Viking Kara Cruise: Highlights of my cruise

ABOARD THE VIKING KARA – Going through airport security to catch my flight home from Amsterdam, the agent asked the “nature of my business” for the trip. When I answered that I had been on a Viking River Cruise, he gave me a smile. “Hard to return to reality, isn’t it?” he asked. Sure is. River cruising is a great way to get up close with cities, towns, stories and people along the world’s mighty waterways. I …

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Viking Kara Cruise: Siren song of Lorelei, other legends inhabit castles on the Rhine

ABOARD THE VIKING KARA – Once upon a time there were two brothers who quarreled so violently that they set up separate castles and built a wall between them. Years passed and, as the two brothers aged, they mended their ways and decided it was better to be friends than enemies. To celebrate their newfound peace, the siblings agreed to go hunting together. For this particular adventure, the brothers decided that the one who awakened first would …

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Viking Kara Cruise: Visiting Germany’s famous Black Forest to hear cuckoos, eat cake

ABOARD THE VIKING KARA –  Centuries ago, farm families in Germany’s Black Forest would spend winters holed up in their mountain cabins.  Snowed in with few chores to do, the families – often with as many as a dozen children – would pass the time using natural resources they had at hand to create objects for use and to sell for extra money. “They had plenty of wood,” said tour guide Petra. “So they would carve kitchen …

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Viking Kara Cruise: Dining delights abound on river cruise

ABOARD THE VIKING KARA –  Would I prefer roasted pork medallions wrapped in parma ham, herb crusted ahi filet with warm chanterelle arugula vinaigrette or portobello mushroom lasagna? But, wait, that is just the first page. Another “always available” page offers even more choices – sautéed salmon filet, roast chicken breast or seared prime ribeye steak. And that is only the entrees. For starters, I can choose baba ghanoush & hummus, blackened beef carpaccio, baby spinach and …

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Viking Kara Cruise: Meet the Maître d’ and learn to make Rüdesheim Coffee

ABOARD THE VIKING KARA – He’s handing out bottles of water as we depart for shore excursions. He’s waiting to greet us back with glasses of warming liquor. He clears dinner plates from our dining tables. He even dresses in lederhosen for our German dinner. And on this afternoon, he is teaching us how to make Rüdesheim Coffee in the Viking Kara lounge. Our maître d’ Mirko Kusan seems to be everywhere. I don’t think he ever …

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Viking Kara Cruise: Visiting the ‘Colmar Pocket’ museum in France

ABOARD THE VIKING KARA – We walked down cobblestone streets, turned in a gated courtyard and ended up at the entrance to an 18th century cellar. If tour guide Malcolm Waddell hadn’t been leading us, we probably would never have discovered this off-the-beaten path museum. But what a treasure house it is. “The things in here are worth a fortune,” said Jerry, one of the few passengers on my Viking Kara cruise who opted to take the …

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Viking Kara Cruise: Complimentary extras add to Kara cruise

ABOARD VIKING KARA – It seems to be an unpleasant trend. Airlines are cutting services and adding new charges. Resorts are sneaking in hidden charges. Even my cable TV service at home has found new ways to boost the price. So it is surprisingly wonderful to see all the complimentary extras on my Viking Kara cruise. I’ve only been on the ship one day and already I am noticing little pluses that mean so much to travelers. …

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Viking Kara Cruise: Audie Murphy war memorial created by grateful French village

“I never liked being called ‘the most decorated soldier.’ There were so many guys who should have gotten medals and never did – guys who were killed.”       Audie Murphy ABOARD THE VIKING KARA – While folks at home were preparing for Christmas 1944, Audie Murphy and many other Americans were off in foreign places fighting for their country. World War II was raging and 19-year-old Murphy was about to make an unbelievably heroic stand in a far-flung …

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Viking Kara Cruise: First day on Viking Kara cruise gets off to great start

ABOARD THE VIKING KARA – First impressions can be so important.  They can start a trip off on the right foot or the wrong one. Viking Kara certainly knows how to do it right. Getting to Basel, Switzerland, for my cruise on the Viking Kara was unusually easy. I know that was probably just the winds of fortune but Viking did book my flights and I was blessed every step of the way. First I took a …

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Viking Kara cruise: Preparing for Rhine getaway river cruise

I’m a list maker, a note taker. In my job as a journalist, I have to be organized. So I can see that Viking River Cruises and I are going to be a great match. With my cruise on the Viking Kara coming up, I received a good-size box from FedEx. Inside was my personal itinerary, guidebook for the Rhine and its tributaries which I will be traveling, bright red leather luggage tag, two Viking River Cruises …

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