Sail Date: March 2019
This was a beautiful trip up the Rhone river from Avignon to Lyon, France. First, the flight from the USA to France. If possible upgrade your seats and connections. We upgraded our seats to United’s economy plus, which was fairly ... Read More
This was a beautiful trip up the Rhone river from Avignon to Lyon, France. First, the flight from the USA to France. If possible upgrade your seats and connections. We upgraded our seats to United’s economy plus, which was fairly comfortable. Wish we had upgraded our connections for a more direct flight both ways. Learned in Brussels that the common practice in Europe seemed to be to post the next connection about twenty minutes prior to the plane door closing. Once in Marseille we were met at baggage claim by Viking staff, and shepherded to the bus for the forty minute ride to the riverboat. Unless you’re a very experienced European traveler, use the Viking transfer service at both ends of your cruise. Another suggestion, especially at the start of your trip, do the trip extension to help with the jet lag. Viking river does not post departure times or arrival times on their website as other ocean cruise lines do. I suspect they must stay as flexible as the rivers are. Check your daily planner each night for the next days timing for everything. For our stop in Arles we moored in Tarascon, and were bussed a half hour south. The light is amazingly special there. No wonder van Gogh painted there. The Roman amphitheater was amazing. Got back to the riverboat in time for lunch. The garlic soup was wonderful! All the food was top notch cruise quality. Each day Chef Alex had a regional recommendation, using local ingredients, and herbs grown on the top deck! One of my standards is a smoked salmon benedict. So good I had it twice. As with most cruise ships, they offered some standards available every day. They even made a hotdog for my wife that looked awesome. On Friday for Lent, They made us her favorite, a peanut butter, lettuce, and mayo sandwich. I was glad we had the first day in Avignon to rest from the trip over the ocean. When we returned Tuesday, we had the first of many long walks in our ports. Spoiler alert, the palace of the popes was neat to see, but had most statuary and church decor removed. Don’t be too concerned about the 200 step warning as there are plenty of stops on the walk to rest. Back for a late lunch, including another standard of mine, bouillabaisse, and it was great. We wanted to walk out onto the Pont d’Avignon bridge, just north of our mooring. Not easy to do. When you get close, you need to go through the city wall, and follow the signs to the left. You’ll see the ticket office eventually. It costs four euros to get in, after a wand search. Yes it is worth it. You’ll see a chapel and have a unique view of your riverboat. My favorite food of the cruise, crepes suzette. It doesn’t get more french, or delicious than chef Alex’s version. Our next stop, Viviers, was the most classic town we visited. It rained hard at times, but was still neat. At the tour end we stayed in town and visited the pottery shop. The couple that owns the shop signs their art before firing it. My wife’s bowl made it home , my cup is being glued. Each evening we were well entertained in the lounge by a great piano player. Big note here, every town had cobblestone streets, as I learned shortly into our first walk in Arles. Be sure to watch your step so you don’t twist your ankle! The included tour in Tournon was a steam train ride that was fun. As we got further north on our trip the weather got cooler. We were ready with layers. The next day we spent most of doing scenic cruising, which we enjoyed. We made an unscheduled stop due to a fallen tree, and arrived late in Vienne. Our next two days we spent in Lyon. The included tour on Friday was a great bus tour of the city with a stop at the Basilica of Notre Dame. (there are several Notre dame cathedrals in France). Our last day was one of our highlights, with a trip to the countryside to visit a Beaujolais vineyard. Wine was great, but the dog stole the show! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We, husband (75) and wife (62), have completed three Viking River cruises; Bordeaux (16), Rhine (17) and lastly Rhone (18). Our latest Viking cruise was up the Rhone River in France, from Avignon to Lyon, 28 October - December 4, 2018. ... Read More
We, husband (75) and wife (62), have completed three Viking River cruises; Bordeaux (16), Rhine (17) and lastly Rhone (18). Our latest Viking cruise was up the Rhone River in France, from Avignon to Lyon, 28 October - December 4, 2018. Our ship was the Buri, and as far as we could tell, it was virtually identical to our previous ships, the Forseti and the Hlin; all relatively new, extremely nice ships. In 2016 and again this year, we had one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, cabins on the lowest level, with the small, elevated windows because the cabins were half-underwater. Last year we had a cabin on the top deck with a balcony, but since we almost did not use the balcony, and primarily only used our cabin for sleeping, we think our Category E, 150 square feet cabin was sufficient. Our cabin number was #150, the most forward of the cabins. This was an advantage, since it was close to the dining room and lounge, and everything else, and we did not have to walk down a long hall to get to our cabin. Unless we get some super deal on a "better" cabin in the future, I will book a Standard cabin as far forward as possible. We extended three days in Dijon; a wonderful city. Last year we did a pre-extension in Amsterdam. The year before in Bordeaux, we did not extend; and we regretted it. I highly recommend one