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130 Viking River Avignon Cruise Reviews

Beautiful part of France. A wine tasting excursion In Beaujolais country. The Nouveau Beaujolais uncorked when we were visiting. Year of Van Gogh and there was a wonderful day long excursion immersing in Van Gogh’s days in ... Read More
Beautiful part of France. A wine tasting excursion In Beaujolais country. The Nouveau Beaujolais uncorked when we were visiting. Year of Van Gogh and there was a wonderful day long excursion immersing in Van Gogh’s days in Arles. A variety of affordable excursions were offered at each stop, including one included excursion at no additional cost. The three included excursions I took were excellent. All tour guides were professional, congenial, and knowledgeable. I always felt safe. Local food opportunities numerous including a Taste of Lyon, the gastronomy capital of France. Viking ships are very comfortable. The staterooms are equipped with TV and free WiFi. Storage and closet space provide plenty of room. We unpacked all of our belongings for easy access. The bathrooms are very nice with great water pressure. The service onboard ship was of the highest caliber. From serving dinner to cleaning rooms, everyone was professional, congenial, and knowledgeable. The sailing crew were professional at all times. Food on board ship was very good. There was a variety each day as well as standard fare if one preferred. The free coffe/tea bar is a bonus. Onboard entertainment and lectures were outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise because I had been to Lyon once before but only for a day and I wanted to see more and I am a fan of French food, history, culture, wine and pretty much everything else. The stops were all wonderful and the tour guides ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had been to Lyon once before but only for a day and I wanted to see more and I am a fan of French food, history, culture, wine and pretty much everything else. The stops were all wonderful and the tour guides quite good. The staff on the ship was observent and attentive, all spoke English (since my French is pretty creative that was helpful!). The wine and truffle day was most amazing- my favorite and well worth the investment. My room was nicely appointed and larger than I expected. The food and wine onboard was superb. One little story: After tramping through the damp, rainy, muddy forest in pursuit of truffles, my suede hiking boots were trashed. There was no way I could get the mud off the soles. I finally took them to the desk for some help. 2 hours later housekeeping returned them to me in a logoed box, wrapped in tissue, looking brand new! That was above and beyond expectations for sure!!! So the onboard experience was ib a scale of 1-5-- it was a 10! But the arriving and leaving, not so much. Arriving in Lyon in the pouring rain, the 11 travelers on this ship were greeted by one woman with one umbrella. After traveling for 12 hours, we had to gather all our checked and carry on luggage and drag it, in the cold rain for about a 10 mionute hike across the parking lot to where the bus was parked. She left us cold and wet on the bus to get another group. Upon leaving at 4 in the morning to Marsille, we were once again deposited in the icy wind, to get all our luggage off the bus and find the terminal from which we would leave, again a long walk with all our luggage, no help at all and no one to tell us where to go or what to do when we go there. An inauspicous end to what was a an overall wonderful experience, Beginnings and Finishings count. score 2 in my book. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was my first river cruise but not my last! Viking is a first class operation and the HEIMDAL is the best! The crew is more than helpful not to mention funny, the food excellent and plenty, excursions were fabulous and the ... Read More
This was my first river cruise but not my last! Viking is a first class operation and the HEIMDAL is the best! The crew is more than helpful not to mention funny, the food excellent and plenty, excursions were fabulous and the excursion guides were incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and humorous. The Captain was always smiling and made himself available everyday to greet the guests. How he maneuvers that huge ship through the Locks is amazing! The friend I traveled with chose this itinerary and I wasn't sure it would be wonderful....silly me... it was FABULOUS! Each port of call was different and amazing and as I said earlier the guides were excellent... not boring as some can be. Whoever trains them does a first class job! I loved the excursions but I also loved getting back to the boat, taking a refreshing shower then sitting outside looking at the fabulous views while sipping on a cocktail and being very thankful that I was here. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to explore that portion of France. It was our first river cruise and Viking cruise. For our cousins, it was their first cruise of any sort. The trip was beyond our expectations. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to explore that portion of France. It was our first river cruise and Viking cruise. For our cousins, it was their first cruise of any sort. The trip was beyond our expectations. The food on the ship was excellent. The service was impeccable. Our matre'd was also a trained somalier so we used his expertise in wines of the region to explore viticulture and the regions treasures. The wines were one of the best aspects of the journey. The tours were very informative. There was some question if my wife would be able to make the trip because of issues with her knees, but she found that the "slower" group provided her with an opportunity to see many of the local sights included in the regular tours. Watching others in the group who had even more challenges and how well the handled the trips as well as their enjoyment of them made it even more memorable. The presentation about the French resistance in world war 2 was particularly excellent. We stayed in Lyon for a few days after the crew and visited the Resistance museum which was made more fascinating by the talk a few days earlier. Our cousins were so impressed by the trip that they booked additional trips in the upcoming two years. We will have the pleasure of joining them on those trips also. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Viking associates and guides could not have been more helpful or personable, excellent! Tues Aug 13. Check out at noon from pre trip in Nice, bags ready by 11am, 1:30 departure to ship with a 3 hr. 40 min drive with rest stop. Walk ... Read More
