58 Lyon Senior Cruise Reviews

Our cruise on the Delling down the Rhone from Lyon to Avignon had many excellent features (like service, food, and accommodations on the ship) but also some disappointments. There were about 185 passengers; any more would have been too ... Read More
Our cruise on the Delling down the Rhone from Lyon to Avignon had many excellent features (like service, food, and accommodations on the ship) but also some disappointments. There were about 185 passengers; any more would have been too many for us. The first thing to be said about it is that there was very little cruising and a lot of walking and bus-riding. In retrospect, we suppose this was to be expected since the distance is only about 150 miles. During shore excursions, one sees some very nice aspects of this region in France, especially Roman ruins, wineries, a canyon, and farms. But during the few hours we were actually cruising during daylight, we weren’t passing the beautiful castles one sees in the ads, but rather a lot of factories, nuclear power plants, etc. As senior citizens, one of us having had recent knee surgery, we were pleased about the “leisure” and “easy” tour offerings. Still, there was a lot of walking. Our cruising was further limited by an accident involving another boat that closed down the river for many hours, so we were bused to Arles rather than sailing there on the Viking Delling. We also spent a lot of time in locks: the first time was technically interesting, but later times were boring. Further detracting from use of our veranda were the frequent times that we looked out onto another vessel a few feet away, tied up to ours, rather than looking out to the river. We heard that Budapest to Amsterdam cruising was much better. On the positive side, our large stateroom (with adjoining living room) was excellent as a generally docked, small hotel room. There were many modern, attractive features and the bathroom was superior. The service was generally excellent. We were brought champagne, fresh fruits, flowers, and wine. The meal service was excellent almost all the time, whether picking items up from the buffet or ordering them from the menu (the chef was German; he did superbly on French cuisine and less so on occasional German cuisine). The only exception was sub-standard orange juice; why don’t they offer fresh-squeezed? The expedition leader, Mia, was exceptional with a marvelous sense of humor; she should be offered a big raise. The waiters were generally very good, only occasionally serving items to the wrong person. Most of the tour guides were very informative and professional; the buses were Mercedes-Benz. Entertainment in the lounge was high quality, including a fine talk about the French Resistance during WW II. So the Delling as a fine hotel was distinctly superior to our other decent first Viking experience on the Yangtze River in China. We signed up for three optional excursions at extra cost. One was excellent, despite the long bus ride: Beaujolais and Truffles, which visited a winery in a castle, a truffle farm featuring a delightful dog, and a goat cheese farm. However another excursion, said to be one of the most popular offerings, was poor: on the Chateauneuf-du-Pape tour, we were left standing for a long while in an uninteresting town square while the guide was gone…and then taken to a new winery with no place to sit as we stood listening to long lectures in French that were briefly summarized by our guide in English. The included tour in Vienne failed to go near the most important ruin in the town, the huge Roman amphitheater. We walked to it on our own and found out why: The view from the base is deliberately blocked by opaque screening, which has the evident purpose of forcing you to pay to enter a small venue from which you can glimpse the amphitheater through dirty, foggy windows. One negative feature of the included excursions is a feature of France: few and terrible toilets. Often you either have to pay (at a turnstile or by buying coffee in a café) or instead use what the guides pejoratively called “Turkish toilets,” which were holes in the ground. The buses had mini-toilets in compartments that were too small for large adults. We were glad that we didn’t purchase the expensive Silver Spirits beverage package. Given all the free alcohol otherwise available (e.g. during ship-wide cocktail parties) and the wine freely available during lunches and dinners, we wouldn’t have come close to getting our money’s worth. Our stateroom had two fancy screens, but they were inadequately managed. They showed us the weather forecast in Arles when we were in Avignon, and the forecast for Avignon when we were visiting Arles. And the forecast was totally turned off for the 24 hours preceding the day it would have been most useful: the day we departed the ship. We were also unhappy about the failure of a promise on our departure: a group of about two dozen of us on a bus to the Marseille Airport were promised that we would be met by a Viking agent who would accompany us all the way to Security. We were met, but the woman left us on the sidewalk outside the terminal. Upon entering the terminal, there were no indications of what to do and she was long gone. All things considered it was a fine way to see aspects of Lyon and Provence, with luxurious comfort and meals on our usually-docked ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The dates met our needs, the itinerary was what we wanted and the value was ideal. we loved the included morning excursions and liked the fact that they had easy walking tours along with the regular paced ones. the extra not included ... Read More
The dates met our needs, the itinerary was what we wanted and the value was ideal. we loved the included morning excursions and liked the fact that they had easy walking tours along with the regular paced ones. the extra not included tours were excellent France. i thought the food at dinner was superb. the portions were just right. for lunch i felt the extra main courses were a bit large since we usually had salads and soups. we did not partake in many of the after dinner entertainment offerings. the new on and off the ship scanners seemed to work well. having the head phones and channel cards in the room made it easy to get started on all excursions. the disembarkation process was the best i have experienced. very well organized and went off without a hitch. the guides were very good and spoke excellent English. one of the best river cruises we have been on (our fourth) Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having been with emerald last year to Holland and Belgium we loved it so much we booked again, such luxury and quality. Emerald are good value for money, not cheap or too expensive. This company have very good staff all over the ship, they ... Read More
