TRAVEL THERE: OUR VIKING RIVER CRUISE, WONDERFUL IN EVERY WAY
On Monday I had a little fun with you about the joys of coming home from a vacation, but the truth of the matter is that I thoroughly enjoyed our Viking River Cruise. I can’t think of a single reason why you wouldn’t want to call your travel agent this minute and book one of their marvelous experiences. My frustration with the size of the room could have been resolved by one of the Viking suites if money were no object, but money is always an object.
River Cruising vs. Ocean Cruising
This was our sixth cruise and our second on a river. We definitely prefer river cruising, but you might not. If you like the casino, shopping arcade, pools, kid’s activities, theaters, gyms and spas, then you should stick to ocean liners. If you think you’d like remarkable access to amazing destinations, individualized service and a relaxing atmosphere, then I might have just the thing for you.
We loved being two of the only 190 guests on the Viking Tor. Everything (and I do mean everything we wanted) was included in the price of the cruise. The boat was full of cozy little places to relax and enjoy our time on board, instead of the craft being stuffed cheek to jowl with attractions designed to separate us from a little more of our money. We returned to the same dining room for every meal where our waiters quickly learned our preferences and we made friends around the table, instead of being shuffled from dining room to dining room with a new waiter every night, never seeing the same passengers twice. We sat on the Sun Deck with plenty of elbow room and a pair of riverbanks to watch, instead of suffering the frenetic pool scene of an ocean liner. Best of all, there were no roving photographers trying to get us to pose for yet another picture every time we turned around.
More River vs. Ocean Trade-offs
I’ll admit we’ve enjoyed some great entertainment on ocean liners. There are no Broadway spectacles aboard a Viking Longship, but they still managed to provide satisfying entertainment. I wouldn’t have minded a gym, for morning workouts, but with walking tours at almost every stop, I usually managed to meet my step goal for the day.
And speaking of walking tours, I adored the shore excursions on Viking. I’m not a big fan of getting drunk on a pirate boat or a private island. I don’t snorkel, scuba dive or participate in other water sports. While I enjoy shopping excursions, my husband is not really happy with the dings on his credit card bill. There’s usually one day on an ocean cruise where I really enjoy an excursion, like the Road to Hana in Maui or Dzibilchaltun on the Yucatan peninsula, but on the other days, I would gladly trade my experience in on a good museum.
Aboard the Viking Tor, we woke almost every morning to discover we were docked at yet another wonderful destination. After breakfast we joined a knowledgeable guide, usually for a walking tour, but in the bigger cities, a bus tour. Even with the bus tours we’d get out of the bus and wander around various sites. The guides were knowledgeable, personable and delightful. The focus of the tours was to teach us something about the destinations and familiarize us with the lives of its inhabitants, now and in the past. Drinks were not served and we weren’t abandoned at shopping opportunities with no hope of exit without a purchase. Instead we drank in the beauty and chewed on the history. If we were interested in shopping, there was plenty of free time.
And There’s More!
I’ve only begun to rave. Come back next week and I’ll cover some more of the generalities of the cruise, like who our fellow passengers were and what the food was like, so you can get an even better idea of whether you are a river cruiser or an ocean cruiser.