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60 Viking Spirit (Retired) Cruise Reviews

This was our second River Cruise with Viking, and everything lived up to our expectations. We had done a China River Cruise on the Yangtze a couple of years ago so were familiar with Viking. The accommodations were fantastic even on a ... Read More
This was our second River Cruise with Viking, and everything lived up to our expectations. We had done a China River Cruise on the Yangtze a couple of years ago so were familiar with Viking. The accommodations were fantastic even on a fairly old ship. The Viking Spirit was apparently going to be retired from Viking late in 2015 so we were on one of its last voyages. The cruise along the River Seine was very picturesque in spite of it being October. The flowers at Claude Monet's home in Giverny were still blooming. We stopped at several small towns and cities along the river, each one having something to see that made it worthwhile. Our stop in Rouen was the highlight of the trip as it included a day trip to the Beaches of Normandy. Here's where Viking really outdid themselves. Realizing that there were 4 Canadians on Cruise, they offered a special Commonwealth Tour of the Canadian and British aspects of Normandy. We visited Juno Beach, the Canadian Cemetery, the British Pegasus Museum and the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, all different locations than the other excursion organized for American citizens. Everywhere we went, our guides were knowledgeable. Our guide at the Louvre back in Paris was one of the best ever. Even the entertainment on the ship itself was great. In Paris, they organized a concert sung by 3 young opera stars for us. We thoroughly recommend Viking for any River Cruise, and expect to return very soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our 4th Viking River cruise and it was our favorite thus far. Our airfare was included with the cruise and we had great flights both to and from Paris. We were greeted by our Viking transfer host as we exited baggage claim, so ... Read More
This was our 4th Viking River cruise and it was our favorite thus far. Our airfare was included with the cruise and we had great flights both to and from Paris. We were greeted by our Viking transfer host as we exited baggage claim, so there was no wait at all at the airport. We did both the pre and post cruise extensions with Viking and our hotel, the Hotel Ampere, was wonderful, as were our Viking hosts, Paula and Emma. We quickly mastered the Metro and saw many sights around Paris before departing the hotel for the Viking Spirit. We were delighted to see the ship was docked very near the Eiffel Tower, and we were able to get some incredible photos later as we departed. We were greeted warmly upon embarking the ship and advised of the available buffet lunch and told when our cabin would be available. The Viking Spirit, though an older, smaller ship than the longships we have been used to, was quite nice and our cabin was quite comfortable and well laid-out. We were cruising with friends, and their cabin was across the corridor from ours. The dining room was laid out a bit differently from that of the longships, in that it had, in addition to tables for 6 and 8, it also had several tables for 4. That allowed for accommodating couples traveling together or larger parties to be seated together. All of the wait staff in the dining room were exceptional, but we did prefer a particular waiter. However, it seemed that others did as well, because we weren't always able to sit in his section. There was also a female server who was very special and she made a point to save the small jelly jars, and gave my friend and I each one that she had washed out for us to collect sand at Omaha Beach on the day we visited Normandy. The food on the Spirit was also exceptional. All of our meals were just first rate, and beautifully presented. The chef made an appearance at every evening's briefing to give a short talk about what was waiting for us that night in the dining room. So cute! One of the reasons we had chosen this cruise was to visit the Normandy beaches, and that was truly an emotional experience, but we so enjoyed all the ports, and that was due in great measure to our guides. Viking provides such well prepared guides, and they are so fun as well. Disembarkation was, as always, handled very efficiently, with clear directions given orally at a briefing meeting, and then in a daily newsletter for reference. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
First time river cruisers, we had looked at three lines before deciding on Viking. The reason for choosing Viking was that they offered the most included and optional trips that we wished to experience. We included the transfer request ... Read More
First time river cruisers, we had looked at three lines before deciding on Viking. The reason for choosing Viking was that they offered the most included and optional trips that we wished to experience. We included the transfer request (pick up and drop off to the airport (CDG north of Paris)) and once away (delayed by lost luggage of 1/3 of the flight, after a bit of a wait they decided to send us off alone) we traveled in a luxurious Mercedes transport to the dock near the Eiffel tower. The driver was most courteous and professional, giving us an impromptu tour of Paris as we went. The Viking Spirit and her sisters (Neptune & Pride) were built in 2001 and this is their last year of service with Viking. They are smaller than the newer longship class, but newer and bigger does not always translate into better! Our cabin was better laid out than our hotel room in Paris despite being smaller! Never felt cramped, and enough storage space even for the traveling pack rat that I am. The staff are superb. The ship crew (and officers), the Hotel crew (and officers) and most exceptionally our program director Feliz Temur. She was so great! Also our chambermaid was equally so. Both ladies were cheerful, being up before us and still working when we chose to retire. The excursions were good, the guides knowledgeable. One thing to note that out of 170 passengers, 166 were from the USA. As a Canadian, I felt disappointed that we wouldn't be able to do the commonwealth/UK tour (because who would make a special trip only for 4 people!?). I was wrong. Viking provided us with a full bus, guide, and our own trip. Because of the distances involved (the Canadian and UK beaches were closer) we also enjoyed a stop at the Bayeux tapestry, as well as visiting Juno and Pegasus Bridge. The Canadian war dead grave site was moving, and they provided us with a fresh rose to place. Being too long already, all I can really say is YOU HAVE TO GO! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The entire staff was very friendly, helpful, remembered our names, the food was beyond expectation, the complimentary beverages were a pleasant surprise. The ports were interesting, clean, people were helpful. Monet's gardens were ... Read More
