My BF and I did this at the last minute because the price was right. The cruise started with 2 nights in Zurich. We were transferred to Basel on June 24 and boarded the ship. I admit my experience was influenced by the record heat wave coinciding with the cruise. However, the most disappointing aspect of the experience was the food. I expected some gourmet meals and there were none. The first section of the Rhine was boring, although the locks were interesting. The transfers were all excellent and we never had to wait to get into our rooms in Zurich or Paris. I didn’t like the location of the Paris La Meridian Hotel, as there was a lot of construction in the area. The included excursions were all good to very good, but they were outside walking tours and the temperatures were around 97 degrees. There was no air conditioning in any museums or restaurants, at least not the kind of AC we have in Texas where you are blasted by cool air whenever you go inside. I realize Viking has no control of the weather, but it seemed they could have adjusted the walking tours to occur in the early am or late evening when it was MUCH cooler. Dragging the very elderly passengers around in the afternoon heat was very risky I thought. Our guide in Speyer, Herman, was wonderful but he was in his mid 80s and I’m not sure how he made it through the day. Viking personnel did not sufficiently discuss the extreme heat, in my opinion. They NEVER mentioned there was an absence of AC in the towns and cities we visited, for example. I’ve been on well over 50 cruises and I’ve seen Ship Captains significantly adjust the cruises due to weather conditions to ensure the comfort of the passengers. I’m sure the local guides would have much preferred a morning or evening tour also. Crazy. Also, I developed breathing problems due to chronic asthma. This was not an emergency but I wanted a steroid shot so an emergency wouldn’t develop. We were in Mainz. Viking staff told me I had to go to the ER, no other option. They assured me I could pay with a credit card (wrong, cash only), they called me a taxi but the driver didn’t speak English and he dropped us off in the wrong location. It was a hospital but not the ER which we eventually learned was 3 blocks away. I huffed and puffed but made it OK. The ship apparently has NO medical support and no real information about medical care in the visited ports. I think this is irresponsible given the clientele they serve. I don’t expect medical care on board, but I do expect some support to obtain such.
The bedroom was small and felt cramped so one of us slept on the couch in the living room area. This was a good solution. The balcony was very narrow and not really an advantage, the French balcony would have been adequate.