2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Though we have lived and traveled in Europe many times, we had not been to Southern France and wanted to explore that part of Europe. The trip up the Rhone from Avignon to Lyon was just the right choice. Lots of good stops, tours, and ... Read More
Though we have lived and traveled in Europe many times, we had not been to Southern France and wanted to explore that part of Europe. The trip up the Rhone from Avignon to Lyon was just the right choice. Lots of good stops, tours, and travels, and in the meantime living on a really nifty ship with many amenities. While the trip to the ship is not all that much fun, once you get on board for your week of exploration, one's experience is definitely improved. The cabins are well-laid out and meet one's needs beautifully. The wall-to-wall and ceiling to floor sliding doors give one incredible views of the scenery outside. The food on board is excellent and the supply of complimentary wine and beer at lunch and dinner is something one cannot resist. The morning tours are always instructive, thanks to very good guides. Since the number of folks on board is relatively small (165 in our case), one never feels like one is in a herd of cattle. The experience is small scale, something we really enjoy. The population of the ship was evenly split between Brits and Americans. We took the occasion to converse with many Brits, who were great conversationalists. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
Recommendations from friends. We were skeptical about traveling with a large group. However, the first night we met an amazing couple. The gentleman was 104 and the lady was in her nineties. They were energetic and charming. We were ... Read More
Recommendations from friends. We were skeptical about traveling with a large group. However, the first night we met an amazing couple. The gentleman was 104 and the lady was in her nineties. They were energetic and charming. We were on walking tours with them and they had no issues with the physical exertion. From that first night we met many interesting and enjoyable people in all age groups. The daily tours were well planned, interesting and included professional and knowledgeable guides. One guide was able to describe a church from outside the church without missing a beat. She was able to describe the seven tapestries in order without hesitation. That was typical of the knowledge of the guides. Most afternoons, we explored by ourselves, but did enjoy lunch in town with fellow cruisers. The food aboard ship was excellent. The service was impeccable from a friendly, cheerful staff. The Program Director was remarkable, very friendly and available. Her enthusiasm was evident and added greatly to an already marvelous experience. The remainder of the crew was just as professional and friendly. From housekeeping to the Captain, nothing was too much trouble or inconvenient. By the time we left, we felt like part of the Viking family. Our extended stay in Paris was more of the same. Exceptional accommodations and a professional, helpful and cheerful staff. All of the Viking employees with whom we came in contact were dedicated to enhancing the experience. We are looking forward to our next Viking River Cruise, we know we will not be disappointed. Our most difficult decision will be which cruise to take. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Friends had recommended Viking River Cruises. Everything exceeded expectations. Food, cabin, tours were uniformly excellent. All crew members were attentive. Whenever the slightest inconvenience arose our crew chief, Susie, ... Read More
Friends had recommended Viking River Cruises. Everything exceeded expectations. Food, cabin, tours were uniformly excellent. All crew members were attentive. Whenever the slightest inconvenience arose our crew chief, Susie, miraculously appeared on the scene to fix things. On our final departure we had a problem with the airline, but Viking representatives never left our side until everything was resolved. Could never have handled it ourselves, as all negotiations were in French. We took the three day extension in Nice and Viking people were excellent. Nice is a wonderful place. So sad to hear of their recent tragedy. Highly recommend the evening tour to Monaco. We took the optional tour of the abbey at Cluny and, once again, our guide was terrific. The most surprising place was Lyon. Never dreamed it was such a wonderful place. We hope to return some day when we can spend more time there. Viking is a little pricey, but I believe the money was well spent! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose to celebrate our 40th anniversary 2016 on a Viking River Cruise from Lyon to Provence after once again visiting my best friend in Paris where she has lived since '69. We began our travels in our late 20's so have been to ... Read More
We chose to celebrate our 40th anniversary 2016 on a Viking River Cruise from Lyon to Provence after once again visiting my best friend in Paris where she has lived since '69. We began our travels in our late 20's so have been to Haiti in '76 to Turkey, Greece, Europe, Mexico, and many times to Paris and France. Never on a cruise before. Our Viking Cruise experience exceeded our expectations! Given our past experience that says a lot. We booked another Viking River Cruise for Spring 2017 going from Bordeaux through our favorite wine regions. We hope to chose yet another Viking River Cruise in 2018. Thinking ahead about the pleasure of it all definitely helps one get through the New England winter! The ship, staff, food are just wonderful as are the included shore excursions. All superb. Since it was our special anniversary we were given champagne and a cake at dinner. Upon retiring to our cabin we found red and white artificial rose pedals upon our comforter (I kept a few and still have them on my bedroom vanity tray) and two glasses with a bottle of wine with a card. What a delightful surprise. So lovely. We cherish the memory. We also enjoyed the people on our cruise especially two charming Korean couples. As a result of our raves a couple from Florida we know have decided to take the Paris to Normandy Viking Cruise this Spring (2017). She has been on several big cruise ships, once with me up the West Coast. I'm confident they will find their Viking experience to be a sublime and vastly superior experience. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
We cruised with Viking the year before in the Bordeaux region which was awesome since we love wines and that it was the trip is about. Wanted to try the Rhone River cruise. Not as many chateaus or wineries but visited lovely little ... Read More
We cruised with Viking the year before in the Bordeaux region which was awesome since we love wines and that it was the trip is about. Wanted to try the Rhone River cruise. Not as many chateaus or wineries but visited lovely little towns. The guides all did a good job. The staff on the ship was very helpful. The captain greeted us every time we came back from an excursion! Celebrated my birthday during this cruise and the staff sang and brought a cake to me during dinner. Did the pre and post trip extensions. Pre trip was in Nice. While in Nice, Viking offered a side trip to Monaco which we did. This trip was outstanding. The hotel was centrally located and close to the water. The post trip to Paris didn't disappoint either. Having done this post trip the year before, we knew what we wanted to see on our second visit. Other than the long flights to get to France, this was a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
I chose the cruise for the price/location and because I wanted to cruise on Viking. It was every bit as wonderful as I anticipated. The food was top notch and the tour guides were very informative. The guests on the ship were delightful ... Read More
I chose the cruise for the price/location and because I wanted to cruise on Viking. It was every bit as wonderful as I anticipated. The food was top notch and the tour guides were very informative. The guests on the ship were delightful and we made some lifelong friends. The ship's staff were very attentive and our cabin attendant was always available and kept our room immaculate. The chef met with us every evening before dinner to explain the menu and make his recommendations. Because the ship is small, it was an intimate setting. The wine was excellent with each meal and chosen for the meal and region we were visiting. The cabin was water level and I worried that we would miss having a balcony room. Since we spent very little time in the room, this was not a problem. The room was clean and comfortable.All tours were on time and the guides made every effort to inform the group and answer our questions. I like the fact that the excursions were included in the packabe price. I highly recommend Viking and look forward to booking my next trip. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
This is my second river cruise and it is the best. Everyone from the cruise staff, tour guides and drivers to traveling passengers, all were so friendly and had made my cruise very enjoyable. The itinerary is very well organized and ... Read More
This is my second river cruise and it is the best. Everyone from the cruise staff, tour guides and drivers to traveling passengers, all were so friendly and had made my cruise very enjoyable. The itinerary is very well organized and everything was very timely, exception of the rainy weather, most of the days. The ship is big enough (~174 passengers) and by the end of the week, we pretty much have met most of the people. The food we had daily were outstanding and the Maitre'd and Executive Chef were being seen all the time, making sure everyone is taken care of and if the food is okay, etc.. They are very personable and friendly. The wait staff were on their toes and very efficient. Every time I turned around the water or wine has been refilled without my noticing. The shore excursions were excellent and pretty much covered the highlights of each port and yet gave us some leisure time. The entertainment in the evening was so-so. Had a couple of locals do some entertainment, but due to some people in attendance, that came as a group, were a little bit too loud, so we cannot hear the entertainment. That was the only thing a little annoying and causes a minor confrontation too with other passengers. All0in-all, I had a great time and will be back again. The Viking Longship is the way to go. I would like to try the new Viking Ocean Cruise soon. Keep up the good work!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Viking has a fine reputation. I've cruised with Viking before. This itinerary (Avignon to Lyon) was appealing because I did not know this area of France. Furthermore, the special airfare was a great deal. From beginning to end, ... Read More
Viking has a fine reputation. I've cruised with Viking before. This itinerary (Avignon to Lyon) was appealing because I did not know this area of France. Furthermore, the special airfare was a great deal. From beginning to end, arrangements were more than satisfactory. Being met at the airport in Marseille and driven to the Viking Buri in Avignon was great for the weary trans-Atlantic passengers. The crew were efficient and friendly. Meals were outstanding. Passengers were friendly. The small number on board was ideal for disembarking for excursions and for moving around to have meals with different people. The ship was well appointed and common areas were comfortable places to relax. The cabins were serviceable. (I'd been on rather Spartan ships in Russia and Ukraine.) The daily walks in the towns and cities with knowledgeable local guides were very enjoyable and not overly challenging. The optional tours were interesting, but on several days it was pleasant to wander as