The entire staff was very friendly, helpful, remembered our names, the food was beyond expectation, the complimentary beverages were a pleasant surprise. The ports were interesting, clean, people were helpful. Monet's gardens were very lovely, quite crowded, but it flowed well. Normandy and the American cemetery was quite moving, emotional and the museum was excellent. Nice big windows in our stateroom allowed us to sight see without going on deck. Great lectures on upcoming ports, points of interest and history. We loved the entertainment. Our 1st time with Viking and we'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We chose the Paris-Normandy Viking River Cruise aboard the Viking Spirit or our 50th anniversary celebration. Everything about this cruise was top of the line. Paris and the other towns visited were wonderful, historic locales. The ... Read More
We chose the Paris-Normandy Viking River Cruise aboard the Viking Spirit or our 50th anniversary celebration. Everything about this cruise was top of the line. Paris and the other towns visited were wonderful, historic locales. The tour guides were excellent, and their audio devices worked well. The Viking Spirit staff is made up of dedicated professionals, each of whom strove diligently to make the cruise the best experience possible. Any request was promptly and graciously handled. From the wonderful Joana at the Reception Desk, to the Program Director Filiz, the wait staff in the restaurant, the cleaning crew, the attendants in the lounge, all strived to achieve excellence. And, my goodness, the food! C'est magnifique! One very special aspect was open seating in the dining area. Meet, greet, sit and eat! We met such wonderful new friends each meal. The geography covered, history learned, friends made and food consumed made this the experience of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our second Viking river cruise,and it was just as excellent as the first. I can't say enough about the entire Viking experience, the planning & coordination of each days activities, the entire staff making our trip so ... Read More
This was our second Viking river cruise,and it was just as excellent as the first. I can't say enough about the entire Viking experience, the planning & coordination of each days activities, the entire staff making our trip so memorable by their cheerful willingness to go above & beyond to attend to our every need.From the Captain to the program director to the wait staff to the service staff, it was just wonderful. I enjoyed each days activities at each of our stops along the Seine River. I especially enjoyed Normandy & Omaha beach ,being a Veteran, but do wish we had more time at the American Cemetery museum. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Having taken the Viking Spirit from Vienna to Amsterdam 13 years ago, we booked a cruise through Normandy this summer - in the same cabin - #311. After all, if once is good, twice had to be as good or better. This time we took along ... Read More
Having taken the Viking Spirit from Vienna to Amsterdam 13 years ago, we booked a cruise through Normandy this summer - in the same cabin - #311. After all, if once is good, twice had to be as good or better. This time we took along friends! This time it was a little more crowded but we all enjoyed each other, smiled a lot, and developed great camaraderie. There were multi-generational families, young people, retirees, mid-lifers on vacation, and everything in between. The food was very good - as were the meals arranged while on shore excursions (just as the 2002 trip had been), excellent entertainment - especially the young Parisienne operatic singers. As before, cabins were well-appointed and cared for by a superior staff - the excursions well organized with very good guides. Use of the wireless tour guide speaker system used on the excursions are an excellent modern touch. Our ability to independently know what was what was made more obvious contrasted to other groups trying to listen to a speaker over a crowd. Best surprise of all is the well organized post-trip hotel complete with Viking personnel on site to answer questions, get everyone acclimated to Paris & then to their departure planes, etc. Sorry Viking Spirit is retiring! Love the intimacy of the size. Have traveled to/lived in Middle & Far East, Antarctica, Alaska, Europe, Caribbean. HOWEVER, may I suggest to you and to Viking - United Airlines is the last airline you want to book on. Despite traveling Business/First class, our trip was delayed in both directions; where ever we were we were surrounded by others awaiting delayed, late, or replacement flights! (In our case, 4 out of 4 flights). Next plan: Viking among the Tulips! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We went on the Paris to Normandy Cruise for a once in a lifetime experience to see the beaches, cemeteries and to experience the pride of our country. The ship was excellent and comfortable. The ship's crew were helpful and ... Read More
