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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
From the moment you board, everything is provided - Service ( the crew are first class ) - Dining - ( the food is excellent ) entertainment ( very good ) Excursions and guides ( all well organised and very interesting ) the ship/cabins ... Read More
From the moment you board, everything is provided - Service ( the crew are first class ) - Dining - ( the food is excellent ) entertainment ( very good ) Excursions and guides ( all well organised and very interesting ) the ship/cabins were spotless, The whole cruise ran like clockwork . No complaints whatsoever. From start to finish we did not really need to open our wallets. Our Cruise Director organised all the excursions personally . All the ports of call were extremely interesting and very enjoyable. Whilst the River Rhone is not the most beautiful of rivers, we all enjoyed the variety of towns visited. Lyon, Avignon, Tarriscon, just to mention three. The evening in Avignon was spent in the Popes Palace where we attended a concert given by a classical music trio ( harpist, flautist celloist ) this was absolutely brilliant, We are now considering where to go on our next Scenic cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We took advantage of a special offer via Imagine Cruising a company we use and trust for this river cruise.We arrived at Lyon and boarded quickly and were very pleased at our cabin which was spotless and very welcoming with nice decor ... Read More
We took advantage of a special offer via Imagine Cruising a company we use and trust for this river cruise.We arrived at Lyon and boarded quickly and were very pleased at our cabin which was spotless and very welcoming with nice decor etc.We enjoyed the pleasant public areas and especially the sun deck with good seating and a lovely shaded area with also small but well presented pool to cool off in everyday.All meals and most drinks are included and were of very good quality.We enjoy different cultures and the food offered and like to try different tastes and always found something tasty at meal times.Salads.meats,fish desserts.cheeses including the breads were good.Tea and coffee are available at all times. We visited the South of France area from Lyon through Avignon,Arles etc down to the Port st Louis area which was the only port to disappoint.We think this last stop should be excluded from the itinerary as it's too industrial in this part.We enjoyed two trips outside of the towns that we moored in the centres.the first was to the Camargue area ending up in the lovely little seaside town of St Marie de la mer which is beautiful.The second was to Marseille but was too rushed and a bit frustrating as we only had 25 minutes around the port area which was the most interesting part of the city. The clientele are largely German with a few other nationalities and about 25 percent British and there was little mixing ,probably due to the language barriers and it was difficult to communicate and people gathered in the evenings in their own language groups.I hoped for more mixing It was very pleasant to sit to enjoy sunsets and the passing countryside as we leisurely sailed the river.All the main cities including Lyon and Avignon are easily explored from the boat and we have lovely memories of these beautiful places. the evenings were simple with light music playing as we enjoyed the company of fellow cruisers with inclusive drinks and food at hand at all time. We will certainly river cruise again and we hope with Arosa in the future.104 Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our first French cruise and first with Emerald. Thanks early booking we had a Grand Balcony Suite and the unlimited drinks package on top of everything else. The boat is superb, well planned and appointed and all the crew are ... Read More
This was our first French cruise and first with Emerald. Thanks early booking we had a Grand Balcony Suite and the unlimited drinks package on top of everything else. The boat is superb, well planned and appointed and all the crew are obviously very proud of it. We dined with the captain, who was charming. The food was excellent and the drinks plentiful. All the staff were very friendly and efficient, especially Robert in the bar, Gabriela our cabin steward and most particularly the tour director, Jana who worked tirelessly to make sure that everything went smoothly. The included excursions were good and the local guides very informative. We did not do any optional tours as this gave us more time to relax on the boat and enjoy the amenities and the weather. A bonus was the guided bike ride from Turnous to Macon which took place in beautiful weather. Overall this was an excellent trip with a company that prides itself on providing slightly different cruise experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My friend and I returned from a river cruise aboard the Emerald Liberte on the Saone and Rhone river. It was our first time on a river cruise and it surpassed our expectations. Our cabin was excellent - very comfortable with every ... Read More
My friend and I returned from a river cruise aboard the Emerald Liberte on the Saone and Rhone river. It was our first time on a river cruise and it surpassed our expectations. Our cabin was excellent - very comfortable with every amenity. The cabin was kept in a pristine condition by the housekeeping staff and nothing was too much trouble. Towels were changed twice a day and every night on returning to our cabin, the beds were turned down, blinds drawn and even a chocolate on our pillow! The food was wonderful and we were looked after by an excellent and friendly crew who couldn't do enough for us - nothing was too much trouble. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and waiter service for the evening meal. The choice was good and they also had about 6 dishes that were always available if you didn't want what was on the main menu. Wine, beer and soft drinks were included in the price and served with lunch and dinner. The trips ashore were very interesting, conducted by local guides. Transfers at the beginning and end of the holiday were so well organised - everything went like clockwork. All in all, a holiday to remember and highly recommended. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Visit to Camargue area on first day was very long time on the bus with very little wildlife to see. Would recommend leaving it out. Especially after a 5hr bus ride from Lyon to meet up with the tour the day before. Then my bag was dragged ... Read More
