This cruise was chosen for the itinerary. The Normandie landing beaches appealed to me, Monet appealed to my wife. We are experienced ocean cruisers but had never done a river cruise before. We enjoyed the experience immensely but found it quite different from an ocean cruise. The river cruise was more active with more tours, not as laid back as the ocean cruises. Also, not surprisingly, the ship, Viking Rinda, had fewer amenities but having completed the cruise, we understand why and, frankly, didn't miss them.
The Rinda is a beautiful ship and it is beautifully maintained. The food and service were superb. A very special touch was being greeted by the ship's executive staff when returning from some of the tours. To approach the ship and see on the gangway the Captain, the First Officer, the Hotel Director, the Maitre'd, and the Executive Chef waiting to great you was, quite simply "wow." Our waiter, Ivan, was superior.
The itinerary was fantastic and the tours were outstanding. The tour guides were superlative. For me, an extraordinary experience was in Vernon where during our tour an older woman leaned out her balcony and waved French, British, Canadian and USA flags. Our guide told us that she had lived there during the occupation and waved the flags whenever she heard an English tour in the square below her window. The Tour Director, Ken, was extraordinary and, it seemed, ubiquitous.
The bedroom in the cabin is small but functional. There really is no place to sit and read, just a small desk chair on which to write. This works however as one is really busy on this itinerary and there is very little time to spend in one's room. The bathroom is bigger than expected and comparable to ones on ocean cruise ships. This was a pleasant surprise.