Six reasons to use concierge services aboard Viking River Cruises
Shop till’ you drop with help from the pros
Article by Linda Kissam
Photos by Allan Kissam
Viking River Cruises are unlike any other cruise line. They focus on providing the preeminent small ship experience for the adult traveler at a mid-luxury price. I like the way they offer shore excursions, complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner, 24/7 specialty coffees, teas and bottles water, all port taxes and all airport transfers when purchasing the Viking Air program. The included guided tours at each port of call are killer. Their well trained and chosen staff offer exemplary service.
Although you will be on a guided tour each port of call – generally in the morning- there are other sightseeing opportunities available for you throughout the day. For me, “sightseeing” means shopping, dining off ship at unexpected places or booking a spa appointment. Where the ship’s concierge comes in is arranging any aspect of your bucket list, so you can maximize your free time. This ranges from booking restaurants, to searching the best place to find a gift for a loved one, finding a botanical garden for you to stroll through, guiding you to the best places to hike in a national park, to finding the perfect café.
Now, I realize some readers prefer to research things on their own. In fact, my research skills are exceptional, but in some matters I have come to understand it really takes a connected pro to help manage my time and efforts and refine my research results.
You are likely to find you are not going to have unlimited time to do what you want. Time and organization is the key to successfully navigating what each port has to offer. If you have your head in your computer, you’ll be missing the transcendent views and enjoyable on-board activities. YELP and Trip Advisor are a good starting place, but absolutely nothing can beat the magic concierge wand sprinkling insider information all over you.
I asked Viking River Cruise Guest Services manager Adriana of the Viking Elbe (Prague to Berlin) to tell me why guests should use their services and what they can “really” do for even the savviest traveler. The answers will are guaranteed to have you putting the concierge service on your speed dial. “Always come to us for ideas on obtaining the things you want. We will save you time and money. Period.” “Whether you are looking for luxury items or bargains, special experiences or just a push in the right direction, we’ll have the answer you’re looking for. We’ve already done all the vetting before we recommend. No guess work means a smooth, unwrinkled experience for you.”
My experience says that she’s right.
Here’s some additional reasons you should consider using a concierge aboard your Viking River Cruise …or ANY cruise for that matter as this advice transcends cruise lines.
- Ideas Tailored to You
The best concierge services have clients dealing with the same person at all times, for all requests. By learning your tastes your concierge becomes a pro-active provider.
- Personal Search Engine
Researching out of the way destinations, booking spas and restaurants or sourcing a unique gift that is made only in the area you are visiting can sometimes be a laborious task. Why search uncritically on the internet when you can ask for a personal recommendation from an expert with a huge book of contacts? This removes the unknown element, and puts you in the driver’s seat.
- Offering a Priceless Commodity
Free up precious time, experience the things you love instead of spending time researching and booking them. A concierge service offers one of today’s most priceless commodities – your time.
- They know what you don’t
A good concierge service will always be looking for the best of everything to recommend to their clients, based on their own insider knowledge and expertise. They will have “been there, done that” and are willing to share with you. Want to know the best café stop in Prague? The best purse shop in Berlin? The most unique china in Germany? The best public spa? Your concierge will know.
- Privileges and Courtesy Benefits
A great concierge service will strive to negotiate for special privileges and benefits for its guests wherever possible. Names of decision makers, priority reservations, special coupons, and complimentary drinks at the best cocktail bar – a concierge service can add value, make you a VIP for the day and save you money.
- Insiders Newsletter
Aboard a Viking Cruise ship, a daily newsletter keeps guests informed of the best deals coming up, what special treasurers or activities will be found in the next port and a few under-the-radar exclusives, so guests can be up on the best and greatest wherever they are. Newsletters arrive in cabins the night before docking in a port so guests have the time to think about what they might want to do.
A concierge service offers so many benefits, everyone should try it at least once. Those in the know, understand how a concierge service can help them with every travel, lifestyle and leisure need that they don’t have the time, expertise or inclination to do themselves.
Tips on tipping: A concierge’s time and talents are provided as part of your benefit package, just like a waiter, housekeeping, program director, etc. are provided by the management to make your trip enjoyable. You do not pay the concierge each time you use them, but it is a good practice to give them an end of the cruise tip for exceptional service.
Take a look: Fun & informative video
Note: As is common in the travel review industry, Linda and Allan were each provided with a complimentary cruise for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, these two writers are happy to provide full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.