
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JohnEIreland

2-5 Cruises

Age 60s

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