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131 France River Cruise Reviews

This was our second Viking River Cruise and we were excited at the beginning because our first cruise had been such a delight. We took the Portraits of Southern France cruise in late September/early October 2015. We were warmly welcomed ... Read More
This was our second Viking River Cruise and we were excited at the beginning because our first cruise had been such a delight. We took the Portraits of Southern France cruise in late September/early October 2015. We were warmly welcomed when we boarded the Viking Buri in Chalon sur Saone. Within hours, the ship’s management informed us that passengers boarding from another Viking cruise had contracted and/or been exposed to Gastroenteritis. As a result, Viking suspended coffee station service and lunch buffet service, and passengers were not permitted to serve themselves anything at any meal. On day six of the cruise, the program director announced that GI illness was no longer a concern. Notwithstanding, Viking never resumed those services. Things went seriously awry on day 3 as a result of the failure of one of the ship’s engine generators. It took 36 hours for the program director to advise the passengers that there was an issue and how it would be resolved. As a result, the ship spent three days docked in Lyon while we waited for a part to arrive to effect the repair. Viking arranged for us to visit the other scheduled stops on the itinerary, which meant they put us on buses and bused us around France. For example, part of the appeal of this cruise’s itinerary was a full-day visit to Arles. Instead we spent almost 2-1/2 hours on a bus to Arles and almost two hours, again on a bus, to re-board the Buri. Because the ship was continually a day behind the schedule and not docked at the places we were visiting, passengers did not have access to the ship during most of the shore excursions. As a result, quite a few passengers elected not to take the shore excursions because the bused versions of the excursions were too physically demanding – not because of the sites visited but because of the extensive periods of time on the bus. In an effort to make up time after finally leaving Lyon, the Buri cruised at night, which meant we never got to enjoy sitting on deck and watching the river during the day. On the positive side, the Buri, like the other Viking long ship we traveled on, is comfortable, clean and well-organized. The staff is very professional, and everyone extended themselves to make us comfortable. The food was excellent as were the guides for shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Boarded Viking Buri 9/27/15 from Chalon France for Portraits of Southern France 8 day cruise. Checked in, welcomed, and then unpacked in our stateroom. Later we reviewed the cruise materials. Read a notice: Opening paragraph, "As ... Read More
Boarded Viking Buri 9/27/15 from Chalon France for Portraits of Southern France 8 day cruise. Checked in, welcomed, and then unpacked in our stateroom. Later we reviewed the cruise materials. Read a notice: Opening paragraph, "As you have already been informed by our Program Director, a few passengers on board are currently suffering from gastrointestinal illness." We'd been on board maybe an hour. First time we were informed. Didn't know who the P. Director was. (Anyone boarding at Chalon didn't either.) The notice stated it is highly contagious especially among 65+ populations. Can lead to complications due to severe dehydration. They listed the protocols the staff was taking to contain the outbreak and recommended we continuously wash our hands and not to touch our face. 3 days later we called the desk to inform them I was ill. We knew we would be quarantined in our room. Quickly realized there is not one staff member assigned to monitor the condition of infected guests nor to gather pertinent medical history. No checking whatsoever. 10 hours of unrelenting diarrhea and vomiting, I asked to obtain a prescription to control the vomiting due to preexisting chronic kidney condition. Concierge was sent into Lyon. Couldn't obtain the medication as it required a prescription. I asked for a doctor. 4 hours later one arrived. He wrote 2 prescriptions in which my roommate was temporarily released into Lyon to get them filled (she doesn't speak French). This was an hour before dusk. I recovered. Later earned that 7 infected passengers had boarded from a previous Viking cruise days before. At the end of our cruise (10/3) 22 people had contracted the illness. I asked the Hotel Director 1. Why weren't arriving guests informed before going to their staterooms, thus it would be their decision to take the gamble? 2. What would have been Viking's response if someone had said they did not want to board given the active breakout? 3. Was I correct in assuming no Viking staff was assigned to monitor ill guests (not treat, just to check every 4 hours, keep a list of concerns, etc.)