Sail Date: May 2015
This was our second river cruise, and about our 30th cruise overall. The longship is new, well thought out overall, and the food excellent. The experience was much better than I expected and for our cabin (lowest price), pricing was much ... Read More
This was our second river cruise, and about our 30th cruise overall. The longship is new, well thought out overall, and the food excellent. The experience was much better than I expected and for our cabin (lowest price), pricing was much less than what we received. There are daily shore excursions included and with 1 exception the guides were excellent. The crew is exceptional, looking to make things better, not just waiting at the counter receiving requests: For example, we had a long trip from home to the ship, my wife was exhausted, and laid out on a sofa, head on my lap,until our room was ready. One of the crew saw this, and went and expedited the room availability. 10 minutes after she talked to us, she came back, insisted on carrying our carry-on bags, escorted us to the room with keys in hand. The only crew member who was not exceptional is the concierge. She was unreliable in following through when she said she would be available. She could offer only online web site information, and tickets she got for us in Paris required us to pick then up at a site 10 miles away from the museum, and at a different location. The Viking representative at the hotel, when shown our voucher tells us on arrival: "Why did she do that? The hotel concierge can sell tickets right here, at a lower price than that." When a discounted trip from Budapest becomes available, we will definitely use Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Staff was excellent and we enjoyed socializing with some of crew such as chef, seu chef, Bursar. We met many fellow travelers we enjoyed. We had a strange experience with a cooking lesson in Lyon where we did not have the chef we were ... Read More
Staff was excellent and we enjoyed socializing with some of crew such as chef, seu chef, Bursar. We met many fellow travelers we enjoyed. We had a strange experience with a cooking lesson in Lyon where we did not have the chef we were scheduled for. The results of the dish were not good, and we both are experienced cooks. We had paid extra for this excursion and felt it was not worth the price. Also, disembarking was very early with a long plane ride home. We both came down with Type B flu which we felt our resistance was down from too little sleep for older people. Port and shore excursions were very good. Dining was lovely and very varied in the menu. Entertainment was very nice, as well. This was our first River Cruise, but we plan now to take others. Recommend this one very much. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
The longship accommodation was excellent bearing in mind limited space and my partner and I had no trouble in storing clothes and belongings. The food was excellent and always well presented. It was never of the "steak and ... Read More
The longship accommodation was excellent bearing in mind limited space and my partner and I had no trouble in storing clothes and belongings. The food was excellent and always well presented. It was never of the "steak and chips" variety although we did have a beautifully tender "chateaubriand" one night. The excursions were well planned and organised and very interesting. The lady who took us round Cluny was a quite brilliant communicator and very knowledgeable. The captain and staff were charming and always helpful. My only complaints were the fault of "Head Office"s lack of communication. You failed to tell us that we could have had three days to start with on the "cote d'azure" You changed the time of the first outward plane because we did not have time to make the connection at Schiphol: this resulted in us setting off at 3.00am and hanging about in Amsterdam for three hours. On the return journey at Lyon no-one explained that the coach could not enter the airport and had to stop at the TGV train station. You can imagine the confusion this caused. I was the only one in the group who spoke French and fortunately could grasp the situation and what needed to be done! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
This by far the best cruise we have been on. When it came time to review the experience not one of us could come up with anything that could have been better. The staff were outstanding, welcoming, helpful and always there with a smile ... Read More
This by far the best cruise we have been on. When it came time to review the experience not one of us could come up with anything that could have been better. The staff were outstanding, welcoming, helpful and always there with a smile - all credit to David, the Hotel Manager. The food was awesome, varied and full of flavour - not one average meal for the whole trip, they were all 5 star! The boat was always pristine and extremely well presented at all times. Anyone thinking of a river cruise would be well advised to put this cruise line on the top of their list. WELL DONE VIKING! and thank you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
I was extremely disappointed with the Viking River Cruise from which I just returned. The river was too high so we couldn't leave the port. The way the situation was handled left much room for improvement. It was obvious that the ... Read More
I was extremely disappointed with the Viking River Cruise from which I just returned. The river was too high so we couldn't leave the port. The way the situation was handled left much room for improvement. It was obvious that the director was given very little authority as to what to do in such a situation. The passengers were extremely angry and given little opportunity to get questions answered. The front desk was not knowledgable of the area and could give very little information. The food was the worst food I have ever had on a cruise ship, and as for entertainment--there was very little. All in all I will not be taking another Viking Cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Our second river cruise in Europe was on the Viking Buri, perhaps one of the nicest river boats afloat. One of the newer Viking longboats, the Buri has the best of everything a boat could have. The finest furnishings, fixtures, and decor. ... Read More