extends (always three days I think) pre or post cruise, if not both. Why not extend to enjoy some interesting city/town once you have flown all the way to your destination, and then take a relatively short seven-day cruise? If at the end of a cruise, you will otherwise be rushed off the ship to a bus after arriving, and will be directly transferred to the airport for your flight home without giving you the chance of visiting your departure port. At the initial departure port, you will usually have the opportunity to see something of your departure city. Adding a pre or post extension adds three days to your seven-day cruise, so your vacation will last at least ten days if not 13 days for both. Another suggestion is to sign up for at least one, if not two, excursions every day. Viking usually offers included (aka free) walking tours at every docking site. We usually take these excursions except when they conflict with a more interesting Optional (aka expensive) excursion. Yes, the Optional tours can be expensive, but they are usually great experiences. Not once have we regretted paying for Optional tours. In fact, our best memories, and most spoken experiences to others have been these Optional excursions. Most of the Optional excursions include nice bus rides in very nice buses to get you to desired sites. On our last trip, they always had a "Leisure" walking group, among the 2-3 total groups for the Included excursion, which I took because of my age/arthritis. My younger, healthier wife always went with the other walking groups that walked faster, and climbed more stairs. We still had breakfast and lunch together; it just meant that for two hours we were separated in different walking groups. We really enjoyed all the towns/cities we visited. My favorite was the very pretty, interesting, completely walled medieval city of Perouges. We also liked Avignon, Lyon and especially Dijon, and actually all points between. On the negative side, I would suggest not going in late October as we did, even though the cruise/cabins are cheaper at that time (that is why we did it). It rained at least half the time, but was not too cold. The ship has enough large umbrellas for all. We took umbrellas with us on the bus, as well as our walking tours, and if not needed simply left them on the bus when we were out of the bus. To add to the sometimes bad or marginal weather, there is the famous "Mistral" wind. Look it up on the internet. In southern France, it blows 120-160 days a year, from 54 mph to 90 mph, averaging 65 mph. I can attest that it can be a challenge walking in the rain when the Mistral is blowing. However, we survived, and were not significantly bummed-out by the weather during our trip. Some passengers sometimes stayed on-board rather than brave the bad weather, but they missed a lot. In conclusion, we once-again enjoyed our cruise + extension, and hope to book another cruise in 2019, this time on Portugal's Douro River with extension in Lisbon or possibly Spain if we can find a real sale (it always 2 for 1, so that is not a sale) price that includes free air from the West Coast. If you have not already figured it out, probably every other River cruise company is cheaper, and many have very high ratings. We will wait a couple of months for Viking to offer a good deal on the internet on a Portugal cruise, and if not forthcoming, will start investigating with Tauck, AmaWaterways, Crystal, Uniworld, and Scenic River Cruises as well as Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle travel. These all provide quality River cruises, and likely at more reasonable prices than Viking. I really like Viking so I just hope I can find a Portugal trip that I can afford. There is only thing about Viking that I do not like. It is their automated flight scheduling computer program. When you book with Viking, and get the discounted or free flights, unless you pay $100 extra for each passenger for Viking's Air Plus, their computer will do all the scheduling, and it could be horrible! This is what happened to us this year. As I have written, we paid for the three-day Dijon extension. This required a two-hour bus/car transfer from Lyon to Dijon and then three days later back to Lyon where the airport is. Their computer system booked us on an early morning flight out of Lyon, so in order to make that flight; we would have had to get up in the middle of the night (actually very early morning!) in our Dijon hotel to take a bus/car to Lyon airport in time to make our flight. This was ridiculous. We paid for a three-night extension in Dijon, not a 2-1/2 night extension. I complained loudly, received no relief, paid the $200 for the Air Plus, got my flight schedules revised to be reasonable, wrote some negative reviews on line, and ended up with Viking reimbursing me for the Air Plus charges; thank you Viking. There were 14 of us from the cruise that booked the Dijon extension. Everyone but us had the same or similar problem, but had not complained and got it corrected. Therefore, 12 of them had to leave our nice Dijon 5-star hotel in the middle of the night to get to Lyon in time for their flights. I will definitely gladly pay the $100/passenger for Air Plus next time to either initially get a reasonable schedule, or perhaps only pay if they screw it up again. I guess I know what to expect now; and so should you. Well, I hope you have a good cruise. I hope Viking will allow us to make a fourth cruise with them, next year to Portugal. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We wanted to see the south of France. It was amazing and beautiful. We were very surprised by the amount of Roman ruins. We loved seeing those structures. The Aqueduct was huge and so well preserved. I had no idea that silk was made in ... Read More
