DESTINATION RIVER CRUISING
River cruising isn't really a destination per se but it is a method of getting to a destination that is rapidly gaining in popularity. Why? I think there are several factors. People have gotten tired of the typical escorted group tours where you have to pack and unpack every 1-2 nights. When you stay in a different hotel almost every night, the level of quality and comfort can vary. With river cruises, the standard of luxury has been raised to a new standard. Also, since you are staying there for 7-nights or more, it is nice to unpack once and know exactly what kind of accommodations you will have. You can find a river cruise suited to any taste level and age group because as the demand rises, the more options the river cruise companies are going to offer.
These cruises are for educated and active people who are looking for a deeper immersion into each port's culture and history. Also, since the ships are small and typically hold less than 200 people, you can really connect and make friendships with the people on board. You can even find cruises that focus on various interests like wine and chocolate or cooking or spa and wellness. Another appeal for people is the all-inclusive nature of the trip too. Many cruise lines include wine and beer at meals and at least one excursion at each port you stop in.
River cruising is perfect for people who are seeking a relaxed tour of Europe and enjoy the sights along the river's edge and for adventurous folks who want to explore Europe beyond the coastline.
River cruises can take you almost anywhere in the world ... that have a river anyway. They started out by offering destinations across Europe but you can find river cruises across the United States, China, Portugal, Egypt, Russia, Vietnam and more.
Some river cruise companies are even expanding into ocean cruises which means the destination options are becoming even more diverse. It is a different cruise experience than other ocean cruises as the ships are smaller, private verandas, fine dining and in-depth exploration at each destination. These cruise ships will take you to the Viking homelands, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, the British Isles, North America and the Caribbean.
The average length of a river ship is 390 feet which is about the same size as a football field.
In 1992, the Main-Danube Canal opened which finally connected the Europe's main arteries. The canal connects the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea.
River cruises mostly operate seasonally in Europe from March to November and some have special Christmas Market cruises in December.
If biking is important to you, make sure to pick a cruise line that has bikes available for everyone to use.
Kids on board? For the most part, no but there are some companies and some sailings that do cater to families. River cruising is probably best with teens and young adults.
European river cruisers generally range from between 100 and 200 passengers.
Explore Castles & Cathedrals
Overlook the Rhine from Germany’s best preserved medieval castle. Discover the rich culinary traditions of Alsace. Explore the Black Forest your way: join a guided coach tour or walk lush country trails to a farm. Fairy-tale castles, grand cathedrals, historic cities, medieval towns and spectacular scenery—little wonder that the Rhine is one of Europe’s best-loved rivers. From Amsterdam and Cologne to Basel, this 8-day journey reveals a wonderland of beauty and culture.
Day 1—Amsterdam, The Netherlands: After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own.
Day 2—Kinderdijk, The Netherlands: This morning we sail to Kinderdijk for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices.
Day 3—Cologne, Germany: Continue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour.
Day 4—Koblenz, Germany: Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum.
Day 5—Heidelberg, Germany: Cruise through the morning as you enjoy breakfast and the passing scenery.
Day 6—Strasbourg, France: We dock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg.
Day 7—Breisach, Germany: Arrive in Breisach this morning, gateway to the Black Forest.
Day 8—Basel, Switzerland: After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.
Extend Your Cruise
More days means more time to discover, with extension packages you can add before or after your Viking cruise or cruisetour. Maximize the value of your overseas flight and enjoy additional days to explore your embarkation or disembarkation city, or see a new destination altogether with a choice of exciting cities.
Each pre- or post-cruise extension package includes a Viking representative to meet you at the airport and a Viking host to assist with your special requests. For your convenience, costs such as hotel stays, transfers between hotel and ship, select meals are included. Some extensions include city tours. This is just one example of a pre- and post-extension for this cruise.
2 NIGHTS PRE-CRUISE IN AMSTERDAM
Start your journey in Amsterdam, where you will be centrally located near key sites like Museum Square and the Anne Frank House.
2 NIGHTS POST-CRUISE IN BASEL
Discover the city that stands at the point where France, Germany and Switzerland meet. See the lovely Middle Bridge, the Basel Cathedral and the winding cobbled streets lined with medieval houses and colorful fountains. Explore the many museums and art galleries, or take a day trip to Lucerne.
Day 1—Amsterdam: Welcome to Amsterdam. Transfer from the airport to the centrally located Amsterdam city centre hotel. Enjoy your day at leisure.
Day 2—Amsterdam: After breakfast, embark on a walking tour through the charming streets and neighborhoods of Amsterdam. Enjoy the rest of the day on your own. Breakfast included.
Day 3—Amsterdam: Today, you have additional time for touring or shopping; we will take you to your ship to begin your river cruise. Get details from the above itinerary.
Day 4—Kinderdijk, The Netherlands
Day 5—Cologne, Germany
Day 6—Koblenz, Germany
Day 7—Heidelberg, Germany
Day 8—Strasbourg, France
Day 9—Breisach, Germany
Day 10—Basel, Switzerland: After breakfast, disembark and proceed to your transfer to your hotel in Basel. Take a guided walking tour through this historic city and the rest of the day is on your own.
Day 11—Basel: Your day is free to explore this lovely riverside city, one of Switzerland’s most important cultural centers.
Day 12—Basel: After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight.