74 Viking River Viking Heimdal Cruise Reviews

Short and packed with interesting Roman ruins and Cluny Abbey Staff was friendly and efficient and attentive The waiters saw to our every need and the omelet chef was a gem. The food was lovely with out being cloying. The provided ... Read More
Short and packed with interesting Roman ruins and Cluny Abbey Staff was friendly and efficient and attentive The waiters saw to our every need and the omelet chef was a gem. The food was lovely with out being cloying. The provided wine was nice and plentiful I r The cabin cleaner Sebastian was so attentive that when Was looking for my cane he piped up to remind me The walking tours were well guided and done at a leisurely pac which was much appreciated by the wobbly knees. The most outstanding feature of the trip was the visit to the abbey at Cluny Learned a lots saw a lot and was enriched by and excellent talented and kind guide. The busses were all clean and quiet, the drivers courteous and helpful The other guests were interesting people from diverse backgrounds I loved having the wifi abord I reccommend this cruise and Viking in general Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was our second cruise with Viking and the experience is well above expectation. Embarkation and disembarkation always went smoothly. Dining was fantastic and the ports and excursions were excellent. We want to do a third cruise with ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking and the experience is well above expectation. Embarkation and disembarkation always went smoothly. Dining was fantastic and the ports and excursions were excellent. We want to do a third cruise with Viking in 2019 because you really take care of your passengers. You really go out of your way to ensure that each passenger feels special and that the cruise is memorable. We will never use any other cruise company the Viking. The personnel are really professional and attentive to all our needs. The tour guides that you select are extremely knowledgeable therefore providing a wonderful experience to the passengers. The cabins are wonderful and well thought. The bathrooms are a good size and very functional. The longboats are well designed and well decorated. Both Program Directors that we encountered were great and creatives. Overall our two cruises were extremely enjoyable and we learned may things. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our very first cruise of any kind, so we have nothing to compare it with. We had considered the South of France for a honeymoon when we got married 4 years ago-neither of us had been to France before. When we saw the deal for this ... Read More
This was our very first cruise of any kind, so we have nothing to compare it with. We had considered the South of France for a honeymoon when we got married 4 years ago-neither of us had been to France before. When we saw the deal for this cruise, we booked it right away and are so glad we did! It was hot, but France was beautiful-we loved it and look forward to going back! Highlights for me were Avignon and Tournon-the walled city was so charming, and Tournon was just really cool-I fell in love the minute we walked into town-the scenery, the architecture, the forests, the steam train-and our guide, Philippe. I could live there! Another highlight was our excursion into the Ardeche region-unlike anything I have ever seen and fascinating. We loved Cluny, too-gorgeous countryside and impressive abbey. I liked Paris but not as much as the smaller towns in Southern France. We loved the local guides, too. Our crew was stellar, especially Christine, our cruise director-she was simply fabulous! We also loved the young people who served us meals-so friendly and nice. I wish I had had the chance to practice my French a bit more, but that is a minor thing. Overall, the service was exceptional. The food was good, but there were a few "misses"-I did see some regional food, but it appeared that some meal choices were the chef's interpretation of regional specialties. The Provencal luncheon was wonderful-from the tablecloths to the food served that day. Overall, the food was very good and we liked having choices for all our meals. The shore excursions were great, and I'm glad we were able to add on the ones to the Ardeche and Cluny-I just wish we hadn't missed one of the towns because of the Ardeche excursion. It was hard to choose some of them! We loved the ship and look forward to our next river cruise! It was the trip of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We stayed in Nice for 3 days prior to the cruise, which was a great way to see a wonderful city, while acclimating to the time difference. Viking met us at the airport and shuttled us to our hotel, where we met our Viking staff who ... Read More
We stayed in Nice for 3 days prior to the cruise, which was a great way to see a wonderful city, while acclimating to the time difference. Viking met us at the airport and shuttled us to our hotel, where we met our Viking staff who took care of us on our Nice visit. The Le Meridian was a comfortable hotel and convenient to the sea and downtown. We also got top enjoy a Jazz festival the coincided with our time there. We were comfortably transported to our ship by motor coach and greeted warmly once onboard the Viking Heimdal in Avignon. We stayed in a suite which I would recommend. The service on Viking is fabulous. This was our second cruise with them, and we are already planning another. Everyone speaks english buy do learn a bit of the local language. We might have planned too many excursions and will plan on spending more time onboard next time. The food is plentiful, fresh and deliciously prepared. Great wines as well. Good idea to buy the Spirits package. There are some wonderful excursions with guides that truly know each port that you visit. I cannot Compliment Viking enough for their extremely professional experience at every level. I forgot my IPhone on the coach and the quickly found it and got it back to me. We made many friends on this cruise who we remain in touch with and plan on cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I chose Viking for it's reputation! The Captain & 2nd Captain were amazing! The entire crew in itself are beyond words! My cabin was fantastic & clean, the ship was very clean! And OMG the food on the ship was incredible ... Read More
I chose Viking for it's reputation! The Captain & 2nd Captain were amazing! The entire crew in itself are beyond words! My cabin was fantastic & clean, the ship was very clean! And OMG the food on the ship was incredible - if anyone was hungry after any meal it was their own fault, and the wines just kept coming! The entertainment was also wonderful on the ship. I had such a amazing time on all the shore excursion tours that we did, how well planned everything was. I traveled solo but I was never alone for any length of time because you meet so many wonderful people on the ship and the crew never leaves you out of anything. If you ever need anything at all, the crew is on top of it immediately. I really did not want to come home when my trip was ending, France is absolutely beautiful and thank you to Viking because they made me feel welcome and safe. I am already planning for 2 more Viking River cruises for next year (2018). Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our second cruise with Viking and our experience was every bit as good as the first! The crew was fantastic and provided a wonderful atmosphere. You could tell they liked being with each other which translated to the guest having ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking and our experience was every bit as good as the first! The crew was fantastic and provided a wonderful atmosphere. You could tell they liked being with each other which translated to the guest having a wonderful time. Our room was great and the attention to detail that the room steward gave was fantastic. My husband and I were there for our anniversary and we exchanged cards in the morning and the next thing we know there was special touches in our room and a special treat that night at dinner! The dining is fantastic and again they will bend over backwards if that's what it takes to please you. The food is excellent and always served with a smile. The open seating is great as it gives you the chance to meet more people. The tours are very good and having the audio boxes are great as you can wonder from your guide( always very knowledgeable) to get the pictures you want and not miss a word they are saying. We did the extended stay both pre in Paris and post in Nice. The accommodations at both locations were very good. We got to ride the high speed train from Paris to Lyon which was an added bonus. The tours in Paris and Nice were every bit as good as the ones provided while on the cruise. Also would like to say that being greeted at the airport by a Viking rep and then taking to the departure airport by them as well takes a lot of the worry away. We are already looking forward to our next cruise. Thinking about an ocean cruise next. The thought of only 930 passengers vs 3,000 - 5,000 is very appealing. We also met some wonderful people and hope to sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our third Viking in three years. What could be better than the south of France! We traveled with my sister and her husband. We were active participants in the shore excursions because we particularly enjoy the guided tours. ... Read More
