River Cruises Archives – Crown Cruise Vacations
Passengers who plan to cruise with the American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) and Victory Cruise Lines (VCL) will need to have proof of a COVID-19 vaccination for all sailings beginning July 1, 2021.
In addition, the vaccination requirement will apply to shipboard crew members and non-shipboard employees across all seven vessels in both fleets.
By Jackie Sheckler Finch
Here comes the American Cruise Lines coach rolling down the road. The road?
Yep, the popular riverboat line has added personalized private coaches for the convenience and safety of passengers. It certainly is easy for American Cruise Lines passengers to identify their special bus when it pulls up.
Are you a movie buff? Like scary stuff?
This trivia quiz has a two-part answer. First, what movie was filmed at this famous Southern mansion? Second, what is the name of the historic house?
Don’t look at the answer below until you’ve formulated your own sweet response. Congratulations, if you are correct.
Viking To Offer Access to Highclere Castle, Filming Location of ‘Downton Abbey’
“Downton Abbey” fans are going to have a chance to visit filming locations for the popular TV series and movie, courtesy of Viking cruises.
Starting in 2021, Viking cruises will be offering a new pre/post cruise extension named “Great Homes, Gardens & Gin.” The extension was designed to give cruisers an exclusive look at several country estates that have served as settings for the acclaimed PBS and Masterpiece Theatre productions.
I had only been on the ship one day and already I noticed little pluses that mean so much to travelers. I’m going to list some of them below – in no particular order – just to show what no-charge bonuses are offered on the Kara.
I’ve been on ships with balconies many times. That is one of my favorite things to do on a cruise – sit on my balcony and watch the ocean or the river roll.
But my cruise on the beautiful new Amadeus Silver II had a delight I had never seen before. My cabin didn’t have a balcony. Instead, it had a French window.
The floor-to-ceiling window in my stateroom covers almost the entire wall. I don’t have a walk-out veranda but I have an inside veranda. What I do to bring the outside in is to push a button and the upper half of the window comes down. It does feel as though I am sitting outside.
The window wall is framed with wood, almost like the window is a work of art, which it is. The scenery outside that window is gorgeous and changing. The window does have heavy drapes which cruise director Lorelay Bosca us in our first-night briefing are very important.
This is a Rhine River cruise, not an ocean cruise. We may go to sleep with nothing around us but the river and the shore in the distance. Then we may wake up docked near a small town or a park or even another ship.
And, as Lorelay warned, we could be in for a rude awakening if we left our curtains open and come out of the shower or the bed au naturel and give a surprise show to unsuspecting people outside our big window. Good to know.
Story and photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
But, wait, that is just the first page. Another “always available” page offers even more choices – sautéed salmon filet, roast chicken breast or seared prime ribeye steak.
And that is only the entrees. For starters, I can choose baba ghanoush & hummus, blackened beef carpaccio, baby spinach and blue cheese or parsley root veloute. Or on the “always available” starters side of the menu, I can order a cheese plate with mango thyme chutney.
Dessert options include mascarpone & sour cherry cake, hot chocolate cake, traditional Paris-Brest, almond cake, warm apple hazelnut crumble, fruit plate, sorbet or several different kinds of ice cream and sauces.
I had been told that food on Viking River Cruises is excellent and it certainly is. On a small ship, I figured the chef and cooking staff might not have much room to stretch their imaginations and cooking skills. But each meal has been wonderful with creative dishes and plenty of choices from executive chef Dimitar Yordanov and staff.
The Viking Kara has two places to dine, either the main restaurant on Deck Two where a regular meal is served or the Aquavit Lounge on Deck Three where lighter fare is available. Breakfast is usually from 7 to 9:30 a.m., lunch is around 1 p.m. and dinner is about 7 p.m. Times are sometimes adjusted according to shore excursions.
Two coffee, hot chocolate and tea stations in the upper atrium are also open 24/7 and have self-service machines that can produce lattes and cappuccinos, with mini-pastries offered in the morning and cookies in the afternoon.
Both the Aquavit and the restaurant offer great views during meal time so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing river scenes when you dine. The restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows with a large circular buffet area in the center of the room. Seating is open so passengers can eat different meals at different tables if they want.
I am a breakfast eater so I go to the restaurant each morning to get fueled for our busy day. The breakfast buffet is heaped with a wide choice of food – cheese, meat, yogurt, grilled tomatoes, hash brown potatoes, yogurt, bunches of bread and pastries, oatmeal with toppings and much more. There’s also an omelet station where eggs can be cooked to order. Or you can choose from the printed menu and be served at the table. I have had the Eggs Benedict on the menu twice so far which means they are very good.
Lunch includes a soup and salad bar with plenty of meats and cheeses or you can order from the menu – usually a featured entrée, pastas or sandwiches. Dinner, of course is the fanciest meal of the day. My favorite so far as been the special A Taste of Germany dinner with more German dishes than I could spell or sample. The buffet was packed with specialties, plus ordering from the menu was also offered. Each table had a wooden rack of pretzels and sausages, along with a plate of cheese, meat and spreads as appetizers.
An accordionist and a hurdy gurdy player added to the German ambiance and a server delivered German beers and schnapps. Soft drinks, wine and beer are always complimentary at lunch and dinner. Just a welcome extra touch from Viking River Cruises.
Photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Today I learned a new word. And had a marvelous dining adventure. I also discovered why AmaWaterways is the only river cruise line inducted into La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest international gastronomic society.
The reason? They deserve it.
A young boy on my Black Forest tour said he was a bit afraid of what might lurk in the dark woods. His sister expected to see fairy tale princesses. His father hoped to buy a handmade cuckoo clock. And his mother was seeking a recipe for the famed Black Forest Cake.
On any cruise, I always look forward to reading the ship’s newsletter that magically appears on my stateroom bed every night. The newsletters are filled with interesting information about where we are going, what we will be doing, the weather forecast and much more.