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167 Viking River Lyon Cruise Reviews

We were happy to start the second part of our trip in Chalon sur Saône on the beautiful Delling. The ship was new and beautiful and our room even in the less expensive category was beautiful and comfortable. The staff, led by Mia ... Read More
We were happy to start the second part of our trip in Chalon sur Saône on the beautiful Delling. The ship was new and beautiful and our room even in the less expensive category was beautiful and comfortable. The staff, led by Mia (excellent cruise director) and Eve (excellent hotel manager) was super. They treated us as if they were our hosts to a wonderful journey that lasted all week. It was everything a cruise should be and more! Always the unexpected surprise was waiting for us, we were spoiled all around. Chalon sur Saône is not a picturesque port but it permitted us to go to Beaune on the first day which was relatively close. There we visited a wonderful old hospital from the Middle Ages, it was exceptional. We also went to a wine tasting event and drove across the wineries in the region with a few short stops. We also had an hour to spend in beautiful Beaune, a lot of nice stores especially for foodies. Next day was in Lyon, I had no idea what to expect but it really was one of the highlights of the trip. The Fourvière Basilica was breautiful as were the roman ruins nearby. Both sides of the Saône river offered a lot of visiting options and after the tour we took advantage of the free shuttle from port. The following day we were in Vienne, a small town with a few ro9man ruins and a church on top of Mount Pipet that we reach in a small tourist train. It was not the nicest town but our guide was so enthusiastic that she made it interesting. After cruising another few hours we arrived in Tournon. In Tournon there was not much but a bus took us to a winery in Tain l'Hermitage across the Rhône river. There we visited another winery, a chocolate factory and store and a small art museum of the paintings of Pierre Palué. His daughther was there and was very interesting. That night we stopped in Viviers, it was after dark and with a guide we took a night walk across the village to the top of the mountain,. it was eerie and special. All the houses seemed dark because of their shutters ! We finally got to Avignon, the first day we were bussed to Arles but by then I had had enough of roman ruins and I preferred going back to Avignon that afternoon. We went to the Avignon bridge and the Dom's gardens next to the Popes 'Palace ( beautiful views). The next day we had a guide tour of the Palace as well as the town which is beautiful and full of interesting spots, nice shopping also. After lunch we crossed the bridge to Villeneuve sur Avignon and climbed the Tower of Philippe Le Bel and had a wonderful view of Avignon and the surroundings. It was a wonderful cruise and the crew made it more special. The pianist in the lounge was wonderful and always playing! The only suggestion is that half of the guest did the Normandy cruise the week before and a lot of the ship activities and meals were repetitious. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Excellent trip from start to finish. We had cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest with Uniworld in 2012 and while the Rhone is not as scenic as the Rhine or the Danube, the towns and villages we visited were very interesting. We were met at ... Read More
Excellent trip from start to finish. We had cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest with Uniworld in 2012 and while the Rhone is not as scenic as the Rhine or the Danube, the towns and villages we visited were very interesting. We were met at Lyon by the Viking rep and escorted to our bus for our trip to the Hermod. Doris, the hotel manager escorted us to our cabin and explained the features of the explorer suite. We enjoyed all the included trips and took two optional tours to Les Baux and the Pont du Gard aqueduct. Every one of the guides was friendly and knowledgeable. All the ships officers addressed us at one time or another but the cruise director, Nickolus, was outstanding. I saw him on every tour we were on and his nightly briefings were filled with information and humor. The food was excellent and the chef would give his recommendations for dinner at the evening briefings. We had the silver spirits package and ordered from the wine list, but the house red and white were fine with all the people I talked to. I think we came out ahead with the spirit package, but we went to the lounge every evening. The entertainment was mostly the piano player, but he did a good job. A few other local people also came on board to give lectures or demonstrations. Service was friendly and efficient throughout the ship. I was worried about our air reservations since Viking made them and we weren't allowed to modify them or request any specific airlines with the airfare deal we had but they chose the routing I would have chosen if I had made the reservations myself. Disembarkation went well but leaving the ship at 3:30 AM (for a 6:55 departure) makes for a very long day. Read Less
Sail Date August 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 July 2015
