Have you considered one of the Viking River Cruises? Being in the business of travel writing, I hear about so many amazing destinations and have friends who have been to just about every country in the world.
We all have places on our bucket list. For me, Europe is what I most want to see. I was able to spend nine days in Italy about ten years ago, and honestly, I think I could live there.
This time, I’ll be sailing the Rhône River on one of the Viking River Cruises. Though I have cruised before, this will be my first river cruise, and I'm so excited!
River cruising is one of the fastest growing tourism areas, with over 15,000 river cruises to choose from. In fact, I was surprised to learn that almost one million people took a river cruise in 2013 according to River Cruising in Europe by Douglas Ward.
Once I learned about the benefits of river cruises, it was easy to see why they've become so popular. Check out this short video about the Viking Cruises Longship.
Obviously, I’m most excited about where we will be cruising. For a foodie, just the thought of visiting Lyon makes my mouth water.
Known as the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon has been on my list for some time. The excursions we are offered will give us the opportunity to really experience the area without having to pack and unpack numerous times.
And each evening, we will be back on this glorious ship to enjoy dinner and drinks with friends, and sleep on the incredible beds as we float down the Rhône. Here's a short stateroom tour:
Lyon and Provence with Viking River Cruises
To give you an idea of what I'll be doing (so you can ask questions to begin planning your Viking journey):
Day 1: Embarkation day in Avignon. We will just be relaxing on the ship, and exploring this port on our own.
Day 2: Arles, where we'll be taking one of the optional tours to visit two historic towns in Camargue, one of Europe’s most carefully preserved natural parks and a refuge for birds and wild horses. I'm so excited about the photos I'll be taking there! I'll also be visiting Arles on the way to Camargue. Arles is a city of Roman ruins and was home to impressionist Vincent Van Gogh. After lunch, we will take a scenic drive to Aigues-Mortes, a walled Medieval town.
Day 3: Avignon for a Taste of Provence and a little shopping. I'll be learning how to prepare French specialties, and I hear homemade éclairs, wine and coffee from one of the last French roasters in Avignon will be part of the experience. I may not come home.
Day 4: Viviers, a typical small town, for a walking tour in the morning, and a day of relaxation.
Day 5: Tournon, where we will tour Vienne, founded by Pontius Pilate. I'm so excited about this Roman architecture tour! I've just started my research, but it looks incredible!
Day 6: Lyon, for a cooking workshop, otherwise known as heaven on earth. A French pastry chef is going to teach us how to make Choux Chantilly, commonly known as a cream puff. I'm told there will be wine, too.
Day 7: Mâcon, for a wine excursion in the morning (no judging) and a Truffle and Goat cheese farm visit in the afternoon. If you have never read any of the novels by Peter Mayle, you must! His stories are why I'm so excited for this visit! After we watch the dog hunt for truffles, we will "enjoy a tasting of bread with truffle-flavored butter and saffron flan, with your choice of white wine or juice."
Day 8: A sad day as it is disembarkation day. I'll be leaving all the friends I've made and going back to reality. But the memories I'll bring home will have to suffice until my next Viking Cruise.
Update: Since this first trip with Viking River Cruises, I've also sailed the Rhine and the Danube. You just can't go wrong vacationing with a Viking River Cruise.