Viking associates and guides could not have been more helpful or personable, excellent! Tues Aug 13. Check out at noon from pre trip in Nice, bags ready by 11am, 1:30 departure to ship with a 3 hr. 40 min drive with rest stop. Walk through old town Nice for the last time after 1130 checkout. Have nice crepes and a wonderful croc monsieur for lunch. Transfer to Avignon to Viking Heimdal on Rhone river stateroom #231, (259 km) (161 miles) via A8, DAY 1 on ship. Cybrian, Viking host on ship, sometimes spells things for us while telling us about the sights. Avignon, France - Sheltered by medieval walls, Avignon’s maze of narrow streets is filled with churches, museums and palaces tracing the history of this ancient, vibrant city. 530 or so in room to unpack, 615 safety drill, 645 welcome meeting in lounge with Daniela, cruise director, then diner. First meal very good. Eggplant rollatini, parmesan schnitzel and creme Brule. All good except Brule not set, salmon cooked perfectly. Couple from New Zealand join us for dinner, Maureen and Ryan. Back to bar and Nicolas for drinks and Spanish music. Wed, Aug 14, day 2 on ship, up at 630, 66 degrees going to 87. Woke up at 520 with boat pulling out to head down river. Breakfast on Aqua Vite terrace while we go through a lock. Arles Included walking tour, 9am, 3 and ½ hours in the morning, Experience the celebrated city of Arles (pronounced “Arl”), where remarkable Roman ruins, vibrant colors and a striking quality of light have inspired artists. Ann our guide for the 10-person EASY walking group struggles at first with non-working audio Vox, most are working but folks just don't know it. Wayne with his walker struggles to keep up and ends up not seeing much. We see the Roman amphitheater and Theatre. Not much else and no time to shop. Quick buffet lunch with nice walnut artichoke salad and carbonara. Afternoon 2pm,4 hours, $74 pp purchased, Les Baux & Carrières de Lumières Show, see a remarkable multimedia art installation in a former quarry, then ascend to the rock-hewn hamlet of Les Baux. What an amazing light and sound show of Vincent Van Gogh. Just stunning in a 50-foot-tall limestone cave. Then a walk-through of the cobblestone streets of Les Baux and some shopping. Back on board around 6 with tired feet. 6:30 off to see Nicolas for happy hour then 715 dinner. Crab salad, a bit of an execution issue with no blanc sauce, rack of lamb, and apple slice, and all very good. Up to top deck for nice view of Avignon city as we prepare to dock with music and drinks. Back to room about 10:30. The "mistral" winds are very strong tonight. Thurs, Aug 15, day 3 Avignon, France, 7am sunny 72 degrees going to 89, not quite as humid here as it was in Nice. Breakfast in dining room at 8 then 9am for, 3-hour tour, Visit the monumental palace that was the seat of seven popes and explore its medieval city. Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known as the “City of Popes. Marie, Mary, a delightful guide that sings ave maria in the church for us. We also visit the indoor market with fabulous cheese shops, fish mongers, butchers, prepared foods and baked goods. Pallela lunch in city center then walk a little and back to ship at 1:30. August 15 is one of many French catholic holidays even though not so many are catholic, Feast of the Virgin Mary. Many shops are closed, not all. Dinner is a buffet tonight, flavors of Provence including a cheese and charcuterie table, a delicious fish stew, duck, chicken, beef, and desert table. AIX rose is featured wine and 14 cases are used. Music trivia night in the bar is fun. Back to the room after 11. Cast off at 1am for Viviers. Fri Aug 16, Day 4,7 total - Viviers, France, Friday August 16. Included walking tour, 9:30 am, EASY SIGHTSEEING, 1½ hours, this morning join a walking tour of Viviers’ Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Once a 5th-century Roman settlement, today the cobblestone streets are dominated by the 12th-century St. Vincent Cathedral. Tiny little town with only a pottery shop, bakery and a couple cafes. This afternoon, we set sail to Tournon at 1. A few more locks and several low bridges on this stretch. 5:45 cocktail party for previous Viking cruisers. Very nice sea bass for dinner tonight with a good Caesar salad. Tartufo for dessert is cream cheesy not ice cream. Sat Aug 17, Day 5,8 total - 61 degrees at 715 going to 90. Tournon, France, Tournon lies secluded between the Rhône River and granite slopes of the Hermitage. Included tour, 8:30 am, EASY SIGHTSEEING, skip the short morning walk in favor of sleep. Another beautiful morning and temperature with no humidity. Been this way since leaving Nice. Get on a bus at 9:15 to Board the Train de l’Ardèche this morning for a locomotive ride through the deep gorges of the Ardèche plateau, cut by the Doux River. About a 25-minute ride up the gorge then engine turns around and comes back down. Approx. 12:30 board ship at Andance for 4-hour cruise to Vienne. Lunches have been nice, fresh pasta, good cheeseburgers, nice salads, different every day. Time for some cruising past the vineyards, tea time special today at 230. Approx. 4:45 a walking tour of Vienne, 3 hours, get to know Vienne and its rich Roman past during a leisurely walking tour. Quick shower then off to dinner. Eat with Nicolas and Milen on the front of ship outdoors in Aqua Vite terrace tonight. Delicious 3 onion soup, nice Caesar salad again, very good shrimp and risotto, chocolate lava cake tasty but no lava. French singer in the lounge for evening entertainment then off to room at 10. Sun Aug 18, Day 6, 9 total, Lyon, France – 70 sunny degrees at 7am here in Lyon. No rain again today but forecast is for a windy day and possible storms tonight. Ship pulls out at 5am waking Luann up, again, but not me, again. Included walking tour, 9am, EASY SIGHTSEEING 4 hours, after breakfast, disembark in Lyon for a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for amazing views of the city. Continue with a guided visit to the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. Then take a walking tour through the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town). Jerimy our guide today has the best personality and sense of humor. Stay in town for a charcuterie plate and rose in a small cafe. Shop a little, have some ice cream then wait endlessly for a cab. Janet gets an Uber and back to ship around 2 for reading. Chateaubriand is delicious tonight for dinner again on the Aqua Vite terrace, back in room by 10. Mon Aug 19, Day 7, 10 total, Lyon, France – 64 degrees with a light drizzle at 630 this morning. Included tour, EASY SIGHTSEEING,8:30 am, 4 1/2 hours. After breakfast, take a scenic drive through the rolling hills of Beaujolais, where viticultural tradition runs deep. See the legendary Moulin-à-Vent, the windmill, barely as the bus drives by it. Rain continues on the 45 minutes to an hour ride to wine country. Stop in a no stop light town for a "comfort " break then arrive at Chateau des Ravatys a small non export winery. Nice little tasting and barrel cave then back to ship by 1. Emileen another very personable guide. Menu tonight, decent thin rib eye, trout, red wine dark meat chicken. Last drink with Nicolas and Milen then in room a little after 10. Random thoughts; Water bottles given out at every tour Love the heated bathroom floor in our cabin Nice toiletries provided Pillows and bed very comfortable as is room It's European so only a duvet, no sheet Open seating for dinner has worked very well Food options very well done and delicious Plugs are plentiful In room safe Closet adequate, good amount of drawers In room fridge All tours extremely well organized with excellent guides Tues Aug 20, Day 8, 11 total Lyon, France – 61 degrees and raining again this morning. Bags in the hallway at 8. After breakfast, disembark, approx. 9am We booked a separate extended trip to Lake Como after the cruise. I mention this to say while in Como one of our travel mates had to go to the hospital. Even thought this portion of our trip was not arranged by Viking the on-site Viking rep in Come helped in any way he could. Also, the trip insurance purchased before the cruise was outstanding. Our friend had to delay his trip home, Insurance and Viking were extremely helpful and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We contacted Viking initially because of a special price which included free air fare. However, we were sold by the incredible sales representative we had. He was knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely helpful. After booking, it seemed ... Read More
We contacted Viking initially because of a special price which included free air fare. However, we were sold by the incredible sales representative we had. He was knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely helpful. After booking, it seemed that every person we talked to who “knew” someone who had gone on a Viking cruise had nothing but wonderful things to say about it. However, we were somewhat skeptical because we felt the price was exceptional. We were not disappointed and are planning our second trip! Everything from the easy website and pre cruise information to the representatives meeting us at the airport on arrival in France and staying with us until we went through security on the return flight was so reassuring and stress free. The boat was beautiful and comfortable, staff went to extremes to be accommodating, and the inclusive and extra tour options were good. Honestly, it is a fantastic deal for your money. The best part, in my opinion, it that you are not charged for anything on board unless you want a drink in the middle of the afternoon. All inclusive beer and wine at all dinners is great, and they even offer several afternoon parties and events that also served alcohol. We were greeted by staff on return from each excursion with a special treat such as a drink, snack item or cool washcloths and given bottles of water every day as we set out. We paid our gratuities ahead of time and literally didn’t have to spend a penny besides personal shopping. Another aspect that was wonderful was the levels they offered for the tours. My mother with whom I was traveling was 81. Viking staff offered “slower “ walking tours where the guide would avoid stairs and simply went at a slower pace than the other groups. Overall, it was a trip of a lifetime for my mother, and I can’t wait to take my husband. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Staff was great. Services are excellent. Foods are excellent. Entertainment and ports excursions are adequate. We love the pre-extension in Nice with excellent excursions. The Viking staff there also were very helpful. Our flight came late ... Read More
Staff was great. Services are excellent. Foods are excellent. Entertainment and ports excursions are adequate. We love the pre-extension in Nice with excellent excursions. The Viking staff there also were very helpful. Our flight came late and Viking host was there to greet us and helped to process the hotel room and the following day excursions. The whole trip would be great if our cabin were not equipped with sewage smell. But, we were outside most of the time so it was not that bad and we were tired when we got back to the room and fell asleep fast. However, when we were up, needed to get out of the cabin fast to avoid the sewage smell. Dining, food were excellent. Entertainment activities, port excursions were excellent Cabin and dining service staff, crew were very accommodating. Sewage smell was the whole time we were there. They came by and fixed twice by spraying the odor eliminator. I heard that they offered upper floor an apology and a bottle of wine. They did not say anything to us on the lower floor. People in our next door cabin confirmed to us. We complained twice before someone came and took a look. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We enjoyed vacationing in the South of France on our second Viking River Cruise, so much! We went in June and had great weather for walking around medieval villages, old time cities, and wine and lavender countrysides that are so rich in ... Read More
We enjoyed vacationing in the South of France on our second Viking River Cruise, so much! We went in June and had great weather for walking around medieval villages, old time cities, and wine and lavender countrysides that are so rich in history and as if frozen in time. The tours (both included and optional) covered historical sites and moments presented by local tour guides that were both interesting and fun. Viking staff really take care of their guests and add special touches that left us feeling appreciated as guests. The concierge was very helpful. The Viking staff that handles the transfers were also very helpful, especially when our luggage didn’t arrive and we were trying to figure out what to do in an airport where the staff didn’t speak English. This was our first time visiting France. It is such a beautiful country and Viking presented it so well. River cruising is a nice way to travel - smooth sailing, waking up in a new port each day, planned excursions, and with Viking, every detail taken care of. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
The date and ports of call were our primary motivation for selecting this cruise. Our suite was beyond belief! It was a surprise, as we were upgraded to the explorer suite. Beautiful and comfortable, and the room staff were very ... Read More
