This cruse was our third river cruise and second Viking cruise. We left JFK on a Tuesday night, made a quick stop in London and arrived in Marseille Wednesday morning. All went well except my luggage never arrived and was still in London, The staff at Marseille airport were horrible and could not care about my luggage. We met the Viking person at the airport and were taken to a bus which took us to Avignon. My first objective was to find my luggage and when I arrived on the boat after check in I told the front desk about my missing luggage and they copied all the information and told me they would take care of it, relax and enjoy my vacation. We had a light lunch on the boat and went on a walking tour of Avignon to stretch our legs and give us something to do. Dinner was excellent on the boat, free wine and beer and it was a good time. After dinner I was disappointed my luggage had not arrived and we would be sailing early in the morning. The girl at the desk made several calls and tried to find my bag, it had arrived in Marseille and a courier was supposed to bring it to the boat, he never showed up.
The next morning we had an early morning sail to Arles, it was nice to watch the sun come up and travel on the river. After breakfast we had a walking tour, a nice guide and visited all the highlights in this city. We went back to the boat for lunch and behold, my luggage was delivered to my room. We were told that because of the condition of the river we would have to take a bus back to Avignon and not cruise on the boat.
We had dinner on the boat and the boat took us up river to see the old ruined bridge at night. Viking opened the bar all night for everyone to make up for the bus ride back. This was an outstanding gesture on their part.
The next day we had a morning tour of Avignon and we we told we could not cruise again on the boat after lunch due to the river conditions. Everyone would be bussed to Chateauneuf du Pape for free instead of the 49.00 euros per person. After lunch the river conditions changed and people were able to stay on the boat and sail to Viviers. We opted to go to Chateauneuf du Pape and see the ruined castle, walk down to the village and go on a chocolate tour, then a wine tasting tour. Both were very good and we were bussed back to the boat for another excellent dinner with wine and beer. After dinner we had an evening stroll of Viviers, a quaint French village.
The next morning and afternoon, we stayed on the boat, relaxed and cruised to Tournon, there was an optional bus tour but we wanted to relax and it was a beautiful fall day.
Tournron and Tain l' Hermitage were very nice, we walked around and stopped at a wine shop and sampled the local wines.Dinner on boat was great again. i do not think i had a bad meal on this trip. I would recommend to order the cheese plate before dessert. The cheese plate every night was outstanding.
This was the end of our river cruising, due to the water conditions we were not allowed to cruise on the boat, we took a bus to Vienne, toured the village, took a bus to Lyon and the boat stayed in Lyon until we left. We tours Lyon and Viking gave out complimentary passes to the museum, another nice gesture.
We were never able to cruise up the Saone River or see Chalon. We had a bus trip to Beaune and would have liked to spend more time in this village. We were bussed back to the boat and disembarked the next day.
There was a lot of grumbling about not cruising on the boat and traveling on a bus. Viking has no control of the water, wether it be high or low, they bent over backwards to make our trip enjoyable and everything was first class. There were other cruise line boats stuck in Lyon and this is the chance you take when going on a river cruise.