Sail Date: May 2017
My adult daughter Kim and I took this cruise as my gift to both of us to celebrate her milestone birthday. Previously, each of us separately had been on ocean cruises. However, we chose an adventure on a small vessel that held a couple ... Read More
My adult daughter Kim and I took this cruise as my gift to both of us to celebrate her milestone birthday. Previously, each of us separately had been on ocean cruises. However, we chose an adventure on a small vessel that held a couple of hundred people, not thousands. Kim picked the Rhine River Cruise. We were at our starting port in Basel, Switzerland, only long enough to be graciously welcomed aboard the Mani, our long ship. While we ate our delicious dinner, prepared as always by our professional chef Peter, we sailed to Breisach, Germany. After breakfast, we went to the Black Forest on buses, which met us at every port during the entire cruise. On the way, our tour guide told us about the history and culture of the fields we were viewing. Most interesting was the annual farming and harvesting on June 24 of white asparagus in this verdant valley and others just like it along the Rhine. At the top of one of the thickly forested mountains, we watched glass blowers creating exquisite works of art and clock-makers creating intricate large and small mechanical and battery-operated cuckoo clocks. The next morning back on the Mani, we arrived in Kehl, Germany. That morning we took a guided walking tour through the streets of Strasbourg. After an excellent buffet lunch on the Mani, we boarded our buses for the fascinating Alsatian Wine Tour & Tasting excursion. That evening as we were entertained in the lounge after an excellent dinner we sailed to Mannheim, Germany. In Mannheim, we boarded our tour buses to see Heidelberg Castle, which sits above Old Heidelberg. Touring it with our very knowledgeable tour guide was a wonderful learning experience. The old city was an absolute joy in which to walk and shop. Kim and I each bought cuckoo clocks there. At about 5 pm that evening, the Mani, arrived in Rudesheim. Kim and I went on a self-guided tour of the city and then met our fellow travelers at the Rudesheim am Rhein Beer Garden. With our indefatigable program director George, we ate and drank, sang and played silly games, and danced the night away. Then we boarded a mini-train that took us back to the Mani. It’s George’s job as program director to make sure that all members of all excursions are safely and securely accounted for as we board the Mani in every port. This is by no means an easy task. It’s something akin to herding cats. To his immense credit, George lost no one in any port along the way. The next morning the Mani left Rudesheim for Koblenz. All morning, George gave us a grand guided tour of the 16 castles along that part of the river known as the Middle Rhine River. He told us, among many other fascinating facts, that out of the 16 castles, two are owned by private individuals. Kim is certain that she was meant to be one of those owners, surrounded by steep hand-harvested vineyards just as they have been for 2,000 years. While Kim went on the grueling tour of Marksburg castle that afternoon, two fellow passengers and I went on a self-guided walking tour of Koblenz, which sits in the triangle made by the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine Rivers. Koblenz means confluence. An exceptional highlight of the cruise was touring the Cologne Old Town Cathedral and St. Martin’s Church which we did in the morning, followed by a non-group lunch and a self-guided tour of Cologne, accidently ending up at the Kolnishches Stadt Museum and seeing the history of Cologne in pieces of ancient armor, old tools, modern newspaper articles, and a city-model of 1571 Cologne constructed in 1913 by cartographer Arnold Mercator. We shopped briefly on the way back to the intersection where our buses were waiting to take us back to the Mani. That evening Kim and I enjoyed another fun-filled night participating in the Beer Culture Tasting tour with a well-versed and full of fun beer expert. We went to three different breweries and tasted each of their unique beer in small glasses. We were delightfully entertained with interesting facts and jokes while eating a delicious dinner in the second brewery. It was a memorable, perfectly guided, and well-planned evening. The next and last day of our cruise we arrived at Kinderdijk Village, South Holland, about 15 km from Rotterdam, at about 4 pm. There we learned how and why windmills were made. These structures, built in 1738, are so effective, we were told, the surviving 28 (of the one-time 150 total) would have rid New Orleans of its flood waters in two days. The following morning, we ate breakfast and said goodbye to our wonderful servers and cleaning crew, the distinguished and able captain and his crew and left the Mani for the last time for our plane trip home from Amsterdam. From this Rhine River Cruise, Kim and I got exactly what we had hoped. A week of wonderful memories with a small group of people, on a ship that was always perfectly maintained, a program director who never showed fatigue, a chef who always prepared delicious meals, a serving crew who were impeccable, a lounge entertainer Robert who provided excellent live entertainment, a captain and crew who made us feel safe, and perfect weather too. Sincerely Cheri Lea Hager September 5, 2017 Read Less
Viking Mani Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.8
Entertainment 3.0 4.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.8
Family 1.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.7
Enrichment 4.0 4.7
Service 5.0 5.0
Value For Money 3.0 4.6
Rates 4.0 N/A

Find a Viking Mani Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise