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5 Viking River Avignon Cruise Reviews

First, we tried to take advantage of their low airfares. However, they charged us extra to come in early and stay later since we didn’t want to use their overpriced extensions. Also, their travel group was Very difficult to deal with. ... Read More
First, we tried to take advantage of their low airfares. However, they charged us extra to come in early and stay later since we didn’t want to use their overpriced extensions. Also, their travel group was Very difficult to deal with. The good: The staff was, by far, the highlight of the trip. They are extremely well trained, friendly and quick to help. The French balcony room was very well designed and made excellent use of space. We liked the bed and the design of the shower. The bad: The “included tours” were too large (38-42 people). In hindsight, we would have preferred no included tours, at a lower price and booked our own. In addition, some tours were not that great, even with if it had been a small group. Viviers, in particular, was a sad little forgotten town with not much to see. You had to pay a premium to get a smaller group. One such “optional” tour was 120 euros per person and the group size was 22 people. The food was so so. We expected excellent food and got mediocre. The pre-cruise information talked of three venues, but in reality, there were two with basically the same menu. Tandem docking, ships docked side by side, was the norm at each port, taking away the view from our French balcony on a regular basis. There were only four ports on an 8 day cruise and very little daytime cruising. The sundeck was closed 90% of the cruise. The overall experience: We paid a premium to take a Viking river cruise and didn’t receive a premium experience. How anyone can give this cruis 5 stars is absurd. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was my 70th cruise, first time on Viking, first river cruise. Our cruise was 7 nights from Avignon to Lyon, in France. I booked the cruise with Viking as well as the air transportation from Washington DC to France. Before the ... Read More
This was my 70th cruise, first time on Viking, first river cruise. Our cruise was 7 nights from Avignon to Lyon, in France. I booked the cruise with Viking as well as the air transportation from Washington DC to France. Before the cruise I was impressed with all the notifications and booking process from Viking, receiving many emails with updates. Some shore excursions are included others you must pay extra for. We booked nine shore excursions., three were additional cost. Our air with Viking required us to leave the night before at 9PM. We arrived at the airport at 6PM (3 hours before the flight) and were told by British Air Lines that we were "stand by".. I was shocked. The staff at the desk tried to help us find other flights, they said 3 seats were still not claimed but we had to wait. I immediately called Viking and they offered no help. 30 minutes before the flight BWI airport was nearly empty 3 people approached and yes, there went our seats. British Air Lines continued to look for flights but could not help. I kept calling Viking, got cut off several times, no one could offer help. By 11 PM both British Air Lines and Viking said "go home". On the drive home I tried to get help from Viking one last time. After talking to a few people from Viking I asked for a supervisor, he told me it was my fault for not buying the insurance. Insurance is for when I can not go, due to a problem on my part, I was ready, willing and able to travel, it was not my fault Viking booked me on an over booked flight. Almost home I got a call from Viking saying they found us a flight at 9 AM. We get home after midnight, got 4 hours sleep and headed back to the airport. After two transfers and long layovers, 24 hours of travel time we finally arrive in France at noon the next day. Vikings rep was there at the airport waiting for us, to wisk us to the ship. Check in was easy. The ship is spotless clean. Our cabin was water view on deck one, very small at 135 square feet, you must plan moves with your cabin mate. Water is replenished daily, you must get your own ice down the hall from a machine. Shore excursions - You have these hearing devices in your cabin that you take on the excursions to hear the tour guide. Every day my device stopped working within 15 minutes of the tour, I went to the tour guide to get my device replaced, and 15 -20 minutes later that unit died. After 4 days of this happening I went to the guest services desk and asked for my two last days of tours to be cancelled. Then said they would let me know. They did NOT. The next morning after breakfast I went to the desk and they said ....Oh here is a new unit, it should work. I went on the remaining tours and it did work. We purchased the beverage package and I thought is was well worth the