Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first river cruise, first time with Viking, and first trip to Europe. Throughout the entire journey, the Viking staff was very attentive, well-trained and polite. They truly want their passengers to have a good experience. ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, first time with Viking, and first trip to Europe. Throughout the entire journey, the Viking staff was very attentive, well-trained and polite. They truly want their passengers to have a good experience. The room: We were in Veranda Cabin 339 toward the end of the ship, but still convenient to everything. The room was clean, and up-to-date, with everything working properly. (same with the rest of the ship). We chose to have the balcony room, but I think we would have been fine with the lower level small upper window. However, it was nice to have a view of the shore, and keep an eye on the weather. Good sound-proofing; rarely heard any outside noise. The bathroom is small, thick and thirsty towels, and good bath products. Water pressure was fine, even to wash and rinse my long hair. Hairdryer is provided. The food: Food was very good, featuring the regional favorites, which I enjoyed since almost all our meals for the 8 days would be onboard, and I wanted some French cuisine. Each night there are varying chef specialties on the right hand side of the menu. The Chateaubriand was incredible. My favorite was the Goat Cheese Souffle. I ordered two! Order them while you can, because they are not repeated. The left side of the menu has more basic items, that are repeated each night. A similar light buffet is also an option. Alcoholic Beverages: We opted not to get the Silver Spirits Beverage package, but those who did, said it's a better value than other cruise lines. We occasionally ordered a drink, since I like sparkling wines, and they were not offered in the free wine that comes with lunch and dinner. In addition, there are times the crew provides free bubbly for toasting, or a small cocktail sample as we returned from a shore excursion. There were also free mimosas on the breakfast buffet. Crowding: There is none. You don't have to rush anywhere to save a seat. Getting on and off the ship is a breeze. Not like the cattle call of an ocean liner. Just show up where you need to be and there will be room for you. We booked our excursions in advance, but I believe that on most of them, you could still sign up the day of. Onboard Entertainment. There is a low-key piano man in the lounge. Plus a few other nightly programs such as learning French phrases, learning about cheeses, and one we didn't do: a watercolor painting class. Also dancing one night. The entertainment is one area that could use some improvement, however, it was not a high priority for us. As for in-room TV, I watched a few travel videos, but didn't spend any time watching TV or movies. Hey, it took me 58 years to get to France, and I'm not going to watch movies. In our limited free time, I planned our next day and wrote down our adventures in my travel journal. Wi-fi was not great, but this was my time to disconnect. Shore Excursions: We did the following included tours: Napoleon's Chateau de Malmaison (very interesting), Vernon Walking Tour (visited a Cathedral, with a little free time to shop), Monet Foundation Giverney (my absolute HIGHLIGHT of this trip--the Gardens were SPECTACULAR! with enough time to enjoy them), Normandy Beaches US. (good overview, but not much time spent at each stop). Panoramic Paris day trip (saw some highlights of the City, but yikes, only 15 minutes at the Eiffel Tower !?!). We paid extra for some upgraded tours: Rouen Farm and Countryside (toured the apple farm, watched a border collie herd sheep, sampled hard cider and Calvados apple brandy with a few light bites including a small apple tart.) La Roche Guyon (nice ride in the countryside to tour a Chateau, probably the least memorable of our excursions) and Paris by Night (hmm...City of Light? Saw many of the same buildings as the day trip, and only 10 minutes at the Eiffel Tower) Tour Guides & Devices: All of our tour guides did a good job, definitely looking out to not lose anybody in narrow streets and passageways. Helping those with mobility issues. You're provided an audio device to wear for each guided tour that you keep charged up in your room. Considering retirees are not always the sharpest in learning electronics, these were pretty easy to use, with minimal problems getting people hooked up, and we could hear well throughout each excursion. Weather: there is a reason Europe is so green and beautiful. It rains a lot. So be prepared with layers. Viking crew members hand you an umbrella as you depart for each excursion, if you want one. We knew the forecast for our trip was not great, but decided to have a great time anyway, and never really got poured on. Only had about a day and half of sunshine. Shipmates: At age 62 & 58, my husband and I were one of the youngest couples onboard. Almost all retirees, but fun, active, well-behaved pleasant people we enjoyed getting to know. Almost all of them had taken multiple Viking cruises! It's open seating, so use the opportunity to get to know some wonderful people and find out about their travels. Their are no children on Viking ships. I also noticed that not one person had any complaints about anything not working properly in their rooms or on the ship. Everyone seemed to be very happy. Crew: None stood out at huge personalities, but all were attentive and if anyone had a need, they were on it. Magali, our activities director, was working hard around the clock to make sure everyone was happy with their experience. Oftentimes, the Captain himself and other crew members greeted us as we returned each day. The Executive Chef was always present too, with food demos, explaining the specials, and even helping load luggage as we departed. Everyone seemed to be very happy. If there were any behind-the-scenes problems, we were never aware of them. What you don't have on the Rinda: No spa, no pool, no fitness center, no casino, no sales pitches. Negatives: The itinerary for Paris and Normandy lists Paris three times. The reality is that you will be nowhere near the heart of the city on the first two days. Timing was bad to have the only full day and night there on the last day of the cruise. If you really want to explore the main attractions in the heart of the city, you would need to add additional days. Tips to Viking: A photographer would be a nice addition to capture trip highlights. Although I don't need a full-service spa, a couple massage therapists with a massage chair would be awesome to work out those aches and pains. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We enjoyed the pre-tour of Paris. It gave us time to relax and adjust to the time change before we sailed. The tour director was great, always available to help with our questions. We liked the choices of tours included with the cruise. ... Read More