We were three couples booked on the Viking Heimdal going from Chalon to Avignon over seven days at the beginning of July. The cruise was recommended by friends, but was extremely expensive, so perhaps we were expecting great things. ... Read More
We were three couples booked on the Viking Heimdal going from Chalon to Avignon over seven days at the beginning of July. The cruise was recommended by friends, but was extremely expensive, so perhaps we were expecting great things. Extensive tv advertising also boosted our expectations. We caught a very early morning flight from Heathrow to Lyon. We had to wait a long time at Lyon because other passenger's luggage had been mislaid on the flight. Eventually we were loaded onto a second coach (the first one having long departed) for a 1 hour 45 minute ride north to Chalon. However it was 100+ degrees and no water was supplied. So several of us trooped back into the terminal to buy water for all the passengers. Eventually we arrived and were allocated our cabins. I cannot fault the friendliness of the staff. We then stayed moored in Chalon for almost two days with daily coach trips offered to see local sights. On the second night we departed back in the direction of Lyon! Each day basic coach trips were offered; some requiring very early starts. The places of interest were of very mixed quality. With one exception all of the extra cost excursions were rejected by the passengers. When we did move down river we were often removed from the top deck where we were sleeping or sun-bathing because the super-structure had to be lowered to negotiate the numerous low bridges. The food was at best average; certainly not compatible with the overall price paid. For the last three days of the cruise the air-conditioning on the boat failed. It was well over 100 degrees on each day. Eventually the captain apologised, said that all four Viking boats in the area had the same problem and it was related to the temperature of the water in the river! Essentially the design of the cooling systems could not cope with the ambient temperatures. Regardless of the exorbitant price paid we were given a recommended scale of gratuities. A quick calculation showed that if followed, the tour director would receive £2000 for her efforts. When we settled our extras bill we were asked if they could add the recommended gratuities. We declined. One week prior to boarding there was a serious terrorist attack in Lyon with loss of life. Regardless of this the security on the boat was non-existent requiring a letter to the management. On only one occasion subsequently were shore tickets collected at the head of the gangplank. On all other occasions anyone could have walked on or off of the boat and committed any kind of atrocity. We felt there was no point in complaining to Viking because the most we would be offered would be a credit on another cruise. No thank you! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Boy did we have a great time! The food was unbelievable. The chef made a real effort to ensure we were experiencing the fruits, cheeses and wines of the season and area we were travelling through. No request was too small and nothing was ... Read More
Boy did we have a great time! The food was unbelievable. The chef made a real effort to ensure we were experiencing the fruits, cheeses and wines of the season and area we were travelling through. No request was too small and nothing was overlooked. We had a silver package which meant we could imbibe with the appropriate wines and before dinner cocktails without worry of an enormous bar tab at the end. The entertainment was all good; a nice variety of music and musical programs to listen to, sing along with and dance to if the mood took. A nice size boat; so we got to know quite a few fellow travellers and were on nodding terms with the rest. Our state room was well maintained through-out the cruise and I enjoyed coming back to the room at the end of the evening to discover new towel sculptures, flowers and fresh fruit! We really enjoyed the shore excursions; just the right combination of walking, sightseeing and commentary. Once again, there was variety, steam train, vineyards, art galleries etc - a good mix - something for everyone Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was to be our fourth Viking cruise and we booked two back to back. Unfortunately, the boat was disabled before our trip, but we were already over in Europe on another Viking cruise. The Hermod was in dry dock for repair. The bad ... Read More
This was to be our fourth Viking cruise and we booked two back to back. Unfortunately, the boat was disabled before our trip, but we were already over in Europe on another Viking cruise. The Hermod was in dry dock for repair. The bad news is we had to travel by bus to the ports of call. The great news is that Viking was excellent in the hospitality during the trip and made every effort to provide us with every possible trip experience short of the river travel. Short of missing the river travel, it turned out we really enjoyed our trip with a smaller group and we were able to see all of the areas where we were scheduled to see. They put us up in great highly rated hotels and provided us with very high quality dining. We have already booked another Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This by far the best cruise we have been on. When it came time to review the experience not one of us could come up with anything that could have been better. The staff were outstanding, welcoming, helpful and always there with a smile ... Read More