Visit to Camargue area on first day was very long time on the bus with very little wildlife to see. Would recommend leaving it out. Especially after a 5hr bus ride from Lyon to meet up with the tour the day before. Then my bag was dragged up judder bars onto the boat by a young girl and broke off the wheel. Staff tried to fix it but I have had to buy another bag. No apology given. Instructions to find meeting point at Georges Brassiere were very poor. We wandered around for an hour after getting off at Lyon Panache station. Very stressful. Not a good start. All other sightseeing destinations were very good. Guides were excellent and very personable. Very busy days and too long on buses though. Needed to be given more information on thevery time frames. Doing walking tours in the afternoon in 32 degrees with no water given as we left boat. Need more flexibility if staying in a certain place. Breakfasts were boring. Only pineapple and melon offered 2 days. If you didnt drink coffee you had to get your own tea in very small cups. Same hot food every day. The scrambled eggs were not nice. Need more choice. Lettuce during lunch was old and withered. I told waitress and she just shrugged her shoulders. Lunches were set menus. A choice would have been good. Purser was very good. Helpful and personable. Night time skit was so amateurish and embarrassing to watch. It was done by the waiters and was dreadful. LEAVE IT OUT. Need more night-time entertainment. Need to enforce casual tidy dress for meals. One man near us wore a scruffy singlet EVERY night for dinner. DISGUSTING. Staff should have asked him to go and change. He did have shirts with him. Wine choices for meals were very limited. Gala dinner was excellent. Mainly French speaking. Some Americans, Norwegians and Four New Zealanders. They always gave the ship information in French first. Then the French would start talking when giving the information in English and Portuguese. It made us feel like we weren't equal.They needed to alter it around as to what language they used first. Enjoyed the destinations. Loved the Lyon night cruise but improvements need to be made as mentioned above. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
It was recommended by 2 family members who travelled in april 2016.The all inclusive nature appealed to us.The various excursions that were included as part of the program gave us value for money.We were very pleased with the crew and ... Read More
It was recommended by 2 family members who travelled in april 2016.The all inclusive nature appealed to us.The various excursions that were included as part of the program gave us value for money.We were very pleased with the crew and the support and assistance they gave at each stop on the trip. The historical sites were lovely and the various wineries were interesting and gave us a greater appreciation of the Rhone valley.Both Avignon and Arles were great stops and were well worth the trip in themselves.We were provided with complimentary room upgrades on day 1 of our voyage which was a very pleasant surprise. I cannot say enough about the staff on board.From captain to first officer on down.Each always seemed to have time to give to passengers.The food was excellent and the chef made a point of dropping by every evening to ask us how we had enjoyed our meal. Once we had a brief critic of a meal and were thanked for bringing it to their attention. As a person who worked in customer service for most of my career I was most impressed from beginning to end. we will return and enjoy AMA again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first one was Budapest to Amsterdam which we enjoyed so much we decided to book this one. It was a lovely cruise through the French wine region. Our only negative was the fact that too often ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first one was Budapest to Amsterdam which we enjoyed so much we decided to book this one. It was a lovely cruise through the French wine region. Our only negative was the fact that too often we were not docked close to towns and often way out in the boonies requiring buses to get into town. I understand this is not Viking's choice but the French government who determines which cruise line docks where each week. All the tours were good. The buses they hire are excellent and walking tours well done. We saw lovely scenery along the way and the stops to enjoy the wineries were excellent. When at the end we didn't dock in Avignon but quite a distance away again in the boonies, Viking hired taxis and buses to take us to final destination. The food was great. The staff all excellent and helpful. Rooms are tiny but have everything you need and all amenities are first class. I would recommend this river cruise from Lyon to Avignon or vice versa. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our fourth Viking cruise (supposed to be fifth but low water forced an unexpected cancelation previous year). All of our Viking cruises have been superb, this particular cruise exceeded that. Crew was incredible, condition of ... Read More
This was our fourth Viking cruise (supposed to be fifth but low water forced an unexpected cancelation previous year). All of our Viking cruises have been superb, this particular cruise exceeded that. Crew was incredible, condition of vessel couldn't have been better, food out of this world and the sites spectacular. Viking takes unbelievable care of it's guests without micromanaging them. The bang for the buck, even coming from the U.S. is excellent. My wife an I are both still in the active workforce, yet we already have two more Vikings on the books already. We also did an add on in Paris pre cruise and post cruise in Nice. We were well taken care of in both of these locations as well, touring both on our own and with Viking leadership. We always had a Viking representative close by that had a wealth of local knowledge. Our Nice representative even assisted us in getting a luggage repair from the hotel maintenance crew. We are very much fans of Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and ... Read More
