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Viking River Cruise: Know Before You Go

Viking River Cruise: Know Before You Go

(UPDATED AUGUST 2022) River cruising seems to be on everyone’s bucket list and definitely on mine. Imagine a week-long river cruise with a land-based vacation at the beginning and end, making the total trip 12 days. Twelve days of having someone cook, clean, and pamper you while exploring exotic ports of call worldwide. That is the bucket list dream my husband, Eddie, and I checked off with Viking River Cruises. Here are some things to know for your cruise that may help you plan and anticipate your journey


1. Handling the Luggage

Once you arrive at the airport, a Viking River Cruise representative will be there to get you. With luggage in tow, meet the person in baggage claim (or another designated area) and head to the private shuttle vehicle that will take you (and possibly other guests) to the ship or hotel. 


The Viking staff will bring your luggage to your hotel or stateroom, where you can unpack and store your suitcases until the trip ends. Regardless of where you are staying, you will place the luggage outside your door at a particular time on the departure morning, and Viking’s staff will collect it for transport along with you.

As always, Viking’s staff is willing to go the extra mile to make your trip the most enjoyable.


2. How Tours Are Conducted

We have guided tours in each city on the Viking River cruise by local guides who speak English (and most speak several languages) and carry “lollipops” (signs with a designated group number) to follow. During those tours, we wear the devoted QuietVox audio receiver with an earpiece to hear what the guide says as we follow along.

Be careful on the cobblestones, which comprise a vast portion of this cruise. Wear appropriate footwear, and if you have any walking difficulty, you may need to bring a stick. Viking does have a “gentle” walking group that doesn’t have nearly the level of walking that the regular tour requires. You can choose which tour you are up for, the aggressive or gentle, and change them as often as you’d like.


Thanks to Viking River Cruises for hosting my travel arrangements and stays. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased. 

3. What the Viking Staterooms Are Like

You will love the Viking River Cruise staterooms, as we certainly did. Our 205-square-foot Veranda Stateroom allowed us to sit outside on a small balcony overlooking the lush river scenery via floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. The longship offered accommodations, including standard and French balcony staterooms, Veranda staterooms and suites, and two Explorer suites.


Our stateroom had a writing desk area with a large mirror and two twin beds pushed together with high-end linens. Other features were double nightstands, a mini fridge, reading lamps, a safe, and a huge closet with shelving and space for hanging clothes. Forty-inch flat-screen TVs offering Movies on Demand and a few regular stations are in each room for entertainment.


The bathroom had enough space to store our toiletries, hair appliances (hairdryer available), and a decent-sized glass-enclosed shower with Freyja® premium toiletries.

Viking’s staff gets a thumbs up for replenishing the bottled water daily. If you are worried, individual staterooms have their own thermometer to adjust the temperature according to your preference.

4. Unforgettable Meals

Viking sets the bar high for culinary standards. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner was truly magnificent. Not having to lift a finger to cook during vacation has to be one of the highlights. There are both plated meals (ordered from a menu of choices) and buffets with daily changing food items to choose from. Often there are action stations where the chef will cook pasta dishes or eggs to order.


A few sample menu items were Smoked Trout, French Onion Soup, Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella for starters, and Norwegian Salmon and Lump Crab Gratin Chateaubriand for main courses. The steaks was utterly delicious, the best I’ve ever had, no matter what kind or cut. Be sure to save room for dessert; they are sensational.


German buffet night is a crowd favorite. Beautifully dressed tables hold giant sausages, a warm potato dish, sauerkraut, and pickled vegetables. Viking also offered sausages and fat pretzels with accompanying mustards for dipping. Of course you can’t have German night without an Oompah band and beer.


And speaking of alcoholic beverages, the Viking River Cruises beer pairing was sensational, while the wine perfectly complemented the meal on other nights. During mealtimes, sodas, wine, and beer are included. Within a day or two, the dining room staff will know your every desire and almost greet you at the table with your favorite beverage.


Besides the main dining room, guests can also dine al fresco at Aquavit Terrace & Lounge, with indoor and outdoor seating at the ship’s bow. Get there early for seats with the best views.