This was our third Viking in three years. What could be better than the south of France! We traveled with my sister and her husband. We were active participants in the shore excursions because we particularly enjoy the guided tours. Viking is the way to travel, no need for trains or rental cars, lots to see every day with no hassle, saves time. We could never have visited these venues touring in a car. The Viking boats are a perfect size with less than 150 guests. Food on board is superb and healthy. No assigned seating. Lots of opportunities to make new friends. The opportunities each day for photos is always fun and creative. We brought home some wonderful memories. Viking long boats would also be a perfect way for an extended family to travel. Each would have their room and meals together. Then all of the venues for outings. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We love history, we love Roman history, and we love wine. We had never been to France before, and this trip gave us everything. Viking organization is impeccable; the shore tours are extremely well conducted. The tour guides are always ... Read More
We love history, we love Roman history, and we love wine. We had never been to France before, and this trip gave us everything. Viking organization is impeccable; the shore tours are extremely well conducted. The tour guides are always first class. There is never any ambiguity about where and when events are going on. I am impressed with how the crew gets everyone to participate, and enjoy themselves. We love the food on board. We really appreciate the local cuisine offerings. We also appreciate the portion sizes - just right. There's never any problem enjoying all the courses and the dessert. The house wines are always good. I know the staff must be working very hard to keep things running smoothly and on time, but they always have a smile and are polite and friendly. They get to know you, even in a trip as short as one week. I have encouraged my friends and acquaintances to consider a Viking trip, even if they think it's only for the well-off, as there are frequent special offers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The ship and crew were exceptional. They both have our highest recommendation. The food was delicious. It was perfectly prepared and served with style and elegance. The ship was kept clean and well maintained at all times. The ... Read More
The ship and crew were exceptional. They both have our highest recommendation. The food was delicious. It was perfectly prepared and served with style and elegance. The ship was kept clean and well maintained at all times. The excursions were very educational and enjoyable. We new river cruises had less entertainment than ocean cruises; but were pleasantly surprised by the amount and quality of entertainment. We found the river cruise more relaxing than the ocean cruises we have been on. We enjoyed having fewer people on the ship than ocean cruises. We had the drink package and thought the wines were excellent. We had never been through locks before and found them very interesting. I'm an engineer so you may not feel the same. And if all that weren't enough, every crew member acted like they truly cared about us the entire time. This was the first Viking cruise we have ever been on and it was easily the best cruise we've ever been on. We stayed in Paris a few days after this cruise and thoroughly enjoyed that too. It was a perfect combination with the cruise. The history and architecture in Paris was breathtaking. Very romantic--if you can't get a little action from your wife or hubby in Paris you really need to see a therapist :). Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Having so enjoyed the Rhine River Viking Cruise last Fall, we contacted our expert travel agent Jeffrey Elkin at VacationsToGo.com for booking our Provence cruise and air fare. My husband and I flew from Fort Myers, Florida to Lyon and ... Read More
Having so enjoyed the Rhine River Viking Cruise last Fall, we contacted our expert travel agent Jeffrey Elkin at VacationsToGo.com for booking our Provence cruise and air fare. My husband and I flew from Fort Myers, Florida to Lyon and joined our close friends arriving from Boston. Every hour of every day on the Rhone River was just as the Viking River cruise brochure and the website had described. We were very pleased with the ambiance and friendliness of the staff and crew onboard our longship Heimdal. A large painting acquainted us with the ship's namesake: The Norse god Heimdal is the ever-vigilant guardian of the gods. Our river view cabin was cozy and we only were there to shower and sleep. Once we unpacked, the empty suitcases went under the bed and we were ready to join our friends for drinks and dinner. Our 3 meals a day were carefully prepared and artistically served. Everything on the ship was pleasing to the eyes! Chris Harrington, Hotel Manager, was attentive to everyone's wants and needs 24/7 and always with a kind word, smile, or perhaps a joke to brighten our day. We enjoyed the cheese tasting, musical entertainment, French cooking lesson of molten lava chocolate cake, and highly informative silk painting class. History and French culture were emphasized daily and it was refreshing to learn in such a relaxed setting. Passing through locks was fun to watch from the Aquavit Terrace as we continued cruising on the Rhone River. Having time to relax on the upper deck, snuggle into a comfy chair to read a chapter in our books, or take a quick nap in the afternoon left us refreshed for our evening Cruise Director's informative talk in the lounge. From there we went downstairs for our satisfyingly delicious dinners next to the floor to ceiling windows that allowed us to enjoy the passing river views and vineyards.. Chef Daniel and our Maitre D' made sure we were well fed and that there were regional favorites paired with wine as well as several entree choices. Best of all was our terrific "Taste of Provence" dinner. It was also nice to have round the clock availability in two locations of make-it-yourself hot tea, coffee, or cocoa plus cookies. Our morning tours were superb and our English-speaking guides were extremely knowledgeable. Having the ear piece and receiver was very helpful in hearing everything that was being described. Our full day in Lyon began with a bus trip up to the Basilica of Norte-Dame de Fourvieres and hilltop view of the sprawling city below us . The city walking tour featured architecture and the trompe l'oeil frescoes on several buildings. Then we were allowed to enter through doorways that led us via hidden passageways (' traboules ') along the ground level of stair-cased buildings all with interesting designs. This allowed us to go from a main street to other small streets and shops. Of course there was time for a quick cafe au lait and people watching at a local cafe. Lyon now reminds us of Paris 40 years ago when life was not so hurried as it is now. Pont du Gard was enthralling when looking at the remains of the Roman aqueduct built in 1st Century AD. Their museum was well worth the time spent beforehand and the olive trees scattered about on the grounds are still thriving there. Oh, how I loved walking in the old Medieval walled towns of Perouges known for the Three Musketeers, Viviers with the spectacular view from Belvedere de Pipet, Vienne for a moonlit walk, and majestic Avignon. Beaujolais wine tasting at Chateau Ravatys was a delightful outing in the French countryside and their 5 tasty wines paired with 2 kinds of breads was wonderful. The old-fashioned steam train de l'Ardeche provided us with hidden vistas and the turn-around was interesting to watch before we took the return trip. Arles was a fascinating city with Roman ruins and cobble stone streets. However, the highlight of my trip to Provence was the 8 hour special tour there walking "In the Footsteps of Van Gogh". Philippe Monnier and his wife welcomed ten of us into his studio where we were immersed in classical music as we each used acrylic paints and a variety of brushstrokes to paint in the style of Van Gogh. We also looked at Vincent's various scenes of Arles and the surrounding countryside before we walked along and saw the yellow Night Cafe, the hospital where he was treated in town, and at the riverside where he painted the Starry Night. Color, light, and composition were key to Vincent as he painted portraits as well as scenes of still life and landscapes especially during his 15 months in Arles. Here he discovered and was inspired by the light of the south in Provence! Our gourmet 3 course luncheon at Hotel Jules Cesar was included. Philippe met us there after dessert to give each of us our painting that had dried and was wrapped in brown paper for our trip back to the ship. A short bus ride next took us out into the countryside to the quaint town of St. Remy. The restoration of the buildings and Van Gogh's bedroom at Saint Paul's Hospital was heart-warming. To see Vincent's iron bedstead and then gaze out his window at numerous fields of flowers was breath-taking. Such a variety of flowers and many shades and types of iris were plentiful in the May sunshine. Having large reproductions of Vincent's work at the locations where they were painted was awe-inspiring. This restoration work is based on sketches and descriptions in Vincent's letters to his brother Theo Van Gogh. A sign told us "Thank you for respecting the tranquility of this site. Patients and residents are still housed and cared for in a contemporary way according to the traditions, values, and vocations of the place and caretakers from the times of Vincent Van Gogh." Not only did Vincent love painting the various floral scenes and buildings here, he tried to capture the beauty of the flowering olive trees against the cloud strewn sky with mountains and moonrise in the background. Thank you, Vincent! We have found that each of our two Viking River Cruises provided us with many delightful experiences while we were making new memories. Now we have had Jeffrey Elkin from Vacations To Go book another trip for us: this time it's a 2 week Viking Ocean Cruise to Panama and Central America. Stay tuned for details when we return! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose the French Provence cruise because we wanted to explore southern France and end it in Paris. Every port gave us an opportunity to see the cities and villages of France. While giving a wonderful place to return to on board the ... Read More