We enjoyed the pre-tour of Paris. It gave us time to relax and adjust to the time change before we sailed. The tour director was great, always available to help with our questions. We liked the choices of tours included with the cruise. The food was very good, with very helpful waiters for custom requests. This was our third cruise followed by our fourth on Viking after we took the bullet train to southern France for another cruise. We appreciate the fact that almost everything was included in the price. The evening entertainment was good when there was something available but we would have would have enjoyed more local entertainment brought in and more talks on the local food and culture. Always having beverages available was a nice convenience - especially including cookies or muffins or some type of snacks we could just go and pick up. We are looking forward to one of your ocean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This was a "Congratulations on Your Retirement" cruise to myself and I took one of my daughters. Very different to the two Ocean Cruises that I had take before, which I expected, and I welcomed the change of experience Most of ... Read More
This was a "Congratulations on Your Retirement" cruise to myself and I took one of my daughters. Very different to the two Ocean Cruises that I had take before, which I expected, and I welcomed the change of experience Most of the cruise was wonderful - see other sections of this review for specifics. We cruised from Paris (wonderful to see), and the end destination was the Beaches at Normandy which was so moving. Lots great stops along the way in small villages and at Monet's Garden - fabulous, brought a print home to remind me of this trip! Truly loved all of the old architecture. Everything was wonderful about this vacation with the following exceptions: One of the reasons that I booked this trip was the option to see "Downton Abbey", It ended up near the end of the booking that this side excursion was not available. It turned out that Viking knew all along that this excursion might not be an option, they just hoped it would be available for booking. I felt kind of duped, but such is life and our Travel Agent was able to book us on a similar experience. The food was less than expected. Some meals were very good, some were mediocre. The chicken at dinner had no flavor and tasted like it had been boiled. The scrambled eggs at the breakfast buffet were always cold. Desserts were always excellent!! Not everything can be perfect. The worst experience happened after our return and it is the reason I will not cruise with Viking again. I purchased binoculars at the ship's store as a gift to my granddaughter who was interested in bird watching. When I got home I found that the piece on top between the lenses that you use to focus never did become clear. It was also difficult for me to move that piece and would have been impossible for a 6-year old. They sent me another pair but in spite of asking that they check it for this problem, it arrived with the same issue. I then asked for a refund, and was told that I'd have to mail the defective binoculars back to them and I would have to pay for the postage. I questioned the "Customer Service" agent, Kayla, and while she wasn't overly rude. she stood firm that this was their policy. So, for what should have been a $19 refund, I got a $7.37 refund after postage. This isn't about the money, it's about their requirement that I cover the postage to return something I bought from them that was defective. After what I spent on the cruise it seems unbelievably cheap. For the sake of $11.63 postage, they have lost a future customer. Doesn't seem like good business to me!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our second Viking cruise. The first was from Switzerland to Amsterdam a few years ago, and it was wonderful in all respects. The Paris to Normandy cruise was not as good. No issue with the room, which was nice and well ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise. The first was from Switzerland to Amsterdam a few years ago, and it was wonderful in all respects. The Paris to Normandy cruise was not as good. No issue with the room, which was nice and well maintained (except for difficulty flushing the toilet). The onboard entertainment was sparse but of good quality, the ports of call were interesting, and the excursions also were fine and well run. However, the ambiance on the ship was bland, the staff was not particularly ingratiating, and the food was certainly nothing special. Nothing was dramatically bad, but it was not particularly welcoming or positive, and certainly not up to the standard set on our prior cruise. Now that we are a few months removed from the cruise, I realize that it just was bland and not exciting, although Normandy was moving and the excursions along the way were enjoyable. We also extended the trip in Paris, and truly enjoyed those extra days and the city. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We picked this cruise because Normandy was on my husbands bucket list. We were definitely surprised with how easy Viking made everything . . . met us at the airport, all the shuttle services, dropped us at the airport, walked us to our ... Read More
We picked this cruise because Normandy was on my husbands bucket list. We were definitely surprised with how easy Viking made everything . . . met us at the airport, all the shuttle services, dropped us at the airport, walked us to our check-in line, dealt with our air reservations . . . this is the easiest vacation ever planned! The crew was knowledgeable, helpful, attentive, and hilarious! Loved this crew - what chemistry! The food was beyond my expectations, not only the buffet but the ability to order off a menu . . . the chef took all likes, dislikes, allergies, gastro issues in to account. The food and wine was abundant and delicious. The rooms were clean, well-designed, the bed and pillows were so comfortable! Plenty of room to unpack and relax. Our only issue was that we booked for a cabin of 205sf, upon measuring (even including the veranda, closet, bathroom - wall to wall to water), the room did not measure - about 30sf short. Another guest who had a smaller room had done the same and said they were about 30sf short. Did ask how they measure, never received an answer, even from customer service when we returned. That being said, we are booked for another Viking cruise in May 2018. Cannot wait! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
Primarily to go to Normandy. I love history and besides Normandy it was going to see various cathedrals, crypts, area where Joan of Arc was burned to death that held my attention. Also, seeing Monet's garden was spectacular. ... Read More
