106 Viking River Viking Heimdal Cruise Reviews

It was a pleasant introduction to river cruising. The ship was quite new and maintained is mint condition throughout the cruise. The staff - all of the staff - were totally dedicated to our pleasure, and constantly performing the little ... Read More
It was a pleasant introduction to river cruising. The ship was quite new and maintained is mint condition throughout the cruise. The staff - all of the staff - were totally dedicated to our pleasure, and constantly performing the little requests made by us in addition to their daily responsibilities. The food was outstanding by any standard, and of course, plentiful. The only downside - perhaps because it was my first experience - was the request for tips and suggestions of amount on the final day. There has to be a better way to do this - perhaps in writing before one signs on. There is no doubt that the crew deserved to be compensated, but it is done is a very disagreeable manner and the end of the journey - leaves a bad taste in ones memory. I went up to the Bridge and talked to the Captain about the ship - well, not speaking French, and he not much English - but he was open to all my questions about the mechanics of the vessel. This says a lot for him. All in all a pleasant experience that Pat and I are repeating this April on the Elbe Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This 7-night "Portraits of Southern France" sailing on the Viking River Cruises longship Heimdal didn't meet all of my expectations given all the glossy literature I had received from Viking and the fancy TV commercials they ... Read More
This 7-night "Portraits of Southern France" sailing on the Viking River Cruises longship Heimdal didn't meet all of my expectations given all the glossy literature I had received from Viking and the fancy TV commercials they run on PBS Masterpiece. I made the booking for the May 24, 2014 trip from Chalon-sur-Saone to Avignon a year in advance. The Viking 2-for-1 price for a category B stateroom #219 with a verandah was $8111; I paid $6895 through an Internet travel agency or $493 per night per person. We made our way to Chalon and checked into a hotel the Friday night before the cruise was to leave On Saturday morningI received an "urgent" email from Viking notifying me that the ship would not be leaving from Chalon and we were to make our way to Lyon, about 100 miles south, to board the ship there. No explanation for this change was given. The email did say we could proceed to the docking location in Chalon and bus transportation would be provided. I had a rental car so I drove to the Viking dock at a run down industrial area but no bus or Viking representative was there. I checked with the car rental agency and was told I could return it in Lyon rather than Chalon for no additional charge so we made a decision to drive through the Burgundy countryside to get to Lyon. We found the ship, were directed to our cabin, and were told we would be staying in Lyon until Tuesday noon. The cabin was intelligently designed except for the very limited space between the end of the bed and the wall unit, which prevented one person from passing if the other person was sitting on the bed to get into the unit's drawers. The food served in the restaurant was very good.  At breakfast and lunch one could eat from a self-service buffet, order from the kitchen, or both. Dinner consisted of a choice of three starters, five entrees, and three desserts.  Wine, beer, and soft drinks were complementary in the dining room.  Coffee and tea were available anytime in the atrium. Off ship tours were ok but in many cases the guides tried to present just too much information. The passenger makeup was mostly American couples over 60 years old. There was a few brits, a large Asian family, a few teens, and no children. The Saone and Rhone rivers have none of the charm of the Rhine, Main, Elbe, Moselle, and Danube rivers.  Most of the stretches of river the ship passed through were lined with industrial factories not picturesque medieval villages. Nits that I had about Viking were: 1. On Sunday, the ship's tour of Beaune went on via a 4-hour bus ride (2 hours each way) that included a group lunch of mostly inedible food served in a hot, very crowded second floor dining room. 2. The ship's master (captain) did not speak a word of English so the few times he spoke to the passengers in the briefings in the lounge, he spoke in French and his comments had to be translated by the cruise director or hotel manager. 3. Vikings literature states "Weather permitting, the ship‘s sun dec is its most popular area when the ship is sailing." Not true on this cruise. The weather was mostly fair but the sun deck was NEVER opened when the ship was moving. 4. Given that Viking saved fuel and port charges that the passengers' undoubedly paid for, there was no compensation (not even a free drink) offered for the missed stops (Chalon-sur-Saone, Macon) and missed sections of the river. At the end of the cruise, I left some less than positive comments about the value Viking provided on the guest questionnaire. After we returned home, both my wife & I received emails containing a voucher for $811.11 (a total of 20% of the original retail price of the cruise) off a future cruise within the next year. In what world would a company presume that a customer who had problems with one of their products would return to spend good money after bad on another of their products? Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
A river cruise was on the top of mt "Bucket list" and my husband agreed to come along, he had never been to France. We contacted Viking and made all the arrangements and from that first call I knew we were in good hands. They ... Read More
A river cruise was on the top of mt "Bucket list" and my husband agreed to come along, he had never been to France. We contacted Viking and made all the arrangements and from that first call I knew we were in good hands. They took care of everything flights, trip insurance and assorted calls during the year from novice travelers. We arrived in Marsielle to be greeted by two representatives of Viking, the ships representative and our driver. From that moment on we were on vacation! The drive to Avignon was terrific, our cabbie was a native and took the scenic route to the ship pointing out all the sights of interest to us. What a way to start our vacation. Upon arriving at our ship we weren't allowed to do any thing but relax. The staff was outstanding, always nearby but never intrusive. No question was a bother. The ship, the food and the wine! What can I say perfect. We did have one glitch too much water in the river so we stayed in Lyon for two days rather than one. The cruise director worked her magic and was able to plan a trip for our unexpected day in Lyon. It was a fabulous vacation and we are looking forward to once again sailing with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My wife and I cruised the Rhone and Saone rivers in southern France during early April of 2014 and were absolutely delighted with our Viking River Cruise experience. Our 190 passenger longship, the Heimdal, was elegant and very ... Read More
