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10 Viking River Lyon Cruise Reviews

This was a special trip for our 50th wedding anniversary as we had never been on a cruise before. Ship was lovely crew were very friendly. Food was not so good the buffet was the best. We personally felt out numbered as 98percent Americans ... Read More
This was a special trip for our 50th wedding anniversary as we had never been on a cruise before. Ship was lovely crew were very friendly. Food was not so good the buffet was the best. We personally felt out numbered as 98percent Americans , we asked before we booked if they had small tables but this was not the case and not in our comfort zone. River was not the prettiest lots of industrial sites along the river. It is very geared up for the American market not British . Lots of thing did not come up to our expectations from Viking as we were travelling by train. They did not seem to recognise this on many occasions . We did not get to see Arles which was something we would have liked as went up and back to Avignon and had 4 hour coach trip on to Nice, which was not mentioned. We would not choose to cruise again after this experience . Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Having enjoyed previous river cruises with Viking and having decided that 2 weeks was too long this seemed an excellent opportunity to be in France without the bother, but somehow it failed to press our buttons. We weren't helped by ... Read More
Having enjoyed previous river cruises with Viking and having decided that 2 weeks was too long this seemed an excellent opportunity to be in France without the bother, but somehow it failed to press our buttons. We weren't helped by the very high temperatures that made sitting on deck and watching the world go by an option and as most of the sailing was at night we were denied that pleasure. The morning expeditions were fine but going ashore in the afternoons was really demanding. The boat was frequently moored at inconvenient stations and we wondered if this too was to do with costs. We couldn't escape the feeling that Viking were cutting corners. The boat felt understaffed (there was never anyone a the Concierge desk) and the whole day excursions were hugely expensive at almost £200 per person per trip. The food seemed to be less exciting than we recall from last year although some of the staff, particularly the programme director and some of the waiters worked extremely hard to look after us. Given French patisserie the biscuits at the drinks station left much to be desired. So did it reach expectations? Compared to previous cruises, sadly no. We're fairly gregarious but this time often felt excluded by the many groups in the dining room. We love river cruising and have more to do but we will widen our search and perhaps look for better value for money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was a cruise tour and our first. Three days in France and two in Dijon. The land part was excellent, with great guides and tour director. The Paris hotel was good and Dijon ok. I cannot say enough about the staff on the Buri. I ... Read More
This was a cruise tour and our first. Three days in France and two in Dijon. The land part was excellent, with great guides and tour director. The Paris hotel was good and Dijon ok. I cannot say enough about the staff on the Buri. I know that they work long hours for low wages, but they were exceptional. The chef was a wonderful man and we discussed many recipes. For reasons that we were never told, the ship ran aground while sailing. There were only about 20 passengers on board and the staff handled everything professionally. The internet however was atrocious. Viking needs to spend money to upgrade. We were bused once because the water level was low. They acted as if it was a rare occurrence, but it's known that this is a regular thing. They just don't bother telling you. For the price we paid, the rooms were very small. We also spent more time docked than cruising. Our suite was on the water side, otherwise we couldn't have opened our curtains or sit in the verandah. This was a Burgundy and Provence wine cruise. The included wineries chosen were mediocre and not enough. The better winery was optional, with a price tag. Including tips would be beneficial as there was a great discrepancy in everyone's dollar amounts. Viking doesn't give enough of a bang for the money it charges and we won't be taking another cruise, unless corporate makes changes. I would like to reiterate that all the staff is excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
It was a nice extension to our 8 day Viking Cruise on the Rolfe through Northern France and ended in Paris with a connection by high speed train to Lyon for the next cruise on the Buri, touring the South of France. The excursions and ... Read More