Primarily to go to Normandy. I love history and besides Normandy it was going to see various cathedrals, crypts, area where Joan of Arc was burned to death that held my attention. Also, seeing Monet's garden was spectacular. Richard the Lion Hearted's 'unauthorized castle' was a great experience and our guide gave a great lecture of the history and how England lost it. Actually, all our guides were great and very patient w/my continuous questions. On board life and service was always GOOD to EXCELLENT. I had thought of hiding under a bed in order to stay, but by now Viking would have drained my credit card and I would be chained to the oars. Viking may be the best Cruise lines at this time due to great staff, and attention to comfort plus included tours but I fear w/success will come complacency and indifference and I have noticed on some cruises a little flagging of morale. Keep the troops motivated. Good Job, so far, Viking. See you in November 2017 for Israel & March 2018 for Egypt. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise to see Paris and to experience the D-Day beaches at Normandy.. The ship was very comfortable and the on board service was very good. The room was clean and very comfortable with a great shower. The food was ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see Paris and to experience the D-Day beaches at Normandy.. The ship was very comfortable and the on board service was very good. The room was clean and very comfortable with a great shower. The food was excellent. We were well taken care of by the staff. Several of the optional and included tours on shore occurred simultaneously meaning that we had to make a choice and in at least one case missed an included tour. A cruiser should be able to attend all included tours. When compared to other tours and river cruises this tour was a little light on cultural experiences. We go on tours for the cultural and historic experiences. The tour of Pais and Versailles were very good with an excellent local guide. I don't remember his name ( perhaps, Lief?) but he was excellent - a Swedish man. The Normandy beaches tour was a bit rushed and the local guide provided little insight as to the war experience.His information was unenthusiastic, and he was difficult to understand. He only began to add additional information about the countryside, etc, when the program director switched to our bus. We did get to walk on Omaha Beach and visit the American Cemetery. This was a cool experience on a personal level. The use of name tags on the ship would have been useful in making connections with fellow tourists. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise for value, itinerary, timing. We opted for the three night extension in Paris at the lovely Hotel Rochester, 2 blocks from the Champs Elysee, which was expensive but included transportation, a concierge, and a terrific ... Read More
We chose this cruise for value, itinerary, timing. We opted for the three night extension in Paris at the lovely Hotel Rochester, 2 blocks from the Champs Elysee, which was expensive but included transportation, a concierge, and a terrific walking tour, so a good value. It gives you time to make sure your flight arrives in time, a chance to catch up on sleep, and an orientation. I didn't know the docking was in a distant suburb when we booked, but Viking provided a shuttle and we discovered the RER train is about a mile from the ship and much faster. Having been to Paris previously we knew the train/metro/bus system which is really easy to navigate. This was our first river cruise and friends had recommended Viking. Another positive about the pre-extension was that we met a great group of people that we loved and hung out with the whole time. We became such food friends that we have just booked another Viking cruise with the whole group for next year. Our ship had mechanical problems which delayed leaving le Pecq, but Viking added activities (kudos to them, they produced them pretty much on the spot), and made up tours we missed. The crew and service staff was absolutely flawless. We had only praise for them. The food was fabulous. Can't say enough good things about everyone. One negative is the long amount of bus time, especially on Normandy day when there are no stops in a 21/2 hour bus ride - a problem in a bus full of seniors who have to pee frequently! If you take this tour, watch your fluids for 24 hours before you go! Some of the included walking tours were not very exciting. In addition the guides have to sync with a device that didn't always work well. We left a couple of tours and went off on our own because they were slow or boring. The best were the guide in Normandy (fantastic) and the guide who walked us through the Marais in Paris on our first morning (extremely detailed and interesting). Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
The choice of optional and regular excurisions were not as great as other cruises we have been on. Otherwise, the ship was great, service was great and the food was good. It seemed to me that Viking wanted to put a river boat on the Rhone ... Read More
The choice of optional and regular excurisions were not as great as other cruises we have been on. Otherwise, the ship was great, service was great and the food was good. It seemed to me that Viking wanted to put a river boat on the Rhone river and then tried to come up with things to show their passengers. Some of the tours were too long. Some were too boring others were very good. The tour that sticks out in my memory is when we went to tour the Papal Palace. That was interesting and about the right length of time. The first day we went to an abbey. That tour was long and then we were given too much free time with noghting to do. It was a long day and we had to drive all the waay back to Lyon. We were beat by the time we returned to the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
Heard good things about Viking. Everything was very nice EXCEPT the horrifying drive to the airport from river boat. THE DRIVER WAS THE WORST!!!!! So many asked that he slow down, and be cautious. He did not seem to care, taking turns as ... Read More
Heard good things about Viking. Everything was very nice EXCEPT the horrifying drive to the airport from river boat. THE DRIVER WAS THE WORST!!!!! So many asked that he slow down, and be cautious. He did not seem to care, taking turns as fast as he could. I hope you look into this driver before he kills someone! Crew was wonderful, accommodating, and gracious. They seemed to know what we wanted before we did. Cabin was always nice and clean. Bartender was terrific, and such a good memory. The excursions were so informative, getting us all in touch with history and the beautiful country of France. The guides spoke great English and were there to make sure we all had a good time. What a nice touch to be greeted with a warm terry towel when returning from an outing. We will definitely recommend Viking to friends and family, the service is unsurpassed! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
