Travel Story: Paris To Prague On Viking River Cruises Ship, Ingvi
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
River cruising is one of the fastest growing cruise segments so we thought we would travel between Paris & Prague with Viking River Cruises whilst seeing the beautiful German countryside along the way. When we booked this cruise Viking was offering the cruises with free return economy airfares but as we wanted to fly business on a Virgin Australia partner we took a credit off the fare so we could fly with Etihad. We had not travelled with Viking before nor had we been on a river cruise before so we were excited to see what it was all about. Viking river cruises are all inclusive which means all tours, food and alcohol are included in the fare with the exception of lunch and dinner while we were in Paris and Prague.
Day 1: Paris, France - Arrival & Check-In
After our excellent business class flight with Etihad from Australia to France we caught a cab from the airport to the hotel that Viking had arranged, The Meridien Etoile which is where cruise check-in was set up. It should be noted that the cruise part of the package is only through Germany on the Moselle, Rhine and Main rivers, Viking put us up in hotels and transported us by coach in France and the Czech Republic at either end of the cruise. After settling in to our room we headed out around 9pm to a local French family owned bistro for dinner Le Ballon Des Ternes where we ate as the French do having escargot (snails), frogs legs and grilled fish which were all tasty washed down with some lovely French rose. Following on from dinner we wandered down to the nearby Arc De Triomphe to see this wonderful landmark lit up at night, it was amazing to walk past all the cafes and bistros filled with people at 11pm due to the fact the French generally don't eat dinner until this time. As it had been a big day of travelling we decided to head to back to the hotel for some well needed rest before a big day ahead.
Day 2: Paris, France - Best of Paris City Tour & Dinner Cruise
On our second day in Paris we boarded our coach for our included Best of Paris City tour, we travelled down the Champ-Elysees past the Arc De Triomphe, the Grand Palais, Place de la Concorde, The Louvre and Napoleon's Tomb ending up at Notre Dame where we went inside to see the beauty of this amazing cathedral. In the afternoon we visited the Eiffel Tower on our own where we had skip the line tickets booked through Viator, after heading up the tower we headed to the riverside to board our Bateaux Parisiens dinner cruise. It was truly an amazing experience enjoying good food and wine while travelling along the river watching locals eating and drinking on picnic rugs on the side of the river. There were buskers playing music and many locals were slow dancing as well, Paris is truly a romantic city to visit. We would definitely recommend the dinner river cruise to anyone visiting Paris.
Day 3: Paris, France to Trier Germany via Luxembourg, Luxembourg - Coach Tour & Ship Arrival
Today we farewelled Paris and boarded our coach to Trier, Germany. Along the way we stopped at Luxembourg City, Luxembourg to do a walking tour of the city and then afterwards we headed to a little restaurant on the main square for some lunch to try the local food and wine. After lunch we re-boarded the coach and headed to the US War Memorial to see the war graves and memorial followed by the coach ride to Trier in Germany. We boarded our ship Ingvi on the Moselle river, our home for the next six nights. After settling in to our room and having dinner onboard we went for a walk through the ancient city to do some exploring before returning to the ship at sunset.
Day 4: Trier, Germany to Bernkastel, Germany - Exploring on Foot
In the morning we went for a walking tour of Trier organised by Viking where we explored this amazing ancient city. Trier is the oldest city in Germany and was the northern most city of the Holy Roman Empire, the city is filled with amazing architecture and history and you could easily spend a couple of days exploring the city. Following our tour we boarded a coach to meet our ship which had been moving upstream while we were on tour. After boarding the ship we headed upstream for a couple of hours whilst having lunch and arrived at the town of Bernkastel around dinner time. After dinner we wandered the cobblestone streets of this amazing little town which is filled with half timber buildings that look like gingerbread houses, it was a real fairytale style village.
Day 5: Cochem, Germany to Winnigen Germany - Reichsburg Castle Tour
After moving upstream overnight our ship arrived in Cochem, Germany and we headed ashore for a walking tour of the town and of the thousand year old Reichsburg Castle. This incredible castle is like something out of a fairytale and probably one of the best examples of a restored castle in this region, definitely a must visit if your in Cochem. The town of Cochem is nestled in a valley with vineyards on either side of the river and is very picturesque, after our tour the ship departed for Winnigen where it arrived around dinnertime where we wandered the cobblestone streets after dinner.
