2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was a charter cruise with a particular group, and I was a staff member with the group. There were no children aboard this trip. While I didn't explore the departure city before boarding, embarkation and disembarkation were very ... Read More
This was a charter cruise with a particular group, and I was a staff member with the group. There were no children aboard this trip. While I didn't explore the departure city before boarding, embarkation and disembarkation were very well organized and went smoothly. The ship staff did a marvelous job adapting the schedule to things beyond their control, such as the river flooding in some areas and the lock workers striking one day. The food was always excellent, and the service was exemplary. Really, I can't say enough about how professional, welcoming, efficient, and friendly the staff were. I enjoyed the excursions - walking or biking tours, and multiple choices per day. The group itself provided most of the on-board entertainment and events. While I was not one of them, others greatly enjoyed the late-night music and dancing! The boat itself was luxurious, and always well maintained. I would definitely go again! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
A friend did this cruise two years ago and raved about it so I along with 7 friends booked the same cruise for this June 14th cruise from Paris to the Beaches of Normandie. Everything was fabulous on the boat, the cruise director, the ... Read More
A friend did this cruise two years ago and raved about it so I along with 7 friends booked the same cruise for this June 14th cruise from Paris to the Beaches of Normandie. Everything was fabulous on the boat, the cruise director, the entire staff, the food, etc. The only issue was out of Avalon's control. Due to recent rains in and around Paris the Seine was very high and the boat could not get under some of the bridges so our cruise started further up the Seine than scheduled and we missed the last two nights on the boat and were put up in a hotel where we were spread out over a number of floors and the dinners were mediocre at best. No complaints at all about the boat or any of the time spent on it. The crew and food were exceptional. I did not use the fitness area, but heard it was good Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Wanted to see Giverny (Monet's garden). Enjoyed the garden but the walk from the bus was very tiring. Floods on the Seine meant that we had to be taken by bus to do the tours, but that wasn't a problem. We were very well looked ... Read More
Wanted to see Giverny (Monet's garden). Enjoyed the garden but the walk from the bus was very tiring. Floods on the Seine meant that we had to be taken by bus to do the tours, but that wasn't a problem. We were very well looked after by the crew and loved the trip through Normandy and the WWII landing sites. It was very crowded at most of the sites we visited. We spent 2 days in Paris before we left on Scenic Gem and loved the Hotel Scribe. Enjoyed moving at our own pace in Paris and often felt that there were too many tours on the Scenic Gem. The ship was very comfortable and the cabin small but functional. The balcony was lovely, especially in the beginning of the trip when it wasn't raining. Food was wonderful and most of the people on the cruise were very nice. I walk with a cane, so couldn't deal with cobblestones etc. on many of the excursions, but was able to deal with most of the places my husband and I visited. We really enjoyed this trip but because of my limitations, I wouldn't be able to do it again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I had never been to France and wanted to see Paris & the Normandy region. If I could do it over, I would have arrived in Paris 3 days ahead of our river cruise to make sure I saw more of the city. The ship was beautiful and the crew ... Read More
I had never been to France and wanted to see Paris & the Normandy region. If I could do it over, I would have arrived in Paris 3 days ahead of our river cruise to make sure I saw more of the city. The ship was beautiful and the crew were fantastic. Everyone was friendly, and service was excellent. Dining was a lovely experience on board; the entertainment gets a "good" rating. The cabin was a little "snug" but the beds were oh so comfortable. Everything was smooth from day one, and our guides and cruise manager were first-rate. I would have preferred more time for shopping during our on-shore excursions and would have appreciated knowing that many French shops close for lunch from 12:00 - 2:00. I would definitely recommend Uniworld to friends and family who are interested in a river cruise. The convenience of your "hotel" traveling with you, the lush accommodations, delicious food and pleasing crew made my first river cruise most assuredly not my last with Uniworld! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
The boat, food and crew were excellent. The overall experience was very positive but thought some things needed to be said. First off, as in other reviews, leaving from Le Pecq and not Paris was a huge disappointment. The area in Le ... Read More
The boat, food and crew were excellent. The overall experience was very positive but thought some things needed to be said. First off, as in other reviews, leaving from Le Pecq and not Paris was a huge disappointment. The area in Le Pecq was really awful and our veranda room looked at a area under the dock for much of the time. We couldn't even use it because an RV was parked outside with people living in it. (Viking needs to have that removed). Actually for the 8 days we only stepped on the balcony a couple of times since the views were of docks, other boats, or it was night time with nothing to see. For this itinerary, the extra $1000 for the room over a French Balcony was wasted. The bus ride to Paris was almost an hour with traffic. Made the bus time too long versus site seeing time. Shore excursions were good, just be prepared with good shoes and to ride buses and walk a lot. The local guides were awesome. The Van Gogh excursion was great but thought it was weird that the boat traveled the river to meet us at our next destination so we missed that whole area of the Seine. Normandy excursion to Omaha beach was the highlight, but it was a long bus ride leaving at 8am and getting back at 645pm. We took the bus to Normandy from Rouen which made no sense since we had so much of the Seine to see north of the city. Didn't really understand why the boat seemed docked more than cruising and actually only went Le Pecq to Rouen and back to Le Pecq. Only had two times where scenic cruising was and it was of the same area going North and South. Guillermo the Director was good at explaining the plans and the chef, Bogdan and Hristo were also great in the dining area. Bottom line is if you want relaxing river time this itinerary is not for you. We will book again with Viking for the Rhine, Main or Danube trips. Met some great people on the trip and have some great memories. The hotel used for the 3 day post cruise was awesome and in a great location. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
We had a marvelous time. The ship, our cabin, the staff, the meals and alcohol...all of these exceeded our expectations. The town stops and the tours were all excellent. The service was extraordinary; we have never experienced such good ... Read More
We had a marvelous time. The ship, our cabin, the staff, the meals and alcohol...all of these exceeded our expectations. The town stops and the tours were all excellent. The service was extraordinary; we have never experienced such good service anywhere or anyplace. The only confusion and downside was that we ended up sailing from Le Pecq which is a port on the far western edge of Paris. I understand now that Viking River cruises are dependent upon the French government for the port placement and the scheduling of the port that they sail in and out of. Apparently this gets shifted around a lot and the company has no control over this aspect of the river cruise business. I imagine that this must be highly irritating for Viking River cruises to contend with in scheduling and in dealing with customers. Our fantasy had been to sail from Port Alma in central Paris which would have been a grand exit and entry point. As we arrived a week early to explore Paris, this port change meant we had to take a taxi from the 7th arrondisement to Le Pecq which was quite a trek. (Viking River Cruise gave us a substantial shipboard voucher for drinks for our trouble which was quite nice). As it turned out, we were there during the attacks of November 13th and Le Pecq was a good place for us to be situated as docking in central Paris would not have been possible nor desirable. On that note, I must say that the shipboard staff handled that whole dreadful situation with calm, ease and aplomb. There was no heightening of anxiety but it was all taken quite seriously even so. They managed, at the last minute, as Paris was in lockdown, to get a tour for everyone to see Chartre cathedral. I found this quite remarkable and it reveals a powerful efficiency. Another note. I was absolutely appalled by and ashamed for many of my fellow American travelers. The staff, bartenders, table staff, room cleaning staff, tour guides and all the people in the kitchen are dependent upon the gratuity that the passengers contribute. The suggestions in the handbook that you will receive is an excellent guide. If you can afford to go on a river cruise and disembark for the daily tours then you can afford to pay the suggested gratuity! Given that it was the absolute best service we have ever received the gratuity was ENTIRELY reasonable and amounted to about E300 plus what we gave seperately to some extraordinary individuals. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
We took the 12 day City of Lights Viking Cruise with an extended stay in Paris. In Paris, we stayed at the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel Hotel and in Prague we stayed at the Hilton Prague. Both hotels were excellent. Viking staff met us at the ... Read More
We took the 12 day City of Lights Viking Cruise with an extended stay in Paris. In Paris, we stayed at the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel Hotel and in Prague we stayed at the Hilton Prague. Both hotels were excellent. Viking staff met us at the airport in Paris and took us to the airport in Prague. They had staff in the lobby of each hotel to assist with check-in/check-out and with any our travel needs. At Trier, we initially embarked on the "Viking Idun" and sailed down the Mosel River to Koblenz. However, due to the lower water level in the Rhine river, we were switched to the "Viking Oden" to complete the rest of the river cruise on the Main River. Both ships were outstanding with great crews. The switch was no problem at all as Viking took care of everything. Viking even arranged for all the guests to take a tour of the middle Rhine on a smaller local tour boot, so we would not miss that part of our scheduled trip. All the Viking staff were very courteous, hardworking and helpful. Our Program Director, Stephanie, was wonderful. She never left our side and made sure that everything was taken care of. Viking River Cruise staff were all very pleasant and outgoing and everyone knew what they are doing. The dining was always a treat, with many choices that always included food, wine and beer representing the area we were in. Everything was first class and our trip was wonderful. I would recommend the Viking River Cruise to everyone and anyone. We have already made plans to take another Viking River Cruise in April of 2017. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our first river cruise and trip to France. What a wonderful experience. The crew were amazing and provided world class service. The food was magnificent. The room cozy but more than enough, since you spent most of your time ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and trip to France. What a wonderful experience. The crew were amazing and provided world class service. The food was magnificent. The room cozy but more than enough, since you spent most of your time adventuring or hefting a glass with new friends. They refreshed your room twice a day, nothing like plump pillows on turned down bed. The guides were knowledgable and went overboard to make it a learning experience. We could not be more delighted. My husband has health issues and the staff went all out to accommodate him. Don't hesitate, do it now! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My wife and I have never been on a river cruise before, even though we have taken a number of ocean cruises. Going to Giverny and seeing Monet’s garden has always been on my wife's bucket list, and after much discussion, we booked ... Read More
