PreChristmas Thrills and Chills: Viking Sun (Retired) Cruise Review by wandering wanderer

Viking Sun (Retired) 5
wandering wanderer
Member Since 2011

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PreChristmas Thrills and Chills

Sail Date: December 2010
Destination: Europe - River Cruise
Embarkation: Other
IT WAS COLD! IT WAS MAGIC! As we sallied forth each day, braving the elements in search of new and exciting castles and forts and cathedrals and vistas and history, charming markets and good food and drink, I felt like a school child on an incredible field trip. We returned tired and cold but never disappointed. Our ship seemed like the warm, inviting winter home where you relaxed with good friends, good food and good drinks around a roaring fire (not literally) and talked about the day and plans for tomorrow.

Cologne was one of the high points for me. It started with a tour by the best tour guide I have EVER experienced.* He was local, very knowledgeable and marvelously witty. Then we toured the markets on our own; made it to 6 out of 7. The vendors were so nice and they all spoke English. The many goods they offered were beautiful and real (not tourist junk). It snowed the entire day and made everything magical. The cathedrals are magnificent in the snow, a complex maze of More black and white. I'll never forget the beauty of Cologne in the snow.

The staff and crew of Viking make you feel that you are home, but with great service and gourmet food. My wife has a gluten allergy which is usually a problem. The dining staff and chefs made her feel special rather than problematic. Every meal was gluten free for her and special bread was hand-delivered. We have never experienced that level of accommodation anywhere. * In 2010 we were both retired and went to Europe for the first time. I refused to be part of a "tour." Had been on Carnival to Nova Scotia and Holland America on the Alaskan Inland Passage. Not my thing. Ride, point, click and back on the bus/ship/whatever is not how I want to see a country, a culture or anything of real interest.

We spent a week by car on our own in Provence followed by Viking's Rhone-Soane cruise from Avignon to Paris, where we spent a week in a small hotel on the West Bank. I have fallen in love with France and Viking River Cruises. I didn't want to leave. I never imagined a tour could be as good as your tours. It always felt like a local, knowledgeable friend was showing a small group of us around his/her neighborhood. No straining to hear, thanks to the closed system from our guide only, no getting left behind when I see something I want to focus on, no rushing to stay near the guide and I always get all my questions answered. If it's my ideal way to travel, it must be Viking River Cruises. I look forward to many more. Less

Published 10/07/11

Cabin review: E Standard Stateroom

We took advantage of a last minute offer and our cabin was on the bottom deck. It was all good except some noise and vibration from the engines, particularly in locks and a faint diesel oil smell. We were surprised one morning by a swan tapping on our window at eye level. He seemed quite interested. Must have been one of those peeping swans you hear about. Previously we had an upper deck on another Viking Cruise and we will return to that in the future. Although the only time we spend in our room is sleeping, bathing and washing out a few things. We may try a balcony room next time, although most of our viewing and relaxing is from the very comfortable and spacious common room on the upper deck.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Very cosmopolitan. Everyone speaks English. The canals in the snow were lovely. Some of the "coffee shops" aren't; they smoke funny tobacco. Turns out the streets with the department store windows with mannequins aren't. I got the picture when one winked at me and crooked her finger. My wife wasn't amused. Great food of all kinds. Never saw so many really tall, blond and beautiful women in one city. Amsterdam doesn't handle snow well. Carry shoe cleats in the winter. I went down twice and so did the people who immediately came to help. It started to look like a rugby scrum. I look forward to returning when I can spend more time and it's not snowing. -------------------------- All the "ports" are at towns and cities along the rivers, usually in or very close to the center of town. That's one of the beauties of river travel. Cologne was memorable because you dock at the edge of a park at the edge of downtown. Everything was within walking distance.

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wandering wanderer
Member Since 2011
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