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Based on a number of reviews on this site, I decided to book this river cruise from Avignon north to Chalon sur Saone in Summer rather than Spring. There is less chance of the river level being too high for the ship to go under low bridges in the Summer. We passed under many bridges during our cruise and even with the Rhone and Saone "below normal levels" there was not a lot of room between the top deck and the bridge, but we got through them all OK. We reviewed the included and optional tours when we first boarded the ship and made our tour decisions then. I would recommend doing that as some optional tours filled up quickly. We found the included and optional tours to be worth it and well run. Because of the average age of the river cruise passenger (see below) there was always a "Leisurely Group" for the included tours for folks with mobility issues. The Program Director (Mia), the Chef and the dining staff were exceptional. Great food; friendly, professional service (when my wife mentioned that she was on a gluten-free diet, they provided gluten-free croissants - which were delicious). Mia's late afternoon and post-dinner sessions were informative and entertaining. Special thanks go to Doro, our concierge, who was up to any challenge including finding my wife's luggage that Air France lost for two days (tip - if you are traveling with a spouse/partner - pack half of each person's stuff in each checked bag in case one gets lost.) Doro also found a way to package and mail an oversize poster that I purchased back to the states during one of our stops. Eve, the Hotel Manager was also very helpful, offering encouragement friendship and any assistance she could (complimentary clothes laundering,etc.) while my wife was luggage-less. At one point I mentioned to Eve that I had bought an African mango in Avignon. the next day 3 mangoes appeared in our room. There were several "pleasant surprises" like this from the staff throughout our vacation. I also observed both Doro and Eve expertly helping many guests with a number of varied requests/situations during our cruise. Our ports of call were interesting, safe & varied. The staff did a great job of keeping everyone on schedule; pointing out interesting sights and things to do and leaving enough free time for strolling and shopping. There were a couple of ports where we were parked right next to another Viking ship overnight. Other than opening your curtains and being surprised by looking at the window of someone else's room, it wasn't realy much of a negative. The overnight ports are about 50-50 - some in fairly nice areas (Avignon, Lyon, Arles) others in less attractive industrial areas (Chalon sur Saone). We found that the transfers to & from the airport provided by Viking were very efficient. Viking has employees assist you with luggage pickup and other issues (like lost luggage) and checking in to the airline at the airport. You definitely feel you are being well taken care of by Viking. We did find that, while there were some passengers in their 40's and early 50's; and some teens and 20's with families - the majority of our fellow passengers were in their 60's and 70's. Americans, Aussies, Scots and Brits mostly, which made for interesting conversations. We would definitely do another river cruise with Viking.

Great Cruise - Portraits of Southern France

Viking Delling Cruise Review by 43jason

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2015
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Suite
Based on a number of reviews on this site, I decided to book this river cruise from Avignon north to Chalon sur Saone in Summer rather than Spring. There is less chance of the river level being too high for the ship to go under low bridges in the Summer. We passed under many bridges during our cruise and even with the Rhone and Saone "below normal levels" there was not a lot of room between the top deck and the bridge, but we got through them all OK.

We reviewed the included and optional tours when we first boarded the ship and made our tour decisions then. I would recommend doing that as some optional tours filled up quickly. We found the included and optional tours to be worth it and well run. Because of the average age of the river cruise passenger (see below) there was always a "Leisurely Group" for the included tours for folks with mobility issues.

The Program Director (Mia), the Chef and the dining staff were exceptional. Great food; friendly, professional service (when my wife mentioned that she was on a gluten-free diet, they provided gluten-free croissants - which were delicious). Mia's late afternoon and post-dinner sessions were informative and entertaining.

Special thanks go to Doro, our concierge, who was up to any challenge including finding my wife's luggage that Air France lost for two days (tip - if you are traveling with a spouse/partner - pack half of each person's stuff in each checked bag in case one gets lost.) Doro also found a way to package and mail an oversize poster that I purchased back to the states during one of our stops.

Eve, the Hotel Manager was also very helpful, offering encouragement friendship and any assistance she could (complimentary clothes laundering,etc.) while my wife was luggage-less. At one point I mentioned to Eve that I had bought an African mango in Avignon. the next day 3 mangoes appeared in our room. There were several "pleasant surprises" like this from the staff throughout our vacation. I also observed both Doro and Eve expertly helping many guests with a number of varied requests/situations during our cruise.

Our ports of call were interesting, safe & varied. The staff did a great job of keeping everyone on schedule; pointing out interesting sights and things to do and leaving enough free time for strolling and shopping. There were a couple of ports where we were parked right next to another Viking ship overnight. Other than opening your curtains and being surprised by looking at the window of someone else's room, it wasn't realy much of a negative. The overnight ports are about 50-50 - some in fairly nice areas (Avignon, Lyon, Arles) others in less attractive industrial areas (Chalon sur Saone).

We found that the transfers to & from the airport provided by Viking were very efficient. Viking has employees assist you with luggage pickup and other issues (like lost luggage) and checking in to the airline at the airport. You definitely feel you are being well taken care of by Viking.

We did find that, while there were some passengers in their 40's and early 50's; and some teens and 20's with families - the majority of our fellow passengers were in their 60's and 70's. Americans, Aussies, Scots and Brits mostly, which made for interesting conversations.

We would definitely do another river cruise with Viking.
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Cabin Review

Veranda Suite
Cabin AA 320
We had a smaller suite on the ship with a small balcony two chairs and a little table. We sued the balcony a lot; I think the extra sitting area and balcony were worth the extra cost; however other folks we met were fine with their non-suite rooms. They especially liked their large windows which they could open for the views and fresh air.
We found the bed comfortable; the hot water and amenities in the bathroom plentiful and the housekeeping service impeccable. In fact it was in line with what I've experienced at the best hotels where the staff takes the trouble to be aware of when you are out of your room to take of it (several times a day). Our A/C worked fine on this cruise.
Upper Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins