Viking charged a 400% greater airfare upgrade than what was available from the airline directly.
Charges to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy
Air France website = $378 pp
Viking = $1495 pp.
We booked our river cruise 7 months before sailing at 50% off list price plus $445 per person for international airfare (supposed to be savings). We were charged $445 pp for round trip airfare + $50 pp for "Air Plus" to allow changes to our itinerary as we wanted to spend a few extra days in France at the end of our trip. We were booked by Viking Air Department on Air France approximately 12 weeks before our trip. We immediately requested a change to Premium Economy (slightly larger economy seat - NOT business class or first class). For this we were charged AN ADDITIONAL $1495 per person which was broken out as follows:
(1) Premium Economy upgrade:
+$1195 round trip per person (Houston - Marseille). On Air France Website the cost to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy at the time of booking was $378.45 pp round trip including insurance for the same flights. This is $800+ pp above Air France's rate.
(2) Charge to extend 3 days:
+$100 per person - even though we had had already paid $50 pp to have the option to change our flights so we were surprised that we were paying again.
(3) Insurance charge for upgrade:
+$200 per person (At time of booking, Air France offered insurance for $95.75 per person for same flights with Premium Economy seats). We had already paid Viking $419 pp for travel insurance for cruise and original flights. Thus, Viking charged $619 pp for travel insurance!
Please note that Viking does not assign airfare until approximately 90 days before the cruise. Thus, it is difficult to effectively comparison shop at the time of booking (which often is a year before the cruise). We could have booked flights with miles or larger savings had we booked ourselves directly 7 months before the cruise when we booked the cruise.
We would hope that a company reliant on repeat travelers would handle upgrades in a competitive manner. Our experience has proved otherwise - upgrade at 4x the airline's quoted website fees.
We paid for the additional tour - Timeless Town of Perouges. We thought it was quaint, but in hindsight we could have passed on that tour and would have enjoyed spending some more time in Lyon. We had not been to Lyon before, and had the morning included bus tour / walking tour which was very informational and we really enjoyed. Lyon is a very large beautiful city. We wish we had the afternoon to go back to Lyon and explore.
We paid for the additional tour - Walking Tour of Vienne. There was a Renaissance Festival going on at the time of our tour and the town was very crowded. Our tour guide was quite dull and we aborted the tour mid-way through and just walked around ourselves.
We paid for the additional tour Chateaneuf-Du-Pape. We loved the tour and the wine tasting at the Perrin Family Vineyards. Highly recommend this tour.
We paid for the Beaujolais & Truffles tour. We loved this tour and highly recommend. We had a wine tasting, a goat cheese making tour and lunch and truffle hunting! Very long day, but we felt like we truly got to experience the French countryside. All of our hosts were lovey and very interesting.
The cabin was very well organized. It was small, but the space was effectively used. Very clean and up-to-date. We had a balcony but rarely went out on it. We spent very little time in the room as were mostly touring France during the day. We never turned the TV on. This itinerary was very busy. When we had free time on the ship during the day, we enjoyed the Aquavit Terrace and the upstairs sun decks. We had lovely weather and were traveling with friends and family, so we had very little time to ourselves.
We paid for the additional tour - Timeless Town of Perouges. We thought it was an interesting Medieval town, but in hindsight we should have passed on that tour and spent more time in Lyon. We had not been to Lyon before, and had the morning included bus tour / walking tour which was very informational and we really enjoyed. Lyon is a very large beautiful city. We wish we had the afternoon to go back to Lyon and explore.
We paid for the additional tour Chateaneuf-Du-Pape. We loved the tour and the wine tasting at the Perrin Family Vineyards. Beautiful country side, informational wine tasting, and we loved our tour guide. Highly recommend this tour.