We went on the Paris to Normandy Cruise for a once in a lifetime experience to see the beaches, cemeteries and to experience the pride of our country. The ship was excellent and comfortable. The ship's crew were helpful and knowledgeable. The excursions were excellent and, as senior citizens, not lengthy. We were able to manage quite nicely. The food was excellent. The chef had many surprises and we experienced foods we have never tried before. Everything went smoothly from embarkation to disembarkation. We haven't been on any other cruises, but we know for sure that when we go again, Viking will be the choice. The on-board entertainment was excellent. Our cruise had a piano player who had a beautiful voice. Very talented. On the last night we had a special performance of French music, which was excellent. We enjoyed relaxing in the lounge and talking to other passengers. The service was excellent. The whole crew were very friendly and very enjoyable to talk to. When we wanted to sleep a little later, we enjoyed the coffee/breakfast bar in the lounge. And we also enjoyed the lunch offered in the lounge on a few occasion. The had lovely soup and salads as well as the main course that was offered in the dining room. We get excited just thinking about the next time we can go on another adventure with Viking Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We sailed on the Viking Spirit for a seven day cruise on the Seine. Before we sailed, we spent four days in Paris. The Viking Cruise team arranged for our hotel and some walking tours. I cannot say enough good things about the Viking ... Read More
We sailed on the Viking Spirit for a seven day cruise on the Seine. Before we sailed, we spent four days in Paris. The Viking Cruise team arranged for our hotel and some walking tours. I cannot say enough good things about the Viking team. We were met at the airport by one of their representatives, and were treated like royalty from the time we landed until the time we left for home. Every Viking employee, from the cruise director, Guillaume, to the the maintenance staff was wonderful. I never saw such a hard working, dedicated staff. The food was sensational, also. We have cruised on several different ships, but this was the best one. The boat is small, and we were able to meet some wonderful people. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, as well. While we were sailing on the boat, we were able to walk on the upper deck, tour the kitchen, and simply enjoy the beauty of the river and the French architecture and scenery. There was not the hustle and bustle that you find on the large cruise ships. The cruise itself was a wonderful experience. We traveled on the Seine and stopped at many historical places, including the Claude Monet house and Versailles. The best part of the trip, for me, was the day we spent at the Normandy Beaches and the American Cemetery. It was very emotional for everyone, and made me appreciate even more the sacrifices that our soldier heroes made. There is no doubt that we will again sail with Viking in the not too distant future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We have been on many ocean cruises, but never experienced a river cruise before. We have been to many countries, but never had been to France before. The Viking experience was a top notch way to experience both of those firsts! The ... Read More
We have been on many ocean cruises, but never experienced a river cruise before. We have been to many countries, but never had been to France before. The Viking experience was a top notch way to experience both of those firsts! The peacefulness of the river cruise allowed us to settle in and enjoy our surroundings and see the many different sides of France, from the excitement of Paris to the charming small villages. The tours were so well done and much was learned of the icons we have heard so much about all our lives. The guides were attentive, but wasted no time in getting their charges to see all that was possible in just a few hours. We had many favorite stops, but the two that have stayed with us since we disembarked 3 months ago, were the beaches of Normandy and the tour of Giverny and Monet's home and gardens; The former so very moving and the latter a delightful sensory experience. The crew on board the Viking Spirit could not have been more accommodating and the intimacy of the small ship was so very pleasant. The food was very good and chef Adam did an amazing job of serving his guests out of such a small kitchen. We have highly recommended Viking since, and hope to experience another part of the world through Viking someday soon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My husband and two adult children were fortunate enough to cruise the Seine to Normandy to celebrate a college graduation. The majority of the passengers were seniors, and our family was not only blessed with beautiful weather and a ... Read More
My husband and two adult children were fortunate enough to cruise the Seine to Normandy to celebrate a college graduation. The majority of the passengers were seniors, and our family was not only blessed with beautiful weather and a picturesque country but enriched by the diverse and wonderful 150 persons we shared the experience with. Daily we would share, the wonderful cuisine from chef Adam and interact with people from the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. From the moment we boarded the Ship in Paris we were treated like family by the crew members, who could not do enough to make us happy. Felis the cruise director must have rarely slept, because she was always available to prepare us for our next destination or to make each day as full as possible. Each day, the tours were given by guides that were not only knowledgeable but truly had a passion for their county and its beauty and rich culture. The highlights included Monet's garden and of course Paris at night with the Eiffel Tower glittering only a short walk from where we were moored. The most moving was our trip to the Normandy beaches. We have many family members who served in World War II and the moving ceremony at the American cemetery not only made us proud to be Americans but we could feel the devotion the French people have in keeping the memories and honor alive. Although we were told that our ship was soon to be retired, the cabins, dinning room, lounge and deck were extremely clean and the staff wonderful. From arriving in Paris at the start of the trip and greeted, to disembarking and being helped to navigate the Airport and trip home, we had a trip that was memorable and will be hard to ever reproduce. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Lovely experience through out our stay...the food on board was excellent and varied...the service on board, (room service, in the restaurant or in the lounge was number one, always very polite, friendly and devoted. The choice of the ... Read More
