I just returned from a 7-day cruise on the Rhine on one of Viking” s ship, Viking Kara, exploring Switzerland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Rhine River runs from the Swiss Alps through the Franco-German border and empties into the North Sea up in the Netherlands. I embarked in Basel on a beautiful sunny Sunday. I spent the night before in Basel and discovered its lovely medieval old town. Embarkation was seamless. Upon entering the ship, I was happily surprised by the décor, simple, classy, and inviting. The entire trip was peaceful and relaxing, a perfect balance between cultural excursions and leisure time. The atmosphere on board was casual, intimate, and friendly. We were only 123 guests which gave us the feeling of a large family reunion. I stayed in a French balcony cabin. The cabin had several outlets, both European and American, so I could easily keep all my electronics charged. The bathroom was perfect, from the shower to the heated floor to the fog free mirror. The large drawers and hanging closet allowed me to unpack completely.
All the Viking’s ships are individually named after different Nordic gods and goddesses. Our ship, Viking Kara, had a giant painting at the top of the main staircase. The painting represented Kara. in Norse mythology, Kara is one of the Valkyries, who are also known as swan maidens or wish maidens.
I enjoyed the small colorful towns, World War II history, amazing castles perched up high on the hills surrounded by forest and the vineyards. For the scenery, my favorite excursions were the Black Forest, the highlights of Strasbourg, and the bike ride in Kinderdijk in the middle of the windmills. The half day sail along the Middle Rhine was spectacular. All the cultural sites, many of them UNESCO sites, were interesting: the Imperial cathedral of Speyer, the Fortress of Koblenz, and the Cathedral of Cologne.
Overall, Viking exceeded my expectations in many ways. Often trips to Europe are so exhausting that you need a vacation when you get home. My seamless, stress-free journey was a pure pleasure.
I cannot wait to travel again on a Viking ship.