We took the Lyon/Provence river cruise, with the 3-day post-extension in Nice. From the very beginning, this was a marvelous experience. We did get a chance to explore some of Lyon after checking in at the Viking Buri and unpacking. As was the case in our Grand European cruise in October, 2015, embarkation and disembarkation were as smooth as one could expect. The Viking staff is extremely helpful and courteous; they helped us get settled on day 1 and were there every step of the way through the end of the cruise. Our ship's tour director, Mia, was more than perfect for the job. She took a deep interest in everyone on the ship and was very congenial as well as helpful and well-organized. And her staff was amazing as well!
The ship and our cabin were immaculate; the staff worked very hard to make this an almost fairy-tale experience --- we felt like we were a king and a queen! The cabin (we had a French balcony) was well laid out and very roomy and comfy. The food was unbelievably good! The chef met with us each evening before dinner to explain our choices and to make his recommendations, all of which were perfect! The wait staff was very attentive and knew our wine preferences by the second day.
All the entertainment and activities on the cruise were well planned, and helped us to make decisions about what we might do in our spare time the next day. There were also great local cultural experiences --- musicians, artisans, singers. Each port provided us with at least one included shore excursion and several other choices after the included excursions --- additional cultural things to experience, local foods to try, and many hidden treasures.
Spotless, well designed, very efficient yet roomy! The staff kept the cabin immaculate and were willing to get whatever we requested (which was not much since Viking seems to have thought about every little need one may have).
What a wonderful day! We did a short walking tour of Arles, seeing several of van Gogh's "hangouts" and then went to an artist's studio to get a little lesson on van Gogh and to actually paint a couple of "reproductions" of his works; it was a marvelous experience. We then went to the Julius Caesar Hotel for an incredible lunch. A little more seeing Arles and then on to St. Remy, where van Gogh spent some time hospitalized in a mental institution.