We chose the French Provence cruise because we wanted to explore southern France and end it in Paris. Every port gave us an opportunity to see the cities and villages of France. While giving a wonderful place to return to on board the ship. The rooms were very comfortable and the cuisine was delicious. Entertainment was entertaining. The pianist was very good. All of the staff was friendly and helpful with whatever was needed. We travel with our malienial daughter and she thoroughly enjoyed the river cruise up the Rhone and Saone. She really enjoyed the food and drinks provided by Viking. And the cuisine was geared to give everyone a taste of France. The smaller size ship gives a more intimate feeling and enables the guests to mist and mingle. She found the cruise very enriching and would definitely cruise with Viking in the further, saying it is not just a cruise for older people. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Wonderful experience. We went with my parents who are older and had been on several of these cruises. The fact that they offered a slower paced tour in every port for those who were not as mobile was great. My parents were able to enjoy ... Read More
Wonderful experience. We went with my parents who are older and had been on several of these cruises. The fact that they offered a slower paced tour in every port for those who were not as mobile was great. My parents were able to enjoy the entire trip that way. The food was out of this world. I know I gained wait with all that I ate. There were activities in the evenings for those who wanted to participate and they were lots of fun. The cabin was small but more than adequate for our needs. We only slept and bathed there so it was not problem. There was plenty of room for our clothes, suitcases and the other things we brought. The tours into town both those provided and the extra ones were all amazing. We learned so much about French history and culture that we were not aware of. I would recommend this trip for anyone who loves history, good food, great service and a relaxing trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We took the Viking "Paris, Burgundy, and Provence" land tour and cruise. It was a wonderful experience! The land portion included two days (nights) in Paris and two in Dijon. We didn't participate in any excursions in ... Read More
We took the Viking "Paris, Burgundy, and Provence" land tour and cruise. It was a wonderful experience! The land portion included two days (nights) in Paris and two in Dijon. We didn't participate in any excursions in Paris, preferred to "do our own thing," but did like the hotel (Le Meridien Etoile) - good location near the Metro, easy access to the rest of the City of Light. The trip to Dijon was great - our tour director, Charles, was excellent, lots of knowledge about the Burgundy region and its history. We toured the city of Dijon including the Duke's Palace, had a wine tasting in Burgundy, visited the city of Beaune and the Hotel-Dieu, and learned about Bresse and the famous chickens. We also visited the medieval town of Perouges - a lot of touring packed into a couple of days, very interesting and enjoyable. We arrived at the Viking Heimdal docked in Lyon in the afternoon, enough time to unpack, change our clothes, and lead for the lounge for a drink.....and the safety briefing. The Viking Heimdal is one of the older longships, and has some wear and tear - we could tell that the carpets were a little worn, and there were some spots and stains. But the ship was very comfortable, and since this was our 4th cruise with Viking, it met all of our expectations. We had a Veranda A stateroom and had plenty of storage room, three drawers each and a nice sized closet. We loved the balcony and used it often, especially when we were docked in a great scenic location like Avignon or Tournon.. The service was outstanding - all the staff were friendly and accommodating. The wine list was very good and we had some excellent bottles of wine on this cruise - we had the Silver Spirits package and enjoyed choosing a different bottle of wine each night for dinner. We appreciated the efforts of Dida in the lounge and Mihai in the restaurant to help us with the right choices. If we had to rate one thing lower, it would be the food. There were few memorable dinners (lamb chops on night one), and some strange ones (fried chicken and waffles in France?). We had to send our eggs Benedict back one morning because they were seriously undercooked. Escargots appetizer was way too salty and had chunks of rock salt in the sauce (ugh - thought they were glass at first). Beef bourgignon very tough, had to cut it with a knife. We didn't starve, but expected better food in France! Program Director Christine and Hotel Manager Chris were very enjoyable and funny, and we loved the cooking demonstration/comedy routine with Chef Daniel and Maitre D' Imre. There weren't too many other activities on board - a cheese tasting, a silk printing demonstration, French lesson, nautical talk. Excursions were wonderful! Starting with the city tour of Lyon, Beaujolais wine tasting, tour of Vienne, Tournon and the train de l'Ardeche, Avignon, and Arles, all tour guides did an excellent job, providing interesting and enjoyable information. We chose two optional excursions, a wine tasting at Chateauneuf-de-Pape. and the afternoon to the Carrieres des Lumieres and Les Baux. In general, the wine tastings on this trip were not very good, nice people and well set up, but the wines were not to our taste. The best thing was the Carrieres des Lumieres - a huge quarry full of art and music, an incredible experience, highly recommended. If I had to skip one tour, I would choose the steam train, sort of a "meh" experience, especially since we live in the Rockies and have similar scenery nearby. The walking tour of Arles was a little arduous - busses could not get close to town due to an Easter weekend carnival and it was a long trek back to the bus after the tour. And......we chose the "leisurely" walking group on all tours due to some minor mobility issues, but our group spent more time looking for bathrooms than we did touring. I don't understand how someone can go on a 20-minute bus ride from the ship and immediately have to find a rest room. I felt a lot of our time was wasted on every tour because so many people had bathroom issues. Maybe skip the second cup of coffee at breakfast, or leave yourself enough time to go before leaving the ship? Also - how rude can some people be? We had one group on our tours who were not at all interested in the history of anything, all they wanted was to go shopping. They actually rudely interrupted a guide inside one of the churches because they had to know where the shopping area was. The same group was rude on the ship, talking through most of the presentations and telling people to "go to hell" when asked to quiet down. Ugh. Guess there's always some on every trip, but they give us Americans a bad name. Overall, we loved this trip. We learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed all the excursions. Loved the staff on the ship, couldn't ask for better service. We would recommend this itinerary to anyone interested in history, especially Roman and medieval. We also had some good wines, chocolate, and beautiful scenery. Can't wait for our next Viking cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We were intrigued by the combination ability on this particular cruise. We wanted to see a lot of France and so we started on the Heimdal on the Rhone but after that week was over we took the high speed train to Paris and joined the ... Read More
We were intrigued by the combination ability on this particular cruise. We wanted to see a lot of France and so we started on the Heimdal on the Rhone but after that week was over we took the high speed train to Paris and joined the Viking Rinda for a second week, this time on the Seine. Both were excellent. Our cabin was lovely and comfortable and even the weather co-operated (both cruises) and we were able to sit out on our verandah and relax when we didn't feel like going up to the upper deck and join the masses. The food, service, crew, etc are top notch. And so many "extras" are included so we didn't feel nickel & dimed to death like on all the ocean cruises (big ships) we've been on. Loved it! This was our 4th & 5th cruise with Viking River Cruises and it won't be our last. We've also been on one of Viking's ocean cruises and won't go back to the "big" ships after such a lovely inclusive and intimate trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We were attracted by the destination and itinary and we have travelled with Viking before. As always, the accomodation, food, service and tours were all excellent. Very nice ship, light and airy and well kept. Excellent staff, excellent ... Read More