Lovely experience through out our stay...the food on board was excellent and varied...the service on board, (room service, in the restaurant or in the lounge was number one, always very polite, friendly and devoted. The choice of the various shore excursions was also very interesting and always instructive historicly speaking. The only improvement that I would suggest is regarding the television stations that were made available; they were only in English and as french speaking passengers (even if we do speak english very well) and since we were in France we would have appreciate to have at least one french speaking network. We have also enjoy very much the evening entertainment on the ship. Even if we had reserve a standard room cabin we think that the size was reasonable and the two bed were quite confertable. The instructions given for every disembarkation weer always quite clear (time for visiting and to return on time to the ship, etc) Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My wife and I have been fortunate enough to travel the world, but cruising was never a real option we enjoyed. WE booked our Viking trip with a group of friends who were also fist time river cruisers in order to have company and to see ... Read More
My wife and I have been fortunate enough to travel the world, but cruising was never a real option we enjoyed. WE booked our Viking trip with a group of friends who were also fist time river cruisers in order to have company and to see whether we would enjoy the experience. From the moment we walked down the Quay in Paris and watched the staff run to take our luggage, the service was superlative and the staff exceptionally friendly. Even though this was our initial trip with Viking we were welcomed as if we had been on many cruises. Two members of the senior staff went far beyond what is usual in making us feel like friends rather than customers: Feliz Temur (Program Director) was an incredible resource and over the days we were together she seemed more like a friend than anything else. The Maitre D' Illyan Begovski was a true artist of customer service and an exceptional bonus to our dining experience. We particularly enjoyed the shore excursions, not hurried and always focused on interesting historical locations and events. It was a real pleasure to see Giverney and a special treat to not be herded about like cattle on a short schedule, It was exceptional & we have already booked for 2016! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
All around great trip. I was with 9 other seniors and we had planned the trip for 18 months. Paris was a highlight, I enjoyed the walking tour and seeing the major landmarks. The Eiffel Tower was quite close to where Viking boats dock on ... Read More
All around great trip. I was with 9 other seniors and we had planned the trip for 18 months. Paris was a highlight, I enjoyed the walking tour and seeing the major landmarks. The Eiffel Tower was quite close to where Viking boats dock on the Seine and we were able to see the beautiful lights at night from the upper open deck. The food was excellent and I especially appreciated learning ahead of time what was going to be featured. Great table sevice. The lounge entry had delicious coffee available at all times. I loved all the port and shore excursions. A nice mix of urban and provincial. A highlight was the gardens of Monet at Giverny. A little crowded but memorable. The staff made every effort to be clear concerning schedules and transitions. I was especially pleased with how easy they facilitated disembarkation. I hope to experience another Viking River Cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Paris and the Heart of Normandy was our first river cruise and we absolutely loved it. We were celebrating my having survived some physical challenges and we were more than pleased with our experience. The Spirit is a wonderful ship and we ... Read More
Paris and the Heart of Normandy was our first river cruise and we absolutely loved it. We were celebrating my having survived some physical challenges and we were more than pleased with our experience. The Spirit is a wonderful ship and we had a comfortable cabin. The crew was professional while being both fun and helpful. I loved how the chef gave a little description of each evening meal, and speaking of meals, they were very good and tasty. The lectures were informative and interesting. All the shore excursions were wonderful but I especially enjoyed Giverny and Monet's gardens. The beaches at Normandy was a very moving shore excursion. A highlight of the cruise for me was the entertainment. Tibor was on board singing and playing the piano and I and every one on board loved him. I'm a photographer and loved shooting the shore scenes as the ship cruised along. I'd do this cruise again but we've booked another cruise. i highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We had a wonderful time on the Viking Spirit--great accommodations, great food and great company! The views were breath-taking and magical. We loved seeing Richard the Lionhearted's castle and all the chateaux that were lining the ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the Viking Spirit--great accommodations, great food and great company! The views were breath-taking and magical. We loved seeing Richard the Lionhearted's castle and all the chateaux that were lining the Seine. The Crew was very helpful and jovial. We wanted for nothing, and we were never hungry--the food was well-prepared and plentiful! We also felt well-cared for wherever we went. We were in very good hands from our arrival to the last leg of our trip back home. We also loved the excursions. We greatly enjoyed the one to Monet's gardens on Easter Sunday and the one to the American Cemetery in Normandy where we placed flowers on the graves of some of the fallen. These trips were very powerful and meaningful to us all. It was just amazing! We cannot wait to go on another Viking Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first river cruise and our first time going with Viking. We did not know what to expect. We have loved ocean cruises in the past but river cruising was a new adventure for us. First off, river cruising is very relaxing. ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and our first time going with Viking. We did not know what to expect. We have loved ocean cruises in the past but river cruising was a new adventure for us. First off, river cruising is very relaxing. You all eat at the same time and leave for tours at the same time. You get to know others more easily. Second, this cruise was very educational. The guilds where great and I learned a great deal and gained a greater respect for the history of France and the people who live there. Our ship host did at great job of educating us and letting us know what was going to happen the next day. Third, the food was good and the crew was very nice to us. The main reason we went was to go to Normandy. Our guild was tremendous. She never looked at a note once and really explained both from an allied and France point of few, that landing and what it meant to the France as well as to us. Our other tours where very good too, but for me, Normandy was the highlight. It was a very moving experience that we will not forget. We choose to stay on in Paris for a couple of more days with Viking. They taught us how to use the transportation system, get money, where important things are, and gave us directions on how to get where we wanted to go. They where just great. When we where to come home, they took us to the airport and came in with us to make sure we got checked in correctly. Very impressive. Thank You Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first river cruise and Viking delivers a great experience. The entire staff goes out of their way to make sure your every need is seen to. Our activities director, Clara, was on top of everything at all times and her perky, ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and Viking delivers a great experience. The entire staff goes out of their way to make sure your every need is seen to. Our activities director, Clara, was on top of everything at all times and her perky, funny personality really spiced up the experience. My wife and I actually felt sorry for her because the itinerary had to be changed due to a French national holiday which likely created a lot of extra coordination, but mostly because we kept seeing her have to deal with cranky and sometimes rude passengers. That brings me to the make up of the passengers. This is a couples cruise for the elderly. I would estimate the average age of the passengers was over 70 (some in their 80s). They were probably 99% Americans as well. My wife and I are in our 50s and we were easily the youngest passengers. This wasn't a problem for us and we managed to mingle well with the other passengers but, if you aren't elderly, then you need to understand that a certain amount of patience with cranky people with generally limited mobility on the tours will be necessary. The food was superb and we both felt we ate too much on the cruise. I especially liked the deserts and the waiters were always willing to bring me two so that I could try more than one. The wait staff, especially Daniel, Marius, and Catalina had great funny personalities and we never wanted for anything. Some other reviews have complained that the dinner process was too long but we never felt that way. As for seating, It is true that some people rush after the evening activities briefing to get their favorite seating in the dining room but we never found it a problem. We sat at different tables the first few evenings meeting new people and eventually a group of us and two other couples eventually all started sitting together and it was a great time each evening sharing what we had seen during the day tours. We arrived around noon on the first day and the Concierge, Duro called down and asked for our room to be made up right away. We had lunch in the lounge while waiting. On the last day, our arranged transportation wasn't picking us up until noon but we had to check out of our room by 9 am. The staff took our bags and staged them for us and we offered free light breakfast and lunch in the lounge while waiting for our ride. Some thoughts about the tours: Paris on the first day. This half day tour was just right and the tour guide, Thierry made it very enjoyable. The brief visit to Notre Dame was just right as this is really an over hyped tourist trap that you can get the scope of in 20 minutes. (Yes, it was disappointing for us after having visited so many fantastic churches in Italy and Spain. We went up to the Sacre Coeur basilica on one of our free days and that was far more impressive.) Rouen. A nice walking tour through a charming old town area. The church of Joan of Arc was extremely disappointing. In the free time after the tour, we walked over to the ancient Abbatiale Saint-Ouen which is a beautiful church that is also a monastery. There was a very interesting modern art exhibition in the church that made the stop worthwhile. Normandy. This was a long day but did not disappoint. The US cemetery is in amazing condition and being able to stand on both Omaha and Juno beaches was worth the trip to France. The lunch at the Sixth of June restaurant was very good and we all had a great time. As a caution, you need to understand that you will spend HOURS on the tour bus this day. The restroom on the bus is worthless so make sure you use the ones at the Juno beach museum and at the US cemetery or you may have trouble. Les Andyles. If you can make the walk to the castle ruins, the view is spectacular. The walk is steep and probably a third of the people turned back after a half way up the hill. If you have mobility issues, don't try. Send your spouse up to take pictures and spend your time looking at the old church in the town. Conflan. We didn't go on this tour because we chose the Versailles option. Versailles. If you want to spend time crushed in to a few small rooms with thousands of rude Chinese tourists, this tour is for you. We were there in the off-season so I can only imagine what a god awful experience this would be in the Spring or Summer. The displays were disappointing and the whole place reeked of lack of upkeep. France really doesn't seem to invest much money in their cash cow tourist sites unlike the other great European countries. The one thing that was nice was walking through the gardens. These at least do seem to have some effort underway to restore the various statues and fountains. I want to be clear that our disappointment had nothing to do with Viking or our tour guides. They were doing an admirable job given the circumstances. Louvre. We didn't go on this tour. We had received great advice to avoid it and go to the L'Orangerie and Orsay museums instead which we did on our own time and they did not disappoint. You can buy a pass