Just returned from the Viking Neptune on a cruise from Avignon to Chalon - Portraits of Southern France - for seven days.
Transfers from airport to ship were like clockwork, with no waiting. The cabin was very good, and they now have proper beds as opposed to pullman style beds we have had on some Viking boats previously. Cabin had a panoramic opening window, and was clean and well serviced twice a day.
The included shore excursions were very good; half days to point out the city highlights, followed by some spare time to explore whatever you were interested in, but this was sometimes too short due to sailing schedules. Maybe this could have been extended as there were festivals on in several of the cities we visited and it would have been nice to be able to take in more of the local culture. Tours used radio headsets so no one missed out on the commentary and you could window shop or wander off but not lose touch...excellent! The local guides were excellent, and very knowledgeable.
Food was excellent, with a wide variety of local dishes pertaining to the area of France we were visiting. The ship was excellent with entertainment on one evening, together with a couple of organised local evening strolls. Service generally was excellent, with staff being friendly, but still maintaining their professional attitude throughout. Having travelled with this cruise line on many occasions before, and having already booked next years Viking cruise, I would highly recommend this cruise line.
A thoroughly good time; liked the ship; ports of call; most of the food; and the people on it. Booking direct with Viking results in a cruise consisting of mostly English; Americans; and Australians. If you want the variety of mixing with other nationalities, then you need to book your Viking cruise via one of the Tour operators who will charter boats directly from Viking.
Probably the only down factor was the Sunday arrival/departure times which meant arriving late at the ship - around 6pm - and leaving for home early - around 8am. Don't know if it is possible, but an earlier arrival, and slightly later departure would have been preferable.