Had a friend who had taken a river cruise in Germany. Very impressed with Viking and taking another ocean cruise in May 2017. This river cruise was after a 7 day cruise on the Delling. Enjoyed Delling more mostly because of the place ... Read More
Had a friend who had taken a river cruise in Germany. Very impressed with Viking and taking another ocean cruise in May 2017. This river cruise was after a 7 day cruise on the Delling. Enjoyed Delling more mostly because of the place visited in southern France. Staff and facilities on both ships were excellent. Staff seemed to anticipate guest needs. The food was superb and chef and staff very friendly and helpful. The cabins were comfortable and bathroom and shower were above average. Enjoyed Normandy the most even though it was a long bus trip. Gave us enough time to see all the sites and do any shopping we wished to do. Paris was so large and could only do a limited number of tours but feel received best value for tours I was on. Also Paris was very crowded. Loved Notre Dame and had the best shopping. The guides on the tours were all very knowledgeable and very friendly. Overall a very wonderful vacation. Impressed with Viking so am on another ocean cruise in May 2017. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
France's Finest started in Marseilles and went to Lyon. Then a transfer by TGV (high speed train to Le Peq to catch the Rinda. The first comment that I have is that Le Peq isn't Paris, or even very close. The times that we took ... Read More
France's Finest started in Marseilles and went to Lyon. Then a transfer by TGV (high speed train to Le Peq to catch the Rinda. The first comment that I have is that Le Peq isn't Paris, or even very close. The times that we took the bus in to Paris it took just over an hour each way, because of traffic. Destroys tours that are slated to be four hours. The optional tour for the City Highlights and the Louvre is a waste of time and money. After five hours of 'touring', we saw the inside of Notre Dame and had lunch. Lunch, at a café, was a very dry piece of white meat partially covered in tomato sauce. Could have been from a can. There was also a scoop of very undercooked rice. Two passengers thought for sure it was Minute Rice. The best part of the lunch was that you could get a beer. Ultimately we had less that one and three quarter hours in the Louvre. We really only had time to see the big three (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory) and a couple of other things the guide thought were interesting. Again, the tour was a waste of time and money. Do a pre or post extension and do the Louvre on your own. Also, on the option tour of Versailles, with a worker strike warning for the day of the tour, the time was shortened by an hour. They offered to cancel and refund the money and we took that option. The tour did get in but only for three hours. We did the tour during our post extension and spent an entire day there and we could have spent more time in the gardens. All the other packaged tours were very good. The all day Normandy tour was excellent. We would have liked more time there but it took over two hours each way to get there by bus so I understand why times were as they were. The other thing that bothered us some was that there were basically four nights in Le Peq and two nights in Rouen. All four nights in Le Peq we had a very nice view from our veranda of a parking lot, police station, brassiere, and super market. I would also like to add that the dining room staff was excellent. Since we always sat in the same section, our servers figured out what we liked and met those needs. Also it would be nice if there were tables for two or four. Sometimes, you just feel like having a quiet dinner for two rather than having to converse with for or more other people. I don't think I would take this section of the cruise again. I might think about doing a few days in Paris and then stay in the Normandy are for a couple of days to see more sights there. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
First time on Viking, but I have been on many other ocean and river cruises. Viking is pricey, but decided to try them due to included wine, beer and most excursions. Viking delivered in terms of personal service, delicious foods, ... Read More
First time on Viking, but I have been on many other ocean and river cruises. Viking is pricey, but decided to try them due to included wine, beer and most excursions. Viking delivered in terms of personal service, delicious foods, organization, beautiful ship and great itinerary. Viking did not deliver in terms of included wines. They tasted like water, so we had to buy wines at local stores. This is one of the main reasons why I did not rate the cruise as excellent. For that price, you should get decent wine. The staff was magnificent. The cocktails were excellent. The excursions were great. It would be nice if Viking had some tables for two or four in the main dining room for those of us who do not want to repeat our life stories to strangers every day. Pastries at the coffee bar were great. It would also be nice if Viking had iced tea or other soft drinks available for those who do not drink coffee and hot tea. I would cruise on Viking again. I just hope they upgrade the wine or provide a choice of included wines with meals. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
Second time Viking cruise; wanted to visit Amsterdam and many other cities along the Rhine river. We arrived two days before the cruise and stayed in Amsterdam. Visited many of the sights including a canal boat ride. Windmills were ... Read More
Second time Viking cruise; wanted to visit Amsterdam and many other cities along the Rhine river. We arrived two days before the cruise and stayed in Amsterdam. Visited many of the sights including a canal boat ride. Windmills were interesting and castles, forts etc. Our boat was the Rinda, a newer boat and was very clean and smooth. We made the mistake of arriving in the early (7 AM) morning in Amsterdam and couldn't check into our room until 3:00 PM. It was raining in Amsterdam; as a consequence, most of our time was spent in the Lobby of the Hotel. Service on board was excellent; the crew went out of their way to accommodate us with morning room coffee etc. Dining was excellent with a wide selection of local food, wine and beer. Hope to sail with Viking soon, also would like to check out Viking's Ocean Cruises. Viking is the only way to travel. Hope the come to the US and give our rivers a visit. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The primary reason we took the cruise was to visit Normandy. We did the pre stay in Paris. The hotel was in an ideal location next to the Eiffel Tower. It was also close to a metro stop that allowed easy access to all of Paris. Also ... Read More
