Q – I want to sail in an Explorer Suite on one of the Viking River Long Boats. Their size appeals to me. At a cost of $25,000 for a one week cruise, I would expect to have a full King size King bed. Just want to make certain that is what I will get given the tendencies, as RBR points out, of some of these brochures to distort.

A – Your requirement for a true King bed has been interesting and we have thoroughly researched this matter. As per usual, the marketing folks have done some exaggerating and a wee bit of deliberate distortion. Here is how Viking describes the bedding in their top suites: “Hotel-style beds 79 inches x 63 inches (with optional twin-bed configuration)”  So what exactly is a “hotel style” bed? Well it serves to point out that this is not a boarding school or a penitentiary style bed, which is helpful.River Boat RiverFirstTimers_banner.ashx

Viking’s Explorer Suites include what is typical in most of the cabins on river boats throughout Europe, what is known as a ‘European Queen’ or two twin beds pushed together with a bridge in between that forms a single large bed.  These beds are larger than a queen, but smaller than a king. You would have boarded the boat, paid for the top accommodations, and then been disappointed with the bedding.

Uniworld, rated higher than Viking, does have a true king beds in their Owner’s Suite on their newest ships. The River Beatrice sails the Danube and the 300 sq ft Owner’s Suite does offer a proper king bed.  But these “suites” are considerably smaller than Viking’s 445 Sq. feet. Many guests appreciate Viking’s modern Scandinavian design.

There are some people who are quite used to King bedding and they feel constricted in anything smaller. River boats, on the other hand, must constantly look for ways to conserve space. If they had their way, they would never accept guests over five feet.

In fact, there are very few true king beds on Europe’s rivers. To make it easier for you next time, we’ve compiled a list of those handful of cabins that actually have true King beds. We’ll save “California Kings” for another time as that would only serve to confuse the interior designers.

Scenic –  None

Tauck –   None

Uniworld – Owner’s Suite on Beatrice or Royal Suite on Antoinette (Rhine) or Owner’s Suite on the SS Catherine (South of France)

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