Day 6: Koblenz, Germany - Marksburg Castle Visit & Scenic Cruising
We boarded our coach in Winnigen and travelled to Koblenz for our guided tour of the medieval Marksburg Castle the only fortification from the Middle Ages that is still intact. While we were on tour our ship transited from the Moselle river to the Rhine river, Koblenz is at the intersection of these two major rivers. We reboarded the ship upstream on the Rhine river as due to the large number of river ships in town that day there were no docks left in Koblenz. We then departed for what is a highlight of this cruise, an afternoon of scenic cruising along the Rhine where we relaxed in the ships lounge having lunch and sampling the local Riesling that she ship had sourced ashore from the local towns. We passed many beautiful towns and around 40 castles that were built during the medieval period, some had been painstakingly restored and others were just ruins. It was a definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Day 7: Miltenberg, Germany - Exploring On Foot
Today we were supposed to get off the ship for a tour of Heidelberg however the ship had difficulties with the local authorities, river ships are required permission to dock in the various towns along the river and the authorities said we didn't have that permission. The captain did have a copy of the paperwork but the authorities said it wasn't on their system so we could not disembark, after two hours of back and forth it was decided to cancel the visit to Heidelberg and the ship instead headed upstream to Miltenberg, Bavaria where we arrived just after lunch. The ship had rushed to arrange walking tours of the old town for us which was an amazing feat considering this is not a regular stop on their cruises. We wandered through the beautiful village with its historic half timber buildings and stone castle, the history of the town was very interesting from the days of the witch trials through to the second world war it has certainly had a varied history. After our tour we headed to Riesen Guest House which is the oldest guest house in Germany where we sat down in the front bar to try the local beer and pretzels. Although it would have been nice to see Heidelberg we were certainly not disappointed with visiting the beautiful little town of Miltenberg instead.
Day 8: Wurzburg, Germany - Bishops Palace & City Tour
We boarded a coach to head to the city of Wurzburg while the ship slowly made its way upstream to meet us there later in the day, our included tour took us first to the Bishops Palace and then took us on a walk around this picturesque city. It's hard to believe that 90% of the city was destroyed by allied bombing during the second word war and the city has been painstakingly reconstructed using photography to try and recreate the historic city centre and palace at is was. Following our tour we had lunch at a local restaurant the Stachel Restaurant and Winehouse where we tried the local sausage and wine. Due to issues with the lochs and river heights we were delayed getting back on the ship as it had to get under the historic city bridges before the river height got too high. Our cruise director was fantastic and took us to a riverside bar where she put a tab on the bar and we sat there enjoying the local beer and wine whilst we watched the ship navigate the river lochs and bridges beside us.
Day 9: Bamberg, Germany - Exploring On Foot
Today we boarded our coach for the short drive from the port to Bamberg as the river is too shallow for the ship to dock in the city, this was the last stop for the ship as it is the furthest the ship can travel on this river. We took a guided walking tour of the town which was very informative, Bamberg is a college town so there were lots of students around enjoying the sunshine at the local hotels. After the tour we headed to The Hotel Alt-Ringlein to try the local specialty which is smoked beer, it wasn't to everyones taste but we liked it. They do two varieties of smoked beer in Bamberg full smoke and half smoke, we found we preferred the half smoke but either way if you like smoked foods you will like the smoked beer. After wandering around this beautiful town for a little longer we headed back to the ship for our last night on board.
Day 10: Bamberg Germany to Prague Czech Republic via Nuremberg, Germany - Coach Tour
Today we farewelled our ship for the last time and boarded our coach to head to our final destination of Prague, Czech Republic with a stop along the way at Nuremberg, Germany. At Nuremberg we did a coach tour around the city which included the old Nazi parade grounds and the location of the Nuremberg trials. Afterwards we wandered the historic city centre, watched the musical clock strike the hour and had lunch at the Nuremberg Bratwurst House where we tried the local specialty bratwurst sausage and the local beer both of which were excellent. After lunch we re-boarded the coach for the remaining drive to Prague, we arrived in the early evening at our hotel the Hilton Prague where after checking in we had dinner at the hotels Cloud 9 bar and lounge which has amazing views of the city.
Day 11: Prague, Czech Republic & Departure - Exploring On Foot & Dinner Cruise
Today we went out exploring Prague on our included Viking tour where we visited all of the city highlights including Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and Old Town where we viewed the astronomical clock. After our tour we had lunch at local restaurant where we tried the local pork knuckle and beer. In the evening we boarded a dinner cruise ship for a cruise along the Vitava river, this is definitely a highlight in Prague and we recommend everyone to do it when in Prague as it is the best view of the city at night. In the middle of the night we headed to the airport for our red eye flight from Prague to Frankfurt with Czech Airlines for our connection with Etihad to Abu Dhabi and onwards to Brisbane, you can read more about our flight in our review here. We had an amazing time on our river cruise with Viking, their ship, staff and tours were all excellent as were the destinations we visited. We would definately recommend Viking to anyone interested in doing a river cruise. So that ends this travel story, if you have any questions about this trip feel free to comment on the blog, Until next time!
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About The Author
Rob has been passionate about cruise ship holidays and exploring the world since the first cruise he went on when he was only seven years old. Since then Rob who is a Photographer and his partner Mike of 18 years have travelled the world on over 25 cruises with over 10 different cruise lines visiting every continent across the globe as well as many remote tropical islands along the way. In addition to cruise holidays they enjoy relaxing at beach side holiday resorts and first/business class air travel as well as transcontinental rail journeys. Between them both Robert and Michael have worked out the best way to maximise frequent flyer reward points allowing them to travel first/business class at economy class prices or in some cases travelling first/business class for free.