There’s a good chance it is!
Sailing by river means enjoying all the conveniences (and a whole lot more) of a traditional cruise, along with all the benefits of inland travel.
I had the pleasure of experiencing the ins and outs (really, just the ins) of the Rhine Getaway with Viking River Cruises. Once on my adventure I quickly discovered that this is my favorite new way to experience Europe. And, I'm so excited to share this top 10 reasons why river cruising may be right for you!
10. You can’t beat the scenery!
You’ll pass way more interesting scenery sailing close to shore, than you will out in the ocean (sometimes for days). A shoreline is always in sight, as well as the local ports and towns. The river ships are smaller than an ocean liner and can maneuver into places the ocean liners can’t. Leave your Dramamine at home because you’re also not going to encounter motion sickness on a calm river. If there’s a sudden unfortunate emergency or sickness, access to medical expertise and care is close by.
9. Embarkation and disembarkation are a piece of cake giving you more time to enjoy each port and cake, if you choose!
Don’t worry if you’ve got to make a quick cabin stop, restroom stop, or you want to go back and grab that all-included breakfast, lunch, coffee bar, or cocktail. It’s often just a short walk or included shuttle away. Some of your party (not you 😊 of course) may even want to grab a quick rest or nap, with the ease of getting back to the village without skipping a beat. Need a quick change of clothes or recharging of your phone for those amazing pics? Getting on and off a river ship is like walking in and out of “your hotel resort on the water.” It’s rare to encounter a line or wait, and you’re always greeted with your name, a friendly smile, water, maps, and anything else you may need. The crew really take the time to get to know you and your needs and preferences.
8. How else do you get to wake up in a new city each day?
If you’re one of those travelers with an extensive bucket list and want to see it all, this is the way to go. Each day in a new destination allows you the opportunity to sample various parts of the world and see where you want to return. On a typical 8-day cruise, you are likely to visit 8 cities with all kinds of culture, cuisine, and history. Take some extra days (pre and post cruise extensions) before and after your cruise to really take in the nearby cities.
7. Excursions are immersive and uniquely tailored to the local culture.
Viking has privileged access and long-standing local relationships with local guides that have been handpicked. You’ll even have access to excursions that are exclusive to Viking. When you join a daily tour (you always have the option), you’re getting firsthand knowledge, history, flavor, and Viking’s outstanding customer service. Each day you have the option for one included tour. These tours are perfect and a wonderful way to get your bearings on the day’s village or town, with a traditional or city village walk. You can even skip a tour altogether or join for a bit and go off on your own. If you really want to fill up your day, or experience something even more tailored to your own personal interests, you can sign up for additional tours for (prices for the extra tours are reasonable and about the only thing not included with Viking). If tours aren’t your thing, you can skip them altogether or join for a bit and go off on your own. Tours are not required but we’d say you might be missing out on a goldmine. Viking’s local guides know the history, best cuisine, and quirks of the region. The guides are quite entertaining! The technology is up to date, so that you won’t miss a thing with small, easy to use listening devices!
6. Unpack ONCE!
Avoid the hassle of packing and unpacking in your new hotel on the water. Who wants to lug their luggage all over Europe? With a river cruise, you don’t have to. You can even take those extra pieces you may want to wear if you opt for a suitcase larger than a carry-on. It’s hard to believe how much storage the cabins offer. There’s room for larger suitcases to be tucked under the beds, and there’s quite a lot of closet and drawer space. The bathrooms are easy to share with enough counter space and shelving to effortlessly access and organize all your bathroom necessities!
