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.
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
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.
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!