Viking associates and guides could not have been more helpful or personable, excellent!
Tues Aug 13. Check out at noon from pre trip in Nice, bags ready by 11am, 1:30 departure to ship with a 3 hr. 40 min drive with rest stop. Walk through old town Nice for the last time after 1130 checkout. Have nice crepes and a wonderful croc monsieur for lunch. Transfer to Avignon to Viking Heimdal on Rhone river stateroom #231, (259 km) (161 miles) via A8, DAY 1 on ship. Cybrian, Viking host on ship, sometimes spells things for us while telling us about the sights. Avignon, France - Sheltered by medieval walls, Avignon’s maze of narrow streets is filled with churches, museums and palaces tracing the history of this ancient, vibrant city.
530 or so in room to unpack, 615 safety drill, 645 welcome meeting in lounge with Daniela, cruise director, then diner. First meal very good. Eggplant rollatini, parmesan schnitzel and creme Brule. All good except Brule not set, salmon cooked perfectly. Couple from New Zealand join us for dinner, Maureen and Ryan. Back to bar and Nicolas for drinks and Spanish music.
Wed, Aug 14, day 2 on ship, up at 630, 66 degrees going to 87. Woke up at 520 with boat pulling out to head down river. Breakfast on Aqua Vite terrace while we go through a lock. Arles Included walking tour, 9am, 3 and ½ hours in the morning, Experience the celebrated city of Arles (pronounced “Arl”), where remarkable Roman ruins, vibrant colors and a striking quality of light have inspired artists. Ann our guide for the 10-person EASY walking group struggles at first with non-working audio Vox, most are working but folks just don't know it. Wayne with his walker struggles to keep up and ends up not seeing much. We see the Roman amphitheater and Theatre. Not much else and no time to shop. Quick buffet lunch with nice walnut artichoke salad and carbonara.
Afternoon 2pm,4 hours, $74 pp purchased, Les Baux & Carrières de Lumières Show, see a remarkable multimedia art installation in a former quarry, then ascend to the rock-hewn hamlet of Les Baux. What an amazing light and sound show of Vincent Van Gogh. Just stunning in a 50-foot-tall limestone cave. Then a walk-through of the cobblestone streets of Les Baux and some shopping. Back on board around 6 with tired feet.
6:30 off to see Nicolas for happy hour then 715 dinner. Crab salad, a bit of an execution issue with no blanc sauce, rack of lamb, and apple slice, and all very good. Up to top deck for nice view of Avignon city as we prepare to dock with music and drinks. Back to room about 10:30. The "mistral" winds are very strong tonight.
Thurs, Aug 15, day 3 Avignon, France, 7am sunny 72 degrees going to 89, not quite as humid here as it was in Nice. Breakfast in dining room at 8 then 9am for, 3-hour tour, Visit the monumental palace that was the seat of seven popes and explore its medieval city. Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known as the “City of Popes. Marie, Mary, a delightful guide that sings ave maria in the church for us. We also visit the indoor market with fabulous cheese shops, fish mongers, butchers, prepared foods and baked goods. Pallela lunch in city center then walk a little and back to ship at 1:30. August 15 is one of many French catholic holidays even though not so many are catholic, Feast of the Virgin Mary. Many shops are closed, not all. Dinner is a buffet tonight, flavors of Provence including a cheese and charcuterie table, a delicious fish stew, duck, chicken, beef, and desert table. AIX rose is featured wine and 14 cases are used. Music trivia night in the bar is fun. Back to the room after 11.
Cast off at 1am for Viviers.
Fri Aug 16, Day 4,7 total - Viviers, France, Friday August 16. Included walking tour, 9:30 am, EASY SIGHTSEEING, 1½ hours, this morning join a walking tour of Viviers’ Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Once a 5th-century Roman settlement, today the cobblestone streets are dominated by the 12th-century St. Vincent Cathedral. Tiny little town with only a pottery shop, bakery and a couple cafes. This afternoon, we set sail to Tournon at 1. A few more locks and several low bridges on this stretch. 5:45 cocktail party for previous Viking cruisers. Very nice sea bass for dinner tonight with a good Caesar salad. Tartufo for dessert is cream cheesy not ice cream.