This by far the best cruise we have been on. When it came time to review the experience not one of us could come up with anything that could have been better. The staff were outstanding, welcoming, helpful and always there with a smile - all credit to David, the Hotel Manager. The food was awesome, varied and full of flavour - not one average meal for the whole trip, they were all 5 star! The boat was always pristine and extremely well presented at all times. Anyone thinking of a river cruise would be well advised to put this cruise line on the top of their list. WELL DONE VIKING! and thank you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We booked our family river cruise through Viking and it started to unravel from day one. The cruise was due to depart from Chalon-sur-Saone, I suspected something was wrong when the taxi driver and hotel receptionist (all locals) said ... Read More
We booked our family river cruise through Viking and it started to unravel from day one. The cruise was due to depart from Chalon-sur-Saone, I suspected something was wrong when the taxi driver and hotel receptionist (all locals) said Viking have trouble starting from this port at this time of the year as the river is high and they expected we would be bussed to Lyon (where I had paid the day before EUR 250 to transfer from), they were right. After a monty-python type transfer back to Lyon arranged by Viking that at one stage had a group of passengers standing with bags in some far flung Lyon tennis club we were eventually transferred to the boat after close to 3 hours in a bus. We were stuck on the boat in Lyon for around 3.5 days staring at a graffiti decorated dock with teenagers urinating around us on what turned out to be a concert site over a bank holiday weekend. The rest of the Lyon experience was one of a bus vacationers dream (not a river cruise). Some five hours total time on a bus to visit Beaune for instance. The crew point to disclaimers in the ticket, however, given that high water on the Rhone is usual for this time of year the cruise line could have foreseen this, interestingly they have taken Chalon-sur-Saone out of their 2016 destination list. On day 6 we were due to sail to Tarascon for a visit to Arles, this did not happen so another port struck from the experience. We missed out on this port because of "too many vessels in the port"!!!!, so back on the bus for more shuttle misery. The staff on board worked hard and tried to make up for the shortfalls and I have no quarrel with them. The boat is just fine as a vessel. The cruise company did not plan an itinerary that they could reasonably deliver against and they don't seem to care about throwing their guests on miserable long bus rides to make up. I will look into my Australian consumer rights to see what can be done to claim. One last delightful point, we booked a suite to use the well-advertised balcony and look out over the river. As we are tied up in Avignon all I can see is into the bedroom of another Viking ship tied up alongside, I hope they enjoy the view of the river I paid for. I flew my family from Australia for this experience, I advise other travellers to be very careful of this company and avoid this particular cruise like the plague (unless you like bus holidays). Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We also had a disappointing trip on the Southern France Cruise. We stayed in lyon from Wed to Sunday and then the boat went to Avignon. We were bussed around every day instead of cruising down the river as the water levels were too high. ... Read More
We also had a disappointing trip on the Southern France Cruise. We stayed in lyon from Wed to Sunday and then the boat went to Avignon. We were bussed around every day instead of cruising down the river as the water levels were too high. Viking knew this but took our money $8,400.00 which we paid $1,000.00 for a balcony, which we did not use and found out that a ship is parked next to you the whole time we were docked. They give you a little book just before you go and it has all this covered in small print, after you have paid for your trip. What an expensive lesson learned. Viking sent a letter which has the Customer Service Manager name and number, when you call, she does not take calls, what a joke for Customer Service, the rep told us all they would do is 15% off a future cruise, good only for l year. She also said very snarky comment that is you go to Hawaii and it rains all week you do not get your money back, not the same. Very expensive lesson learned about this cruising down the rivers, I was also told that sometimes the river levels are too low. Be Warned. 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 May 2015
I was extremely disappointed with the Viking River Cruise from which I just returned. The river was too high so we couldn't leave the port. The way the situation was handled left much room for improvement. It was obvious that the ... Read More
