Here’s the official postcard photo of a Viking longship. (The background is Passau, Germany.) On the very top is the Sun Deck: sunbathing, scenery watching, reading, shuffleboard, life-sized chess, walking/running track, etc.
Almost amidships, disguised as one of the umbrellas but with a white base, is the wheelhouse. This is where Captain Anne Jacob Sijbranda (despite his first name, a man) sat, adjusting–not a wheel or a tiller but–a gleaming little stainless steel lever at waist level with the fingertips of his right hand as we moved down the river. During our trip, the water levels were running about 18 inches higher than usual, making some large trees along the bank look like bushy islands. When the margin between the top of our ship and a bridge or lock was tight, the whole wheelhouse could be lowered into a snug square hole, making it flush with the deck. The captain accomplished this with the push of a button; he let groups of us make appointments one day to come into the wheelhouse to see his instruments and he gave us the bumpy 6-foot elevator ride down and up again.
Below the Sun Deck, toward the bow (to your right; I know it’s hard to tell which end is which), is the lounge, bar, and open-aired Aquavit Terrace for informal dining. The restaurant for formal dining was below the lounge. Local musicians and dancing groups entertained us in the lounge; we saw demonstrations of glass-blowing and strudel-making. A pianist played there every night and the Program Director Michael Reay joked that three couples filled the tiny dance floor. In truth, it took five. We know because one night, to the strains of Moon River, Jerry and I were one of those couples.
In this picture, you can see two rows of staterooms which have balconies and sliding doors. Below them is a row of what look like decorative holes or dots. Those dots are horizontal portholes about–“Jerry? How big was our porthole?” “About 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 feet. If you’d laid along the shelf in front of it you wouldn’t fit.”
Those dots are horizontal portholes about 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 feet and they mark rooms on the “main deck.” One of those rooms was ours.