This was our third Viking River Cruise (previously did 7 day Rhine and 7 day Danube, both of which I cannot recommend highly enough). Viking does an outstanding job, somethings I wish I had taken into consideration before leaving (which are completely out of Viking's control). 1. Our cruise began on the Thursday before Easter, this led to crowds and closures at various points of our trip. 2. In preparation for the 2024 Olympic games, Paris has construction projects taking place everywhere, traffic getting in and out of the heart of the city is absolutely dreadful (this from someone born and raised in Los Angeles) 3. Another factor for crowds, a European explained to me, springtime is when many school children take field trips to various locations. 4. Finally, the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral led to increased tourist traffic at other locations.
The Viking staff from booking to final departure were fantastic. We did not take the extension on either side of the trip, but booked our flight to arrive in Paris in the late morning. This allowed us to get our bags on the boat and spend several hours at the Louvre, which otherwise (due to other booked excursions) we would not have been able to see. Embarkation was great, the ship staff are outstanding.
Excursion highlights, we took every included excursion (except those that conflicted with paid excursions) - several stops (after leaving Paris) include houses built in the Middle Ages that are incredible to see (Vernon and Rouen). Monet's Garden is beautiful. Out of Rouen we paid for the Farm and Country Tour which was a nice view of the Normandy country side, the farm is a neat experience. The excursion to the beaches of Normandy will leave you with a sense of profound gratitude for the soldiers of the D-Day Invasion. Having studied the history, then touring the site, I still cannot fathom the courage of the men that day. Paris at night was a treat, especially seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.
Our cabin steward Filip was great, the room was always perfect. I've seen other reviews where people complain of the size of the cabin, it is not spacious, but sufficient. The only time we are in our cabin is basically to sleep. I cannot speak to the entertainment options in the lounge in the evening, we never attended. We try to stay in town as long, doing as much as we can, after dinner, we're ready for bed. Several people we talked to mentioned the different events were a good time. The food is always top notch and the dining staff attentive to your orders and requests. The guides at each of the locations are always outstanding, usually locals who give you some much more than a guide who read a book about where you are going. At the tour in Versailles, it was absolutely packed, (literally shoulder to shoulder, front to back with people in some rooms), almost impossible. Our guide (I forgot her name) went out of her way trying to keep us together, inform us about the artwork, history, etc, and made the most out of the trip, she was phenomenal there.
We will undoubtedly taking Viking again (Portugal, Rhine at Christmas, and the Norwegian Fjords for starters). It was the crowds that took the shine off this trip for us. So if that is an issue for you, the Fall would probably be a better time to book this trip.
If you've been on a cruise before, you know what to expect in a cabin. If you spend a lot of time in your cabin, you will probably find it very small. We use our cabin to sleep, shower, and change, and for that it is sufficient. It is always clean and spotless.