Winter Wellness with VIVA Cruises

Jane Wilson finds winter wellness onboard VIVA Cruises’ Rheingau Wellness Cruise

It’s zero degrees outside, snowflakes are falling like confetti and the sky is a smudgy white. But I’m lapping it up, cosy and warm onboard a river cruise on the Rhine. But it’s not just a river cruise, it’s the Rheingau Wellness Trip courtesy of VIVA Cruises.

Wellness Onboard

Bleak winter months can take their toll on our health and mental wellbeing, when days are darker and there is a preference to hibernate. Watching winter scenes from panoramic windows, with smiles and service on tap is a recommended way to ripple away those winter blues. “We were on the edge from 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.” Most passengers were from Germany – couples, mother and daughters enjoying catch-up time, girlfriend groups celebrating.

Wellness threads through this journey. A 30-minute massage for each guest, a sauna and steam room bookable for an hour’s session, a compact gym and bicycles available to hire. In the Riverside Restaurant, half portions can be requested and sauces served separately, colourful healthy bowls and salad bars and daily creative vegan menus.

Scenic Journey

Relaxed in the lounge, with the silent hum of the engine, we are educated on the region’s wine history – Riesling, Pinot Noir. The commentary, in both German and English, highlights key monuments and tales of Napoleon as dramatic silhouettes of fort ruins come into view. The cruise embarks and disembarks in Dusseldorf and runs through Coblenz, Boppard, Rüdesheim, Bonn and Cologne. In Coblenz the Moselle flirts with the Rhine, while in Boppard, lights in the tiny windows along the historic lanes guide our evening walking tour. We tuck into bircher and fresh berries as mountains pass our windows. They look like fluffy coats sprinkled with snow, all ruffled and cuddly.

In the lounge, smiling waiters serve smoothies, vitamin drinks and a range of detox waters listed on the drinks menu amongst wines, beers and spirits. We see castles and Gothic churches while trains whizz through tunnels along the river route. The vines on the hillside mimic patchwork quilts draped across the slopes. Rows of what seem like dolls houses edge the shoreline, church steeples add height. These frame overlapping mountains, hills and slopes giving an art lesson in perspective.

A visit to Bonn takes us to the birthplace of composer Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770) while on our last stop a rickshaw tour proves a novel way to explore Cologne with time to absorb the grandeur of the Cathedral and the original story of the first Eau de Cologne with the memorable aromas of our grandmother’s fragrance.

Delicious Dishes

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

And it’s the gourmet dishes served that feed the enjoyment and indulgence of life on board. Free seating, multiple courses, dishes served with a dedication to presentation and flavour. 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.

A quaint bistro positioned at the stern is a more casual affair with dishes such as pulled pork slider with steak fries or roasted jumbo shrimp. A great place to bid farewell to landmarks and watch the twinkling lights as day transitions to night.


VIVA ONE was built in 2022 so its newness is still apparent. The corridors are well lit, just like a landing strip. There are 88 cabins to accommodate 176 passengers and a small number of balcony and junior suites. Cabins are elegant and restful, most with large panoramic windows opening onto French balconies to watch the passing scenes in privacy. There are lifts between the decks for easy access. The sundeck is spacious and elegantly furnished. A steaming jacuzzi is tempting in such cold temperatures.

Enjoy the moment is the company’s motto and we all did. It may have been cold outside, but inside, the warm atmosphere was felt in friendship, fabulous food and fun. But the main wellness comes from the experience on board, the convivial spirit, the joy of new acquaintances and the warmth of kindness – a tonic against the grey cold months to wave away those winter blues.

Find out more

Call our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678 to book your VIVA cruise and get further information. VIVA TWO will be launched in March 2023.


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Jane Wilson

Founder & editor of the Wellness Traveller

2 Responses

    1. Hi Kenneth, we’d be delighted to help you plan a VIVA cruise. We’ll reach out to you, or alternatively please get in touch with our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678.

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