? He confirmed that was correct. (Second unfortunate circumstance was the ship broke down in Lyon - 2 day fix, lots of buses to towns, foreshortened tours and a stretch of night cruising to catch-up.) I wrote Viking (Woodland Hills, California). Their email expressed sympathy and they would forward my concerns to the Western European office. They emphasized the illness can occur where there are large numbers of people in a self-contained space. Wouldn't directly answer my question about informing guests of an active out breakout before boarding, or assigning a person to oversee ill guests. My AAA office also contacted Viking which resulted in Viking offering my travel mate and I a voucher (approx. $1000 each) toward another cruise. We declined as it meant gambling again and another $5-6000 from us to pay the balance. Had they wanted this to be a goodwill offer, it should simply be in cash. I've traveled on land tours (Road Scholar and OATS). Both times impressed with their tour directors as they clearly knew how to engage medical assistance when needed. Not locked in a room with no one checking. One large cruise (Holland America) that given it's size, does provide medical support Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was an outstanding river cruise that featured all he best in river cruising. relaxing river cruising during the day, very good regional food with a dinner at a French Chateaux, tours of wineries plus various local wines at lunch and ... Read More
This was an outstanding river cruise that featured all he best in river cruising. relaxing river cruising during the day, very good regional food with a dinner at a French Chateaux, tours of wineries plus various local wines at lunch and dinner that changed daily. Bordeaux is a very beautiful city and we spent plenty of time there to enjoy it, we had a evening walking tour, a bus tour, a museum visit, plus a stretch you legs walk on our first day. My wife and I rented city bikes and rode around the city for half the day, this was on her bucket list. We visited Sauternes, Cadillac, Libourne, Saint-Émilion, Blaye, Bourg, and had an excursion to Pauillac, Médoc and Margaux. The dinner and wines and Chateau Kirwan were the highlight of the trip.There was a nice evening horse and buggy ride in Bourg after dinner with a wine tasting in the city square. One afternoon my wife was able to take a painting lesson on the boat and she enjoyed tit very much.. Michael Stamm our manager and Lorin Dragan our program manager did a fantastic job and everything was first class. This was our 5th river cruise and our 4th viking river cruise and this may have been the best one ever. I would highly recommend this river cruise if you enjoy food, cheese and wine. The Bordeaux region is very beautiful and this was a perfect trip. Read Less
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
Went on the Rhone River from Arles to Lyon. Really enjoyed the day trips and the dining on the ship. The tour guides were all very friendly and informative. Also enjoyed riding bicycles on our own at the ports. The food on the ship ... Read More
Went on the Rhone River from Arles to Lyon. Really enjoyed the day trips and the dining on the ship. The tour guides were all very friendly and informative. Also enjoyed riding bicycles on our own at the ports. The food on the ship was well presented and there were many healthy choices. The wine each day varied and was of good quality. In the evening there were short performances- singers, dancers, musicians. Overall, river cruising was slower paced and very scenic all along the way. Enjoyed having French doors in room to sit by and watch the towns and bridges we passed along the way. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
As a regular ocean cruiser, first time river cruiser, I found that my river cruise* on Viking was more like an ocean cruise than I expected. The free beer and wine with dinner and included shore excursions were a nice change, though. ... Read More
As a regular ocean cruiser, first time river cruiser, I found that my river cruise* on Viking was more like an ocean cruise than I expected. The free beer and wine with dinner and included shore excursions were a nice change, though. This river cruise was also more like a bus tour than I expected. There is an optimal experience that the ads portray...eating, drinking, and laughing with other passengers, outdoors with blue skies, and beautiful scenery floating-by. Of the six days and 20 hours from bonjour to au revior, about 20% of the cruising was when we were aboard** and it was not during sleeping hours. But about half of that was spent either waiting in front of a lock, or in the lock. The first time, the lock is cool, but it's preventing the optimal experience, especially since it looks like it's midnight and there's a slimy concrete wall an inch from your nose. So an average of 2.7 non-lock cruising hours per day. Although the rivers were low at