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Viking Cabins - First Time Cruiser - Basic Question


Tedferg
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I have the impression that not a lot of time is spent in the cabin on a river cruise and so there is little justification in paying for a balcony. It does seem that balconies are quite a bit more expensive on River versus Ocean cruises.

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whether a balcony is worth the extra expense on a river cruise is subjective - IMO it is, the aquarium class cabins only have a small high window at water level - you can't see outside as well as not go outside.

We didnt spend a huge amount of time in our cabin - but  I did enjoy being able to sit outside sometimes, I did so every day and I liked the full length windows.(this was on Scenic but all Europe river cruise ships are very similar in style) 

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We had a French Balcony on our Gate1 river cruise on the Danube in August. We only stood at it for a few minutes, maybe in the morning or late afternoon. We went up on the top deck any other times. The stateroom is too small for much 'lounging' unless you have a suite. However, if we had had a real balcony, I'm sure we would have enjoyed sitting out there enjoying a drink as we sailed along. Remember, the side of the ship your stateroom is on will dictate whether your balcony is sunny or not, depending on whether you are travelling upstream or downstream and whether you are rafted to another ship in the evening or morning. 

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I can understand the argument from folks who take the aquarium cabins.  But I am willing to pay for the upgrade to a French balcony to get the wall of windows, even if I don't spend that much time in the cabin [I get the feeling I spend more time in it that some others, because I prefer to lounge in privacy rather than in public places] and even if I never open the slider.  It's about the light!

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7 hours ago, Tedferg said:

I have the impression that not a lot of time is spent in the cabin on a river cruise and so there is little justification in paying for a balcony. It does seem that balconies are quite a bit more expensive on River versus Ocean cruises.

Viking river balcony cabins are bigger than their French balcony cabins because the hallway is not in the center of the ship.  This adds a significant space between the bed and the window.  Check out the photos on the Viking website to see what I mean.  Now whether or not that is worth it is a personal decision.

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Viking's aquarium class has a bump-out under the high windows that is probably a foot wide.  That is floor area you cannot use.  The french balcony rooms do not have that bump-out since the balcony window is there.  If you look at Viking's floor plans for both standard room and french balcony room, the amount of usable floor space appears to be the same, due to the lack of the bump-out in french balcony rooms.

 

At least it looks that way to me  😉

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18 minutes ago, sharkster77 said:

Viking's aquarium class has a bump-out under the high windows that is probably a foot wide.  That is floor area you cannot use.  The french balcony rooms do not have that bump-out since the balcony window is there.  If you look at Viking's floor plans for both standard room and french balcony room, the amount of usable floor space appears to be the same, due to the lack of the bump-out in french balcony rooms.

 

At least it looks that way to me  😉

What you missed is that the hallway on the aquarium deck is in the center (like all other river ships on all decks), while the hallway on the balcony deck is moved to one side to make the balcony cabins bigger and the French balcony cabins smaller.

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We just (or I just - I am the driving force here) want a window that opens.  

 

On River cruises on Viking if you don't have a French Balcony or a Veranda cabin, then you are in what I call "the basement" cabins and the window is shoulder height and does not open.  The window is shoulder height because everything below your shoulders is under the water line.

 

Perhaps it is a claustrophobic thing, but I need the ability to open a window.

 

This also somewhat came from Covid where on the ship stuck in Australia and all those people in inside cabins for weeks with no windows.  

 

I have sailed on Viking in the basement, and the cabin was fine.  I just don't choose to be in that category because I want an opening window.

 

Oh, and as a side note, we never sit in the room, we are only there to shower, change, or sleep.  The only time our window is open or we are looking out is when the other is in the shower.  If we are not sleeping we are on deck or in the lounge.

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Our first river cruise was an aquarium cabin.  It was fine and we were rarely in the room. Second and third cruise were balconies, but second cruise was a surprise upgrade and third was on the Mekong which doesn’t have any aquarium class cabins.   Second cruise was November on the Rhine so too chilly to sit outside, third was the Mekong, much too hot and humid to sit outside (and buggy at times).  That said, we did raft a few times with other boats so our view was of another cabin.   The light coming in is certainly nice to have, but again, we spend most time on deck watching the scenery.  
It is a personal decision as to where you spend your money and what is comfortable to you.  