Our second river cruise in Europe was on the Viking Buri, perhaps one of the nicest river boats afloat. One of the newer Viking longboats, the Buri has the best of everything a boat could have. The finest furnishings, fixtures, and decor. The locks on the Eurpoean rivers dictate the maximum size these boats can be but Buri's designers managed to get more in the same space with a few design changes. Balconies were added to one side of the ship which gives Viking more revenue but no more passenger space. I feel the balconies are not necessary as the French balcony provides an excellent view and who needs to sit out on a 30 inch balcony? I did not see many passengers using the balconies and they take a foot or more of space from cabins on both sides of the boat. We boarded the boat in Chalon-sur-Saone after flying through Paris to Lyon where we spent the night before taking the train to Chalon the morning we sailed. Upon arrival in Lyon we took the Rhone Express from the airport (every 20-30 minutes and no need for advance purchase) to downtown Lyon where we stayed at the Mercure Lyon Part Dieu, just across the street from the terminus of the Rhone Express and not 70 meters from the train station. The Mercure is an excellent hotel for someone making these connections because of its location and the fact that it is a modern, beautiful hotel with a good restaurant and very reasonably priced rooms with king beds. A quick walk to the train mid-morning for our ride to Chalon on the train designated Lyon-Paris (no mention of Chalone but a red shirted information girl told me which train to catch.) We arrived in Chalone for a quick (15 Euro) cab ride to the ship and since it was after 3PM (1500) we were able to go to our cabin. As wonderful as the ship was, I wish I could say the same about the itinerary. My first River cruise was from Amsterdam to Budapest and there is no comparison to that scenery with what is in Provance. First you docked in beautiful European cities everyday while on this ship we were bused to most of the cities. Also, the countryside in Provance is just not the same as on the Rhine, the Mein and the Danube. One of the stops was at night for A 9-10 PM walk but we got there late and the walk did not end until 11:00; too late for me. Boat sailed, missed that city. Seemed to spend more time in some cities with less in others with no reason. One optional tour that I feel should be missed is the tour to Peroges an almost deserted medieval town. In my opinion a complete waste of time and money. Take the tour to Le Baux a very active medieval town at the top of a hill, if you like medieval cities. It is well worth your time and money. We took all the included tours but no other optional ones as we generally don't like to tour all day, everyday. We like free time to go back and see the cities on our own. Entertainment was an attractive piano player singing popular songs which I find more enjoyable than local folk dancers and musicians. The food was exceptional, the best of any of the three river cruises we have taken, and as good as or better than the food on the 35+ ocean cruises we have taken. The menus had three main courses with salmon and steak as always available options. I usually opted for the fish but had the veal and chateaubrian (sp) - all excellent. Our last day and night was in Avignon, one of the few cities where we actually docked. It was easy to go into town after the morning tour to the Pope's Palace. Our departure after seven nights was at 6AM (11 Euro cab ride with meter started at 7.50 - language differences precluded me from getting an explanation of why the meter started so high) from Avignon in order to catch the 6:45 train to the Marseille airport an hour and one-half away. We had bought train tickets in advance but could not print them until we got to the train station. Use the YELLOW ticket (Billet) machine; the only one with a keyboard to type your name and e-ticket confirmation code. I might add that we had no trouble getting tickets for all the trains and would not have needed to buy them in advance. But you can never be sure what traffic will be. Flight from Marseille to Paris and home. If you have never taken a European river cruise, take the Amsterdam to Budapest or a one week portion of it before you take this one. Then you won't need to take this one because you will have already seen the best of what the European rivers have to offer. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Viking Longboats are very convenient and feature floor to ceiling windows everywhere. We took all the included (morning) tours and added the optional afternoon tours every day but one. Food was excellent. We ate the buffet lunch on the ... Read More
Viking Longboats are very convenient and feature floor to ceiling windows everywhere. We took all the included (morning) tours and added the optional afternoon tours every day but one. Food was excellent. We ate the buffet lunch on the open air Aquavit terrace rather than seating in the restaurant. Found a nice shaded area on the couches with plenty of room. Viking cruises feature delicious local cuisine yet they outdid themselves with their Provencal lunch, decor, presentation and most important, the food itself. Outstanding! Tours were up to their excellent standards. The optional tour to the Pont du Garde aqueduct was a favorite. The informative museum and the magnificent aqueduct with walkways made a great afternoon. The post dinner evening tour through the cobblestone streets of Viviers was an adventure, not for the waling impaired. The ancient Roman port town Vienne was another favorite plus we added a museum tour which was wonderful. Took the post cruise extension to Nice which despite my initial reluctance I enjoyed thoroughly. Le Meridien hotel had a very convenient location to the old town. Viking's escort to airpot departure did an excellent job browbeating officials to get us through when the new passport scanners failed to work with our passports. Tour director did a good job. My only complaint is their last evening haranguing guests for tips and not including staff tips in Viking's high prices. Port of embarkation was CHALON-SUR-SAÔNE, FRANCE. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Air travel to France while tiring was without incident. The bus ride to the ship was our first view of France and was interesting. We were pleasantly surprised at the number of Roman antiquities that were part of the tour. The ... Read More
Air travel to France while tiring was without incident. The bus ride to the ship was our first view of France and was interesting. We were pleasantly surprised at the number of Roman antiquities that were part of the tour. The spring weather was beautiful and sunny all but one cloudy day. All of the tours of the old French villages were great and we could see the Alps from some locations. We were offered maps and water to take on every trip to the villages. The ship was really clean and modern and the 110 volt outlets in the room was really appreciated. The staff were always helpful and cheerful. A very well organized cruise. While there were a few menu items we had to ask "what is that?" over all dining was excellent and varied. The daily update meetings kept us informed and aware of what was happening. Our departure was very early in the morning but we were thankfully escorted to the air port because there were opportunities to get lost. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This Viking River Cruise way exceeded our expectations. The scenery, the ship, the staff, and the meals were outstanding. Tour guides were great and knowledgeable. Very satisfied with our economy cabin. I highly recommended this event to ... Read More