Having been with emerald last year to Holland and Belgium we loved it so much we booked again, such luxury and quality. Emerald are good value for money, not cheap or too expensive. This company have very good staff all over the ship, they can’t do enough for you, very attentive, the Liberte is a small ship, the guests are like having a big family, very friendly. The tour guides are fantastic, very knowledgeable and most are French and they speak in English. The food every day is geogeous from breakfast, lunch and dinner to afternoon tea and late night snacks. The accommodation is luxurious and comfortable, lovely beds. The tours that are included in the price are brilliant. I would not hesitate to book again for another cruise with Emerald it’s deciding exactly where to next so much choice. From home to the airport then the transfers it was effortless. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had high hopes of this cruise with previous experience of the company and fairly good reviews. The flight to Lyon was fine but had to wait nearly 30 minutes for one of our party in a wheelchair who seemed to have very little assistance ... Read More
We had high hopes of this cruise with previous experience of the company and fairly good reviews. The flight to Lyon was fine but had to wait nearly 30 minutes for one of our party in a wheelchair who seemed to have very little assistance which I was promised also but didn’t get. To get to the coach with was parked some 10 minutes walk away across roads up and down pavements hauling all your luggage was a mission for me with breathing difficulties. I was promised assistance but got none. Arrived at ship 1.5 hrs later. The M S Lord Byron is a nice ship with reasonable sized cabins and nice bathrooms. We had booked the top deck. Food was cold on Ist night and they didn’t have half of the wines available from their wine list. Said they had sold out on last trip. Didn’t bother to restock. Food improved during the week but still poor at times. Service was average due to inexperienced staff most of whom were training. Some bar staff didn’t know all the drinks and one didn’t know what soda water was. The egg station at breakfast was a joke as the chef there hadn’t a clue how to cook eggs and omelettes and when asked for a Spanish omelette the customer had to tell him how to make it. Lots of coach travel for excursions but overall they were very good. The two hosts on board for the week did very little other than enjoy themselves. Return journey to Marseille Airport was another 1.5 hrs and another hike to the Terminal with no assistance. Flight home uneventful except for a 15 minutes disembark problem at Heathrow. To sum up there were a lot of issues with service and food and drink and generally very unprofessional for is a very expensive weeks cruise. Won’t use this company again as they weren’t forthcoming with the assistance and information about travelling to and from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had a wonderful time on the AmaCello in the south of France. The ship, cuisine, crew, staff, excursions, and scenery were excellent. This was only our second river cruise, the other being with Crystal, and we found Ama to be very ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the AmaCello in the south of France. The ship, cuisine, crew, staff, excursions, and scenery were excellent. This was only our second river cruise, the other being with Crystal, and we found Ama to be very good, with the Crystal cruise being better in most every way, but of course, at a higher price point. This Ama cruise was just a notch below Crystal, but a better value, and every element was fantastic, so you can't go wrong with Ama. SHIP: I had read that the AmaCello was older, but there were no signs of that at all. It was clean, modern, classy, spacious, functional, well laid out, very nice. River cruise rooms are smaller than ocean ships, and these were smaller than Crystal's, but again, at a lower cost. I am 6'-8"/203cm, so I could not stand up in half the ship, especially the shower (which was tiny), but I was expecting that and an average or tall person will have no problems. Everything on board was comfortable and luxurious. There wasn't a big screen TV in the cabin, but there was a Mac computer that doubled as a screen, so that was a win/win. A little small, but we actually watched a couple of on-demand movies and it was fine. Bed & linens were comfy, french balcony was nice- good to be able to open it from floor to ceiling and sit there admiring the view and breeze while cruising the waterways. The fitness room was adequate and it even had a sauna that my wife used a number of times. There were a few cardio machines and just a few free weights. The heaviest weight was so light I had to put two dumbbells in each hand to get a sufficient weight workout, but I did it. There was a spa for massages, but we never got one. CUISINE: All the meals were top notch and wonderfully presented by the hard working and friendly staff. River ships have smaller galleys and staff than ocean ships so there is a more limited selection of what they can do, so the cuisine lacks the wow factor of ocean ships, but everything was gourmet and delicious. Compared to Crystal, which has a larger galley and more staff on their river ships, Crystal was a significant notch better, but Ama's food was wonderful and we were very pleased with every meal, drink, and snack. Crystal offers more sugar-free and gluten-free options, however. ama was very accommodating with my wife's food allergies. STAFF: The AmaCello staff were wonderful, friendly, delightful, and helpful in every way. Compared to Crystal, which has a much higher staff to customer ratio, I sensed that everyone was spread more thinly and had to work harder, but they did that all with aplomb. Where Ama exceeded Crystal was with their marvelous cruise director Cesario Santos who was with the group in the hotel in Paris before the cruise, took us on the train to Lyon, then on the ship, and then traveled with the guests on the train to Barcelona for the extra days after the cruise. This was a very nice touch that other cruise