individuals around the old town centres. Activities on board were varied, entertaining and informative. The tour of the galley with the executive chef was educational; the cooking demonstration by the chef and the maître d' was humorous.. The pianist/singer was excellent. The daily briefings were very helpful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise because of the excellent reviews Viking gets. As good as the reviews were, we were still blown away by how good the trip was. We were picked up at the airport by a very friendly Viking rep and taken to the ship for a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the excellent reviews Viking gets. As good as the reviews were, we were still blown away by how good the trip was. We were picked up at the airport by a very friendly Viking rep and taken to the ship for a very easy boarding. We were treated like they were genuinely glad to have us on board. None of the crowds and chaos of a large ocean cruise ship. The cabin was very small, but it was nicely decorated, extremely clean, and quite comfortable. The floor to ceiling window opened if we wanted and we never wished we had more space. The most amazing thing was that it was the most quiet room I have ever had, on a ship or otherwise. I never heard other passengers and I could not even tell that the ship was moving without looking out the window. Even though the room was very nice, we didn't spend a lot of time there because we were having too much fun on the shore excursions or in the common rooms with other guests. The food was consistently excellent, with plenty of choices. We had a tour of the kitchen and it was the cleanest kitchen I've ever seen. The chef was very entertaining. He said that he often buys fresh food while we are in port, to get the freshest supplies and also support the local businesses. I like that. There was an excursion included in the price of the cruise every day, and we went on all of them. Excellent local guides and we got electronic devises that allowed us to hear the guide from quite a long distance. This meant that we could wander and look at what we wanted, but still hear everything the guide was saying. it also meant that no one got lost and we never had to wait for stragglers to be rounded up. Service was outstanding, from the room steward to the dining room staff to the activities director. I would highly recommend Viking river cruises, and we will certainly be taking another trip with Viking in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose this cruise because of the location and time of year. It fit our plans. The cabin was quite satisfactory and not just because we spent very little time there. Items like heated floor and mirror, French milled soap, water every ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the location and time of year. It fit our plans. The cabin was quite satisfactory and not just because we spent very little time there. Items like heated floor and mirror, French milled soap, water every day are great complimentary additions. Every time we departed the boat there was water and even an umbrella available. The included tours were well planned, superbly conducted and just the right length. The tour guides were terrific and could address questions with ease. They were also willing to admit defeat when stumped by a question. An attempt was made to find a satisfactory answer. Free time was adequate. Service was just superb and entertainment/activities were well designed for the whole passenger complement. Food was great with a satisfactory range of choices. The Taste of France lunch was quite a surprise and lots of fun. Both the food and the entertainment were top notch. If you could not find something you liked to eat then the problem was NOT with the food - it could be something wrong with the person eating. There is a lively ongoing discussion at our house regarding where our next trip should be on Viking. Embarkation and debarkation were seamless and well choreographed. The hardest part was saying good-by. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Boarded Viking Buri in Chalon sur Saône 11/8/15 for the Portraits of Southern France for 8 day cruise and optional 3 day extension in Nice. We were first time cruisers. Met at airport in Lyon by staff and transferred to Chalon. ... Read More
Boarded Viking Buri in Chalon sur Saône 11/8/15 for the Portraits of Southern France for 8 day cruise and optional 3 day extension in Nice. We were first time cruisers. Met at airport in Lyon by staff and transferred to Chalon. Found the Buri to be very comfortable and the staff to be very professional. The service was a highlight for us. We wanted to arrange a special anniversary meal in Lyon and the Concierge was especially helpful in looking over information we had gathered, doing her own research and making arrangements. It was a fantastic meal. Found the shore excursions to be well organized by local guides and liked the headsets used by the guides were a real plus as we walked. Meals were outstanding on-board and we appreciated the change in cuisine from central France to Provencal as we sailed south. We found the wine list good and also appreciated being able to choose from local wines. The serving staff was outstanding at meals. Activities offered after dinner were not our "cup of tea" but others seemed to enjoy them. Our only complaint was that we did a lot of travel by night, and that cut down on being able to sit on-deck and enjoy the scenery. I would have opted for less time on excursions and more time cruising - perhaps a different itinerary would better provide for this. Disembarkation at Avignon and transfer to Nice was smooth. Le Meridien Hotel in Nice was ideally situated, but the rooms were a little dated and disappointing. Excursions were we'll done. Weather was fantastic during our stay in France - could not have asked for better. Our air travel was arranged by Viking and we enjoyed our flights on Lufthansa. We opted for premium economy for the trans-atlantic legs of the journey and would recommend this upgrade. Our flight from Nice to Frankfurt was on-time but the transfer time to our connecting flight was under an hour and that is a mistake at Frankfurt, especially with Passport Control. We had to literally run to make the connection - travel agents should know better than to schedule things this tight. We very much enjoyed our trip and look to book another river cruise in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and ... Read More
