Take Me to the River

Discover what makes Viking® the world’s leading
small ship cruise line.
By Robin Cherry

A trip on Viking’s river cruises is like visiting the comfortable country house of an educated friend with fascinating guests, an expansive library, and gracious spaces where you can discuss the events of the day over afternoon tea or sunset cocktails on the veranda. Meals are crafted from the best local ingredients and accompanied by wines from the region and after dinner, a comfortable bed ensures that you’re rested up for the next day’s adventures.

     Viking was founded to give travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of a destination rather than viewing it as an outsider. Today, as the cruise line celebrates its 25th anniversary, it continues to pride itself on The Viking Difference which promises extraordinary and exclusive cultural experiences, warm, welcoming service, and outstanding value. And there’s no better place to experience The Viking Difference than as you sail along Europe’s enchanting Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers on board Viking’s legendary Longships. These exceptional small ships with their sleek Scandinavian design have large, airy lounges, spacious staterooms, and true two-room suites on Europe’s rivers.

Viking’s Rhine, Main, and Danube journeys stop in the legendary cities of Amsterdam, Vienna, and Budapest, as well as lesser known gems like Belgrade, Serbia with its monumental fortress whose walls have protected the city since the 15th century; and medieval Miltenberg, Germany with its Market Square lined with half-timbered houses. Sailing along these romantic rivers, you’ll spot Cinderella-worthy castles, lush vineyards, and natural wonders like the Iron Gate which slices though the mountains of Romania and Serbia; and Hungary’s Danube Bend which many consider the river’s most beautiful section.

Your Viking journey begins before you even leave home as Viking provides reading recommendations, online destination profiles, and a list of movies that will educate and inspire you before your journey. Watching Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy wander through the streets of Vienna in Before Sunrise will make you yearn to follow in their footsteps while the documentary Nuremberg illuminates the legacy of the post WWII war crime trials.

Privileged Access, Local Life, and Working World Shore Excursions are an important part of The Viking Difference. Privileged Access events include exclusive excursions to private art collections or highly-esteemed wineries that are usually closed to the public. A Privileged Access event in Vienna includes a visit Belvedere Palace, home to Klimt’s The Kiss, followed by a private workshop where guests create their own gold leaf treasure. In Cologne, there’s a private tour of the roof of the city’s iconic cathedral led by a member of the building’s restoration team.

Local Life excursions give you insight into residents’ daily lives and could include a brewhouse visit to taste Kölsch, a light, hoppy beer brewed only in Cologne; a home cooking demonstration in Bulgaria, or a tour of the archaeological ruins of Serbia’s Lepinski Ver, one of Europe’s oldest settlements. Working World calls on craftspeople and artisans who teach guests about their livelihood and could include a visit to a Dutch cheesemaker or a winemaker in Austria’s Wachau Valley, a region known for producing the best whites in Central Europe.

The Viking Difference is just as much about what Viking doesn’t offer as what it does. There are no inside staterooms, children under 18, or charges for WiFi, nor stuffy butlers or formal nights. And instead of being charged for every drink, house wine, beer and soft drinks are included in all onboard lunch and dinner servings. It’s no wonder Viking was named #1 River Cruise Line by both the readers of Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. And, the line is frequently #1 in its class on Cruise Critic as well.

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