Who Goes On Viking River Cruises
The average range for a Viking Eir cruise seemed to be 50-65 years old. There were also a few twenty-somethings with their parents as well as a large group of 40-somethings from England on my cruise. There were also quite a few in the 65+ range. It seems that the Viking cruise demographic is skewing a bit younger now that river cruising is becoming more and more popular.
Viking Rhine River Cruise Review With Real Travel Experts Rich & Linda Skinner
Cruising the Rhine River 2021 with Viking River Cruises. Real Travel Experts Rich and Linda Skinner join Ken to review their recent Rhine River cruises with Viking River Cruises. Come aboard the Viking Eir for a seven-day river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Rich and Linda detail the voyage and must-see destinations along the way such as the Rhine Gorge, Strasbourg and Kinderdijk. Rich and Linda offer valuable river cruise tips for gratuities, what to expect on board, whats included, and the level of service to expect on a Viking River cruise. Check out their optional tour in Lucerne to Säntis for breathtaking views of the Alps.
If you are thinking about taking that Rhine River cruise, this may be just what you have been looking for!
Should You Book Airfare Through Viking
Viking also offers airfare.
We set a fare alert and browsed for flights on our own, and after comparing it to the Viking customer service rep, found that they were able to get us a better deal. I was pretty amazed actually!
So I recommend booking airfare through Viking . It seems the company has relationships with partner airlines and is able to typically find flights cheaper than you can do on your own.
Another advantage to booking airfare through Viking is they also include round trip transfers.
We found this really handy after long travel days. For the arrival, our bus picked us up at the airport in Basel and left straightaway, which we really appreciated!
On our departure, we had a very early flight so they arranged a cab direct to the airport everything is totally taken care of!
Our Veranda stateroom was spacious, bright and airy with minimalist Nordic furniture and a cozy balcony.
The ships are well designed to really maximize space and cabins feature a giant closet and tons of drawers to put away your clothes, should you wish to fully unpack.
Most river cruises are quite cozy and I typically keep my clothes in packing cubes this was the first time Ive fully unpacked!
Theres also a flat screen TV to listen to the daily on-boarding speech or to check the weather, watch TV, etc.
Our cabin had plenty of outlets, both European and American, so I could easily keep all my electronics charged.
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Day : Disembark In Amsterdam
The Netherlands is a small country, and Kinderdijk is only about 95 kilometers away from Amsterdam. As such, the Hermod was already passing through Utrecht by bedtime. We docked at Amsterdam very early in the morning on our final day.
There were no day tours of Amsterdam organized by Viking on Day 8, but we were allowed to stay on the boat until the late afternoon . However, we did have to vacate our staterooms by 8:00 a.m. so that the cleaning crew could start preparing for the next cruise.
After checking out, guests are free to go on their way. I assume that most people flew out of Amsterdam within a day or two of ending the cruise. However, we stayed for five extra days in Amsterdam and met up with a few more family members there! I had mixed feelings about this bustling Dutch metropolis, which Ive written about in a separate blog post.
Viking River Cruises On Twitter
Thinking about a Viking Rhine River Cruise? Ask your questions in the comments below!
Although I was provided a complimentary Rhine Getaway experience thanks to Viking River Cruises, the experiences shared and opinions are my mine.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer focusing on family and womens adventure experiences.
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Day Viking River Cruise From Basel To Amsterdam 2020
What We Loved About Our Viking Rhine River Cruise
Lets be real. Its hard to not enjoy a luxury cruise on the Viking Eir, a longboat with 95 staterooms and four decks. Food is plentiful and cooked to order, and the German beer onboard is some of the best in the world. Coffee flows all day long on a Viking river cruise ship, and the crews main mission is to make everybody happy.
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Day : Cruise Through The Dutch Countryside Stop In Kinderdijk
In all honesty, the Rhine is less scenic in the Netherlands than it is in Germany. Youre no longer surrounded by hills, vineyards, and castles. Instead, the riverbanks are flat and sandy here.
Our final shore excursion ended up being a really fascinating one: a guided tour of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Rotterdam famous for its windmills. Our tour guide did an excellent job of introducing us to the history and purpose of mills in the Netherlands.
The landscape here is so pretty, and one of the highlights of this visit was being able to see the inside of a mill. All in all, a short visit to Kinderdijk was a great way to wrap up our final full day on the Viking Hermod.