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and details such as 110-120v outlets in key places in the state room were so helpful. The food was outstanding as was the service in both the dining room and the lounge. The daily excursions were so well organized with top notch guides and "quiet boxes" so you didn't miss anything. We were delighted with visits to several wineries, beautiful towns, the many opportunities to meet local residents, visit historic sites, and just take in the Burgundy and Provençal regions. The extension to Nice was enjoyable. Accommodations were satisfactory (although we were spoiled by the level of luxury on the Buri). Nice is beautiful, but we truly enjoyed the day trips to the surrounding medieval towns. We love visiting France anyway, but the river cruise was uniquely special. I cannot overstate what a wonderful time we had. I strongly recommend Viking and this specific trip. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Previously, we had enjoyed the Bordeaux, Chateaux, Rivers and Wine tour through the western part of France. In addition we had booked the delightful pre-cruise trip through the scenic Loire Valley, Our time in western France had been so ... Read More
Previously, we had enjoyed the Bordeaux, Chateaux, Rivers and Wine tour through the western part of France. In addition we had booked the delightful pre-cruise trip through the scenic Loire Valley, Our time in western France had been so nice that we decided to experience eastern France. We were not disappointed, and our weather was just as perfect as it appears in your Viking literature - sunny and warm. It goes without saying that our accommodations on board the Buri, the food, and the courtesy and helpfulness of the staff were excellent. We enjoyed the included tours in each port; the guides were quite knowledgeable. We also took advantage of the many optional tours available. Who knew there was such a plethera of Roman history in France! We are definitely river boat " fans." It is wonderful to have a floating four star hotel alongside wonderful places to explore just a gangway away - a little town walk before breakfast, a stroll after dinner - all right there. Enjoying southern France with Viking was delightful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The pre-cruise Paris option worked out very well: met at CDG baggage exit by the Viking rep who took our bags to the waiting SUV; met at the Meridien by the Viking host with keys, ample information and valet to handle our baggage; the ... Read More
The pre-cruise Paris option worked out very well: met at CDG baggage exit by the Viking rep who took our bags to the waiting SUV; met at the Meridien by the Viking host with keys, ample information and valet to handle our baggage; the Paris tour next morning by coach and walking was very informative and comfortable; plenty of free time the next day to visit the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur and Montmartre; as well as evening people watching over good wines followed by wonderful dinners. Another full day would have been even better! Rather than see the lengthy motor coach transfer to Chalon as an arduous venture as indicated by other contributors, we chose to call it a tour with comfort stops...which it was! Lunch and a walking tour of Dijon was great fun. The countryside viewing along the way, if a bit long, was enjoyable. Be ready for the trip, and it won't disappoint. Easily the finest Program Director and Hotel Manager that we've ever experienced in river cruising: Christine and David, met us at the Buri gangway with a warm greeting. Keys and a welcome drink as we boarded; bags in our room in three minutes; a delicious buffet waiting. All of the tour guides in the various towns were excellent...the contents of the tours are well described in the Viking booklet mailed to us in advance, so we won't expand here; only to suggest that southern France is inhabited by the friendliest of people! At every turn, they were most welcoming! Our French Veranda cabin, while not expansive (we're on a riverboat folks) was certainly comfortable and met all of our needs. Our cabin attendant was the best! And here comes what made our trip such an incredible pleasure: the amazing crew, pulled together by David and Christine and the lounge and restaurant servers...truly exceptional! Giovanni at the keyboard can play and sing everything ever written!! And the food at every meal, every single day was very varied and of the best quality. The bar for courteous friendly service with awesome food and drink has been set very high. Rather than testing others as we have, we will be back with Viking. A wonderful 50th wedding anniversary! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Boarded Viking Buri 9/27/15 from Chalon France for Portraits of Southern France 8 day cruise. Checked in, welcomed, and then unpacked in our stateroom. Later we reviewed the cruise materials. Read a notice: Opening paragraph, "As ... Read More
