We were so excited to sail on this river cruise line, as we had heard so much about it. Unfortunately we and others on the ship soon became ill. Our embarking time was delayed on the first day so they could clean the ship, as so many on the cruise the prior week had come down with a gastrointestinal illness. In fact, several days before arriving, we were sent an email stating that our arrival would be delayed several hours so they could clean/disinfect the ship to address the illness passengers on the week of September 12 experienced. It was described by staff as one person getting ill, then others getting sick all week long. This is exactly what happened to us. On our first day, instead of being able to have lunch on board, we were directed to a hotel conference room where we were given water and coffee/tea, but no food (it was all gone by the time we arrived but was only croissants anyway). We soon set off on our own and saw some sights and found a great cafe to have lunch right by the Eiffel Tower. We also purchased the extension in Paris post-cruise, and my husband was very ill the day after we left the boat, as were several others in the group of 24 who stayed on in Paris. We had to call in a doctor during our Paris stay. All of the illness cast a shadow over the cruise, as we were worried that we would get sick, which eventually did happen. They stressed that everyone should use the anti-germ agent they provided outside of the restaurant, but that still didn't prevent the spread of disease.
Aside from the significant problem of illness, the cruise was OK. We spent too much time in Vernon, where there is little to see, and not enough in other areas. There were some beautiful cities along the Seine that we couldn't visit, and we usually had to make choices between two very good tours in other areas, so we felt we missed a lot. There was a lot of time during two days where we "cruised". The staff was perky and helpful, and the rooms were kept clean. The cabins were small but functional. When we saw other ships on other lines as they passed us on the Seine, we realized that ours was not a great ship. The food was good, with lots of choices. However, after the first few illness cases early on, I did not take any fresh food, only cooked or sealed items, so I think I missed out on a lot of good food experiences. The crew redirected the next batch of cruisers on September 27 to the same hotel where we waited to board on our first day, so I just hope they did a better job of cleaning the ship before they let the m board.
This was not an all-inclusive tour, and we felt that tips were clearly expected. Our pot-trip was about $1800.00, and the hotel would have cost about $900.00 or so if we booked on line, so we were disappointed that the Viking staff stressed how much she should have gotten for her tips. The one tour that was included was very good, but the support was not worth the extra $900.00 we paid (this did include transfers to the hotel and then the airport, but this was still a lot of extra money).
Small but functional room. We were on the second level (middle) and could hear people slamming drawers above us. We were advised by Viking reservation staff to not get the upper deck due to noise from the top outside deck, but we heard the toilet flushing from above, coughing and other noises that were annoying all day/night.