My wife and I have never been on a river cruise before, even though we have taken a number of ocean cruises. Going to Giverny and seeing Monet’s garden has always been on my wife's bucket list, and after much discussion, we booked trips on a Viking cruise entitled “Paris and the heart of Normandy”. We flew Icelandic air and arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, where we were promptly, efficiently and courteously picked up by a Viking representative and brought to the ship, which was anchored close to the Eiffel Tower. We arrived in Paris a little later than anticipated, so we thought we would be taken directly to the ship. Instead we were taking the Novotel hotel, where we were offered pastries and tea. We didn’t know anything about normal Viking procedures and so did not think that this was out of the ordinary. It was only later that we learned that the reason for the delay in allowing us to board the ship was that there had been an outbreak of Norovirus related gastrointestinal disease during the previous cruise. Things seemed to be going very well the first day. The next day, the hotel manager told us that she was the bearer of bad news and that a few passengers had come down with gastrointestinal illness. During the remainder of the trip, as we continued to enjoy the trip, more and more passengers and crew members began to fall ill, at the rate of about 10 every day. The ship begin do resemble a hospital ward rather than a carefree vacation environment! On Wednesday, we began to hear alarming rumors - that a passenger had died and that another had been taken to the hospital after having had a fall. We received very little information from Viking, other than that the outbreak was not contained and more passengers were falling ill. Over the next few days, we learned that both rumors were true. One of the passengers, a spritely, vivacious 70-year-old, who had been perfectly fit had fallen ill on Tuesday and died later. The rumor about the hospitalization was also true, except that it understated the problem rather than exaggerating it. As far as we know, at least 4 passengers had needed urgent care. One of them had become so dehydrated that he fell in the bathroom and had to be rushed to the hospital. Parenthetically, and to our surprise, at least two of the passengers were charged $1240 a piece for that urgent care. While the land arrangements were overall extremely well done (the trips were well thought out and the guides were uniformly informative and well trained), it is also fair to say that a pall hung over the entire ship. We were all constantly wondering when the boom was going to lower on us and when we too would fall sick. By our estimate, of the 180 people on board (about 140 passengers and 40 crew members), about 100-120 people fell ill through the 8 day voyage. What surprises us about this is that there have been Norovirus outbreaks on Viking Pride at least since September 2015 (see the review posted on 9/15 by “Happy Traveler Duo”). Despite this, Viking has continued to use the ship on cruises without a break and without a serious attempt at decontamination. News of the passenger’s death was not made public and we only heard about it through friends of the dead passenger’s roommate. Overall, the trip could have been an outstanding experience. The cabin was adequate, the food outstanding. Both my wife and I are vegetarians, and had been concerned that our dietary needs might not be met within a small ship. On the contrary, the chef and the maître d’ went out of their way to make sure that we were adequately fed, with excellent and creative vegetarian alternatives. The land trips were well organized, well thought out and expertly guided. The visits to Giverny and Monet’s garden were totally enjoyable, as were the visits to the Normandy beaches. Despite all of this, we have to rate the overall experience poorly due to the serious health problems and the emotional toll on those of us who survived through it without falling sick (at least till now!) We know of at least one passenger who has fallen ill after reaching the States. I suspect the experience was even worse for those who did fall ill. We cannot recommend a trip on the Viking pride to anyone who is contemplating one. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Just back from an AMA Waterways river cruise from Paris to Prague. In summary, it was a great cruise and AMA certainly took care of its passengers. The cruise itself is seven nights from Luxembourg to Nuremburg and then we added on ... Read More
Just back from an AMA Waterways river cruise from Paris to Prague. In summary, it was a great cruise and AMA certainly took care of its passengers. The cruise itself is seven nights from Luxembourg to Nuremburg and then we added on extensions in Paris at the beginning and Prague at the end. Overall I would give the 14 days a 4+ Rating. We are Elite plus Captain Club members with Celebrity but this would be our first river cruise and we were somewhat apprehensive on what to expect. Talk about first impressions, we made our flight arrangements through AMA so transfers were included. We arrived in Paris at 6:30 a.m. and when we cleared customs there was our private driver picking us up to escort us to our hotel, the Pullman Montparnsse...and to top it off he drove us in a 2014 Jaguar...beautiful car...so far, oh so good. Check-in at the hotel was a breeze and even at 7:15 a.m. we were able to get right into our room....not everyone was so lucky as they had to wait until 3-4 pm to check-in. Big room pretty good location near a metro stop and restaurants. One complaint from people -- the shower was located in a very high step in tub...difficult to get in and out of. It was great to visit Paris again and after the city tour arranged by AMA we stayed downtown to walk on our own. Next big event was a high speed train (not a bus) to Luxembourg to pick up our river boat but first we boarded a bus in Luxembourg, did a city tour and stopped by the American Cemetery where General George Patton is buried and other soldiers from the Battle of the Bulge. We have been to Normandy before and this was just as impressive. Come to find out there was a lady on our trip (accompanied buy her daughter) whose first husband died in the Battle of the Bulge and was buried here. She met with the cemetery superintendent who escorted her to the gravesite where she placed flowers on the grave.....very moving. Grounds are immaculate. We then boarded the ship and there are only 139 of us. The one big thing about a river cruise vs. ocean cruise is with so few people, you practically get to know them all. Of the 139 who cruised, close to 100 were at the pre-cruise function in Paris and 110 ended up in Prague. Mostly Americans but others from Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Brazil. Ages 40's to 90's with majority between 65-75. Food very good along with excellent service. Chef's table offered at no cost and everyone is afforded at least one opportunity to eat there...Entrees were lamb chops or wild salmon along with other tidbits pre and post main course. The wines offered (as well as beer) at NO CHARGE during lunch or dinner were German whites, French Cabernets or a French Bordeaux which easily would have cost $80-100 on a cruise ship...wines were outstanding. Cocktails (pre dinner) typically cost $7-8....two nights were on the captain. You would not leave hungry on one of these cruises. Staterooms were very nicely adorned and set up like a very nice hotel room....not opposite side sofas that converted to beds at night. Bathrooms were small but hot water plentiful, room cleanup always there, including nightly turndown. All crew members were very polite and helpful. English is the language of all AMA Waterways Ships. Internet and TV are offered in each cabin. Evening entertainment....(here's where we were really skeptical), but here is what was offered, a resident piano player is on board, classical group one night, a Mama Mia dance group another night, trip to a local coffee house or a local museum another. These were actually fun nights and offered something for everyone. Our group was very lively so we enjoyed the Mama Mia dance group and then the piano player filled in playing polkas and other dance songs on the off nights. Much much better than expected. City tours.....Tour guides: You you have to understand Europeans have a very historical insight/perspective into every city and monument and sometimes it can become overwhelming for most Americans. If you did not want the city bus tour one thing that AMA offers is a bike tour using 10-speed easy shifting bikes. Now these tours have 2 guides, one in front and one in back, and the easiest was 26km or about 17 miles taking 4-5 hours. Prague...Outstanding first class hotel Intercontinental only a five minute walk to city square. Breakfast provided at the hotel but lunch and dinner were on your own but the food was very reasonable in cost and very good. Had some rain and cold weather in Prague which did put a damper on the city activities. Attended an evening dance/local custom show in Prague...very good. Leaving for home, AMA had escorts greeting some people off from the hotel as early as 330 a.m. and then someone at the airport making sure you got to the right check-in terminal. Your hotel departure was based on your scheduled air flight home, so you were NOT all required to get up at hauled to the airport in one big bus . AMA was a first class act!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was my first Viking cruise, and it was a huge expense for me -- but it was worth every dollar. The boat was beautiful, the staff was incredible, the scenery was gorgeous, and the excursions were mostly perfect. I loved every part of ... Read More
This was my first Viking cruise, and it was a huge expense for me -- but it was worth every dollar. The boat was beautiful, the staff was incredible, the scenery was gorgeous, and the excursions were mostly perfect. I loved every part of this journey. I'm sure there were people on the boat who expected something more luxurious, but I will say it was every bit as luxurious as anything I would have expected. I was particularly impressed with the crew, every one of them -- Claudia the cruise director, and all the other staff. I have never seen a staff work so well together. Claudia actually commented on how fun this group was. Lucky us!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We have traveled four continents and 13 countries so far. Some more than once. My wife is a Horticulteralist, I am a Real Estate executive, and an elected (Port Commissioner) official. We traveled from Seattle (USA) by way of Reykjavik to ... Read More