My wife and I cruised the Rhone and Saone rivers in southern France during early April of 2014 and were absolutely delighted with our Viking River Cruise experience. Our 190 passenger longship, the Heimdal, was elegant and very contemporary, and our mid-ship veranda stateroom was roomy and had a lovely balcony from which we watched the spectacular countryside drift by as we enjoyed our morning coffee. We found the pace relaxing and the ports of call, such as Arles, Avignon and Lyon, rich in art and architecture - our particular cultural passions. We were concerned that April may prove to be too early for such a cruise, but we were pleasantly surprised with the warm weather and the vibrant spring colors of Provence. We concluded our vacation with a three day extension in Paris and a side trip to Monet's gardens in Giverny - an experience no artist or gardener should miss! This was our third cruise with Viking {the other two were on the Danube and the Rhine} and all have been consistently excellent, from the impeccable service to the gourmet meals spiced with regional favorites. And don't miss any of the daily excursions; they are informative, well-organized and fun. We have been so pleased that we just booked our fourth cruise with Viking - on the Douro River in Portugal. We can't wait to go!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Spectacular! Great crew, great ship. Almost perfect weather made this a great time to travel France. With about 175 passengers, this was a very comfortable format without all the big ship craziness. Food was amazing every day. Excursions ... Read More
Spectacular! Great crew, great ship. Almost perfect weather made this a great time to travel France. With about 175 passengers, this was a very comfortable format without all the big ship craziness. Food was amazing every day. Excursions were informative, interesting and well planned allowing you to either stay and enjoy the site, go back to the ship or catch a later bus back to the ship. Loved opening the sliding glass door, sipping wine and watching the scenery as we slipped down the river. Being 6'6", there was some trepidation about cruise cabins, based on other cruise experiences, but ours was surprisingly comfortable - even the bath space. Housekeeping staff was professional and fun! Staff was attentive, yet not overbearing, visible, but not always in your way, polite and professional, but also lots of fun. We were "the kids" on this journey, but one couldn't help notice how everyone's needs were attended to. Some passengers required help and it was always available. Some required special access and that was provided. Some had dietary restrictions which were attended to. All in all, an A+ crew. I would highly recommend this - both Viking and the destinations we visited. This was a great selection and we're already planning our next trip with Viking.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Arriving on our sparkling new boat, Heimdal in March of this year, we grabbed one of Viking's trademark red umbrellas for a walking tour of Avignon in the rain. Others hadn't arrived from their pre-cruise visit to Paris, so we ... Read More
Arriving on our sparkling new boat, Heimdal in March of this year, we grabbed one of Viking's trademark red umbrellas for a walking tour of Avignon in the rain. Others hadn't arrived from their pre-cruise visit to Paris, so we took full advantage of the glistening cobblestones leading through the Roman Ruins and mighty ramparts of the ancient city. Returning to linen tablecloths and fresh flowers greeting us for dinner, we enjoyed a typical gourmet meal and quiet evening in port. The exterior glass walls of our room continually offered the grandest views throughout our week in Southern France. Imagine laying on your comfortable bed in your own home while the French countryside passed slowly by along the banks of Arles, Avignon, Tournon and Lyon. The views were made even more spectacular from the rooftop deck wrapped snugly in the warm blankets brought to you by the courteous crew, sipping a steamy mug of cocoa. Our days were filled with fascinating tours hosted by the most talented and informed guides imaginable, thankfully transmitted to my ear as I wandered about the city snapping photos without losing neither my group nor my wife. Walking in Van Gogh's footsteps, capturing images later discovered to mimic paintings of the master, impacted my life in ways unimaginable. Sadly, I cannot show you these beautiful photos which we will forever treasure. One surreal moment of our voyage included our late-night stroll through sleepy Vivier, along the sycamore lined streets that wound upward between closely grouped homes, rewarding travelers with a panorama from atop this lovely medieval city. Our visit to Tain L'Hermitage became very special as the daughter of noted French painter Pierre Palué invited us into her home to view many of his works, including those of his friends. What visit to Southern France would be complete without wineries and chocolatiers? Viking did not disappoint. Tasty tours highlighted the traditions of their craft. When asked if his vineyards were irrigated, a vintner replied, "Non. The vines must suffer." We never suffered for lack of luxury. As we boarded ship following our many adventures, friendly faces greeted us with refreshments fitting weather and occasion. We cherish our week on the Rhone and hungrily anticipate all that Viking has to offer, sometimes revisiting during differing seasons. The Christmas Markets throughout Europe are not to be missed. Can I rank one Viking Cruise above another? The answer is an affirmative, "No." One cannot rank the Mona Lisa above Starry Night. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
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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