This Viking River Cruise way exceeded our expectations. The scenery, the ship, the staff, and the meals were outstanding. Tour guides were great and knowledgeable. Very satisfied with our economy cabin. I highly recommended this event to all our friends and family. What we liked was the limited number of guests on board. You got to make friends with many. Unlike a cruise ship that might have thousands on board. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our second river cruise - first on Viking. We were luckier than a lot of people in that we had excellent weather and no problems with locks or high water, etc. Would not cruise the Rhône again - quite industrial with many locks ... Read More
This was our second river cruise - first on Viking. We were luckier than a lot of people in that we had excellent weather and no problems with locks or high water, etc. Would not cruise the Rhône again - quite industrial with many locks and not as pretty as the Seine. The transfers were excellent; the ship was very nice; cabins comfortable; service excellent and the included side trips were fine; we also did not have much access to the sun deck - and the outside seating area at the bow of the ship is quite small. Dining - oh what a disappointment. We were looking forward to local dishes and wines - not so. The buffet lunch consisted every day of pasta tossed with olive oil, spinach and tomatoes - with accompanying salads - every day. Dinners were hit and miss - Quality and quantity just not there - seems that Viking was trying to cut corners - at least on this ship. Breakfasts were good - eggs cooked to order, smoked salmon. Cheeses, cold cuts, etc. The complimentary wines were inferior. Definitely below expectations. We spent three days in Paris at the end of the cruise at the Meridien Etoile - nice room and very central to the metro and the Air France office across the street - very kindly pointed out to us by Bernard, Viking's host at the hotel. Convenient to walk across the street to print out boarding passes and check seats. Our transfer from hotel to de Gaulle airport was brilliant - our Viking host was on top of everything and stayed with us until we went through security. No standing in line whatsoever. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Our first Viking cruise. We stayed for 4 nights at the Le Meridien in Paris prior to boarding the Buri in Chalon. I wish we would have stayed another 2 nights. Great hotel, very close to all the attractions. At the Buri checking in was ... Read More
Our first Viking cruise. We stayed for 4 nights at the Le Meridien in Paris prior to boarding the Buri in Chalon. I wish we would have stayed another 2 nights. Great hotel, very close to all the attractions. At the Buri checking in was quick as the paperwork was done at the hotel. Our cabin was comfortable and more than adequate with two large portholes. We were on the lowest deck and it was nice and quiet. No engine noise. We didn't miss the balcony and found it funny we never saw anyone using theirs during the whole cruise. There is plenty of outside open areas and the top deck to watch the scenery go by. The crew is multi-national, speak english, and very friendly. The included shore activities were great and we never needed to purchase another excursion. I was amazed at the number of Roman ruins in southern France. The food was good and service excellent. Entertainment was satisfying, pretty much what you can expect on a river boat. Bus travel was comfortable and well organized, the guides well versed. We enjoyed the trip and are looking forward to another. There were no negatives to report. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Everything about this cruise was excellent. I am used to the embarkation process on a large cruise ship as a major hassle. On this trip my friend and I got out of the taxi and 4 cruise assistants greeted us with warm wash clothes (in ... Read More
Everything about this cruise was excellent. I am used to the embarkation process on a large cruise ship as a major hassle. On this trip my friend and I got out of the taxi and 4 cruise assistants greeted us with warm wash clothes (in case we needed a refresher from the plane ride), took our luggage and that was it. We walked on the longship, showed our passports, and we were escorted to our room where our luggage awaited us! After lunch it was announced if anyone onboard wanted to take an escorted walk around Lyon, we could meet at the main desk (which was right by the gangway) and off we went for an enjoyable and unexpected walking tour of Lyon. The included tours were wonderful and lots of fun. They were varied and included a train ride, visits to a winery, museums,outdoor relics, palaces, arenas, etc. Dining was fun, sit wherever you want, the tables were for 6 or 8 (I forgot) and larger long tables. Wine was flowing, after one sip someone came around to fill up the glass! Food was delicious. Breakfast and lunch included a small buffet along with the menu. Everything was presented in French style, even the food at the buffet, i.e., no huge bowls of fruit, there was fruit on small plates presented beautifully. Cabin was small but everything was new so it was gorgeous. We had a veranda and that was a plus. I was worried about two women in a cabin both wanting the bathroom amenities. Not to worry. Plenty of stuff for both of us! No entertainment to speak of but we didn't go for that reason. One night we took a walk (after checking if it was safe to do that) and we had fun walking over bridges and seeing castles at night). There was a piano player in the lounge every night in which we didn't participate. Umbrellas were given out on rainy days on the shore excursions, service was excellent. It was all so good. My friend was not happy with the WiFi which was free but so spotty it was almost non-existent but I didn't blame the ship for that. I just can't rave about Viking enough. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Cruising to Alaska was fun with 3,000 other guests. Who knew it could be better? Not to mention the food on a Viking boat, I was impressed and not surprised by the quality and presentation, as a former French Bistro owner in a town ... Read More
Cruising to Alaska was fun with 3,000 other guests. Who knew it could be better? Not to mention the food on a Viking boat, I was impressed and not surprised by the quality and presentation, as a former French Bistro owner in a town outside of Montreal, Canada. Sailing with Viking and 189 other guests is an absolute dream. My life long partner and I are just discovering cruising in our retirement. In our early 60's we have the energy to explore new places, and now with Viking, return to old haunts in a far more leisurely way. Our Boat (BURI) was comfortable and beyond our expectations. Viking makes it very easy to mingle and meet others from around the world and make new friends. Viking chooses not to bother you with commercialization - Boutiques of all nature. The organization of shore excursions and the pick-up and delivery to and from the Ports/ Airports was made simple and efficient. This all speaks to Vikings years in the business and their employee selection process. It is also there with their tour guides - very knowledgeable. You expect a certain level of quality from Viking. Service staff are on the job and get to know you. This includes the kitchen staff. As an early riser I was on the Aquavit deck early with a coffee waiting after the second morning. WOW. We would, though, like to be as involved in the booking of the plane. We got notification too close to departure and had to scramble to make certain seat changes. The only complaint. Can hardly wait for our cruise to Holland in 2016, and our Ocean cruise with Viking soon to be planned. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