We wanted to see the south of France. It was amazing and beautiful. We were very surprised by the amount of Roman ruins. We loved seeing those structures. The Aqueduct was huge and so well preserved. I had no idea that silk was made in France for many years. That is something we learned on the cruise. Each time we travel with Viking we learn so much. The guides on each tour really know a lot and pass it along well. Of course we always amazed at the good food we get on the cruise. We enjoy exploring the world through Viking. I came home a lot smarter about France than before I left. The bonus of the trip was extending our stay in Nice through Viking. It has to be the most beautiful city I have ever visited. It was the first time we had extended through Viking, but it won't be our last. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We had taken a Viking River Cruise on the Rhone River last year, and we thoroughly enjoyed that river cruise. Service on this Viking Rhone River Cruise in France (Avignon to Lyon) was excellent. The staff members we encountered were ... Read More
We had taken a Viking River Cruise on the Rhone River last year, and we thoroughly enjoyed that river cruise. Service on this Viking Rhone River Cruise in France (Avignon to Lyon) was excellent. The staff members we encountered were always cheerful, courteous and helpful. Our room was kept neat and clean. The lobby and other common areas were always in tip-tip shape. Shore excursions were well planned, and were led by knowledgeable guides. The shore excursion venues that were selected by Viking were thoughtfully chosen. We would had like to have had some additional 'free time' during our trip to explore on our own. Meals on board were always excellent! The preparation and presentation were top notch! Evening entertainment was good. We traveled with my brother and sister-in law, but we also met many interesting people on the boat. The scenery was beautiful. We highly recommend this river cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We had always wanted to go on a River Cruise and friends of ours recommended the Lyon to Avignon cruise so we booked it. From the moment we arrived on the ship to the time we left for home we were impressed with the amenities and the ... Read More
We had always wanted to go on a River Cruise and friends of ours recommended the Lyon to Avignon cruise so we booked it. From the moment we arrived on the ship to the time we left for home we were impressed with the amenities and the hospitality of the ship's crew. We arrived early on the first day having taken an early flight from LHR to Lyon and since we were the only ones on our flight we had the pleasure of getting a private car from the airport to the ship. Since we arrived early (at about 10am), our room was not ready so we checked our luggage with the front desk and had a nice chat with a couple who were getting ready to depart. I thought we were going to have to wait until 3pm, but we were pleasantly surprised that our room was ready at about 11am! We got a short tour of the room and after we unpacked it was time for lunch. The included excursions were good for the most part and for the majority of our time we had good weather. It was only the last full day when we had rain. We did two of the optional tours ("Beaujolais and Truffles" and "the Flavors of Provence") and would recommend them highly. Overall, we would recommend this cruise to others. I would have liked to spend more time in Avignon, but now that I have been to that part of France I would probably go back to Lyon and Avignon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
A wonderful itinerary through beautiful Provence, highlighting both well-known and not-so-well known spots along the Rhône. Activities director Feliz amazing and the entire crew so welcoming and professional. Food, excursions, and ... Read More
A wonderful itinerary through beautiful Provence, highlighting both well-known and not-so-well known spots along the Rhône. Activities director Feliz amazing and the entire crew so welcoming and professional. Food, excursions, and on-board events all excellent and fun. We loved the ship’s atmosphere which always felt relaxing yet energized and focused on providing us with the finest river cruise experience possible. Excursions were always well-explained the evening before and meticulously organized to be on-time and give us the promised experience. Tour guides on the whole were expert and spoke fluent English. Dining on the ship was such a pleasure and so delicious! Evening dining was always fabulous. It is such a treat to be graciously served a wonderful meal in courses ( plenty of menu choices available). I can’t say enough about the dining room staff— they were amazing! Actually, all the staff and crew were great: they worked hard but made it feel as though they enjoyed helping you! The outdoor dining area on the ship was really nice for lunch and continental breakfast. Nothing like a great coffee and breakfast pastry while sailing serenely past the lovely wine country of Provence, sunlight and shadow on the ancient hills. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Exceeded all my expectations of a river cruise. Very relaxing and educational trip. This being my first river cruise, I felt spoiled the overall experience of the laid-back atmosphere and all that it included. Food and wine ... Read More
