We recently had our very first Viking River Cruise experience and we loved every minute if it. We sailed down the Romantic Danube from Budapest, Hungary to Nuremberg, Germany stopping at six fascinating and gorgeous destinations along the way. Our ship was elegant and well appointed with spacious, comfortable staterooms and lovely common areas. Meals were served by amazing staff and were of a quality that would delight any foodie. The excursions were interesting and well-planned and the views along the river Danube were nothing short of spectacular.
Of course, none of this came as a surprise to us since Viking has an impeccable reputation. Who wouldn’t like a Viking Cruise? Well that is actually a question we decided to ask ourselves. After all, it is our job to help people decide where to spend their vacation time and hard-earned money. In truth there are very few, if any, experiences in the world that appeal to absolutely everyone. So after much thought and deliberation we came up with a list of people who might not love a Viking Cruise.
You Might Not Like a Viking River Cruise if You Are:
An all you can eat buffet fan
If your idea of good eating is grabbing slices of pre-made pizza or piling your plate high with fried chicken, spaghetti, and powdered mashed potatoes then a Viking River Cruise may not be for you.
However, if you find sitting down at a white clothed table and ordering from a daily menu of delicious, freshly cooked meals appealing then Viking will suit you just fine. But don’t panic buffet lovers, there is also the option to help yourself from a table loaded with gourmet options like salmon tartare, roast of the day and freshly made Cobb or Caesar salad. If you do choose to order from the menu and have a hard time deciding, or if your appetite is large after a day of exploring, the amazing staff will bring you another meal of your choice. No problem. It’s unlikely that you’ll go home with ten extra buffet pounds under your belt but you definitely won’t go hungry either.
A party animal
Do you like to dance until dawn while downing shots of tequila? Well then a Viking River Cruise may be a big disappointment.
This is not to say there’s no evening fun to be had, quite the opposite. Viking Cruise guests know better than anyone that life is to be lived and they are living it to the fullest. As the average age is over 55 the ship is full of people who have had a good chunk of life experience and know how to have fun. They have also worked hard to enjoy this second half of their life and that is obvious in the Viking Cruise lounge after dinner. Dancing, singing and making new friends are the nightly events when the older crowd really comes alive…until about midnight anyway.
However, if age is just a number for you and you like getting to know people of all ages then don’t discount a Viking Cruise however old you are. We were a couple of decades younger than the average person on board but we had the best time chatting with the other guests and making new friends. To be honest many of them outlasted us on the dance floor too. Plus they had some fabulous stories to share over a cocktail or two.
A floating city cruiser
Are the only cruises you have experienced of the massive floating city kind? The kind of cruise liners that spend days out at sea entertaining you with Vegas-like shows, surfing on the top deck and dancing the Macarena poolside. If so then you should be warned that Viking River Cruises are a very different experience. In fact, most Viking ships do not even have pools.
This is not to say that you won’t love a Viking River Cruise, it’s just that you really can’t compare the two. The only similarity is that they are both vacations on water. A Viking River Cruise offers a much more intimate and culturally focused experience. The aim is to learn about and explore the destinations you cruise to and to get a real taste of the local culture and food. It is made to be an enriching and thought provoking experience rather than a time of constant entertainment and over indulgence. Nothing wrong with the latter but it is the former that Viking excels at.
A late sleeper
Most Viking River Cruises will stop at a new destination every day and while cruising to each new spot the scenery is something not to be missed. This means that you will want to get up at a reasonable hour every morning to explore the interesting beautiful new destination you have arrived at. The excursions usually start between 8 am and 9 am and of course you will want to have your gourmet breakfast before you leave. We highly recommend taking advantage of the excursions but don’t worry, there is no obligation to do so. If you want to sleep in one morning and make your own way into the town or city after lunch the staff will help you do just that.
A young family
Viking Cruises are generally not made with kids in mind. This is due in large part to the fact that the ships are not massive floating cities and so there is just not enough space for kids facilities. There are also minimum age requirements for most of the cruises. In other words Viking Cruises are not the best choice for a family vacation with young kids.
On the flip side, however, this means that anyone looking for a quieter, less hectic cruise vacation can rest assured that they will get it with Viking. Sure, the sound of children’s laughter and playful footsteps can be a wonderful thing but sometimes you just want vacation without those distractions. Plus most of the guests on board have finished raising their kids and are enjoying their own time now and those that still have children at home are having a well earned break.
Bored by history and culture
There are many people whose idea of a perfect vacation is shutting off their brain by burying themselves in a novel while laying by the pool drinking Pina Coladas. If this is you, don’t book a Viking Cruise.
We’re not saying that you can’t relax and de-stress on a Viking Cruise, the itineraries always allow for plenty of down-time if that’s what you’re looking for. However, as mentioned in previous points, Viking is all about getting to know the destinations they dock at. Why escape into a book when you can actually step into another world? Take an excursion and learn firsthand about the history, architecture and local culture. After all, why choose to go on a cruise that stops in Budapest, Hungary if you have no interest in that beautiful city’s painful past or the absolutely stunning architecture that is everywhere you look. In our opinion just walking the historic streets of these fascinating cities is a form of therapy that will simply melt any stress away.
Pin It For Later
So there you have it, not everybody will love a Viking River Cruise. But it is an experience of a lifetime for those who want a different type of cruise vacation. Viking offers not only travel to wonderful destinations but also the chance to explore, learn and better understand the destinations you travel to and the people who call it home. Oh and there’s also the spectacular scenery, amazing food, luxurious surroundings, friendly staff and the new friends you are sure to make.
Full Disclosure: We were invited to be guests on the Romantic Danube Viking River Cruise so that we could review and share the experience with our readers. As always every word and opinion is our own.
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.