This is our second cruise with Viking and we were delighted to see that the wonderful customer service continued on this trip. Before we left we were informed that our boat had been changed from the one originally listed. (not a problem ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Viking and we were delighted to see that the wonderful customer service continued on this trip. Before we left we were informed that our boat had been changed from the one originally listed. (not a problem as all the new ships are the same). This had to do with logistics as there had been extensive flooding in the area - certainly not their fault. We also missed some ports due to the high river levels which prevented the boat from getting under the bridges. Everyone on the staff did their best to overcome these obstacles and we were able to see all of the included and optional sites with minimal bussing. Towards the end of the cruise we had to stay in Lyons instead of heading north, but they did a great job of - as the cruise director diplomatically stated "making sure that anyone who wanted to have a good time would be able to do so." As the boat was too far for us to return for lunch they arranged for a meal at a lovely local restaurant. They even set up an unscheduled excursion for those who wanted to spend less time on a bus (although our bus ride was through lovely countryside). It is unbelievable that one person talked about the mundane towns visited as we are seasoned travelers and thought that all the villages were beautiful and our tour guides entertaining and informative. There were 3 wine tastings, but each was totally different. One of our stops was at the factory outlet store of a major chocolate company where we could have unlimited access to samples of every type of chocolate imaginable. On another day we toured a small art museum in a beautiful old building - I am not even an "art" person but the experience of meeting the owner and taking in the atmosphere made us feel as though we were in an old movie. Most of the guests understood the problems caused by the flooding and appreciated how things were handled. We also discussed how some - in the minority - would be posting horrified reviews on the internet. Having now read some of these I felt the need to respond. True travelers realize that part of the experience includes the unexpected and nobody guarantees perfection because you are on vacation. When something does go wrong you just want to know that the company is doing their best to handle the situation and we absolutely felt that in term of Viking in general and the staff on the Viking Buri. One addition - they actually had a staff member accompany our bus to the airport at the end of the trip. She stayed with our group and did not leave until we were all checked in and about to go through security. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
A week before we left, we got an email saying that we would be aboard the Buri, with no further details. It turns out that the Viking Hermod, our chosen ship, was trapped at the northern end of the route behind a bridge due to high water, ... Read More
A week before we left, we got an email saying that we would be aboard the Buri, with no further details. It turns out that the Viking Hermod, our chosen ship, was trapped at the northern end of the route behind a bridge due to high water, and we would be switching ships. That’s a lot better than the Buri passengers, who remained on the Hermod for the entire week, being bussed to various villages and cities – they probably have a few things to say about that! (and a pretty good compensation in the form of a future cruise discount in addition). The Buri was trapped at the south end for the previous week and docked at Avignon, but the water had gone down somewhat, so we could do MOST of our trip. I agree with Viking that switching ships had to be done, due to flight arrangements. As it was, Lisette on the reception staff had to change a batch of rail connections from Chalon to Lyon, including us. Day 1: We flew to London for a couple of days before to see the sights, then off to Marseilles on Sunday, Nov 9 to board the ship in Avignon. Met at baggage claim by the Viking representative, who called up our taxi – we figured we’d have to wait for a bus, but that was over an hour later. Danielle pulled up, and off we went to Avignon for an hour. Booked transfer through Viking, and the taxi pulled up to the Buri with 240 euros showing on the clock – Danielle had taken a load to the airport before us, then waited. Promptly signed in, after the crew had carried our luggage and assisted us in crossing a ditch next to the dumpsters where we were moored (poor location a result of the floods the previous week). Found out that we had been upgraded from the bilge deck to a balcony, an appreciated luxury – opened the door to the balcony exactly once the whole week…. Rumor was that there had been some cancellations due to the itinerary change. The welcoming champagne tasted good. Unpacked a bit, then went up to the lounge for some meat and cheese to recover from the journey, snatching another champagne on the way. Viking had a bonus walking tour in the afternoon, and all 8 of us enjoyed the cold driving rain and got soaked. Most utilized the Viking umbrellas, but I thought my Tilley hat and GoreTex could handle it (I was wrong….). Dinner was a good clam chowder, salad Nicoise, choice of sea bass or lamb chops, and we got acquainted with the Elegant white and red wines. The amuse bouche was a interesting pesto something. The white was pretty good, and we had it for the rest of the week – the red varied. Presentation on the schedule, introducing the program director Nicholas, the dining manager Nuno, the chef Lars, etc. No mention of changing ships or any changes to the itinerary for the week. Day 2: Arles Day Up for my first batch of smoked salmon, and today we had baked beans to put on the scrambled eggs (soon to run out). Pastry chef knows how to make croissants. Bus to Arles (40 minutes) park a few blocks out from the old city, then tour. Talky, knowledgeable gal and a good visit to the amphitheatre still in use for non-lethal bull fights. Back at noon for carrot soup (exc) and frutti di Mare (not too good). Choice in the afternoon is the optional tour (my wife) or back to Arles(me). Walk around the left side of the amphitheatre to the small chapel of Notre Dame (interesting, good view of city, some old Roman walls), then down to the park, back through the Roman Theatre (used, but not restored – a lot of carved pieces laying around like a jigsaw puzzle). Look for the walkway on the side – totally free! Back to the Plaza of the Republic