We were attracted by the destination and itinary and we have travelled with Viking before. As always, the accomodation, food, service and tours were all excellent. Very nice ship, light and airy and well kept. Excellent staff, excellent organisation. Trips in every port were varied, interesting and enough free time to explore independently. Chef's and Maitre d's daily food and wine reccomendation were always reliable. Live pianist in the lounge provided excellent background to pre and post dinner drinks! Near the end of the cruise my wife fell in Lyon. We were accompanied to hospital by the Hotel Manager, Chris. As surgery was required, Chris arranged accommodation and rebooked travel for us. Every member of the crew, from the Cruise Director to kitchen staff, were aware of our predicament and did everything possible to help and make life easier. This was service way beyond what could have been expected. We are already planning our next Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Itinerary 29/03/17 Fly from London Heathrow to Marseille then coached to Avignon to embark on “Viking Heimdal” for 7 night cruise to Lyon. 30/03/17 Moored in Tarascon and coached to Arles. 31/03/17 Return to Avignon. ... Read More
Itinerary 29/03/17 Fly from London Heathrow to Marseille then coached to Avignon to embark on “Viking Heimdal” for 7 night cruise to Lyon. 30/03/17 Moored in Tarascon and coached to Arles. 31/03/17 Return to Avignon. 01/04/17 Viviers. 02/04/17 Tournon and Vienne. 03/04/17 Lyon. 04/04/17 Lyon. 05/04/17 Disembark ship and fly from Lyon to London Heathrow. Ship The “Viking Heimdal” is one of Viking's new Longships and first entered service in 2014, so is quite new. She is 443 ft (135 metres) long, is designed to just fit in the Rhone's locks and has 4 decks (but only an elevator between decks 2 and 3). The Ship is a very comfortable base for 190 passengers in 85 cabins and has a crew of 51. Diesel-Electric Hybrid engines provide ample whisper quiet propulsion with extremely low emissions. Heimdal was the name of the guardian of the Norse Gods. Fellow Passengers I would estimate that vast majority of passengers were either North American/Canadian and British, with a split of around 50/50. The age profile was very similar to most of our sea cruises, with a large percentage of senior citizens. Many of the North Americans were going on to Paris after the cruise, either by air or by train. It was a very amiable cruise and we didn't witness a single serious argument or notice any over indulgence of the included wine or beer. The Crew The crew were mostly European with the majority of the housekeeping and dining room staff being from Eastern European countries. Having experienced many sea cruises, we have never had a better or more (professionally) friendly crew than on this ship. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they always had a smile on their faces. The Hotel Manager, Englishman Chris Harrington, was very professional and had a very good sense of humour. He was able to transfer us from our cabin on deck 1 to a cabin on deck 3 when some passengers did not turn up. My wife Chris had a very painful left knee and negotiating the stairs between decks 1 and 2 several times a day would have been very difficult and painful for her. We had asked Veronika Etenyi of Guest Services if this would be possible and together with Chris Harrington they made the cabin on deck 3 available to us. We were very grateful to them both for this. The Programme Director, Christine Couper was an excellent organiser and kept us well informed of the following day's programme at a pre-dinner talk in the lounge each evening. Although originally from England, Christine now lives in France. Like most of the crew she seemed to be busy from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. Dining There were two dining areas on the ship, the Main Dining Room on deck 2 aft and the Aquavit Terrace Buffet on deck 3 fore. We thought that the Main Dining Room was very elegant and had tables for 4 and 8 people. The Aquavit buffet had tables for 2 or 4 and had an inside section and an outside section. The UPVC sliding doors separating the 2 sections could be opened right up in warm weather. We ate all our dinners in the Main Dining Room but had some lunches in the Aquavit Buffet – it was very pleasant to sit and eat outdoors in the sun when possible. Rather stupidly I had expected the standards of the meals on a river cruiser to be somewhat below that of the big sea going ships we had sailed on – how wrong could I have been? Greek Executive Chef Daniel Papadimus and his small staff (a sous chef, 8 chefs and two dishwashers) produced meals that would have graced the table of any top restaurant. We were given a conducted tour of the galley by Chef Daniel and were surprised how small it was – about 4 times the size of our kitchen at home. Gas cooking is not allowed on these ships so induction hobs are used instead. Some of them very powerful. There are only 2 ovens in the galley, but they are computer controlled and state of the art, each costing more than a BMW car! The choice of dishes for each course was perhaps smaller than some of the bigger ships, but there was always a good choice. For guests who did not like anything from the main courses on the menu there were always alternatives that were available every day :- Caesar's Salad, Chicken, seared salmon fillet or prime rib eye steak. The daily soup was unbelievably good and a lot of the passengers congratulated Chef Daniel on producing the best soups that they had ever tasted (and I wouldn't argue with them, they were superb). The dishes were all very well seasoned and it was rare to see people using the condiments on the tables. On the top sun deck, aft, there is a very healthy looking herb garden which ensures that only the freshest herbs are used in the galley. Wines and beers were complimentary during lunch and dinner in both eating venues and were of a very acceptable quality and the waiters were very generous in their topping up. I like red wines and the complimentary red wines during the week were Argentinian Malbec, a French Shiraz and a French Bordeaux – I was not disappointed. The Maitre D', Imre Kalmar, was first class and ensured that all guests enjoyed their meals to the full. He would put many of the big ship Maitre D's to shame, he was always available and happy to give advice when asked. It was very clear that he was well respected by his staff. On the 3rd April, our penultimate day, we were treated to a 'Taste of Provence' lunch with typical Provence dishes, bouillabaisse, various breads and cheeses. It was absolutely delightful and was enjoyed by everyone, including the staff who dressed up in French costume. Just one small negative – it was on the same day as our lovely 'Farewell Dinner' – there is only so much food I can eat in one day!!!! Entertainment There was a well tuned grand piano in the ship's lounge and very talented pianist Daniele kept us entertained with a wide range of music. Together with Christine Couper he also did some musical quizzes on some evenings. On the second evening a local man playing a piano accordion played tunes for us and we saw him the next day playing outside the Palace de Papes. On another evening a group of four musicians/singers (a male pianist/singer, a female saxophonist/singer a male singer and a female singer) gave us a concert in the lounge. They were very good and were much appreciated by us passengers. The ship is far too small to have any production shows like the big ships but, to be fair, we didn't find that we missed them. By the time we had showered and changed in the early evening, attended the 7:15pm briefing by Christine, eaten a very leisurely and enjoyable dinner, sat for a while in the lounge, we were ready to retire to our cabins, tired but very happy. Most excursions started at 9:00am, one at 8:30am, so we didn't have any late nights. Public Areas Virtually the whole of the top sun deck (deck 4) is available to passengers and has a good selection of seating and sunbeds, many under a shaded awning. At the rear of this deck there are 2 small putting practice greens and a floor shuffle-board game. Between them is the chef's herb garden where a good variety of herbs are growing, allowing the chefs to collect fresh herbs as necessary. There always seemed to be ample seating on this deck for passengers. All equipment on the top sun deck including the seating, railings, awnings and parasols has to be collapsible in order to allow the ship to pass under certain very low bridges. Even the wheelhouse is lowered to the deck below, with a sunroof for the crew to be able to see to navigate. During these (very infrequent) times passengers are obviously excluded from this top deck. The front of deck 3 has the Aquavit Terrace Buffet Restaurant with tables and chairs, half being outside at the