I was extremely disappointed with the Viking River Cruise from which I just returned. The river was too high so we couldn't leave the port. The way the situation was handled left much room for improvement. It was obvious that the director was given very little authority as to what to do in such a situation. The passengers were extremely angry and given little opportunity to get questions answered. The front desk was not knowledgable of the area and could give very little information. The food was the worst food I have ever had on a cruise ship, and as for entertainment--there was very little. All in all I will not be taking another Viking Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We were aboard the Portraits of Southern France cruise to nowhere on the flooded Rhone. Firstly, Viking are not responsible for water levels; that being so all of the staff made the very best of a bad situation. We enjoyed comfortable, ... Read More
We were aboard the Portraits of Southern France cruise to nowhere on the flooded Rhone. Firstly, Viking are not responsible for water levels; that being so all of the staff made the very best of a bad situation. We enjoyed comfortable, well organised, coach trips to Beaune, Vienne and Arles and when it became clear the river levels were not dropping (indeed the authorities closed the river) we swopped ships with the Northbound Buri. Same cabin number, same layout and even the Programme Director and Concierge transferred with us - thus providing continuity. Lunch en route to Avignon was organised (at short notice) at the beautiful four star Domaine de Clairefontaine, excellent food and service, as was the case on both ships. On our return home a letter of apology from Viking was waiting for us offering a discount on a future cruise. We will be taking up their offer as the overall service and care from Viking is truly first class and, all things considered, worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Having had a wonderful cruise on the Seine (Paris-North-Paris) we looked forward to the Portraits of Southern France. The Viking dock site in Chalon is not a beautiful but we enjoyed the walks away from the ship. We were surprised when ... Read More
Having had a wonderful cruise on the Seine (Paris-North-Paris) we looked forward to the Portraits of Southern France. The Viking dock site in Chalon is not a beautiful but we enjoyed the walks away from the ship. We were surprised when we were told that we were having to hurry along to get to Lyon because we needed to pass through the locks before May 1 closures due to May Day. Since May Day arrives annually on May 1, we were disappointed that whoever made up the schedules hadn't taken this into account. Instead our itinerary was changed to get us to Lyon quickly. Lyon is a great place to visit and we enjoyed the walking tour. The Delling is lovely. We reserve the least expensive cabin when we travel because we only sleep in it. That means we enjoy what the rest of the ship offers. We appreciate that the libraries on the French cruises stock information, fiction, non-fiction that relates to the areas through which we pass. From Lyon we went to Vienne. And that was the end of our cruise. High waters caused the river to be closed. From then on we were on a bus tour. But with a bus tour, one progresses on one's journey. We had to travel the same roads every day for longer and longer times to access the rest of the itinerary, returning to the ship each night. Boring and tedious are not words that one should have to use to describe an expensive holiday. The program staff tried its best, but they lost sleep communicating with Viking land crew about changing itinerary and new arrangements for guides and midday meals. They also had to deal with answering questions to which there were no answers. They were stressed and it showed. We hadn't expected that we would have to be supplying moral support to staff on our holiday. Luckily the problems didn't affect the dining room and the food and service continued to be good. Viking does state in the fine print that gets mailed to guests that it cannot be responsible for weather and water conditions. True. But this is not pointed out when one books the cruise, not is there any mention of possible problems. And we are still trying to figure out how the May Day mix-up came about! Anybody who travels in Europe is aware of May Day closures. Viking offered compensation: $688.88 US on each ticket. We are Canadians and the Canadian dollar is worth about 80 cents to the American dollar. This offer was good for one year. We asked that it be a cash settlement instead since our holiday plans do not include annual cruises. Request denied. We asked that the offer be extended for the same reason. Request denied. Are we being cynical if we suggest that Viking uses bad sailing experiences as a means of selling next year's cruises by offering minimal compensation as a bait to spend thousands more dollars? We are rethinking our future holiday plans. A quality bus tour is beginning to look good! Balcony Boy Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Air travel to France while tiring was without incident. The bus ride to the ship was our first view of France and was interesting. We were pleasantly surprised at the number of Roman antiquities that were part of the tour. The ... Read More