and St Tropheim church – which is interesting with carved altars and the side chapel of the Saint’s relics, nicely exhibited in gold chests, etc. Then down for a lookover of the Roman Baths and a walk along the river back to the bus to finish off the 3 hours. Dinner was Scallops/Avocado, then a Chateaubriand (exc) with an amuse bouche of a bacon wrapped date/almond/blue cheese that was very tasty. Day 3: Avignon City Tour in tolerable weather, nice walk through the Papal Palace (they took all the furniture when they left), and a visit to Les Halles market. Buy olives, cheese, wine, and a baguette for afternoon snack. Lunch of Garlic Soup(exc) and a French Dip (poor). Optional tour to Chateauneaf du Pape – fine, take the walk down from the tower if you’re able (somewhat slick but downhill) and stop in the chapel for a quick visit. Tasting at Maison Bouchard went well, and we ordered a half case @ $50/bottle to be delivered. Back to the ship for snack – olives and Roquefort, bottle of wine in the lounge with some ship supplied glasses under the amused glances of our fellow passengers who didn’t think of that themselves. (We did it a couple more times). Dinner was squash soup(good), turkey(f) ceviche(g, got another). If Viking wants to cook turkey, have some of the Americans on board help out in the kitchen so it doesn’t get dried out. Amuse was a smoked salmon tortilla with orange sauce, better without the tortilla, and the red wine was a Bourgogne(g). Late night talk on the history of Provence. Day 4: Cruising up the Rhone, through locks in the rain and drizzle, doing about 10 Km/hour by my stopwatch. Lunch of Roast Beef/remoulade (ex, had 5) and Potato-leek soup (ex, had 2). Docked in Tain L’Hermitage/Tournon, and skipped Viviers on the itinerary due to high water, which no one on the ship mentioned. 1:30 “Stay in your cabin, the buses are delayed”. At 2:00, my wife went down to reception to find the buses gone! Nicholas made up for this, and that’s all I’m going to say about it. Dinner was and amuse of a shrimp ball (g), curry carrot soup (EX+) pepper salmon/coq a vin, choc tart (ex) and the red wine is switched to a good Macon. Day 5: Vienne in the morning. Tour good, cathedral and top of mountain, Roman temple and forum, amphitheatre in good shape, although the first groups found the top of the mountain in the fog and an invisible town. Limited free time. Lunch was lamb soup (g) smoked fish with horseradish sauce (ex), as we leave the dock for the cruise to Lyon in the rain again. OK – here’s your hint. The meeting in the lounge tonight signs you up for the chef’s tour in Lyon. Ask for the signup sheet on your way passing reception – it’s in high demand! Shuttle to Place Bellacour with shopping surrounding. We’re docked a block from Confluence Mall and about 40 years too old for the shops it contains, but the market has Kinder Eggs to smuggle into the USA for the grandkids. (Hint: list them as “chocolate” on your customs form). Dinner was the walk-around in the kitchen, and we get to personally thank Gary the soup guy and the gal who was the pastry chef for doing outstanding jobs. Excellent Lamb with au jus, ham en crute, salads, desserts, Brussels sprout soup, and the red is Ogier Cotes du Rhone (g). We are moored on the outside of another ship, and leaving involves going up to the top deck, crossing over the other ship, and going down a steep staircase, than a slippery ramp to the dock. If you’re somewhat handicapped (more than cane level), you’re trapped aboard. Day 6: Lyon. Since the bridge still blocks us, the trip to Cluny or Beaune now involves a bus trip of two hours each way, so we skip out on the bus ride. My wife has been asking for green onions in her omelet, and Paul the chef in the morning finally got restocked and proudly presented her with her very own bowlful, which he had hidden under the counter for the occasion. Lunch was a chilled cucumber soup, beef burgundy (ex), rice pudding. Pass on the cold soup on this chilly day Actually nap in the afternoon, although there’s a tram stop a couple blocks away to access the city in the rain. Dinner was the Captain’s farewell dinner, and the best meal I’ve had in four Viking trips, which is really saying something. Mushroom soup, a deconstructed Wellington, and some Crème Brulee – all top notch. Day 7: Lyon Tour of the Basilica overlooking the old town and the chapel beneath, then the old town itself. Free time to check out the cathedral, and you can use the free toilets in the information booth next to it. Lunch of lamb shank(ex) and some kind of subway sandwich (f). . Chef’s tour is great, and we buy some truffle oil for our gourmet daughter, and some snacks and wine for this afternoon back on the ship. Dinner was Escargot (lousy, in a cream sauce), what passes for French Onion Soup but is broth, good fish and a good apple crumble, and plentiful wine. Overall: the heated bathroom floors are a genius idea on Viking ships in the fall, but the placement of the light switches next to the headboards not so genius (only turned it on twice this trip). Ivana and Eva treated us like family in the dining room, Nicholas was an excellent Program Director in difficult high-water circumstances, listening patiently to passengers carping about minor annoyances. Nuno did his job well as Dining Manager, and Lars the head chef had the kitchen running like a top. The reception staff got everyone rebooked for leaving from Lyon as far as I know. We will never go on a fall cruise again due to the crummy weather, but that and the high water are not the fault of Viking. The cabins are small but well organized – and only one person can walk around at a time. Bring an old card of some kind (I use a casino card) to plug into the European style light switch, then just lift it when you leave to turn off all the lights. Otherwise, you’re forever switching cards – one has to be in the light switch. The 24/7 coffee machine on the 3rd deck is a beauty, and I always get my coffee from there rather than the dining room. Beside it are muffins in the morning and cookies in the afternoon. After the cruise: we took the TGV from Lyon to Paris, and spent a couple of days seeing the sights and enjoying the excellent meals before returning home to Colorado. The weather remained lousy, and we both got colds.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
The Buri is a beautiful ship with a wonderful staff. Every meal was a great experience and the service was excellent. The Rhone river is another story. The river has a muddy brown color the entire length of the cruise and was overloaded ... Read More
The Buri is a beautiful ship with a wonderful staff. Every meal was a great experience and the service was excellent. The Rhone river is another story. The river has a muddy brown color the entire length of the cruise and was overloaded with branches, trees, logs and trash the first 3 days out of Avignon. If there was anything to see along the waterway you'll never know for the river banks on both sides are lined with tall densely populated trees. Then there are the 11 locks that can take hours to navigate due to heavy river traffic. Lyon was a beautiful city with much to do and see. The rest of the days were spent in quite ordinary towns with little or nothing of significance. We had one tour guide take us to a very ordinary town hall and then to the post office as highlights of her town. It was almost laughable. We have been on many river cruises in Europe and each one has been a terrific experience, unfortunately, the Rhone river is not one of them. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
