When it comes to cruise vacations, many travelers seem to gravitate toward a particular cruise line, ship or itinerary that resonates with them. Using the guidance of a good travel agent or on their own, they found their favorite and are happy campers, ready to sail whenever time or the travel budget permits. One cruise traveler might like Princess Cruises for their unique and diverse worldwide itineraries, another for their Serenity adults-only area of all ships in the fleet. Someone else might choose Carnival Cruise Lines because they like to gamble and get offers for discounted or complimentary staterooms. Still others might love the “Wow” element and interesting attractions provided by the majestic ships of Royal Caribbean International. Some are proud to be Norwegians while others are fiercely Vikings. Any of these or other reasons make for a fabulous travel option. Still, one element of the cruise vacation of universal appeal to travelers is cuisine. In Part Dry (three) of this series about Festive Sailing With Viking River Cruises, we take a closer look at the culinary experiences we enjoyed along the way.
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, has more than 20 dining options to satisfy the 5,400 passengers that sail every week. Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Getaway has 27, new Regal Princess 16, Florida favorite Freedom of the Seas a dozen and new Carnival Breeze has more than any other ship in the Carnival fleet. On Viking River Cruises revolutionary longships, custom designed to get the most out of size limits imposed by the nature of river cruising, has one. Two if we count their open air Aquavit Terrace, a popular observation dining area at the front of their ships. Still, there is no lack of culinary experiences on the Viking Longships. Indeed, cooking demonstrations, off ship dining opportunities and special events on board provide a plethora of culinary immersion for the culturally curious travelers that choose Viking. Here are some of what we experienced sailing with Viking River Cruises on their Romantic Danube Itinerary, themed to include Christmas markets.
Visiting Regensburg, Germany in December brought us face to face with the cold weather we left behind in Kansas when moving to Florida a decade ago. Ready and willing to embrace the cold (briefly) getting out of it and inside for fresh Apple Strudel and hot chocolate at a local restaurant overlooking the gothic spires of St Peter’s church was a lifetime-quality experience we will always remember.
In Passau, Germany we followed the aroma of fresh gingerbread, just out of the oven, to Simon Bakery where we learned how to make it on the heels of a cup of Gluhwein in a tent set up just outside of the place. Also steps away from Passau’s Christmas market, the impressive Bishop’s Residenz, 14th-century town hall and 17th-century St. Stephan’s Cathedral . Nice neighborhood.
There is no denying it, Gluhwein (Hot Mulled Wine) is a big part of the Christmas markets experience but also offered in nearly every European town as a delicious antidote to the season’s chill. In the markets, Gluhwein mugs are designed and tagged for each specific market, making a great way to remember the visit as inexpensive souvenirs. We collected 6 on this trip, bringing our total collection to 9. We want more too.
Grilled sausages are popular year round in Germany. But summer beer gardens transition to Christmas market stands in the winter, their spicy aroma drawing passersby like a magnet. Safe to say; we sampled (inhaled) them at every market visited along the way on our 8-day journey.
While sausages are available year-round in Germany, special holiday confections like these ‘snowballs; are featured. Love them? They can be found at other times of the year, we just have to look a bit harder.
On board our Viking longship, we learned how to make gingerbread houses and many Viking passengers did just that, alongside a Viking chef.
In Vienna, we were treated to a Mozart and Strauss concert in the heart of the Austrian city. After, we returned to our Viking longship where a spicy hot Hungarian soup was being served.
One of the most unique culinary events was a progressive dinner that began in the galley and continued throughout our Viking longship and featured local fare.
Wrapping up our memories of this year’s holiday Viking River Cruise we’ll take a look at the people we traveled with. An energized group of social travelers, each with a story of their own, getting to know other passengers while sailing with Viking is often one of the most enriching parts of the journey. We’ll get into more detail on the next and final part of this series.
See more in our photo storybook Culinary Experiences 2014: Enabled By Cruise Vacations
Want to skip ahead and see the rest of the trip, in greater detail? These posts should work very nicely for that:
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: What To Wear
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: Travelers We Will See On The Ship
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: River vs. Ocean Experience
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: The Viking Longships
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: When Winter Travel Is Worth It
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: Remember Where You Are
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: Looking Forward To Vienna
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: Ocean Cruise Skills I Will Not Need On My Viking River Cruise
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: Going Through Locks, Will They Be Frozen?
- The 12 Days Of Viking Christmas: Overnight In Budapest: What To Do
- Nuremberg’s Meridien Grand Hotel A Great Pre Cruise Option
Facebook photo albums-
@Exposure Photo Story Books
- Regensburg, Germany- A Christmas Markets Visit With Viking River Cruises
- The Grand Cathedrals Of Europe
Posted Live from Viking Delling-
- Viking Social Begins With A Bit Of Familiarity
- The Most Popular River Cruise Line In The World
- 10 Reasons To Buy A Christmas Markets Cruise Today
- 5 Secret Reasons Why The Viking Empire Is Expanding
- Viking Christmas Markets: Video Vs. Reality
- Actually, Christmas Markets Were Just One Part Of Our Cruise
Post Cruise Reflections-