Air travel to France while tiring was without incident. The bus ride to the ship was our first view of France and was interesting. We were pleasantly surprised at the number of Roman antiquities that were part of the tour. The spring weather was beautiful and sunny all but one cloudy day. All of the tours of the old French villages were great and we could see the Alps from some locations. We were offered maps and water to take on every trip to the villages. The ship was really clean and modern and the 110 volt outlets in the room was really appreciated. The staff were always helpful and cheerful. A very well organized cruise. While there were a few menu items we had to ask "what is that?" over all dining was excellent and varied. The daily update meetings kept us informed and aware of what was happening. Our departure was very early in the morning but we were thankfully escorted to the air port because there were opportunities to get lost. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This Viking River Cruise way exceeded our expectations. The scenery, the ship, the staff, and the meals were outstanding. Tour guides were great and knowledgeable. Very satisfied with our economy cabin. I highly recommended this event to ... Read More
This Viking River Cruise way exceeded our expectations. The scenery, the ship, the staff, and the meals were outstanding. Tour guides were great and knowledgeable. Very satisfied with our economy cabin. I highly recommended this event to all our friends and family. What we liked was the limited number of guests on board. You got to make friends with many. Unlike a cruise ship that might have thousands on board. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We sailed from Avignon upriver on the Rhone on the Viking Delling. The weather turned out warmer and sunnier than we had anticipated. We didn't do any extra days before or after the cruise, but had we known what this part of France ... Read More
We sailed from Avignon upriver on the Rhone on the Viking Delling. The weather turned out warmer and sunnier than we had anticipated. We didn't do any extra days before or after the cruise, but had we known what this part of France was like, we would have stayed a couple extra days in Lyon. Almost all the land tours, whether free or paid were worth it. The free city tour of Arles was better than the extra fee Van Gogh tour, as they overlapped most of the same places. We skipped the extra fee Chateanueuf du Pape land tour, as the Chateau was just ruins and it was more focused on the winery. We took the extra fee land tour to Les Baux and St. Remy (the sanitarium where Van Gogh painted many of his works. Les Baux was a fasinating mountain village well worth the bus trip. We explored most of the city of Avignon on foot for a whole day. We couldn't get on the extra fee Vienne Mini-train trip as there weren't enough seats on the train, but the free city tour of Vienne was good. The free city tours of Lyon were definitely worth the time. We also took the free bus tour of Beaune, which had a beautiful hospital built in 1443. Food and wine on the cruise was excellent. The staff were attentive and friendly. Viking took care of us getting from Marseille airport to Avignon (our flight was delayed several hours because of an air traffic controller strike in France) and from Chalon-sur-Saone to Lyon airport. One recommendation is to book returning flights for after 10 AM, or you might be getting up at 4 AM to catch your flight home. Overall, we would highly recommend this river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I booked with Viking Australian office. I said I would use flyer points to get an upgrade, which should be possible as I was booking 8 months ahead. The 'manager' seemed quite helpful. Closer to the cruise date my wife had ... Read More
I booked with Viking Australian office. I said I would use flyer points to get an upgrade, which should be possible as I was booking 8 months ahead. The 'manager' seemed quite helpful. Closer to the cruise date my wife had a back problem. Her doctor said she should not travel long distance without being able to lie down. So I asked Viking for help. The Australian office contacted HQ but they said no. It was then that I discovered that the Viking flight tickets are 'O' class. That's how they get the cheap airfares. Trouble is, there's no changes allowed. None at all. Of course, it's all there in the fine print, but I was relying on the fact that the Viking guy didn't mention this at the time of booking. So my wife had to fly business class on a different airline to get to Rome via Hong Kong, while her Viking ticket was wasted. However, my wife's seat was sold to someone else for part of the way. My complaint about the no-changes-to- flights received a response that the agent had fully informed me. He had, but only when I asked for help, not at the time of booking. That's why I say, "Beware!" Another thing. Viking says all tipping is included in the cruise price. We received vouchers saying that all gratuities had been paid. However, when we showed the vouchers to local guides, they claimed not to know about it. It was very embarrassing that some passengers were tipping; we had some strange looks. When I complained to Viking, the response was that all guides know about the arrangement. Be very, very aware. By the way, the cruise was supposed to start at Chalon and finish at Tarascon. It didn't. It started at Lyon because of 'high water' and finished at Avignon because of 'construction works'. This shortened the cruise by almost half. It's all covered in the fine print, of course. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
