Caravan Sonnet: Viking River Cruise [Rhine River] - Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

1/12/18

Viking River Cruise [Rhine River] - Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

Today I am so excited to start sharing about the recent trip to Europe that I took with my mom through Viking River Cruises (and about our days in Switzerland before the cruise). It was definitely a trip of a lifetime and one that I would recommend everyone take at least once in their lifetime. It was just simply amazing. In many ways it still feels like a complete dream that it even happened! 

In the next couple of weeks I am going to be sharing about all of the different places we went to, activities that we did, restaurants we ate at, places we stayed, and our entire Rhine River itinerary for those of you that may want to do this exact trip in the future. (And just a side note- right now through January 31st Viking is offering a special 2-for-1 deal on many of their cruises and some even include FREE airfare! You can check out this incredible deal HERE!) 

To start things off I wanted to spend a little bit answering the most frequently asked questions that I received prior to the trip, during our cruise, and since I have returned. Some answers to questions I was asked you can find on Vikings Frequently Asked Questions Page (HERE) so I am not answering those but am trying to answer questions that aren't covered on their page. If you still have questions after this post please feel free to leave a question in the comment section below and I will answer it! So here we go... 

1. I heard that Viking River Cruises are just for seniors or those who are 60+ in age- is this true?
This is probably the #1 question that I received across the board from so many people. In fact when I posted on Instagram this picture HERE and this one HERE I received so many messages from people shocked that there were people younger than 50 years old. To be honest before I went I wasn't sure what to expect myself. Before I left I had one nurse say to me, "isn't that the gereatric cruise line?" when I shared what I was doing. And I smiled because I assumed that she may be correct in her statement. After going on this particular cruise I walked away thinking a couple of different things. 

First, in general Viking River Cruises don't have a predominately young crowd but that doesn't mean that there wasn't a lot of variety of age on the cruise that we took. I would say that about 1/3 was over 60 years old on our cruise, 1/3 was in their 40s through 60s, and a 1/3 were younger. On our cruise specifically we had a wide range and I think that this had to do with the fact that it was over the holiday season. One of the reasons that I believe that Viking looks like it is for an older generation is because most people who are working and are not retired can only travel at some specific times of the year. I think that if you are looking for a mix of ages that the holiday cruises would be the surest bet, but think you will find at least some age variety on each cruise.

Second, while Viking has not marketed themselves as a "college cruise ship" many people of all ages are starting to realize the wise investment that Viking actually is compared to some of the ship offerings of other cruise lines that appear to be cheaper. I will talk about this more in a minute! 

Third, I think the real question is whether or not younger people will be bored on the cruise ship if it is for those that are older. That could not have been farther from the truth. Let me answer that question next... 

2. Since it appears to be for those of an older generation will I be bored if I take this cruise?
My answer to this question is two-fold. First, I think that it depends on what you are looking for in a cruise. If you are looking for a party ship and want to just head to the Caribbean and escape and not think about anything than you may find this to be a bit overwhelming. Not boring- the exact opposite. Second, the days are so busy that if you are bored it is simply because you picked the wrong type of cruise to come on. 

I think it is important to note going into a Viking Cruise that when they say it is a trip of a lifetime filled with amazing sites, amazing culture, and amazing learning they are not being flippant with that statement. This is definitely not the cruise to take if you don't want to learn a ton and see a ton of things. 

The days are PACKED full of excursions and opportunities to really delve into the culture of where you are. I studied abroad in Germany when I was in college, but I walked away feeling like I had truly seen the heart of Germany through this cruise. I participated in every single excursion that was included (plus an additional one that we purchased) and my day often started at 6 am to get ready for the day, then breakfast, then an excursion, then lunch, then an afternoon activity or excursion, then dinner and then there was the option for after dinner activities. 
It was full. 
It was non-stop. 
It was just amazing.

 Now many people flexed the schedule and chose to relax or not join in on every excursion (choosing to see the town that we were in at their own pace) but either way bored was never a word that was said. 

3. Viking Cruises look wonderful but they are so expensive that I could never afford one. Is it really worth the investment?
Yes. Yes. Yes. 

