My lovely bride and I took our first-ever river cruise in 2019 on Viking. This is not a commercial for Viking, as several other companies traverse the rivers of Europe. But we can tell you that it was a wonderful vacation.
So wonderful that we’re doing it again this fall, as long as the coronavirus doesn’t cause the trip to be canceled. In 2019 we traveled from Budapest to Passau on an excursion called “The Danube Waltz,” with stops in Bratislava, Vienna, Krems and Linz along the way.
This year we’re looking forward to “The Rhine Getaway,” embarking in Basel; stopping in Breisach, Strasbourg, Speyer, Koblenz, Cologne and Kinderdijk; and disembarking in Amsterdam.
(Now that we are veteran river cruisers, we use terms like “embark” and disembark” in lieu of “getting on the ship” and “getting off the ship.”)
We enjoyed a couple of wine experiences on the Danube cruise, and we’ll have at least four on the Rhine cruise — not including our nightly nightcaps in the lounge.
Viking does a good job of providing authentic cultural experiences, and in Europe that means there are many opportunities to enjoy local wine. Here are seven of them:
1. The Wines of Marsovin — Discover Malta’s rich winemaking heritage during a visit to the country’s premier winemaker.
2. Mateus Palace & Gardens — Admire the opulent estate that inspired Mateus Rosé and savor Portuguese wines at a local quinta.
3. Historic Saint-Emilion & Chateau Vineyard Visit — Sample world-renowned wines over a three-course lunch in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed region of France.
4. Wine Region of Chianti — Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at Tuscany’s Vicchiomaggio Castle and stroll its historic wine cellar.
5. Wachau Valley Winery — Sip a selection of exceptional Austrian vintages during a tour and tasting at a local winery.
6. Wine Tasting & Dinner at the Schloss Johannisberg Estate — Delight in traditional German cuisine amidst one of the Rheingau region’s most celebrated wineries.
7. Croatian Wine Tasting — Expand your knowledge of Croatia’s remarkable wines in the scenic vineyards of the Konavie Valley.
Again, this is not a commercial for Viking. They do a good job of airing lots of their own commercials on TV. But hopefully this will whet your appetite for expanding your wine experiences with different varieties from different parts of the world.
Meanwhile, here’s a great way to enjoy wonderful curated wines from all corners of the wine world.