The Viking Hermod was a great ship with a crew that, in general, was very accommodating. This would have been a 5 star rating except for several things, one of which Viking had no control. The water level in the Roan was very high, not ... Read More
The Viking Hermod was a great ship with a crew that, in general, was very accommodating. This would have been a 5 star rating except for several things, one of which Viking had no control. The water level in the Roan was very high, not letting the ship travel under some of the bridges, resulting in a very long bus trip from Paris to Lyon where we joined the ship. Eight hours on the bus, not including the time spent for a lunch/visit stop in Dijon, was not comfortable. This was no one's fault, but I felt that if we were going to spend so much time on a bus we should have had some other accommodation (perhaps a free lunch?) from Viking. After we reached the ship we were not greeted appropriately. The ship's captain was very aloof, did not speak English, and the crew who greeted us acted as if we were an afterthought. They did try to make things up to us on the second day (after I'm sure they heard much grumbling). The rest of the trip was very good, the ship and crew (and to a certain extent the captain) leaned over backwards to make this a memorable trip. the cabin crew were excellent as were the front desk concierge and dining crew. The chef was marvelous! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Everything about this cruise was excellent. I am used to the embarkation process on a large cruise ship as a major hassle. On this trip my friend and I got out of the taxi and 4 cruise assistants greeted us with warm wash clothes (in ... Read More
Everything about this cruise was excellent. I am used to the embarkation process on a large cruise ship as a major hassle. On this trip my friend and I got out of the taxi and 4 cruise assistants greeted us with warm wash clothes (in case we needed a refresher from the plane ride), took our luggage and that was it. We walked on the longship, showed our passports, and we were escorted to our room where our luggage awaited us! After lunch it was announced if anyone onboard wanted to take an escorted walk around Lyon, we could meet at the main desk (which was right by the gangway) and off we went for an enjoyable and unexpected walking tour of Lyon. The included tours were wonderful and lots of fun. They were varied and included a train ride, visits to a winery, museums,outdoor relics, palaces, arenas, etc. Dining was fun, sit wherever you want, the tables were for 6 or 8 (I forgot) and larger long tables. Wine was flowing, after one sip someone came around to fill up the glass! Food was delicious. Breakfast and lunch included a small buffet along with the menu. Everything was presented in French style, even the food at the buffet, i.e., no huge bowls of fruit, there was fruit on small plates presented beautifully. Cabin was small but everything was new so it was gorgeous. We had a veranda and that was a plus. I was worried about two women in a cabin both wanting the bathroom amenities. Not to worry. Plenty of stuff for both of us! No entertainment to speak of but we didn't go for that reason. One night we took a walk (after checking if it was safe to do that) and we had fun walking over bridges and seeing castles at night). There was a piano player in the lounge every night in which we didn't participate. Umbrellas were given out on rainy days on the shore excursions, service was excellent. It was all so good. My friend was not happy with the WiFi which was free but so spotty it was almost non-existent but I didn't blame the ship for that. I just can't rave about Viking enough. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
A week before we left, we got an email saying that we would be aboard the Buri, with no further details. It turns out that the Viking Hermod, our chosen ship, was trapped at the northern end of the route behind a bridge due to high water, ... Read More
A week before we left, we got an email saying that we would be aboard the Buri, with no further details. It turns out that the Viking Hermod, our chosen ship, was trapped at the northern end of the route behind a bridge due to high water, and we would be switching ships. That’s a lot better than the Buri passengers, who remained on the Hermod for the entire week, being bussed to various villages and cities – they probably have a few things to say about that! (and a pretty good compensation in the form of a future cruise discount in addition). The Buri was trapped at the south end for the previous week and docked at Avignon, but the water had gone down somewhat, so we could do MOST of our trip. I agree with Viking that switching ships had to be done, due to flight arrangements. As it was, Lisette on the reception staff had to change a batch of rail connections from Chalon to Lyon, including us. Day 1: We flew to London for a couple of days before to see the sights, then off to Marseilles on Sunday, Nov 9 to board the ship in Avignon. Met at baggage claim by the Viking representative, who called up our taxi – we figured we’d have to wait for a bus, but that was over an hour later. Danielle pulled up, and off we went to Avignon for an hour. Booked transfer through Viking, and the taxi pulled up to the Buri with 240 euros showing on the clock – Danielle had taken