Heading off again, this time on a Viking river cruise

I’ve dragged the suitcase out again and it is just about full. I’ve changed purses, taking out all of the unnecessary credit cards. I have send my children emails of how to reach us and I am about to clean any leftover fresh produce from the fridge.

That’s a sure sign that I am heading out again, this time to Europe for a fairly short trip – a one-week sailing on the Rhine river aboard the Viking Hlin.

The opportunity to do this came up rather quickly but May is a fairly quiet month for us so we decided to go for it. We fly out tomorrow from our tiny little airport in Pellston, Michigan, to Detroit and then on to Paris, and from there to Basel, Switzerland.

This will be our third river cruise, the second on the Rhine River. We have been to some of these ports before but there are several new ones. We really do like river cruises….the small number of fellow passengers, the ease of walking on and off the ships, the included shore tours and the pace of travel all suit us just fine.

But we are particularly interested in the Viking river experience. As the editor of AllThingsCruise, I have sent a couple of other writers on Viking and their reports were all positive. Our former river cruises were on Uniworld to Eastern Europe and on Scenic to the Rhone and Moselle rivers and on a portion of the Danube. Both of those companies are rated as top-of-the-line for reasons we will explore in later posts.

But there is little doubt that this company, Viking River Cruises, is the goliath in the river cruise industry and has been for 20 years. Their television advertising on the smash PBS hit “Downton Abbey” brought river cruising into the homes of Americans and Europeans when few had ever heard of the concept.

As a result, there has been tremendous growth in river cruising with about a dozen new ships coming online in each of the past several years as river ships are fairly easy and inexpensive to build. Viking introduced two new Longships in March, bringing its fleet to nearly 65 vessels…not counting its three ocean ships.

Chet and I sailed last fall to the Baltic with Viking Ocean Cruises and had a fantastic experience. It was obvious that Viking had brought many concepts of river cruising over to its new ocean product. So now we want to take a close look at its river cruising product and how it stacks up to all the other new river cruise companies.

May 5, 2017

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