lines do not offer and it was very welcome. Cesario worked day and night, hammering out details, serving the customer, he was truly excellent and made me want to travel with Ama again. I had even left my coat in the hotel in Paris and Cesario immediately had it shipped to our next stop for me. Truly excellent service. CAPTAIN/PILOT: Our captain or his pilot did manage to bang the ship into a few pilings or river locks on the trip, in fact, they smashed into someone's room breaking the window and denting the whole french balcony. That couple had to be moved down to a below water level room. I think the captain got removed from the ship at the end of the cruise judging from his farewell speech. No one was hurt and the cruise was not impeded, and everyone was amused by it except the displaced couple. ENTERTAINMENT: There's not much entertainment on a river cruise due to space and staff issues, and that's fine. Compared to an ocean cruise where there is so much it can be exhausting, the river cruise model is more laid back. The AmaCello had nice pianists and DJs and such, and some musical guests, all who were good. EXCURSIONS: From the trip from Paris to the ship and all the excursions during the week (all the cruise excursions were included in the price), every one was fantastic, seamlessly integrated with the ship, informative, interesting, luxurious, really great. The Rhone Valley and Provence are simply beautiful, and the cities and towns are wonderful. They would be even more spectacular in the summer when the lavender blooms, but everything was so picturesque, we were delighted. The village of Grignan is a must-see, simply the most picturesque village I can remember anywhere. The Papal Palace in Avignon is well worth it, and the Carrières de Lumières show in Arles in an underground rock quarry is an amazing and mesmerizing experience that you shouldn't miss. If you continue on to Barcelona, the Basílica de la Sagrada Família is one of the most spectacular sights in all the world and is a must-see. So, we would highly recommend the AmaCello. Everything was top notch without breaking the bank. A highly enjoyable, luxurious vacation with all the details taken care of by a superb staff. We will definitely go on another Ama cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Ship was great. Crew was outstanding.Everthing. With a smile. Gabriela our cabin stewardess was particularly attentive and went the extra mile to make our accommodations clean and beautiful.The captain was very helpful with explaining the ... Read More
Ship was great. Crew was outstanding.Everthing. With a smile. Gabriela our cabin stewardess was particularly attentive and went the extra mile to make our accommodations clean and beautiful.The captain was very helpful with explaining the operational functions of piloting the ship. Jana was very organized and efficient,and enthusiastic.We also enjoyed our waiters especially Sasa. We appreciated the variety in all the meals served ,Many of the choices were well prepared and beautifully presented. The evening with the local chef was a lovely surprise. And he even signed the menus for us! We thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed the daily tours with the knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides we appreciated the special events such as the wine tasting and the cheese tastings. It was great having entertainment each evening. Enjoyed the option of watching movies. We liked the option of having bike rides. Also appreciated the Pool. We enjoyed most of the wines but thought the house wines available from the bar could have been more varied. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Although veteran ocean cruisers, we'd never tried river cruising until August 2017, when we sailed with Emerald Waterways on the Douro in Portugal. Reader, we loved it! Measured against our vague criteria of Ambience (the ship and its ... Read More
Although veteran ocean cruisers, we'd never tried river cruising until August 2017, when we sailed with Emerald Waterways on the Douro in Portugal. Reader, we loved it! Measured against our vague criteria of Ambience (the ship and its facilities, the river, its scenery and towns), Service (the crew's friendliness, helpfulness and professionalism) and Food (quality, variety, flavour, novelty), everything was absolutely excellent. Especially the food: great news, since it's a major focus of every holiday we take. Portugese chef Nuno Gomes was an absolute star, turning out delightful delicacies, dish after dish. Not only talented, but also enthusiastic and proud of what he created, Nuno was to be seen running the egg station each morning at breakfast, and at lunch explaining the regional dishes which he'd that day prepared. He was a highly-competent professional, and he absolutely made our holiday. And so we returned to Emerald in October 2018, this time on the Rhône in France (from Lyon to Arles). Well, the Ambience was again excellent, and so indeed was the Service (everyone from Captain Dario on down was lovely); we've nothing negative to say about either. Which brings us to the Food. The Food was, well, OK. It wasn't poor, it wasn't unpleasant, the ingredients were excellent... it just wasn't as well-prepared as we'd hoped for. Chef Teodor (much younger than Nuno) seemed to be just going though the motions; there was no passion in his food. Favours were indistinct or muddy, corners were cut (eg 'glazed carrots' were plain boiled, fruit wasn't fully peeled) and, boy, were potatoes over-used! Every soup was potato soup; the 'fresh carrot' soup had added hints of carrot, the 'fresh fennel' soup had only added aniseeds, and the 'fresh cauliflower' soup had been shown a photograph of a cauliflower. Even a 'Quiche Lorraine' (classically eggs, cream and bacon, plus optional cheese) was padded with potato; sheesh! And if you're dishing up a succession of bland wispy gelatine-set savoury mousses, please don't try to dignify them as 'parfaits', or 'pates', or 'terrines'. So, meal after meal, we were left thinking: with a little more care and imagination, that could have been so much nicer. (The star of every lunch and dinner was waiter/sommelier Sasa, whose insightful comments on the wines he was serving were very much appreciated.) In summary, the cruise was a bit disappointing -- for us -- only because of the cookery. On the other hand, most of the other passengers seemed perfectly happy, so maybe you shouldn't pay too much attention to these remarks... unless food means as much to you as it does to us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I chose Viking because of the 2-room veranda suite. I compared the suites from all other river cruise lines and Viking had everything I wanted: my own personal veranda, spacious rooms, wonderful shower. It was my first river cruise and I ... Read More