What Its Really Like On A Viking River Cruise
Want to know if a Viking River Cruiseis right for you? Im spilling all the details, including what they dont tell you in the brochure, so you can make an informed decision. Ill take you from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland along the Rhine River with lots of stops at charming old towns and villages in between. This Viking River cruise Rhine review is chock full of information that is helpful in planning your own cruise.
I took 8 million photos so its impossible to share them all in one post. Ill break up this trip into two posts so stay tuned for part two next weekend.
When Viking invited me to set sail with them, I immediately packed my bags! Who wouldnt want to sail to all the charming little European towns that dot the riverside? We traveled in October and I highly recommend Europe during this time of the year because not only do you get to experience the beautiful foliage and cooler temps, but its much less crowded and its cheaper too!
What I love about the Viking Longships is that they are just the right size to float down the river and get up close and personal to all of the little towns. Plus there are only 90 staterooms which means its easy to get to know the crew and passengers. I love that you only have to unpack once instead of changing hotels every couple of days.
We sailed on the Hlin on the 8 day Rhine River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland .
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Day : Germanys Black Forest & Colmar France
On our second day, we sailed northward to dock at Breisach, Germany.
In the morning, we learned how to make cuckoo-clocks, put together Black Forest cake and walked a bit throughout the Black Forest.
The wooded mountain range is the site of many local legends and populated all over with black fir trees. If you like hiking, the mountains are wonderful!
In the afternoon, we signed up for an optional tour to Colmar.
Located in the Alsace Lorraine region, the town is part of France but throughout much of history, changed hands between Germany and France.
Youll find lots of German and French spoken as a result!
I highly recommend visiting this quaint medieval town. Every street looks perfectly preserved and its quite colorful. We wandered mostly on our own, ducking into gelato shops and chocolate stores while enjoying the colorful, medieval feel.
If you skip the optional to Colmar, no worries!
Strasbourg is its larger cousin and also located in Alsace, France.
We had a wonderful guide for this day who guided us throughout the small canals, pointing out colorful streets and letting us know about Strasbourgs tangled history in the hands of Germany and France.
Strasbourg occupies a strategic position on the Rhine River and is the ninth largest city in France.
Its home to many European councils and organizations, like the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe.
Heidelberg is a university town with a energetic, small town feel.
Middle Rhine Castle Corridor
When we were done exploring the castle, we went back to the ship to enjoy the most scenic sailing day of the trip!
This stretch of the Rhine is filled with castles perched high in the hills. Most have been turned into luxury hotels! There are tons of castles on both sides of the river.
We sailed past this spectacular 430 foot Lorelei Rock where legend has it that the beautiful maiden Lorelei sunk the ships of distracted sailors.
A little wind and rain didnt dampen our spirits! The upper deck of the ship has a clear overhang making it perfect for being able to take in the sights while staying dry. Viking handed out a map of the castles and Sara, our Program Director, gave commentary over the loud speaker. If you want to see the castles up close and personal, pack a pair of binoculars.
Tip: Pack layers! We traveled in October and some days called for heavy coats while other days, a long sleeve shirt was all that was needed. Also, pack a small travel umbrella !
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Viking Rhine River Cruise Christmas Experience Basel To Amsterdam
A European river cruise has been on my travel bucket list since college. The parents of one of my closest friends took a river cruise and ever since they described the experience, its been on my travel wish list. When I received an invitation to embark on a Rhine Getaway with Viking Cruises, I felt like I had won the lottery. Then, when I found out Id be on one of their celebrated Christmas market cruises, I knew this would be a trip of a lifetime. All Rhine River cruises explore the wonderful medieval castles and villages along the river, but the Christmas cruise also features the charming Christmas markets in Germany and France.
Visiting Five Countries Without Lugging Our Bags
As independent travelers, we lug around our bags a lot. As a result, we sometimes suffer from tired backs and sore feet.
What a treat it was to not have to worry about luggage for twelve straight days! This may not seem like a big deal, but it was a game-changer for us.
As an extra bonus, we loved unpacking our bags and feeling at home during the length of the Viking Rhine River cruise. Since we use packing cubes when we travel, it only took us a few minutes to settle into the room and start enjoying the cruise.
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What Makes Viking Special
Viking caters to American, Canadian, British and Australian travelers with a decidedly English-language focus onboard, which makes traveling to foreign destinations less stressful. It is also a supremely convenient way to travel through Europe, as all of the detailsaccommodations, destinations, tours, food, transfersare taken care of as you sail along.
