It Is More Than A Cruise - It Is An Experience
Find out more about why river cruising is an enriching travel experience where you connect with the world up close. These are floating hotels that journey between European capitals and villages. More than a cruise, it is an experience. Discover why with these videos from Viking River Cruises.
Art & Culture
We asked award-winning travel writer & cruise expert Ralph Grizzle to give us the inside scoop on river cruising.
Why has river cruising become so popular in recent years?
People want an immersive cultural experience when they travel, and river cruising allows you to explore a destination in depth, at a relaxing and enjoyable pace. The hotel travels with you. Simply unpack once, then sit on the top deck and enjoy the scenery as the ship sails past picturesque castles, villages and vineyards. With frequent stops, you really get to experience the riverside life of the places you visit, not to mention the incredible opportunities to meet with local vintners, historians and entertainers who visit the ship along the way.
How does the river cruising experience differ from an ocean cruise?
The experience is much more intimate and designed around the accessibility of the destinations. When you check in for a river cruise, the process is seamless. You simply walk from the dock along the short gangway, and within minutes you're unpacking in your stateroom before gathering with your shipmates for a Champagne welcome. And when the ship is docked, you rarely have to take a shuttle boat ashore, with the exception of a few towns along the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia. You simply come and go as you please. On board, you have all the modern amenities at your fingertips, just without the rock-climbing walls, ice skating rinks and wave pools like on a large ocean cruise ships.
Châteaux, Rivers & Wine
What advice can you give travelers planning their first river cruise?
Don't think you'll go just once. I've talked to countless travelers who just can't get enough of river cruising, and they cruise once or twice every year. Knowing that you'll take plenty of repeat river cruises, don't feel pressed to fit everything into one trip. First-time river cruisers often get their sea legs (or make that "river legs") on the Danube, cruising from Budapest to Passau or Nuremberg in Germany. Then consider Venice and the Po River of Italy, a trip up Russia's Volga River, or a cruise through Holland at the height of the tulip season. Or if you're feeling adventurous, consider an exotic cruise down China's Yangtze River to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. Or join Viking River Cruises for an incredible adventure down the legendary Nile to explore the monuments of ancient Egypt alongside expert Egyptologists.
Food & Wine
Is a river cruise a good choice for single travelers?
Absolutely. As someone who regularly cruises solo, I can say unequivocally that river cruises are an ideal choice for independent travelers. In fact, many of river cruise companies cater to individual travelers, with special rates and no single supplement charges on select cruises. It's the perfect way to meet like-minded travelers who will become friends for life as you get together for meals and shore excursions.