for both at either of them that offers a discounted rate and they are very near each other. Being able to walk right up to the Van Goghs at the Orsay without crowds in your way was very satisfying. The Starry Night painting is amazing. Vernon. This tour was not available because the Monet properties were closed for the season. Viking took us instead to Auverse-sur-Oise with is were Van Gogh lived near the end of his life. This turned out to be one of the most interesting walking tours of the entire cruise for us. The guides were very knowledgeable and told the story of Vincent very well. The walk up to the cemetery and wheat field may be too much for some with limited mobility so be warned. Thoughts on Paris. We did not do the Viking extension but did spend three nights before and two after the cruise in Paris on our own. The wife and I have been to Italy a few times and Spain as well. Neither of us thought Paris was up to par compared to Florence or the cities of Andalusia for example. Paris is a filthy city with residents who universally walk around town with a scowl on their faces. The food is bland and over priced. Sure, there is some interesting architecture (largely copies along Roman and Greek themes), but you can see that elsewhere. If you go there looking for the most romantic city in the world you may be disappointed. We did enjoy a nice walk from the ship to the Eiffel tower along the water front the first evening on the ship. The lights on the tower are nice in the evening. The neighborhood around the Sacre Coeur was enjoyable. We also spent a day taking the train out to Chartes and had a nice day walking around the old town by the river.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Our flight arrived at Charles de Gaulle about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Viking reps were waiting to welcome us, handle our luggage and get us (4) situated in a new Mercedes van, picking up two additional guests, then taking us on a casual motor ... Read More
Our flight arrived at Charles de Gaulle about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Viking reps were waiting to welcome us, handle our luggage and get us (4) situated in a new Mercedes van, picking up two additional guests, then taking us on a casual motor tour through Paris enroute to the Viking Spirit which was docked within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. We arrived at the ship between 9 - 9:30 (remember cabin is not ready until 2 p.m.). We were welcomed aboard like long lost relatives! We were directed to the lounge and shown how to operate the fantastic coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate, hot tea, etc. machine, which is available around the clock with cookies and/or pastries. Didn't get to finish our first cup of coffee before we were advised that our cabins were ready! Our luggage was waiting for us in our cabin. The cabin and bath were clean as a pin - adequate shelves, drawers and safe. Luggage stored under bed. Bed was excellent. No verandas on this ship and no elevator. After a shower it was time for lunch, a very good buffet. Then we joined a walking tour of the area around the ship with instructions on using the subway. Dinner was outstanding - as it was every night,only to be equaled by breakfast and lunch. I was impressed that after one time at the bar the bartender started pouring Sapphire gin and tonic when he saw us coming. It is impossible to pay enough compliments to the crew. The only word not in their vocabulary is "no". When we left our cabin, if we happened to forget something and returned to the cabin, it had been straightened and "neated up" in the few minutes we had been gone. The attitude of the crew and dining can transform an average cruise into an outstanding one.(not that this cruise was average!) The ship experience was so good I almost didn't want to leave the ship to go on the excursions. The excursions were very good - excursion to Normandy beaches was outstanding. Viking had arranged a special memorial service at the American Cementary. Not a dry eye in the crowd. All excursion ground transportation was on luxury buses. We opted for the Lourve excursion - bus parked right under the museum - went right in with no wait. No delay in getting back to the ship. The day of debarkation we wanted to leave our luggage on the ship while we did more Paris sites as we couldn't check in our hotel (not through Viking) until later in the afternoon. Bea, the ship hotel manager, took charge of keeping our luggage and booked transportation for us to our hotel. When we returned to the ship at 5 p.m. Bea had our luggage already loaded in the van in the pouring rain, and welcomed us back on board to use the restroom and have cup of coffee before standing in the still pouring rain to wave goodbye to us as our van pulled away. So, did we like the cruise? So much that three weeks after returning home we booked the Grand European Tour for 2015. The only vacation even close to Viking was a canal barge trip in France in 2001. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We had previously taken the Rhine River cruise with Viking. I enjoyed it but was left somewhat ambivalent as I really like to have control over my itinerary. This cruise really sold me on what Viking has to offer. After three days in Paris ... Read More
We had previously taken the Rhine River cruise with Viking. I enjoyed it but was left somewhat ambivalent as I really like to have control over my itinerary. This cruise really sold me on what Viking has to offer. After three days in Paris on our own in a rather cramped room with less than friendly personnel, walking onto the Spirit was a delight. (Do they give the crew happy pills every morning?) We were welcomed by Bea, the "hotel" manager and later met the precious Clara, the activity director. The biggest surprise of the week was learning at the end of the cruise that it had been Clara's first week in this position. She had been such a pro - master organizer and information giver. I can't remember other names, but to the one the crew were so cheerful and eager to please all week. Our cabin - #210 - B category (I believe ) did not have the French balcony (we had had one on the earlier cruise), and we did not miss it one bit. I liked the location of our room as it was a quick walk up to the lobby and lounge - further to the dining room.The bed was