Boarded Viking Buri 9/27/15 from Chalon France for Portraits of Southern France 8 day cruise. Checked in, welcomed, and then unpacked in our stateroom. Later we reviewed the cruise materials. Read a notice: Opening paragraph, "As you have already been informed by our Program Director, a few passengers on board are currently suffering from gastrointestinal illness." We'd been on board maybe an hour. First time we were informed. Didn't know who the P. Director was. (Anyone boarding at Chalon didn't either.) The notice stated it is highly contagious especially among 65+ populations. Can lead to complications due to severe dehydration. They listed the protocols the staff was taking to contain the outbreak and recommended we continuously wash our hands and not to touch our face. 3 days later we called the desk to inform them I was ill. We knew we would be quarantined in our room. Quickly realized there is not one staff member assigned to monitor the condition of infected guests nor to gather pertinent medical history. No checking whatsoever. 10 hours of unrelenting diarrhea and vomiting, I asked to obtain a prescription to control the vomiting due to preexisting chronic kidney condition. Concierge was sent into Lyon. Couldn't obtain the medication as it required a prescription. I asked for a doctor. 4 hours later one arrived. He wrote 2 prescriptions in which my roommate was temporarily released into Lyon to get them filled (she doesn't speak French). This was an hour before dusk. I recovered. Later earned that 7 infected passengers had boarded from a previous Viking cruise days before. At the end of our cruise (10/3) 22 people had contracted the illness. I asked the Hotel Director 1. Why weren't arriving guests informed before going to their staterooms, thus it would be their decision to take the gamble? 2. What would have been Viking's response if someone had said they did not want to board given the active breakout? 3. Was I correct in assuming no Viking staff was assigned to monitor ill guests (not treat, just to check every 4 hours, keep a list of concerns, etc.)? He confirmed that was correct. (Second unfortunate circumstance was the ship broke down in Lyon - 2 day fix, lots of buses to towns, foreshortened tours and a stretch of night cruising to catch-up.) I wrote Viking (Woodland Hills, California). Their email expressed sympathy and they would forward my concerns to the Western European office. They emphasized the illness can occur where there are large numbers of people in a self-contained space. Wouldn't directly answer my question about informing guests of an active out breakout before boarding, or assigning a person to oversee ill guests. My AAA office also contacted Viking which resulted in Viking offering my travel mate and I a voucher (approx. $1000 each) toward another cruise. We declined as it meant gambling again and another $5-6000 from us to pay the balance. Had they wanted this to be a goodwill offer, it should simply be in cash. I've traveled on land tours (Road Scholar and OATS). Both times impressed with their tour directors as they clearly knew how to engage medical assistance when needed. Not locked in a room with no one checking. One large cruise (Holland America) that given it's size, does provide medical support Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our second Viking River Cruise and we were excited at the beginning because our first cruise had been such a delight. We took the Portraits of Southern France cruise in late September/early October 2015. We were warmly welcomed ... Read More
This was our second Viking River Cruise and we were excited at the beginning because our first cruise had been such a delight. We took the Portraits of Southern France cruise in late September/early October 2015. We were warmly welcomed when we boarded the Viking Buri in Chalon sur Saone. Within hours, the ship’s management informed us that passengers boarding from another Viking cruise had contracted and/or been exposed to Gastroenteritis. As a result, Viking suspended coffee station service and lunch buffet service, and passengers were not permitted to serve themselves anything at any meal. On day six of the cruise, the program director announced that GI illness was no longer a concern. Notwithstanding, Viking never resumed those services. Things went seriously awry on day 3 as a result of the failure of one of the ship’s engine generators. It took 36 hours for the program director to advise the passengers that there was an issue and how it would be resolved. As a result, the ship spent three days docked in Lyon while we waited for a part to arrive to effect the repair. Viking arranged for us to visit the other scheduled stops on the itinerary, which meant they put us on buses and bused us around France. For example, part of the appeal of this cruise’s itinerary was a full-day visit to Arles. Instead we spent almost 2-1/2 hours on a bus to Arles and almost two hours, again on a bus, to re-board the Buri. Because the ship was continually a day behind the schedule and not docked at the places we were visiting, passengers did not have access to the ship during most of the shore excursions. As a result, quite a few passengers elected not to take the shore excursions because the bused versions of the excursions were too physically demanding – not because of the sites visited but because of the extensive periods of time on the bus. In an effort to make up time after finally leaving Lyon, the Buri cruised at night, which meant we never got to enjoy sitting on deck and watching the river during the day. On the positive side, the Buri, like the other Viking long ship we traveled on, is comfortable, clean and well-organized. The staff is very professional, and everyone extended themselves to make us comfortable. The food was excellent as were the guides for shore excursions. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My husband and I have been on many cruises, but this was our first river cruise. We were really looking forward to the experience of sitting on the top deck (or our own balcony which we paid extra for) and watching the French countryside ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many cruises, but this was our first river cruise. We were really looking forward to the experience of sitting on the top deck (or our own balcony which we paid extra for) and watching the French countryside and drinking some good French Wine. Our first day was just that - a beautiful views from the sun deck with a good glass of wine. On our second day in Lyon after a nice city tour, we were informed during our daily review that there was a problem with a critical part of the ship and our departure would be delayed. We were disappointed but were expecting the delay to be a half a day at most. This delay became 3 days. The cities and towns that we were supposed to be crusing to became bus tours of over 2 hours each direction and terrible rush hour traffic on return to Lyon. (where we were parked for 4 days with a view of a stone wall and a bike path). Once the part was replaced, we only cruised at night when we were sleeping. We never had the use of our balcony for river cruising. To top it off, the cruise before ours (on another ship) had the norovirus and those passengers were allowed to board our ship. We had no coffee bar, no access to public restrooms, no salt and pepper, or sugar and cream on the tables, no bar snacks. We had to be served at the buffet breakfast (3 or 4 people serving several hundred passengers). We were not offered any renumeration for our inconvenience - not even a token bottle of champagne. The basic attitude was "it is out of our control - not our fault". Since we paid significantly more for a river cruise than we would have for a land tour (and a "hotel room" on the ship that was significantly smaller than a normal hotel room) we asked Viking for a partial refund. Our request was refused with an offer for a discount on a future cruise. We will NOT be taking another Viking Cruise. As an IT professional where we have disaster recovery plans for "critical systems" I would have expected Viking to be able to replace a part in the heart of Europe in less than 3 days - particularly for a cruise for 6 nights. The ship was nice, the food was good but not exceptional. Overall the personnel were professional and competent. The itinerary was good - we really would have loved the ability to walk on and off the ship to the small towns instead of being ferried on a bus with limited time to really appreciate the local culture. We saw plenty of other cruise lines on the same itinerary - I would recommend considering one of them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
The Good: The crew, the staff, the boat. We splurged on an Executive Suite and didn't regret it for a moment. Spacious and well laid out, the stateroom easily allowed this earlier-riser husband to avoid disturbing late-sleeper ... Read More
The Good: The crew, the staff, the boat. We splurged on an Executive Suite and didn't regret it for a moment. Spacious and well laid out, the stateroom easily allowed this earlier-riser husband to avoid disturbing late-sleeper wife. The views from the wrap-around balcony were sensational throughout the cruise. The OK: Considering the limits of time and space, the kitchen crew did a remarkable job three meals a day. A few of the dishes were exceptional, but no one would mistake the Buri for a three-star restaurant. We took Viking's offer of a three-day pre-cruise Paris stay. The hotel located two Metro stops west of La Place de L'Étoile, was relatively, if not optimally, convenient and well-appointed. It was rated four stars. I hadn't previously been aware of the chasm that exists between the fourth and fifth stars. The Bad: The travel arrangements: We had Viking arrange all our travel plans, to, from, and within France. For the trans-Atlantic flights we upgraded to business class. We had no choice of airline, and found Air France's version of "classe affaires" to be shockingly substandard. Both flights were on old planes with obsolete technology. On both flights there were glitches with the entertainment system; it didn't work at all on the flight to Paris and had to be rebooted twice at twenty minutes a shot on the return flight. The comfort and "extras" both in the air and on the ground didn't hold a candle to those of almost any Asian airline or, say, Virgin "Upper Class." The transfer from Paris to Chalon-sur-Sâone, the point of embarcation for the cruise, was via a FOUR-AND-A-HALF HOUR BUS TRIP!! Really!!! There's a 1.5 hour TGV from Paris to Dijon, where the bus stopped for a brief tour anyway, but that was apparently not an option with Viking. Compared to others, our flights to and from France were relatively painless. A couple from England with Viking-arranged travel plans had to be bussed to Marseille from Avignon, fly to Amsterdam, endure a five-hour layover before hopping a puddle jumper to Manchester. Total time: about the same as ours to Washington DC. The excursions. Most excursions started between 8-9 AM and lasted almost exactly four hours. Most involved uncomfortable bus trips; all involved following guides carrying identifying "lollipops" and individual electronic devices as, because of the size of the group (usually 30+) the guide would have otherwise been inaudible. The feeling of being rounded up and herded each morning was inescapable. The one-size-fits-all approach was not what I had hoped for on a "no compromises" vacation. In the 9 years since I've been retired I'd always been able to say I had never been bored. This, sadly, is no longer true. Conclusion: We take one major, blow-the-budget, no compromise trip a year. This was the eighth since my retirement and by far the least memorable. We gave it a shot: I had never wanted to go on a cruise, but was convinced that a river cruise with Viking would change my mind. It didn't. Big trips take lots of planning. The genesis of this trip was to see how well we could do leaving the planning to others. It won't happen again. I will NEVER AGAIN ride on an inter-urban bus nor be rendered a passive gawker on a tour made as impersonal and generic as possible by an "audio device" (a term that by the end of the tour had become an expression "that will live in infamy" with me) that all-but-precludes any meaningful interaction with the guide. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first river cruise although we have traveled in Europe several times. We had absolutely no complaints with this ship or crew. Everyone was wonderful and so energetic from Alex the activities director, Doris the hotel manager, ... Read More
