Travel & Destinations

Take a Chance: Try a River Cruise

I am a reluctant cruiser.

My one ocean cruise, although pleasant, had too many people and too many floors. I avoid these things on vacation, especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

But I was offered a chance to take a River Cruise with Viking. I have friends who have enjoyed the experience. I thought of the TV commercial, wherein the Viking founder conveys the grandeur of a River Cruise as a “thinking person’s” cruise. It fades to a beautiful image of a castle on the Rhine River… and I’m in!

We explored one of Europe’s best-loved rivers on the Rhine Getaway Cruise. Among our discoveries were the turreted fortresses, grand cathedrals, historic cities, medieval towns, and spectacular scenery of the Middle Rhine — a United Nations World Heritage Site.

And I loved the entire experience!

I felt safe. The maximum capacity on the Egdir is 190, and there were 115 on board. We were required to have a negative Covid test before leaving home and another immediately after boarding. I also tested every morning on the ship. Safety protocols included masking while on board in public spaces unless eating and drinking. There was not a single case of Covid among crew or guests on our cruise.

It’s a small, intimate setting. I never felt crowded or uncomfortable. There was plenty of indoor and outdoor space. The ship was elegant and restful. The spacious staterooms, divine dining venues, and panoramic views add to the travel experience.

River cruises are mobile luxury hotels — and traveling is easy. Once aboard the ship, worries disappear, and everything is taken care of. We visited four countries on the Rhine River Getaway: Switzerland, Germany, France, and The Netherlands, all without repacking! The ship ties up nightly in the heart of a small town or city, and upon waking and having a tasty breakfast, you walk ashore. Instead of driving along a busy highway, you can enjoy the beauty of the countryside as you pass.

The staterooms are cozy and well-appointed. Our veranda stateroom was a dream space. It was the perfect spot for sharing a glass of wine and watching the scenery pass — castles, vineyards, medieval towns, and more. With fluffy white towels and crisp linens, it felt like a fancy hotel with luxurious amenities galore. I loved the bathroom with the rain shower head and heated floors.

You can pack casual attire for the entire trip. Life aboard the ship is simple and laid back. Dress is casual, even for dinner. Women don’t need any formals, and men aren’t required to wear a jacket and tie.

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The windmills at Kinderdijk

Enjoy free shore excursions in each port. Rest or recreation is your choice. You could relax and enjoy the ship without ever taking a tour of the port town. While the boat was a beauty, the food excellent, and my cabin very comfortable, the highlights of the cruise for me were the ports and shore excursions— my favorite was experiencing the beauty of the windmills at Kinderdijk. The area was built in the mid-18th century and is the largest concentration of windmills remaining in the Netherlands. It is an iconic Dutch scene.

360-degree views on the sun deck. In addition to lounge chairs and shaded areas, the top deck features a walking track, putting green, and a games area. I loved watching the world go by from this vantage point with optimum photography opportunities.

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Various cookies to savor

Enjoy delightful dining with fabulous food. We had two dining options on the ship, and a special menu was presented each day for lunch and dinner. The chef also offered classics that were always available, like rib-eye steak, poached salmon, and roast chicken. Dessert choices included creme brûlée, cheese, seasonal fruit, and ice cream.

If you’re peckish between meals, homemade cookies are at the always-open coffee bar. I would come on this cruise again just to have one more of those delicious chocolate chip cookies.

Unique evening entertainment. I always looked forward to the entertainment offerings. My favorites were a chamber orchestra string quartet and a trivia contest. On our final night, we enjoyed a nightclub act featuring a torch singer. Everyone was dancing!

I am hooked on “The Viking Way,” and I look forward to another Viking River cruise one day soon.

If you go:  

Viking Cruises offers more than 70 vessels with itineraries ranging between 8 and 232 days on 17 different rivers located in Africa, Asia, and Europe.


Sharon Kurtz

Sharon Kurtz is a freelance writer and photographer. Her passion is travel, telling stories, and tussling with her four-legged friends. As a baby boomer who loves adventure, she welcomes opportunities to share stories of people, places, food, and flavors around the corner or around the world. A regular contributor to fyi50+ Magazine, she's published 200 articles in various digital and print publications. Austin, Texas, is home with her husband and three spoiled dogs when not searching out new adventures. You can follow her travels on Instagram and Facebook.

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