Viking River Cruise – The Next Generation

Kim Orlando Avatar

A Viking River Cruise has all the necessary requirements for a good cruise but a few tweaks would make it an outstanding option for an active audience.

Tweak 1) Soft adventure and active excursion options.  To balance an occasional overindulgence at dinner, we wanted light adventure options in our daily itinerary like hiking, biking, or kayaking. There were bikes on the dock but they were for staff use only.

Tweak 2) Walking itineraries. At each stop we were provided with a map that gauged intensity levels like hilly streets and cobblestone roads, but it would have been great if they added walking itineraries to the mix.

Tweak 3) Nightly entertainment. Let’s just go ahead and call this a renovation. The first night on the cruise was a blast- there was a DJ playing dance-able music to a packed lounge. Night 2 was a watered down version of the first night, with a piano player trying to drum up some dancers. Night 3 was just plain awful. Too much Moon River and bad Johnny Cash imitations had us heading for the door.

One night we had a trivia contest where we teamed up with other passengers and answered questions about music. We won a bottle of champagne and everyone seemed to really enjoy that. I was surprised they did not offer that again.

Tweak 4) Social Media.  I photo bombed a few passengers and took random pictures that had us all cracking up. It would have been great to see photos of passengers and their excursions on the dining room monitor including an official cruise hashtag.

The view from a Viking River Cruise ship
Photo by Kim Orlando 

Tweak 5) Interactive events. I signed up for a French cooking class, however, too few guests signed up so it was canceled. This could have been a generational thing – many of the guests are retired, not just from work but from cooking, so this class did not appeal to them. I am still slinging pots and pans at dinner and I was in France! So learning to cook something simple, delicious and FRENCH would have been right up my alley.

Tweak 6) Fun Tour Guides. All of the tour guides for our land excursions were knowledgeable but only one was enthusiastic and energetic. Because of this, my husband and I would start the tour with the guide and then veer off on our own. It was also hard to understand many of the guides so that made it more of a challenge to stay engaged.

Tweak 7) Exercise. Staying active while on any vacation can prove challenging and incorporating it into our cruise took some effort on our part. There were plenty of excursions by coach bus to museums, cathedrals and towns but no soft adventure and we were not sure which excursions were a walkable distance away. Plus it rained for half of our trip. There is no gym or pool onboard so my husband and I had to find ways to add activities into our day. Instead of taking the bus to a museum, we hiked up 300 steps to the top. We walked a ton, even opting to walk and meet the ship upriver instead of cruising to that stop. My advice: talk to the on-board program director for activity suggestions on day one.

Lastly, Viking Cruises has announced the addition of ocean cruising options which will begin in 2015. Fingers crossed that the larger ships and ports of call will draw in a younger crowd to cross over to the river cruising style.

What Did the Other Passengers Think?

I did make an effort to get to know the other passengers on our cruise and ask them what they thought of the experience. The consensus: the cruise line could use some improvements but they would unanimously river cruise again and many only with Viking.

My husband said he would without a doubt river cruise again and I think the best way to sum it up is by sharing that I just visited our new friends that we met on the cruise.

What do you want in a cruise? Share with us in the comment section below.

Kim Orlando, founder of SheBuysTravel, is a lifelong traveler, an entrepreneur and a sought-after social media and marketing consultant. She has made hundreds of appearances on TV and in digital and print media, sharing advice and tips built on decades of travel experiences. Hailing from the hills of Kentucky and taking her story to New York, Los Angeles, and beyond, Kim built an online platform, the original TravelingMom, that has reached millions of moms and empowered them to explore the world with their families. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel. Kim has been featured on “News Nation,” “Today,” “Good Morning America” and on numerous satellite media tours. She has contributed travel guidance to outlets including The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more. (Read more about Kim’s media appearances here) Her travel mantra is simple: All travel counts. “You don’t have to go far. Leaving your home is travel,” Kim says. “Wherever you go, even just to the next town over, you can learn something new, see someone and something you haven’t seen before. “It’s good for the brain and good for the soul.” An epiphany in early parenthood started Kim on the journey that led to SheBuysTravel. She’d been a fan of a newsletter for women travelers, and she saw an opportunity. “I thought something like that for moms could be extraordinarily helpful,” she said. “I was traveling for work, traveling for fun, and I was looking for support.” That seed grew into the award-winning website TravelingMom, created as a resource for traveling families of all stripes. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel, with an expanded mission to serve women travelers at any stage of life. Millions of readers have visited the site for trip planning help, travel secrets, destination information and gear recommendations. What sets SheBuysTravel’s content apart, Kim says, is its foundation in real-world experience. “Our writers and editors have actually gone out there and done this stuff,” she says. “They’ve booked the flights, tried the tour, tested travel clothing, visited that new hot spot to see if it’s worth the hype. It’s all real.” Memorable Adventures A 2022 tour Kim guided to Bhutan was a particularly standout experience. “Bhutan sounds so exotic, of course,” she said. “But the part where my heart just glows and warms is thinking of the people we met – amazing women doing amazing things in Bhutan.” Their ranks included a former police officer whose ventures into food science helped mitigate food insecurity for residents of Bhutan’s highlands. Top Tips Planning for travel can be daunting, Kim acknowledges. “I always say: Go anyway. No trip is going to be perfect. There’s always going to be something you didn’t expect, something that doesn’t go the way you pictured or planned it. And that something is what’s going to make it a great trip.” And on a practical note: “Go early! Getting to the airport or hitting the road just an hour earlier relieves so much stress.” Kim’s Background Kim, a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, holds degrees in finance and entrepreneurship and has deep experience in developing and running businesses. Her previous work includes developing and running communications workshops and overseeing document management for corporations. SheBuysTravel hits a sweet spot where Kim’s two loves of travel and entrepreneurship meet. “The longer I work in this field, I only want to do more,” she says. “I find the travel world so exciting – not just the trips, but the whole online world of travel. There are still so many opportunities.” The World Awaits “The ‘best trip ever’ probably won’t be the same for an empty-nester or mom of three versus a single woman celebrating a bachelorette party with her friends,” Kim says. “We want to keep it real for traveling women, no matter what their age, life stage, where they came from or where they’re going. “We want to inspire women to travel in any shape or form.” In her free time, Kim enjoys visiting her adult kids, creating trips and traveling with her BFFs to explore the world. Her most recent adventures can be found on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.
Read full bio

2 responses

  1. 4.5

  2. 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *