We were delighted with our Viking River Cruise - Paris and the Heart of Normandy. This allowed us to see the City of Lights, Monet’s Garden in Giverny, Rouen, the D-Day Beaches and other Normandy sites. Everything in our experience was superior! Our accommodations onboard were first class, comfortable and relaxing. Our tours were led by excellent, informative, and entertaining guides, who cleared the way, so we did not have to stand in line. The food was divine and was different every night. I have a gluten allergy, and I could find numerous options at every meal. I told Viking prior to my trip, and they arranged gluten-free meals on our shore excursions. We also do not drink alcohol and also told Viking prior to our trip. As a result, waiters always had sparkling water and diet Cokes ready for us at our meals. This was very thoughtful because wine come with the meals and we appreciated not having to ask repeatedly for non-alcoholic drinks.
Such is the top quality service. Every staff member was there to help, was polite and went the extra mile. At Dinner, the Maitre’d stopped by each night to make sure our meal was just right. About the food: excellent! Every night features several regional specialties, but also served each night is a steak, chicken and seafood dish if the regional specialty is not your thing. There is a full buffet at breakfast and lunch. The cruise makes sure you have meal service if you have an early tour. Breakfast is served extra early on the day of departure.
Make friends early in the trip, so you will have dinner companions. Dinner tables seat six to eight. There are no tables for two.
About the tours:comprehensive and challenging. We paid for the optional shore excursions several times and it was worth the extra cost. We spent almost a full day in Paris seeing the sites, concluding with a tour of Notre Dame. This day also included lunch at a charming French Bistro. Our group was small, so our tour was almost a private one. On another tour of Paris, we stormed the Lovre in an intensive three hour minute tour. We saw all the famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Our guide was charming and very knowledgeable. But it was a bit of a challenge with much fast walking and many stairs. Included with the cruise was a tour of artist Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny. Excellent planning meant we skipped the line and arrived before the crowd. We wished we had more time in the garden: our only regret was that we didn’t slow down amid the beauty. We loved the trip to Rouen Cathedral, which Monet painted numerous times, and the city of Rouen, where we enjoyed a leisurely cafe at a small restaurant. We travelled nearly two hours by luxury motorcoach to the D-Day beaches. We spent a good deal of time at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. We got to participate in a short, but moving memorial service held just for our tour group. My husband is a WWII buff, and he thought we could have spent more time at the beaches. Viking offered numerous tours each day, providing many choices. You would have a great time just with the provided tours, skipping the extra cost tours. All of our tours fascinated us and we were excited to learn new things. I will say that all the tours require a good bit of walking. All tours are marked as easy, moderate or demanding. My husband climbed a high hill to visit Richard the Lionheart’s castle. This was a demanding tour. The all-day Paris tour was easy to moderate. All my tours were easy, but I was walking ALOT!
Onboard, we enjoyed a painting class and an art history session.
We really enjoyed the coffee stations offering cappuccinos , fresh cookies or madeleines and and “bubbly” water 24/7. The WiFi worked well.
All in all, we decided this was the best trip in our lives. It was perfect for us, and we highly recommend it.
Our highly polished and well-designed cabin was luxury afloat. Everything has its place in the ingenious space. All the suitcases fit under the bed, we had three large ones. The amazingly spacious closet is tucked near the door. The desk doubles as a dresser. The bed is just right, soft but supportive. The pillows are fluffy. There’s ample lighting with recessed lighting and small spotlights on the sides of the bed. The room has a safe, hair dryer and a small refrigerator. We had a small balcony with two chairs. We enjoyed sitting outside while we cruised. Our housekeeping staff was wonderful: she tidied up the room on and off all day. Saving the best for last is the ideal little teak bathroom. Small,but has plenty of shelves. The floor is heated! I’m never going home.