Viking Pride Cruise Review by cebz
- Sail Date: July 2015
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with Large Window
This was our first Viking cruise. We were pleased with the ease of transfers to the hotel for our 3 days in Paris pre-cruise, to the ship and then from the ship to our Eurostar train trip to England and finally from our Oxford hotel to Heathrow. All went smoothly and was worry free for us. The Hotel Rochester 3 day stay pre-cruise was very convenient being just a block off the Champs Elysees in the 8th Ar. and close to the metro. The staff spoke English and were very friendly and efficient. The beds were good and the breakfast was excellent. Our morning Marais walk with Christine was very informative and enjoyable. The transfer to the ship on Sunday was worry free but seemed to use up almost the whole of one of our Paris days. Between the check in , meetings and lunch there was little time left before we had to be back on board for dinner and sailing. (However, I will not complain after reading the review of the April 2015 - ship out of commission, etc.) Our Montmartre walking tour was lovely and gave us time to enjoy this quaint area. Our cabin was spacious, the bed comfortable, and quiet. We never heard engine noises and only felt minimal movement going through locks. The food was like eating at a 5 star restaurant every day. The staff was unfailingly courteous, friendly, and English speaking. Loved our magic lemonade following shore excursions. The Monet/Giverny tour was a highlight! A 20 minute bus ride to paradise - the gardens were wonderful and quite extensive while the house was just as it was when Monet lived there. The tiny village was scenic and we had time to go to the gift shop, some tiny boutiques in the village, and a peek at an art museum down the road. The Vernon walking tour was interesting and we had free time to walk across the bridge to see the mill and Tourelles Castle on the other side of the Siene. The Rouen tour was like Vernon x 10 in area and history. Our guide provided so much information - even the rain could not dampen our spirits. There was plenty of free time at the end of this tour which was nice to stop at a wine bar and do a little shopping. We enjoyed the all day bus tour to the Normandy beaches and D-day sights which were a highlight for my husband. They are pretty far from Rouen so it is a 1-1/2 hr bus ride but the countryside is pretty. We had a driveby at Juno beach and a stop at Arromanches for the small D-day museum there and lunch in a nice restaurant before heading to the American Cemetery. They performed a small memorial service for our group at the cemetery - very moving. The last stop was Omaha Beach and D-day monuments there. It's a little surreal that it is a resort area now. It was a long, full day but well orchestrated by the Viking personnel. Les Andelys was charming. Very tiny and quaint with about 6 shops and galleries, a medieval church and the highlight - Richard the Lionheart's Chateau Gaillard which is a short hike uphill to a prominence overlooking the river. We chose to go on the optional Versailles tour and are glad we did. The palace and grounds were exceptional and over the top in opulence. We only had an hour following the palace tour to see the gardens. I believe that you could spend a few days there and not see it all. It was beautiful! Back in Paris, we had another trouble free transfer to our Eurostar train to England where we were met by our Viking guides and given a short bus tour of London. We missed seeing some things like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey due to a marathon being run through the streets of London that morning - such is life! But we did see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and caught a glimpse of Big Ben and Parliament and Harrod's. We arrived at The Old Bank Hotel in Oxford for our post-cruise days. It was charming with comfortable beds, a nice breakfast and wonderful central location. We had an interesting and history filled morning walk around Oxford viewing the colleges and architecture. We then were treated to a surprise lunch at a cute pub out in the country before visiting Highclere Castle. Also a surprise was a visit to an English couple for an English tea in their home prior to Highclere. That turned out to be the highlight of the entire trip for us! The Dormers of Bowdown House welcomed our group into their beautiful, antique filled, country manor house for tea and history! The Dormers regaled us with amazing stories of their family through the ages and of the current property's importance in WWII. ( No spoilers here.) This is a new cultural experience Viking was trying out and we certainly enjoyed it. I hope that it continues. (We also met Karine Hagen, VP of Viking, and her dog Finse. She was overseeing the visit) Highclere Castle is Downton Abbey and those of us who are fans loved it! We had a private, after hours, champagne reception in "the hall" followed by a tour of the house and Egyptian museum in the basement. Everything is as you see it in the series down to the silver in the dining room. A truly lovely,long and wonderful day! We had free time in Oxford the next morning followed by a bus trip to Blenheim Palace and the Costwolds in the afternoon. Blenheim is fabulous opulence English style! Really wonderful to see the second largest palace in Britian and grounds cared for so well. Another trouble free transfer to Heathrow and off we flew back to reality. We loved our Viking trip and were impressed by how smoothly everything ran. On board, dress is business casual. At the Captain's dinner, my husband was one of only a handful who wore a sport coat. Most ladies wore dresses for that dinner but nice slacks/skirt and a slightly dressy top or casual dress was fine for all others. Both the hotels and the ship have umbrellas and you should bring a light weight rain jacket. Good walking shoes are essential!
cebz’s Full Rating Summary
More spacious than I thought it would be. Efficient bathroom. Bed was comfortable - stored our suitcases under it. Closet and drawer space was adequate. Only watched the tv for about 10 minutes one night. Wi-Fi varied in strength and availability. Fine for our use - only there to shower and sleep pretty much.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
All day bus trip through beautiful countryside. Saw Juno, Arromarches and Omaha beaches and small D-day museum at Arromarches. Lunch at a nice little restaurant in Arromanches. American cemetery is very moving experience. Well orchestrated day by Viking. Long day but very interesting.
View All 66 D-Day Beaches Reviews
Saw as part of "Paris-in-a-day" tour. Spent 1-1/2 hours in a line for the elevator in our "jump the line " tour. Had lunch at 58Tour on first floor of the tower - very good and wonderful views.
View All 36 Eiffel Tower Reviews
Lovely, amazing - two entire rooms of Monet's water lily panels! Plus a terrific collection of Renior, Piccaso, Matise, etc downstairs in the 17th century royal orangerie. 9 euro admittance. Look for Rodin's "the Kiss" outside just steps from the entrance.
View All 5 L'Orangerie Reviews
Heaven! Art, history and gardens!! All much as it was when Monet lived here. What a thrill to see the water lilies and Japanese bridge. Beautiful restoration of the house and gardens. Nice gift shop and time to browse some tiny village boutiques and small art museum down the road.
View All 63 Monet at Giverny Gardens Reviews
Booked as part of our "Paris-in-a-day" tour. 1-1/2 hours in the Louvre is not enough but we did see the highlights - Venus di Milo, Nike of Samothrace, Michaelangelo's slaves, Mona Lisa, David's Crowning of Napoleon, Liberty Leading the People, The Raft of the Medusa, Madonna of the Rocks, etc. Our guide was knowledgeable. At least we saw the highlights with a tour - my son stood in line for hours and never made it into the building without one a few years ago.
View All 35 The Louvre Reviews
Short bus ride to Versailles and our guide worked us in to be the first group into the palace. Very opulent! Such history happened here! Very impressive. Only had an hour in the gardens following the palace tour. I think that you could be here for days and not see it all. Nice gift shop. So glad that we went!
View All 53 Versailles Reviews
Very knowledgeable Viking guide showed us through the old medieval city and cathedral. So much history here! Very worthwhile. Remarkable ancient half timbered buildings still in everyday use. Rouen Cathedral is finally unshrouded for the first time in many years after restoration and cleaning.( There is also a wonderful free light show projected onto the front of the cathedral every night that is fabulous and worth attending. Just a short walk from our Viking dockage.)
View All 28 Highlights Tour Reviews
More Europe River Reviews
More Viking Pride Reviews