Christmas in July? Yes! I was running a bit behind and I decided to just save my Viking River Christmas Market Cruise report until July. After all it’s a perfect time to start thinking about booking one of your own while the prices are low!
I’ll be honest… I was actually looking for an Asian cruise to write about when I was presented with the opportunity to do a European Christmas Market cruise instead. I’m not one to lie on a beach for days, but I try to stay away from cold weather trips. It’s just too much packing of sweaters and boots and gloves.
I changed my mind, though, when I saw the itinerary for the Viking Embla. I had never even been to that part of Europe and I had never been on a river cruise. Sailing along the Danube through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary became something a very quickly was excited about.
My friend Tracy and I had traveled before, spending a glorious week in Sicily. This time we would be meeting up in Munich to share the week long adventure with Viking Cruises.
The trip to Germany was long, but uneventful. I sat in British Airways in the Economy Comfort section and it was quite comfortable for economy. Their lounge, food, and service were as good as usual.
I flew to London and then on to Munich. Tracy was coming from California so we didn’t get to meet until our arrival in Munich airport. We caught up a bit as we waited for others to arrive and then boarded the Viking bus to Passau.
Viking includes tours of all the stops on its cruises. The buses were comfortable, with air conditioning, heat (which we needed much more), and even a bathroom. The trip took about an hour, though it felt like we were flying on the Audubon.
The Viking Embla was like no cruise ship I had ever seen before. It was very long and had only two stories for passengers, with 95 staterooms, nine of which were suites. We had a Veranda Stateroom.
While I was surprised at first by how small it was, I soon found out that it was bigger than average for river cruises and we would be spending very little time in it.
Waiting for us in our cabin was a bottle of sparkling wine and a plate of chocolate, fruit, cookies and candy. Tracy and I toasted to our new adventure before heading to the dining room for dinner.
We had arrived later than most so dinner was almost over when we arrived, but no one rushed us and the wine (which, along with beer, is included with all meals on Viking) was flowing.
With the first menu I could see that we would have plenty to eat and a very interesting selection.
I chose to start with the Asparagus Soup, followed by delicious Cannelloni. The portions were good, but not too big.
Dinner ended with a hot fudge sundae and I knew I was in the right place. I was also impressed with the crowd. It was a wide range of people from 20 to 70, mostly from the U.S. and Canada.
After dinner we learned a bit about our first stop. It would become a nightly ritual on Viking to discuss the port and tours for the following day. Most of the time there was just one tour that we were all going on, but on some days we had a choice. There were always plenty of people willing to answer our questions and guide us.
We were more than ready to forego a nightcap and head to the room. It was time for my first snooze on the river. A long day of exploring Passau, Germany, with Viking River Cruises was ahead of me.