Sat Aug 17, Day 5,8 total - 61 degrees at 715 going to 90. Tournon, France, Tournon lies secluded between the Rhône River and granite slopes of the Hermitage. Included tour, 8:30 am, EASY SIGHTSEEING, skip the short morning walk in favor of sleep. Another beautiful morning and temperature with no humidity. Been this way since leaving Nice. Get on a bus at 9:15 to Board the Train de l’Ardèche this morning for a locomotive ride through the deep gorges of the Ardèche plateau, cut by the Doux River. About a 25-minute ride up the gorge then engine turns around and comes back down. Approx. 12:30 board ship at Andance for 4-hour cruise to Vienne. Lunches have been nice, fresh pasta, good cheeseburgers, nice salads, different every day. Time for some cruising past the vineyards, tea time special today at 230.
Approx. 4:45 a walking tour of Vienne, 3 hours, get to know Vienne and its rich Roman past during a leisurely walking tour. Quick shower then off to dinner. Eat with Nicolas and Milen on the front of ship outdoors in Aqua Vite terrace tonight. Delicious 3 onion soup, nice Caesar salad again, very good shrimp and risotto, chocolate lava cake tasty but no lava. French singer in the lounge for evening entertainment then off to room at 10.
Sun Aug 18, Day 6, 9 total, Lyon, France – 70 sunny degrees at 7am here in Lyon. No rain again today but forecast is for a windy day and possible storms tonight. Ship pulls out at 5am waking Luann up, again, but not me, again. Included walking tour, 9am, EASY SIGHTSEEING 4 hours, after breakfast, disembark in Lyon for a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for amazing views of the city. Continue with a guided visit to the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. Then take a walking tour through the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town). Jerimy our guide today has the best personality and sense of humor. Stay in town for a charcuterie plate and rose in a small cafe. Shop a little, have some ice cream then wait endlessly for a cab. Janet gets an Uber and back to ship around 2 for reading. Chateaubriand is delicious tonight for dinner again on the Aqua Vite terrace, back in room by 10.
Mon Aug 19, Day 7, 10 total, Lyon, France – 64 degrees with a light drizzle at 630 this morning. Included tour, EASY SIGHTSEEING,8:30 am, 4 1/2 hours. After breakfast, take a scenic drive through the rolling hills of Beaujolais, where viticultural tradition runs deep. See the legendary Moulin-à-Vent, the windmill, barely as the bus drives by it. Rain continues on the 45 minutes to an hour ride to wine country. Stop in a no stop light town for a "comfort " break then arrive at Chateau des Ravatys a small non export winery. Nice little tasting and barrel cave then back to ship by 1. Emileen another very personable guide. Menu tonight, decent thin rib eye, trout, red wine dark meat chicken. Last drink with Nicolas and Milen then in room a little after 10.
Water bottles given out at every tour
Love the heated bathroom floor in our cabin
Nice toiletries provided
Pillows and bed very comfortable as is room
It's European so only a duvet, no sheet
Open seating for dinner has worked very well
Food options very well done and delicious
Plugs are plentiful
In room safe
Closet adequate, good amount of drawers
In room fridge
All tours extremely well organized with excellent guides
Tues Aug 20, Day 8, 11 total Lyon, France – 61 degrees and raining again this morning. Bags in the hallway at 8. After breakfast, disembark, approx. 9am
We booked a separate extended trip to Lake Como after the cruise. I mention this to say while in Como one of our travel mates had to go to the hospital. Even thought this portion of our trip was not arranged by Viking the on-site Viking rep in Come helped in any way he could. Also, the trip insurance purchased before the cruise was outstanding. Our friend had to delay his trip home, Insurance and Viking were extremely helpful and accommodating.
Love the heated bathroom floor in our cabin Nice toiletries provided Pillows and bed very comfortable as is room It's European so only a duvet, no sheet Plugs are plentiful In room safe Closet adequate, good amount of drawers In room fridge
Very comfortable with excellent cabin steward and kept very clean
Avignon, France - Sheltered by medieval walls, Avignon’s maze of narrow streets is filled with churches, museums and palaces tracing the history of this ancient, vibrant city.
Experience the celebrated city of Arles (pronounced “Arl”), where remarkable Roman ruins, vibrant colors and a striking quality of light have inspired artists. Ann our guide for the 10-person EASY walking group struggles at first with non-working audio Vox, most are working but folks just don't know it.We see the Roman amphitheater and Theatre. Not much else and no time to shop