Over 50s Lifestyle Travel

Countdown to our first Viking River Cruise

November 6, 2023

On Saturday we fly from Brisbane to Amsterdam and I’m in countdown mode and beyond excited for our Viking River Cruise and our independent travel. It will be our first River Cruise and we are looking forward to a change of cruising at a gentler pace.

For many years we have opted for ocean cruises and have cruised many parts of the world. However, times change and people change and both Mike and I are feeling that the ships are getting way to big now with passenger numbers between 5,000 and 6,000. Never say never, and we may do ocean cruises in the future but at the moment we are ready for the River Cruise experience.

We have been assured by friends that we will never cruise any other way once we’ve experienced a River Cruise. That is a big statement. Although the initial pricing may seem expensive, there are many inclusions including tours and meals. We also took advantage of some early bird offers.

Our itinerary

Our travels will include 5 nights in Amsterdam, a 7 night Viking River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel and then 6 nights in Milano, Italy.

Pre Cruise – 5 nights

Our first destination will be Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands. We haven’t visited this city before so are keen to explore as we have planned to spend 5 nights here. There is so much to discover in this city, however we will also be taking a day trip to visit The Hague (which hosts The International Court of Justice and The International Criminal Court), Rotterdam (the second largest city in The Netherlands) and Delft – famous for the blue and white pottery.

We plan to take a canal cruise, take in the Rijksmuseum, Ann Frank’s House, eat cheese and just wander taking in the sights and sounds of this cosmopolitan city.

7 night Rhine Getaway with Viking River Cruises

Amsterdam to Basel Rhine Getaway with Viking Cruises

With only 190 guests and 53 crew this will be a new experience for us having only ever taken ocean cruises on much larger (and crowded) ships.

Departing Amsterdam, we board our Viking Longship. the Eir – Valkyrie and Goddess of Healing. Scandanavian designed, elegant and sleek with a full size verandah to soak up the sights as we sail by.

The Eir, Viking River Cruise Longship

The Itinerary includes:

Kinderdijk, The Netherlands – A a village in Molenlanden, this UNESCO site has working windmills and picturesque Dutch countryside.
Cologne, Germany – A UNESCO site with the famed Gothic Cathedral
Koblenz, Germany – a traditional German city, founded more than 2,000 year ago.
Speyer, Germany – another UNESCO site with an historic Romanesque imperial cathedral
Strasbourg, France – A multiculteral city with the Strasbourg Cathedral and the opportunity to sample Alsatian food.
Breisach, Germany – The Black Forest region
Basel, Switzerland – we disembark and continue our journey to Italy.

Post River Cruise

After disembarking from our cruise we spend one night in Basel, considered the cultural capital of Switzerland. I am looking forward to visiting the Christmas Markets which open the day before we arrive.

After Basel we head via train to Milano, the capital of Lombardy in Northern Italy for 6 nights staying in a apartment. We have only visited Milano for a day trip when we were staying in Lake Garda several years ago. We will explore in more depth but also have a day trip by train to Torino (Mike’s choice) and perhaps to Bologna where I have discovered another Christmas market will be open.

When you travel you have to be flexible and you can’t control the weather

Over the last week, Milano and parts of Northern Italy and Austria have experienced severe storms and flooding. This means we will probably have to change our plans for this part of the trip. Not sure where we will select as an alternative but I do feel for the residents of these areas and the massive clean up ahead of them.

We are ready….

I’ve packed my winter woollies but also layers as indoors will definitely be heated, my comfortable walking shoes and my trusty notebook to write about our experiences.

I’ve also left plenty of room for Christmas Markets Shopping!

Have you taken a river cruise before? What was your experience like?

Sue Loncaric

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Darlene November 6, 2023 at 07:29

    We took a river cruise on the Danube and loved every minute. Like you, we had done several ocean cruises but this was the icing on the cake. I highly recommend it. Have fun!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 6, 2023 at 11:20

      Oh thanks, Darlene it is always good to get reviews from others. We are looking forward to a different style of cruising compared to the ocean cruises. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely week. x

    • Reply Gail Is This Mutton November 11, 2023 at 16:52

      Very excited for you and can’t wait to hear about it when you’re back. A very interesting itinerary, you’re going to quite a few places I’ve never seen. I’ve never done a cruise of any description, my husband is not keen at the moment, but I’ve heard good things about river cruises. Have fun!

