Rhine Getaway Viking River Cruise

Summary

We enjoyed our Danube River cruise "Danube Watlz" so much, when we were offered a bigger discount to travel with Viking again, we decided we'd go on another - this time on the Rhine.  This cruise is called the "Rhine Getaway".

Two years ago it was the "Danube Waltz", a cruise from Passau, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary.  We arrived in Passau, and spent the first partial day and some of the next in Passau.  At the end, we arrived in Budapest at night, spent the entire next day there, and left in the morning on the day after that.

This trip was a little different.  The original cruise itinerary was to arrive in Amsterdam, The Nederlands, and leave that day.  And at the end, we were supposed to arrive in Basel, Switzerland, and leave that day.  So we decided to add extensions at the beginning - three days - and at the end - two days, so we could actually spend some time in Amsterdam and in Basel.  We probably won't ever be back to either country for a visit, so we wanted to make sure we spent some time and saw those cities.

As we prepared to take our journey, we had some things to take care of.  This was, after all, somewhere in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.  At the time of this writing, we donn't exactly know where in the wave we are...  In order to enter The Nederlands, we needed a negative COVID test, proof of vaccination, and a Nederlands Federal Attestation form.  In order to stay in Switzerland (we would have probably been OK if we were just disembarked and leaving), we needed a COVID Certificate.  One pain in the neck with applying for the certificate was that European date format is (the appropriate) DD/MM/YYYY, where the US is MM/DD/YYYY (for whatever reason) - that took some getting used to.  I applied for mine, and it went through.  Then I tried Linda's.  The payment authentication failed.  I tried it again - I thought maybe I entered the number wrong.  And then again.  It kept failing. So I thought I try again the next day.  In the morning I found that there was a problem with my application and it was rejected.  So I had to try mine again.  And it failed again.  And again.  I checked the number and tried again.  Failure after failure.  I tried Linda's - no.  Mine - no.  Firefox - no.  Edge - no.  Part of the application process was getting a code e-mailed.  Sometimes the code took so long, it was no longer valid.  There were a couple times where uploading the documents took so long that the e-mailed code became invalid.  This went on for days.  Linda eventually contacted the Swiss Health Department via Instragram.  Initially their responses seemed to be the cut-paste type weren't really applicable to our situation.  After explaining what was happening and showing the errors received, they finally got back and said "they were working on a fix."  Eventually, on the Tuesday before we departed.... the payments FINALLY went through.  We had all the paperwork we needed and were set to go.

One item of note, on the trip, we were required to take a PCR test each morning, by 8:00 AM, on the ship.  The previous night, the room attendant left two saliva vials and envelopes (along with the Daily and any tickets needed for the following day) in our room while we were at dinner.

We print a packing list and a house checklist (thanks dad) before we leave. One item on the list is to turn the clocks back or ahead, in case. Since the time change was going to occur the weekend we were away, we turned them back just before leaving. And Europe turned them back the weekend we were leaving - so we didn't "gain an hour of sleep", we just had to adjust for 5 hours of time zones instead of six. Or however that works.

For some statistics:

  • 9,819 [approximate] miles traveled not including walking or location / local shuttle, bus, and or tram rides
  • 159,795 or 60.5 miles [approximate] steps walked by Linda
  • 164,331 or 68.5 miles [approximate] steps walked by Steve
  • 2,889 photos retained (yes, that's more than 200 pics per day... and "retained" because some images were deleted immediately after taking due to blurriness [probably] or a missed opportunity or whatever).  This summary does not include all of them either, also because all phone pictures were taken twice due to the lack of preview, and some were combined to create stitches and or panaramic shots.
  • 12 videos
  • 4 countries visited
  • 8 PCR tests taken
  • 3 [possible] Exotic cars spotted (one probably a Lamborghini, and two possible Ferarris [a little hard to tell when they pass by in the opposite direction, one while we were entering a tunnel])

One small problem with putting together this chronicle is that the times on the cell phone pictures were automatically updated, but the camera wasn't (and I didn't think to adjust it). It was six hours difference, and when sorting the images by date and time... well, let's just say it complicates things a little bit.

This trip was great. The weather wasn't fantastic - it was rainy for the better part of our two full days in Amsterdam - and temps were generally in the upper 40's F and lower 50s F. But this sort of trip really gets me thinking about whether or not I want to retire. Like, now.
But if you are a co-worker or my manager, I missed work immensely and couldn't wait to get back to the office... 👍