A Viking Longship Sails the Rhone
A Viking Longship Sails the Rhone (Image: Viking)

Rhône Ready: Your Ultimate Prep Guide for Viking's Southern France Voyage

A Viking Longship Sails the Rhone
A Viking Longship Sails the Rhone (Image: Viking)
Cruise Critic contributor
Todd Walker

Last updated
Nov 30, 2023

Read time
5 min read

Sponsored by Viking

You’ve booked your Viking cruise on the Rhone, but what's the best way to prepare for your forthcoming voyage?

This guide is designed to help you prepare for each segment of your journey: the onboard experience, your adventures in the South of France, and the opportunities to enhance your travels with pre and post-cruise extensions.

For travelers eager to dive deeper, Viking offers a number of enriching pre and post-cruise extensions with a focus on the destination.

This guide is your comprehensive companion, crafted to guarantee a seamless and enriching voyage, so let’s begin.

On This Page

1. Pre-Prep: Maximizing Your Viking River Cruise Experience

A couple pointing at a computer screen researching their Viking cruise
My Viking Journey (Image: Viking)

Before setting sail on your Viking river cruise along the Rhône River, a touch of foresight can elevate your journey. Start by engaging with My Viking Journey, your digital compass for trip management and excursion bookings. With your pre-trip materials, delve into your travel route, acquainting yourself with the destinations ahead and even pick up a book from one of Viking’s recommended reading lists.
When packing, prioritize adaptable attire, walking-friendly footwear, and some smart clothes for special dinners. Also, be mindful that Europe's weather can be a mixed bag; come prepared for diverse climates, armed with a raincoat, sunblock, and layers. With these preparations, you're ready for a memorable journey.
Verify your passport's expiration date, and maintain separate copies of vital documents. Get travel insurance. In terms of gadgets, remember your must-have electronics, their chargers, a universal plug adapter, and perhaps a backup power source. In your Viking Longship cabin you will have 110/220 volt outlets and USB ports.

2. Your Viking Longship: A Home From Home

A Viking Longship Sails the Rhone
A Viking Longship Sails the Rhone (Image: Viking)

Positioned on the upper deck, The Lounge and bar is where passengers gather for briefings, engaging talks, or simply to socialize. Viking frequently offers onboard sessions that enrich your understanding of each destination's cultural fabric including informative port talks, special performances of regional dance, music and more.

Complimentary beer & wine with lunch and dinner (Credit: Viking)
Complimentary beer & wine with lunch and dinner (Credit: Viking)

The Restaurant, with its open seating plan, offers regional specialties throughout your cruise. As the ship sails through diverse regions, the menu evolves, reflecting the unique flavors and ingredients of each locale, as well as a menu of always available favorites.

With unrestricted views of quaint towns, sprawling vineyards, and historic landmarks, the Sun Deck is a place of relaxation and rejuvenation. There is also a small putting green awaits.

Al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace (Credit: Viking)
Al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace (Credit: Viking)

The Aquavit Terrace offers al fresco dining when the weather is fine.

French Balcony Stateroom on a Viking Longship
French Balcony Stateroom on a Viking Longship (Image: Viking)

Every cabin on Viking’s Longships are designed with comfort and functionality in mind. Featuring ample storage, a dedicated desk for planning the day ahead, a veranda and a well-appointed bathroom with heated floors and mist-free mirrors.

Beyond the tangible amenities, it's the warmth and dedication of the Viking team that truly sets the experience apart. Every interaction, every service is delivered with genuine care, ensuring that passengers feel not just catered to, but truly valued.

Learn More About First Time River Cruising

3. The South of France: Navigating Terrain, Tastes, Markets, and Manners

Traversing the Terrain

A couple walking in the streets of Lyon France
Lyon France (Image: Viking)

The South of France, with its picturesque towns and historic landmarks, beckons travelers to explore its every corner. As you wander through its charming streets, you'll often find yourself on ancient cobblestones. These streets, while captivating, can be challenging to navigate. It's essential to wear comfortable, sturdy footwear, preferably with a good grip, to allow you to explore with ease.

Street Foods, Souvenirs & Shopping

Lyon (photo via Shutterstock)
Lyon (photo via Shutterstock)

The South of France is a gourmet haven, and its vibrant streets showcase this. The aroma of fresh crêpes might draw you in, or perhaps the sight of locals enjoying freshly baked baguettes with regional cheeses will pique your interest. These moments capture the culinary essence of the region.

When it comes to shopping, the quaint boutiques and local markets are treasure troves of unique finds. From Provencal fabrics, lavender products, and artisanal soaps to locally made ceramics and crafts, there is a myriad of souvenirs to choose from. Some ideal shopping spots include the markets of Provence, the boutiques in St. Remy, and the artisan shops in Arles.

If you're looking to take a slice of this foodie paradise back home, or ship other souvenirs and purchases, many local shops offer shipping services. However, it's important to be aware of shipping regulations and potential customs duties to ensure your delicacies and treasures reach home without a hitch.

While credit cards are widely accepted, some artisans or local stalls might prefer or only accept cash transactions. Additionally, the South of France is steeped in traditions. Taking the time to learn and respect these can provide a richer travel experience.

4. Exploring Beyond the Voyage: Cruise Extensions

Aerial view of Nice Harbour France
Nice France

Extensions are a fantastic way to enrich your European adventure. They provide an opportunity to delve deeper into the culture, history, and flavors of a region, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in its unique charm. Extensions give you the time to understand a place, to wander its streets at leisure, and to discover those hidden gems that aren't always on the typical tourist trail. It's about making the most of your journey, ensuring that every moment counts. With Viking, you have a wealth of curated pre and post-cruise extensions designed to elevate your European experience. Here are a few examples of what Viking offers on its Lyon and Provence itinerary.

Pre-Cruise Highlights:

Paris: Dive into the romance of the "City of Light", exploring iconic landmarks like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

Geneva: Experience the blend of natural beauty and cosmopolitan flair in this picturesque Swiss city, with landmarks such as the UN's European Headquarters.

Post-Cruise Highlights:

A town square in Avignon France
A town square in Avignon France (Image: Viking)

French Riviera: Revel in the sun-soaked charm of Nice, with options to explore the glamorous city of Monaco.

Provence: Immerse yourself in the Provençal charm of Avignon that's inspired countless artists, wandering through historic streets and savoring local flavors.

Each of these extensions ensures that your European journey is as comprehensive and memorable as possible.

Publish date November 30, 2023
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