5. The amenities!
It’s finally time to mention the luxury! The staterooms range in size from 150 to 205 square feet and include:
•Queen-size Viking Explorer Bed (optional twin-bed configuration) with luxury linens & pillows
•Free Wi-Fi (connection speed may vary)
•42" flat-screen TV with infotainment system featuring Movies on Demand, CNBC, CNN, FOX & more
•110/220-volt outlets & USB ports (bring your converter for extra outlet use)
•Private bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated floor, anti-fog mirror & hair dryer
•Premium Freyja® toiletries
•Plush robes & slippers (upon request)
•Telephone, safe, refrigerator
•Individual climate control
•Bottled water replenished daily
•Stateroom steward & twice-daily housekeeping
•Under-bed suitcase storage space
•Roomy wardrobe with wooden hangers
Suite guests will enjoy all the above plus complimentary laundry and shoeshine service, welcome champagne, mini bar service (wine, beer, and soft drinks), daily fruit, binoculars and more.
Beyond the staterooms, each river cruise ship features:
•Sun Deck with 360-degree views & shaded sitting area; organic herb garden & solar panels; putting green & walking track
•Aquavit Terrace & Lounge, a revolutionary indoor/outdoor viewing area at the bow of the ship for al fresco dining
•Lounge & Bar with floor-to-ceiling glass doors
•Restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views
•Library & onboard shop
•Elevator from Middle to Upper Deck only
•Ecologically friendly hybrid engines producing less vibrations for a smoother ride
4. River cruising offers an intimate ship size, crew, and passengers.
With a smaller number of passengers, you can make friendships with other passengers quickly. You may even make friendships you want to hang onto. If you are traveling solo, don’t worry about being alone. The intimate size of the ship makes it easy to talk with and get to know others. Viking cruises have a relaxing, friendly, and welcoming vibe. The crew really does know your name, your likes, and goes out of their way to make you feel welcome. Be careful, you may not want to leave! The smaller size of the ship cuts out a lot of time you would normally need to get to your cabin, embarking, disembarking, etc. Don’t worry if you have to run back to your cabin. You really will be right back!
3. You are not going to want to skip an onboard meal.
Yes, the cuisine is that good. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all included. The meals have something for everyone, offering traditional fare, vegetarian, as well as the port’s local specialties. The regional menu items taste like what a local is onboard cooking for you. If you’re out for an excursion, you’re always back in time for lunch or dinner, or you can opt to stay and eat in the town. Meals aboard the ship are so tasty some days it’s going to be hard to decide. The only time you will pay more for food is if you choose to eat at a local restaurant. Every single shipboard menu item offered is included in your fare-even the coffee bar with lattes, espressos, and macchiatos. A wide selection of regional wine and beer is also part of your cruise. So much is offered, the Viking’s Silver Spirits package isn’t necessary (an extra fee for premium wines and cocktails, approx. $150 per person for the entire sailing). The bar staff knows what they’re doing! Either way, you won’t run out of options.
2. Ease of transportation-it’s ALL figured out for you.
As with all other areas of your experience with Viking, transfers are easy. Whether it's airport to ship or a pre-sailing city stay, Viking will take care of getting you and your luggage to the ship. Once you arrive, they will take care of heavy lifting by delivering your luggage to your stateroom while you check in at the front desk and enjoy your arrival lunch in the main dining room. During your first meal on the ship, you will enjoy a floor to ceiling window view of the water and your departure city. The ease of arrival will immediately put you in vacay mode!
1. Most all-inclusive!
A river cruise gives you more value for both your time and money. Everything really is included: one daily shore excursion, all meals, all beverages including wine and beer with meals, wifi, etc. There is no nickel and diming on this vacation.
You are responsible for gratuities which can be prepaid, extra excursions, meals if you decide to skip the ship’s offerings, the optional Silver Spirts package, and a pre and post cruise extensions. What’s included in the vacation package is a great value making these upgrades just that, optional upgrades.
Viking Cruise Line has a wide array of ships sailing rivers like the Seine, Rhine, Danube, Douro, and Elbe in Europe, but they also explore Asia, Russia, Egypt, and more recently the Upper and Lower Mississippi. In addition to Viking’s River cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises offers itineraries to the Mediterranean, Asia, and Australia, as well as expeditions to Antarctic, Arctic, Great Lakes, & Canada.
Ready to join the river cruise club? Contact your me to learn more about sailing with Viking River Cruises!