Sailing the River Danube on a typical Christmas markets sailing, one of the last stops along the way is Vienna, a favorite stop for a number of reasons. There will be a marvelous Mozart and Strauss concert performed by a Viennese orchestra. Passengers will tour the city during holidays in Vienna from a couple different viewpoints, see the landmarks, visit the Christmas market and more, off the ship. Fond of Vienna, I like that the way we see the ‘city of music’ with Viking River Cruises on their classic Romantic Danube itinerary highlights many advantages provided by doing so via river cruising.
Overnights- One of the interesting parts of river cruising, or small-ship cruising in general for that matter, is the ability to stay in port overnight. Frankly, it’s something I never really thought about when sailing big ocean ships in the Caribbean, across the Atlantic or in other areas of the world. The big ship model for success does not permit many overnight stays in port. Those commonly underpriced ships need to be at sea with the casino and onboard services running full speed, to be profitable.
On a typical Viking River Cruises Romantic Danube sailing we overnight on the ship in three ports.
- Nuremberg– First in Nuremberg, allowing those just flying in the first day time to get their feet on the ground and put a normally-long travel day behind them. Actually, the ship will overnight two nights in Nuremberg as we are coming in a day early, just to shoo away that jet lag a bit quicker. That extra day also allows for anticipated flight delays due to winter weather and puts us in the same place for a while at the beginning of our travel; important if luggage is lost and we end up working with an airline to get it to us.
- Budapest– Viking travelers will also overnight at the end in Budapest, giving time to enjoy the Hungarian nightlife as well with a more relaxed schedule before the flight home.
- Vienna- Those who choose to will be able to see that marvelous night time Mozart and Strauss Concert, performed by a Viennese orchestra because we overnight in Vienna as well.
Value- That the Viking longships stay in port overnight, as opposed to an expensive hotel on land, speaks volumes. It’s not an exclusive Viking element; other small ship lines do this also. But the fact that tiny Viking longships can dock very close to the city center, enabling travelers to simply stroll into the center of town, also eliminates the need for ground transportation and dining.
Logistics– The Ringstrasse is a circular road surrounding the Innere Stadt district of Vienna, Austria and is one of its main sights. Vikings begin their full day in Vienna just after breakfast, boarding motorcoaches for a tour of the Ringstrasse with a running commentary by a local Viking-sourced guide. Once in the city center they will explore on foot, admiring the interesting mix of architecture and the bustling city center area. This is a great example of a normal day on the river, beginning with an orientation tour and ending in free time to explore.
Options- On a river cruise, there are always options and Vienna has some of the best. Viking travelers might choose an optional tour to Schonbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site OR they could do the morning tour and go back to the ship for lunch OR stay in town and do lunch on their own.
Relaxing- Another option, which usually gets attention at about this point, is simply enjoying your Viking longship. There are nice places to read a book. The stateroom television features a thoughtfully curated selection of films (count on The Sound Of Music, filmed in places that will be visited), news and sports channels. There are onboard events scheduled that complement the regions visited along the way.
Just Chatting- One of the best parts of a Viking River Cruise is that they attract North Americans (along with travelers from the UK and Australia) like flies to honey. Some will have tried big ships and like the more intimate experience on a Viking longship; they like knowing a much higher percentage of names, both fellow passengers and crew, among other advantages.
Without a doubt, that last part, ‘just chatting’ with fellow passengers has produced some of the best travel moments we have enjoyed on Viking River Cruises. Like a big ship cruise, it’s the well-orchestrated, shared experience that resonates with travelers, whether they realize it or not.
Like an ocean cruise, many elements of the experience are included in the price of a river cruise. Unlike an ocean cruise, river cruises include more- see for yourself:
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