Choosing a River Cruise: Part 2

To view Part 1 on Choosing the Right River Cruise, click here.


As promised, this week’s synopsis is a comparison between Scenic River Cruises and Viking River Cruises. Undoubtedly the two best known river cruise companies due to their aggressive television marketing campaigns, they are nonetheless polar opposites when it comes to product.

Scenic Cruises is an Australian based company which entered the competitive river cruise market in 2008. As a subsidiary of Scenic Motor coach Tours, guests are able to create elaborate and extensive pre and post extensions to their cruise of choice. Scenic Spaceship cabins range from a minimum of 170 sq ft to a massive 315 sq ft. All cabins, regardless of grade, are serviced by a personal butler program. All cabins on the two main decks are full balcony suites offering their unique “Sun Lounge” feature. With the press of a button your already private balcony will convert into a weatherproof solarium! Scenic was one of the first lines to go truly “all inclusive”. Everything from all meals, tipping, touring, alcoholic beverages, airport transfers and WIFI are included in your fare. Incredibly diverse dining options are offered in four different venues and there is an exclusive Table La Rive for the Junior and Royal Suite passengers. The shore excursion program is unparalleled. Up to five different options to choose from in some ports and the new Scenic Tailormade are themed sightseeing tours on a personal GPS device allowing the more adventurous passenger to create a truly personalized experience.

All inclusive luxury and elaborate accommodations don’t come cheap. Scenic definitely prices out at the high end. Their relatively small fleet of only nine ships limits their ability to service all the major river routes and also results in limited availability. Their reservations department does not offer any air services or any insurance product. Onboard ambiance is heavily influenced by a predominance of Australian guests.

Viking River cruises is the world’s largest fleet. This encompasses both the newest and oldest ships on the European waterways as well as some of the smallest and largest cabins. Their unprecedented growth in the last 16 years has allowed them to create and deliver some of the most unique itineraries on virtually all European rivers. Although not “all inclusive” in nature, Viking does offer excellent cuisine in a number of venues as well as complimentary beer and wine during lunch and dinner. Informative tours are included in each port. The Viking Explorer Society offers incremental benefits to past passengers and is valid towards all their programs throughout the world.

In their effort to be “everyone’s” river cruise fleet, Viking has some of the lowest price point cabins. These special offers however require full prepayment one year in advance to sailing and they are in USD. Their tour departments offer both air reservations and a quality travel insurance premium. Their new Viking Longships are state of the art however be aware of the square footage of some of their cabins (135 sq ft!). Onboard ambiance is truly relaxed and unassuming with a nice cross section of both European and North American guests.

Next week ….. Ama Waterways vs Tauck!

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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