a load to the airport before us, then waited. Promptly signed in, after the crew had carried our luggage and assisted us in crossing a ditch next to the dumpsters where we were moored (poor location a result of the floods the previous week). Found out that we had been upgraded from the bilge deck to a balcony, an appreciated luxury – opened the door to the balcony exactly once the whole week…. Rumor was that there had been some cancellations due to the itinerary change. The welcoming champagne tasted good. Unpacked a bit, then went up to the lounge for some meat and cheese to recover from the journey, snatching another champagne on the way. Viking had a bonus walking tour in the afternoon, and all 8 of us enjoyed the cold driving rain and got soaked. Most utilized the Viking umbrellas, but I thought my Tilley hat and GoreTex could handle it (I was wrong….). Dinner was a good clam chowder, salad Nicoise, choice of sea bass or lamb chops, and we got acquainted with the Elegant white and red wines. The amuse bouche was a interesting pesto something. The white was pretty good, and we had it for the rest of the week – the red varied. Presentation on the schedule, introducing the program director Nicholas, the dining manager Nuno, the chef Lars, etc. No mention of changing ships or any changes to the itinerary for the week. Day 2: Arles Day Up for my first batch of smoked salmon, and today we had baked beans to put on the scrambled eggs (soon to run out). Pastry chef knows how to make croissants. Bus to Arles (40 minutes) park a few blocks out from the old city, then tour. Talky, knowledgeable gal and a good visit to the amphitheatre still in use for non-lethal bull fights. Back at noon for carrot soup (exc) and frutti di Mare (not too good). Choice in the afternoon is the optional tour (my wife) or back to Arles(me). Walk around the left side of the amphitheatre to the small chapel of Notre Dame (interesting, good view of city, some old Roman walls), then down to the park, back through the Roman Theatre (used, but not restored – a lot of carved pieces laying around like a jigsaw puzzle). Look for the walkway on the side – totally free! Back to the Plaza of the Republic and St Tropheim church – which is interesting with carved altars and the side chapel of the Saint’s relics, nicely exhibited in gold chests, etc. Then down for a lookover of the Roman Baths and a walk along the river back to the bus to finish off the 3 hours. Dinner was Scallops/Avocado, then a Chateaubriand (exc) with an amuse bouche of a bacon wrapped date/almond/blue cheese that was very tasty. Day 3: Avignon City Tour in tolerable weather, nice walk through the Papal Palace (they took all the furniture when they left), and a visit to Les Halles market. Buy olives, cheese, wine, and a baguette for afternoon snack. Lunch of Garlic Soup(exc) and a French Dip (poor). Optional tour to Chateauneaf du Pape – fine, take the walk down from the tower if you’re able (somewhat slick but downhill) and stop in the chapel for a quick visit. Tasting at Maison Bouchard went well, and we ordered a half case @ $50/bottle to be delivered. Back to the ship for snack – olives and Roquefort, bottle of wine in the lounge with some ship supplied glasses under the amused glances of our fellow passengers who didn’t think of that themselves. (We did it a couple more times). Dinner was squash soup(good), turkey(f) ceviche(g, got another). If Viking wants to cook turkey, have some of the Americans on board help out in the kitchen so it doesn’t get dried out. Amuse was a smoked salmon tortilla with orange sauce, better without the tortilla, and the red wine was a Bourgogne(g). Late night talk on the history of Provence. Day 4: Cruising up the Rhone, through locks in the rain and drizzle, doing about 10 Km/hour by my stopwatch. Lunch of Roast Beef/remoulade (ex, had 5) and Potato-leek soup (ex, had 2). Docked in Tain L’Hermitage/Tournon, and skipped Viviers on the itinerary due to high water, which no one on the ship mentioned. 1:30 “Stay in your cabin, the buses are delayed”. At 2:00, my wife went down to reception to find the buses gone! Nicholas made up for this, and that’s all I’m going to say about it. Dinner was and amuse of a shrimp ball (g), curry carrot soup (EX+) pepper salmon/coq a vin, choc tart (ex) and the red wine is switched to a good Macon. Day 5: Vienne in the morning. Tour good, cathedral and top of mountain, Roman temple and forum, amphitheatre in good shape, although the first groups found the top of the mountain in the fog and an invisible town. Limited free time. Lunch was lamb soup (g) smoked fish with horseradish sauce (ex), as we leave the dock for the cruise to Lyon in the rain again. OK – here’s your hint. The meeting in the lounge tonight signs you up for the chef’s tour in Lyon. Ask for the signup sheet on your way passing reception – it’s in high demand! Shuttle to Place Bellacour with shopping surrounding. We’re docked a block from Confluence Mall and about 40 years too old for the shops it contains, but the market has Kinder Eggs to smuggle into the USA for the grandkids. (Hint: list them as “chocolate” on your customs form). Dinner was the walk-around in the kitchen, and we get to personally thank Gary the soup guy and the gal who was the pastry chef for doing outstanding jobs. Excellent Lamb with au jus, ham en crute, salads, desserts, Brussels