5. Included with Your Cruise

Viking River Cruises includes free Wi-Fi and after-dinner programs, including enrichment lectures, local musicians, a magic show, music trivia, and culinary demonstrations. Each night before dinner, the cruise director will tell you what awaits you for the next day. The Viking Daily newspaper is delivered to your stateroom each night to help you plan accordingly. A talented pianist provided music daily. Ours was Petar, a fun-loving guy with magical piano playing skills.


A river cruise often requires going through several lock systems. For me, this is common in a river, but it is fascinating to watch the procedure for many. I think we went through 16 or more on this particular cruise. I captured one of my favorite photos when the doors swung open during one of the transits.

My favorite “included” item on the Viking River Cruise is that I can enjoy watching all of the Downton Abbey seasons from the comfort of my stateroom. There are plenty of other choices of movies and TV shows to watch, too.


6. Cruise Ship Offerings

The Viking Kvasir offers a library with a large selection of books you can check out, two computers for catching up on your emails and such, and a 24-hour coffee/tea/hot chocolate service with cookies and pastries.


The top level of the Viking Kvasir ship is the dedicated Sun Deck, offering 360-degree views, where we watched the scenic cruising, played shuffleboard, and enjoyed the putting greens. Viking also has a fantastic organic herb garden on the Sun Deck. 


With lounge chairs and plenty of seating groups to choose from, this is the perfect place to visit with friends, enjoy a cocktail, read a book, or take a nap. A walking track allows for some onboard exercise. A retractable covering goes over part of the deck for inclement weather, rendering it still functional.


Lots of activity takes place in the Viking Lounge & Bar. Not only will this be your place to get your alcoholic beverages outside of mealtimes, but also where lectures are held, games, entertainment, and scenic cruising from indoors. The floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows make it a perfect way to enjoy the scenery without braving the elements should the weather be unfavorable.


A small onboard shop is located directly across from the main desk. I think a devoted room selling port-of-call souvenirs (t-shirts, postcards, trinkets) would be a fantastic idea since there wasn’t enough time to pick these up in many of the ports.


7. Making New Friends

Meeting new friends is one of the bonuses of taking a Viking River Cruise. With fewer than 200 guests on board and even smaller amounts on excursions and the buses, you have a chance to meet everyone on the boat. We traded contacts throughout the cruise and are still in touch today. I am still in contact with a few travelers from my previous Viking River cruises, too.


As always, cruising with Viking River Cruises is a blast and adds richness to your travels and unforgettable memories.

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Learn more about our cruise adventures: 

Remembering My Viking River Cruise

Viking River Cruise: 12 Days-Paris to Swiss Alps

Exploring Bratislava, Slovakia

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FS Page

Saturday 6th of July 2019

This one's a comprehensive guide that would help a great deal while planning the Viking river cruise. Never imagines staterooms look were so fantastic. The meals look awesome too. Seems like you had a great time.


Sunday 7th of July 2019

Thanks so much! They keep getting better and better utilizing the limited space they have. I've loved watching the cruise ships evolve over the past 20 years. Thanks for reading. ;)


Friday 5th of July 2019

Thanks for answering so many of the questions I had about river cruising. It's totally on my bucket list but I was worried about getting bored. We are pretty active travellers so it's good to hear there are a range of tours each day.


Sunday 7th of July 2019

Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate it.


Thursday 4th of July 2019

I've heard so much about these river cruises and it sounds like something I would really enjoy. It's great that they take care of your luggage from the get-go. The meals look fantastic and good tip about the cobblestone streets. Cobblestone is so beautiful, but they take a toll on your feet so best to wear comfy shoes for sure!


Sunday 7th of July 2019


The Holidaymaker

Thursday 4th of July 2019

Very informative post, especially for those who are planning on going on a Viking River Cruise. I for one, like to know what to expect before a trip and I am sure the tips and information you provided would be most helpful. I too would love the German buffet theme dinner, how nice it would be to have a good traditional German food as you are slowly passing by the beautiful landscape. Ah, one day.

Punita Malhotra

Thursday 4th of July 2019

The accommodations look cozy and comfortable and the tiny bathroom packs a punch with it's space saving layout. I don't miid exploring a river cruise myself. You convinced me to pick Viking.


Sunday 7th of July 2019

Wonderful! I'm a huge fan! ;)

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