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10 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

What you missed is that the hallway on the aquarium deck is in the center (like all other river ships on all decks), while the hallway on the balcony deck is moved to one side to make the balcony cabins bigger and the French balcony cabins smaller.

True Jazz, but I put copies of the two floor plans side by side and I didn't see any difference in actual floor space.  Aquarium is 150 sf (with unusable bump-out) while french balcony is 135 sf (w/o the bump-out). The bump-out made for more shelf space, nothing more.

 

Makes no difference to us, frankly, since paying $1K to $1.5K per person just to get the french balcony window is not worth it.  If it's worth it to others, no problem!

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22 hours ago, Tedferg said:

I have the impression that not a lot of time is spent in the cabin on a river cruise and so there is little justification in paying for a balcony. It does seem that balconies are quite a bit more expensive on River versus Ocean cruises.

 

You are correct that not a lot of time is spent in the cabin, and the cabin sizes are – how should I put it – well designed but not for lounging in......

 

I don’t know about ocean cruising but ocean ships are a lot larger, have more space, more room and more passengers. River boats have a maximum size thaT allows them to fit in locks and under bridges.

You ask about Viking, but Viking use different boats on the Seine and Douro and very different boats outside Europe.

As for time in the cabin, look at your chosen cruise’s included excursions. You’ll probably find that either a morning or afternoon will be taken with an excursion every day. And if you decide to takes optional excursions in addition them that will be a day off the boat. Then add three meals, evening entertainment in the lounge and if you take part in them all you’ll find like most of us that your time in the cabin is used for sleeping, washing and dressing.

A most important factor about using a veranda is what time of year and the weather. When the boat is moving it means moving air, unless it is hot then it may be too draughty to enjoy sitting outside.

You do not say what type of cabin you’ll book if you don’t pay for a veranda.

 

We’ve cruised in Standard, French Balcony, Veranda and Veranda Suite

 

On European rivers the lower – or main deck as Viking calls it – Standard has a small non opening window at water level, thus frequently referred to on this board as Aquarium Class. Despite Vikings description, they have exactly the same floor space as French Balcony. The French Balcony doesn’t have an actual balcony, instead a floor to ceiling glass wall, half is a sliding door which you can open. The Veranda cabin is again the same size inside with a floor to ceiling glass wall, half is a sliding door which you can open to access a  narrow veranda with two chairs and a small table. The veranda added to the cabin inside gives the larger size which is created by offsetting the corridor by the width of the veranda.

 

For more room there is the Veranda Suite which has a bedroom and a separate living room with a settee and a veranda. There are also two larger rooms, Explorer  Suites at the back of the boat.

 

So having experienced four cabin types what would we prefer? I was happy with Aquarium class, but Mrs P is too short to see out the window and she said she wouldn’t stay in it again. The French Balcony gives a lot more natural light into the cabin, and fresh air when the sliding door is opened. We’ve had a veranda several times, but the only time I could make real use of it was this year in the heat of August on the Southern Rhone and even then I didn’t find much free time.

 

For sightseeing when cruising – and depending on the route chosen – cruising is often done at night to get from one excursion destination to the next, only one bank can be seen from the cabin. Both banks can be viewed from the sun deck, front of boat and lounge.

 

So, if you have the cash and appropriate weather get a Veranda, otherwise take a French Balcony and spend the money you’ve saved on the next cruise, or fritter it away on booze 😁

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2 hours ago, sharkster77 said:

True Jazz, but I put copies of the two floor plans side by side and I didn't see any difference in actual floor space.  Aquarium is 150 sf (with unusable bump-out) while french balcony is 135 sf (w/o the bump-out). The bump-out made for more shelf space, nothing more.

 

 

I think the three rooms have the same floor space, the Veranda is additional space and that space is gained by offsetting the corridor by the width of the veranda.

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135 is too small for DW and me – we drew the line at 150 many years ago.  Now we want even more than that.  This is the cabin we had on the Douro on Scenic Azure:

ScenicAzureRPRoyalSuite.thumb.jpg.8502fb101c185477d01d85950219565a.jpg

 

There is a large fixed window on the left (with a lovely 'wake view' from the comfy couch), plus a balcony with drop-down window at the bottom (looking aft and out the side).  420 sf and we used every inch of it.

