Why River Cruising Works: It’s All About the Crew!

Why River Cruising Works

Every time I take a cruise, there’s always so much excitement about what I might experience, people I will meet, and new places where I will travel.  But every cruise is different and after 30 cruises, I can honestly say that I was starting to feel burnt out.  There was a whole lot of the same old, same old including the quality of food and service which was making me think that maybe I needed to take a break from cruising altogether.

That is until I took my Romantic Danube cruise on Viking Atla with Viking River Cruises last month.  I don’t want to sound like I’m over exaggerating here, but I have never been on a cruise with such a phenomenal crew before. While I will get to the day to day activities, food, and all things river cruise momentarily, I didn’t want to omit mentioning the extraordinary crew without giving them a much deserved shout out here.

From hotel manager, Robert Horwath, to the extremely attentive and helpful Maitre D’, Ivelin Bayraktarov, to the professional and well trained servers and bartenders, and of course, our amazing cabin steward, Marius, everyone came together to create the kind of service I’ve never received prior to taking this cruise.

Hover your mouse over each picture to read the crew member’s name and title.

To say that they were a hard working family taking care of their guests is probably more appropriate than to call them crew.  They work hard together, laugh together, and take good care of each other and their respect and admiration for themselves and each other definitely shows in the kind of service they provide to each and every one of their guests.

I often talk to the crew when I’m on a cruise and many (MANY) look tired, haggard, and well… completely done over their job.  Some may have enthusiasm, but it’s usually because they’re at the beginning of their contract.  On Viking Atla, the crew really had a vested interest in not only doing their job, but making sure guests were enjoying themselves.  They took the time to speak with individuals and often times it wasn’t because it was their job, but because they were actually interested.  You can always tell when someone is doing their job vs. when someone is genuinely a nice person who happens to be working.  Viking has found a way to hire people with hospitality experience and a desire to connect with people on a human level.

While I would have liked to have taken everyone’s photo, I hope you will look at the photos of the smiling faces above and know that Viking River Cruises intentionally hires the best of the best to provide their guests with an outstanding cruise like no other. After going out every day during the cruise and discovering new cities and towns, it always felt like I was returning home to family and friends when I returned to the ship. How often can you say that about a cruise?

Have you sailed with Viking River Cruises and have a story to share about amazing service you received?


I was a guest of Viking River Cruises for this cruise, but as always — all opinions and photographs are my own.

2 thoughts on “Why River Cruising Works: It’s All About the Crew!

  1. Yes, yes, yes! Couldn’t agree more about river cruise staff. We holidayed with a different company (Emerald waterways) but the attentive friendly service was superb. As you say, just like a family and they looked as if they really enjoyed their job.
    We are definitely going to try river cruising again – it was a fabulous experience.
    Trish – Mum’s gone to recently posted…Finland for FoodiesMy Profile

    1. I’m so glad you had a great time and can’t wait to read all about it. River cruising is definitely a different experience and I attribute it completely to the crew. I hope I’ll get the chance to try it again as well.

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