From the very beginning of this cruise things went wrong. Due to the changing of ports we missed the first nights dinner due to our late arrival, although they did serve us cold soup and a stale sandwich. Captain was aloof, restaurant ... Read More
From the very beginning of this cruise things went wrong. Due to the changing of ports we missed the first nights dinner due to our late arrival, although they did serve us cold soup and a stale sandwich. Captain was aloof, restaurant manager was rude and organization of excursions was day to day. The guides were hard to understand, rushed us through the sites and were not well informed. Some of our excursions took us over 2 hours to arrive. The food on the ship was very inconsistent. Steaks were good, but poultry and fish was overcooked and tasteless. We stayed in Lyon 3 days facing a graffiti riddled building-not the cruising we were promised. Only got to use the sundeck the last day due to high water. The entertainment consisted of a piano player that played the same music over and over again. Only one night did we get a break from this monotony. The complimentary wine was poor in quality and forced us to order from the partial wine list at our cost. We wrote a letter to complain about the quality and low price value. The only thing offered was a discount on our next cruise with Viking-the same discount offered to all other past guests. Why would we want to cruise again with Viking. They did not deliver and we will never use them again. Don't make the mistake of booking with Viking-AMA is a much better choice. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, my husband and I researched many options. We had done ocean cruises, but had never been on a river cruise. After consideration, we decided to take the Viking River Cruise on the Rhone and Saone ... Read More
To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, my husband and I researched many options. We had done ocean cruises, but had never been on a river cruise. After consideration, we decided to take the Viking River Cruise on the Rhone and Saone Rivers in France. Along with our son, his wife, our daughter and her husband, we sailed on the Viking Buri for seven days from Avignon to Chalon-sur-Saone. The Buri was put into service in 2013. The ship is beautiful and for a long, narrow ship, quite spacious. There are numerous seating areas, both inside and outside. The ship provides a variety of games and books--particularly books on the region being visited. Breakfast and lunch are served in the main dining room as well as the lounge and the Aquavit Terrace which is an inside/outside area at the bow of the ship. Dinner is served in the dining room and there is one seating with no reserved tables. The lounge has a lovely bar area and very comfortable sofas and chairs. Most activities onboard the ship are centered around the land excursions with talks, question/answer sessions, and information about the passing scenery and towns. The Program Director was terrific and very, very knowledgeable. Each evening he would discuss the next day's shore or on board activities and accompanied the groups on the shore excursions. Although my husband and I did not participate in the later evening activities, there was a pianist who our children said was very good and enjoyable. From fore and aft, from top to bottom, from port to starboard, the service was impeccable. Our cabin was always immaculate; the Concierge and Reception were welcoming, efficient, and helpful; and the dining room and additional dining area staff were gracious, good humored, and delightful. We could not have asked for better treatment. The shore and port excursions were well planned and executed. Guides were informative, friendly, and with good humor which made the trips more enjoyable. The antiquities visited were surprising and beautiful. Much more interesting than we might have imagined. Our cabin, while small by hotel standards, was well laid out with plenty of storage and closet space. The bathroom was particularly well thought out. We certainly did not feel cramped or confined. The bed and bedding were high quality and very comfortable. Our daughter and her husband had the French Balcony and were quite pleased with that accommodation. The additions of a Veranda Suite, Explorer Suite or Standard Stateroom made for appropriate options although we were in our cabin so little, we were glad we had decided on the Veranda Stateroom. All meals were available on board, although in Lyon some passengers opted for dinner ashore. The meals were excellent with a variety of menu items as well as buffet selections. At dinner a meat, vegetarian, or fish selection was always available in addition to complementary starches, vegetables, fruits and cheeses. The food was well prepared and presented with top tier service. While beer, wine, and soft drinks were available at no extra charge at lunch and dinner, our family selected an upgraded beverage package which allowed us to sample some very good wines and beer on the trip which we might otherwise not have had. Our son and daughter are in their 40's, and although most reviews will say these cruises are for the over 50 crowd, our children and their spouses had a wonderful time as well and I think would consider another cruise of this type again. Obviously, any trip is 90% what you make of it. Viking makes embarkation and disembarkation simple and hassle free. If you arrive at the ship prior to the availability of your stateroom, they have a buffet luncheon set up which makes the time go rather quickly. On disembarkation, luggage is appropriately marked and set out at specific times so the passageways are not crowded and passengers can collect their items quickly and easily once on shore. There is no question that my husband and I, as well as our children, would take another Viking River Cruise. Our hope for the next one would be the Rhine River. One caveat: Through no fault of the cruise line, the water level on rivers may be too high or too low for the ships to travel beyond a certain point; and in some cases, passengers are moved to another ship to continue the journey. We were fortunate on our trip that the rivers were at just the right height and we were able to traverse both with no difficulty. The Viking River Cruise Line does its utmost to provide the adventure each passenger envisioned with the least amount of effort on the part of the passenger. For us, they accomplished that with flying colors. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Cruising: scenery beautiful w no restrictions due to water levels. Smooth w just a bit of noise at locks Ship: Beautiful and brand new. Light and airy Food: absolutely superb w wide range of choices. Evening meal make take 2 hours since ... Read More