We have traveled four continents and 13 countries so far. Some more than once. My wife is a Horticulteralist, I am a Real Estate executive, and an elected (Port Commissioner) official. We traveled from Seattle (USA) by way of Reykjavik to Paris. We spent 3 days, 2 nights at a hotel in Kilometre zero when we arrived in Paris. Perfect location to start and finish each day. Once onboard, we realized again that there is nothing like sailing for days and hundreds of miles while bringing your full service hotel with you. Everything was perfect. A well trained crew, very engaging and entertaining. A large selection of day trips and tours. Very relaxing, almost forgot to go home. The ship was setup with WiFi, and onboard services to help in many ways, and was kept in immaculately clean condition. Our shore excursions were informative, entertaining, refreshing and kept the excitement of the travel alive. Our cabin was perfect, quiet, and clean. Dining was done to perfection at each meal, had plenty to eat and didn't gain a kilo. The deembarkment was fun and memorable as well. We are already planning our 2017 cruise with Croisi. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We were so excited to sail on this river cruise line, as we had heard so much about it. Unfortunately we and others on the ship soon became ill. Our embarking time was delayed on the first day so they could clean the ship, as so many on ... Read More
We were so excited to sail on this river cruise line, as we had heard so much about it. Unfortunately we and others on the ship soon became ill. Our embarking time was delayed on the first day so they could clean the ship, as so many on the cruise the prior week had come down with a gastrointestinal illness. In fact, several days before arriving, we were sent an email stating that our arrival would be delayed several hours so they could clean/disinfect the ship to address the illness passengers on the week of September 12 experienced. It was described by staff as one person getting ill, then others getting sick all week long. This is exactly what happened to us. On our first day, instead of being able to have lunch on board, we were directed to a hotel conference room where we were given water and coffee/tea, but no food (it was all gone by the time we arrived but was only croissants anyway). We soon set off on our own and saw some sights and found a great cafe to have lunch right by the Eiffel Tower. We also purchased the extension in Paris post-cruise, and my husband was very ill the day after we left the boat, as were several others in the group of 24 who stayed on in Paris. We had to call in a doctor during our Paris stay. All of the illness cast a shadow over the cruise, as we were worried that we would get sick, which eventually did happen. They stressed that everyone should use the anti-germ agent they provided outside of the restaurant, but that still didn't prevent the spread of disease. Aside from the significant problem of illness, the cruise was OK. We spent too much time in Vernon, where there is little to see, and not enough in other areas. There were some beautiful cities along the Seine that we couldn't visit, and we usually had to make choices between two very good tours in other areas, so we felt we missed a lot. There was a lot of time during two days where we "cruised". The staff was perky and helpful, and the rooms were kept clean. The cabins were small but functional. When we saw other ships on other lines as they passed us on the Seine, we realized that ours was not a great ship. The food was good, with lots of choices. However, after the first few illness cases early on, I did not take any fresh food, only cooked or sealed items, so I think I missed out on a lot of good food experiences. The crew redirected the next batch of cruisers on September 27 to the same hotel where we waited to board on our first day, so I just hope they did a better job of cleaning the ship before they let the m board. This was not an all-inclusive tour, and we felt that tips were clearly expected. Our pot-trip was about $1800.00, and the hotel would have cost about $900.00 or so if we booked on line, so we were disappointed that the Viking staff stressed how much she should have gotten for her tips. The one tour that was included was very good, but the support was not worth the extra $900.00 we paid (this did include transfers to the hotel and then the airport, but this was still a lot of extra money). We will probably take another cruise, but will book with another line. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We had a great trip and really enjoyed all the things we saw and did. Meet lots of wonderful people on board the long boat. The crew was very friendly and helpful. Our program directors was a fun lively gal. Saw so many things on ... Read More
We had a great trip and really enjoyed all the things we saw and did. Meet lots of wonderful people on board the long boat. The crew was very friendly and helpful. Our program directors was a fun lively gal. Saw so many things on the shore excursions. Glad we took lots of pictures to help us remember all the places we were. Although all the guides were very knowledgeable and eagerly shared their wealth of knowledge, sometimes it was almost too much. There is only so much history one was adsorb at one time. Probably would have preferred to have a little less guided time and a little more free time on most of the shore excursions. Sitting on the top deck of the boat while going down the Moselle River, the scenery was beautiful. Was disappointed that on the Main River the top deck had to be closed for safety reasons because of all the low bridges. Thank you Viking for a wonderful trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
First time river cruisers, we had looked at three lines before deciding on Viking. The reason for choosing Viking was that they offered the most included and optional trips that we wished to experience. We included the transfer request ... Read More
