13 Viking River Viking Heimdal Cruise Reviews

It is really hard to criticize this company. It would be like kicking a puppy. They are just so eager and try so hard. Before selecting this cruise we saw some river cruise shows on the travel channel. We were put off by the passengers ... Read More
It is really hard to criticize this company. It would be like kicking a puppy. They are just so eager and try so hard. Before selecting this cruise we saw some river cruise shows on the travel channel. We were put off by the passengers being one step form a nursing home and the lame entertainment. No, all our well-traveled friends assured us. Viking is nothing like that. Hate to say it, but that's exactly what it was. Initially on board, we thought this would be our first and last river cruise. During the week, the amazing staff and service grew on us, and now we can easily envision another such adventure. The great parts were the included tours and the afternoon lectures. I was expecting super-gourmet food, and although they attempted authentic cuisine, it was a bit more plebeian than imagined. Still, quite tasty and excellent choices. The passengers were mostly American with a few scattered Brits and Canadians. I might have appreciated more diversity, but we met some very interesting people nonetheless. We mostly just took the included tours and walked around each town on our own after lunch. You can get plenty of exercise this way if you want to. After exhaustion sets in, we found it very pleasant chatting with folks in the lounge, sipping wine or tea along with delicious homemade cookies and watching the scenery pass by. A French friend recommended Les Baux and Lumieres. Thank goodness I took his advice and sprang for this optional excursion. It was the most amazing part of the trip by far. The worst part was the air route home selected by Viking, supposedly free. You get what you pay for. They scheduled us to leave the ship at 3:30 am. The car that took us to the airport broke down on the highway soon thereafter. The driver made us get out for fear of our vehicle being hit in the pitch dark. We waited in the freezing cold for about 45 minutes, climbing over the highway barrier to be safe, while the driver frantically called everyone he knew to come get us. Viking redeemed themselves by meeting us at the airport and whisking us through the first class check-in even though we were flying steerage. Three exhausting flights later, we were home. Next time, I will pay more attention to the flights and times they offer me, and pay extra to not run the gauntlet. Overall, the experience was excellent even with the aforementioned downsides. Just do it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Did the Rhine and now wanted to see France. Exceptional arrangements made by viking to stay in Nice for three days prior to departure. Flights could have been scheduled better. Long waits.The service was unbelievable. Everyone was so very ... Read More
Did the Rhine and now wanted to see France. Exceptional arrangements made by viking to stay in Nice for three days prior to departure. Flights could have been scheduled better. Long waits.The service was unbelievable. Everyone was so very friendly,helpful, especially our cabin cleaner. She must love her job because she was always there with a big smile. Thank you. We met so many wonderful people and certainly hope we get the chance to see them again on another viking river cruise. We have shared our experiences with many people about what to expect from viking. We told them that they would not be disappointed if they chose viking river cruises. We have no complaints, only compliments. Oh yes there is one concern, VERY EASY TO GAIN WEIGHT. The food is outstanding and always available. Very difficult to resist. I wish there would be a workout room. Yes one could walk the upper deck for exercise but this does not work well when it is raining. Thank you VIKING RIVER CRUISES. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Viking charged a 400% greater airfare upgrade than what was available from the airline directly. Charges to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy Air France website = $378 pp Viking = $1495 pp. We booked ... Read More
Viking charged a 400% greater airfare upgrade than what was available from the airline directly. Charges to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy Air France website = $378 pp Viking = $1495 pp. We booked our river cruise 7 months before sailing at 50% off list price plus $445 per person for international airfare (supposed to be savings). We were charged $445 pp for round trip airfare + $50 pp for "Air Plus" to allow changes to our itinerary as we wanted to spend a few extra days in France at the end of our trip. We were booked by Viking Air Department on Air France approximately 12 weeks before our trip. We immediately requested a change to Premium Economy (slightly larger economy seat - NOT business class or first class). For this we were charged AN ADDITIONAL $1495 per person which was broken out as follows: (1) Premium Economy upgrade: +$1195 round trip per person (Houston - Marseille). On Air France Website the cost to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy at the time of booking was $378.45 pp round trip including insurance for the same flights. This is $800+ pp above Air France's rate. (2) Charge to extend 3 days: +$100 per person - even though we had had already paid $50 pp to have the option to change our flights so we were surprised that we were paying again. (3) Insurance charge for upgrade: +$200 per person (At time of booking, Air France offered insurance for $95.75 per person for same flights with Premium Economy seats). We had already paid Viking $419 pp for travel insurance for cruise and original flights. Thus, Viking charged $619 pp for travel insurance! Please note that Viking does not assign airfare until approximately 90 days before the cruise. Thus, it is difficult to effectively comparison shop at the time of booking (which often is a year before the cruise). We could have booked flights with miles or larger savings had we booked ourselves directly 7 months before the cruise when we booked the cruise. We would hope that a company reliant on repeat travelers would handle upgrades in a competitive manner. Our experience has proved otherwise - upgrade at 4x the airline's quoted website fees. Additional Tours. We paid for the additional tour - Timeless Town of Perouges. We thought it was quaint, but in hindsight we could have passed on that tour and would have enjoyed spending some more time in Lyon. We had not been to Lyon before, and had the morning included bus tour / walking tour which was very informational and we really enjoyed. Lyon is a very large beautiful city. We wish we had the afternoon to go back to Lyon and explore. We paid for the additional tour - Walking Tour of Vienne. There was a Renaissance Festival going on at the time of our tour and the town was very crowded. Our tour guide was quite dull and we aborted the tour mid-way through and just walked around ourselves. We paid for the additional tour Chateaneuf-Du-Pape. We loved the tour and the wine tasting at the Perrin Family Vineyards. Highly recommend this tour. We paid for the Beaujolais & Truffles tour. We loved this tour and highly recommend. We had a wine tasting, a goat cheese making tour and lunch and truffle hunting! Very long day, but we felt like we truly got to experience the French countryside. All of our hosts were lovey and very interesting. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Everything on the boat was excellent. The food, the staff and service were top shelf. We stayed in a Veranda Suite. The tours were average but the scenery was not very interesting while cruising, unlike our previous Viking tour from ... Read More
Everything on the boat was excellent. The food, the staff and service were top shelf. We stayed in a Veranda Suite. The tours were average but the scenery was not very interesting while cruising, unlike our previous Viking tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. Every place we stopped was over crowded with tourists. At several stops we had to stand in long lines to see the attraction. It was extremely hot most of the week (this was our fault for choosing mid July). On one tour, after walking around the city we were taken the top of a very high site, by a tram, that overlooked the city and river which was very interesting, but it started raining at the top of the hill. The tram took us about 1/3 of the way back to the boat and dumped us off in pouring rain. Only 1 couple had an umbrella so everybody got 'soaked to the bone' walking back to the boat. On our next cruise we will go either early or late in the season, but definitely on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I have done another Viking River cruise a few years ago and was quite satisfied so chose Viking to do another one. I have a garlic intolerance/allergy which was very well addressed last cruise but not so this time. With being a French ... Read More
I have done another Viking River cruise a few years ago and was quite satisfied so chose Viking to do another one. I have a garlic intolerance/allergy which was very well addressed last cruise but not so this time. With being a French river cruise, I was hoping for a French chef but this chef was from Poland and he put garlic in almost everything so my choices were very limited and in fact on the French Buffet night I had bread and cheese and went to my cabin. The shore excursions were very well organized and I was happy with all but one of our tour guides and made a point of letting the desk ladies know they were excellent. I believe positive feed back is as important as negative. Our cabin, a French balcony was very small, like 135 sq. Feet which I think included the bathroom. I wondered if a heavy person could turn around or get into the shower but the heated floor was lovely. My friend and I had twin beds, mine up against the wall, hers up against the window, a 2 foot space between the beds. We had to take turns getting from one place to the other in the cabin. It was nice to open the large floor to ceiling door and the A/C automatically turns off when the door opens which was good, and we had a nice breeze while sitting on our beds admiring the scenery floating past. Unfortunately we were to late returning from our Lyon shore excursion to enjoy the silk screening demonstration, perhaps this could be better planned. We had one evening shore excursion which many said they would have preferred to see in the daylight. Would I book another Viking river cruise? The jury is still out on that one! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our second Viking Cruise. Everything is so effortless. We have very little to concern ourselves with because Viking thinks of everything. Once again the only problem that we encountered was the level of the water. This time it was ... Read More