Cruising: scenery beautiful w no restrictions due to water levels. Smooth w just a bit of noise at locks Ship: Beautiful and brand new. Light and airy Food: absolutely superb w wide range of choices. Evening meal make take 2 hours since almost everyone fed at same time beginning at 7. Main dining room noisy but well appointed. Some alternatives in bar. Wine and beer free Excursions: excellent free excursions w knowledgable local guides. Some optional excursions as well. Roman history and artifacts unexpected. Wonderful churches Cabin: we got upgraded to Explorer Suite somehow. It is roomy w coffee maker and mini fridges. Two rooms and wraparound balcony Pre-cruise pkg in Nice: well worth the cost. 3 days in Le Meredien, right on the beach. Multiple small restaurants and chocolate shops. Outstanding pizza. Lots of great walks So good we will book again on Viking Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our third Viking River cruise, although the first one during the summer months. Everything went smoothly. Food and service were great, as was the Viking Longboat. Scenery is not as "rich" as on the Rhine, but the ports ... Read More
This was our third Viking River cruise, although the first one during the summer months. Everything went smoothly. Food and service were great, as was the Viking Longboat. Scenery is not as "rich" as on the Rhine, but the ports were very nice and the winery tours were terrific. Weather was in the lower 80s, and had one day with light rain - although the region had more rain than normal, so when we got to Lyon, we could not go up river to our last stop because of the bridges. This actually worked out fine since Viking had their first class buses take us to Beaune - our last tour stop, and then we were able to go back and stay in Lyon on our last night - which was where we flew out of the next day - so got to sleep in a little longer. Highly recommend the five minute walk to the castle in Tarascon in the afternoon instead of going back into Arles for shopping, Get a card for the Viking reception for a discount on the castle tour. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We truly enjoyed our visits to the cities of Arles, Vienne, Perouges, Nice and Monte Carlo, not necessarily in that order! We were unable to reach our final destination of Chalon sur Saone due to high water levels so our visit to Lyon was ... Read More
We truly enjoyed our visits to the cities of Arles, Vienne, Perouges, Nice and Monte Carlo, not necessarily in that order! We were unable to reach our final destination of Chalon sur Saone due to high water levels so our visit to Lyon was extended. We however did partake in a tour to Perouges which was not on the schedule...... but turned out to be an amazing town! The tour guide even sang Ave Maria for us in the church, which gave us chills! A beautiful end to our day along with the flat bread in the square. Prior to boarding in Avignon, we spent a few days in Nice, a pre-extension, and enjoyed the restaurants, the scenery's and the shopping. Arles (with Van Gogh) had so much to offer, as did Vienne (with numerous Roman ruins), Nice (Garibaldi's birth place) and Monte Carlo - a pocket of beauty and sunshine! Food and service on board was awesome as we experienced during a past Viking Cruise and the wine, need I say more. Quality dry reds! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Using Viking Air we flew from Newark Liberty to Amsterdam and then on to Marseille. We were met by Viking representatives and taken by bus to the Buri in Avignon. Check in was fast and we went straight to our cabin. The cabin was small but ... Read More
Using Viking Air we flew from Newark Liberty to Amsterdam and then on to Marseille. We were met by Viking representatives and taken by bus to the Buri in Avignon. Check in was fast and we went straight to our cabin. The cabin was small but efficient designed. We never felt cramped. The French balcony was enjoyable and while occasionally we had another ship parked next to us blocking our view, it never bothered us. We just closed the curtains until the ship moved. It was never an all day situation. We had a nice lunch on the Aquavit Terrace and when we returned to our room our luggage was there. Our clothes fit easily into the closet and the luggage stored under the bed. After a short nap we were rejuvenated to explore the ship. There was an orientation talk and we were able to sign up for the optional tours that evening. Dinner was enjoyable and the included wine was very good and plentiful. The open seating allowed us to meet many people from different countries. The included tours and the 2 optional tours we took were very good. The guides were informative and the buses were comfortable and clean. We took the Les Baux tour and also the Chateauneuf du Pape tours. The one tour in Tain L’Hermitage could have skipped the art museum we visited. The woman who ran it was lovely but the art was not interesting or really noteworthy. The chocolate factory was nice and a source of many souvenirs but also way too many calories with all the samples. I could have skipped it. When we reached Lyon we were told that due to water levels we would be unable to continue north on the river. Alternative arrangements were made and they really did all they could to make up for the change. Those who were flying home from the Lyon airport at the end of the cruise really benefitted from the change as they avoided hour bus ride back from Chalon sur Saone. The rest of us that continued on to Paris at the end had an extra hour for that trip. I think with the river cruise you have to learn to go with the situations. We have been on many ocean cruises that have had to change their itinerary due to adverse conditions. It happens. We could see that the river was high and we barely fit under some of those medieval bridges. The top deck had railings flattened and all equipment stowed while we were moving. The bridge was even on a hydraulic lift so it could be lowered for the ship to fit. When the ship was docked they put the safety railings and chairs and shade tents back up so we could enjoy the top deck. When the ship was moving there was no way you could be up there without risking getting your head knocked off by a low bridge. I have read many reviews where people were upset by this but I don’t know what Viking could do to change this. The food and wine were very good. The limited staff worked very hard and did all they could to accommodate everyone’s needs. Dinner service was sometimes slow but with the full dining room they were stretched pretty thin. On Sunday we continued on to the post cruise trip to Paris. The bus ride was long and we all would have rather skipped the lunch stop in Auxxerre and have continued on to Paris but the hotel did not want us to arrive before 3PM so we had to stop. When we did arrive in Paris we were dropped off at the hotel and told to go in to the Viking Desk and we would get room assignments. This is where Viking goofed. The desk was empty. We all stood there waiting for someone from Viking. About 