Viking invited 10 agents on two-night cruise from Cologne to Amsterdam on Viking Kvasir. Jill Sayles joins them and find out how important fam trips are in selling the product
After arriving in the historic city of Cologne, Germany, the agents enjoy a buffet lunch onboard in Viking Kvasir’s elegant Aquavit Terrace, before checking into its Standard category staterooms. Afterwards, the group sets off on a walking tour and a visit to the stunning Gothic cathedral, a Unesco World Heritage Site. They also have the option of an excursion ascending one of the cathedral’s twin spires for incredible views across the city and beyond. Later in the afternoon, the group has some free time – some use it to explore further, while others kick back with a cocktail on the Sun Deck.
Later in the day, there is another excursion available for guests to explore Cologne’s beer culture, sampling Kölsch – a light, crisp beer brewed only in Cologne – and a Bauhaus dinner in the city, before returning to the ship for the late-evening departure.
In the evening, the group eats a three-course dinner on the Aquavit Terrace with a choice of local speciality dishes, a vegetarian dish, and signature plates that are always available on Viking Longships and come paired with local wines.
The evening’s entertainment in the Lounge is a violinist accompanied by a piano playing a selection of classical works by composers with a connection to the area.
The ship sets off for the next part of its journey at midnight.
The morning is spent enjoying breakfast while sailing along the Rhine from Germany into the Netherlands and taking in the beautiful scenery. There is a choice of onboard activities, such as sampling Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and a presentation on the Dutch Golden Age.
After a buffet lunch in the Restaurant, the ship makes a brief stop at Gorinchem where most of the agents choose to go on an optional afternoon excursion exploring the local cheese industry, with plenty of opportunity to sample some tasty Gouda. Following the tour, the ship sails on to Kinderdijk, a Unesco World Heritage Site featuring 19 historic windmills, where the agents learn about why the windmills were built and see how they work. There are a couple more optional excursions available here, including a trip on a vintage barge and a two-hour bike tour, which Claire Harris from Hays Travel enjoys. “I definitely recommend the cycling tour,” she enthuses. “I love the fact that you have your own personal device to be able to sync with the local guide who is extremely informative.”
Back onboard, the group attends the Captain’s Cocktail Party before Viking Kvasir casts off at 7pm. Another tasty dinner is served in the Restaurant and the agents enjoy a lively evening of music and dancing in the Lounge, before the ship arrives in Amsterdam at around midnight.
After breakfast, guests enjoy an added post-cruise tour of Amsterdam, taking advantage of the Dutch capital’s incredible art and architecture, while the agents head to the airport, their perceptions suitably changed.
“I enjoyed the luxury, the relaxed atmosphere and the top notch food,” says Binie Shah from Affinion International Travel. “The rooms have everything you need. I would never have thought of going on a cruise, but this has made me think again.”
An 8-day Rhine Getaway cruise from Basel to Amsterdam, including six shore excursions, costs from £1,445 per person. Call 020 8780 7985 or visit vikingcruises.co.uk to find out more