This was our second Viking Cruise. Everything is so effortless. We have very little to concern ourselves with because Viking thinks of everything. Once again the only problem that we encountered was the level of the water. This time it was too much water. We had to disembark a day earlier because otherwise; there could have been a problem with getting everyone off of the ship. We like Viking because they have small ships. It is much more intimate and not as stressful as the megaships. The cabins at not very big but, how much time do you really spend in it? The food was very good. The waiters at our dinner were Alex and Mario and what a pleasure those two young men were. They tried there hardest to please us and make us feel comfortable. The tours were very good. The only drawback was the rain. I think it rained every day. We would definitely take another Viking Cruise. We are thinking that maybe next time we will take an ocean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I wanted to go to Avignon and wasn't disappointed. The other ports of call Vienne, Lyon, Arles, etc. were lovely and interesting. The winery excursion was interesting and fun. Really all of the excursions were excellent - the tour ... Read More
I wanted to go to Avignon and wasn't disappointed. The other ports of call Vienne, Lyon, Arles, etc. were lovely and interesting. The winery excursion was interesting and fun. Really all of the excursions were excellent - the tour guides were knowledgeable and entertaining. The dining room crew in particular were excellent. Viking is organized and attentive to detail so that everything runs seamlessly. The cabin was nice and pretty much as expected. Everyone on board seemed to be focused on ensuring a great trip for every passenger. The dining room crew, in particular, were excellent -- they helped to make meals fun. The food was great - I do recommend the drinks package. As mentioned earlier the dining room personnel were beyond excellent and attentive. One major issue - a virus - was addressed quickly but could have been communicated better. I will definitely try another river cruise and am looking forward to planning one in 2018, Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our third Viking cruise and we've never been disappointed.Having just come from an 11 day bus tour of Spain, it was nice to be able to unpack my suitcase and hang my clothes The food and wine were very good and the ports ... Read More
This was our third Viking cruise and we've never been disappointed.Having just come from an 11 day bus tour of Spain, it was nice to be able to unpack my suitcase and hang my clothes The food and wine were very good and the ports were enjoyable. The staff was excellent, they were very friendly and kept you well informed. I would have given it 5 stars except that the tours aren't as good as they were on the first trip. They have more 'optional tours' which used to be included. We did have to take a lon bus ride for a wine tour due to the low water in the river but the scenery was beautiful so it wasn't too bad. We did have one small problem with our toilet but mentioned it to someone and it was fixed almost immediately. Next we're off on a Viking Ocean Cruise and really looking foreard to that. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Viking does great cruises and we enjoyed ours a lot, but there was one thing that bothered us. We paid extra to have a suite with balconies, but several times during the 8-day cruise we had other ships docked right alongside us, making the ... Read More
Viking does great cruises and we enjoyed ours a lot, but there was one thing that bothered us. We paid extra to have a suite with balconies, but several times during the 8-day cruise we had other ships docked right alongside us, making the balconies useless and blocking the view when we were in port. Our only other comment is about the cabin. We did back-to-back cruises (Viking calls that a "Butterfly" reservation), so it was hard not to compare the two ships and two cruises. We took the Rhine cruise on the Tialfi first and then the Rhone cruise on the Heimdal four days later. This is a review of the Rhone cruise on the Heimdal. The Heimdal is about four years older than the Tialfi. There were noticeable differences between the two ships due mainly to the age difference. Viking made numerous improvements to the cabins in the newer ship. Some of the design changes should be brought into the older ship when it is renovated, like more closet space and storage and a medicine cabinet in the bathroom. The newer design was fantastic, especially in comparison to