The primary reason we took the cruise was to visit Normandy. We did the pre stay in Paris. The hotel was in an ideal location next to the Eiffel Tower. It was also close to a metro stop that allowed easy access to all of Paris. Also close to several bus routes. The location of the ship in Le Pecq is not real convenient. Shuttles into Paris are provided. Since we had explored so much of Paris prior to boarding this was not an inconvience. We took the provided transportation from the hotel to the ship. There is the option have them transport your luggage and stay the remainder of the day in Paris since the ship does not sail. Take the train to the ship later in the day which gives more time in Paris. The ship and accomodations are what we experienced on previous Viking cruises. The staff was very friendly and helpful. No complaints. Cruising feels minimal after cruising on the Rhine/Danube. We did experience some river issues. Have to be prepared for interruptions by Mother Nature. The crew is great at making adjustments in schedules when these interruptions occur. The highlights of the trip were the visit to Giverney and of course Normandy. Loved the gardens at Givereny and the tour of Monet's home. Viking guides are excellent and very informative. The visit to Normandy was a very moving experience and one that I will never forget. Viking does a wonderful job making this quite memorable. If you want to visit the visitor center budget your time as there is security screening to enter. Must be aware of this in many places now. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Paris and the Heart of Normandy aboard the Viking Rinda. April 20-27, 2016 OK, we’re not rookies at this… this is our fifth Viking cruise, and this was our least favorite of the batch. Not Viking’s fault, it’s just that ... Read More
Paris and the Heart of Normandy aboard the Viking Rinda. April 20-27, 2016 OK, we’re not rookies at this… this is our fifth Viking cruise, and this was our least favorite of the batch. Not Viking’s fault, it’s just that this itinerary wasn’t the greatest – the river is tree-lined, not much traffic compared to other rivers. There was one castle (Richard the Lion Hearted), whereas the Danube and Rhine have one every couple of miles, it seems, with more open banks to see the sights. The crew was fine and professional, but former crews made me feel very “long-lost cousin” welcome (sneak you another pudding?) that had me reaching deep into my wallet at the end of the wonderful week. Two memorable visits to Giverny and the D-day beaches, some ordinary towns. Changes we didn’t appreciate: bring back the bordello lavender soap, you cheapskates! Introduce the crew, for crying out loud! Those dishwashers deserve their moment in the sun, and so do the cooking staff- we’ve had standing ovations in the past for the soup chef and baker….. You’re in France, don’t you think you can get some better wine? I sure can, even if it’s not made by my cousin…. Have a wine tasting, then call ahead to get a few cases of the winners for dinner that night – how hard is that? What happened to the tour the kitchen and shop with the chef? Don’t use liability as an excuse…. There’s some pretty good shopping across the bridge in La Peq – isn’t anyone going to tell the passengers? Maybe a map? Log of the journey: April 20 – Arrive CDG at 1:00, bus with 6 people total, two of whom live in our old home town. Arrive at longship at 2:00 in beautiful downtown La Peq(just kidding). Light lunch of sandwiches, artichoke soup (not that good). Looks like the baker is a winner. 3:00 – bus up hill to Ste Germaine a mile away. Don’t miss this trip, the castle is pretty good and the museum in the chapel is worth the trip. Specializing in stone carvings going back to Roman times. Church across street is good, where James II died, maybe. Dinner: cheese plate, sea bass, chocolate pudding. Very good Camembert…. And to jet-lagged bed. April 21 – Possible tour of Paris, maybe back for lunch (hour each way) or lunch on your own. SUGGESTION for Viking: for anybody comfortable on your own, run a shuttle the mile to the RER station and we’ll take care of ourselves! Since we were in Paris for a few days last year, we opt for the feet up and relaxing day. For lunch, on the internet and find Creperie La Peq. Directions: out the ship, turn left and go downriver a couple hundred yards on the walkway until the sidewalk ends at the apartments, then turn right a block and go to the main street. See the shopping center across the street? Top floor has the creperie and an organic grocery. The proprietor greeted us with a Kir / cider, then we split a Cheese / ham crepe, then ended with a Calvados flaming apple crepe, washed down with some more cider. Know your NBA, the chef’s a fan. He gave us all the drinks as a welcome, and I rarely leave a 40% tip, but I want this guy to stay in business…. Go there! Stop at the flower shop and price flowers for the stateroom, decide to do without. Go to MonoPrix, buy some cough drops for my cold and some brandy for the stateroom. Dinner: boullabaise (ex), shrimp(ex), veal tenderloin(ex), and a Grand Marnier soufflé for dessert. Gonna be a long week if they’re all this good. Meanwhile, we’re cruising – up river where we’re pointing, through the locks to a place wide enough to turn around, then back through the locks. Maybe use a shorter boat, like on the Doure? Some discussion at briefing and dinner about the docking in La Peq vs. the promised “next to the Eiffel Tower”. My view is that the manager whose palm had been greased died/ retired/ got caught, since it is hard to believe that the size of the longship was never matched to the size of the river. Some people heard about La Peq in advance, some didn’t. We didn’t, but we read cruise critic, and you should, too. April 22 – Vernon and Giverny. Giverny – magnificent gardens even in late April (pansies and a lot of bulbs – the gardeners here know their stuff) Be aware that in summer you get in a long line and shuffle your feet for a couple of hours to get around the ponds, because everyone wants a selfie on the bridge. Silk scarves a decent buy, according to the missus. Lunch: Mussels! Normandy mixed pork fry, chocolate fountain, olives/ tapenade/ cheese board. Dang! Vernon: waddle out on tour of the timbered houses. Houses lean on each other for support. Decent tour, old church has most of its windows blown out in WW II, replaced by poor modern designs. Caution: irregular floor in church. Stop at the memorial next to the ship, read, and thank a veteran – British in this case. Dinner: Cheese, dry pork t-loin, some asparagus soup that never came, wanted flan but got ice cream. Crummy wines. During