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River Cruising with Viking

Embark on the journey of a lifetime they say, with the meticulously curated Viking River Cruise they say, where every moment is a masterpiece of discovery and luxury they say. Because they are a wonderful way to see parts of the world in wonderful comfort we were told.

Well, how do they stack up to the glossy self-proclaimed excellence?

Look, I'm unable to speak about all the other wonderful curated River Cruises in the world but I can write based on what I know about Viking River Cruises. Never much of a fan of ocean cruises as I felt like it was a 24-hour-a-day shuffle. We will rarely eat at a buffet and cannot stand being one of a thousand around a pool. Lining up and taking an hour to disembark or embark is also not on our fun list. Being able to leave home and never having to organize anything until we arrive home again is wonderful. Of course, you do have that option if you so desire. The door-to-door service is amazing from Viking.

Rather than just agree or disagree let me recount an overview of our experiences.

First off the wonderful organization of it all is simply amazing. From the simple booking to the airport pickup and transfer to the lovely hotels. The color-coded organization of the group and the endless patience and kindness the Viking team has is priceless.

The impetus for our first river cruise was after my father passed I learned it was a bucket list thing for my mum. After trying to book with several river cruise lines I chose Viking because the pricing was disclosed up front. It was my first-ever trip with Viking and they were just amazing with my 90-year-old mother who was starting to struggle with dementia. It’s why we went back and will again.

With only 168 guests in total, you will quickly become familiar with most at least by sight as there are only a few public spaces to hang out, and you’ll see guests time and again in the restaurant and on your tours. But you are never crowded by them. We try to rotate dinner tables for the first few nights to get to know some of them and discover if there are any we wish to get to know better.

You meander along the serene waterways of Europe and take in the beauty and the allure of centuries-old castles and charming villages that unfurl before your eyes around every bend in the river. You can take in this scenic view from inside through all the expansive glass or weather conditions permitting from the wonderful upper deck. Unlike on the ocean, because you are on a river the scenery is always right there.

The meals are a combination of the finest regional cuisine, or a list of standard fare if you're a bit picky, and are nicely paired with local wines. The regional menu changes as you travel along so you can savor the flavors of each of your destinations.

We found there is true magic in a lot of the small towns and villages along the riverways of Europe. Beautiful split wood houses stacked together in something right out of Hansel and Gretel. Spectacular steep vineyards, amazing historical bridges and castles around every corner. Each port included one or more complimentary shore excursions and often one at additional cost for some that are more expensive due to entry fees or extended bus rides. An example of those would be the Louvre and wine tasting, or a visit to Versailles, and they were fabulous.

Viking's enriching cultural excursions bring history to life, from the grandeur of imperial cities to the tranquility of intimate river ports, creating a wonderfully immersive experience.

You can relax in the comfort of your well-appointed stateroom, designed with great efficiency and yet very comfortable for relaxation after each day's exploration.

With an obvious commitment to exceptional service and attention to detail, a Viking River Cruise will create memories to treasure for a lifetime. With this we can concur.

Step on board and set sail for a voyage that will make you feel like royalty and expose the extraordinary, embracing the enchanting at every turn.

Look, while Viking will never be considered one of the cheapest cruise lines, once you factor in the extras they include on the front end (ones you’d have to buy separately from other cruise lines), your total vacation costs may be more similar than you’d think. While river cruising isn't cheap, with all the services added in, it is not as expensive as it seems. Besides, it is a wonderful stress-free vacation.

Cheers to great travel adventures,

We’ve been so happy with our previous Viking adventures that we are heading off with Viking again this July 2024 on the Paris & The Heart Of Normandy trip.


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