Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Viking River
Ship: Viking Europe
Sailing Date: April 7th, 2002
Itinerary: Dutch Waterways
This was a very enjoyable
cruise and I would love to take it again, perhaps with a slight change of cities visited. The ship
is new, built in 2001, and it is kept spotlessly clean. I had a "standard" room in the
lowest level. It was 10 1/2 by 14 feet. Part of that was the bathroom which was about 4 by 5 feet.
The bathroom has a shower, a toilet and a sink. The room had a sofa/bed and a pullman bed, 2
shelves, a tv, a shallow desk and a closet. The window did not open. This arrangement is fine for
the lone traveler but two people would find the room much too cramped.
There were 150 passengers on the ship so the dining room was able to hold us all at one sitting. You could sit anywhere you wanted. Breakfast was buffet style and could include eggs, sausages, salmon, cereal, rolls, fruit, coffee, tea and juice. Lunch was a combination of buffet and table service. It always included soup. Dinner was served at the table and was several courses. The food was uniformly excellent. There were only two "formal" dinner. For me that meant wearing a dress and stockings. For all the other meals I wore slacks. The waiters were quick, attentive and eager to please. The price I paid included all meals and all shore excursions. I don't know whether that is the ship's policy or whether it was through the efforts of my travel agent.
Sunday, April 7: Arriving at the ship which was docked on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Afternoon, canal cruise in Amsterdam. Evening unpacking.
Monday, April 8: Visited the Floriade, a large impressive flower show held every ten years. Lots of walking. Large gift shop with reasonable prices. Afternoon at Rijksmuseum. Only hit the highlights which were all on one floor. Giftshop is on the same floor. Good selection of postcards. Returned to ship. The evening entertainment was a folkloric dance group in lovely costumes.
Tuesday, April 9: Visited a cheese factory in Edam. Also visited Hoorn and Enkhuisen.
Wednesday, April 10: Visited Hinderloopen, a town noted for wood carving. At least two well-stocked gift shops. Also visited Kampen. In the evening the ship's crew presented humorous skits in the lounge of the ship.
Thursday, April 11: Visited Arnhem, the city featured in the movie A Bridge Too Far. Visited an open air museum just outside the city. It is a well maintained assemblage of folk architecture. In the evening we watched a video of A Bridge Too Far. It is a very eerie experience to watch that and also know that "the bridge" is about 100 yards from where your ship is docked!
Friday, April 12: Visited the windmillls in Kinderdijk. One of the windmills can be entered.
Saturday, April 13: Visited Schoonhoven, a city full of silversmiths. One of the shops is in a former synagogue. The prices were very high but the quality of the silver is excellent. In the afternoon we went to Keukenhof Gardens. This is a botanical garden which covers several acres. Just gorgeous. Worth a revisit. Worth many revisits.! Docked in Amsterdam.
Sunday, April 14: Bus to the airport.
Not all of the travel was by ship. Much was by bus and the ship would travel to meet us at wherever we would be having the next meal.