dinner, we move so we’re the 3rd ship out from the pier now. April 23 – Vernon to Rouen. Up at 7 for some coffee and birding in the lounge. Lecture on the life of Joan of Arc at 10, half listen while I have the binoculars at the ready. Lunch: Smoked fish, 2 kinds! Dang… Arrive Rouen, walk around. Have one of the guides who stops every block to deliver a 15 minute lecture, so I go on my own again, and see 2 churches that the group doesn’t (the Abbey has a good art museum inside), finally meet up with my wife again at the Joan of Arc church (modern, cool..) Decent street market near the Joan of Arc. Pretty decent town, and the cathedral is not to be missed. The carillon was down for repair, and that whole business was fascinating (science teacher, what can I say…) Dinner: Grilled shrimp with flavorless soufflé / hollandaise, halibut with underdone risotto, chocolate tart. Another great cheese plate. Should put the cheese guy in charge of the wine, too. April 24 – Dday beaches on the bucket list. Breakfast moved up to 6:30 to help with the 2 hour bus ride starting at 8. View Juno beach, then the Omaha museum. Rush through the museum to get an idea, then get in line for the movie, then you get another half hour for the museum parts you like. Building has tanks and artillery on outside, view of sunken piers rusting offshore (see, I have binoculars…) Toilet across street is decently clean, donation requested. Walk a block to restaurant, lunch upstairs (ordinary chicken and vegetables, lot better wine than the ship). Back on the bus, off to the bunkers, then the memorial gardens and a few thousand white crosses to ponder, all younger than you. Viking gives you a rose to place wherever you choose, so Ernie from Michigan is awarded the honor. And geez, there’s a lot of “known but to God” crosses….. Back in the bus for one more minor stop, then the 2 hour grind back to the ship. A double aquavit from the bar gets my temperature back up to normal (40, misty, windy) Dinner backed up a half an hour: onion soup, beef burgundy, chocolate pudding, all good. April 25 – Rouen to Les Andelys. Leisure breakfast, cruising. I generally have the same thing every morning –a coffee from the machine (better than the dining room), then a couple of croissants to start with the excellent butter, a couple of salmon plates (take a fork along to get extra onions), then some of the salami and cheese. The fruit is pretty much unripe at this time of year. Disembarking briefing at 10, lemon tart demonstration at 11 (hard area at end of bar, if you want a good seat). This is when I find out from the director that we’re skipping Conflans “to give more time to Les Andelys”. When we dock after lunch, I last one block on the tour as we PASS the church to go someplace else. I quit, enter and enjoy the church, then hike inland a bit (the town is in a valley about 3 blocks wide, can’t get lost) I see the veteran’s memorial and cemetery in town, the tour didn’t. I wasn’t going up to Richard’s castle, since it’s still 40 and windy anyway. There’s a little bit of souvenir shopping a block from the ship, but not much. Dinner: 5 course. Pot pie chicken, lobster Bisque, Filet, Crepe suzettes/brulee, cheese – all good to ex. April 26 – back in La Peq, and visit pharmacy near MonoPrix for some allergy meds. Lunch is fish/chips, mushy peas, chick consommé (good) Shuttle to Paris at 2, and we get dropped about a mile from the island. Hike there, downwind, and we’re getting some hail/snow (groppel) on the way, buy our soccer shirts for the grandkids, and return upwind with no snow but misty. 45 minute walk…. Last dinner: Escargots (in pastry, not that good), Lamb shanks (ok) with some kind of carrot mash, raspberry cake(ex). Same crummy wines. April 27 – departure is professional and swift, Viking knows how to do it. On our last Viking cruise on the Rhone, we got in the habit of buying a bottle of 10 euro wine, a mini-baguette, some olives, a piece of Rocquefort (we were with friends). We’d return to the ship about 4, and the bartender would open the wine and give us 4 glasses. I recommend that. Warning: we had a 2nd deck veranda, even though it was April and we figured we’d never use it. In La Peq, the pier came right about the level of our guardrail for 2 days. On three days, we were the “2nd ship out from the pier” and our nice big window faced another nice big window 10 feet away, and you have to climb up to the top deck and cross over the other ship, then back down one flight. This is not particularly handicapped friendly for anyone, so be warned. If you use a chair/walker, you’re in trouble. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go back to Paris and go on a river cruise. This was a great choice. The transfers from the airport to the ship was very smooth as well as the embarkation procedure. The crew were very friendly and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go back to Paris and go on a river cruise. This was a great choice. The transfers from the airport to the ship was very smooth as well as the embarkation procedure. The crew were very friendly and welcoming. The ship was clean and very comfortable. Our cabin was very well maintained. The food was ok, however I expected better considering we were in France. I especially expected better desserts. We loved all the ports we visited. They were charming and inviting. We would have like to spend more time in the cities we visited, especially Giverny, Les Andelays and Arromanches. The excursion were very informative and the guides were wonderful. Not the type of cruise for children, as there is not a lot of entertainment. I would definitely love to do another river cruise on Viking. The only thing I would complain about is that the internet connection was terrible. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We love the river cruises because they are so relaxing and you see so much more of the countryside. We had been on the Grand European Cruise the year before and absolutely loved it, So we decided to go on another cruise. We always wanted ... Read More
We love the river cruises because they are so relaxing and you see so much more of the countryside. We had been on the Grand European Cruise the year before and absolutely loved it, So we decided to go on another cruise. We always wanted to go to Normandy so the is why we chose Paris to Normandy.. Were really enjoyed all the sights, especially Normandy. Normandy was very moving emotionally but very rewarding. We loved it. It was a long day, but totally worth it. Paris was wonderful and the sights are marvelous! We always had plenty of time on our own. The other ports were wonderful also. The food was delicious and the wines always complimented the food. The people on the cruise were all so nice and friendly. The crew was exceptional. They were so accommodating to us. The cruise line has the departure plan down to a science and it works beautifully. This was a wonderful cruise to celeste our 50th wedding anniversary. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