very front of the ship and the remainder being under a glazed roof, so very airy. Between the two sections are UPVC sliding doors that can be fully opened up to allow fresh air into the whole area. Outside of mealtimes these areas are available to passengers to relax in or out of the sunshine and there are even some rocking chairs available. At the very front of this area is the ship's bell and this is surrounded by flowering plants and shrubs, making a it very pleasant area. Behind the Aquavit Terrace is the ship's lounge which is very light and airy due to the large picture windows and light, modern décor. There is a well stocked bar here, with the bar wood built in a clinker fashion, like the original Viking longships. There is a variety of comfortable chairs and tables which seemed to accommodate most if not all of the ship's passengers. A baby grand piano, played by excellent pianist Daniele provided music in the evening and occasionally during the day. Each evening, at around 7:00pm, the Programme Director, Christine Couper, gave a brief talk about the following day's programme and excursions and this lounge was also the venue for performances by visiting local entertainers. Self serve coffee and tea stations are provided on decks 2 and 3, two per deck and had machines dispensing various types of coffee, hot chocolate and hot water (for tea). Cookies and madeleines and occasional meringues were available at all times at these stations. A small library on deck 3 amidships had a selection of books, most of which covered the areas that the ship would be visiting, i.e. Provence and the Rhone River areas. They were excellent if anybody wanted to learn a lot more about any of the places we would be visiting. Below the library, on deck 2, is the reception desk , manned 24 hours a day, and a small shop which sold mainly “Viking” branded goods including polo shirts and jackets. Our Cruise 29/03/17 - Avignon By the time that we had embarked on the ship we were very tired. We had left home at 3:00am, Chris had managed a couple of hours sleep the previous afternoon, but I had not slept at all. Because of this we decided to stay on the ship and relax. 30/03/17 – Tarascon (for Arles) Today we were booked on the included 'Arles City Walk' which involved a short coach journey from Tarascon where we were berthed to the ancient town of Arles. Veronika of the ship's Guest Services had told us that 'Leisurely Group' tours were available for the walking excursions, designed for people who had reduced mobility. These were ideal for us, as I walk with a walking stick and so was Chris who had a very sore knee. These tours visit most of the sights of the main tours but have their own guide who makes sure that steps, steep hills and uneven ground are avoided where possible. We signed up for the 'Leisurely Group' for all our walking tours. The town was captured by the Romans in 123 BC and turned it into an important City, with a canal to the Mediterranean being constructed in 104 BC. It is famous for its well preserved Roman remains. Our coach dropped us near the centre of Arles and we divided into two groups, our 'Leisurely Group' being led by our excellent guide Anna. We made our way to the Amphitheatre (aka the Arena) which reminded us very much of the one in Rome. Built in 90 AD the Arena was designed to seat 20,000 spectators. In Medieval times it was turned into a defensive fort with four towers although only three remain today. It still hosts bullfighting, although it would certainly not appeal to us! From the Arena we moved on to the Church of St. Trophime which has an amazingly ornately carved frontage. Built between the 12th and 15th centuries it is in the Romanesque style. The carvings on the frontage represented a lot of stories from the Bible and Anna was able to explain what they all represented. After leaving the church we passed the Hotel de Ville (the Town Hall). We then moved on to the former Arles Hospital (now offices and shops) where the artist Vincent Van Gogh was hospitalised for a period after he cut his ear off. The gardens were very recognisable from a couple of paintings that Van Gogh did whilst there. We also passed the famous 'Yellow Cafe' also made famous in one of his paintings. After we had met up with the other group and been transported back to our ship at Tarascon by coach we had lunch in the Aquavit Buffet restaurant. Chris was rather tired, so decided to rest her knee in the afternoon, but I decided to go out and take some photographs of the castle in the town. The castle, built in the 15th century to protect Provence from attack is a very strong castle built on solid rock to prevent undermining during a siege. We left Tarascon at around 6:45 pm to return to Avignon, arriving between 9:00 and 10:00 pm. 31/3/17 – Avignon After breakfast, at 9:00 am, we left the ship and met our guide Isabelle for our included leisurely walking tour of Avignon. We entered the city by going under the busy road via an underpass and then through a small gate in the city walls. Our first stop was at the Place de la Republique where we saw the beautiful Hotel de Ville building. We then continued on to the huge Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) which was an amazing sight. Construction began in 1252 AD and the Papacy was relocated here in 1309 by Pope Clement V when life became rather dangerous in Rome. It housed a total of 7 Popes, not all officially accepted, until the Papacy was returned to Rome in 1377. The Palace was sacked by the revolutionaries during the French Revolution and was further damaged when it later became a prison and military base. The amazing huge and defensive palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is slowly being repaired and renovated. We were glad that we were on the leisurely tour as the other tour had to negotiate around 120 steps on their visit to the interior of the palace. Our next stop was to the Basilique Saint-Pierre, rebuilt in 1385, has magnificently carved 4 metre high twin walnut doors. From here we moved on to a large indoor market with stalls selling almost any type of food or spice that you could think of. We left the rest of the party there and made our way back to the ship, stopping only for coffees, as we were booked on an afternoon tour. After lunch on the ship we went on the optional Pont du Gard Aqueduct Tour led by a guide name Mary who had a trainee named Camille shadowing her. We had a very pleasant coach drive of about 35 minutes through some very pretty countryside. Arriving at the complex we had to wait for a short time whilst Mary purchased 38 tickets and then visited the site's museum which was very interesting. We then walked to the aqueduct which was an amazing structure. The aqueduct, built in the 1st century AD was part of the 50km (31 mile) water supply to the city of Nimes from a spring at Uzes, requiring just a gradient of 1 in 18,241 over the distance. Although mostly underground the system required to span the Gardon River and so a bridge 160ft high with 3 tiers of arches was built without concrete, the stones fitting precisely where needed. The water supply delivered 200,000 m³ (44,000,000 imp. gallons) of clean water to Nimes every day! In the 18th century a road bridge was added to the structure and it still used by pedestrians today. Close to the bridge are some very old olive trees that were planted in 908 AD and are still very healthy today. Amazing to think that these trees were 158 years old when the Normans invade England in 1066. We had some free time to get drinks/snacks, visit the gift shops or revisit the museum before we had to climb back into our coaches for the drive back to our ship. 01/04/17 - Viviers This morning we had a bit of a lie in as our included Viviers Leisurely Walking Tour did not start until 9:30 am. Our guide was a very amusing chap named Pierre who was also a ballroom dancing teacher. Together with his wife they had been ballroom champions and, during the tour, he mostly walked backwards, which I thought may have been useful in his dancing days. Viviers proved to be a most delightful Medieval town with many old buildings and narrow streets. There is the ruins of a castle and city walls together with the smallest Cathedral in France in the town but these were up a very steep hill, so our tour did not include this. However, us leisurely walkers were more than happy exploring the little medieval streets with a very knowledgable and amusing guide. It rained twice during our tour but we had our own umbrellas (the ship also supplies them if required) and we still had a very good time. We spent the afternoon on the ship, watching the lovely countryside and watching the ship pass through 2 locks. On this journey we would rise up 120 metres via around 11 locks. 