I chose Viking because of the 2-room veranda suite. I compared the suites from all other river cruise lines and Viking had everything I wanted: my own personal veranda, spacious rooms, wonderful shower. It was my first river cruise and I enjoyed everything that Viking could provide. It was my first trip to France so I didn't know what to expect in terms of the river vistas, which were a bit underwhelming, and I was taken aback by the nuclear reactors along the river. But that is just a fact of life in France--nothing that Viking can control. The amenities on board were superb--food, drink, service and entertainment. I don't drink anything alcoholic, but my husband assured me that all the complementary and optional wine choices were first rate. All the food choices were marvelous. I normally avoid sweets, but the desserts could not be resisted. Merci beaucoup Viking Buri. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Our cruise was the Sensations of Southern France from Evergreen Waterways. The ship was beautiful and immaculate, the staff outstanding, we had wonderful food and amazing wines. We were warmly welcomed and given full explanations of how ... Read More
Our cruise was the Sensations of Southern France from Evergreen Waterways. The ship was beautiful and immaculate, the staff outstanding, we had wonderful food and amazing wines. We were warmly welcomed and given full explanations of how everything would be done. It seemed nothing was too much trouble. We received a comprehensive information sheet every evening about the next day's destination and what activities would be available. Guided walking tours were flexible with faster and slower groups to help suit those less mobile like myself. Lots of information about places, people, culture and architecture was given by the local guides. The food was top quality with lots of variety and more than anyone could eat. A guest celebrity chef came aboard to cook local dishes one night, but frankly the regular shipboard cuisine eclipsed his dishes. Local produce and wines were the focus of the menus. As we docked in Tournon we saw world-famous vineyards of M Chapoutier and Paul Jaboulet Aine on the hills above us. How exciting to realise both vineyards were represented on the wine list for lunch and dinner that day! One night the people in the cabin next door to ours turned their tv up loud then went to sleep (passed out)! The wonderful night staff went to great and ingenious lengths to solve the problem for us. Even the disembarkation and final distribution of luggage was handled smoothly and efficiently. We are literally counting the days until we can book another Emerald cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
highly recommended by others and was a part of France we wanted to get to know and the Viking experience satisfied and exceeded all expectations. the tours at all stops were well guided by folks who knew all the subject matter and ... Read More
highly recommended by others and was a part of France we wanted to get to know and the Viking experience satisfied and exceeded all expectations. the tours at all stops were well guided by folks who knew all the subject matter and sufficient time was provided to get a rich experience on each tour. would rate the staff as exceptional on this cruise and found them all extremely helpful and knowledgeable. if someone did not have an immediate answer which was rare, they soon found someone to help us out. this was a worry free adventure in the south of France for sure. highly recommend the pre and post elements in Nice and in Dijon. this was our 50th anniversary celebration cruise and found the river boats just perfect we have cruised on many large ships and will favour the viking small ships on european rivers in the future. in summary you should be proud of your product, service and staff Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Previously, we had river cruised with Viking on the Danube/Rhine 15 day holiday which we thoroughly enjoyed. Had seen the adverts for Emerald Waterways and thought we would try a shorter cruise with them. The whole booking procedure was ... Read More
Previously, we had river cruised with Viking on the Danube/Rhine 15 day holiday which we thoroughly enjoyed. Had seen the adverts for Emerald Waterways and thought we would try a shorter cruise with them. The whole booking procedure was done by telephone and could not have been easier. As we had made and paid for our reservations of a Grand Balcony Suite early we also received the Premium Drinks package. This was of little value to my wife and me as we are not "big drinkers" and would not have been worth the cost if we had had to purchase it. At the outset, the ship is as luxurious as advertised except we found our suite to be somewhat small. The staff without exception are excellent as was the food. The service provided was first class including the bar staff remembering our preferred tipples. The suite was kept spotless as was the rest of the ship. Our walking tours were interesting and as I have hip and knee problems was pleased with the pace set by the guide. The evening entertainment was as expected and we enjoyed it during the nights we were not too tired from the day's activities. We did not use the swimming pool, exercise area or ladies hairdresser etc but overall considered the cruise good value for money. So why not 5*? On arrival at Lyon airport we were met as arranged by a young man who, after checking off his list set off across a cobbled space at a pace it was almost impossible for many of us to keep up. He stopped at the station for the rest of the party to arrive and then off again to the coach. We waited over 35 minutes in the coach for a couple whom we assumed had got lost. Surely it would have been better for him to go at a pace more relating to that of the ages and obvious infirmities of many of the guest. I would single out Yana and the Captain for special mention as memorable on our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Wanted to try something different for a vacation and several friends recommended Viking River Cruises. It was all that we expected and more! Excellent cabin, food, service, excursions, etc. Our transfers between airports and the ship ... Read More