First time river cruisers, we had looked at three lines before deciding on Viking. The reason for choosing Viking was that they offered the most included and optional trips that we wished to experience. We included the transfer request (pick up and drop off to the airport (CDG north of Paris)) and once away (delayed by lost luggage of 1/3 of the flight, after a bit of a wait they decided to send us off alone) we traveled in a luxurious Mercedes transport to the dock near the Eiffel tower. The driver was most courteous and professional, giving us an impromptu tour of Paris as we went. The Viking Spirit and her sisters (Neptune & Pride) were built in 2001 and this is their last year of service with Viking. They are smaller than the newer longship class, but newer and bigger does not always translate into better! Our cabin was better laid out than our hotel room in Paris despite being smaller! Never felt cramped, and enough storage space even for the traveling pack rat that I am. The staff are superb. The ship crew (and officers), the Hotel crew (and officers) and most exceptionally our program director Feliz Temur. She was so great! Also our chambermaid was equally so. Both ladies were cheerful, being up before us and still working when we chose to retire. The excursions were good, the guides knowledgeable. One thing to note that out of 170 passengers, 166 were from the USA. As a Canadian, I felt disappointed that we wouldn't be able to do the commonwealth/UK tour (because who would make a special trip only for 4 people!?). I was wrong. Viking provided us with a full bus, guide, and our own trip. Because of the distances involved (the Canadian and UK beaches were closer) we also enjoyed a stop at the Bayeux tapestry, as well as visiting Juno and Pegasus Bridge. The Canadian war dead grave site was moving, and they provided us with a fresh rose to place. Being too long already, all I can really say is YOU HAVE TO GO! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
The trip on the Seine was wonderful. The crew was very attentive and went above and beyond the call of duty when my husband became ill. Our cabin steward was outstanding. The food service was impressive and the selection of dishes left ... Read More
The trip on the Seine was wonderful. The crew was very attentive and went above and beyond the call of duty when my husband became ill. Our cabin steward was outstanding. The food service was impressive and the selection of dishes left few wanting. We enjoyed the small villages that we stopped at. I do believe that Giverny and Monet's garden was one of our favorites, although our visit to the beaches in Normandy touched our hearts. Our tour director Leonard kept us well informed and entertained. Evenings were laid back with music and light hearted games. I especially enjoyed the trio who sang medleys of Parisian songs. I even took a water color class while on board. Our departure was very well organized as was our arrival. There was someone at the airport on both occasions to be sure that we were headed in the right direction. Our trip was relaxing and enjoyable. We are already planning our next Viking trip. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
I loved everything about City of Lights trip. Our accommodations in Paris and Prague were wonderful. I loved both of these beautiful cities. We met out Program Director, Claudia, in Paris. Claudia is extremely knowledgeable and lots of ... Read More
I loved everything about City of Lights trip. Our accommodations in Paris and Prague were wonderful. I loved both of these beautiful cities. We met out Program Director, Claudia, in Paris. Claudia is extremely knowledgeable and lots of fun! How she kept track of all of us is beyond me. She was always available to answer our questions or assist us in any way. Our group of 20 wanted to adopt her! The river cruise was absolutely fantastic! Everyone on board was very friendly, helpful and welcoming. They were also excellent at carrying out their various responsibilities. They could not do enough for us. I found river cruising to be a wonderful way to travel. The ports of call were fascinating. I learned so much from our tremendous guides. A few times some of us decided to stay on board instead of going on the tour. It was beautiful to see the towns and vineyards along the rivers. The free time we spent in the ports of call was very much appreciated. We were able to get a feel for the various places and people by stopping at cafes, shopping and just walking around. The food on the boat was excellent at every meal. I enjoyed hearing about the evening meal preparations from our chef, Andy, at our daily briefing. We had surprises from the kitchen everyday including a beautiful dessert buffet one afternoon.The demonstrations (cooking, German lessons etc.) and the special programs we had in the evenings including a classical pianist and violinist and the traditional German folk band were wonderful. My criticism are that due to low bridges we were unable to use the top deck for a number of days. Also, we had a near catastrophe when several people from our group attempted to go on the top deck after dinner and were almost hurt or killed by a low bridge. The captain screamed "get down" and they were scared but ok. I believe we should have been informed that there would be times when we would be unable to use the upper deck before we signed on. And certainly a rope or barrier should be put up to prevent people from going up the stairs when it is dangerous. Overall it was a fantastic experience. This was my first trip abroad and after City of Lights I know it won't be my last. I hope to take a river cruise again in 2017! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
The Avalon cruise along the Seine to Normandy on the near-new Tapestry II was our first cruise of any kind. At just seven days duration, it was a "taste" to discover whether this type of holiday was to our liking, as previously ... Read More
