This was our first cruise (of any kind), and our expectations were mixed. We utilized Viking air service on both ends of the trip and the embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. We arrived at the ship just in time to get settled and ready for dinner. The ship was marvelous. Our stateroom with balcony was well appointed and contained all of the necessities. It was not overly spacious -- but then we didn't spend a lot to time there.
The lounge was comfortable and the staff friendly and welcoming. We particularly liked the open seating at meals, as that gave us the opportunity to meet and get to know a number of other couples. Some we enjoyed several meals with, others only one -- but all were enjoyable. We learned a lot form these experiences. Shipboard entertainment was limited, and that suited us just fine. The piano bar in the lounge was fun and entertaining.
The service on board ship was excellent. From the Captain, to the Program Director, Concierge, to the wait staff and the housekeepers -- all were friendly and extremely helpful. One evening, in celebration of Viking's Travel and Leisure #1 ranking we had an opportunity to celebrate with the "whole" crew, including kitchen staff that we seldom saw. That was a particularly memorable evening.
The ports of call, Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, and Lyon were delightful. Having the opportunity to "drop out" and explore on our own was great. Several cities we visited were in the midst of festivals that added excitement -- but also crowds. Local shopping opportunities were a fun past time.
My wife and I look forward to traveling with Viking again!