A Viking Waltz

My first river cruise

I’ve wanted to try a river cruise for a number of years and in particular the Danube River. Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by the Rivers of Europe, the arteries that feed some of the most famous places and counties, and of course the important role they’ve played throughout history.

So, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from my first river cruise, and that was really exciting. I know Viking ocean very well, having sailed on board the Viking Sea in the Caribbean and through Norway (click below to read more).

I love the Viking approach to cruising, an effortless and comfortable way to see the world. And not to mention the beautiful, scandi-style ships. With bright, airy and outward-facing spaces that invite you to connect. I was eager to see how this approach translates to river.

When I picture river cruising, particularly in Europe, I see it as a great way to ‘destination hop’. Each day you wake up in the centre of another city or place to explore. I love this idea, and while ships are opulent, to me river cruising is all about embracing the destinations you are visiting.

The Viking Longships

Viking have thrown out the rulebook when it comes to river cruising.  In 2013 they debuted a new type of river ship, the Viking Longship.  Something I hadn’t appreciated before going on a river cruise was the specific standards required for a ship to sail along a particular river, so for instance being able to pass under bridges and through locks.  The challenge is to use limited space cleverly to create as much space for a guest.  From this the unique look of the Longship was created, with its flat unique bow that gives more space over to alfresco dining (more on that in a later blog).  It’s so clever.

Something else that really struck me was the sustainability of these ships.  The Longships use hybrid engines which are also designed to minimise vibrations.  At the rear of the ship you’ll also find solar panels to support energy requirements.  The ships even feature small herb gardens on the top deck and is used in all the cooking on board.

What’s included in a Viking River Cruise?

Something that really impressed me with Viking Ocean is how much is included within the price of the holiday.  This stems from Viking’s river roots. You can genuinely enjoy your holiday without having to pay a penny extra (though of course you can choose to if you wish).  Here’s a low down of what’s typically included:

  • Return flights from London and some regional airports
  • Transfers to/from the airport
  • A river-view stateroom
  • All on board meals ( yes that’s right!)
  • Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Specialty tea, coffee and bottled water any time on board
  • An included shore excursion in almost every port
  • No corkage fee
  • Evening entertainment

A typical cruise in a standard stateroom in April 2019 starts from £1,195 per person.  For more information visit here.

This blog series will explore the overall Viking River experience, from the design of the Longships, to food and entertainment.  It will also look at the destinations we visited and the beautiful Danube River. To head back to the beginning of this journey, click below.