so comfortable, and there was a place for everything. We were able to put our suitcases and carry-ons under the bed and forget about them. We thought that the food was much better than on the Rhine River cruise - cheers to the chef. Your wine glass is never allowed to go empty; service, overall was impeccable. The tea party with macarons, etc. one afternoon was enjoyable as were all of the on-board activities. We really enjoyed the fellow travelers, about our age for the most part - 50's-70's. As a fellow cruiser said, you meet the nicest people and really feel that you have found your tribe. As far as the itinerary, my husband and I were very pleased. We loved visiting the smaller villages - Giverny, Vernon, and Les Andelys. A high point was Normandy. It would have been great to have had longer there, but it was a long day as it was. Versailles was crowded and chaotic, but we both said we were glad that we went. Another high point was the day sailing from Rouen to Les Andelys - such pretty scenery. I would really like to be able to offer some constructive criticism, but I honestly could not find fault with anything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first cruise of any type beyond a couple of hours ever. Fearing seasickness, my husband was armed with a new medication that he never had to use. The sailing was as smooth as could be. I could not even detect when the ship ... Read More
This was our first cruise of any type beyond a couple of hours ever. Fearing seasickness, my husband was armed with a new medication that he never had to use. The sailing was as smooth as could be. I could not even detect when the ship left port except for the slight sound of the engines. We loved the fact that we could stay in the same room for 7 nights and see so many different sights. We also really liked paying for nearly everything up front, including our airfare. All Viking personnel, from the airport arrival to the airport departure 7 days later, were wonderful to us. The ship's staff worked very well together and were very enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and organized. We received full information both verbally and in writing about our next day's adventures. All walking tours were graded to help us make prudent decisions that matched our mobility. The radio devices to enable us to hear our guide wherever he/she was made every tour a successful one. The food was wonderful and well prepared. Service in every part of the ship was great. The extra events on days that we were sailing kept us learning new things but not overly busy. Sitting on the top deck and watching the shoreline was a favorite activity of our party of four. We are very interested in river cruising again. We have found our comfort level among all the cruises that available, large and small. Thank you, Viking, for a wonderful experience! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We arrived in Paris 4 days before the cruise, stayed at a lovely small boutique hotel close to the port and had a grand time seeing the sights on our own and using tour companies found on TripAdvisor. We traveled by metro and the train, ... Read More
We arrived in Paris 4 days before the cruise, stayed at a lovely small boutique hotel close to the port and had a grand time seeing the sights on our own and using tour companies found on TripAdvisor. We traveled by metro and the train, and it was easy and affordable. I urge everyone to do a before of after Paris visit of several days at least, as there's rather minimal time exploring Paris itself on this cruise. After a 5 minute taxi ride, we arrived at the port at 12:30 pm, were greeted by Patricia the Program Director, and Sascha, the Hotel Manager, and had a nice light lunch in the lounge. We selected a cabin with a large window that could open which was lovely for views along the river. The room was of sufficient size, with plenty of drawers and closet space. Luggage was stored under the bed. There was a 115 V socket and several european sockets. All of our electronic devices worked fine, and we did not need a converter. We did bring adapter plugs. The room was kept clean and tidy, and we paid our housekeeper an extra tip at the end of the trip. As mentioned previously, the hair dryer is not as powerful as we're used to at home but did manage to dry my hair. We utilized the laundry service, as we limted how much we brought along, and it was delivered back to us in perfect condition the next day. The excursions have been reviewed elsewhere. Our favorite was the visit to Monet's house and gardens. The gardens are extraordinary, with an amazing abundance of beautiful flowers. There is also a Paris city bus tour with a stop at Notre Dame, a walking tour through Rouen with a "leisure" group for slow walkers, a visit to the Normandy beaches and museums, a stop in Las Andelys and optional tour to Versailles. I found the shopping best in the 2 stores in Las Andelys, and we took the half day Versailles excursion which we found to be sufficient. Back at the boat, we had breakfast in the dining room, the light lunch in the lounge (there is also lunch in the dining room) and dinner in the dining room. We thought the food was excellent but service a bit slow for dinner, especially for our table of 4, the first one in the middle upon entrance. I suggest avoiding that one, as we were usually the last ones served. People tended to stick with the original table selected on this cruise, so moving seemed like it would be a bit of a challenge. Everyone appeared to be working hard, so it seemed like an additional waiter might have helped. As typical of prior river cruises, onboard entertainment was limited. We attended an interesting lecture on Joan of Arc, a French lesson, a tour of the galley, an optional oyster eating event and a music quiz that was more amusing than expected. There was also a painting class and a piano player in the evening. The last night there were some classically trained singers, who were very good, but I didn't stay for long due to packing requirements. All of the major staff members were personable and helpful. Patricia was very orgainized, with a bubbly personality. A final word on the debarkation: We were assigned a bus for CDG airport 3 hours before the plane's departure. It took 1 hour to get to the airport, and because of a great deal of traffic, left off at Arrivals. Getting through the chaotic maze at CDG was an obstacle course, and even though we were on priority lanes throughout and moved as fast as possible, it took over an hour to get to our gate. Within 10 minutes the plane began boarding. if you prefer a more leisurely airport experience, I strongly recommend getting yourself on a bus that gives you more time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My wife, her 3 sisters, and mother had been on 3 previous Viking River Cruises and loved them all. Despite being a Francophile and loving French cuisine and French music, I had never been to France. This was our honeymoon. When we landed ... Read More