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and details such as 110-120v outlets in key places in the state room were so helpful. The food was outstanding as was the service in both the dining room and the lounge. The daily excursions were so well organized with top notch guides and "quiet boxes" so you didn't miss anything. We were delighted with visits to several wineries, beautiful towns, the many opportunities to meet local residents, visit historic sites, and just take in the Burgundy and Provençal regions. The extension to Nice was enjoyable. Accommodations were satisfactory (although we were spoiled by the level of luxury on the Buri). Nice is beautiful, but we truly enjoyed the day trips to the surrounding medieval towns. We love visiting France anyway, but the river cruise was uniquely special. I cannot overstate what a wonderful time we had. I strongly recommend Viking and this specific trip. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My husband booked this river cruise from Lyon to Arles in honor of my birthday, so I was expecting the best and was not disappointed! The S.S.Catherine is an elegant ship with Venetian glass fixtures, original artwork on all of the walls, ... Read More
My husband booked this river cruise from Lyon to Arles in honor of my birthday, so I was expecting the best and was not disappointed! The S.S.Catherine is an elegant ship with Venetian glass fixtures, original artwork on all of the walls, good-sized staterooms and L'Occitane amenities. The food was always prepared to perfection for ALL meals and finished by delicious desserts prepared by two pastry chefs! Each evening before dinner, everyone would meet for cocktails and information regarding the next day's activities. The tours and activities are geared for the sedentary up to "Go Active." We did two "Go Active" tours: a bike ride of Lyon and a hike up into the vineyards of Burgundy. We also did one special excision for an additional charge to the castle of a French Count who saved us wine and lunch. Well worth the extra money! UniWorld's guides were excellent in both their presentation and knowledge. UniWorld has their own fleet of tour buses, too. Our cabin was the perfect size with a little sitting area off to the side so we could watch the countryside or the many locks we went through. We did enjoy the entertainment in the bar area after dinner. Embarkation and disembarkation were a non-event - they were so easy. We decided that the staff must be trained to never use the word "No" as everything was wonderful. We would recommend UniWorld in a heartbeat and hope to enjoy one of their other ships in the future! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I knew that Arosa is German owned and operated when I booked the cruise. I did not realize the extent to which that would matter until too late. But's let begin with the positive. The room was stylish, very clean and more ... Read More
I knew that Arosa is German owned and operated when I booked the cruise. I did not realize the extent to which that would matter until too late. But's let begin with the positive. The room was stylish, very clean and more spacious than I had expected. The bed was comfortable. The French doors could be opened completely, allowing us to bring the countryside into our cabin. We had no complaints abut the bathroom or shower. We were very happy with our cabin. The food tasted excellent, the variety (excluding desserts) was sufficient and presentation was as good as good can be for a buffet. But that was the problem; every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven days was a buffet, unless you paid extra for an a la carte dinner. And the food was German, making for the surreal experience of eating sauerkraut and schnitzel while cruising the French countryside. Even though the vast majority of people on our ship were English speaking, German was the first language. The poor grammar and vocabulary in the materials translated into English should have been embarrassing, though we found them funny. What we did find annoying was the announcements being in German first, particularly when sitting on deck, watching the sites. We would see a castle; an announcement in German would describe it. Then the English announcement would be heard, by which time the castle was no longer visible in the distance. The day trips by bus were excellent; all of our guides were good and one was amazing. One of our big disappointments, though, was that the guided bike tours that were to have been included (and were one of our main reasons for choosing Arosa) were not offered on our trip. And the evening entertainment was non-existent or awful. Finally, connecting to the internet was impossible all week, not just for us but for everybody. When I holiday, I do not expect to check emails all the time, but we would have liked to have been able to share our experience with family and friends, particularly given that I paid extra for European cellular service. Our cruise was not terrible; neither was it great. In future, we will choose ships that are English owned and operated. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
It appears only negative comments are showing up for this cruise. But....... We just got home from the Portraits of Southern France cruise with a three day extension in Paris and had a wonderful time! Everything about the trip from ... Read More
It appears only negative comments are showing up for this cruise. But....... We just got home from the Portraits of Southern France cruise with a three day extension in Paris and had a wonderful time! Everything about the trip from being met in Marseilles, to the ship itself, to the daily and optional tours, to the meals were first rate all the way. No attention to detail was missed as far as we were concerned. It was also done during a heat wave and the ship and crew made sure that we had plenty of water and that the tours did not go at a too fast pace. The evening meals were some of the best we have had on river cruises. The officers and staff were always engaging. The Captain even invited me to the wheel house to see how the ship was maneuvered in a lock. The Viking Hermond is a first class ship with a first class crew. Do not let negative reviews stop you from experiencing this beautiful river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
High water on both the Rhone and Saone from flooding (heavy rain and snow melt) altered our itinerary. Viking emailed us one day prior to tell us to meet the boat in Lyon instead of Chalon-sur-Saone. We never did get to see Chalon. Then we ... Read More