It was a nice extension to our 8 day Viking Cruise on the Rolfe through Northern France and ended in Paris with a connection by high speed train to Lyon for the next cruise on the Buri, touring the South of France. The excursions and guides were excellent and unique. The food was outstanding on both cruises as well as the wait staff. The Rolfe experience set the bar high with an excellent experience. where as the Buri's staff were not as engaging or friendly as if they were tired of dealing with their guests and gave very curt responses. When we returned to the ship after an excursion the staff on the Rolfe was always there with a treat and refreshing towels. Where on the Buri if you were not in the first tour groups there was no welcome only a staff member collecting your Excursion cards to make sure you had returned to the ship. We found it amazing that the captain could not speak any English when addressing the guests in the Cruise briefings. The Cruise Director was not organized especially in coordinating the Tours especially making sure all of the the Whisper Boxes were all working prior to the bus departures and had plenty of extras on hand prior to tour departures. This was our 5th Viking Cruise and Viking overall does an outstanding job!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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
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 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
Well, this was our first River Cruise and we were excited. However we were a little put back when 2 days before we left we were told the first part of the trip was out due to high river levels. So we stayed moored at Lyon for 3 days. We ... Read More
Well, this was our first River Cruise and we were excited. However we were a little put back when 2 days before we left we were told the first part of the trip was out due to high river levels. So we stayed moored at Lyon for 3 days. We had just 2 days cruising and another 2 moored in Avignon. The sun deck was closed the entire time we cruised and the bar was very limited in wine choice until they re-stocked after 3 days. No complaints about the crew. They tried hard and the food was ok as were the tours, although they involved much longer bus drives than planned due to the changed locations. We wanted a cruise , we could have stayed in hotels anywhere with bigger rooms and more amenities at a much lower cost. Beware the Portraits of Southern France because the boats are really too big for these rivers and this will continue to occur regularly in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Our trip was the first week in July 2014, "Portraits of Southern France" sailing on the Viking River Cruise's longship Heimdal. Read the Cruise Critic's overview of the Viking Heimdal, it is spot on in its description ... Read More
Our trip was the first week in July 2014, "Portraits of Southern France" sailing on the Viking River Cruise's longship Heimdal. Read the Cruise Critic's overview of the Viking Heimdal, it is spot on in its description of the Ship. I must begin by saying the longship Heimdal is flawless. Beautiful accommodations, public rooms and all sparkling clean. Coffee/tea/hot chocolate and cookies always in the common areas. Truly wonderful. STAFF...all very pleasant and efficient. rating 5+++ The longship itself, excellent. rating 4.95 Tour guides, fabulous, knowledgeable, witty, pleasant. rating 5 The towns where we docked and toured, rating 5 Very good food. rating 4.25 If you read the Cruise Critic's description of the cabins however, I have to disagree with several items. The glass showers are not snug...we felt they were roomy and well designed...the shower door does however leave a small puddle on the bathroom floor but it is not in the main walking area...of course your bathroom room is tidied and cleaned at least once a day, more if needed. Also we thought the toilets had super-power flushes unlike what was described in the cabin description. The rooms are well sound-proofed with the only noise from the neighbors being if you are in the bathroom and they flush you can hear that a little. It was fabulous having the normal European 220 volt AND the American 110 volt sockets..and plenty of them. The WIFI was not as good as the description said if you had an IPad. Many people who brought along Ipads had to sit in public areas to get WIFI while if you had a computer, you could get reception in your room. I was sitting on the sundeck of the Heimdal on the last day in Avignon and I got reception on my Ipad from the Uniworld boat which was two boat lengths away from us but no signal from either of the Viking ships which were tethered together at one dock space, the Heimdal or the Hermod. It would be worth the money for Viking to boost the WIFI for all annoyance it caused. What was not so good? 1. The Heimdal Nearly everything about the boat is fabulous. These were the only 3 problems: -There is not enough seating in the lounge for all of the passengers to be able to attend the daily briefings or presentations. -The French balcony rooms only have one place to sit in a cabin for 2 people. -The unpleasant sewage smell in the public areas of the boat when docked in Avignon. (we were told that happens when 2 boats are docked together sometimes...yuck) 2. Last minute embarkation dock/town switch with no explanation. Our experience was exactly the same as reported in an earlier review written by "Atkinsonguy" whose cruise was in May 2014. We had rented a car and traveled toward Chalon-Sur-Saone where we were to embark when we received a last minute email that we would be embarking in Lyon...no explanation of why...We too, drove back to Lyon to find the Heimdal. Luckily we had wi-fi where we were staying... 