Viking River Cruises 

River cruises are the biggest trend in travel right now.  So, what is it about river cruises that draws travelers in?  To answer that question, I examined the Viking River Cruise experience.  With itineraries in Egypt, Asia, and Europe, Viking River Cruises has won top honors and recognition for the past 15 years and is one of the most recognized river cruise companies in the world. 

All of Viking’s fleet are small and typically host between 150-200 passengers and approximately 60 crew members. Each longship is individually named after a Nordic God and Goddess and while many of the ships are similar, the small touches are unique. Viking’s vessels feature light palettes throughout with huge panes of glass, herb gardens, marble slabs and attractive wooden staircases, along with leather furniture and beautiful fabrics. Not one feature on the longships could be described as over-the-top but every detail invites a sense of serenity.

A favorite onboard feature for travelers is the Aquavit Terrace. Located at the front of the ship, the Aquavit Terrace features an enlarged, unobstructed area of indoor/outdoor space.  Chairs are placed behind a plexiglass barrier that breaks the wind while providing views of the river and the landscape along the river. The Aquavit Terrace is the perfect place to pitch camp for a morning, afternoon or evening of scenic sailing or as an optional dining venue to the main restaurant located one deck below. 

Another draw of river cruising is the staterooms.  Viking staterooms range from a standard category with a picture window, to a French Balcony with sliding glass door or a Veranda Suite with a full balcony.  Each room has a pocket door along with angled hallways to maximize cabin space. The bathroom floors are heated, and rooms offer plenty of outlets.  There is no doubt that Viking paid attention to the details.

River cruisers also enjoy the intimate dining experience which allows guests to mix and mingle with almost everyone on board. The main dining menu includes regional cuisine and classics enhanced with locally sourced ingredients, allowing guests to explore new cultures through food. The highly trained chefs are committed to providing an enriching culinary experience and with flavors accented from the onboard herb garden and a wide selection of regional wines, dining becomes part of the journey.

A Viking River journey also includes a daily tour with a knowledgeable guide.  If travelers aren’t interested in the included tour, Viking offers alternate options to appeal to a wide variety of interests. Tours offer behind-the-scenes insights and cultural treasures of the destination.  And while Viking offers expected sightseeing such as museum and landmarks, they also provide a glimpse of local life.  Cruisers can be a private guest in a traditional home, meet children at a Viking-sponsored elementary school or attend cultural performances of folklore, ballet and opera with an insider’s view.  Each itinerary offers a unique opportunity to experience the destinations like a local.  

Viking complements their onshore experiences with an onboard lecture program, designed to shed light on the destination’s art, architecture, music, and more. In fact, short films, screening on stateroom televisions, inform guests about the iconic destinations and little-known gems they will be visiting. The films provide insights and information intended to deepen understanding and encourage engagement with destinations in a way travelers otherwise would not have known. In addition, onboard the ship guests witness local artisans demonstrating time-honored craft traditions unique to the destination, such as glassblowing, lace making and wooden shoemaking while culinary demonstrations present recipes of regional treats and drinks.  

So what is so amazing about a Viking River Cruise?  Every detail on board the ship is designed to enrich and enhance the travel experience by allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the cultures they are visiting.  Unlike other vacation options, travelers get to connect to their destination in every possible way and enjoy the local treasures and culture.  A Viking River Cruise is truly a unique and rewarding experience!  

Amy Eben – The Travel Advantage

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