sprout soup, and the red is Ogier Cotes du Rhone (g). We are moored on the outside of another ship, and leaving involves going up to the top deck, crossing over the other ship, and going down a steep staircase, than a slippery ramp to the dock. If you’re somewhat handicapped (more than cane level), you’re trapped aboard. Day 6: Lyon. Since the bridge still blocks us, the trip to Cluny or Beaune now involves a bus trip of two hours each way, so we skip out on the bus ride. My wife has been asking for green onions in her omelet, and Paul the chef in the morning finally got restocked and proudly presented her with her very own bowlful, which he had hidden under the counter for the occasion. Lunch was a chilled cucumber soup, beef burgundy (ex), rice pudding. Pass on the cold soup on this chilly day Actually nap in the afternoon, although there’s a tram stop a couple blocks away to access the city in the rain. Dinner was the Captain’s farewell dinner, and the best meal I’ve had in four Viking trips, which is really saying something. Mushroom soup, a deconstructed Wellington, and some Crème Brulee – all top notch. Day 7: Lyon Tour of the Basilica overlooking the old town and the chapel beneath, then the old town itself. Free time to check out the cathedral, and you can use the free toilets in the information booth next to it. Lunch of lamb shank(ex) and some kind of subway sandwich (f). . Chef’s tour is great, and we buy some truffle oil for our gourmet daughter, and some snacks and wine for this afternoon back on the ship. Dinner was Escargot (lousy, in a cream sauce), what passes for French Onion Soup but is broth, good fish and a good apple crumble, and plentiful wine. Overall: the heated bathroom floors are a genius idea on Viking ships in the fall, but the placement of the light switches next to the headboards not so genius (only turned it on twice this trip). Ivana and Eva treated us like family in the dining room, Nicholas was an excellent Program Director in difficult high-water circumstances, listening patiently to passengers carping about minor annoyances. Nuno did his job well as Dining Manager, and Lars the head chef had the kitchen running like a top. The reception staff got everyone rebooked for leaving from Lyon as far as I know. We will never go on a fall cruise again due to the crummy weather, but that and the high water are not the fault of Viking. The cabins are small but well organized – and only one person can walk around at a time. Bring an old card of some kind (I use a casino card) to plug into the European style light switch, then just lift it when you leave to turn off all the lights. Otherwise, you’re forever switching cards – one has to be in the light switch. The 24/7 coffee machine on the 3rd deck is a beauty, and I always get my coffee from there rather than the dining room. Beside it are muffins in the morning and cookies in the afternoon. After the cruise: we took the TGV from Lyon to Paris, and spent a couple of days seeing the sights and enjoying the excellent meals before returning home to Colorado. The weather remained lousy, and we both got colds.   Read Less
Sail Date November 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
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
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
This was a great river cruise for older people. We found this to be the best vacation we have ever taken after many trips to Europe. We knew this would not be the spectacular items of London, Paris, or Rome. Maybe our expectations then ... Read More
This was a great river cruise for older people. We found this to be the best vacation we have ever taken after many trips to Europe. We knew this would not be the spectacular items of London, Paris, or Rome. Maybe our expectations then weren't as high. We were going to relax and maybe see a few nice sites. We were surprised beyond our expectations. The river cruise was spectacular. The wine country was very nice. Great guides. Great wine. Super chocolate! Wonderful sites. I could live in Avignon or Lyon. There were many great things to see. Walking in the old city was very nice. We had superb guides in each city. They were very knowledgeable and very eager to share their experiences with us. The ship was exceptionally clean and comfortable. The staff was accommodating beyond belief. Some of them became nice friends. The size of the travelers on board made for a nice climate. We got to know more people than usual. The tours were broken down into 4 groups so we always had nice small groups with earphones so you could always hear the guides and be close. You got to know everyone. The meals were exceptional. For eight days there was not one thing to complain about. Everything was perfect! The trip was very well planned by the staff. I enjoyed the opportunity to see the wheelhouse and the kitchen. We liked the aquaterrace and the lounge. I guess I could say that the WIFI could have been better. It was spotty at times, especially through the locks. We were looking for a nice relaxing vacation and we got one along with 8 great tours, great wine, unbelievable food, and many super friends. Thanks Viking for a very well planned and executed trip to Southern France. We cannot wait to book another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
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