Sunday, May 19, 2024

VIVA TWO christened for luxury cruising on Europe’s rivers

Blue and silver confetti drifted on the Rhine breeze. A bottle of Champagne cracked on the bow. The ship’s horn boomed across Dusseldorf. “It’s a beautiful day” played on the sound system and VIVA TWO was triumphantly christened.

VIVA Cruises ‘ staff hugged and joyously high-fived in celebration. Two years ago, this state-of-the-art ship had merely been a drawing board concept. Now she was gleaming reality, smelling brand new.

The ship’s godmother, Shiri Gordon, CEO of Tel Aviv based tour operator The Gordon Travel Group, launched the champagne onto the 135 metre long, 190 passenger river cruiser. She gave wise words of advice to VIVA Cruises staff, “Do what you love and love what you do.”

Respecting the environment, VIVA TWO’s design, solar panels and automatic pilots have all reduced energy consumption. As Captain Golubovic says, “The cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use.”

The ship

The captain told invited VIPs that VIVA TWO is one of the most modern of vessels on Europe’s rivers.

Guests on the ship’s short cruise from Dusseldorf to Nijmegen were impressed with this smooth sailing low-draught ship. Experienced cruisers commented on the absence of vibration usually found on river cruisers.

For Captain Golubovic, a third-generation sailor, it was the culmination of his career aspirations to take the helm of a brand-new ship. A moment made even prouder by having his brother Dragan serving alongside him as co-captain.

Accommodation is spread across three decks. Doubles on the top two Diamond and Ruby decks have floor-to-ceiling French balconies whilst those on the lower deck, Emerald, have non-opening windows.

Soft greys and beiges, pinewood fittings and mini spotlights give the cabins a light contemporary aura. Equipped with a 32-inch flat screen TV, coffeemaker and minibar, each stateroom provides exceptional comfort. Individual climate control allows guests to set temperatures for their own personal comfort.

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The bathrooms

Stylishly collaging marble, dark grey splash back tiles and light cream walls, bright bathrooms have ample space for a couple’s bathroom essentials.

Double salon-style glass doors provide easy access to a large shower, both rainfall and directional, that stretches for the full width of the bathroom. Low-level night lighting is another thoughtful feature. Sensuous Holy Lotus and White Tea toiletries are provided by Rituals.

The balcony suites

On the top Diamond Deck there are eight suites. The window-facing wide double bed can also be configured as two singles.

Bathrooms have SPA robes and slippers.

Dining

Every meal on board VIVA TWO is a gourmet experience. Guests select from a buffet and items cooked to order for both breakfast and lunch. A French style boulangerie is a breakfast highlight.

Menus and the wine list at the Riverside restaurant, the largest of the three dining spaces, adapt to local sourcing as Europe slides past. Perhaps a Wiener schnitzel will appear in Austria or a goulash in Hungary.

MOMENTS, at the Emerald deck, offers Mediterranean favourites whilst VIVA’s Bistro, at rear of the ship, has a fish themed menu: think crayfish cocktail, lobster bisque, pan-fried cod, and skipjack tuna. Think fine-dining dishes impeccably served.

A choice of table and flexible dining times are popular with guests. A Gala dinner on the final evening impresses even the most discerning of foodies.

Facilities

Touches of Art Deco, recalling the Great Age of the Ocean Liners, bring spacious elegance to a panoramic windowed lounge and bar.

Cool off with a dip in the small pool by the sun loungers on the top deck.

A small gym features a rowing machine, exercise bike and running machine – and a selection of weights. While the Wellness area has a steam bath and infrared sauna.

Bikes are available, free of charge, for those who want to explore on their own.

The cruises

VIVA TWO begins its programme with a cruise from Frankfurt to Passau on April 1st 2023 before embarking on a series of Danube voyages for the rest of the year.

Guests can select from a short Danube Highlights cruise through to a 15 nights Danube Delta Cruise. For the start of the 2024 season, VIVA TWO will return to Dusseldorf for January, February and March sailings on VIVA Cruises’ popular four-night city trips to the Netherlands and Belgium .

The cost

An Emerald Deck Cabin starts from £1,250 per person for the 7 nights Danube Panorama cruise.

The 15 nights Danube Delta Cruise, begins from £2,850 per person for a double cabin on the Emerald Deck. For this Danube cruise suites commence from £4,695 per person.

Prices are inclusive of gratuities, full-board, soft drinks, minibar, and selected alcoholic drinks.

As there is a huge variety of excursions available, they are charged individually.

The best bit

As VIVA TWO cruises along Europe’s rivers, guests have a wide choice of excursions to experience the best of European art, culture, and heritage.

For cruisers seeking a private excursion, VIVA Cruises can tailor bespoke shore excursions to taste, given sufficient notice.

The final verdict

With over 250 vessels cruising the Danube, competition is intense. Undoubtedly VIVA TWO will appeal to the discerning river cruiser seeking the irresistible combination of impeccable service, contemporary design flair and gourmet cuisine.

As the VIVA Cruises’ credo promises, VIVA TWO will provide moments to enjoy.

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