Taking A European Family Cruise Without Kids
By Nancy Schretter, Editor
As many parents well know, family vacations don’t always include the kids. As children get older and head off to college, parents often travel alone as a couple or with other adult family members such as siblings or their own parents. These trips might include romantic anniversary holidays, special celebration vacations or girlfriend getaways. For these types of family trips, parents often seek out vacation options that allow them to experience new things and appeal to their interests such as history, art, cuisine and cultural exploration. European river cruises fit the bill perfectly.
River cruising is one of today’s top upscale travel trends according to recent travel industry surveys. Parents, family members and friends enjoy exploring Europe’s postcard–perfect towns and cities together and sharing memorable experiences. River cruise ships are smaller and more intimate, making it easy for adult family members to relax and enjoy each other’s company. In addition, since rivers are quite calm and guests can always see the shoreline, seasickness is not an issue.
Viking River Cruises is a well–known leader in European river cruising. As the most awarded river cruise line, Viking has received numerous accolades for their river cruise experience and has been named “Best River Cruise Line” eleven times by both Travel Weekly and TravelAge West. Viking offers a wide variety of European river cruise itineraries along scenic waterways such as the Danube, Rhine, Elbe and Douro Rivers. Each cruise offers a wealth of opportunities to learn, explore, and experience the authentic culture of their local regions.
Here are ten reasons why a European Viking river cruise is the perfect option for an adults–only family vacation:
1. Immersive Destination Experiences. Adults enjoy learning about the world and authentically experiencing new places on their vacations. Taking a Viking river cruise is an easy way to explore a number of European countries in one trip. While Viking’s ships are modern and extremely well–appointed, the spotlight is focused on enjoying Europe’s charming towns and mid–sized cities and learning about their food, customs and culture. Viking’s river cruise ships tie up in or very close to town, providing guests with more flexibility. It’s generally easy to stroll off the ship and walk to museums, restaurants, local shops, and other attractions. Everything is within easy reach and tenders are never necessary. Viking’s shore excursions feature exceptional guides who expertly bring their cities and towns to life. In addition, shipboard enrichment activities include lectures on history and regional customs, wine tastings, informative port discussions, and music and dance performances by local artists.
2. Personalized and Intimate. River cruise vessels offer a smaller, highly personalized vacation experience. Viking river cruise ships accommodate less than 200 guests. These ships are like spacious luxury boutique hotels floating down Europe’s waterways. Because of the smaller size, guests on Viking river cruises have easier access to everything on their ships and spend more time interacting with the staff and fellow guests. This relaxed, convivial atmosphere helps everyone to quickly bond and feel like family.
3. Well–Traveled Adult Guests. While adults cruising as a family tend to spend plenty of time together, they also enjoy meeting new people and making friends on their vacations. This happens easily on Viking ships. Viking’s river cruise guests are generally well–traveled, outgoing and interesting. Since Viking cruise passengers tend to be like–minded adults, there’s a highly social, cohesive atmosphere onboard. Viking reserves the right to limit the number of children under 18 years of age onboard their ships. School–aged children and teens are generally not present on most sailings as well.
4. Luxurious Ships. Viking River Cruises has an extensive fleet of spacious river cruising vessels, most of which are brand new. Since they own and operate all their ships, Viking can manage all the small details that are part of an exceptional vacation experience. Like a fine hotel, Viking’s ships are well designed with an open floor plan and feature modern interiors with a Scandinavian feel. On Viking’s iconic Longships, guests can enjoy relaxing on their ship’s top deck equipped with tables and chairs, a walking track, an herb garden and more. The beautifully furnished indoor lounge and bar area on these ships is the centerpiece of activity and features entertainment in the evenings. Rooms are light and airy with large panoramic windows, perfect for relaxing and watching the world go by.
5. Amenity–Rich Staterooms. Viking river cruise staterooms provide the perfect oasis after a long day of exploring. On Viking’s Longships, guests can choose luxurious staterooms with either a window, French balcony or a full verandah with chairs. Large suites are also available. Thick walls and heavy insulation keep rooms peaceful and quiet. All Viking staterooms are well furnished with beautiful appointments, private bathrooms with heated floors and lots of closet and drawer space. Longship staterooms also have safes and small refrigerators, perfect for keeping cheeses and delicacies purchased from local markets. Cabins also offer flat–panel televisions featuring a wide variety of channels and free videos on demand. Both European and U.S. electrical plugs are thoughtfully provided as well.
6. Attentive Staff. On a river cruise vacation, the ship’s staff and crew are the keys to a superb guest experience. As a result, it’s important to seek out a river cruise line with exceptional staff and excellent service. Viking River Cruises offers superb service onboard their signature Viking Longships. Viking’s knowledgeable staff quickly knows every guest by name and personally caters to their needs. They go out of their way to make every guest’s experience unique and memorable.
7. Outstanding Dining. Culinary excellence is a focal point for European river cruises. While ocean cruises often offer a wide range of dining times and multiple restaurants, meal times on river cruises tend to be more fixed with flexible seating. On a Viking river cruise, guests can choose to have their meals in the main dining room or the indoor–outdoor Aquavit Terrace for more casual al fresco dining. Menus feature excellent regionally–focused food and wine selections with fresh, local ingredients. Because river cruising ships are much more intimate, dining becomes a more personalized, social experience.
8. Hassle–Free Logistics. River cruises allow adults traveling together to easily and effortlessly experience the heart of European countries without stress. Unlike a bus tour, guests unpack just once and there are no planning hassles. Viking River Cruises makes the river cruise experience relaxed, organized and convenient. Itineraries usually include visits to one or two port towns or cities each day. Since ships generally tie up in or very close to town, river cruise guests have the opportunity to fully enjoy these memorable destinations.
9. Flexible Touring Options. While shore excursions are included on many river cruises, there are no rigid touring schedules and it’s easy to explore independently. Simply opt out of the group tour or break off early on your own with proper notice and chart your own course. Viking’s knowledgeable Hotel Managers, Program Directors and Concierges are more than happy to make personalized suggestions for those who wish to customize their experience and go off on their own. This kind of flexibility is priceless. After all, having the choice to personalize your vacation and do it your way is what today’s best travel experiences are all about.
10. Great Vacation Value. River cruises are much more inclusive than most of their ocean–going counterparts, providing an exceptional vacation value. Viking’s highly inclusive vacation package provides scheduled airport transfers, a daily multi–hour shore excursion with knowledgeable guides, wine at lunch and dinner, free ship–wide Internet and Wi–Fi access and more – all at a reasonable price. For those who are interested in sampling a wide variety of local wines and spirits, a comprehensive beverage package is available. This is a great addition for adult families traveling together, allowing them to learn more about the wines of the region.
If You Go:
For more information about Viking River Cruises, visit their website at www.vikingrivercruises.com.
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