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Things to Expect on a Viking River Cruise

Things to Expect on a Viking River Cruise

A Viking River cruise promises a cascade of moments enveloped in luxury, culture, and unparalleled hospitality. Each twist and turn tells a story as the ship unfolds the treasures along the Seine, Rhine, or Danube, whichever journey you’ve chosen. You’re invited to live and breathe this narrative. Here’s more about what to expect on a Viking River Cruise vacation.

things-to-expect-on-a-viking-river cruise-ship

Your Voyage Beckons

Upon arrival in Paris (or your embarkation city), the City of Lights extends an enchanting welcome as your vessel, a sleek beacon of modern navigation, awaits your arrival. The Viking Fjorgyn (For this article, I’ll refer to my cruise onboard this ship) is a masterpiece of maritime design that becomes your floating home, tucked within the cinematic backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, mere steps away.

Pro Tip: For this Paris to Normandy cruise, the ship will be overnight in Paris, so your arrival time is less critical than many other itineraries. 

Thanks to Viking for hosting me on two river cruises. As always, opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.


A Morning Ritual to Cherish

Greet the day aboard with a delicious breakfast spread in the inviting ambiance of the ship’s main restaurant or the lovely indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace. Good food is certainly something you’ll expect on your Viking River Cruise, and trust me, you’ll get plenty.

Mornings are a time for indulgence—perhaps you’ll enjoy Eggs Benedict, warm pancakes, or a taste of fresh muesli. The daily spread caters to every palate. Guests are free to eat from the buffet or order a plated meal from the menu—or both.


Should you wake up early, coffee and pastries will await you in the common area in front of the lounge from 6 AM to 11 AM.

Coffee and pastries are available in front of the Lounge from 6 to 11 AM. Guests can also enjoy a continental breakfast (with a few breakfast-sized dishes) on the Aquavit Terrace. The fruit is also fresh, no matter what location you are in.


Culinary Reverie at Lunch and Dinner

When it’s lunchtime, sit in the restaurant or take in the riverside views from the Aquavit Terrace. From chicken salad, Vichyssoise, and grilled paninis to comforting lasagna that speaks of home, Viking’s menu selections tantalize your taste buds with every course.


And when the day wanes into the evening, dinner is an affair you’ll want to linger over. I’ve never had a bad meal on Viking River Cruises, which is a bold statement. I love that you can hop from table to table to meet new cruisers during your journey and that you have staples for the picky eater who may not like every night’s course.

Complimentary beer and wine are served with each. Guests can also buy drinks at the bar anytime of day or night.

Pro Tip: You’ll find the daily menus on your stateroom TV and posted outside the restaurant. 


A Night of France Extravaganza

Prepare to be whisked away on a culinary odyssey through France (or your chosen destination) as Viking serves up a spectacular Taste of France dinner during one night of your itinerary. This tour de force of gastronomy reflects the Viking commitment to delivering authentic and spellbinding experiences.

Having cruised in Germany multiple times, I thought the German Food Feast was sensational, but the French night even one-upped it. Regardless, it’s a great effort for them to make such a unique international food and drink dining experience.


To see what looks fun at your German cruise ports, check out this post.

Well-Appointed Staterooms

Viking River Cruises has neutral color hues throughout your stateroom and all the comforts of home. There are drawers, a closet for unpacking, and a dresser for housing personal items, water and glasses, all your paperwork and brochures, and electronics. Kudos to Viking for offering enough outlets for charging.

The bathroom is functional, with space for storing toiletries and a built-in hairdryer and vanity. However, I can’t remember if the outlets allow for US devices (curling iron, electric shaver, etc.), so it’s always a good idea to bring a travel plug adapter


Enrich Your Spirit With Daily Activities

Each sunset brings an opportunity for personal enrichment, with port talks from the program director that paint a vivid picture of tomorrow’s adventures. My favorite was the Enrichment Lecture: Painters Along the Seine, which provided in-depth insights into the most famous French-connection painters Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh. You can also listen from your stateroom.

Pro Tip: Viking offered an optional painting class to help you create your own impressionistic painting. The fee was 10 euros per person and limited to 25 guests. 


Wine and cheese tastings are the jewels in the crown of onboard activities, where the region’s best varieties are served on your plate. And then there are the wine tastings—think Bordeaux, Moscato, and Rieslings.

And don’t even get me started on the live music—your evenings will be elegantly scored by talented local musicians and the ship’s pianist, each note a celebration of the region’s artistry.

You can sometimes request your favorite songs. Dancing is encouraged.


The Viking Daily and Excursions to Enrich Every Day

Imagine unwinding in your cabin after an event-filled day, only to find the Viking Daily newsletter awaiting you with what tomorrow brings. This isn’t just a newsletter; it’s your passport to the excitement of the upcoming day’s adventures.

Whether a gentle exploration tailored for ease or an adventure accessed by motorcoach, these inclusive outings promise to reveal the soul of the regions through which you travel. One is included daily with Viking, plus a few options for purchasing an additional paid excursion.


Please note that when the description mentions “leisure,” such as a leisure walk, it is suitable for all ability levels. The guide will be mindful of anyone with walking disabilities and take it slow.

In Paris, our Panoramic Paris featured a bus ride around town. In my past cruises, my favorite add-ons were:

  • The Palace of Versailles.
  • Picturesque Honfleur on foot.
  • A Bernkastel-Kues wine tasting.
  • An eight-hour tour of Normandy and its beaches. 

Find everything from weather forecasts, precise sunrise and sunset times, and enchanting histories of locations eagerly awaiting your visit. Should you venture solo and need to reach the ship, Viking’s contact numbers are always at hand, ensuring a safe and secure experience.


Revel in Unparalleled Sun Deck Serenity

Sunny days and scenic cruising confer on the Sun Deck. It becomes a sanctuary for relaxing moments, a sip of something delightful, or the perfect corner to lose oneself in the pages of a book, all while the scenery plays out before you.

Some of the Viking ships have a putting range, giant yard games, and herb gardens on top. There is also plenty of seating and excellent places for photo ops.


A Vanguard in Health and Safety

Viking River Cruises indeed heeds care and caution regarding passenger safety. In a world of uncertainty, your well-being is the topmost priority. Courtesy runs through the ship in the form of ample hand sanitizer stations, yet carrying your own is the signature of a seasoned traveler.

Conscientiousness dictates the use of masks where appropriate, when applicable, reminding us that our health is our own to guard.


The Ultimate River Cruise Experience Beckons

With every detail meticulously planned and every vista thoughtfully presented, a Viking River Cruise is more than travel – it’s an adventure where passengers meet the wanderlust of the soul. It’s an invitation to witness the world up close, imbued with charm and ensconced in the ease of world-class amenities.


There’s a world out there waiting to be seen, and it’s seen best from the deck of a Viking ship, a brand devoted to bringing you the quintessence of exploration. Sail away with Viking and relish the river cruise experience as it should be – authentic, awe-inspiring, and unforgettable.


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