by John Lane
OK, I did it! When I was planning for my trip to France,
I was trying to decide what to take and what luggage to use. With today’s restrictions from the airlines on luggage you really have to plan ahead.
I am going to France for 8 days and my business partners said no problem. “Just take a carry on”. I said “for 8 days?” You can do it, I was told. Could I really pack for an 8 day trip to France with just a carry on and a backpack… Well guess what I did! I will breeze through customs in France not having to wait for my bag!
No more lugging a large suitcase! Au-revoir!
by John Lane, Cruise Escapes
Viking River Cruises set a record on March 20 by christening 10 new Longships and setting a Guinness World Record as most ships inaugurated in one day by one company.
The Viking Aegir, Viking Alta, Viking Bragi, Viking Embla, Viking Forsetti, Viking Jarl, Viking Rinda, Viking Skadi, Viking Tor and Viking Var were chistened in dual ceremonies in the shipyard in Rostock, Germany and in Amsterdam in stimultaneous ceremonies. I know you are asking were did these names come from. Viking names each of their ships after Norwegian gods.
These 190 passenger Longships with 95 staterooms offer two Explorer suites, seven two-room Veranda Suites, each with a full size veranda in the living area and a French balcony in the bedroom. There are also 39 Veranda stateroom with full size verandas and 22 with French balconies.
By the way, Viking will surpass this years record in 2014 when they christen 12 new Longships in the spring. Viking River captures 40% of the river cruise market and continues to become a household name. All of these ships will offer the scenic itineraries of the wonderful European Rivers. You are probably thinking that is lots of ships to fill, but Viking is sold out for most of the remainder of this year. With only 95 cabins on each ship, each departure sells out fast and we have lots of people that wait too late too book and are disappointed that there is not a cabin available for them. Even with all these new ships you MUST book early (a year in advance in many cases) to get the cabin you want.
River cruising is completely different than deep water ocean cruises. No last minute bargains. If you wait till that last minute you will be left at home.
Although they have been in the marketplace for many years, river cruises (mainly in Europe) have exploded in popularity in the last few years.
So what is a “river cruise” and why have they become so much in demand? First, a river cruise reaches inland destinations, not possible for ocean ships. This means that you very often “dock” in the heart of town and can walk directly into the center of each day’s destination. It also means that you have continuous scenerywhen you are cruising, often some of the highlights of the itinerary, such as castles along the Rhine! You are also guaranteed a view from every accommodation as all staterooms are oceanview (or maybe we should say ‘riverview’), there are no interior cabins. Lastly, and perhaps the most notable point, the pricing is virtually all-inclusive: shore excursions and wine with lunch & dinner are included!
Needless to say, after having taking numerous ‘deep water’ cruises over the past 25 years, I was quite excited to embark on my first river cruise. Our itinerary was “Tulip Time” through Holland and Belgium with an April 5 departure date on Avalon Waterways. Continue reading