02/04/17 – Tournon & Vienne We got up this morning to persistent drizzle which was a shame as we were going on a steam train ride through the unspoilt Doux Valley where there are no roads. After a 20 minute coach drive we got off at the Gare de Tournon St-Jean where we had about 20 minutes to visit the gift shop or visit the toilets whilst the engineers prepared our Mallet locomotive. These locomotives are articulated in order that they can negotiate the tight bends of the 1 metre gauge track. Our locomotive, No. 403, had been running on this route since 1903! The track runs from Tournon to Mastrou with a length of 33 km, but we would just be going from Tournon to Colombier le Vieux and back today. Our guide was named Phillipe and was a doppelgänger for Jeremy Corbyn, but had a much better sense of humour! Our group had been allocated the last carriage, No. 8, which had rather small windows which could be lowered with a leather strap (like the trains of my youth), but we kept them closed as the rain was still falling. The journey was quite interesting but would have been much more so had we been able to open the windows to take photographs. The countryside was beautiful and at one stage a canal, designed just to deliver water to a hydro-electric power plant, ran alongside the track. This had been built by German soldiers during World War 1. When we arrived at the Columbier le Vieux station we got out whilst the locomotive was uncoupled, run onto a turntable and manually turned through 180 degrees by the footplate man. There was a rather wet stall where a local farmer was selling goat's cheese and honey products and a rather elaborate hen house, resembling a child's doll house. When the locomotive was re coupled to the train we found that we were now the first carriage, directly behind the locomotive. We sat on the opposite side of the carriage on the way back to Tournon, so that we got a somewhat different view from our little windows. Once back at Tournon we re boarded our coaches for the drive to Andance – our ship had repositioned whilst we were on our train tour. It had been a very enjoyable morning's excursion, but could have been much better had it not been so wet. The ship stopped in Andance just long enough to take all the excursionists on board and then set sail towards Vienne whilst we enjoyed lunch. At 2:30 pm the ship made a brief stop at Chavanay to discharge the passengers, including us, who were going on the included Vienne walking tour. Our coach took us into the small city of Vienne. Our guide for the Leisurely Tour was named Lytse (pronounced Litsee). Fortunately the rain had stopped. Our coach dropped us alongside a tractor unit, disguised as a train, pulling 3 carriages and, once aboard, we set off through the town and then started to climb up a steep hill to Mont Pipet. The road was very narrow, with extremely tight turns and we could see why the coaches would be unable to take this route. On top of Mont Pipet we stopped to visit the chapel there and also to admire the fantastic views over the city and the River Rhone from a large viewing area, Directly below us was a Roman semicircular theatre built into the hillside, which could seat 8,000. We re boarded our tram unit and were taken down the hill back into the town and were discharged close to Temple Square, where we went on a walking tour. We visited the Temple of Augusta and Livia, a rectangular building of the Corinthian order, which was erected by the emperor Claudius (10 BC to 54AD). The temple is in amazing condition, mainly due to its being converted to a church in the 4th century. It looked as if it would have been more at home in Rome or Athens. Leaving the temple we made our way to the huge Gothic Cathedral of St. Maurice which is a French Heritage site. Work on the present building started in 1130 AD and it now has 3 aisles and an apse. We spent quite a lot of time inside the Cathedral and Lytse was a very knowledgable guide. The Cathedral is currently being renovated whereby half of it was bright and clean whilst the other half still had the grime of centuries. After this visit we joined up with the other excursion party and we boarded our coach for the short ride to a quay at Vienne where our ship, having relocated, was now waiting for us. A very busy day, but very enjoyable. 03/04/17 – Lyon Our ship had departed from Vienne and we were able to watch her sail into Lyon whilst we had breakfast. The plan had been to moor at the quay and another Viking ship would be mooring alongside us. However, when we got to the quay, we found that the other ship had beaten us to it and we had to moor alongside them. We were booked on the Lyon City Tour and, as we exited our ship, we had to pass across our sister ship, the “Viking Delling” to reach the gangplank to the quay. It was rather odd to be passing across another ship that was exactly the same as our ship (in design and décor etc.) but with different staff. Our coach took us up to the top of a hill where the beautiful Fourvieres Bascilica was situated. This minor Basilica was built between 1872 and 1884, so not as old as most of the religious buildings that we had visited on this cruise. There were a lot of steps to reach the entrance but our guide, Celine, took us to a doorway on the side where there was an elevator to take us up into the ground floor of the Basilica. The interior was amazing, with a myriad of small mosaics depicting scenes from the Bible, one of the most beautiful interiors that I have ever seen. Close to the Basilica there is a metal tower that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Eiffel Tower of Paris. The Tour Metallique de Fourviere was erected between 1892 and 1894 and is 85.9 metres high, weighs 210 tons and, at 372 metres, is the highest point in Lyon. During the Exposition Universelle of 1914 it had a restaurant and an elevator taking 22 persons at a time to the summit. It was used as an observation tower until 1953 but is now just a television tower. In front of the Basilica there is a viewing site that gives amazing views over the city of Lyon and the River Rhone. After a few minutes free time there we re boarded our coach to continue our conducted tour of Lyon. We stopped for a photo opportunity at a high rise building that's side had been painted with windows and balconies with figures from Lyon's history on show. These figures are repainted every few years and most are aged to show them a little older. We then went on a walking tour of the older parts of the city with our guide Celine which mainly consisted of large blocks of high Renaissance apartment buildings with very narrow streets between them. Celine pointed out that some of the doors in these buildings, identified by small seals, could be opened to reveal passages that ran right through the buildings to the other sides. Spiral staircases along these passages gave access to the apartments above them. These 'secret' passages were used by silk merchants to go to and from the markets safely and were called 'traboules'. During World War II the French Resistance members used these traboules to harass the Nazi occupiers and escape from them when chased. Only a few of these passages are open to the public nowadays, but I found these passages to be very interesting and was very glad to have been able to visit them. We then had some free time to further explore the old quarter before we boarded our coach for the short ride back to our ship. We found that another ship, the “Swiss Corona” was moored where we had been on the quay and our ship was now moored alongside her. Both ships were very different in design and so we couldn't get across to our ship by walking through the other. As all the river ships are the same height, we had to climb up the stairs to their sun deck, pass across to our sun deck and then go down the stairs to deck 3 on our ship. Great fun (but not if you have a sore knee!). 04/04/17 – Lyon This morning we were up fairly early again as we were booked on the Beaujolais Wine excursion leaving at 08:30 am. We boarded our coach and met our guide, another Phillipe and we started driving off into the hilly Beaujolais countryside which was absolutely beautiful. We passed through some lovely little villages and everywhere looked well cared for and neat, a pleasure to visit. After a really enjoyable ride we arrived at the Chateau de Chasselas Winery which was just stunning. A beautiful four storey house was within a rectangular walled courtyard with four towers with turrets and several outbuildings. We were met at the entrance by the owner Jean-Marc Veyron la Croix who showed us his vineyards and explained how the grapes were grown. Jean-Marc produces a very high quality wine and only one branch of each vine remains unpruned and this is looped down and tied. Fewer grapes will result from this method but they will be of a higher quality and produce better wine (this is not the inferior Beaujolais nouveau wine). Jean- Marc explained that he had not started life as a winemaker, he had been in the fashion business, but had bought the chateau and business in 1999 after a previous owner had partially renovated it. He had spent a year studying winemaking but had found that there was no substitute for hands on experience. After visiting the vineyards Jean Marc took us into a tasting cellar where we sampled 4 separate wines – a red, two whites and a champagne type wine – and they were delicious. We were also given some nibbles to eat with them and I only saw one person use the 'spit bowls' that were provided, most of us quaffed the lovely wine down.. After the tasting Jean-Marc led us to his little shop where he had various wines, wine drinking accessories and books etc. for sale. I would have loved to have purchased some of his wines but we were flying home the next day, so it was impossible. (The passengers on the next cruise, from Lyon to Avignon,would have been able to buy wines to consume on the ship, Viking do not charge any corkage fees). We were a little reluctant to leave the chateau and its interesting owner, but at least we had some more lovely countryside to look at on