Are you curious about a river cruise? Wondering what the differences are between a river cruise and a hotel stay? I recently had the opportunity to join Viking River Cruises on the Romantic Danube; exploring the Christmas Markets of Europe from Nuremberg to Budapest . Viking River Cruises are offered year round, so if you prefer traveling to Europe in the spring, summer or fall, this river cruise is for you!
Viking River Cruises Martijn Kamphuis (MK) shares how he came to be a hotel manager on the Viking Delling Longship.
MK: I started in the restaurant business when I was 14 and had the goal to be a hotel manager. I was lucky to make a career out of it. I have a degree in Hotel Management from the Netherlands. It has always been my hobby and I was able to make a job out of my hobby.
What’s the difference between a bricks and mortar hotel & river boat cruising?
MK: The differences are of course that no moments are the same. On a Viking Longship, the scenery is always changing. And furthermore, the contact with the guests is totally different than a land- based hotel. With a hotel, the contact with the guests is limited to check in, check out, breakfast and dinner.
As for a floating hotel, you are with the guests almost 24 hours a day, and then for the entire cruise. On the other side, of course you have different logistic issues such as deliveries of goods. These details really need to be planned in advance.
What are the similarities of river boat cruising and a hotel?
MK: There are similarities; in general the whole process of service is the same.
Besides only having to unpack once during your travels, what makes river cruising unique compared to a hotel stay?
MK: One very important thing is the possibility of visiting cities and sailing through countries without any worries; everything is taken care of.
To elaborate on Martijn’s above statement on sailing without worries, it should be noted that Viking sends each guest travel documents pre-trip, as well as providing daily itineraries in room. Trip documents include:
itinerary-specific information booklet
travel companion destination book
leather luggage tag
self-stick luggage tags
keepsake travel wallet
What are some of the misconceptions with regard to river cruising?
MK: The biggest misconception is that people think river cruising is only for older people. River cruising is for everyone! We see multi-generations and when we have complete families on board, we see that they are all enjoying it.
Tell us about the amenities of Viking River Cruises (VRC)
MK: I think one of the great amenities is the fact that we take care of everything. In addition we have Viking house brands. Our biggest amenity is the type of ships we offer; you always have the same onboard experience – feel the same confident atmosphere.
Is there a hot tub on board a longship?
MK: Viking Longships deliver the comfort, the view and the service. We don’t have space for hot tubs or fitness areas on board. We are specialized in providing the services for it locally through our concierge.
What are the difference in room categories?
MK: We have the comfort stateroom, veranda room with balcony, veranda suites with separate living room and Explorer Suites.
When is the best time of year to book for value cruising?
MK: Viking always offers the itineraries that are fitting for the seasons. There’s always beauty and the cities are always wonderfully changing throughout the seasons.
When is your favorite time of year to cruise?
MK: I don’t have a favorite time of year. Each season offers different opportunities; in springtime the tulip and windmills in the Netherlands and Belgium and in summer, the European cruises and in winter during the holiday season the Christmas Market cruises.
Do you love sharing your vacation photos with family and friends as they unfold or are you worried about staying connected with work while you travel? Viking River Cruises offers complimentary internet access and two computer stations on board all longships. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @VikingRiver on Twitter.
If You Go:
Viking River Cruises
More information may be found on the Viking River Cruises website, www.vikingrivercruises.com
Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Disclosure: thanks to the folks at Viking River Cruises for making this trip possible. This was my first time on a river cruise and I loved it! All opinions are my own.