 

But the important point is that the smallest cabins on this ship (Aquarium Class) are 172 sf and the regular balcony suites are 215 sf.  That's what I mean about Viking being small.

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9 hours ago, hoosier2017 said:

Our first river cruise was an aquarium cabin.  It was fine and we were rarely in the room. Second and third cruise were balconies, but second cruise was a surprise upgrade and third was on the Mekong which doesn’t have any aquarium class cabins.   Second cruise was November on the Rhine so too chilly to sit outside, third was the Mekong, much too hot and humid to sit outside (and buggy at times).  That said, we did raft a few times with other boats so our view was of another cabin.   The light coming in is certainly nice to have, but again, we spend most time on deck watching the scenery.  
It is a personal decision as to where you spend your money and what is comfortable to you.  

We have a balcony for our Christmas cruise next month. Just curious if it's too cold to be on the balcony then how are the upper outside decks warmer to see the scenery? Are there heaters or something? 

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Thanks for so much information. We have done many Ocean cruises, Princess, and except for two occasions, always had a balcony - daylight, fresh air were important. Would never take an inside cabin.  However it is further to go to get to Promenade or Lido decks on Ocean cruise, whereas I think on a River cruise it is easy to get to an outside deck.

 

Looking at Amsterdam - Budapest and Verandahs ~ 9,699, French 8,299 Standard 5,799, roughly. So for two people that's $8K more for Verandah or $5k more for French. 

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One more time into the fray..... for others who will read this in the future. The Viking veranda cabins have more inside floor space than the Viking French balcony cabins.  I have stayed in both.  The veranda cabins have room for a chair between the bed and the window while the French balcony ones do not.  This is true for both the longships (Rhine and Danube) and the Seine ships.  The Seine ships are shorter so they can make the turns in and out of Paris, but are the same width.  

 

To us this only matters when stumbling out of the bed in the middle of the night as during the day we are elsewhere.

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5 hours ago, dd57 said:

One more time into the fray..... for others who will read this in the future. The Viking veranda cabins have more inside floor space than the Viking French balcony cabins.  I have stayed in both.  The veranda cabins have room for a chair between the bed and the window while the French balcony ones do not.  This is true for both the longships (Rhine and Danube) and the Seine ships.  The Seine ships are shorter so they can make the turns in and out of Paris, but are the same width.  

 

To us this only matters when stumbling out of the bed in the middle of the night as during the day we are elsewhere.

Thanks.  This is what I thought was true about these layouts.  And I also believe that people have commented that the bench under the window in Aquarium class is quite usable, either to sit on or to the luggage on – so that is usable space too if you are flexible.

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29 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Thanks.  This is what I thought was true about these layouts.  And I also believe that people have commented that the bench under the window in Aquarium class is quite usable, either to sit on or to the luggage on – so that is usable space too if you are flexible.

The shelf in Viking aquarium cannot be sat on , unless you bring a ladder!---it is a solid wall that juts out at least a good foot or more from right under windows.  It can be used as shelf space, that's it.

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Just now, sharkster77 said:

The shelf in Viking aquarium cannot be sat on , unless you bring a ladder!---it is a solid wall that juts out at least a good foot or more from right under windows.  It can be used as shelf space, that's it.

I stand corrected.  I guess the hull curves in too much.

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18 minutes ago, sharkster77 said:

The shelf in Viking aquarium cannot be sat on , unless you bring a ladder!---it is a solid wall that juts out at least a good foot or more from right under windows.  It can be used as shelf space, that's it.

Unless you are a 20 year old girl.  Not sure how, but my daughter curled up there to read a few times on our AMS-BUD cruise.

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I can only think and compare in square metres so for fun I checked what it means. Cabins are quite small compared to my rooms at home but I have been in slightly smaller hotel rooms that were perfectly comfortable. The cabin on the MS Belvedere that I had was 156 square feet (French balcony). For another comparison: CroisiEurope cabins on the Seine Princesse for example are 134.5 sf, with one suite being 193.8 sf and the other 215.3 sf.

 

Not sure that I could feel comfortable with windows that do not open, but a balcony for sitting on I think I would find an expense for something I may hardly use. One is out and about or on the sundeck (or having a nap in bed or on a deck chair (bliss!)).

 

notamermaid

 

 

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