The boat, food and crew were excellent. The overall experience was very positive but thought some things needed to be said. First off, as in other reviews, leaving from Le Pecq and not Paris was a huge disappointment. The area in Le ... Read More
The boat, food and crew were excellent. The overall experience was very positive but thought some things needed to be said. First off, as in other reviews, leaving from Le Pecq and not Paris was a huge disappointment. The area in Le Pecq was really awful and our veranda room looked at a area under the dock for much of the time. We couldn't even use it because an RV was parked outside with people living in it. (Viking needs to have that removed). Actually for the 8 days we only stepped on the balcony a couple of times since the views were of docks, other boats, or it was night time with nothing to see. For this itinerary, the extra $1000 for the room over a French Balcony was wasted. The bus ride to Paris was almost an hour with traffic. Made the bus time too long versus site seeing time. Shore excursions were good, just be prepared with good shoes and to ride buses and walk a lot. The local guides were awesome. The Van Gogh excursion was great but thought it was weird that the boat traveled the river to meet us at our next destination so we missed that whole area of the Seine. Normandy excursion to Omaha beach was the highlight, but it was a long bus ride leaving at 8am and getting back at 645pm. We took the bus to Normandy from Rouen which made no sense since we had so much of the Seine to see north of the city. Didn't really understand why the boat seemed docked more than cruising and actually only went Le Pecq to Rouen and back to Le Pecq. Only had two times where scenic cruising was and it was of the same area going North and South. Guillermo the Director was good at explaining the plans and the chef, Bogdan and Hristo were also great in the dining area. Bottom line is if you want relaxing river time this itinerary is not for you. We will book again with Viking for the Rhine, Main or Danube trips. Met some great people on the trip and have some great memories. The hotel used for the 3 day post cruise was awesome and in a great location. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We took the Paris and the Heart of Normandy cruise on October 26. Our real disappointment was the location of the dock. It was several miles outside of Paris which made it hard to visit the City whenever we wanted. That being said, the ... Read More
We took the Paris and the Heart of Normandy cruise on October 26. Our real disappointment was the location of the dock. It was several miles outside of Paris which made it hard to visit the City whenever we wanted. That being said, the cruise, the staff, the food, and the scenery was wonderful. One of the best stops was the home of Monet and viewing his beautiful garden. Even though it was the end of the season (winter was fast approaching), we could still see the beauty in the garden. From every angle there was a new scene to paint or photograph. No wonder Monet spent so much time there. The next favorite thing was the shopping trip to a local market with the Chef. It was most interesting and informative. Of course, the main destination and main attraction was the Cemetery and Beaches of Normandy. We toured Omaha beach and the American Cemetery, where we had a private tribute to the brave men who gave so much there 70 years ago. This was one of the most moving and emotional parts of the trip. Visiting the almost 10,000 graves of American Soldiers who died there and seeing the wall listing the thousands of names of those who could not be located. We were disappointed only in that our visit was too short. We wish Viking would allow 2 days to see all of this. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Cruise from Paris to Normandy and back. Unfortunately we were unable to depart from the normal location in Paris and had to go to a place about 45 minutes from Paris; thus limiting our ability to explore the sights of that wonderful city. ... Read More
Cruise from Paris to Normandy and back. Unfortunately we were unable to depart from the normal location in Paris and had to go to a place about 45 minutes from Paris; thus limiting our ability to explore the sights of that wonderful city. The cruise was wonderful and the food exquisite. As always, the crew was magnificent. The sights along the Seine were magnificent. I enjoyed the scenery along the cruise better than any other cruise on which I have sailed. Every view was like a painting. The colors, the trees, the homes and cottages were all beautiful. I especially enjoyed the tour of Monet's garden and pond. What a beautiful place. And, the American Cemetery at Normandy was terribly moving. It's hard to imagine what really happened there so many years ago. What brave and dedicated soldiers. My only complaint was we didn't get enough time at Normandy, the highlight of the cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
As a Francophile, I wanted to be able to experience as much French as possible. I enjoyed the sites we saw, the tour guides were excellent, but the thing I enjoyed the most was getting away from the ship and going out on our own to see ... Read More
As a Francophile, I wanted to be able to experience as much French as possible. I enjoyed the sites we saw, the tour guides were excellent, but the thing I enjoyed the most was getting away from the ship and going out on our own to see what we could discover. If you are an adventurous person, this might not be the cruise for you. It was mostly older Americans, and since my cabin mate was in her 40's, we started calling it "The Senior Citizens' Float Trip." I was disappointed that I couldn't speak French on board, as most of the staff were not Francophone, even though they were lovely young people from all over. We actually did very little cruising, which I also should have anticipated, since Normandy is not that far from Paris. Overall, I would recommend this cruise if you want someone to do all of your planning for you and you want to be well taken care of. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Rinda is clean, big and new. Excellent dining options. Staff is courteous, entertaining, knowledgeable and always willing to help. Our cruise director Michael is clearly enthusiastic about the subject matter (he's a history buff), and ... Read More
