This was our second Viking river cruise, and we were on the first sailing of the Hermod. We were promptly met at the Marseilles airport by a Viking rep, who directed us to baggage claim and instructed us where to meet after we gathered our bags. We only had a short wait for another arriving group before our bus left for Avignon and the Hermod. We were warmly greeted at the dock and our cabins were ready, as was a light lunch buffet. After enjoying our lunch on the Aquavit Terrace, we did a bit of unpacking before joining the others who had already arrived for a introductory walking tour of Avignon's city center, designed to help clear the head of jet lag. We enjoyed the walking tour, using the Quiet Vox headset system provided by Viking. I really enjoy this headset system, as it employs an over the ear headset, rather than earbuds. I find the earbuds uncomfortable, and I don't even notice the Quiet Vox headset.
Our cabin was a verandah cabin on the top deck of cabins. It was compact, due to the verandah, but was nicely appointed. There was plenty of space under the bed for our luggage to be stored. The closet had one side for hanging clothes and the second side had shelves and a good-size safe. There was a long counter across from the bed, with both 110 and 220 outlets at each end. Under the counter were a mini-fridge and two dressers for storage. Above the counter were a large flat-screen TV and a mirror. Under the mirror counter space was a stool, so that one could sit to do one's hair and/or makeup. The bathroom was also compact, but again, very nicely appointed. There was a nice, deep sink, with a long counter. There were an assortment of L'Occitane toiletries and nice, plush towels. The shower had glass doors that opened out, and the shower head slid up or down on a pole; nice for adjusting the height of the shower spray. Water pressure and heat were very good. Bath floor was heated. Blow dryer provided.
From this wonderful start to our cruise to the end, it was a great experience. Disembarkation was as seamless as embarkation. Viking even provided a rep at the departure airport to assist until all were checked in. That extra measure of follow-thru was greatly appreciated. The crew and staff were outstanding, customer service was exceptional. Food was very good at all meals. The ports were a good mix of larger cities and smaller towns. Our guides were outstanding and easy to understand. They were enthusiastic and so knowledgeable. Optional tours were great and a very good value for the money. Interesting activities provided onboard when cruising. Could not have been happier with this itinerary. Looking forward to cruising with Viking again.