Honestly as I started to do a comparative cost rate on Viking versus other cruises that I have been on I was shocked to realize how cost effective Viking actually is. On the Rhine River Cruise that we were on we had included excursions for every single day that we were on the boat. While there was the option to purchase additional excursions most people did not and those that did paid at most $79 (we paid $49 per person for our purchased excursion to Colmar which I can't recommend enough!). 

Compared to other cruises that I have done where each excursion ranges from $69 to $200+ the fact that all of the excursions were included is a HUGE selling point to me immediately. In my opinion most people go on cruises to see different places and typically you have to purchase the things that you are doing on top of the cost of the cruise that you have purchased. That quickly adds up and pretty soon you are spending a lot of money simply to get off the boat. That is not the case at all in this situation since these excursions are all included. 

Another thing that is very cost effective about the Viking Cruises is the included alcohol and drinks. On many cruises you have to purchase alcohol packages or drink packages. This is simply not the case with Viking. At every meal (and sometimes even when you got back from excursions!) you have the offering of the house wines and beer that are simply a part of the package. This includes soft drinks and juices for those who are not drinkers. And for those who love water like me there is an unlimited supply of bottled water in your stateroom. Absolutely wonderful! 

I think one of the main things that is an amazing selling point also for Viking Cruises is the fact that there are so many deals that they constantly are offering (like their 2-for-1 sales that I mentioned above). As one couple who was on their honeymoon said to me - as they compared all of the costs for where to go on their honeymoon and did the statistics of all inclusive resorts they realized that they could fly to Europe for free through Viking and get to see Europe together on their honeymoon (something that they thought they would have to wait 5 or 10 years to do) for under $2000! They said that they started saving and it was the best investment that they could have done at the beginning of their marriage. They were so sweet and they truly made a good point. 

3. Did you have access to the internet?
I am giggling a bit as I write this because this is definitely one of the negative parts I do have to say about the Rhine River Cruise. Technically, yes you have wi-fi. If you are planning to be dependent on it for work or for staying connnected... I would caution you that it may not work as well as you hope for it to. 

I needed to use the wi-fi as part of my job and I often spent more time trying to connect to it then I did actually have the opportunity to be on it. So as a word of warning - yes, there is wi-fi- but it is spotty at best. 

4. Do I have to know a different language to be able to go one of Vikings Cruises?
The simple answer to this is no. Everything on Viking (including the local tour guides) will speak in English to you so you wouldn't have to worry about this. During your free times to explore in different cities you may run into needing to know some simple phrases but most people got by just fine with English. 

5. Are most of the other passengers on board stuck up travelers?
This question (and a variety of versions of it) made me smile because I understood where it was coming from. I think that the advantage of the Viking Marketing team is that they have stayed with their consistent message to show that you will be on a 5-star resort vacation on their cruises, but perhaps the disadvantage is that it doesn't show a variety of ages on board. And, maybe that many people, like myself, are hard-working people who viewed this trip as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

As I talked with almost every single passenger on board I do admit that there were a few who were proud to just share all about their previous cruising experiences and where they had traveled to (and looked a bit down on you if you hadn't traveled as much), BUT 98% of majority of people on board were sweet and kind people who were excited to have the experience with loved ones and friends. 

At the end of the day I think that this is like any cruise or vacation experience- I think you choose who you hang out with and what you take away from any experience- the good and the bad. But if you are looking for the bad you will be hard pressed to find it as it was just amazing. 

I hope that these answers helped! If you have any additional questions that I didn't answer please let me know in the comments and I will be happy to answer them for you! I can't wait to start sharing next week pictures and details from the cruise. It was amazing!!

Happy Friday friends! 

4 comments:

  1. This post made me smile!! :) I'm so glad you had a great time and reading this I learned so much about Viking- now I want to go on one of their cruises! Can't wait to hear more!

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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    1. :) It was SO wonderful friend!! I definitely recommend going!! You would love it!! It is fantastic!! Thanks so much for stopping by friend!! Can't wait to see you soon!!
      :) Rebecca

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  2. I had heard of Viking before, but honestly had thought it would be for "older" people. But seeing your IG posts and reading this post has caused me to change my mind! Andy and I want to travel to Europe in the next few years. I'll have to add Viking River Cruises to our list!

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    1. I totally understand friend! That had been one of my impressions also! It was so lovely- I definitely hope y'all get to go! They have some amazing cruise options- including their new ocean cruises that look incredible! :)

      Sending love!

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