our way back. Back on the ship we learned that other coaches on our Beaujolais Wine Tour had gone to other wineries and ours seemed to be the best, I think we were rather lucky. Disembarkation A couple of days before we were due to leave the ship we were allocated a leaving time and suitcase labels, we were to put our suitcases outside our door at 5:15 am and would be leaving the ship at 6:15 am. The previous evening I settled our account by credit card and paid gratuities for the crew. The following morning we were up early, packed our nightclothes inside our suitcases and then put them outside the cabin door. We went to the Aquavit Buffet for a continental breakfast and then, at 6:15 am, said farewell to the lovely ship and headed for a waiting coach on the quay. We identified our luggage which was then put on the coach and we boarded it for the journey to Lyon Airport. At the Airport we were met by two local Viking representatives who guided us to the check-in desk for our British Airways flight to London Heathrow which was scheduled to take off at 10:00 am. Unfortunately the check-in did not open until 8:00am, so we had quite a long wait. After standing for some time we decided to find a seat where we could still keep an eye on our queueing luggage (most passengers did this). The check-in opened on time and we were soon issued with boarding passes for an aisle and middle seat in row 22. Again, the flight was not fully booked and we found that we had all 3 seats to ourselves. We took off on time and had a very pleasant flight, arriving at Heathrow Terminal 3 on time. As usual, it seemed to be miles and miles of walking before we reached Immigration, but once there we were fast tracked through because we both had walking sticks. We then passed through to the baggage reclaim area and I could see both our cases already on the carousel. We phoned our taxi and he picked us up from outside the Arrivals Hall after a few minutes wait. Conclusions This was our first river cruise and, in the main, it exceeded most of our expectations. The ship was very well designed and maintained and the staff very friendly, but always efficient. Compared with our sea cruises it seemed a little expensive but, when you factor in the included excursions at every place we visited, the complimentary (and generous) wine or beer with lunch and dinner, tea and coffee (with cookies and other biscuits available 24/7) and free Wi-Fi, then you begin to realise that the cruise is actually good value. There were a lot of small things which, although of no great importance in themselves, nevertheless increased our feelings that this was a quality company and product. Complimentary bottled water in our cabin was replenished as necessary and, each time we left the ship to go on an excursion, complimentary bottles of water were handed out by the staff, Similarly, if the weather looked to be possibly inclement, Viking umbrellas were also available for all passengers. The excursions were all well organised, ran to time and had excellent and very knowledgeable guides. Viking use mainly their own coaches and they were always very comfortable and clean and driven by excellent drivers. But it was the staff that really made our holiday. Captain Scheen has a great team with Programme Director Christine Couper, Hotel Manager Chris Harrington and Maitre d' Imre Kalmar heading a very happy and efficient crew. We did not find river cruising as relaxing as sea cruising, perhaps due to having no 'sea days' and the fact that we did at least one excursion each day and two on some. We did however love visiting so many different places in such a short time. Will we continue river cruising? A big resounding YES! The River Douro in Portugal looks very tempting, so that might be our next adventure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We selected this cruise based on Viking's reputation and itinerary. It lived up to all our expectations by delivering a great river experience, shore excursions and gourmet dining. We booked a Veranda A based on the square footage ... Read More
We selected this cruise based on Viking's reputation and itinerary. It lived up to all our expectations by delivering a great river experience, shore excursions and gourmet dining. We booked a Veranda A based on the square footage of 205 sf. and were not disappointed. The appointments in the room were comfortable and exquisite at the same time. We highly recommend Viking with its wonderful on board staff. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy - just get on and off with ease. The entertainment highlights were the night a French accordion player was brought onboard to provide delightful French accordion music as we sailed from Avignon and under the very famous Avignon bridge; and the night a group of entertainers, including two singers, a keyboard player, and a soprano saxophone played French opera arias and then switched to iconic French cabernet tunes - all while dressed in costume. The entire week was delightful! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We wanted to sail down the Rhone River and sample Rhone wine. We like Viking cruises but we were disappointed with not getting to taste the various Rhone wine during our meals as we thought. They kept serving us this Merlot almost every ... Read More
We wanted to sail down the Rhone River and sample Rhone wine. We like Viking cruises but we were disappointed with not getting to taste the various Rhone wine during our meals as we thought. They kept serving us this Merlot almost every night. The excursions were all excellent. The night town tour in Viviers was excellent except the tour guide was going so fast, she left my husband and me behind. I just had knee surgery 7 months before so I was bit slow and they didn't have a leisure tor for this one. I found out that the French balcony was better value for us. I had a balcony this time and it was not worth it. We were also facing the street side rather than the river which was where the view was. All the places we visited were excellent. We stayed 3 extra days at the end in Nice and that was fabulous. We had an incredible view from our room of the Mediterranean Sea. We could see the sunrise and sunset from our balcony room. We took a day tour to St Paul de Vance and 2 other medieval towns and it was wonderful experience and our driver/tour guise was so accommodating. It was Viking's back up tour. The major one they used would not take just the 2 of us but their back up co. did. We had a private tour. When we left the Viking rep accompanied us to the airport right to the correct counter. I wasn't expecting that. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was in celebration of a 30th wedding anniversary. We loved the attention to detail, the food and the excursions. The scenery was amazing. All the staff on board were super friendly and did everything that they could to fulfill any ... Read More
This was in celebration of a 30th wedding anniversary. We loved the attention to detail, the food and the excursions. The scenery was amazing. All the staff on board were super friendly and did everything that they could to fulfill any requests. The ship was extremely clean, modern, and we had plenty of room to move around. We loved the excursions. They were well planned and just the right length. There was plenty of time to get out on your own and wander the local sights as the docks were right in the middle of the towns and cities. The meals were exceptional with many choices and very tasty. Even the "house" wines were of very good quality. We would definitely recommend this cruise and would go again. The weather in early November was just a little chilly, but not really bad. There were a few showers, but nearly all were at night or when we were traveling on the ship to another destination. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We decided to try the Viking River Cruise in France for our 30th wedding anniversary. We are not "cruise people" - the only one we had ever been on had been a disaster. However, we kept hearing how wonderful Viking River Cruises ... Read More
We decided to try the Viking River Cruise in France for our 30th wedding anniversary. We are not "cruise people" - the only one we had ever been on had been a disaster. However, we kept hearing how wonderful Viking River Cruises were. People said to go, we would love it, it wasn't like 'large ship cruising' - and they were right. Having a ship that only held 190 passengers made the trip more of a 'boutique experience' rather than a gathering of the masses. It was just amazing. From the moment they met us at the Lyon airport, everything was top-drawer. Our stateroom was perfect. We decided on a veranda room and it was a great decision. Having the space to go out and sit on our own deck was so peaceful. The meals were delicious, with fresh foods. cooked to perfection. We had a wonderful opportunity to meet, and dine with, interesting and insightful people. The excursions were wonderfully informative and very professionally done. At no time were we made to feel like cattle being moved along. (One friend's description of a four- thousand person ocean cruise they took.) The lectures and cultural events on the ship were superb: the opera performers were excellent; the silk scarf demonstration was divine; the lecture on Provencal painters was enlightening. Everything and everyone connected with the cruise was perfect. The entire week was truly amazing. We are already planning for our next Viking River Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I have always wanted to visit France. We chose the Paris, Burgundy, and Provence Trip. 4 days in Paris, 2 in Dijon, 1 in Lyon, then a week on the Viking Heimdal. The 6 days on land were absolutely wonderful. Paris is a beautiful city ... Read More
