River Cruising 1

An open letter to our Readers

“WE TRAVEL TO EXPLORE, TO LEARN, TO UNDERSTAND. RIVER CRUISES ARE INTIMATE, INCLUSIVE ITINERARIES THAT ARE DESIGNED TO HELP YOU EXPLORE NUANCES OF YOUR DESTINATION: ITS FOOD, CULTURE, PEOPLE, AND CUSTOMS.”
VIKING RIVER CRUISES

I have had the great pleasure of being on two of the Viking River Cruises. We chose river cruising for two reasons; the first was that my husband gets seasick (there’s no rocking and rolling on the rivers) and the second was the number of guests onboard (typically a maximum of 150, both of ours were around 90). We were looking for a meaningful way to see the world.

The first cruise was August of 2016 on a Viking Rhine Getaway cruise departing from Basel Switzerland and finalizing in Amsterdam. Eight fantastic days aboard a Viking longship with stops along the way in Switzerland, Germany, France, and The Netherlands.

Our travel agent assisted with our booking, flight arrangements and suggested that we take the overnight flight from Minneapolis nonstop into Amsterdam, spend the two days and one night in Amsterdam and take the overnight train to Basel Switzerland. It jump-started the experience, and when we embarked on our Viking Longship, we were in the right ‘headspace’ to enjoy everything.

The second adventure was this past July to Russia – St. Petersburg to Moscow for 13 days. To say it was a trip of a lifetime is underselling the experience. Our guides had Master Degrees in Russian History, European History and spoke perfect English. We had small group VIP tours behind the scenes to see the treasures of Russia, the Kremlin and so much more. Did you know that Russia is spotless?  Their public spaces are immaculate.

These were two trips on my bucket list of exploring the world, and we have more planned. It was a leap of faith to put our precious vacation time and money in a travel agent’s hands, but it was well worth it to not have to do any of the detailed planning. I will never plan a trip again, the agent made such a difference, and I feel that we got the most bang for our buck, not one penny nor one second wasted.

For each trip, we received a package from Viking Cruises with the travel guide booklet which provides more in-depth details about our stops along the way, a sleeping kit (mask, earplugs) and the red leather Viking luggage tags. It’s a great day at our house when “the package” arrives at our door. Viking Cruises does a great job getting you excited for your trip knowing that part of the fun is the anticipation. Nothing but the best from Viking Cruises.

I like to tell friends (and anyone who will listen) that it is as if they (Viking and our travel agent) had crawled inside our heads and made all our dreams and wishes come true. River cruising comes with supreme comfort and convenience making it the best way to experience magnificent cities, historic villages and little-seen enclaves. Natural beauty combines with evolving views of the colorful local scenery with castles and vineyards on both sides, as if you could reach out and touch them. These trips are as beautiful as the commercials portray them to be.

There are other River Cruise companies available to choose from, so start with your travel agent so they can assist you in selecting the right one to make your dreams come true for you.

Best Practices – 
#1 Work with a travel agent.
#2 Don’t worry about which stateroom you choose.  We chose the smallest without balcony both times because you will not be spending time in your room.  You will sleep, shower and maybe catch a nap. One of our friends had the larger stateroom with the balcony, and the other couple had the suite. We all agreed that there is no need to have more than the basic.  Not to say you shouldn’t splurge, just saying that it isn’t necessary.
#3 Get started today! Pick a destination and call your agent. It’s okay to start by getting information so you can budget. I am always thinking and planning for a year or more in advance (we’ll be in Italy Spring of 2018).

Acendas Travel is right here in Eden Prairie; you can reach them at (763) 746-8877

See you on the River!
M.
Mary Abeln
Publication Director, Eden Prairie Lifestyle Magazine