Ocean cruise travelers often figure out rather quickly; regardless of the cruise line, many parts of the experience are common. The itinerary runs from port to port. Offered at each port will be a variety of tours for an extra charge. There will be a buffet and other included dining options along with some optional ones. The more we sail, the better we get at our ocean cruising skills, the difference between cruise lines is not all that important. But then, for one reason or another, we try the world of river cruising. That refocused effort usually brings up Viking River Cruises, the most popular and highest rated river cruise company in the world. Very quickly we find that there are ocean cruising skills not needed for Viking River Cruises.
There simply are no formal events. Period. End of story. Every night I can wear nice jeans and a shirt with a collar and fit in just fine with others dressed similarly. I’ll bring along a sport coat more out of habit than necessity.
Booze Smuggling Skills
If the fact that beer and wine are included with meals is not enough liquor, passengers can and do buy some of the best wine in the world at stops along the way and bring it on board. Not a problem whatsoever. The only word of caution: don’t get carried away on those shoreside purchases. You won’t be able to take it on the plane back home and odds are the next day is going to bring another wonderful place where equally wonderful buying opportunities exist.
Viking provides bottled water before shore excursions and in your stateroom, replenished as needed. If that is not fast enough, both sparkling and still water are on tap at the conveniently located 24-hour coffee stations.
This is not a ship with thousands of passengers and thousands of crewmembers. On our sailing there were 180 passengers and 50 crew. We got to know most of them. Bottom line: There is no place to hide. Don’t try. The dining room opens for dinner after an evening chat from the ship’s Program Director (like Cruise Director on ocean ships). We often sit with different people in the dining room every night and enjoy every single one of them.
While a mandatory safety drill is performed before the ship sets sail, the stark reality sets in that there are no lifeboats on river cruise ships. There’s a reason for that. There is rarely more than a few feet of water under the ship. If it “sinks”, all the passengers just go up to the sun deck and wait to be rescued, usually by someone they can holler to on the shore.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some cruising skills you may have learned on ocean cruising which will come in handy. Travelers who buy into the onboard programming offered by a ocean cruise lines and come back home feeling refreshed, renewed or a bit different as a person can do the same on a Viking River Cruise. Travelers who have attained expert status on in the world of ocean cruises, figuring out now not to be nickle and dimed to death will love this: On a Viking River Cruise there are few opportunities to spend in excess of what you paid up front. That really jumps out of the experience as different, in a very good way.
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