In July 2018, Accent On Travel agent Katie Pickering went boating on the Rhine River with Viking River Cruises. The trip was a pleasure cruise for Pickering – she won a contest back in November – but was happy to give her insights as both a guest of the cruise ship and from her experience as a travel agent.
Tell me a little bit about the trip.
Perfect weather. Clear blue skies. We cruised down the Rhine River from Basel, Switzerland
The trip itself was spectacular and extremely educational from an agent’s point of view. This cruise on the Rhine we had to do a lot of walking to get to the sight-seeing bus or into town.
That could be a challenge.
The river traffic was so unbelievably busy, which might have been a factor.
Tell me more about the agent’s perspective
Viking’s staterooms are great. Although they are small, there's plenty of storage. Those Scandinavians really know how to use every inch of space!
The ship was absolutely spotless. The service was phenomenal. The food was great.
Somebody taking their first river cruise would have been very happy.
Did travelers report any particular exceptional moments? Did you experience some yourself?
One cute remedy I do want to tell you about: Several of the locks were under construction, which caused even more river traffic and backups.
When we got to Basel to fly home, we met people who were on a Scenic river cruise. They were complaining – they saw my Viking tags because they had been on Scenic – they said on day two of their tour, their captain announced they would be off-loaded in Reichstag, Germany and bussed to their final destination of Basel.
They blamed the construction of the lock and river traffic of that maneuver. Which was interesting because when we left Cologne our captain – we were floating closer and closer to the lock and the barge – and we thought, “he’s going to hit this barge!”
We inched right next to this barge and all of a sudden we see two hands come out of the side of our ship with two bottles of wine and hand it to the captain of the barge. And we pulled away and when in front of the barge to be next in line to get through the lock.
So our captain was smarter than their captain!
These are the anecdotes I love to do these interviews for.
So that’s how you have to work going through the locks! That’s where experience comes in.
We landed in Amsterdam. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. We went to the Rijksmuseum. Went to the Anne Frank house. Did all of the tourist things.
Embarkation was a piece of cake. You didn’t have to wait. Everything was ready. Our room was ready. It was seamless.