Two days ago we were in Kinderdijk, which is home to the Dutch countryside and 19 historic windmills. The 19 windmills were built in the mid-18th century and are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
For this day we first had breakfast in the morning. The breakfast in the main dining room on Viking is just a buffet, but they do serve made-to-order omelets or fried eggs. So far there have been a variety of yogurts, fresh made jams, pastries, bacon, sausages, hash browns, and a couple different dishes each day. After breakfast we grabbed our boarding passes from the front desk, which included information for which tour group we were in. We then went on the included tour of Kinderdijk from Viking.
The local guides were volunteers from Kinderdijk who lead 4 tour groups. The tour guide we had was informative but focused more on water management (I personally would have preferred more commentary on the windmills). I personally did not care for the guide and would have preferred a different one. To go on your own at Kinderdijk does require paying for tickets into the windmill.
We spent most of the beginning part of the tour learning about either windmill parts or the local water management system. Towards the end of the tour we were taken out to one of the windmills that is open to the public. Once out at the windmill we ditched the tour guide and explored on our own. I felt this was the best way to go to the windmills without having to pay the entrance fee. The windmill is open to view with 3 floors open for touring.
Once the tour was complete the riverboat then sailed on to Cologne, which we arrived at the following day. Lunch was then offered not long after sailing. Lunch in the main dining room consists of a mixture of buffet and ordered meals. The buffet is primarily for salads. We first made a salad and then ordered the beer cheese soup for our entrée.
In the afternoon there was a water management talk by the Program Director, which actually was more interesting than the tour guide’s commentary in Kinderdijk. The presentation covered flooding issues and how the Netherlands is working on addressing future issues from global warming.
Following the presentation there was a presentation regarding optional and alterative excursions throughout the cruise. Optional excursions are additional excursions you can pay for; for example in Cologne there was the Brauhaus tour at night for an additional fee. There were new optional excursions from Viking that were not listed before the cruise. In Cologne an optional excursion was added to visit Bruhl Palace, while there was a couple new additions as well in Vienna and in Budapest. After the presentation you could turn in your forms for optional excursions, which we booked 4 additional excursions.
Additionally, Viking is offering Alternative excursions in ports as well throughout the cruise. These are included but give passengers the option of touring different sites in selected ports. In Koblenz a new tour was added for alternative tours that took you on a cable car up to a fortress overlooking Koblenz. These new options provided some different alternatives that we had not originally considered.