My husband and I chose this trip for my birthday because I wanted to return to France after having gone on the Viking Paris & the Heart of Normandy cruise 4 years ago. (And before that, I wasn't particularly interested in France, but some friends had asked then, so we said yes.) After 2 previous cruises with Viking, there was no doubt that they were going to be part of the 2017 celebration. In spite of world events the day of our arrival (knife attack in the Marseilles train station shortly before we arrived at the Marseilles airport), our transfer guide was there to greet us and get us to the ship as scheduled. Once we arrived, our luggage was transferred to our room, for us and we headed to the lounge and deck to meet some of our fellow travelers. It was great to unwind after the trip-before-the-vacation. As usual, everything met our expectations from the start. After that first evening, I think we joined in all but one of the included tours and added a couple of extra tours that particularly appealed to us. Every single guide that we had was fabulous, from the singing Camille in the Avignon Pope's Palace to the great story-teller Frances in Viviers to Christian in Lyon (who very poetically explained that 'it's French; it's complicated'). It says a lot when I'm writing this 3 months later and I still remember the guide's names and personalities! While the rooms on the ship are small, they are arranged well, have everything we needed including space for everything (with a small fridge to keep some water in). And honestly, we really didn't spend much more time than sleeping, showering and changing in it. Even when we weren't on an excursion, we enjoyed the sundeck and the lounge area. It was great to come back to the room one day and find the maid had included our small, stuffed cow traveling companion with some hand towel animals on the bed. I also used the laundry service on this trip--nowhere near as expensive as I expected and the clothes were done perfectly. Okay, about the food--sensational and enough variety for anyone. I tend not to be too adventurous when it comes to food, but I tried a lot of new things on this ship and was hugely happy that I did. Chef Josef and his work are incredible. We were also impressed with the entire staff on the ship. Everyone was incredibly cordial and sometimes quite humorous (Manuel!) After the first or second day, many of the main staff knew a lot of people by name, what your drink preference might be, and what you might be interested in. The evenings offered a variety of entertainment but wasn't so loud and distracting that we couldn't sit in a corner in the lounge with some friends and have a quiet conversation. We love the Viking ships because they're large enough to have something for everyone and small enough that you get to actually get to know (not merely meet) some new people. We're still friends with people we met on our first Viking trip 5 years ago. I would love to go on this cruise again or any other Viking cruise!
While our cabin was on the small side, it was well-arranged and well-accommodated. The US-version electrical outlets were a great for charging our cell phones without worrying about an adapter. There was also a television, mini-fridge, closet, space for luggage under the bed, drawers, for small clothes. It really was set up nicely. And even though we were in the furthest room at the bottom of the ship, our internet service worked well.