added cost. Phillipe, Dimi, and Robert were always there to pour my favorite drink. They were fantastic employees. Food - For breakfast there is a light breakfast served in the casual area, and full breakfast served in the dining room. The dining room breakfast needs help. There are two stations, one for hot, the other for cold items. The hot section has an egg station. Every morning 10 or more people are lined up to get eggs cooked to order, this blocks the entire hot area, so if you want some scrambled eggs, bacon, or other hot item you must wait. The egg station should be its own station away from other food. AND, there is no clear order in line for the egg station, do you enter from this side or that side, people are entering both ways, which just complicates things even more. Also the seating is odd at breakfast. If you arrive 30 minutes before breakfast closes you must learn the "routine". Some tables are set, others are not. But you must go to a table that is set for breakfast, not for lunch or you will sit there and not be served. Once a table has been used for breakfast it is done or closed and the staff are eagerly cleaning and setting it up for lunch. If you show up 30 minutes or less before closing time they are not thrilled with you. 10 minutes before closing they come around and tell you....the buffet will be closing soon. There is a breakfast menu, but you do not receive the menu.....kind of odd. I ordered the eggs benedict one morning, from the menu. I have had this thousands of times, and I must say they were the strangest ones I have ever had, there was not a nice creamy Hollandaise sauce on top, more of a curd like flavorless topping. Dinner is available in the dining room or the casual area. This was the first week they decided to have the same food available in the casual area that is served in the dining room. I liked the casual area because you have great views of the river while dining. The food at dinner was good, not great, but good. I would say the food is the same level as Celebrity Cruise Line. The Rib Eye Steak was good and cooked correctly. The Salmon was poached, boring and dry. Caesar Salad was fantastic with actual slices of Anchovies on top. Scallops were excellent. Everything else was average. I have had far superior food on Oceania and Azamara Cruise Lines. Lunch in the casual area also needs help. Outside they cook burgers....ok fine, what goes great with a burger, that almost everyone wants??? French Fries.....they are inside, and people are squeezing and butting in the line to get some fries. Why are fries not in both places? The guy playing the piano in the evening was great, good music and always smiling. The staff try very hard, the majority of them smile and say hello in all places except at breakfast in the dining room. At a cost of about $9,000 for a one week vacation for two people I do not believe this to be a good value. I am glad I tried Viking. Would I travel with Viking again, Most likely not. Happy Sailing.! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We have been planning to go to the South of a France for a long time. We were very disappointed with the trip in general. We spent over $6,000.00 for a trip that was underwhelming and at times quite unpleasant. Our cabin consistently ... Read More
We have been planning to go to the South of a France for a long time. We were very disappointed with the trip in general. We spent over $6,000.00 for a trip that was underwhelming and at times quite unpleasant. Our cabin consistently smelled of raw sewage, even with the staff cleaning it daily. The smell was consistent and very hard to tolerate. We visited the lounge to escape the smell, but very difficult for the 8 days. The food was disappointing in general. The meals were a great disappoint for us as well. The welcome lunch featured tuna salad on pita bread and pasta seemed to be the theme of the entire trip.The snack area consisted of two types of cookies everyday, every time. The French themed lunch was fantastic! That was what we expected. We were exhausted from traveling the first day and fell asleep in our cabin. We were late to dinner and was scolded and told we could only have the soup, lamb and desert, because we were late. Very embarrasing...other people heard the conversation. This was our second riverboat cruise and our first was fantastic!! This past trip was a huge disappointment for us. It was not special. It seemed like business as usual instead of understanding that people have waited for a long time to have this experience. We went home very sad, underwhelmed and extremely disappointed. Stephanie and a Doug Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
My plan for this year is to take a river boat cruise on AMA, Uniworld and Viking. Decide which I like best for planning future river trips. Loved AMA all around and of course the Prague to Budapest Danube tour is exciting with lots of ... Read More