3. The planning of our time while in Lyon... For four days we sat in Lyon. The first night some things were delayed because a group of people would be arriving later than most of us. Apparently that was the Paris pre-trip extension. We were fortunate as our cabin faced the river and we could see the activity on the river as well as the other bank and the hill behind with the ever-changing dramatic sky. We had friends who paid for a full balcony who were on the other side of the boat and all they saw was a concrete wall and the quay...they felt unable to sit on their balcony because of all the people on the quay. She said, "We were the entertainment for the people walking by." They just stopped using the balcony. We never got to walk around Chalon-Su-Saone or the other towns on the Saone which might have been a good thing to do on Sunday (as nothing is open in Lyon). But the decision was made to take us on the tour of old Lyon on Sunday (the tour was fabulous) but our free time was given when no museums or even shopping was available. Monday we were bussed to Beaune on a cramped, uncomfortable bus...2 hours up and nearly 3 hours back (terrific traffic jams outside the tunnel going back into Lyon) We were given 1 hour of free time from 12 to 1pm...but of course everything closes between 12 and 2. The lunch served at a nearby restaurant was the worst meal I have had in years. When the plates were collected after the meal, all 8 of the people at our table still had half the food left on their plates as it was inedible. It really surprised me that Atkinsonguy reported the same thing happened in May...and apparently Viking did nothing to improve the food or change the restaurant. Again we had a terrific guide and great tour of the hospital for 45 minutes. The 45 minute wine tasting was not worth going to as the wines were not to most of the group's taste. We wanted to go to some museums in Lyon and I was told the only time I would have to do that was Tuesday morning but I'd have to be back on the boat by 11:15am as we would be leaving at that time. Had I chosen to go that would have given me about 45 minutes at one museum. It was explained that the water was too high for the boat to make it under the bridges and that is why we would be missing sailing on the Saone River. I understand that this can happen but choices about how to get us on our tours and to spend time in the cities and villages should be made with the thought of maximizing our opportunities during free time...to have a reasonable amount of free time when we are able to actually see and do things. Also it was sad to lose half our cruising time on the river.. 4. The sundeck and walking track. Once we got underway spirits lifted but then another issue bothered a lot of us...as Atkinsonguy said, "Vikings literature states "Weather permitting, the ship‘s sun dec is its most popular area when the ship is sailing." Not true on this cruise. The weather was mostly fair but the sun deck was NEVER opened when the ship was moving." The same was true on the July sailing. They closed the sundeck. That put smokers in the side verandahs off the reception area which often put smoke in the hallways and made the common areas midship unavailable to nonsmokers if they wanted a smoke-free environment. We got to go on the sundeck the first full day in Lyon and the last day in Avignon. Not the cruising experience I imagined while watching all the Viking ads on TV. Are we glad we took this cruise despite the negatives? leaning toward YES because they have a good product but poor planning in optimizing our time when unable to follow the itinerary impacted the experience. The decision makers didn't seem to listen to feedback from passengers about the bad lunch in Beaune reported in May yet in July passengers have the same bad experience. We reported uncomfortable busses and were told the next day there were better busses, but the last day they were back to the cramped conditions where anyone a bit taller had their knees poking into the backs of the seats in front of them again. (and therefore into the backs of the people in those seats) Knowing what we know now about river cruising and what can go wrong, (too high or too low water and the problems that brings which caused us to miss half our cruising time or inability to ride along on the sundeck or use the track) would we take another Viking river cruise? Definitely not. Too much money and not worth the risk that you can miss half of your sailing/cruising experience. Now you will know some of the questions to ask before you plan your cruise...because the people who take your booking over the phone (and your payment) are extremely helpful in answering all your questions. I found them personable and extremely helpful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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