This was our first river cruise although we have traveled in Europe several times. We had absolutely no complaints with this ship or crew. Everyone was wonderful and so energetic from Alex the activities director, Doris the hotel manager, Jana food and beverage and the chef who was so friendly and fun whenever we encountered her. The variety of dinner options was very adequate and all the additional little surprises were fun! We certainly enjoyed the experience from the very nice staterooms, comfortable lounge and bar area with great views, nightly entertainment if you wished to participate, plentiful breakfasts and lunches and the amazing organization of getting everyone on the tours like clockwork. We hope to do another river cruise in the future and will definitely chose Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Absolutely amazing week in the South of France from Avignon to Lyon. The staff is unbelievably attentive to your every need and will do the utmost to offer something incredible that you didn't know existed. The executive chef ... Read More
Absolutely amazing week in the South of France from Avignon to Lyon. The staff is unbelievably attentive to your every need and will do the utmost to offer something incredible that you didn't know existed. The executive chef (female) and the sous chef (male) just grabbed us and waltzed around the dining room with my husband and I, what a treat. Their food was a "party-in-your-mouth" each meal was more and more delicious. The service by the entire staff was always friendly and like family (only nicer.) We had beautiful weather, light rain only one morning, sunny the rest of the week 75 to 85 degrees and dry. Our cabin Veranda A #333 with a balcony was ideal, it was on the starboard side of the ship that was never tethered to another ship, so we always had a water view. Our favorite tour was of a French woman's home in Chatenauf-du-Pape. We learned about her father's love of art and his display of his paintings were terrific, he also had a scarf on display that was signed by Picasso! Our second favorite was the French culinary school where we learned how to make cream puffs with caramelized peaches (YUM!) The wine in this region is incredible from Burgundy to Chatenauf-du-Pape it was all exquisite. No complaints whatsoever, we shall return to Europe via Viking! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
My husband and I are in our early 50s and have been on about 20 ocean cruises. This was our first river cruise and we chose Viking based on it's reputation and the research we had done. We started with a pre-cruise tour in Paris. ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 50s and have been on about 20 ocean cruises. This was our first river cruise and we chose Viking based on it's reputation and the research we had done. We started with a pre-cruise tour in Paris. Paris is a wonderful city, with lots of things to do, places to see, and interesting food to eat, but it's a city, not the part of the trip I was really looking forward to. Le Meridian, the hotel that is part of the package, is not really convenient, and is definitely a worn property. They are in the process of upgrading it and when we first checked in, they gave us an updated room. Unfortunately, the sink was clogged and after waiting over an hour for someone to come and fix it, we asked for another room and were given a room that had not been refurbished yet. They definitely waited too long to start that process. But we were exhausted from the trip and figured we weren't going to be spending much time in the room, so we just lived with it. That sink ended up being clogged too, but someone came to fix it while we were out. The city tour that was included in the pre-cruise package was well done. We also did several tours with Viator, and would highly recommend that company. We had used them in Rome last year and were pleased. This time we did an Eiffel Tower tour, a Louvre tour with wine tasting, and a bike tour of Versailles - they were all great. Once we arrived at the Buri we were happy to settle in and unpack. It's a beautiful ship, well maintained, and our balcony cabin was spacious enough. We would have appreciated robes (hint, hint). The staff was great, although we never met or even ever saw our cabin steward, but we know her name was Dana. Christine, the cruise director, was excellent, and David, the hotel manager, was always around and very friendly. Petra and Lucas, the bartenders in the lounge, deserve special mention as well. The fellow passengers were varied in age, from honeymooners to well past retirement, but almost everyone was friendly and there to have a good time. Overall, we would say the food was " better than good" as my husband and our friends said. I had a harder time finding something on the menu that appealed to me as I don't eat meat, and dislike mushrooms, which were part of almost every vegetarian option. I did notice that some people were asking for something special to be made for them, which I didn't do, so it's my own fault. I DID appreciate the cheese at every meal and made the most of it. Another suggestion would be to have a little more leeway in meal time so everyone isn't expected to go to meals at the same time. We did start pushing it a bit as eating at 7:00 is just too early for us, so we kept arriving later and later - we saw some others doing this as well. As advertised, the wine flowed at meals, and most of it was good. There was even champagne available every morning at breakfast if people wanted it. We did end up doing the beverage package as we