Europe River: Peter

Peter Shepherd Coffs Harbour

I arrived into Nuremberg by rail from Frankfurt. The railway station is just outside the old city walls with the dramatic imposing Nuremburg Castle dominating the background – note to self, must come back and stay a few more days in this delightful Bavarian city.

The Viking Egil is one of Viking Cruise Lines many longships which dominate the European river cruise market. I was impressed by the Scandinavian design which was sleek, stylish and elegant.  I grew to appreciate just how well these ships are engineered, how much thought has gone into maximising the space available and the consistency of product across the fleet.  Viking are committed to ensure that the customer comes away feeling that they have received good value for their holiday dollar.

The Main Danube Canal was a game changer when it was completed in 1992 connecting two of Europe’s major rivers; the River Main and the not so blue Danube. On completion a large number of the continents’ river networks were connected and river cruising really took off.

The canal is an engineering marvel, it is 170 kilometres long and by connecting the two rivers it enables travel from the North Sea to the Black Sea. There is a total of 16 locks and these are really, really deep, some go up and down as far as 25 metres. The canal takes you through the picturesque Swabian Jura mountain range and rises over 400 meters above sea level. The experience of ascending and descending is truly amazing.

The cruise itinerary took me from Nuremberg to Budapest with stops at Regensburg, Passau, Krems, and Vienna. Along the way I had interesting, varied and fabulous experiences. Everywhere it was evident that winter was coming, the Christmas markets were being set up and the excitement was tangible.

I have to admit it was hard to disembark in Budapest. The Viking river ship had become our touring home and comfortable way to travel. There are enough quality food options to do serious damage to the waistline and the complimentary wines with meals are of good quality.

Each day there is a program of activities and information sessions explaining the day’s excursion options, whether you participate or not is up to you. I participated in both complimentary excursions and also some of the optional extras. I found all excursions to be well prepared and organised, there were activities to cater for most levels of fitness.

All in all, it is a thumbs up from me!

For more information on river cruising contact the team at Travel Centre Coffs Harbour on 6652 1833.