This was our 4th Viking River cruise and it was our favorite thus far. Our airfare was included with the cruise and we had great flights both to and from Paris. We were greeted by our Viking transfer host as we exited baggage claim, so there was no wait at all at the airport. We did both the pre and post cruise extensions with Viking and our hotel, the Hotel Ampere, was wonderful, as were our Viking hosts, Paula and Emma. We quickly mastered the Metro and saw many sights around Paris before departing the hotel for the Viking Spirit. We were delighted to see the ship was docked very near the Eiffel Tower, and we were able to get some incredible photos later as we departed.
We were greeted warmly upon embarking the ship and advised of the available buffet lunch and told when our cabin would be available.
The Viking Spirit, though an older, smaller ship than the longships we have been used to, was quite nice and our cabin was quite comfortable and well laid-out. We were cruising with friends, and their cabin was across the corridor from ours.
The dining room was laid out a bit differently from that of the longships, in that it had, in addition to tables for 6 and 8, it also had several tables for 4. That allowed for accommodating couples traveling together or larger parties to be seated together.
All of the wait staff in the dining room were exceptional, but we did prefer a particular waiter. However, it seemed that others did as well, because we weren't always able to sit in his section. There was also a female server who was very special and she made a point to save the small jelly jars, and gave my friend and I each one that she had washed out for us to collect sand at Omaha Beach on the day we visited Normandy.
The food on the Spirit was also exceptional. All of our meals were just first rate, and beautifully presented. The chef made an appearance at every evening's briefing to give a short talk about what was waiting for us that night in the dining room. So cute!
One of the reasons we had chosen this cruise was to visit the Normandy beaches, and that was truly an emotional experience, but we so enjoyed all the ports, and that was due in great measure to our guides. Viking provides such well prepared guides, and they are so fun as well.
Disembarkation was, as always, handled very efficiently, with clear directions given orally at a briefing meeting, and then in a daily newsletter for reference.
Cabin was small, but nicely appointed. Bed was comfortable, good drawer and closet space.
Although our guide said the gardens would not be at their best as it was the first week of Oct., I thought they were beautiful. I can't imagine how stunning they would be in the spring. All of the grounds were so gorgeous and his house was really so much more modern than I had expected. So glad we were there with a guide. I really felt we got much more out of the visit that way.View All 81 Monet at Giverny Gardens Reviews
We were on the fence about doing this excursion, but were so glad we did. Our guide was fantastic. It was very crowded that day and she tried very hard to keep us all together to show us areas that were not as crowded and to give us photo ops as well. Her knowledge of Versailles was very in-depth. Such a great tour.