the older design. The older ship, the Heimdal, also had a minor wastewater problem in that the cabin smelled a little of sewer for parts of the first couple of days. Other than that, the service, the food, the excursions, the guides, etc. were all exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first one was Budapest to Amsterdam which we enjoyed so much we decided to book this one. It was a lovely cruise through the French wine region. Our only negative was the fact that too often ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first one was Budapest to Amsterdam which we enjoyed so much we decided to book this one. It was a lovely cruise through the French wine region. Our only negative was the fact that too often we were not docked close to towns and often way out in the boonies requiring buses to get into town. I understand this is not Viking's choice but the French government who determines which cruise line docks where each week. All the tours were good. The buses they hire are excellent and walking tours well done. We saw lovely scenery along the way and the stops to enjoy the wineries were excellent. When at the end we didn't dock in Avignon but quite a distance away again in the boonies, Viking hired taxis and buses to take us to final destination. The food was great. The staff all excellent and helpful. Rooms are tiny but have everything you need and all amenities are first class. I would recommend this river cruise from Lyon to Avignon or vice versa. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Had not spent a lot of time in provence wanted to see provencal life. Food on board was always fabulous. The tours for the most part were great. Viver was a bore as was the guide. Loved the no pressure on board. When you river cruise ... Read More
Had not spent a lot of time in provence wanted to see provencal life. Food on board was always fabulous. The tours for the most part were great. Viver was a bore as was the guide. Loved the no pressure on board. When you river cruise you must be prepared for the locks, high water, and climbing over other boats something we learned but Viking made everything happen smoothly. We obviously enjoyed the cruise because was are taking another one in 2017 this time in Portugal. We have been on several ocean cruises but really liked the small ship cruise much better. If we ever take another ocean cruise it will be on a small ship with only a few hundred passengers. Viking is always there to serve the customer as it should be since the cost of a river cruise is not low end, We are really looking forward to the next river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The ship was great and the service was very good. Food was very good, chef was excellent. Wished we had more variety of wines to choose from at lunch and dinner - I like a sweeter wine like Riesling. But other wine was ok. Not as ... Read More
The ship was great and the service was very good. Food was very good, chef was excellent. Wished we had more variety of wines to choose from at lunch and dinner - I like a sweeter wine like Riesling. But other wine was ok. Not as much entertainment in each port in evening. Not much to do in evening. The music competition was good and the trivia. Loved the ports and all the tours. great trip. our cabin person was super. always there and cleaned up. Very pleasant person. hotel in Paris worked out great. Very close to Arch and convenient. Hotel in Nice was super location and loved the restaurant on top and the pool. Rooms were so so, really used and abused. But it was clean. Flight back was long but cannot help that. transportation to and from airport was good. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was my 2nd river cruise with Viking and I have already booked my next one with them. Boat and service was up to the normal Viking standard, very good. Viking didn't recognise that we were 2nd time travellers. We were told ... Read More
This was my 2nd river cruise with Viking and I have already booked my next one with them. Boat and service was up to the normal Viking standard, very good. Viking didn't recognise that we were 2nd time travellers. We were told we would find something in our room. It was sent to another room, when it did turn up it was a bottle of the same free wine that we had been drinking all week. The last port we docked at was Chalon-sur-Saone, which is a very nice town, but we docked in a unused run down port. Opposite the boat when we docked was a make shift bar that looked very rough. People I spoke to on our trip also felt like myself, which was uneasy to be in this area and didn't want to go for a walk after dinner, and it is a quite a walk into town. Other boats of the same size were using the water edge dock nearer the town centre. We booked this cruise after looking at out flight times, but Viking gave us later flights. On the walking tour of Lyon we had a local guide who seem to know very little about the town and seem to keep looking at her mobile. I am hoping the next trip is of a better standard. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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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