20 minutes later a woman arrived and herded us out to the patio. She said she thought after the bus ride we would want fresh air. It was a nice thought but not under the current conditions. It was very cool and there was a stiff breeze blowing. Our luggage was still being delivered so we had no extra sweaters to put on. The wind was blowing all the papers she had for us all over the patio. It was a bad idea. Most of us just grabbed the keys and left after we chased the orientation papers around the patio. We were assigned a Starwood Preferred room which was very nice sleeping area however I will never understand French plumbing ideas. The toilet was in a room by itself but the sink to wash your hands was in the next room with the tub and shower and bidet. It wasn’t an impossible situation but seemed cumbersome to me. The room itself was large. There was no drawer s in the room so we had to live out of suitcases. The electric in the room was only European and a Schuko adapter was needed. There was a safe in the room and it was easy to operate. The included breakfast was very good and there were plenty of choices. The transfers to the airport were on time and comfortable. The driver was a speed demon and drove at breakneck speed. I was glad to get out of the car alive and in one piece at the airport. It was a great trip and I will definitely river cruise again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
Well, this was our first River Cruise and we were excited. However we were a little put back when 2 days before we left we were told the first part of the trip was out due to high river levels. So we stayed moored at Lyon for 3 days. We ... Read More
Well, this was our first River Cruise and we were excited. However we were a little put back when 2 days before we left we were told the first part of the trip was out due to high river levels. So we stayed moored at Lyon for 3 days. We had just 2 days cruising and another 2 moored in Avignon. The sun deck was closed the entire time we cruised and the bar was very limited in wine choice until they re-stocked after 3 days. No complaints about the crew. They tried hard and the food was ok as were the tours, although they involved much longer bus drives than planned due to the changed locations. We wanted a cruise , we could have stayed in hotels anywhere with bigger rooms and more amenities at a much lower cost. Beware the Portraits of Southern France because the boats are really too big for these rivers and this will continue to occur regularly in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
Although all details of our outward and homeward journeys from and to Bristol went according to plan, felt that as we lived in Bristol and had an airport that flew direct to Marseille, the fact that we had to go via Amsterdam which ... Read More
Although all details of our outward and homeward journeys from and to Bristol went according to plan, felt that as we lived in Bristol and had an airport that flew direct to Marseille, the fact that we had to go via Amsterdam which incorporated 2 flights each way was definitely not in our best interest. The 'Buri' was indeed all that we had hoped for and more in that it was kept immaculately clean and well maintained and the staff were all very friendly and willing to help in any way they could. The food was definitely all that we had anticipated with wine flowing freely during lunch and dinner periods. We had previously spent a river cruise on the Rhine not with Viking, and were disappointed that when we docked we then had to be coached to places of interest, whereas on the Rhine we actually docked at the places of interest and were able to wander at will and not constantly being put onto coaches. The guides that were provided for these on shore excursions were excellent and very knowledgeable, and although my husband is hard of hearing, with the 'walkie talkie' devices we were given, he was able to heard all the relevant information, which certainly helped with his enjoyment of this holiday. However, we were not impressed that the sun deck was not accessible for quite a large amount of the time we were on board,and also that the latter part of our 'cruise' we were berthed in Lyon and had to be coached to the latter destination as the ship couldn't navigate under the bridges owing to the swollen river! We felt that the Viking ships were too large for this particular river and would have been better being one deck less, thus allowing people to enjoy the advertised river cruise and not glorified coach trip. Perhaps a suggestion to remedy this complaint might be to make use of local day excursion boats instead of coaches, thus still having a river view of the surrounding countryside. Our friends had paid £800 more than us for a balcony and spent 3 days not being able to pull their curtains back as we were moored alongside another Viking ship until such time as the river allowed the inside ship to sail. and their cabin looked directly into the other ship, which reading other reviews appears to be a common complaint. All in all we did enjoy the trip - staff and ship first class, but feel that the above issues do need to be resolved before we will be taking a cruise with Viking again, or in fact any river cruise line if this is common practice. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Having traveled with Viking before, our expectations were high. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. Part of the problem was that we did not do enough homework ahead of time. We chose the worst time of year ( due to work schedules) and did ... Read More
Having traveled with Viking before, our expectations were high. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. Part of the problem was that we did not do enough homework ahead of time. We chose the worst time of year ( due to work schedules) and did not realize how much of the cruise would be spent on a bus. Viking hides the fact that for many of the excursions you will have to ride a crowded, uncomfortable bus. There was no scenic views along the highways. We also spent much of the time waiting for the very slow walkers to catch up to the group. Viking does offer a "leisure" group for those passengers but most insisted on signing up for the regular groups ensuring that all of us would forgo the opportunity for free time. Toward the end of the trip, we gave up and just went on our own. This meant we missed out on a few attractions that we could only get into as part of the group tour. Another problem was the weather. We had several days of rain. The boat could not make it under some bridges, therefore we boarded in Lyon and sat docked in the industrial part of tow by an "American style mall" for 3 days. We were told this is a frequent problem. There was no suitable plan B. We were loaded on to busses every day and rode for hours to the town's we were scheduled to visit. There were some good things_ staff was friendly and pleasant, food was good, rooms were small but nice. Our previous trip with Viking was much better. 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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