The date and ports of call were our primary motivation for selecting this cruise. Our suite was beyond belief! It was a surprise, as we were upgraded to the explorer suite. Beautiful and comfortable, and the room staff were very accommodating, often checking with us to ensure we had everything we needed. Another highlight was the delicious food at every meal! We especially enjoyed the local cuisine. We loved the included excursions with local, very knowledgeable guides (who suggested great things to do beyond the tour). The weather was particularly hot throughout the cruise, and we were pleased that the staff took extra care to ensure everyone leaving the boat had plenty of water, and many times had extra water when we returned. Our bullet train trip to Paris was very exciting, and we're hoping to experience another similar train trip! We extended our travel with three days in Paris, and were glad we did! Again, the local guide was helpful in suggesting activities and places to see. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise because we could pair it with the cruise that followed that departed Paris on the Seine. We wanted to see the southeast area of France and had never taken a river cruise before. The rooms were very ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because we could pair it with the cruise that followed that departed Paris on the Seine. We wanted to see the southeast area of France and had never taken a river cruise before. The rooms were very comfortable, the ship well laid out with plenty of seating options during the day. Dining was exceptional - staff fun and very well trained and interested, wonderful food that provided many options and overall the ship we experienced great service. Entertainment surprised us with the quality of voices and instrumentalists, not the 'normal' cruise ship shows, but intimate concerts and fun programs. Also the live music at the piano was always enjoyable. Excursions are also exceptional - Viking chooses experienced, knowledgeable and personable guides who could answer any question and provide us with so much information as to where we are and what we are seeing. So many memorable views, fascinating buildings, walks through medieval France - marvelous options! We would definitely go again, and are looking at other itineraries for our next trip! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our second Viking river cruise....plan to go on another in the next year or two. Overall we enjoyed the many ports and efficiently organized and informative shore excursions. Tour guides were all very knowledgeable. Winery ... Read More
This was our second Viking river cruise....plan to go on another in the next year or two. Overall we enjoyed the many ports and efficiently organized and informative shore excursions. Tour guides were all very knowledgeable. Winery tours were excellent. Country side beautiful. Meals were on board very good and varied. Always fresh and many options to choose from, but if you have an ample appetite suggest asking for larger portions. Wine pairings included with cruise meals were selected from the region visiting and had we no complaints there. Enjoyed them all! On ship entertainment and activities are low key in comparison to large ocean cruises. At some ports Local entertainers were brought on board to perform in the lounge. Other nights we enjoyed a fun game of trivia and the on ship piano player. Many an afternoon there were enrichment lectures and unique demonstrations. All activities, tours and entertainment are outlined in detail in the Viking daily schedule delivered daily to your cabin. Ship has 24 hour coffee station and pastries. Great for the early riser! The post Paris extension was great. Covered a lot in a short time. The viking rep,(Emma) at the Hotel Ampere was a delight and very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this trip per our plan to see France from the south to the north. The Viking Cruise was in the front end and could not have worked out better. We were treated like family from the the moment we stepped on the ship. Our cabin was ... Read More
We chose this trip per our plan to see France from the south to the north. The Viking Cruise was in the front end and could not have worked out better. We were treated like family from the the moment we stepped on the ship. Our cabin was very nice and dining was fun and delicious every meal. Onboard entertainment at night was light and could be improved but it was okay as we were usually exhausted after a long day anyway. The ports were perfect and every excursion we went on was well planned with an excellent guide. We made many new friends of the crew while onboard, they truly would go the extra mile to accommodate the customers anyway they could. We had the Captain handing out Hot Chocolate as we came back onboard after an excursion on a cold, wet windy day. Very nice surprise! We will definitely go on another Viking Cruise and are making plans now to do so. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We were looking for a cruise to fit in a small window of time. Our travel agent had been a Viking employee, so he booked us on a cruise of the Rhône in southern France. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise! The accommodations were ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise to fit in a small window of time. Our travel agent had been a Viking employee, so he booked us on a cruise of the Rhône in southern France. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise! The accommodations were comfortable, the food plentiful and delicious, and the ‘free’ wine and beer with lunch and dinner and mimosas with breakfast were generously served. The daily included excursions were excellent and the offerings of additional excursions plentiful and also excellent. Beginning the cruise in ancient Arles, where Van Gogh painted, cut off his ear and was hospitalized, was an impressive place to start. Throughout the week we walked many cobblestone streets, heard interesting historical and cultural facts from well-trained English speaking guides, most of whom had a great sense of humor and enjoyed marvelous views. The tour ended in Lyon, with a mixture of old and impressive modern structures. This was our first Viking cruise. We were so impressed, we’ve already booked a Mediterranean Ocean cruise for November. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Avignon has been on my bucket list since high school. Everything about this lived up to our expectations and in fact surpassed them. When I called to make the reservations, Damian Tulloch spent and hour and a half on the phone with me to ... Read More
Avignon has been on my bucket list since high school. Everything about this lived up to our expectations and in fact surpassed them. When I called to make the reservations, Damian Tulloch spent and hour and a half on the phone with me to make sure that everything I was looking for was taken care of. The staff on the cruise was top notch, especially the Program Manager, Oliver. He was truly amazing. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to be with every single group during every tour, to make sure that everyone had everything they needed. We signed up for two of the special tours, Flavors of Provence, and a Taste of Lyon. Both were excellent. All of the tour guides were well versed on their areas. We were really pleased with all of the shore excursions, especially the steam train in Tournon, such a beautiful area. Our cabin was a perfect size for our needs and was kept spotless by the cleaning staff. On the 18th, we returned to our room to find a "cake" made of towels and a note from the staff wishing my husband Happy Birthday. Such incredible thoughtfulness. Viking truly is the best. They made it a very special trip for us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Interesting excursions, spectacular venue and the ship and staff are first class. The food was fantastic the staff was prompt and efficient. Everyone was accommodating and helpful. The ship was modern, clean and comfortable. I loved the ... Read More
