One of the best parts of traveling with Viking River Cruises is the sense of familiarity we already have before boarding any of their ships. Virtually identical, coming aboard a Viking ship is much like coming home. A favorite chair is in the same place it was before we left. The daily routine has a pattern that is easy to step back into. The food is good. The ship is clean. The price is right. All set the stage for a marvelous travel experience. Still, we might say the same of other cruise lines as well. Visiting a Christmas market in Germany for the second annual Viking Social cruise, I was reminded just how important that familiarity is.
Wrap it up and tie it with a bow; the holiday season is upon us. It’s a time for gift giving, merrymaking, family and reflection. But how we go about celebrating the holidays is a bit different for everyone. Still, there are familiar patterns we fall into here as well.
In Nuremberg, we strolled through jam-packed Christmas markets on a Saturday afternoon. Amid centuries old architecture were booths full of shiny tree ornaments, hand-crafted gifts, every kind of holiday treat imaginable and more. It was wall-to-wall people and a crowd of visitors the size of which we would have avoided at all costs at home.
But having just checked in and gotten settled on our Viking longship, we had a familiar base from which to begin our journey. That’s huge. Knowing our way around a ship we have never been on before prior to boarding, if nothing else, saves time.
More importantly, that same familiarity enables us to go out into the world and experience it first-hand, knowing we have the safe environment of home to return to each night. That’s good news for apprehensive cruise travelers who making the jump from a (seemingly safe) Caribbean sailing to a (scary) European sailing for the first time.
Viking longships are just four decks high, carry less than 200 passengers and are designed to enable travelers to experience the world in comfort. A friend who had never been on a Viking river cruise told me they liked that it did not take all week to learn their way around the ship. “Usually by the last day I know where things are on big ships,” he told me just before dinner.
That first meal had more the feel of a dinner party at home too, with old and new friends alike enjoying each other’s company. The very first night, as I looked around the dining room it was apparent: the passenger group had come together and were already more familiar with each other than they might have been after a week on a bigger ship. That’s an key element of the Viking cruise experience that builds on the familiar, enabling great things to happen, perhaps as our ‘real lives’ at home might.
I think there is a lesson to be learned in all that somewhere, both for first-time river cruise travelers and those who have been on a dozen of them. Come back tomorrow as we go deeper into what Viking does, how they go about it and why river cruising might just be a perfectly familiar fit the right traveler.
Follow along a number of ways on our Christmas Markets Romantic Danube river cruise, hosted by Viking River Cruises:
- Right here at ChrisCruises.com- Live Events/In Progress– a new post every day at Noon (EST)
- Twitter- Follow all of the above on Twitter (+ @OrlandoChris and @LisaROwen) as well as the #VikingSocial tag and @VikingRiver
- Instagram– Follow @Viking_Cruises and ChrisCruises on Instagram
- Tumblr– Follow ChrisCruises for our live feed and TheWorldAsLisaSeesIt for one post during each event.
- Facebook- Look for photos and reports along the way as well as a number of Facebook Photo Albums
- Pinterest– This year our Christmas Markets Pinterest boards will focus entirely on the Food and Wine of Germany, Austria and Hungary.
- Our Flickr Photo Feed– all the images, unprocessed, free to use with attribution.
- @Exposure photo story books curated along the way. Speaking of which; check last year’s photo account of Viking Christmas Markets for an idea of what we might see along the way.
NEW- The social focus of this sailing is bringing you some interesting, different and engaging elements to our normal event coverage.
- Via Instagram (http://instagram.com/chriscruises), look for at least one photo post every half hour during the 8-day Viking River Cruise.
- Your Questions Answered, Right Now- Ask us anything on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram or in a comment to a post here at ChrisCruises.com. We’re holding no questions to answer when it’s all over. Get your answer now.
-Previously Published During This Event-
- 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-
- Viking Social Begins With A Bit Of Familiarity