Wanted to try something different for a vacation and several friends recommended Viking River Cruises. It was all that we expected and more! Excellent cabin, food, service, excursions, etc. Our transfers between airports and the ship were excellent. Our cabin was large, comfortable, and included many amenities that we have never received on prior trips - fresh fruit and cookies every day, wine, soft drinks, and champagne in our fridge. Plenty of comfortable seating, not only in the cabin, but on the top deck, the dining room, the library, etc. The waitstaff all spoke perfect English and were extremely attentive. It was nice to be able to sit wherever and with whomever we wanted at the meals. The smaller number of travelers made it easier to get to meet almost everyone on the ship. The food was incomparable! Never had something I didn't like, and I was able to try a variety of foods that were new to me. This will definitely not be our last Viking River Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Love the south of France! Loved my previous Viking cruises on the Rhine and Danube! My husband had never visited this part of the world before. Everything was perfect: our cabin with its veranda, the food, the immaculate state of ... Read More
Love the south of France! Loved my previous Viking cruises on the Rhine and Danube! My husband had never visited this part of the world before. Everything was perfect: our cabin with its veranda, the food, the immaculate state of everything! The crew was incredible! Loved, love, loved this cruise! The itinerary was well-chosen, and the shore excursions excellent. Got to see many small towns I'd never known about! My only criticism is that I would have liked to spend more time sailing - not just lying in the port of Lyon. That is what is making us hesitant about some other cruises we're thinking of: too much time in Paris. Or Moscow/St. Petersburg or Beijing/Shanghai. The point of a river cruise s to spend time sailing on rivers, no? That said, everything was always taken care of, the planning was extraordinary. The food was always fantastic. But, I repeat - I cannot praise the wonderful crew enough! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
To experience various historical sites we were not disappointed. The food was plentiful and varied each day. The two special dinners were also a highlight. The chefs were extremely talented loved their specials. The massages were also ... Read More
To experience various historical sites we were not disappointed. The food was plentiful and varied each day. The two special dinners were also a highlight. The chefs were extremely talented loved their specials. The massages were also extremely helpful after swollen feet and ankles. Thank you to Dragon the specialist. Nicholas our tour director went above all expectations. What a character. He was very special and treated all passengers equal. Thank you Nick. We will definitely travel with a Scenic again. Each day there were about three off shore experiences to chose from, very hard to decide. We were glad we chose the truffle experience, the planes, trucks and cars museum and historical Chateau. The under the big top night circus another highlight. The Popes Palace dinner at night not to be missed, what an experience. We loved everything about this cruise. The embarkation went smoothly and the help of all the staff, including the Captains. Thank you for the memories. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We have travelled on Emerald before, on the Danube, two years ago, so this was our second river cruise. We were absolutely delighted in general with almost everything about our cruise, once again. The ship was fabulous, as expected, ... Read More
We have travelled on Emerald before, on the Danube, two years ago, so this was our second river cruise. We were absolutely delighted in general with almost everything about our cruise, once again. The ship was fabulous, as expected, since it was almost identical to the previous ship. Cabins, although small, are very well appointed and very comfortable. Embarkation and disembarkation were so easy - none of the fuss that there is on ocean cruises - but of course there were only 138 passengers. It was just as easy as booking into a lovely hotel. Similarly, during the cruise, leaving and returning to the ship was very simple and quick using the name badge scanners - it is lovely being in the centre of a town or village, at the point of disembarkation. The staff on the cruise, absolutely everyone, were fabulous - they were efficient, attentive, positive and enthusiastic - in particular the waiters were lovely, without being obsequious. The Hotel Director, Isthvan was charming. The captain was great fun- very visible, and very keen to engage with passengers throughout the cruise. He joined in several of the activities with enthusiasm. Roxana, the head receptionist was delightful too. The head of housekeeping was great fun and very enthusiastic. However, the star of the show without doubt was Darren the Cruise Director who was spectacular. He worked so hard, throughout our entire trip, but what was even better that he managed to be efficient, organised and deliver everything with charm and enthusiasm, humour and wit. He really was an absolute pleasure. The entertainments he provided were great fun, and well received. Everything ran smoothly due to his support and guidance. Every passenger I spoke to felt the same. I hope he will receive this positive feedback. The food was in general very good, and the evening with the guest chef was exceptional. I would comment that it is not really necessary to offer 4 - 5 courses each night - I am sure most people would agree that 3 courses is adequate, most of the time, although on occasion it is nice to make it extra special. The portion size however was good, so that even with the 4 courses it was not overload - however on most of the nights, my wife and I only ordered 3 courses. I must comment that on the one night I decided to order the steak, because I did not wish to eat off the main menu choices, the steak did NOT come as ordered ( medium) - I complained to the waiter, who immediately took it away, very pleasantly, and informed me that the chef was making a new one for me. The Head Chef himself came out a few minutes later with a new steak, was extremely apologetic, and wanted to