Interesting excursions, spectacular venue and the ship and staff are first class. The food was fantastic the staff was prompt and efficient. Everyone was accommodating and helpful. The ship was modern, clean and comfortable. I loved the fact that they had electrical outlets to accommodate US and European currency in the cabins. What a wonderful way to experience the French culture! The fact that there were a limited number of passengers allowed you to get to know people on a more personal level. I met people from all over the world. Because the passengers were older, what wonderful stories they had to tell. They all had interesting lives and what a pleasure to get to know them. The food was so exceptional, I went home and dove into my Julia Child cookbook to perfect the French cuisine. I have already experienced two cruises and have scheduled yet another one foe 2021. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our friends invited us on this cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary. We've been on the big cruise ships prior, but this was our first trip with Viking. The staff on this ship are absolutely amazing. The level of service ... Read More
Our friends invited us on this cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary. We've been on the big cruise ships prior, but this was our first trip with Viking. The staff on this ship are absolutely amazing. The level of service was the best we've ever experienced. The itinerary is great, with a good amount of down time to relax. The 'surprise' treats that happened on a few of the included excursions were delightful. The age of the average passenger was old enough that we (all being 50~ish give or take) were referred to as the 'young ones'. This means that the excursions were catered to a less active crowd than we may have chosen otherwise. Due to the small size of the ship getting on and off the ship at any time is always quick and easy but especially when embarking and disembarking. I loved being able to create more personal relationships with the staff throughout the journey. The biggest downside is what others might see as a benefit. Although the staff were from all over Europe, the language spoken on board was English. That makes things very easy and comfortable however I feel as though it was too easy to miss one of the best parts of France, the culture. I was happy that we had booked time following the cruise to travel in more of the country so that we could get a better experience of the French culture. I would definitely travel with Viking again, and loved this cruise though I would likely choose a different itinerary next time. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed a small ship. I thought I might get bored because there are fewer activities than on the big cruises, but found that the lack of activities gave me 'permission' to relax more and do nothing if I so chose. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a beautiful trip up the Rhone river from Avignon to Lyon, France. First, the flight from the USA to France. If possible upgrade your seats and connections. We upgraded our seats to United’s economy plus, which was fairly ... Read More
This was a beautiful trip up the Rhone river from Avignon to Lyon, France. First, the flight from the USA to France. If possible upgrade your seats and connections. We upgraded our seats to United’s economy plus, which was fairly comfortable. Wish we had upgraded our connections for a more direct flight both ways. Learned in Brussels that the common practice in Europe seemed to be to post the next connection about twenty minutes prior to the plane door closing. Once in Marseille we were met at baggage claim by Viking staff, and shepherded to the bus for the forty minute ride to the riverboat. Unless you’re a very experienced European traveler, use the Viking transfer service at both ends of your cruise. Another suggestion, especially at the start of your trip, do the trip extension to help with the jet lag. Viking river does not post departure times or arrival times on their website as other ocean cruise lines do. I suspect they must stay as flexible as the rivers are. Check your daily planner each night for the next days timing for everything. For our stop in Arles we moored in Tarascon, and were bussed a half hour south. The light is amazingly special there. No wonder van Gogh painted there. The Roman amphitheater was amazing. Got back to the riverboat in time for lunch. The garlic soup was wonderful! All the food was top notch cruise quality. Each day Chef Alex had a regional recommendation, using local ingredients, and herbs grown on the top deck! One of my standards is a smoked salmon benedict. So good I had it twice. As with most cruise ships, they offered some standards available every day. They even made a hotdog for my wife that looked awesome. On Friday for Lent, They made us her favorite, a peanut butter, lettuce, and mayo sandwich. I was glad we had the first day in Avignon to rest from the trip over the ocean. When we returned Tuesday, we had the first of many long walks in our ports. Spoiler alert, the palace of the popes was neat to see, but had most statuary and church decor removed. Don’t be too concerned about the 200 step warning as there are plenty of stops on the walk to rest. Back for a late lunch, including another standard of mine, bouillabaisse, and it was great. We wanted to walk out onto the Pont d’Avignon bridge, just north of our mooring. Not easy to do. When you get close, you need to go through the city wall, and follow the signs to the left. You’ll see the ticket office eventually. It costs four euros to get in, after a wand search. Yes it is worth it. You’ll see a chapel and have a unique view of your riverboat. My favorite food of the cruise, crepes suzette. It doesn’t get more french, or delicious than chef Alex’s version. Our next stop, Viviers, was the most classic town we visited. It rained hard at times, but was still neat. At the tour end we stayed in town and visited the pottery shop. The couple that owns the shop signs their art before firing it. My wife’s bowl made it home , my cup is being glued. Each evening we were well entertained in the lounge by a great piano player. Big note here, every town had cobblestone streets, as I learned shortly into our first walk in Arles. Be sure to watch your step so you don’t twist your ankle! The included tour in Tournon was a steam train ride that was fun. As we got further north on our trip the weather got cooler. We were ready with layers. The next day we spent most of doing scenic cruising, which we enjoyed. We made an unscheduled stop due to a fallen tree, and arrived late in Vienne. Our next two days we spent in Lyon. The included tour on Friday was a great bus tour of the city with a stop at the Basilica of Notre Dame. (there are several Notre dame cathedrals in France). Our last day was one of our highlights, with a trip to the countryside to visit a Beaujolais vineyard. Wine was great, but the dog stole the show! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was my 1st river cruise. I would do it again with Viking. The staff and crew were all great. We were able to finish our cruise on the Rhone River without a problem. We met a couple that had spent the same week on the Danube. They ... Read More