My wife, her 3 sisters, and mother had been on 3 previous Viking River Cruises and loved them all. Despite being a Francophile and loving French cuisine and French music, I had never been to France. This was our honeymoon. When we landed at de Gaulle, we were met by a very courteous Viking representative who accompanied us to and with our transport to the ship. On the ship, we were quickly shown our cabin, which, to my surprise, was quite spacious. My wife had thought that I, being 6'2" would feel cramped. Quite the contrary, I thought the room was just what was needed for this cruise: comfortable with just the right amenities. The crew on the Viking Spirit were extremely friendly, helpful, and courteous. The food on board was wonderful and there was always something for every taste. I should give particular kudos to our Program Director, Sylvie, our concierge, Anna Maria, and our Matre d' (whose name, sadly, I cannot remember). Sylvie was just the right combination of expertise, humor, and deep love of her country, which helped everyone enjoy the cruise that much more. At the completion of the cruise, we extended our stay in Paris for three days, helped by Viking's representatives there. That stay, too, was wonderful. In all our time in France, the food was fabulous, the people were warm and friendly, and the whole experience left me wanting more, which we will have next July when we do the Portraits of Southern France Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Fabulous trip, much more wonderful than we expected! Hotel in Paris (Ampere) was stunning, comfortable and warm. Our Hotel Representative was extremely helpful and pleasant. The service getting to and from the hotel and ship was ... Read More
Fabulous trip, much more wonderful than we expected! Hotel in Paris (Ampere) was stunning, comfortable and warm. Our Hotel Representative was extremely helpful and pleasant. The service getting to and from the hotel and ship was stellar. Once on board we found the staff welcoming and helpful. The other passengers were terrific and we had a great time with all of them. The food was amazing. And when we came back from excursions the staff was waiting with a treat that reflected our tour. Not to be missed -- Monet's gardens in Giverny. Absolutely incredible! We celebrated my husband's birthday on board; a cake was provided for our table, and he received a lovely note from the staff that evening. We were so impressed we booked the Christmas itinerary in December of 2016 in an Explorer Suite! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My wife and I have traveled extensively, and I grew up as an Air Force brat and lived all over the world, so I'd like to propose that I know a little bit about travel, to know when I am being treated well, and to also know when it is ... Read More
My wife and I have traveled extensively, and I grew up as an Air Force brat and lived all over the world, so I'd like to propose that I know a little bit about travel, to know when I am being treated well, and to also know when it is or is not, a problem that the Cruise Company should have handled better. My wife and I enjoyed a Paris to Normandy cruise last year with Viking, and we are going to go on another Viking Cruise in April this year, so that ought to give you an idea of how much we liked Viking. But I've read some absolutely ridiculous and laughable reviews in this website, people claiming that situations were not right, or that various conditions on a river should have been prevented by Viking, ie; 1) One review of the Viking Le Rhone River cruise, said that they were mad about the river being too shallow for the Viking ship to proceed to where it was supposed to go. You have to ask yourself, how was Viking supposed to anticipate that condition? How can the river being shallow, be Viking's fault? The reviewer went on to complain that Viking closed the sun deck too often. Yes, Viking does not allow people on the sun deck when the ship goes through low bridges, but at all other times, the sun deck is always open. Then the reviewer went on to complain that the Captain did not speak English? Hello, you are in Europe and not everyone is going to speak English to you ! 2) Another reviewer complained about being just below the "runner's deck" (must have been referring to the sun deck?) and was aggravated that passengers's that were running, were interrupting their sleep. Hello, didn't you look at the ship's deck plan? When you are on a ship, you are going to find that some people and situations are ok, and scenarios might not be what you would prefer. 3) Another reviewer complained that their room was too small? Hello, didn't you look at the ship's room plan information? There is a large amount of information on the Viking website, showing and describing each room category. Besides, who wants to spend any more time in your stateroom, than you have to, when the lovely sites of each river bank are sliding by? I am not associated with Viking, I am just another Viking customer, but the number of people who do not perform even the slightest amount of research before paying their money to go on these cruises, astounds me! My wife and I generally research trips, to insure that we are going to get the best bang for our buck. If you select a trip, do yourself a favor and research what it is all about, and stop using these forums as a place for you to vent about what you didn't get ! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Viking Spirit (Retired) Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 4.8
Dining 3.0 4.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms N/A 4.8
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Rates 3.0 4.3

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