check I was happy with the new one which he had personally cooked for me. It was perfect. It was a shame it happened, but it was dealt with perfectly, resolving the issue. Andreaa the restaurant manager was engaging, delightful and helpful throughout the cruise. A couple of constructive comments - we would have liked breakfast in the dining room to go on until 9.30am - we felt a 9am finish was too early, especially on the mornings when the included tours went out later. We did not personally feel it was necessary to offer a cooked lunch in addition to the buffet. We only ordered it once. Perhaps just extending the buffet to include a few extra items could negate the need for the ‘cooked’ main course. But that might just be our personal preference. We thought the breakfast chef should offer seasoning on the eggs / omelettes - rather than just suggesting adding at the table - cooking with a little salt / pepper would have been appreciated (if the request of the passenger). We loaned the ships bicycles one day for a lovely ride along the river bank - thoroughly enjoyed. The itinerary was perhaps not quite as exciting as we might have hoped in terms of some of the towns we visited. Avignon and Arles were great, and Lyon was a great city to start the trip. The highlight for us was the optional (paid) tour to Pont du Gard - the roman aqueduct. It was a sight never to be forgotten. I must comment negatively about the piano entertainer, Peter, I’m afraid. He was dreadful. I have much experience of cruise piano bar entertainers, as my son used to be one. I really have no idea how Emerald employed this man. His actual piano playing was ok, but his choice of music was pretty outdated and boring. Even taking into account the age demographic of the passengers, by any standards he was poor. Once he started singing it was even worse. As an English speaking passenger base, using a foreign singer, who really doesn’t speak English well was not a good idea. He did not ‘entertain’ - he was just ‘there’. He managed to empty the room and the dance floor throughout the cruise! In addition he made no effort to engage with the passengers at any time during the week, either when ‘working’ or when around the ship - indeed he was rarely around the ship - I suspect he stayed in his cabin most of the time. We loved the cruise, met many delightful people, and participated fully in what the ship and crew offered. It was only Peter that was the disappointment. Thanks again Emerald for offering a wonderful cruise holiday. We will definitely travel Emerald again, and will certainly recommend it. I cannot imagine what Scenic, at higher prices, can truly offer which justifies the extra price. (We might wait a couple of years until we reach the slightly higher age demographic - my wife is only 60, and I am 62 so we were at the lower end). That is a shame, but it is reality - it might be nice to consider if you could attract a slightly younger age group? Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Ship brand new and no teething troubles, you would think the crew had been on board for months the way everything went so smoothly. All the crew were efficient, cheerful and helpful, couldn't ask for more. The on board credit ... Read More
Ship brand new and no teething troubles, you would think the crew had been on board for months the way everything went so smoothly. All the crew were efficient, cheerful and helpful, couldn't ask for more. The on board credit enabled us to take an extra excursion each, drinks before and sometimes after dinner and a piece of jewellery for my wife, she doesn't know about that yet so it will be a nice surprise unless she reads this. This was our second cruise with Emerald and we have really enjoyed both, as we have with Scenic. We didn't participate in the evening entertainment but it was always well supported and people were obviously enjoying themselves. We are looking to go on another river cruise, they are much more enjoyable than Ocean Cruising, no queuing except after the port talk when everyone rushed to the dining room if you didn't it could be difficult to find a seat, a better atmosphere and much easier to get to know other passengers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Really wanted to try "Eastern Europe", but timing sent us to Southern France. Being a "skipper" when 3 or 4 passengers is more than enough really wanted to try river cruising - love the ocean but 3000 pax is about 2999 ... Read More
Really wanted to try "Eastern Europe", but timing sent us to Southern France. Being a "skipper" when 3 or 4 passengers is more than enough really wanted to try river cruising - love the ocean but 3000 pax is about 2999 too many. The whole experience was way beyond what I was expecting; I was able to say G'day to almost everyone on board (passengers and crew) and with around 200 people on board even got to know most of the names. Organising excursions must be a nightmare for the Cruise Director; we started out thinking that all was set in stone only to find out that many last minute changes were accommodated without a second thought. If the most recent cruise is the measure then I will certainly consider another Scenic cruise. (As an aside, we dined with a couple who had a similar background and has already completed over 15 cruises with Scenic; don't think I will be around long enough to meet that 'frequent cruiser' level, but it it a good recommendation.) Yes, reckon we will go on another Scenic Cruise (Antarctica beckons but need a couple more pennies in the bank). Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We had been to Paris three times, but we wanted to see Provence, and this trip provided that for us. We took a pre-cruise extension in Paris and Dijon/Beaune, which was absolutely delightful. Our tour director (Lot?) was outstanding - ... Read More