the time, the top deck was often closed for bridge clearance, so having the optimal experience was limited to the bow, which held about 40 people (out of the 180 on board). Not that you couldn't enjoy the view from your stateroom, but not enjoying the view with other passengers. So if you were on-board, it wasn't raining, you found a spot outside with likable acquaintances, there's something besides the inside of a lock to see, well, you get the idea. I think this happened once for me. I predicted this would be the case, but make sure you have your expectations set appropriately. I've only been on one bus tour in my life, and that was with a single bus and 35 other students (a long time ago). Sometimes our ship would be parked where we could walk to the city/town. Often we were out of town, so boarded four huge coaches. Either way, I found myself walking around a couple of city blocks or a tourist venue with a gaggle of 180 other passengers. At times I was engaged with what I was seeing, but other times, I just wanted to be away from the crowd. If you wanted to see these same sites, you could drive from start to finish in a rental car in 4 hours. So a few strategically place hotels would mean you'd only need to move once or twice and do day trips to the sights. If you really wanted to see the city from the river, you could book a afternoon or evening cruises. And if you did it with a car, not only could you be away from the gaggle of other passengers, but also wouldn't be tied to the river geography. Again, if you expect to be with a big group, and don't mind that, then having a turn-key vacation where Viking does all the planning might be a great way for you to see the sights. A word about the beer (most people will skip this paragraph). On board we had a decent line-up of German beers. One on tap, Bitberger, plus Budweiser Budvar (the original Bud from Czechoslovakia), Kostritzer Schwarzbier, Benediktiner Weissbier, Kronenbourg 1664 Pilsner. Off-ship, I found two beer places that looked interesting, but didn't work out, timing-wise. In Lyon there was a place called "Le Palais de la Bière", lots of taps, but it wasn't open when I could get up there. "La Chope de Lug" was a bottle shop that looked promising, but it opened only after we sailed that day. Mostly the convenience stores had things that proclaimed the ABV in a big font. Although I couldn't read the label, I figured they were akin to Colt 44, so I left those on the shelf. I found a Belgian (3 Monts) in a general store (along "Place Raspail" in Lyon, a couple minutes walk from the dock). The 3 Monts was pretty good, tasted belgian-like, so I'd call it a "bière de garde" although it said "Bière De Flandre" on the label. The Viking rooms all have refrigerators and they even let you bring your own beer to dinner without a fee (but I drank this one in the room anyway). We found plenty of fun other passengers to hang around with. The first day aboard, at lunch, the situation looked dismal; nobody looked less than mid-sixties, a few quite a bit older, and there were some walkers (we're mid-fifties). But the next night they had a disco night. We only sat in for a beer, but that's when we realized there were quite a few people near our age. Even a few twenty-somethings (with their parents), and also a few thirty somethings (their own). Well, there you have it. A few nice moments that made use of the fact we were cruising on a river, quite a lot of time on buses and in a crowd of other passengers and finally a passable beer experience, given that it was included in the price, and that this is wine country, so what can I expect? The bottom line is if you want a turn-key operation, you don't want to pack and unpack, you don't mind touring in crowds, this is real easy for you, albeit not cheap ($600/day for a couple, not including airfare). If I really wanted to see these sights (which, eh, I'm luke-warm on many of them), you could see them all for much cheaper and not always be in a crowd if you rented a car and stayed in a few hotels. * An August 2015 cruise of seven nights called 'Portraits of Southern France' (Avginon to Chalon-sur-Saoneon) on the Viking Heimdal, a 3 deck ship first launched in 2014 (the previous season). A really clean ship, tight but efficient rooms. Great staff...MUCH better service than the ocean cruises where the tips are automatically added to your bill. I loved the small size compared to most ocean vessels. ** Sometimes were were off on a tour and the ship moved and picked-us up at a different dock. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
As a regular ocean cruiser, first time river cruiser, I found that my river cruise* on Viking was more like an ocean cruise than I expected. The free beer and wine with dinner and included shore excursions were a nice change, though. ... Read More