High water on both the Rhone and Saone from flooding (heavy rain and snow melt) altered our itinerary. Viking emailed us one day prior to tell us to meet the boat in Lyon instead of Chalon-sur-Saone. We never did get to see Chalon. Then we remained docked in Lyon for four nights, taking a bus to Beaune, Vienne, and Tournon. Cruise director then announced that cruise itself was "cancelled" and that we could go to all of our remaining sites by bus instead. Quite a few folks accepted Viking's offer to refund the UNUSED portion of our non-cruise. Then, the next night, the message changed that the Heimdal would indeed proceed down-river the next morning. We could choose to skip the next tour by remaining onboard for the first cruise of the week or take a bus to Tournon. We took the bus option and were glad we did because it was the highlight day of our trip. We never got to see Viviers either because the ship needed to get to Avignon while the water and bridges were cooperating. To be fair to Viking, the meals were wonderful (same white wine every day though) and quite varied, and they had no control over water levels. But they did know that the high waters would not recede quickly and that our "cruise" was in jeopardy. A cruise-by-bus was not what we paid for. And the short five hour (4-9 pm) cruise that we enjoyed was overpriced. We await a response from Viking about compensation or incentive for another cruise at this time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Things got off to bad start when the van that was supposed to pick us up at the airport did not appear for hours...and only came after urgent calls to the ship. So we lost half a day of exploring the embarkation town. (The hotel manager on ... Read More
Things got off to bad start when the van that was supposed to pick us up at the airport did not appear for hours...and only came after urgent calls to the ship. So we lost half a day of exploring the embarkation town. (The hotel manager on the ship did give us a generous drink package in compensation, but we were frazzled even so.) There were similar delays and disorganization on the transfer to the departing airport. As for the cruise itself: Pros: The ship itself was comfortable. The crew relatively friendly. The food was always good and on three occasions extraordinary. I don't think I ever have had such great steak, and I eat a lot of steak. Most of the excursions were very worthwhile--all but one had really knowledgeable and helpful local guides. Only two ports--Avignon and Arles, are major culture rich cities, but all the villages on this cruise had their own special charm and allure. Sometimes that allure was enhanced by the fact they were small and more easy to take in on a short visit. Cons: No onboard fitness room or equipment. Often it seemed Viking had inferior docks at ports-of-call compared to other lines. Very little in the way of evening entertainment. The shore information woman had never been in any of the ports and knew about little more than the offered excursions. Dining room was understaffed--and very noisy. Drinks are VERY expensive if you do not have a package. Most wines were very ordinary--a disappointment on what was a wine country cruise. Perhaps 80% of passengers had been on other Viking cruises and they almost unanimously felt the crew and service on this cruise was well below what they had enjoyed on other Viking ships. Some crew were last minute replacements; others were on their last cruise before their break, so that might have been the trouble. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
The Buri is a beautiful ship with a wonderful staff. Every meal was a great experience and the service was excellent. The Rhone river is another story. The river has a muddy brown color the entire length of the cruise and was overloaded ... Read More
The Buri is a beautiful ship with a wonderful staff. Every meal was a great experience and the service was excellent. The Rhone river is another story. The river has a muddy brown color the entire length of the cruise and was overloaded with branches, trees, logs and trash the first 3 days out of Avignon. If there was anything to see along the waterway you'll never know for the river banks on both sides are lined with tall densely populated trees. Then there are the 11 locks that can take hours to navigate due to heavy river traffic. Lyon was a beautiful city with much to do and see. The rest of the days were spent in quite ordinary towns with little or nothing of significance. We had one tour guide take us to a very ordinary town hall and then to the post office as highlights of her town. It was almost laughable. We have been on many river cruises in Europe and each one has been a terrific experience, unfortunately, the Rhone river is not one of them. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
From the very beginning of this cruise things went wrong. Due to the changing of ports we missed the first nights dinner due to our late arrival, although they did serve us cold soup and a stale sandwich. Captain was aloof, restaurant ... Read More
From the very beginning of this cruise things went wrong. Due to the changing of ports we missed the first nights dinner due to our late arrival, although they did serve us cold soup and a stale sandwich. Captain was aloof, restaurant manager was rude and organization of excursions was day to day. The guides were hard to understand, rushed us through the sites and were not well informed. Some of our excursions took us over 2 hours to arrive. The food on the ship was very inconsistent. Steaks were good, but poultry and fish was overcooked and tasteless. We stayed in Lyon 3 days facing a graffiti riddled building-not the cruising we were promised. Only got to use the sundeck the last day due to high water. The entertainment consisted of a piano player that played the same music over and over again. Only one night did we get a break from this monotony. The complimentary wine was poor in quality and forced us to order from the partial wine list at our cost. We wrote a letter to complain about the quality and low price value. The only thing offered was a discount on our next cruise with Viking-the same discount offered to all other past guests. Why would we want to cruise again with Viking. They did not deliver and we will never use them again. Don't make the mistake of booking with Viking-AMA is a much better choice. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Just returned from Riverboat Cruise on SS Catherine. First time on a river boat. My husband’s special birthday. He is a foodie and loves French food and wine so we selected this itinerary which was in Burgundy and Provence (From Lyon to ... Read More