We had been to Paris three times, but we wanted to see Provence, and this trip provided that for us. We took a pre-cruise extension in Paris and Dijon/Beaune, which was absolutely delightful. Our tour director (Lot?) was outstanding - funny, knowledgeable and helpful, and we saw fantastic things. Markets and vineyards and wineries - it was magnificent. Then we boarded our ship in Lyon and had a day and a half there to explore this fabulous old city. We had a chance to buy their beautiful silks and chocolates and other goods, and visit their glorious old buikdings snd churches. The Old Town is really fun to walk and shop. The seven-day river cruise was so delightful. Each port was interesting and OLD and so much fun. Our favorites were Arles and Avignon, places we had heard of our,entire lives. I know this sounds trite, but it was just a magical itinerary. The ship itself was as lovely as all the longships - this was the second one we had been on. Our Cruise Director, a very young man from Belgium, was WONDERFUL! Hilarious and entertaining, and between him and the head of hotel, they kept everyone in stitches. We had a ball. And the food was fantastic! This was our fourth Viking river cruise. We have also gone on a Viking ocean cruise and are scheduled for another. We rave about Viking to anyone who will listen. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Something to break the period between end of Summer and beginning of Winter was the real reason for choosing this cruise - hoping to have decent weather in the South of France. It was a rather tortuous journey getting to Lyons from ... Read More
Something to break the period between end of Summer and beginning of Winter was the real reason for choosing this cruise - hoping to have decent weather in the South of France. It was a rather tortuous journey getting to Lyons from Manchester, having to leave home at 04.00hrs and then change flights at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. However, once in Lyon we were met and then transferred comfortably to the boat by coach. The reason for choosing the holiday was successful, as no rain was encountered throughout. It was also an opportunity to visit places seen before, when alone with my wife. This time the guides informed us of many details, which we were not aware of thirty years before. Our only disappointment was there was no opportunity to use our knowledge of the French language because all the staff were from central Europe !!! Having said that, they all spoke perfect English and were excellent at their jobs, so no real complaint. While on board we accepted the 'All In Drinks Package' which provided an opportunity to sample various different cocktails - not something usually done while at home. Neither of us drink beer or spirits, but we did also enjoy the various wines provided. Sun bathing on the top deck several afternoons was an added bonus and to be able to practice my putting, something never to be experienced again ! The swimming pool was quite small, but to be expected, so I only tried once. It was thoughtful that a bar is provided in this area. When in Avignon we decided to miss the lunch on board and visited a local restaurant, in order to enjoy the typical French ambience, with a dish of Esgargots de Bourgoyne and other delights. The food on the boat was better ! This was a most enjoyable holiday, with everything top class. Maybe we will try another river cruise sometime in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The only thing you have to think about is what you want to eat. The staff does everything for you that needs to be done. Excellent chefs. Food is so good. Wine selections are superb. Just they need to have more easer shore excursions ... Read More
The only thing you have to think about is what you want to eat. The staff does everything for you that needs to be done. Excellent chefs. Food is so good. Wine selections are superb. Just they need to have more easer shore excursions for elderly or handicapped passengers. Otherwise everything else is just perfect. Disembarkation and embarkation is very smoothly run. Cabins are small but you will not be staying in the cabins that long. Children would not like to cruise on a riverboat because there in not much for children to do.. This was my 4th river boat cruise and I would definitely go again. This time I sailed to France, France is not as pretty as other countries like Austria, Germany and Hungary. Since we stayed in Lyon for 2 days, I explored that city the next day. Lyon is the city that I had to embark on. Read Less
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
Sail Date August 2017
My daughter, mother and I just returned from cruising on the AMACello last week and wanted to commend AMA on an overall fabulous experience. This was a wine cruise and we found the Cave B Estate Winery representatives, Freddy and Carrie, ... Read More
My daughter, mother and I just returned from cruising on the AMACello last week and wanted to commend AMA on an overall fabulous experience. This was a wine cruise and we found the Cave B Estate Winery representatives, Freddy and Carrie, to be extremely knowledgeable and we enjoyed the lectures and tastings. Also, a French sommelier came onboard and they compared and contrasted French wines with American wines. One night they even paired each meal course with a specific wine. My daughter and I were on the Violin deck, while my mother was on the Piano deck, and both of our cabins were kept immaculate. We felt the food was excellent with multi-course meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sorin, the dining room maitre d', brought our table our own large piece of walnut cheese that was not displayed on the cheese plate at the time, but we had previously had it and enjoyed it so much we wanted more. The ice cream party was lots of fun as well. The variety as well as the quality of the tours offered was excellent. AMA arranged for local guides and they were outstanding. We were provided with multiple choices of tours each day with different difficulty levels that catered to the passengers' personal activity levels. My daughter and I biked alongside the river and through several smaller towns in Vienne and loved it. We would have enjoyed biking more often, but if you choose to bike, you will not experience as much of the city, and if it's a city you haven't visited before, I would recommend the walking tour over biking. In addition, we loved visiting an olive farm, truffle farm complete with lavender fields, a wine and chocolate tasting at a chateau, the Valrhona Chocolate Factory, and the hike through the Chapoutier vineyards with gorgeous views. The cruise director, Andre, was particularly outstanding - he literally stopped what he was doing and went over in detail the entire itinerary to help us make choices for tours. Throughout the cruise I saw different times where he demonstrated an infinite amount of patience with passengers. He also helped arrange a transfer to Marseilles Airport at a MUCH more reasonable rate than we had previously set up. Captain Tony was a lot of fun and even gave us a tour of the wheelhouse! Marchetta, our hotel manager oversaw every detail and was always available and friendly. A special shout-out to our dining room wait staff, Damir and Julian, who treated us like three princesses. The only area we felt could be improved upon was upgrading the fitness equipment. I look forward to cruising with AMA again in the near future - next time I'm bringing my husband!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was out first river cruise, after several ocean cruises previously (Seabourn, HAL, Celebrity, Cunard). We selected this particular cruise because it synched up with business travel and included Avignon as a port of call. Talk about ... Read More
