Wellness Cruising with VIVA Cruises

Reviewed by The Wellness Traveller


VIVA ONE on the Rhine

Winter wellness onboard VIVA Cruises’ Rheingau Wellness Cruise

River wellness cruising is one way to wave away those winter blues. When the days are darker and there is a preference to hibernate, winter months can take their toll on our health and mental wellbeing. In fact, it’s the time when many suffer from seasonal affective disorder, (SAD). But four days floating along the Rhine, treated with smiles and service on tap from a cosy setting, will physically and psychologically do the trick. 

Couples, mothers with daughters, group of friends were all enjoying the benefits of a wellness getaway.  ‘We were on the brink with the stress of everyday life,’ was a comment from a couple from Germany. ‘We needed to hand over our credit card and our brains to allow the therapeutic rhythm of water glide us back to health.’  

Wellness Cruising

With zero temperatures outside and snowflakes falling like confetti I lapped it up – warm and very comfortable onboard this river cruise on the Rhine.  But it’s not just a river cruise, it’s the Rheingau Wellness Trip courtesy of VIVA Cruises where wellness is laced through the journey. A 30-minute massage for each guest, a bookable hour’s session in the small steam room and sauna, a compact gym and bicycles available to hire for the excursions. In the Riverside Restaurant, half portions can be requested and sauces served separately, healthy bowls and salad bars and daily creative vegan menus.

Wellness Cruising, The Route

Sailing from Dusseldorf, our first stop was Coblenz, where the Moselle flirts with the Rhine and the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress perches high on the opposite side of the bank.  Relaxed in the lounge, with the silent hum of the engine, we were educated on the region’s wine history – Riesling, Pinot Noir. Commentary, in both German and English, highlighted key monuments and tales of Napoleon as dramatic silhouettes of fort ruins set against the sky come into view. Next stop, Boppard which lies in the horseshoe bend in middle Rhine. This is where the Romans planted the first vines around the military settlements. The lights of tiny windows along the historic lanes guided our walking tour during a brief evening visit here. 

The following morning, as we tucked into bircher and fresh berries, mountains passed our windows. They looked like fluffy coats sprinkled with snow, all ruffled and cuddly. Sipping cappuccinos in the lounge we saw castles and Gothic churches with trains whizzing through tunnels, running parallel to the river route. And as we sailed toward our next stop, vines on the hillside looked like patchwork quilts draped across the slopes. Smiling waiters served smoothies, vitamin drinks and a range of detox waters listed on the drinks menu alongside the wines, beers and spirits.  Rows of what seemed like dolls houses edged the shoreline, church steeples added height. These framed overlapping mountains, hills and slopes, giving a lesson in perspective. 

Visiting places on the itinerary is convenient and accessible whether on an organised excursion or independently.  Wine, torture and mechanical music cabinet museums are hidden away in Rüdesheim while Bonn takes more fame as the birthplace of composer Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770). A rickshaw tour, arranged by the ship proved a novel way to explore Cologne with time to absorb the grandeur of the Cathedral and the original place of Eau de Cologne.

Wellness Cruising, Gourmet Dining

But it is gourmet dishes served on board that feeds the enjoyment and indulgent of life on board. Free seating, multiple courses and dishes served with a dedication in presentation, colour and creativity.  Freshly made to personal tastes. Pink Roasted Goose Breast with a baby beet and cherry glace, White Tomato Cappuccino Basil foam, Tiger Shrimp Thermidor, Opera of Valrona Chocolate. Hard to resist, difficult to choose. Delicious

A quaint bistro at the stern offers a more casual dining experience, featuring herb marinated beef medallions and chimichurri sauce, pulled pork slider with steak fries and roasted jumbo shrimp. A great place to bid farewell to those towns and cities and watch the twinkling lights as day transitions to night.

VIVA ONE, The Ship

VIVA ONE was built in 2022 so its newness is still apparent. The corridors are well lit, just like a landing strip. With a capacity for 176 passengers, there are 88 cabins to include a number of balcony and junior suites.  Elegant and restful over three decks, large panoramic windows and French balconies allow watching the passing scenes in privacy. There is a lift between the decks and to the sundeck with a steaming jacuzzi, tempting in such cold temperatures. 

The lounge is the centre of social life decked out in earthy tones of browns to create a harmonic, contemporary interior styling, naturally blending in with the moving landscapes. 

Wellness Cruising, ‘Enjoy The Moment

‘Enjoy the moment’ is the company’s motto and we all did. Wellness flows in many forms, the experience on board, the convivial spirit, the joy of new friendships and the warmth of kindness. One couple related this wellness theme as a tonic against the grey cold months to wave away those ‘Winter Blues.’  

VIVA Cruise’s all-inclusive Rheingau Wellness trips run from January to March 2023 aboard their first build ship, VIVA ONE. 

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