do enjoy cocktails and it was well worth it. The ports were all great, and different in their own way, and the tour guides were all outstanding. Sometimes we did feel a bit rushed and would have appreciated more free time in the towns. We particularly loved Bueane, Lyon and Avignon. We were pleasantly surprised by the entertainment and activities provided each evening. Having been on many big ocean cruises, we were wondering if we would be bored at night on such a small ship. Not everyone took advantage of it, I guess it depended on how busy the day was. But there were a number of fellow partiers on board who kept things lively and there was much more dancing than we expected. Giovanni, the piano player, was wonderful and versatile and kept us entertained. We were sad when the cruise was over, but we also opted for the post-cruise stay in Nice and that was excellent as well. Again, Le Meridian Hotel, was the hotel Viking uses in Nice, and it was also a bit worn, especially in the hallways, but this time it was in a great location. Nice and the surrounding area is stunning. The provided tour was well done, but we also hired a private driver for half a day through the Viking desk on our free day and she was great - ask for Mira. We went to Eze (do not miss this medieval town high up on a cliff, it is gorgeous) and then Monaco, which was bustling and had much more to offer than just the casino and people watching. Overall we loved this vacation and both we and our traveling companions purchased the future cruise vouchers as we know we will do another Viking cruise. Can't wait to start planning it. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
The ship was attractive and the atmosphere low-keyed. The food was excellent and easily accommodated my special dietary needs. Service was superior, always pleasant. The shore excursions were interesting and educational. We added a few ... Read More
The ship was attractive and the atmosphere low-keyed. The food was excellent and easily accommodated my special dietary needs. Service was superior, always pleasant. The shore excursions were interesting and educational. We added a few days in Paris via a Viking pkg. and were quite pleased with the location and accommodations. Most of all, our fellow passengers were delightful, genuine, interesting people. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Very disappointed in this cruise. Had done Viking before and was very satisfied. Cannot recommend them in the future. The food was not good. The Program Director was awful. We arrived late because of a flight cancellation (they booked ... Read More
Very disappointed in this cruise. Had done Viking before and was very satisfied. Cannot recommend them in the future. The food was not good. The Program Director was awful. We arrived late because of a flight cancellation (they booked our airfare with us not being allowed to have any input as to the selections). They didn't do anything to try to make up the lost days for us. We wanted to cancel once we saw we were going to miss at least the first 2 days and Viking would not allow us to reschedule..... so we had to get on a plane that had at least 5 problems that were being repaired.... or lose our $7,000. No one at Viking would help us. The top deck was almost never opened for the entire cruise. The guided tours were too slow and we saw far too little of each city. Not much to see along these rivers. The cities were nice for the most part but the tours were not good. Missed a lot of time due to being stuck in the locks twice. Did I mention the program directors was awful. She was a "fill in" and didn't seem to care if she did a good job or not. Would not recommend this particular cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Boy did we have a great time! The food was unbelievable. The chef made a real effort to ensure we were experiencing the fruits, cheeses and wines of the season and area we were travelling through. No request was too small and nothing was ... Read More
Boy did we have a great time! The food was unbelievable. The chef made a real effort to ensure we were experiencing the fruits, cheeses and wines of the season and area we were travelling through. No request was too small and nothing was overlooked. We had a silver package which meant we could imbibe with the appropriate wines and before dinner cocktails without worry of an enormous bar tab at the end. The entertainment was all good; a nice variety of music and musical programs to listen to, sing along with and dance to if the mood took. A nice size boat; so we got to know quite a few fellow travellers and were on nodding terms with the rest. Our state room was well maintained through-out the cruise and I enjoyed coming back to the room at the end of the evening to discover new towel sculptures, flowers and fresh fruit! We really enjoyed the shore excursions; just the right combination of walking, sightseeing and commentary. Once again, there was variety, steam train, vineyards, art galleries etc - a good mix - something for everyone Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Boat and crew were fabulous but the river was not. We were not allowed to go on top of the boat during cruising due to low bridges. We have been on three other river cruises and that is one of our favorite parts. I would recommend Viking ... Read More
Boat and crew were fabulous but the river was not. We were not allowed to go on top of the boat during cruising due to low bridges. We have been on three other river cruises and that is one of our favorite parts. I would recommend Viking but I would not recommend the Rhone River. Shore excursions were crowded and not real interesting most of the time. Exploring on our own where possible was much more enjoyable. Read Less
Viking Buri Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.4
Family 1.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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