This makes the trip relaxing, a major difference from sojourns to Europe in my 20s and 30s, when I arranged my own travel and accommodations, and seemed to spend as much time in airports and train stations as at the destinations. Not to mention that you travel at night on the river, which allows you to concentrate your waking hours on tours and sights rather than getting there.
The other cruisers onboard were over 50 and many were closer to 70. Viking targets this demographicthe older, experienced traveler who is interested in art, history and cultureand makes efforts to help people with physical limitations visit historic sites and cities along the route.
At most stops, Viking offers a complimentary shore excursion, such as a walking tour, as well as optional add-on excursions. The tours were universally excellent, with dedicated buses and tour guides just for Viking clientele. Frequently, we were instructed by Candi, the program director, to take audio listening devices from our cabins with us on tours so all could hear the tour guide as we meandered about.
Our VIking Hlin Stateroom
View of the Viking Hlin from shore
Impressions Of The Rhine River
If youre considering booking this cruise for yourself, you might be wondering: what is the Rhine River actually like between Basel and Amsterdam? Well, in my opinion it seemed to have three distinct sections. From Basel until Speyer , the Rhine feels very industrial. Its lined by factories, and to be honest, the river is not amazing here . Luckily, the boat sailed at night through the Upper Rhine, so its not like we really missed out on much.
From Speyer to Cologne , the Rhine River is incredibly scenic. Viking did a great job of scheduling so that passengers could enjoy the view from the boat during the day on this portion of the trip. The vineyards, villages, and castles of the Middle Rhine are undoubtedly the rivers most unique offerings.
In the Netherlands, the Rhine has a rural vibe to it. We passed cows cooling off in the shallow riverbanks, a few small Dutch villages, and not much else until we approached Amsterdam. The Lower Rhine is not as industrial as the Upper Rhine, and its not as picturesque as the Middle Rhine.
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Day : Breisach And The Black Forest
Our first full day aboard began with a breakfast buffet, complete with cooked-to-order items. Our morning was spent on a picturesque bus tour through the rolling hills and dense forests of the scenic Black Forest. We stopped to visit a very old, historic abbey, and then drove to a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration and visit the restaurant. I made it a special point to get the recipe for Black Forest cake as a memorable souvenir.
Enjoy An Elegant Dinner And Tour At Schloss Ehreshoven
Built in the 14th century and later expanded in the grand style of a Baroque manor house, Schloss Ehreshoven is surrounded by gracious 18th-century French gardens and a castle park. For nearly a century the castle has been the heart of a charitable foundation whose main mission includes providing a home for unmarried aristocratic ladies without means in their golden years. Frequently used as a location for movies and TV shows, the Schloss provides an elegant setting for Tauck’s exclusive cocktail reception and dinner, hosted by a member of the family.
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Our Journey On The Rhine From Basel
Overnight, we sailed 60 miles north toward Germany and France and the famed Black Forest, the setting for many of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales. At a rainy stop at a tourist village consisting of three shops and a hotel, we watched a chef prepare a Black Forest Cake and learned how cuckoo clocks are made. Though the stop felt less than authentic, we enjoyed the cake!
Black Forest Cake
Cuckoo clock demonstration
The following day we arrived in Strasbourg, France, where my friend and I indulged in a 7-hour Alsatian Wine and Cheese Tour of the city, led by our guide, Valerie of Food and City Tours.
Our guide, Valerie, of Food and City Tours Strasbourg
Strasbourg was by far my favorite stop on the Rhine, not only because its in France but also because of the delectables we sampledcheese, wine, gingerbread, tarte flambée and chocolates at Patisserie Christian.
Cheese shop display in Strasbourg
Macarons at Patisserie Christian in Strasbourg
But I also enjoyed hearing about the unique history of the city, which has been treated like a ping-pong ball by France and Germany for centuries, even going so far as forcing the residents to change their national language at various times.
War monument for Maréchal Leclerc at the square Place Broglie in Strasbourg
Heidelberg Castle Gate
Moat at Heidelberg Castle
Town Square in Heidelberg
Treacherous walking terrain at Marksburg Castle in Koblenz
View of the Rhine from top of Marksburg Castle
What Happens On A Viking River Cruise
We had a fabulous timeit was worth absolutely every pennyand we met some wonderful people, some of whom we still keep in touch with.
Here is our cruise as we saw it. We want you to know what you can expect and get an idea of all the wonderful places youll visit on a Rhine river cruise.
TIP: Though youll get a taste for the Rhine itinerary, what you wont see here are all of Dans amazing photos. The best shots are in our related posts about each destination, so read on and then head over to our photo galleries for even more shots.
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