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Viking Europe River Cruise Ship

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Viking Europe River Cruise Ship

The Viking Europe sails the rivers and canals of Europe for Viking Rivers Cruises.

Photo (c) Linda Garrison, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Everything on the Viking Europe was priced in Euros. The cruise is almost all-inclusive, but drinks and tips are not included in the price. An envelope is provided the last night, and passengers are asked to put cash in the envelope and drop it in a slot in the reception area. Either dollars or Euros are accepted, or you can add the tip to your bill using a credit card. The entire crew of 40 splits all of the tips equally, and there was no pressure to tip a set amount from the individual crew members or from the cruise director. I thought the whole tipping "issue" was very well handled. Certainly we thought all the crew we dealt with deserved an extra gratuity and were happy to reward them. I always worry that some cruisers don't do the "right thing" and tip adequately, so personally I would prefer to have a tip added to the bill at the end of the cruise, allowing the passenger to adjust as he/she sees fit.

Coffee and tea are available all day for free. We thought the water from the tap in the bathroom tasted fine. We just kept refilling the water bottles we had bought our first day in Amsterdam. There is a mixed "drink of the day" special that costs 5 Euros. We thought the house wine was very good, and the price reasonable at less than 2 Euros per glass. Wine could also be purchased by the bottle, but we enjoyed the house wine so much we only bought a bottle one night, preferring to just split a carafe. The bottle of sparkling wine we did buy was very good and reasonably priced. Soft drinks cost almost as much as beer or wine, so even though I drink lots of Diet Coke at home, I stuck with water and tea (and wine and beer).

In summary, I think you can tell that we had a great time on this cruise. It's not a cruise line for those who expect Las Vegas-style entertainment, gourmet food, rooms with balconies, or many of the amenities you find on the major cruise ships (i.e. spas, casinos, multiple restaurants, discos, or swimming pools). There is also no sensation of sailing at all, which can be a positive or negative. It is a cruise for those who want to explore the European countryside like you would on a bus tour, learning about the culture and history of the area, but only having to unpack once. It is also for the traveler who expects good value, comfortable surroundings, and enthusiastic staff. Much of Europe is accessible via river ship. Why spend your time packing and unpacking and sleeping in a different bed every night? Why get frustrated and waste your valuable vacation time looking for a parking place, catching a train, or trying to locate a specific attraction? Even better yet--why spend time each day on a vacation determining how to regulate a different shower or find the way to flush the toilet?

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