This was my 1st river cruise. I would do it again with Viking. The staff and crew were all great. We were able to finish our cruise on the Rhone River without a problem. We met a couple that had spent the same week on the Danube. They had low water levels and their river cruise turned into a bus trip. I enjoyed all of the included shore excursions and went on 2 extra excursions that were exceptional. The Secrets of the Chateau de Flecheres was amazing. One of the owners had a question/answer time in his living room at the end of the tour. He offered us bubbling wine, orange juice and water plus a piece of praline tart that was delicious. When we came back to the ship after an excursion or shopping, we were met with something to drink that got alcohol added to it (you could opt out of the addition to your drink). There were often warm moist towels also. They were welcome with the cold weather we had in late November. All of the cities and towns we visited were great. The things they offered to tourist were amazing. The ancient Roman ruins were incredible. Embarkation and debarkation went very smoothly. The staff makes sure you know exactly where to go. We were met near baggage claim when we arrived and a staff member walked us through the airport to the correct area after debarkation. The food on the ship was always good and a variety of choices were offered. I was part of a group of 10. We had dinner at a large table in the back of the dining room by the kitchen. It was quite noisy there so I would opt to sit near the front of the dining room if a large table is not required. The servers always had a smile. One of my favorite on board events was the program director's talk on the French culture. She made it funny but very educational. The boat seemed to do most of its traveling when we were off the boat on excursions, while we were sleeping or during meals. Suddenly you would realize you were in a lock but you're in the middle of lunch or dinner. We cut lunch short one day to go outside and watch the process of going through the lock. I have been on many ocean cruises and enjoy the sea days. I will be trying my 1st Viking ocean cruise in 2020. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise because of country/route/itinerary, size of ship, Viking's reputation, and the excellent price of the cruise and airfare. My husband and I have traveled extensively but had never been on a cruise before. Based on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of country/route/itinerary, size of ship, Viking's reputation, and the excellent price of the cruise and airfare. My husband and I have traveled extensively but had never been on a cruise before. Based on Viking reviews, our expectations were very high and we weren't disappointed in any respect. The food was outstanding, plentiful, aesthetically presented, characteristic of local French cuisine, and the service was excellent. The ship, common rooms, and cabins were well-equipped. The cabin was clean and had all the amenities we needed. The daily excursions were excellent -- all the tour guides were knowledgeable, helpful, and spoke excellent English. The staff was friendly and accommodating. We enjoyed meeting the diverse staff, many of whom were from Eastern European countries. Without exception, staff members did their best to accommodate individual needs and requests. We also met many passengers that we enjoyed, many of whom we have kept in touch with. We have already booked our next Viking cruise and will continue to go on as many cruises as our health and finances allow. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Our second cruise with Viking was as excellent as our first. It started the day before we left with the wonderful surprise that instead of the standard stateroom we had booked, we'd been moved to a French balcony on the third level. ... Read More
Our second cruise with Viking was as excellent as our first. It started the day before we left with the wonderful surprise that instead of the standard stateroom we had booked, we'd been moved to a French balcony on the third level. The transfer from the Marseilles airport was easy, even though our flight was delayed over an hour, and Viking took us directly to the Delling. As we arrived late, lunch was over, and yet the bartender was able to find us a sandwich and a cool glass of wine to settle in. Our (upgraded) cabin was smaller in square feet than we had a few years ago on the Viking Sun but was designed nicely so there was plenty of room to store our clothes and toiletries and tuck the suitcases under the bed. We never felt cramped during the cruise, even though the only place to sit was on the bed. We really appreciated the ability to open the slider during the cruise and breathe the fresh air of Southern France or peek out at the locks we went through. The crew and staff on the Delling were fantastic. Our cruise director, Michael, was funny at the right times and serious when he needed to be. We had hoped to go the limestone caves outside of Arles and Michael did everything he could to try to arrange it, but as the late November sailing was after the "season", it was impossible. Still, we appreciated the effort. The food was fantastic with excellent chef's choices every day and plenty to choose from besides. My husband described the duck at the Flavors of Provence dinner as the best he'd ever had and I loved the varying selection of cheeses every day at breakfast. Since most of our meals were on board, we really appreciated all the regional specialties that were part of the menus. We had everything from escargot to Chateaubriand and each meal seemed to be better than the last. We chose to purchase the Silver Spirits package and that meant that we were able to enjoy a different bottle of wine each night. There was a nice selection of regional wines, which we mostly stuck to, and also selections from other wine areas. Our waiters were always quick to bring us the wine menu and keep our glasses full. For those without the package there was a generous supply of wine each lunch an dinner and many treats throughout the cruise. One thing I really like about Viking is how they will always welcome you back to the ship after a day of touring with some regional drink. Since it was November, ours were always warm and so toasty! The best entertainment was Les Gitans, a gypsy group that was fantastic. We also enjoyed the lecture on the French resistance. We learned so much! Viking's service is without parallel. They did their best not to disrupt any of the tours despite the French strike which closed down or slowed down many of the roundabouts. They were able to reroute or adjust so that everyone got to do everything they wanted and more! I think the only disappointment on this cruise was that there is actually very little cruising and it mostly happens during dinner. Also be aware that disembarkation is very early, in our case 3:30 a.m. That said, the cruise was fantastic and I can't wait to go with Viking again. Avignon: The gothic cathedral in Avignon is amazing and so well preserved. We also enjoyed walking along the river to the Pont and up to the gardens next to the Palace. We happened to be in town for a wine festival and so enjoyed some wine tasting at Les Halles that wasn't expected. Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Tasting: This was a fun little tour where we learned what makes Chateauneuf du Pape wines so delicious and also had a chance to do a tasting. Arles: We walked in the footsteps of Van Gogh and the ancient Romans. After the tour there was enough time to try Du Bar a l'Huitre where we had a nice fish stew on the terrace and watched the people walk by. Viviers: This ancient village was a lovely surprise, complete with cobblestone alleyways and a cathedral. Our guide, like all the guides, was so knowledgeable and really brought this little town to life. It's so fun to explore a place you've never heard of before and learn so much. Rhone Valley Vineyard Hike: This hike took us up the slopes near the Hermitage wine region of the Rhone where we learned what makes Hermitage special and how the wines nearby are made. It also felt good to stretch our legs on a beautiful day. The wine tasting here was also very delicious but because we had to reroute our walk to catch the bus (the strike interfered) we didn't have time to make purchases. Beaujolais Wine Country: This cruise is a wine lover's delight. More information on viniculture made our day so enjoyable. Lyon: We had two chances to eat off the ship in Lyon, one at Merle in Les Halles (oysters!) and another at a Bouchon. These meals were memorable and worth skipping the also delicious meals on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We wanted to see the south of France. It was amazing and beautiful. We were very surprised by the amount of Roman ruins. We loved seeing those structures. The Aqueduct was huge and so well preserved. I had no idea that silk was made in ... Read More
We wanted to see the south of France. It was amazing and beautiful. We were very surprised by the amount of Roman ruins. We loved seeing those structures. The Aqueduct was huge and so well preserved. I had no idea that silk was made in France for many years. That is something we learned on the cruise. Each time we travel with Viking we learn so much. The guides on each tour really know a lot and pass it along well. Of course we always amazed at the good food we get on the cruise. We enjoy exploring the world through Viking. I came home a lot smarter about France than before I left. The bonus of the trip was extending our stay in Nice through Viking. It has to be the most beautiful city I have ever visited. It was the first time we had extended through Viking, but it won't be our last. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We, husband (75) and wife (62), have completed three Viking River cruises; Bordeaux (16), Rhine (17) and lastly Rhone (18). Our latest Viking cruise was up the Rhone River in France, from Avignon to Lyon, 28 October - December 4, 2018. ... Read More
We, husband (75) and wife (62), have completed three Viking River cruises; Bordeaux (16), Rhine (17) and lastly Rhone (18). Our latest Viking cruise was up the Rhone River in France, from Avignon to Lyon, 28 October - December 4, 2018. Our ship was the Buri, and as far as we could tell, it was virtually identical to our previous ships, the Forseti and the Hlin; all relatively new, extremely nice ships. In 2016 and again this year, we had one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, cabins on the lowest level, with the small, elevated windows because the cabins were half-underwater. Last year we had a cabin on the top deck with a balcony, but since we almost did not use the balcony, and primarily only used our cabin for sleeping, we think our Category E, 150 square feet cabin was sufficient. Our cabin number was #150, the most forward of the cabins. This was an advantage, since it was close to the dining room and lounge, and everything else, and we did not have to walk down a long hall to get to our cabin. Unless we get some super deal on a "better" cabin in the future, I will book a Standard cabin as far forward as possible. We extended three days in Dijon; a wonderful city. Last year we did a pre-extension in Amsterdam. The year before in Bordeaux, we did not extend; and we regretted it. I highly recommend one extends (always three days I think) pre or post cruise, if not both. Why not extend to enjoy some interesting city/town once you have flown all the way to your destination, and then take a relatively short seven-day cruise? If at the end of a cruise, you will otherwise be rushed off the ship to a bus after arriving, and will be directly transferred to the airport for your flight home without giving you the chance of visiting your departure port. At the initial departure port, you will usually have the opportunity to see something of your departure city. Adding a pre or post extension adds three days to your seven-day cruise, so your vacation will last at least ten days if not 13 days for both. Another suggestion is to sign up for at least one, if not two, excursions every day. Viking usually offers included (aka free) walking tours at every docking site. We usually take these excursions except when they conflict with a more interesting Optional (aka expensive) excursion. Yes, the Optional tours can be expensive, but they are usually great experiences. Not once have we regretted paying for Optional tours. In fact, our best memories, and most spoken experiences to others have been these Optional excursions. Most of the Optional excursions include nice bus rides in very nice buses to get you to desired sites. On our last trip, they always had a "Leisure" walking group, among the 2-3 total groups for the Included excursion, which I took because of my age/arthritis. My younger, healthier wife always went with the other walking groups that walked faster, and climbed more stairs. We still had breakfast and lunch together; it just meant that for two hours we were separated in different walking groups. We really enjoyed all the towns/cities we visited. My favorite was the very pretty, interesting, completely walled medieval city of Perouges. We also liked Avignon, Lyon and especially Dijon, and actually all points between. On the negative side, I would suggest not going in late October as we did, even though the cruise/cabins are cheaper at that time (that is why we did it). It rained at least half the time, but was not too cold. The ship has enough large umbrellas for all. We took umbrellas with us on the bus, as well as our walking tours, and if not needed simply left them on the bus when we were out of the bus. To add to the sometimes bad or marginal weather, there