We are fortunate to live in a time when traveling is both quick and affordable. A transatlantic trip that used to take months can now be completed in half a day, leaving us with more time to actually explore a new destination. Still, there is something irreplaceable about water travel. It is a truly unique sensation, offering a different way to see our world while giving us a bit more time to relax. While ocean cruises are certainly popular, though, they really only give you a coastal view. A river cruise, on the other hand, lets you see the interior of a new country while you float. Viking River Cruises, which started in 1997, offers the widest array of destinations to enjoy in this fashion. With a fleet of 64 river vessels, they can take you to every corner of the globe- providing there is a river, of course. You can explore Europe for anywhere from 8 to 23 days on the Rhine, Rhone, or Danube rivers, to name only a few. You can travel in Russia from Moscow to Saint Petersburg on the Volga and Svir. You can even see Egypt from the Nile or China from the Yangtze. While Viking Cruises has recently expanded to include a few ocean lines, their river cruises are the most unique experience, and they certainly offer the most variety.
The different cruise programs are nicely structured while still offering plenty of choices. Take, for example, the Viking Akun, which runs from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. You spend the first four days of the 13 day trip in Moscow. Each day, you can choose to enjoy more active walking tours of the city, or you can relax and see the sights by bus with a few key stops along the way. The program organizes tickets for a variety of events, such as trips to the Kremlin, local museums, ballet, and musical performances. Viking also provides lunch during your excursions, and they give you plenty of time to shop for souvenirs. You spend each night on the ship, where the kitchen offers a mix of local and international cuisine. The next five days are spent on the Volga and Svir, offering a gorgeous view of the Russian countryside. There are a variety of stops along the way, such as a visit to a banya, the traditional Russian take on a sauna. While in transit, there are activities on the ship itself, from Russian language lessons to vodka tastings. The last four days of the trip are spent in Saint Petersburg. It is a beautiful city crossed by an expansive canal system, which you will explore on another, smaller vessel, and dotted with vast gardens. The water view of Saint Petersburg is second only to the Hermitage Museum’s extensive collections, not to mention the architecture of the museum itself.
To learn more about visiting Viking River Cruises or to book a vacation, head over to the Acadia Travel Concierge site here.
I hear that the Greenville Little Theatre is raffling off a Viking River Cruise this March, 2017… only $10/ticket, 6 for $50…. Mary Freeman made me buy some tickets, so I am planning our cruise down the Danube! Of course, pour back up plan, if we don’t win the raffle, is a cruise down the Saluda! —Caleb & Mary Freeman—