Exceeded all my expectations of a river cruise. Very relaxing and educational trip. This being my first river cruise, I felt spoiled the overall experience of the laid-back atmosphere and all that it included. Food and wine selections were over the top and the service was excellent. Every port of call was interesting and we were able to spend time without rushing to see everything and still have time for leisure. The tour guides were very knowledgeable at each location without being boring. Everyone seemed to see to our every need and sometimes without asking. Very attentive staff. I really liked the open seating in the dining room and was able to meet some very interesting people. This way of travel was so relaxing that it spoiled me of the mega liners I have been on before with all the thousands of people. I will certainly look forward to another river cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this particular cruise for the time of year (less crowds), climate conditions (temperatures) at that time of year, the historical aspects of the region, as well as the availability of cabins on board. With respect to these reasons ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise for the time of year (less crowds), climate conditions (temperatures) at that time of year, the historical aspects of the region, as well as the availability of cabins on board. With respect to these reasons everything turned out to be above our expectations. Our cabin was comfortable, spotless and cabin service five star! The entire ship from topside viewing, bow lounge area, dining areas was comfortable and accommodating and made relaxation a great experience. On board entertainment was enjoyed by all and made additional time to meet and interact with fellow passengers from all over and to share experiences - great time! Dining at tables of six to eight created an opportunity to again meet new people and share experiences - we met some fantastic fellow passengers. we partook of several shore excursions every day and they were extremely interesting and informative - not to be missed are the city of Avignon and the points of interest on the tour, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, winery tours, city of Arles, L'Ardeche and its Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, city of Vienne and many other towns. This is an area well worth returning to - a river cruise is definitely the way to go! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
First, we tried to take advantage of their low airfares. However, they charged us extra to come in early and stay later since we didn’t want to use their overpriced extensions. Also, their travel group was Very difficult to deal with. ... Read More
First, we tried to take advantage of their low airfares. However, they charged us extra to come in early and stay later since we didn’t want to use their overpriced extensions. Also, their travel group was Very difficult to deal with. The good: The staff was, by far, the highlight of the trip. They are extremely well trained, friendly and quick to help. The French balcony room was very well designed and made excellent use of space. We liked the bed and the design of the shower. The bad: The “included tours” were too large (38-42 people). In hindsight, we would have preferred no included tours, at a lower price and booked our own. In addition, some tours were not that great, even with if it had been a small group. Viviers, in particular, was a sad little forgotten town with not much to see. You had to pay a premium to get a smaller group. One such “optional” tour was 120 euros per person and the group size was 22 people. The food was so so. We expected excellent food and got mediocre. The pre-cruise information talked of three venues, but in reality, there were two with basically the same menu. Tandem docking, ships docked side by side, was the norm at each port, taking away the view from our French balcony on a regular basis. There were only four ports on an 8 day cruise and very little daytime cruising. The sundeck was closed 90% of the cruise. The overall experience: We paid a premium to take a Viking river cruise and didn’t receive a premium experience. How anyone can give this cruis 5 stars is absurd. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
For my sister's 65th birthday, we decided to cruise southern France with Viking. She & her husband started with the pre-cruise stay in Nice (which they loved), and my cousin and I joined them on the ship at Avignon for the cruise ... Read More
For my sister's 65th birthday, we decided to cruise southern France with Viking. She & her husband started with the pre-cruise stay in Nice (which they loved), and my cousin and I joined them on the ship at Avignon for the cruise to Lyon. I have been on several river and a couple of ocean cruises with Viking, so it was no surprise that the week was delightful. The staff catered to us & made us happy every day. The cruise director was personable & perky; it was always a joy to have her company. This was southern France, so I wasn't sure if the food could live up to expectations, but no problem pleasing us & reminding us that we were in France. The young chef did not disappoint. Good food, good cheese, good wine. Happiness. Three excursions exceeded my expectations: Flavors of Provence in Avignon, the included tour in Lyon with Christian, and the all day Lyon tour Truffles and Beaujolais. In Avignon, Maison de Fogasses with Chef Luigi Baptiste was the best of the best! I think he enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed him & his lunch! Christian took us into "secret" passageways & shared his Lyon. And the truffle dog Chinook was as delightful as the truffle inspired dishes served to us on the truffle farm! No disappointment on this trip; the only problem is that I want to repeat the experience. Read Less
Viking Buri 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 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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