Rinda is clean, big and new. Excellent dining options. Staff is courteous, entertaining, knowledgeable and always willing to help. Our cruise director Michael is clearly enthusiastic about the subject matter (he's a history buff), and gave many informative lectures. The staff also gave up tips on our destinations - to expect huge crowd at Versailles and the Louvre, and how to budge our free time. You will learn a lot, see a lot, and do a lot on this cruise. Everything was excellent, except for the following nit-picks: Viking could only secure docking rights for their Long Ships at Le Pecq, so all our Paris excursions came with two hours' worth of commute, and that eats into our valuable time for exploration. Our second-to-last day excursion to Conflan, likewise, started at Le Pecq and took 1 1/2 hours away. It kind of defeats the purpose of being on a river cruise - where you can dock next to the city you're traveling to, and save time on getting there. The fact that Rinda is big also meant we got less chance to mingle with other cruisers. One of our favorite things about river cruising is that you get to know your fellow cruisers on a personal level - being trapped on a 150-passenger vessel for two weeks does that - but going on a short cruise on a big ship means we only got to know a few of our fellow cruisers well. Compared to our previous cruise (also with Viking, but on the Grand European Tour, on a smaller ship that has since been released from the fleet), the Paris and Normany cruise is certainly more comfortable, but lacks the charm that comes with riding a boat into all our destinations with a small group of like-minded travelers that we (eventually) know well. One more, even tinier beef: the Long Ship lacks an acoustic piano that travelers could use. In our last cruise, I enjoyed playing "on the beautiful blue Danube" on the beautiful blue Danube, but I was disappointed not to be able to play "under the Paris sky" under the Paris sky. :) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our 3rd river cruise with Viking Cruises. Whilst not our favourite itinerary, compared to the previous 2 cruises, it was still very enjoyable and we again loved the whole Viking experience. We received advice quite late that the ... Read More
This was our 3rd river cruise with Viking Cruises. Whilst not our favourite itinerary, compared to the previous 2 cruises, it was still very enjoyable and we again loved the whole Viking experience. We received advice quite late that the ship would be docking in Le Peque, instead of port de grenelle, a good 40 minutes by coach from the CBD. This did not bother us but some guests appeared to be disappointed. All guests received €25 ship board credit each from Viking for this late change. Viking did offer a flexible shuttle service, including evening returns, for those who wanted to visit the city in addition to the scheduled day-tour. We visited some gorgeous places on our way to Rouen and back, including Monet's garden, Vernon and les Anderlays. We were docked 2 nights in Rouén. A guided tour to the light show at the church was not offered but we feel certain would have been enjoyed by guests. The day trip to Bayeux and the Normandy D-Day landing beaches was a long day, with 2 hours coach travel each way. It could have been improved had a 3-course sit-down lunch been replaced by a 'box' lunch supplied from the ship. This would have given us time to visit the small village of Arromanches, where we stopped for lunch but had no time to wander through or go down onto the beach. Neither did we have time to go down onto Juno beach with barely sufficient time to visit the Canadian Memorial. Overall Viking did live up to our expectations though with wonderful crew and staff and a great experience. We will continue to recommend Viking and we plan to book another cruise with them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
The cruise overall was very good. The Rinda is a relatively new ship, very light and airy, well laid out. Our room which had a balcony was small but efficient. The service was excellent. The food overall was very good. The entertainment ... Read More
The cruise overall was very good. The Rinda is a relatively new ship, very light and airy, well laid out. Our room which had a balcony was small but efficient. The service was excellent. The food overall was very good. The entertainment was sort of cheesy but after a few drinks who cared. The tours were OK but since we could not dock in Paris we had to take an hour bus ride to get there. I was disappointed on the first day that we were not told that on Mondays most of the museums were closed. I would have planned my time in Paris differently if I had known but got to ride around in a pedi-cab which was fun. Very disappointed in the flight booking. We paid the extra $100. to have Viking book our flight. Had mentioned upfront that we wanted a two seater on plane. When we got our flight information noted that we were booked in a four seater in economy. Two months before the trip I tried numerous times to upgrade our seats to premium economy. It never happened despite the fact that on the Viking website it said that you could. There was never any reasonable explanation as to why we couldn't upgrade except to say "because you can't". I finally figured out that Viking probably purchased the seats in "bulk" and as a result the airline (Air France) couldn't determine the exact price of our tickets so they didn't know what to charge us for the upgrade. I recommend not using this service if you want an upgrade unless Viking puts it in writing. The other issue we had was the misinformation we received from the Viking agent regarding which air terminal we flew out of. Our flight was Delta operated by Air France. We were told to go to the Delta terminal. Once there we found out we had to go to Air France. Not fun at JFK at the height of international flights. The other issue was the Normandy tour. For the most part this was a very moving, emotional experience but no thanks to the tour guide. Very little was mentioned about the American's part in the invasion. Britain's role was extensively talked about which was very informative but when it came to the US role it was not highlighted. Considering that there were all Americans on the bus, our role should have been discussed more extensively. My impression was "Oh by the way, the Americans were there too". In addition, I learned from a friend who had been to Normandy recently and went on a tour conducted by Brits, that there was a small church dedicated to the American soldiers who cared for the wounded both American and German. In gratitude the stain glass windows pre-existing in the church were removed and replaced with ones dedicated to the American soldiers. I would have loved to have seen them. I wouldn't say not to take the Viking Rinda trip to Paris/Normandy because of the tour. There was still a lot to see and experience despite the tour guide. But I would strongly recommend not paying for the flight service. Very disappointing! Read Less
Viking Rinda Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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