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This was my "retirement vacation" after 33 years with the Fire Department. My wife and I saw the ads for Viking River cruises and said "why not?" My wife used to book corporate travel when she worked in the corporate world, so she handled the arrangements. We decided to spend a couple of extra days in Europe on each end of the cruise, so we did 2 extra days in Amsterdam and 2 in Basel, Switzerland. She booked the trip, and when the itinerary came in, we were a little concerned. The initial trip over, we would have flown out of Boston with a connecting flight from Keflavik, Iceland. We prefer direct flights, but this for this leg of the trip it wasn't a major concern. The return flight, however had us leaving Zurich, catching a connecting flight in Copenhagen to Keflavik and then to Boston.. it would have been total of 13 hours to get home. We inquired about getting direct flights, we got a Boston to Amesterdam flight on Delta. The return trip was from Zurich to New York/JFK with connecting flight to Boston on Delta. Our flight was nice, we arrived in Amsterdam around 7:30 their time. We were met at the airport by a Viking representative, who made sure that we and our luggage made t to the hotel. The hotel was the Raddison Blu. it was very nice and we ate at the restaurants at the hotel. We did do a hop on/hop off boat tour of Amsterdam. One of our stops was the Van Gogh Museum (my wife is a student of art history). If you take the boat tour, make sure that you get back early enough. the stop that was closest to our hotel closed. We ended up walking distance and eventually hailed a pedicab to take us back. The transit to the ship was smooth. There was still time before the ship set sail to do little exploring if one wished. We had a suite cabin, it was very nice, with a sitting room as well as a bedroom.We left Amsterdam in the evening and arrived in Kinderjik, a UNESCO heritage site. We did an excursion to the windmills.One of the things that Viking does is have a group for those with mobility issues. One gets to see the same things, the tour is at a slightly slower pace. After Kinderjik, we cruised downriver to Cologne (Köln in German) We did a walking tour in the afternoon and visited the Köln Cathedral. In the evening I did the Köln pub crawl, visiting 5 different German pubs and sampling different varieties of Kölsch beers. Next was Koblenz and Rudeshiem, where we toured the Marksburg Castle. Again we cruised down the Rhine to Heidelberg and Speyer. Speyer had a transportation museum, with many aircraft, trains, boats and vehicles. It is hard to miss a Boeing 747 in Lufthansa livery looking like it just took off! I would have loved to tour the museum, but being a self professed "airplane geek" I probably would have missed the boat! We left Speyer and headed for Strasbourg, in the Alsace Lorraine. Strasbourg is beautiful. I took a winery tour there. We made one more stop in Germany...Breisach. We took a bus to the Black Forest region. Upon the return, we set sail for Basel. Once we arrived in Basel, we disembarked, then took the bus to Lucerne. Our hotel room at the Grand Hotel Lucern was, in a word, magnificent! We spent two days in Lucerne, Taking a Lake Lucerne cruise as well as visiting the Titlis Glacier. We said goodbye to Switzerland as we drove by bus to Zurich and then home. Food: The food on the boat is awesome! Breakfast is served buffet style , with many choices. Lunch is low key, dinners are wonderful .There are usually 3 different menu choices as well as 3 "staples"... I could go on and on about our experience with Viking, but I would probably be writing the equivalent of Dostoevsky's War and Peace. If you are thinking about going on a Viking River Cruise, take my advice... DO IT!

A Rhine Getaway Adventure

Viking Hlin Cruise Review by Ron Ayotte

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2015
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Suite
This was my "retirement vacation" after 33 years with the Fire Department. My wife and I saw the ads for Viking River cruises and said "why not?"

My wife used to book corporate travel when she worked in the corporate world, so she handled the arrangements. We decided to spend a couple of extra days in Europe on each end of the cruise, so we did 2 extra days in Amsterdam and 2 in Basel, Switzerland.

She booked the trip, and when the itinerary came in, we were a little concerned. The initial trip over, we would have flown out of Boston with a connecting flight from Keflavik, Iceland. We prefer direct flights, but this for this leg of the trip it wasn't a major concern. The return flight, however had us leaving Zurich, catching a connecting flight in Copenhagen to Keflavik and then to Boston.. it would have been total of 13 hours to get home. We inquired about getting direct flights, we got a Boston to Amesterdam flight on Delta. The return trip was from Zurich to New York/JFK with connecting flight to Boston on Delta.

Our flight was nice, we arrived in Amsterdam around 7:30 their time. We were met at the airport by a Viking representative, who made sure that we and our luggage made t to the hotel. The hotel was the Raddison Blu. it was very nice and we ate at the restaurants at the hotel. We did do a hop on/hop off boat tour of Amsterdam. One of our stops was the Van Gogh Museum (my wife is a student of art history). If you take the boat tour, make sure that you get back early enough. the stop that was closest to our hotel closed. We ended up walking distance and eventually hailed a pedicab to take us back.

The transit to the ship was smooth. There was still time before the ship set sail to do little exploring if one wished. We had a suite cabin, it was very nice, with a sitting room as well as a bedroom.We left Amsterdam in the evening and arrived in Kinderjik, a UNESCO heritage site. We did an excursion to the windmills.One of the things that Viking does is have a group for those with mobility issues. One gets to see the same things, the tour is at a slightly slower pace. After Kinderjik, we cruised downriver to Cologne (Köln in German) We did a walking tour in the afternoon and visited the Köln Cathedral. In the evening I did the Köln pub crawl, visiting 5 different German pubs and sampling different varieties of Kölsch beers. Next was Koblenz and Rudeshiem, where we toured the Marksburg Castle.

Again we cruised down the Rhine to Heidelberg and Speyer. Speyer had a transportation museum, with many aircraft, trains, boats and vehicles. It is hard to miss a Boeing 747 in Lufthansa livery looking like it just took off! I would have loved to tour the museum, but being a self professed "airplane geek" I probably would have missed the boat!

We left Speyer and headed for Strasbourg, in the Alsace Lorraine. Strasbourg is beautiful. I took a winery tour there. We made one more stop in Germany...Breisach. We took a bus to the Black Forest region. Upon the return, we set sail for Basel. Once we arrived in Basel, we disembarked, then took the bus to Lucerne.

Our hotel room at the Grand Hotel Lucern was, in a word, magnificent! We spent two days in Lucerne, Taking a Lake Lucerne cruise as well as visiting the Titlis Glacier. We said goodbye to Switzerland as we drove by bus to Zurich and then home.

Food: The food on the boat is awesome! Breakfast is served buffet style , with many choices. Lunch is low key, dinners are wonderful .There are usually 3 different menu choices as well as 3 "staples"...

I could go on and on about our experience with Viking, but I would probably be writing the equivalent of Dostoevsky's War and Peace.

If you are thinking about going on a Viking River Cruise, take my advice...

DO IT!
Ron Ayotte’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Veranda Suite
Cabin AA
Our suite was very comfortable. There was fresh fruit and bottled water every day.
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