Just returned from Riverboat Cruise on SS Catherine. First time on a river boat. My husband’s special birthday. He is a foodie and loves French food and wine so we selected this itinerary which was in Burgundy and Provence (From Lyon to Avignon). Generally, he does not like cruising preferring to be able to dine in actual restaurants on land which he feels he misses out on during a cruise. However, he was pleasantly surprised….. the ship is brand new this season and is gorgeous and spectacular – even better in person than in photos –t he food, service, staff were all excellent – the ship is beautiful – we loved the small size and ease of getting around – forget something in your cabin? – no sweat – it’s a one minute walk not a twenty minute hike as on a huge mega ship. We arrived the day ahead into Lyon and stayed at Sofitel – across the river from ship and you can literally walk to the ship and will not need a taxi. Strongly suggest you come in the day before the cruise – the jet lag will be killer otherwise imho. I was ill from long flight and layover to Lyon and needed to just sleep for a day. Also, the curried chicken on British airways served at midnight home time did not do wonders for the GI situation. So, yeah, don’t plan on flying over and going right to the ship. On this particular cruise (cant speak for other dates) the age group was significantly senior – we are in early sixties and were among the youngest. We “closed down the joint” in the evenings and that was before 10 PM! LOL. Also, would agree with another poster that this itinerary was somewhat disappointing as we could not sail at all the first few days due to high water level – we went by bus to Beaune (in Burgundy) skipping the sail on Saone River. There was very minimal actual sailing the entire cruise. Also, while docked (Stateroom 422) we either faced a wall and the land side, another ship like Viking, or in Avignon, a huge ugly cement piling smack in the middle of our balcony - twice. Therefore, I question the value of paying for an upgraded room with balcony with so little to see out the window. As far as the land tours, the first two guides (to Beaune and city walking tour of Lyon) were disappointing – their English was very poor and they spoke at about a third grade level. However, the other tour guides were excellent and much more professional – night tour of Lyon was fantastic – walking tour of Tournon and Tain L’Hermitage was great. Also liked our tour guide for Viviers. She lived there and was British and was very informative. We loved the wine tastings and we loved the tour to truffle farm – I do not feel it was a “ripoff” as other poster stated. I do kind of object to all of the “optional tours”. We are already paying a ton of money on Uniworld – they advertise that it is all inclusive but it really is not. Our only other recent tour experience was with Tauck on the Amalfi coast – truly fantastic tour and amazing, intelligent, fantastic tour guide who stays with you the entire time. No extra charges for anything from Tauck. So, on principle – we really did not sign up for more than one of the optional tours with Uniworld. It was a lot of walking and cobblestones and I was disappointed that the tours took up so much time in the towns that we had no time to shop. (my husband was not upset by this at all) but seriously, would have preferred more time to explore. Overall, though, Uniworld did a great job and we would consider sailing with them again. We most likely would never take a tour for longer than seven days though…..too much regimentation, too much great food and weight gain!, too many early mornings with no chance to sleep in….and no real opportunity to be immersed in the culture and meet the people of the place you are travelling to. For example, except for one person, Emmanuelle, no one on the ship was French, the staff is mainly Eastern European. All of your fellow passengers will be either American, or Aussie or Canadian. Therefore, at end of cruise, we rented a car in Avignon and drove through southern France to Nice to explore French Riviera and walk and do things at our own pace… This creates a nice mix on your vacation. We also did not get to go to Pont Du Garde on the cruise so did this on our own (not to be missed).   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
My cruise on the Rhone River from Lyon to Avignon, France with 3 days in Paris to start, was perfect. I have zero complaints regarding anything whether it be about the ship or the excursions. I have traveled little and am from the Midwest ... Read More
My cruise on the Rhone River from Lyon to Avignon, France with 3 days in Paris to start, was perfect. I have zero complaints regarding anything whether it be about the ship or the excursions. I have traveled little and am from the Midwest USA. Our initial stay was at the Marriott Rive Gauche in Paris where concierge service, by Viking, was provided and appreciated. Our transfers from airport arrival to ship to airport return were dependable and perfect. The ship was fabulous- well appointed, comfortable with service "over the top." Daily information meetings during cocktail hour were needed and appreciated. Every excursion was delightful. I bought 3 extra excursions. A small complaint here would be that I would like "shopping" time in the towns and villages. I'm not a souvenir collector, but, having a fine arts back ground, I would appreciate time to scout out authentic French products and creations. On board food was so fabulous I had not desire to dine elsewhere! Evening entertainment was professional and fun. As I said at the start, this cruise was perfect in every way. I recommend Viking River Cruises to everyone knowing I will be thanked. And thank-you, Viking, for helping me have an experience of a life time. The end result is that I have plans to return to France! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our second Uniworld cruise, the first being the Castles on the Rhine last year. We were delighted with our tour on the S.S. Antoinette and were anxious to experience the new sister ship in an area we had never been before. Some ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise, the first being the Castles on the Rhine last year. We were delighted with our tour on the S.S. Antoinette and were anxious to experience the new sister ship in an area we had never been before. Some of the similarities were immediately obvious: The upscale decor in the common areas, the comfort of the cabins and the attention and courtesy of the staff. We continue to be amazed at how well the cabin space has been designed. Meals were very good, as we expected. We are not wine experts so the nightly presentation of the wine pairings by the shipboard sommelier was mostly wasted on us. The Rhone is trickier to navigate than the Rhine with more locks to go through and lower bridges to travel under. Consequently, the upper deck was inaccessible much of the time. Cruising had to be abandoned on the first day because of high water and a bus excursion was substituted. The tour was enjoyable, but its length due to busing was a let down. The excursions were a mixed bag. My wife and adult daughter greatly enjoyed the optional cooking lesson with an authentic Five Star French chef. Although pricey (152 euros each) and a big time commitment (six hours to buy the food and prepare it), the experience turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. On the other hand, a visit to a truffle farm was disappointing and bit of a rip-off (59 euros each). It ended in ANOTHER wine tasting, the third or fourth of the trip. We didn't realize when booking this trip that this cruise is an extension of the Grand France tour. It was difficult for us to get to know the other passengers, since friendships had already been formed before we arrived. We have enjoyed getting to know other passengers on previous cruises. That didn't happen here. Tour guides were inconsistent. Some were quite good, entertaining and informative, others not so much. The small towns did not afford many tourist attractions other than the age of the city. It appeared the tours were trying to fill time with a local organ concert and a visit to a private home. In tans L'Hermitage a visit to the Valhrona Chocolate Factory was merely suggested as a "do it on your own" but was a wonderful highlight. Some tour guides didn't mention it at all. It would have been fun to tour it more fully. There was little time to visit local shops. Avignon has many "chain" and designer stores, but little local flavor. Most of the ladies valuable shopping time in that city was taken up by the optional tour, the 6-hour French cooking class. Arles combined both local flavor and shopping, but our guide spent too much time taking us past places there was no time to visit. At one point he led us to believe a cafe was the actual one appearing in the Van Gogh painting. Only after everyone had taken pictures did he reveal the cafe was painted two years ago and only patterned to look like the one in Van Gogh's masterpiece. It was a cruel trick. There was no emphasis on lavender fields, production or visits. Sunflower farms were noted just in passing on the bus. This is definitely a tour for wine enthusiasts, but not much else. We still love Uniworld and will likely cruise with them again, but we will be careful to find a cruise with a more accessible river and larger cities (other passengers have told us the Danube is a must-see.) We've had our fill of sleepy towns, cobblestone streets and churches.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
As experienced cruisers with 17 ocean cruisers under our belt, we were excited to embark on our first river cruise choosing the new longship Viking Heimdal sailing the Portraits of Southern France itinerary. We are busy professionals and ... Read More
As experienced cruisers with 17 ocean cruisers under our belt, we were excited to embark on our first river cruise choosing the new longship Viking Heimdal sailing the Portraits of Southern France itinerary. We are busy professionals and love the true getaway that a cruise experience can provide however we were admittedly a bit concerned that we might find the river cruise experience to be a tad sedate. Much to our pleasure we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. Despite many logistics issues due to both high river height and lock maintenance which required significant and ongoing shifting of our itinerary, our trip was fabulous and we both agreed on the flight home that it was one of the best and most relaxing vacations we have taken. We booked this trip fairly last minute so we used Viking Air (not our typical approach with cruises). Our experience on Lufthansa was one of the only downsides of our trip. It was not awful but just not very good, seemed a bit of a budget experience and the fact that we were booked on 3 flights to get home from France added to the disappointment. We also had to pay for pre-assigned seat assignments on each leg of our trip which was a late surprise, costing us $300 total, and the irony is that we ended up switching seats with a family with two very small children who were being split up for an 8 hour flight.....so much for our pre-assigned seats. Now for the good stuff- the cruise was great. The ship was elegant and understated with easily accessible common areas. The staff and service were just superb. We enjoyed the small footprint of the ship and the intimate atmosphere provided when traveling with only 180 passengers. Given that our cruise last summer was on a 4000 passenger ship, it was quite a dramatic difference. The food quality was top-notch and it was bolstered by the overflowing enthusiastic attitude of our young chef (only 26 years old) and her staff. This was highlighted on one special evening where they served a buffet of Provence food and allowed all of us into the galley where they were dancing with passengers in-between serving us. As I mentioned the itinerary was a daily challenge. Not worth going into all the changes but I think there was not a single day on the ship that was not impacted. The staff did a great job balancing this. The result was that we were able to experience just about everything that was promised with one exception. However, in order to do so we spent more time on bus rides than we had planned. BTW - the buses were high quality and comfortable; some even included TV screens showing the view from the front of the bus. However, the increased bus time was the cause of great disappointment and upset to a few but most passengers focused on having a great time. The weather was superb in the mid 70s to low 80s on most days, so this helped to make the trip wonderful and hearing how the folks on the previous week were faced with rain almost every day, made it even sweeter. The excursions were high quality with generally good guides. Sharing stories with fellow passengers, we can report that the vast majority were happy with the excursions. One fairly universal disappointment was the inaccessibility