When planning a Christmas or New Year's Holiday Cruise in Europe you have to plan and be prepared for any type of weather, especially on the Rhine, Danube or Elbe Rivers.
2011 was especially challenging with the low water level conditions throughout Europe....
We kept in close contact with Viking River Cruises, Cruise Critic members and our European friends. By the time we were ready to depart on December 17th we knew we would be cruising, rather then busing through Europe.
We arrived in Basel, Switzerland where we were welcomed by the friendly Viking River Staff....and believe it or not....the Rhine River had to much water now that we had to be bussed to our next stop "Breisach,Germany" approx. 1hr from Basel.
There were no major delays and we checked into Viking Helvetia, promptly received our luggage in the cabin (not everyone was this lucky, some passengers luggage never left the USA for days.)
The following day we bussed back to Basel for the scheduled City Tour.
Viking River Cruises and their Staff are very thorough from first booking the cruise, travel documentation, their itineraries and the selection of their efficient Staff throughout the trip.
The cabins are cosy but comfortable and adequate (we never spend much time in the cabin).
The food is excellent with choices of the main entree at dinner. Wine With your meal is standard at dinner. You have the option of buffet or a-la-cart for breakfast and lunch.
Local, professional guides, along with Viking River Staff members, join travellers on all the included excursions.
If you are not on land exploring the area, you will find activities on board.
Keep in mind that the River Cruises will not have the elaborate shows you find on the mega ships.
River cruising is the greatest alternative to the large crowds. Viking Helvetia will accommodate 197 passengers. You can make friends with all your fellow passengers. The open seating gives you the opportunity to dine with anyone you wish.
The Rhine River cruise has so much to offer....some of the highlights being Breisach, Black Forest; Strassbourg-Capitale de Noel; Heidelberg with the Castle, fun town and wine capital of the Rhine River area Ruedesheim; the most scenic stretch Ruedesheim to Koblenz with Castles on both sides of the River (NOT to be missed by spending time in your cabin!); Koblenz; Cologne with it's marvelous Cathedral.
A Christmas cruise with stops and visits to Christmas Markets in these great cities make it a this a wonderful TRIP to REMEMBER!
The Rhine River area from Basel to Amsterdam is a great trip at any time, there are always fun events scheduled on land or on your ship!
Our evenings were spent in the ships lounge dancing to the ships piano player and mingling with our new found friends.
The dress code is casual throughout the day. Comfortable SHOES is a must anywhere in Europe. Evenings are casual chic with a little dressier for the Captains Dinner.
We are getting ready for our 3rd Viking River Cruise in June.....this time Tour and Cruise in China.