is the famous "Mistral" wind. Look it up on the internet. In southern France, it blows 120-160 days a year, from 54 mph to 90 mph, averaging 65 mph. I can attest that it can be a challenge walking in the rain when the Mistral is blowing. However, we survived, and were not significantly bummed-out by the weather during our trip. Some passengers sometimes stayed on-board rather than brave the bad weather, but they missed a lot. In conclusion, we once-again enjoyed our cruise + extension, and hope to book another cruise in 2019, this time on Portugal's Douro River with extension in Lisbon or possibly Spain if we can find a real sale (it always 2 for 1, so that is not a sale) price that includes free air from the West Coast. If you have not already figured it out, probably every other River cruise company is cheaper, and many have very high ratings. We will wait a couple of months for Viking to offer a good deal on the internet on a Portugal cruise, and if not forthcoming, will start investigating with Tauck, AmaWaterways, Crystal, Uniworld, and Scenic River Cruises as well as Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle travel. These all provide quality River cruises, and likely at more reasonable prices than Viking. I really like Viking so I just hope I can find a Portugal trip that I can afford. There is only thing about Viking that I do not like. It is their automated flight scheduling computer program. When you book with Viking, and get the discounted or free flights, unless you pay $100 extra for each passenger for Viking's Air Plus, their computer will do all the scheduling, and it could be horrible! This is what happened to us this year. As I have written, we paid for the three-day Dijon extension. This required a two-hour bus/car transfer from Lyon to Dijon and then three days later back to Lyon where the airport is. Their computer system booked us on an early morning flight out of Lyon, so in order to make that flight; we would have had to get up in the middle of the night (actually very early morning!) in our Dijon hotel to take a bus/car to Lyon airport in time to make our flight. This was ridiculous. We paid for a three-night extension in Dijon, not a 2-1/2 night extension. I complained loudly, received no relief, paid the $200 for the Air Plus, got my flight schedules revised to be reasonable, wrote some negative reviews on line, and ended up with Viking reimbursing me for the Air Plus charges; thank you Viking. There were 14 of us from the cruise that booked the Dijon extension. Everyone but us had the same or similar problem, but had not complained and got it corrected. Therefore, 12 of them had to leave our nice Dijon 5-star hotel in the middle of the night to get to Lyon in time for their flights. I will definitely gladly pay the $100/passenger for Air Plus next time to either initially get a reasonable schedule, or perhaps only pay if they screw it up again. I guess I know what to expect now; and so should you. Well, I hope you have a good cruise. I hope Viking will allow us to make a fourth cruise with them, next year to Portugal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had taken a Viking River Cruise on the Rhone River last year, and we thoroughly enjoyed that river cruise. Service on this Viking Rhone River Cruise in France (Avignon to Lyon) was excellent. The staff members we encountered were ... Read More
We had taken a Viking River Cruise on the Rhone River last year, and we thoroughly enjoyed that river cruise. Service on this Viking Rhone River Cruise in France (Avignon to Lyon) was excellent. The staff members we encountered were always cheerful, courteous and helpful. Our room was kept neat and clean. The lobby and other common areas were always in tip-tip shape. Shore excursions were well planned, and were led by knowledgeable guides. The shore excursion venues that were selected by Viking were thoughtfully chosen. We would had like to have had some additional 'free time' during our trip to explore on our own. Meals on board were always excellent! The preparation and presentation were top notch! Evening entertainment was good. We traveled with my brother and sister-in law, but we also met many interesting people on the boat. The scenery was beautiful. We highly recommend this river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Exceeded all my expectations of a river cruise. Very relaxing and educational trip. This being my first river cruise, I felt spoiled the overall experience of the laid-back atmosphere and all that it included. Food and wine ... Read More
Exceeded all my expectations of a river cruise. Very relaxing and educational trip. This being my first river cruise, I felt spoiled the overall experience of the laid-back atmosphere and all that it included. Food and wine selections were over the top and the service was excellent. Every port of call was interesting and we were able to spend time without rushing to see everything and still have time for leisure. The tour guides were very knowledgeable at each location without being boring. Everyone seemed to see to our every need and sometimes without asking. Very attentive staff. I really liked the open seating in the dining room and was able to meet some very interesting people. This way of travel was so relaxing that it spoiled me of the mega liners I have been on before with all the thousands of people. I will certainly look forward to another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
A wonderful itinerary through beautiful Provence, highlighting both well-known and not-so-well known spots along the Rhône. Activities director Feliz amazing and the entire crew so welcoming and professional. Food, excursions, and ... Read More
A wonderful itinerary through beautiful Provence, highlighting both well-known and not-so-well known spots along the Rhône. Activities director Feliz amazing and the entire crew so welcoming and professional. Food, excursions, and on-board events all excellent and fun. We loved the ship’s atmosphere which always felt relaxing yet energized and focused on providing us with the finest river cruise experience possible. Excursions were always well-explained the evening before and meticulously organized to be on-time and give us the promised experience. Tour guides on the whole were expert and spoke fluent English. Dining on the ship was such a pleasure and so delicious! Evening dining was always fabulous. It is such a treat to be graciously served a wonderful meal in courses ( plenty of menu choices available). I can’t say enough about the dining room staff— they were amazing! Actually, all the staff and crew were great: they worked hard but made it feel as though they enjoyed helping you! The outdoor dining area on the ship was really nice for lunch and continental breakfast. Nothing like a great coffee and breakfast pastry while sailing serenely past the lovely wine country of Provence, sunlight and shadow on the ancient hills. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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