of the top deck for almost the entire trip. At first it seemed this was a result of high water levels but ship staff revealed that this was more the norm than an exception, due to the large number of low bridges and locks on this itinerary combined with the river height. On the next to the last night the Captain took the ship out for a spin by the bridge in Avignon and he treated everyone to an open bar on the top deck in an attempt to make up for all the issues we had dealt with. It was a nice gesture and a beautiful experience. Other pluses of the cruise were the fellow passengers, very reliable free wireless, and other amenities such as free water bottles for excursions and occasional sweet treats greeting us upon return to the ship. The atmosphere was very casual with few dressing up at all and most only on the night of the Captains dinner. Even on that night the dress was what I would call resort casual for most. The bar staff were extremely congenial and competent. We noticed that the whole staff had a real "pitch in" attitude with many doing several jobs as demand required. The on-board musician was a low light but he was augmented with a few outside acts which helped to provide some variety and I found myself enjoying him a bit more later in the week. Our only regret is that we didn't have more time on our own to wander around and enjoy, especially in Avignon which was truly a fabulous city. We are already talking about another river cruise on Viking...now we just have to decide which one. We are so happy we tried a river cruise, while we still love the ocean, river cruising is our new pleasure. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
Well, this was our first River Cruise and we were excited. However we were a little put back when 2 days before we left we were told the first part of the trip was out due to high river levels. So we stayed moored at Lyon for 3 days. We ... Read More
Well, this was our first River Cruise and we were excited. However we were a little put back when 2 days before we left we were told the first part of the trip was out due to high river levels. So we stayed moored at Lyon for 3 days. We had just 2 days cruising and another 2 moored in Avignon. The sun deck was closed the entire time we cruised and the bar was very limited in wine choice until they re-stocked after 3 days. No complaints about the crew. They tried hard and the food was ok as were the tours, although they involved much longer bus drives than planned due to the changed locations. We wanted a cruise , we could have stayed in hotels anywhere with bigger rooms and more amenities at a much lower cost. Beware the Portraits of Southern France because the boats are really too big for these rivers and this will continue to occur regularly in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
We recently had a wonderful holiday with AMA Waterways on their Provence and Spain itinerary. This was our second river cruise in just over a year and we are hooked! The trip started with a 3-night stay at the conveniently located Pullman ... Read More
We recently had a wonderful holiday with AMA Waterways on their Provence and Spain itinerary. This was our second river cruise in just over a year and we are hooked! The trip started with a 3-night stay at the conveniently located Pullman Montparnasse in Paris. This hotel was very busy as it catered to tour groups so the downside was line-ups and not such great service for breakfast but, apart from the very awkward to access bathtub, the room was well-appointed and we had a great view of Paris. Save on expensive taxi fares by taking the Air France shuttle bus from the airport. It only cost 16 Euros and stops at the Gare de Lyon and Gare Montparnasse right opposite the hotel. Our charming, efficient and excellent Tour Director, Abel, met us at the hotel and stayed with us throughout our entire trip. He did a wonderful job and we were sad to say goodbye to him. We boarded the cruise in Lyon after an efficient TGV high-speed train ride from Paris (lovely train but smelly washrooms). We were impressed with the ship. It has a very welcoming feel to it and we soon made ourselves at home. The public areas were well designed and very conducive to meeting fellow cruisers. The food was delicious with plenty of variety and the service throughout the ship was exemplary. Wine and beer were included both at lunch and dinner. The in-house entertainment was a bit weak with a pianist who played "elevator music" where everything pretty well sounded the same. He was very nice and friendly but didn't play anything we could dance to. He rarely sang. Some of the guest entertainers were better. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire itinerary. We loved Lyon-such an interesting city with so much to do. The included excursions offered a wide variety of things to see with some ports offering several options. We particularly enjoyed visiting the hilltop villages of Oignt in the Beaujolais region, pretty Grignan and the picturesque Les Baux-de-Provence. We also loved just being able to wander around the towns where we were docked. We were busy all the time but it was still relaxing and we had plenty of time to explore on our own. With the odd exception, the tour guides were excellent. Our cruise finished in Arles in the South of France but we were then taken by coach to Barcelona for three nights. This was an enjoyable journey with a two-hour en route stop in the charming French town of Perpignan. In beautiful Barcelona we stayed at the lovely, modern Le Meridien Hotel located right on the bustling La Rambla-perfect location within walking distance of the Gothic District, Plaza Catalunya with its department stores, the marina area and La Boqueria market and a multitude of bars and restaurants. We loved our room with its huge walk-in rain shower and plentiful lighting including motion-sensor nightlights. Apart from the included sightseeing tour, we would recommend taking the optional tour to spectacular Montserrat with its mountain-top monastery. Again, we saved on a taxi transfer to the airport by taking the very efficient airport shuttle bus from the Plaza Catalunya. It runs every 5 minutes and only costs 5.90 Euros. On a Sunday, it only took about 20 minutes. It was within easy walking distance of our hotel. We recommend this cruise itinerary. It was well-organized, varied and allowed us to stay in two of our favourite cities and visit areas of France we had never seen.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