The Avalon cruise along the Seine to Normandy on the near-new Tapestry II was our first cruise of any kind. At just seven days duration, it was a "taste" to discover whether this type of holiday was to our liking, as previously we had been more independent travellers. And it most definitely was! We were at the younger end of the passenger age spectrum, and, as Australians, we were vastly outnumbered by folks from the USA. Neither mattered, as it turned out. The cabin (called a stateroom) was beautifully appointed and serviced, and the location of the bed facing the wall of windows to the river outlook was excellent. The meals were a highlight, thanks to Chef Olivier and his team. Options such as a BBQ lunch and Bistro dinner were created, which gave extra variety. The wines were of very good quality. The open seating arrangements allowed us to meet many delightful fellow passengers. The shore excursions were characterised by knowledgeable, charming guides. In particular, having Laura escort us through Monet's garden in Giverny was a treat, with her background in Art History. A pre-excursion lecture by historian Nigel vividly set the scene for the journeys to the D-Day Landing Beaches. Overall, the organisation was excellent, with a small glitch in disembarkation and allocation of taxis, not the fault of Avalon. The portable audio equipment worked well on tours. The vessel was about 60% capacity, so I am aware that our experience might not be replicated with a full passenger load. My sole negative comment relates to the quality of the coffee. The main coffee machine was out of order for more than half the journey, and the coffee served at meals was not up to the standard we expect in Australia. Next time I might take my Nespresso machine! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first cruise of any kind. Decided to try a river cruise since the boats are smaller and there are fewer people. Really enjoyed our time on the boat. Staff was very friendly and helpful. Meals were wonderful; it was fun to ... Read More
This was our first cruise of any kind. Decided to try a river cruise since the boats are smaller and there are fewer people. Really enjoyed our time on the boat. Staff was very friendly and helpful. Meals were wonderful; it was fun to try out some new foods. Side excursions were educational. We liked looking out our windows and seeing barges and other vessels sailing by us. Also loved seeing the houses along the Seine. Our cabin was great. Such a luxury to have our bed made and turned down each day. Evening entertainment was enjoyable. Some negative stuff: noisy dining room, a bit too much free wine for guests, some guests were narrow-minded about learning new stuff. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
My sister and I, both 50, sailed from Paris to Prague on the Viking Idun. We were not sure we would like river cruising having only done ocean cruises in the past. Now I don't want to sail anything but rivers! First of all, we were ... Read More
My sister and I, both 50, sailed from Paris to Prague on the Viking Idun. We were not sure we would like river cruising having only done ocean cruises in the past. Now I don't want to sail anything but rivers! First of all, we were not the youngest ones on the boat so don't be fooled by the stories of river cruises being for seniors only. Being on the rivers made it great to get in so close to the extraordinarily beautiful villages! The food was better than ocean cruises because they don't have to cook for so many people. The staff was professional, helpful, friendly and so much fun. We really got a chance to get to know them and loved seeing their smiling faces each day! We had a room with a balcony and I highly recommend sailing that way if you can. We fed the ducks, sat outside and read, and had wine with new friends. The Viking Idun was perfectly clean at all times. The staff could not do enough to make us comfortable. Perfect experience - highly recommended!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first river trip and we picked the Seine trip so we could travel along the river and spend a little time in Paris. We made a small mistake with our flights. Boarding doesn't take place until around 4pm but we arrived in ... Read More
This was our first river trip and we picked the Seine trip so we could travel along the river and spend a little time in Paris. We made a small mistake with our flights. Boarding doesn't take place until around 4pm but we arrived in Paris much earlier. Avalon have a lounge in a hotel where passengers can wait until the ship is ready. Drinks were available and the area is pleasant to walk around but next time, I would organise a flight that arrived closer to the boarding time and also to the departure time on the last day. This ship was launched in March 2015 and so is quite new. The ship was in beautiful condition and it was a revelation to go on board and see our cabin and the rest of the ship. Our cabin was very comfortable and very well maintained by the cleaning staff. The food on the ship was excellent and we ate far too much but managed to walk it off during the daily excursions. It is possible that the choice of excursions might change but the ones we went on were all most enjoyable, fascinating and sometimes very moving. All the tour guides we had were knowledgeable, helpful, funny and a pleasure to listen to. The staff on board were without exception professional, organised, friendly, helpful and happy to go the extra mile for the passengers. For instance, some passengers asked for adjustments to some of their meals - items removed or added, meats cooked rarer, absolutely no seafood and so on - and the staff didn't hesitate in doing all they could to accommodate everyone. We had a wonderful time on the ship and I can't compliment all the staff enough for making our stay so comfortable. I would definitely go on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was by far our favorite cruising experience. We had only done ocean cruises prior to this. Viking staff were knowledgeable and organized. The hotels they selected were top notch. We also enjoyed the guided tours which was a ... Read More
This was by far our favorite cruising experience. We had only done ocean cruises prior to this. Viking staff were knowledgeable and organized. The hotels they selected were top notch. We also enjoyed the guided tours which was a pleasant surprise. Our room was very roomy and the bathroom was so much bigger than we expected. Loved the smaller venue with only 180 passengers. The food and service was excellent and we liked the menus which were designed to feature local cuisine. It was so relaxing and the European countryside was mind boggling. Would definitely go on another river cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We chose the Paris-Normandy Viking River Cruise aboard the Viking Spirit or our 50th anniversary celebration. Everything about this cruise was top of the line. Paris and the other towns visited were wonderful, historic locales. The ... Read More