  • Reply Retirement Reflections November 6, 2023 at 07:37

    Hi, Sue – I <3 your itinerary and am super excited for you. Please take LOTS of photos and keep us posted when you can.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 6, 2023 at 11:22

      You will get sick of my photos Donna but yes, I’ll be taking many xx

  • Reply Suzanne@PictureRetirement November 6, 2023 at 10:18

    Sue, I am excited for you and can’t wait to hear all about your adventure. When we went to the Netherlands a few years ago, we stayed in the Hague and loved our time there. Since we had a car, we were able to drive to Amsterdam, Giethoorn, and the beaches. If you have an opportunity, I highly recommend Giethoorn as a 1/2 day trip. Unique does not begin to describe this amazing little village with no streets. Skip the beaches this time of year. Too cold and not particularly interesting even in warm weather. I have my fingers crossed that you will love river cruising since that would encourage me to try it. From what I have heard, the accommodations are very nice and the service is impeccable. Have fun.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 6, 2023 at 11:23

      Hi Suzanne we have a day trip planned to The Hague and perhaps I’ll check out Giethoorn. Thanks for the recommendations and I will let you know my thoughts on the river cruise when we get back. x

  • Reply Janine November 6, 2023 at 10:23

    I’m so excited for you! I hope you have a fantastic time which I’m sure you will. I hope the weather will be kind to you and you get to see the destinations you had planned.
    I’ve only ever been on a Nile River Cruise in Egypt which was amazing. Small numbers suit me as I really don’t like big crowds of people. Safe travels and I look forward to seeing your updates

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 6, 2023 at 11:24

      Hi Janine, we were looking at a Nile River Cruise only yesterday so would be interested to hear your thoughts. I was thinking next time you visit Brisbane we should try to arrange a catch up and meet in person. xx

  • Reply leannelc November 6, 2023 at 10:42

    Hi Sue – I’ve done two river cruises and loved both of them. The ships were the perfect size for me (I don’t like crowds) and their crews were so friendly and pleasant. I loved that we stopped somewhere new every day and stepped off the boat straight into little towns etc. You’re going to love every minute of it and I hope you find some great alternatives if you have to change your Italy plans. Bon Voyage!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 6, 2023 at 11:25

      Thanks Leanne, I’ve heard good reports from many re River Cruises. I’m looking at Plan B in case we can’t go to Milan and I suppose we are spilt for choice. x

  • Reply marsha57 November 6, 2023 at 14:24

    I have heard nothing but good things about the Viking River Cruises. I do hope you are able to visit the places you’ve planned for Italy! I will have to live vicariously through you (if you do a blog post, that is)! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!


    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 7, 2023 at 14:33

      Yes I’ve heard good reviews about Viking as well, Marsha so looking forward to it. We have a Plan B if we can’t visit Italy. I will do a post proabably when I get home but follow me on Instagram or FB for daily photos. x

  • Reply Toni Pike November 6, 2023 at 16:21

    Have a wonderful trip, Sue – the itinerary is amazing. The river cruise is a intimate experience than an ocean cruise, with just a small group of people. I’m sure you’ll love it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 7, 2023 at 14:33

      Hi Toni, thank you for your good wishes and I’m sure we will enjoy the River cruise experience. x

  • Reply Anne Fraser @theplatinumline.blog November 7, 2023 at 06:13

    The cruise sounds exciting if the weather is kind to you. Last year we did a Rhine cruise from Cologne to Basle and back and thoroughly enjoyed it. That was in June when we could sit outside on the deck and watch the world go by. I have been to Germany at Christmas time and loved the fact that the Rhine barges had Christmas lights and to Austria for New Year when he snowed.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 7, 2023 at 14:35

      Yes, it will be much colder Anne but I don’t mind, I’m sure we will still enjoy visiting new places. We do get to see at least one Christmas markets which I’m looking forward to. x

  • Reply Debbie November 7, 2023 at 20:31

    Oh this is getting so exciting now Sue!!! Can’t wait to follow along, hoping the weather isn’t too bad and you have a fantastic time. I’ll miss you!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 8, 2023 at 08:36

      Yes it’s getting real now. Three sleeps! x

  • Reply mireille November 8, 2023 at 23:40

    That is so exciting! I am hoping for a cruise in a few years to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! Until then, I will learn all the tricks to make it a great experience!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 9, 2023 at 08:16

      I’m sure you will love the river cruise and what a wonderful way to celebrate 25 years. Everyone has told me river cruising is wonderful so I’ll be sharing my thoughts when I return. x

  • Reply Joanne November 9, 2023 at 05:28

    My husband and I are looking into planning a cruise (we haven’t cruised since our honeymoon 22+ years ago!) and I am finding the size of the cruise ships to be quite daunting. I hope you have a wonderful time on your river cruise.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 9, 2023 at 08:17

      Hi Joanne, we loved ocean cruising but now the ships have way too many passengers and it isn’t as pleasant an experience as it once was. I’m hoping the River cruise with less people will be the way to go. x

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