This was out first river cruise, after several ocean cruises previously (Seabourn, HAL, Celebrity, Cunard). We selected this particular cruise because it synched up with business travel and included Avignon as a port of call. Talk about hot! 95+ every day and when we embarked, the AC was not working. Once repaired, our cabin remained comfortable. However, whenever the Lounge and Dining room were occupied for group events (read dinner), the AC could not keep up and the room became very uncomfortable. With less heat, this would not be a problem. The boat is in excellent shape and very pleasing to the eye. The crew was exceptional. The excursions (included and optional) were extremely well organized and the fellow passengers were nearly always on time (if that were always the case....). We had one technical issue with a steam train excursion (train ahead of us had engine troubles and our train was delayed, no fault of Viking) and the Viking team brought in the coaches and returned us to the boat on time. Well done Viking! The food was good, not exceptional. The dining service was well above average and the staff friendly. The public spaces were constrained by the limitations of a river boat, so if you want public space variety, stick with ocean cruising. The on board entertainer was average at best, with one act brought on board below average and another exceptional. The cabin is as you would expect, tight on a river boat. The bathroom was also small by ocean cruise standards, but well laid out and very functional. If you set your expectations correctly, you will be very pleased. At age 60, we were perhaps the youngest on board except for a family group with 20 somethings included. Many of the fellow travels were spry, but several were not. The energy level was low based on this demographic and is the only reason we would not hurry back to Viking River Cruising. We will likely return once our energy level matches the demographic served. River cruising is nice (in cooler weather) and perfect for many. It does not match our current style. Perhaps in a decade we will return to the rivers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Our first river cruise met fully our expectations from arrival in Lyon to disembarkation in Arles. The Emerald Liberte is built to faultless standard, beautifully designed and fitted out The circulation and reception areas, Dining room, ... Read More
Our first river cruise met fully our expectations from arrival in Lyon to disembarkation in Arles. The Emerald Liberte is built to faultless standard, beautifully designed and fitted out The circulation and reception areas, Dining room, Lounge & Bar were spacious, daylighted and mirrored to advantage. Furnishings tasteful and comfortably accommodated all on board. The spacious open deck gave uninterrupted viewing and semi- shaded areas for those who wished a little protection from the sun. The Spa facilities, small pool (opening roof) cum evening cinema and refreshment bar gave options for those seeking a little TLC. The hotel catering and domestic service team were well organised, motivated and attentive to all travellers and it is doubtful if better could be found anywhere The smallest request for attention was promptly and cheerfully actioned. Entertainment although limited was varied,enjoyable and appropriate for the numbers on board. The daily included morning shore excursions were interesting and the selected guides were informative and interesting. Additional tours in the afternoons were available. The dining experience could not be faulted and the menu choice and wines selection provided good range of personal choice. Would we cruise again ? No plans at this time but Emerald would certainly be first choice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Had a lovely time on this new boat (ours was 4th cruise of the boat. The staff were great and the service as well. Food was excellent and the free wines with the meals also very good. Nice coffee available from a bean-to-cup machine - ... Read More
Had a lovely time on this new boat (ours was 4th cruise of the boat. The staff were great and the service as well. Food was excellent and the free wines with the meals also very good. Nice coffee available from a bean-to-cup machine - though only the one machine between 138 passengers. Entertainment was mainly one musician who played the piano/keyboards. There was one act brought on for one night who were not particularly good and there was a good crew show. On a couple of nights they showed a film in the pool area. Excursions were interesting and easy to follow with individual receivers to hear the guide's commentary - which were clear and easy to use. An otherwise very enjoyable cruise was marred by an organisational gaff - they did not recognise that the lock staff did not work on the MayDay holiday until the week prior to the cruise - despite their sister company (Scenic) operating the same itinerary. As a result, the boat went no further north than Macon and didn't get to Chalon-sur-Soane. It also meant that the trip to Beaune was curtailed as we had to be bussed from Macon rather than Chalon. Emerald said they had emailed the change but passengers didn't receive the email. Emerald hide behind their T&C's which state they can change the itinerary for whatever reason without any compensation. The transfer to the airport at the end of the cruise was made 2 hours earlier than necessary to avoid giving us food at lunchtime. We were dumped out of the coach, about 300 metres from the terminal without directions in the middle of heavy rain - two hours before check-in opened - not impressed. As a result I will not be using Emerald again which is a shame as the boat and staff were great. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017

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