We chose the Paris-Normandy Viking River Cruise aboard the Viking Spirit or our 50th anniversary celebration. Everything about this cruise was top of the line. Paris and the other towns visited were wonderful, historic locales. The tour guides were excellent, and their audio devices worked well. The Viking Spirit staff is made up of dedicated professionals, each of whom strove diligently to make the cruise the best experience possible. Any request was promptly and graciously handled. From the wonderful Joana at the Reception Desk, to the Program Director Filiz, the wait staff in the restaurant, the cleaning crew, the attendants in the lounge, all strived to achieve excellence. And, my goodness, the food! C'est magnifique! One very special aspect was open seating in the dining area. Meet, greet, sit and eat! We met such wonderful new friends each meal. The geography covered, history learned, friends made and food consumed made this the experience of a lifetime. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We could not have asked for a better week on the Thomson Dream. If you're looking for good value for money and excellent service the Thomson Dream has it all! My boyfriend and I are a fairly young couple in our 20's and ... Read More
We could not have asked for a better week on the Thomson Dream. If you're looking for good value for money and excellent service the Thomson Dream has it all! My boyfriend and I are a fairly young couple in our 20's and weren't sure what to expect from a cruise holiday but for us it was better than expected. Other than being able to see so many amazing places in a week the highlight of the ship had to be the service and the entertainment. Nothing was ever too much for the Staff on board the Thomson dream. Waiter service in the Orion restaurant was outstanding, our glass was never empty, food was presented beautifully, the menu had lots of choice and was completely different every evening. Anyone who serves you in the Orion wants to make each night special for you and your family. Ariel, Raffy, Ben and Alvin were amazing, every evening we looked forward to seeing them at dinner as they never failed to make us smile. One evening we tried eating in one of the à la carte restaurants, The kora La, which we would highly recommend. The food was exceptional and definitely worth the extra supplement cost. After our evening meal we would head down to the Medusa lounge and have some drinks where again the drinks waiters were fantastic. Every night we sat in the same seat and Jade ensured we always had a drink and often recommended some popular cocktails. Jade always wanted to hear about the exciting things we had done that day and always had a smile on her face. Little personal touches like this always make you feel special on holiday. After the Medussa lounge we would head to the onboard theatre to watch the evening show put on by the Thomson dream team, and there really is something for everybody! The variety of the shows was commendable and Martin, the entertainment director on board, was excellent at informing passengers of events happening the following day. The rest of the entertainment crew were also continuously professional, helpful and hilarious. Evening entertainment was fantastic thanks to Christina, Olivia, Martin and Ted. I must also mention how excellent room service was, rooms were cleaned twice a day to an excellent standard. A few things to consider before you board the Thomson dream ... -Limited plugs in the room. We had an indoor cabin and we could only find one plug which only worked when the lights were on in the room. -Make sure reception staff are clear with you from the start about how you will pay your bill at the end. They weren't always as helpful as they could have been. -DO YOUR RESEARCH. Do not rely on Thomson to give you advice on board about how to get to and from certain places off the ship (e.g. Rome and Pisa) if you aren't buying their package/trip they tend not to help you organise your own trip. For example they told us trains were extremely unreliable which was untrue! The trains were on time and cheap. From Livorno to Pisa it cost €2.50 each. Overall we had a fantastic holiday, we would highly recommend booking the Thomson Dream for anybody! We don't have children but there also seemed to be excellent facilities for families also. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our first Viking cruise "Paris and the Heart of Normandy". Our room was larger than expected with 2 twin beds with ample storage, the activities director "Clare" was a delight, outstanding food and all ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise "Paris and the Heart of Normandy". Our room was larger than expected with 2 twin beds with ample storage, the activities director "Clare" was a delight, outstanding food and all walking tours interesting and informative and on our return we were greeted by the staff with a refreshing drink. At all time the staff was friendly and their service exceptional. We enjoyed on board wine tasting, cheese tasting and a visit to the kitchen with the Chef. I highly recommend a river cruise, it's more relaxing, the scenery is up close and the ship is smaller with 150 passengers. Having open meal seating gave us the opportunity to meet our fellow travelers, a definite plus. A member of the Viking team met us at the airport, transported us to our hotel (we stayed 3 days in Paris prior to the cruise), transported us to the ship and at the end transported us to the airport. The entire trip was worry free. I can't thank Viking enough for the "Perfect Cruise" and we hope there is another Viking cruise in our future. Read Less

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