My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (22+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fourth cruise with Viking; the previous cruises were in China, Egypt and the Grand European Tour. The Paris to ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (22+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fourth cruise with Viking; the previous cruises were in China, Egypt and the Grand European Tour. The Paris to the Swiss Alps Cruise started in Paris on July 20, 2019.
Our flight from Florida was arranged by Viking and flew through Frankfort, then to Paris. No problems. The Viking representative was waiting for us at the airport in Paris.
We didn't add the Paris extension because we had been to Paris a few times previously. The Hotel in Paris was one block from the Eiffel Tower … great location. There were many good restaurants in the area and lots of touristy things to do. The Panoramic Tour of Paris was a whirlwind tour with some free time near Notre Dame to walk around. It was a nice tour that included most of the highlights of Paris from a bus. In the afternoon, we had lots of time to tour on our own or to just walk around the Eiffel Tower area. We added the Paris Cabaret with Dinner tour. It was great. The dinner was very good and the entertainment excellent … the type of show you would expect in a Paris Cabaret.
The bus trip from Paris to Trier include a stop in Luxembourg then on to Trier. Luxembourg is an interesting city with an good economy and a large World War II cemetery. We learned a lot about the war and also about Luxembourg. Trier too was interesting … a very historic city. The city tour was very nice, as was the free time to tour around on our own. The ice cream in town is excellent.
Boarding the Viking Kvasir was very easy in Trier; they were waiting for us. Our room was on the lower level towards the rear of the ship, room 125. This was near a stairway and an ice maker. Most points of interest are on 2 (dining room), 3 (lounge) or the sun deck (the roof). The crew resides on this deck too. Actually, there are no bad locations. The ship was a few years old and was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. The chef would provide a little discussion of the dinner menu every night and appeared to be excited about the food and his staff. Breakfast was available in the dining room and also on deck 3 in the lounge in a reduced menu. It was similar for lunch. Beer and wine were provided during dinner and lunch. Coffee and cookies were available in two locations 24/7. Food was almost always available someplace.
The ship provided complimentary water prior to every tour. The Program Director, Devin, provided information about tours and timing and basically everything you need to know on a timely basis. He even provided entertainment in the evenings when local entertainers were not on board. The ship had one entertainer on board who performed in the lounge several times during the day and in the evenings. He was very professional and an excellent musician.
We generally just took the included tours, although we did pay to add the Bernkastel-Kues Wine Tasting. We tasted four wines … nice wine tasting and an interesting winery … cute town. The visited Ports of Call follow.
Cochem, Germany – This tour included an entertaining wine tasting. The tasting was divided into two groups, so a lot of people were in one room. The owner ran the tasting and was comical. The city is very clean and very German looking … like of a tourist trap. The tour of the castle was especially interesting from the exterior but nothing too especial from the interior.
Koblenz, Germany – The included tour was a walking tour of the city. Koblenz is just another nice looking German city. It was really hot during these tours (104 degrees F). After the tour, all we wanted to do was go back to the ship and cool off in our rooms. The temperature set the tone for the tour.
Mainz, Germany – The included tour was primarily the Gutenberg Museum. It was very impressive with an interesting demonstration of the operation of the press. The tour include a few great churches too. Again, it was hot!
Speyer, Germany – The included tour was similar to the Mainz walk around. Just another nice German town along the river with huge churches. It was HOT.
Strasbourg, France – It's beginning to cool off a bit. Strasbourg is a very German city, but in France. It is different from the prior river cities visited, more interesting huge cathedrals. This is a good city to just walk around and explore. Strasbourg has great pastries.
Basel, Switzerland – The weather is much better. The included tour of the city, both the bus and walking tours were very nice. A local guide conducted the tour. We had a nice lunch in town and enjoyed a Swiss beer. We then had a one hour bus ride to Zurich. It's interesting that the wages are high in Switzerland, the shopping is cheap in Germany and the living costs are lowest in France. Basel, being on the border of all three countries, benefits from all three.
Zurich, Switzerland – The included tour included a tour of the lake in the morning … very nice. The city tour was interesting and we had lots of free time to explore the city in the afternoon. We are now off the boat and staying in a very nice hotel. Zurich is a nice city to visit. For many people, this was the end of the tour. We continued on to explore the mountains. This is a must do!
The Glacier Express – We started the day on a bus to Chur to board the train. Our new guide, Astrid, was fantastic. She was from The Netherlands, but spoke perfect English, in addition to I don't know how many other languages. The train went through mountains and valleys that were just beautiful. It even stopped a few times for us to get out and take photos. The day started out cloudy but as we got closer to Zermatt, the skies cleared. Fantastic Day!
Zermatt – The day started with another train; a cog-wheel to Gornergrat. The top of the mountain was over 10,000 feet and the views were out of this world. This was an unbelievably beautiful experience. The skies were a clear blue and the Matterhorn was so close you could almost touch it. Our photos are beautiful. Our guide, Astrid, showed us the most important views and also, took us to a lake to take photos of the Matterhorn. Some of us walked with her down to a little restaurant for a nice lunch in the mountains … next to the Matterhorn. Again, the photos are fantastic. This tour is a must do!
Geneva, Switzerland – We left Zermatt on a train and then transferred to a bus to Geneva. On the way we stopped at a winery. This winery is at a beautiful location, the wines were good as was the lunch. The views from this winery were fantastic. Continuing to Geneva was on a bus. The hotel was very nice and the extension included tour on the lake. The tour included a bus and walking tour of the city. We also toured the Red Cross Museum. In the afternoon, we were free to explore on our own. We took a bus to France and took a gondola to an overlook of the city. On the overlook we had a nice lunch and also watched people hang gliding. Geneva is a fun city in Switzerland, surrounded by France. An easy city to get around by bus.
Overall, the cruise and additional time in Switzerland was wonderful. You will see too many locks, vineyards, palaces, churches and castles; but you will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. You will also walk …. a lot. The joke on the ship was that this tour included the three Cs: Churches, Castles and Cobblestones. Most cities in this tour are paved in cobblestone … so bring good walking shoes. Viking really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the trip. They really seemed to care. A great trip. Read Less