My husband and I heard about AMA Waterways from an acquaintance. We booked our trip on the AMADagio .The trip was absolutely wonderful and the staff was outstanding. Our cruise director, Abel Ramos, was always there and always able to ... Read More
My husband and I heard about AMA Waterways from an acquaintance. We booked our trip on the AMADagio .The trip was absolutely wonderful and the staff was outstanding. Our cruise director, Abel Ramos, was always there and always able to answer any questions we had. AMA did a wonderful job of selecting the excursions we had and the guides were very knowledgeable in each of the areas we went to. We found our room to be very nice and fit our needs perfectly. We enjoyed the entertainment that they provided. The staff in the dining room was very pleasant and tried to accommodate any dietary needs that you wanted. As for the staff, I had a sleep machine with me and the young lady taking care of our room knew to bring in distilled water. We can't wait to go on another trip with AMA!!!!! It was fantastic. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Viking, well yes, they have great advertisements, and gorgeous photos of the new 'longboats', however here are the facts. 1). They must have your whole entire cruise fee payable immediately payable upon booking. 2). Watch out, ... Read More
Viking, well yes, they have great advertisements, and gorgeous photos of the new 'longboats', however here are the facts. 1). They must have your whole entire cruise fee payable immediately payable upon booking. 2). Watch out, depending upon where your cruise goes, look at the following : River swelling, lock strikes, time of year for river swelling ( and/or depleting) etc. ALL of those affect your cruise. 3). Speaking of which: those nice photos of your upper deck cruising through those lovely rivers, ahem, on our 8 day cruise recently, only ONE DAY was the upper deck open. Check it out people , Viking is misrepresenting their cruises, letting you think you can sit 'above the ship ' and watch the scenery, when in fact, on our last 2 Viking cruises,the UPPER DECK WAS 'CLOSED'. Yes, that means, NO nice viewing, cruising scenery like they show in their advertisements. And, if there are ANY swollen river delays, that can happen, well, guess what, you are put onto a ghastly bus , no fun, and bussed to the next destination, Our advise is: CAREFULLY CHECK, where are you going on your river cruise, what time of year, what are the rivers like ( heavy rains affect river cruise travel, people !!!), that means your boat STOPS until the river cooperates. I'd like to say that Viking is great, however I think they treat passengers like us ( active adult ) like children. I.e: not telling us "what is happening & when ". This , in my opinion , is their most serious flaw. For an example, our cruise was supposed to start in Chalon, France. So, we purchased the 3-day pre cruise Paris stay. Then, they told us at the Paris hotel, that instead of traveling to Chalon that we now would be bussed to Lyon,, due to ( take note : River swelling !). Okay. We were told 4 hours bus ride. We got on the bus and the lady told us 9-10 hour bus ride. ******VIKING: NOT OKAY! ***** We are not children ! and many people were upset by this. We could have just calmly had a quiet bus ride to Lyon, but no, a talkative ( microphone) lady kept us awake the whole time. And, because English was her second language, every 2nd word was ' uh uh uh ' .....it was PAINFUL. We finally arrived in Lyon missed 3 days of our cruise, people : watch out, that means Viking is dependent on RIVER WATER LEVELS!!!! They do not tell you this as you are sending them your full deposit amount $$$.... In addition, if Viking had told us that the bus ride was 9-10 hours, we would have taken the train(3+hours) and with no loud , bad, tour guide microphoning us for the whole way. On a positive note: the crew of the Viking Heimdal was superb. We do think, however, that the Viking Heimdal crew was very hard working and maybe overworked ? It seemed to us that they did not have enough crew members for that was required. The staff worked incredibly hard , many hours every day and night, however, we, as cruise guests, think they could use more staff. It almost seemed like they had a skeleton crew, just making due, until more staff could come aboard. Kudos to Kornelia, awesome hard work. Our suggestion is: check out Viking, but first, check out when , time of year, are you going, and what other river cruise line does the same itinerary, because , we saw river cruise boats that had their upper deck open while ours on Viking , was closed. Big thing as you are cruising European rivers ! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Having traveled with Viking before, our expectations were high. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. Part of the problem was that we did not do enough homework ahead of time. We chose the worst time of year ( due to work schedules) and did ... Read More
Having traveled with Viking before, our expectations were high. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. Part of the problem was that we did not do enough homework ahead of time. We chose the worst time of year ( due to work schedules) and did not realize how much of the cruise would be spent on a bus. Viking hides the fact that for many of the excursions you will have to ride a crowded, uncomfortable bus. There was no scenic views along the highways. We also spent much of the time waiting for the very slow walkers to catch up to the group. Viking does offer a "leisure" group for those passengers but most insisted on signing up for the regular groups ensuring that all of us would forgo the opportunity for free time. Toward the end of the trip, we gave up and just went on our own. This meant we missed out on a few attractions that we could only get into as part of the group tour. Another problem was the weather. We had several days of rain. The boat could not make it under some bridges, therefore we boarded in Lyon and sat docked in the industrial part of tow by an "American style mall" for 3 days. We were told this is a frequent problem. There was no suitable plan B. We were loaded on to busses every day and rode for hours to the town's we were scheduled to visit. There were some good things_ staff was friendly and pleasant, food was good, rooms were small but nice. Our previous trip with Viking was much better. Read Less

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