I have always wanted to visit France. We chose the Paris, Burgundy, and Provence Trip. 4 days in Paris, 2 in Dijon, 1 in Lyon, then a week on the Viking Heimdal. The 6 days on land were absolutely wonderful. Paris is a beautiful city full of fascinating history. Once on the ship, we found the crew was absolutely wonderful, the food was delicious at every meal, the ship was spotless, the room was very nice, the shore excursions very enjoyable. We had a much better time than we could have imagined. There were 171 passengers, and 54 staff. Do the math, we could not have had better service, and I think most of the staff we came into contact with knew our names within the first few days, and catered to our individual needs. The ship does not come with spas, pools, nightclubs, exercise rooms, or line dance competitions. I didn't go to France for those "perks". What it does have is individual attention, small, casual entertainment, and the best of everything else you could get in a cruise. The shore excursions were well planned, the guides very knowledgeable, and I felt I got introduced and exposed to the best in each port/destination. I am looking forward to more Viking cruises, and would recommend this to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise based upon the ports of call - we really wanted to see Avignon and Lyon. We were not disappointed both towns were wonderful as were all of the others. We enjoyed walking the cobble stone streets and learning more ... Read More
We chose this cruise based upon the ports of call - we really wanted to see Avignon and Lyon. We were not disappointed both towns were wonderful as were all of the others. We enjoyed walking the cobble stone streets and learning more about the history - from Roman times to the Medieval to current. From the moment we arrived we were thrilled with the ship, our stateroom and ship's personnel. The crew were fantastic - helpful, accommodating and thoughtful. The food was excellent and we were pleased that we opted for the silver drinks package. Our morning excursions were interesting as were the optional afternoon excursions. The tour guides were excellent. Everything on the ship ran like clockwork and we felt well taken care of. We added the post trip extension in Paris and totally enjoyed the train from Lyon to Paris. Once again, our travel was engineered perfectly by Viking personnel and our transfers worked perfectly. Our Paris hotel was in a great location close to the Eiffel Tower and provided a great ending to our trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our second cruise the first being the Elbe. The boat was very well laid out,dining area was well equipped,very good lounge area and first class cabin. The cruise was along the Rhone although not as picturesque as the Elbe it ... Read More
This was our second cruise the first being the Elbe. The boat was very well laid out,dining area was well equipped,very good lounge area and first class cabin. The cruise was along the Rhone although not as picturesque as the Elbe it was still a very pleasant way to see the countryside. The staff on board where exceptional and could not do enough for us, the food was first class and the entertainment was very good. Our only issue was the first part of the cruise could not be carried out due to high river levels,all on board excepted that was out of Vikings control, however after this we did not seem to dock at any of the towns on route we seemed to moor in remote area's and where coached to the towns this was fine but it did not give us the option to walk ashore to view area's ourselves unguided. We still really enjoyed the trip and we will use Viking again Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a multi-generational vacation, and we considered the location, number of days, ease of traveling to and from, and ship size. Viking River cruises have a great reputation, and this trip certainly lived up to all of our ... Read More
This was a multi-generational vacation, and we considered the location, number of days, ease of traveling to and from, and ship size. Viking River cruises have a great reputation, and this trip certainly lived up to all of our expectations! The ship was the perfect size, and the staff made it easy on all of us to travel, dine, relax and enjoy the entire experience. The suite was beautiful and a comfortable haven for mom, and the cabins for the rest of us had everything we wanted. The dining was fabulous, and every single meal was a fun adventure. What made the cruise exceptional and memorable, though, was the crew and service. Every single person we met went above and beyond to make the experience enjoyable, and their fun-loving nature and professionalism were a delight! The excursions were okay, and we look forward to booking our next Viking River cruise to new locales! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our first river cruise after about 18 ocean cruises so a totally different experience. We traveled as a group of 6 adults (brothers and wives) and I can say it was a great cruise and look forward to other river cruises. ... Read More
This was our first river cruise after about 18 ocean cruises so a totally different experience. We traveled as a group of 6 adults (brothers and wives) and I can say it was a great cruise and look forward to other river cruises. Itinerary: 7-Night Avignon to Lyon. Could not sail from Lyon to Macon on the 6th day due to concerns about water level so we took a bus from Lyon on our wine country trip. Not a big deal since we were going to return to Lyon anyway after the sail to Macon. Embarkation: Arrived by train in Avignon and took short cab ride from train station to the ship...on board by 11:00 am. The cabin was ready and bags delivered so we immediately went to the buffet lunch. Ship: The Heimdal is one of the Viking Longboats and we were very impressed with the layout and design of the ship. The verandah cabin was probably the best designed cabin we have experienced on any cruise liner. While slightly smaller, it was very well thought out with plenty of storage space and great lighting. The public areas like the dining room, lobby area and lounge were also very well thought out and comfortable. Did not spend as much time on the sun deck as expected as there are so many locks and bridges on the Rhone that it seemed to be closed during sailing times. Service: The staff were all exceptional. With a small ship, you get to recognize and know much of the service staff and they were all very accommodating, cheerful and helpful. Food and Drink: All of the dinner entrees were good to excellent. The Coq au Vin was especially good one evening. Breakfast and lunch were buffet with some items available from a menu. The special Provence Lunch was a nice offering one day. While the menu may not have as many choices as an ocean liner, there was still enough variety to make most people happy. Wine, beer and soft drinks were served at no cost during lunch and dinner (and Mimosa's at breakfast) and they kept the glasses full. I thought we would be experiencing a different wine each evening but the white wine never changed (Chardonnay) and 4 of the 7 nights the red was a merlot. But with being in wine country you can bring your own back on board to enjoy. Shore Excursions: The fact that a tour is included in each port makes a river cruise much more inclusive than an ocean cruise. We had great guides in Arles, Viviers, Lyon, Vienne and for our Wine excursion. The wine tasting and subsequent bus ride thru vineyards was some amazing scenery. Program Director: Our program director was Christine from England and she seemed to have clones...she was everywhere. I was impressed with the way everything was organized and the hard work she put in. Entertainment: We knew not to expect much in the form of entertainment. We had a piano player/singer who had full computerized music background accompaniment who was enjoyable and quite a bit of dancing took place....even a conga line one evening. On one evening a group of local talent from Lyon performed and an accordion player was aboard another evening during dinner and drinks. Debarkation: Even though we did not have Viking transfers, they took care of having a taxi reserved for us at 7:00 am to take us to the train station and even loaded our bags. Much different and so much easier than on an ocean cruise. Impressed with the extra service. Conclusion: We had read that Viking was the "Ford or Chevy" of river cruises. Not sure if it was meant as a put down of Viking, but we were very impressed with everything on this cruise and definitely want to do another river cruise. And Viking delivered a really good product. One brother did miss the casino from large ships but we were mostly tired, full of food, and ready to rest up for the next day's adventure. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Viking Heimdal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.6
Family 1.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 N/A

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