My plan for this year is to take a river boat cruise on AMA, Uniworld and Viking. Decide which I like best for planning future river trips. Loved AMA all around and of course the Prague to Budapest Danube tour is exciting with lots of great ports. Uniworld is scheduled for the Fall doing the Mekong River. Will not travel on Viking again. We travel on the Viking Buri on the Rhone River. My husband feels that a large part of my discontent was the boring cruise we took...Southern France from Avignon to Lyon on the Rhone River. With the exception of Avignon, Ailes and Lyon, the other ports offer nothing. Even the tour guides indicated that very few residents stay in these locations because they offer nothing. The only "tour" takes you to a crumbling Roman ruin. I would not recommend this itinerary regardless of company as they all stop at the same ports. Other major issues: Viking indicates this is a 8 day CRUISE. In fact it is 4 days of cruising with the balance of the time being BUSED, with long bus rides, into the areas that were indicated on the itinerary as part of the cruise itinerary. They say that the waters are too high for their riverboat to get under the bridge in Lyon. This has been going on for YEARS! All of the other riverboat companies have no problem getting under the fixed bridge and continuing their cruising tour as advertised. Really believe that Viking misrepresents this cruise. We were on a French wine riverboat tour, but every night all they served was Argentina Melbac wine!!!! I called them on it and they unapologetically stated that they serve what they receive. Had we upgraded our liquor package, there were some French wines on that package. We just don't drink enough to justify paying an additional 300 euros for 7 days. French wine is not expensive and it's inexcusable not to serve local wine on a cruise that is advertised as a wine tour! On AMA, we had both morning and afternoon tours. On Viking, we were only provided a short morning tour (with the exception of the very long bus trip). They offered additional afternoon tours at extremely high rates. For example, I had looked into a culinary tour in Lyon as an individual couple and decided the price tag was just too high for the two of us and expected a similar tour to be offered by Viking. Shockingly, Viking offered the exact same tour at the same price!. Absolutely no reduction in price for a group tour or passing on the savings to their guests. The folks I spoke to who did go on the "extra tours" felt ripped off. Finally the cabins. We travel light, with only two carry on bags and are not big people. The room is so small that, other than the bed and the desk on the opposite wall, there is less than 1 feet of space between the two pieces of furniture. You can't put your feet down flat from the bed as there is only 3-4 inches from the bed to side walls. Not even enough room for a chair. One of us had to leave the cabin for the other one to have enough room to dress! The first and second decks have exactly the same square footage cabins...don't know about the suites. So, as you can see, we were not happy campers. Their one saving grace was the quality of the food...it was excellent and regional. Better than even some of the high end cruise ships we have been on. But the staff need training! Their heart is not in providing great dining experiences!!! Nice but untrained. FYI, this is the first time I have written such a negative cruising experience. I love traveling, am flexible and almost always have a fabulous experience! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
River cruise: Avignon to Lyon. Mostly elderly couples. As a single, felt unwelcome by crew and passengers. At dining times, told empty places at table "saved" for others. On shore excursions, many passengers unable to walk ... Read More
River cruise: Avignon to Lyon. Mostly elderly couples. As a single, felt unwelcome by crew and passengers. At dining times, told empty places at table "saved" for others. On shore excursions, many passengers unable to walk without assistance. Need plenty of change for tips on shore excursions. Optional shore excursions (many) were expensive. Most time spent on tour bus; very little time spent cruising river. Gangways to ship can be slippery. Cannot sit in the Aquavit Lounge without being asked if you want to purchase a drink. Extremely dark and treacherous stone steps with rope "handrail" in winery to sample Beaujolais. Optional painting class in Arles a waste of time except for the lunch at a local restaurant; superb chocolate shop in St.-Rémy-de-Provence recommended by tour guide at stop there. Excellent optional cooking class in Lyon attended by only three passengers; made cream puffs (for an army) in a very detailed French way with fresh pear mixed into the whipped cream. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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