"Sailing through the heart of cities and landscapes with Viking you'll see things differently...it's a feeling that only a river can give you," goes the commercial, pronounced in plummy tones by a Brit spokesman who could be one of the Crawleys himself in the Viking River Cruise commercial attached to Downton Abbey's PBS appearances.
Those commercials (remember when PBS was "commercial free"?) are an integral part of the weekly Downton Abbey treat that viewers have become accustomed to--and it can't be far from the reason why RIVER CRUISING is the hottest trend this year in travel.
Cruise Holiday's International 2014 Cruise Trends Survey, for instance, says river cruising is on top of the trends this year.
"The enthusiasm over river cruising, particularly in Europe, continues to add a new dynamic to the vacation market. Even travelers who have never cruised before seem particularly drawn to river cruises as an attractive alternative to a land tour," Kevin Weisner, Senior Vice President, Cruise Holidays International said in a press statement along with the survey.
Cruise Holidays also analyzed data from across its network of agencies to see where most river cruise passengers are heading in 2014. The Netherlands, as well as cruises along the Danube and "Grand Tour" cruises of the Rhine, Main and Danube lead the way in popularity.
We think the "Grand Tour" is a favorite because its soooo Downton Abbey. Back in the day, the Dowager Countess would have taken one of her nieces abroad on "The Tour" to introduce her to fine living, to show her what kind of art one should buy and possibly to get her affianced to an Italian count or an American heir (yes, rich Americans were considered an unending goldmine for fund-seeking old world title holders).
So pack up your Ralph Lauren river cruise wear or your flapper dresses and book now!
Now if only some smart cruise line would create a dedicated Downton Abbey-themed river cruise. Viking, are you listening? "Danube with the Dowager" anyone?
Note: Cruise Holidays pointed out to us that Viking has a pre-cruise journey to Highclere, where Downton is filmed which is great but we're talking about a whole cruise themed around Downton era clothes, manners, customs, etc. High Tea, outfits galore and the Dowager Bon Mots would flow! Which character would you like to cruise as? Or meet on deck?