Viking River Flows Into The Ocean

Beep . . . Beep . . . Beep!   Please stand by for another “Hear It Here First” announcement.  This is NOT a test of the Travel By Terry breaking travel news alert system.

Some of you may know that Viking River Cruises has clearly established itself as the indisputable master of the world’s great rivers.  Today they have announced their plans to let some of that remarkable success flow directly into the Seven Seas.  OK, maybe not seven right away but at least a couple.   Travel Weekly has a great article this morning about Viking’s plans to launch their first ocean-going vessel, the Viking Star, in May of 2015.

Viking Star rendering exteriorThe initial voyages will ply the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas.  It will fit into the mid-size category with 928 passengers.  One thing that should set it apart from its competitors in this market is the fact that shore excursions and beer and wine with lunch and dinner will be included.

Viking Star interior rendering  Viking Star pool rendering

“Another unusual feature will be a ‘snow grotto’ in the spa in which ‘snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air,’ according to a Viking description,” reports Travel Weekly.   To learn more, I  encourage you to visited our branded Viking Cruises site and click on Viking Oceans tab at the top.

When your friends ask if you have heard that Viking has just entered the world of ocean cruising, I suggest you give them a dismissive look and a roll of the eyes and simply respond, “Please!  I follow Travel By Terry.  I heard about that eons ago!”

River Cruising: A Languid Stroll Down Liquid Highways (3)

Well, I’ll be hogtied and hornswoggled!

If you are not from Texas (my condolences) and haven’t the foggiest notion what I am talking about, here is a helpful explanation from the Urban Dictionary, “Obviously refers to cowboys roping and throwing calfs or cows, securing the rope to the saddle horn (hornswoggled) and tying three of their legs together with the ‘pigging string’.”

Calf Roping

Of course, I am using the phrase metaphorically of my shock and awe. Having guest posted for IgoUgo once, they actually want me back for an encore.  Go figure.  I have always wondered what a second date would feel like and now I have a chance to find out.

This is the third in my series of posts about my own Viking river cruise.  Over at IgoUgo IViking Elbe River am calling the post The Genius of River Cruising. If you are a regular reader, you should know the drill.  I am going to lead you by the hand through cyberspace over to their site where you can read my third installment in this riveting series (my words).  All you have to do is click here.  Wait!  Wait!

Before you go, I trust you haven’t forgotten our one inviolable rule:  You go over to IgoUgo to browse, you always come back home to Travel Leaders / Main Street Travel to book!  OK, now you can click here.

River Cruising: A Languid Stroll Down Liquid Highways (2)

When last I left you  . . . or you left me . . . let’s not quibble over who broke it off, we were strolling hand in hand down that most renowned of liquid highways, the incomparable Rhine river.  I had made some tortured pun on the name of our ship and you had tittered in that coy way you have. Then, suddenly, you slipped away into the heavy mist that creeps along the river’s banks like a cat burglar in ballet slippers.   Let’s resume our journey and see if we can’t recapture a bit of yesterday’s magic.

Before we leave Amsterdam for good though, I just have to show you this picture as a dire warning that even a pastime as noble as gardening can go to seed, so to speak. You could build an entire reality show called “Horticulture Gone Wild” based on this yard alone.  Did you notice the garage roof?

Horticulture Gone WildOne of my favorite stops along the way was Cologne from which we get our word . . . cologne.  I figured that out without resorting to the guide book.  And speaking of guides, Viking River Cruises has this fantastic system whereby every passenger is given a headset to use on walking tours.  If you look closely at our guide, whom I called Hoss Cartwright (behind his rather imposing back, of course), you can see his microphone.

The reincarnation of Hoss Cartwright.

The reincarnation of Hoss Cartwright.

“Hoss” was an absolute mountain of a man.  Let’s just say he cut a wide swath and I quickly found that if you followed in his wake you could careen along behind him no matter how many Peppermint Schnaps you might have imbibed. I will say, “Hoss” had a masterful grasp of colorful local history and and a very entertaining way of presenting it.

The first picture below is a great illustration as to why comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must on this kind of experience.  The second picture is the perfect advertisement for:

1) living in the south of France instead of the north of Germany

2) letting your wife dress you in the morning

3) finally, for choosing a musical instrument that is smaller than you are! I wonder if this guy ever gave serious consideration to an harmonica.

Cobblestone streetsStreet Musician

 If you are foolhardy enough to book another river cruise company besides Viking River Cruises, the picture below depicts the cabin you will likely end up with.  Ancient casteJust so you know, having waterfowl hanging on your wall will cost you a surcharge..  OK, just a little harmless joke, other river cruise partners.  Actually, there are several quality river cruise companies out there but Viking is certainly an industry leader in many categories.  They are not the cheapest nor the most expensive but they provide incredible value for price.  They have won a number of very prestigious awards.  You might want to read my recent post on Travel Deals And Other Mythical Creatures for a little perspective on travel values verses supposed deals.

If I have rekindled your affection as well as sparked your passion for this wonderful way to see the world, are you willing to indulge me one final installment in this little trilogy?  If so, let’s make a date to meet back here in a few days where we will conclude our river odyssey.