As a regular ocean cruiser, first time river cruiser, I found that my river cruise* on Viking was more like an ocean cruise than I expected. The free beer and wine with dinner and included shore excursions were a nice change, though. This river cruise was also more like a bus tour than I expected. There is an optimal experience that the ads portray...eating, drinking, and laughing with other passengers, outdoors with blue skies, and beautiful scenery floating-by. Of the six days and 20 hours from bonjour to au revior, about 20% of the cruising was when we were aboard** and it was not during sleeping hours. But about half of that was spent either waiting in front of a lock, or in the lock. The first time, the lock is cool, but it's preventing the optimal experience, especially since it looks like it's midnight and there's a slimy concrete wall an inch from your nose. So an average of 2.7 non-lock cruising hours per day. Although the rivers were low at the time, the top deck was often closed for bridge clearance, so having the optimal experience was limited to the bow, which held about 40 people (out of the 180 on board). Not that you couldn't enjoy the view from your stateroom, but not enjoying the view with other passengers. So if you were on-board, it wasn't raining, you found a spot outside with likable acquaintances, there's something besides the inside of a lock to see, well, you get the idea. I think this happened once for me. I predicted this would be the case, but make sure you have your expectations set appropriately. I've only been on one bus tour in my life, and that was with a single bus and 35 other students (a long time ago). Sometimes our ship would be parked where we could walk to the city/town. Often we were out of town, so boarded four huge coaches. Either way, I found myself walking around a couple of city blocks or a tourist venue with a gaggle of 180 other passengers. At times I was engaged with what I was seeing, but other times, I just wanted to be away from the crowd. If you wanted to see these same sites, you could drive from start to finish in a rental car in 4 hours. So a few strategically place hotels would mean you'd only need to move once or twice and do day trips to the sights. If you really wanted to see the city from the river, you could book a afternoon or evening cruises. And if you did it with a car, not only could you be away from the gaggle of other passengers, but also wouldn't be tied to the river geography. Again, if you expect to be with a big group, and don't mind that, then having a turn-key vacation where Viking does all the planning might be a great way for you to see the sights. A word about the beer (most people will skip this paragraph). On board we had a decent line-up of German beers. One on tap, Bitberger, plus Budweiser Budvar (the original Bud from Czechoslovakia), Kostritzer Schwarzbier, Benediktiner Weissbier, Kronenbourg 1664 Pilsner. Off-ship, I found two beer places that looked interesting, but didn't work out, timing-wise. In Lyon there was a place called "Le Palais de la Bière", lots of taps, but it wasn't open when I could get up there. "La Chope de Lug" was a bottle shop that looked promising, but it opened only after we sailed that day. Mostly the convenience stores had things that proclaimed the ABV in a big font. Although I couldn't read the label, I figured they were akin to Colt 44, so I left those on the shelf. I found a Belgian (3 Monts) in a general store (along "Place Raspail" in Lyon, a couple minutes walk from the dock). The 3 Monts was pretty good, tasted belgian-like, so I'd call it a "bière de garde" although it said "Bière De Flandre" on the label. The Viking rooms all have refrigerators and they even let you bring your own beer to dinner without a fee (but I drank this one in the room anyway). We found plenty of fun other passengers to hang around with. The first day aboard, at lunch, the situation looked dismal; nobody looked less than mid-sixties, a few quite a bit older, and there were some walkers (we're mid-fifties). But the next night they had a disco night. We only sat in for a beer, but that's when we realized there were quite a few people near our age. Even a few twenty-somethings (with their parents), and also a few thirty somethings (their own). Well, there you have it. A few nice moments that made use of the fact we were cruising on a river, quite a lot of time on buses and in a crowd of other passengers and finally a passable beer experience, given that it was included in the price, and that this is wine country, so what can I expect? The bottom line is if you want a turn-key operation, you don't want to pack and unpack, you don't mind touring in crowds, this is real easy for you, albeit not cheap ($600/day for a couple, not including airfare). If I really wanted to see these sights (which, eh, I'm luke-warm on many of them), you could see them all for much cheaper and not always be in a crowd if you rented a car and stayed in a few hotels. * An August 2015 cruise of seven nights called 'Portraits of Southern France' (Avginon to Chalon-sur-Saoneon) on the Viking Heimdal, a 3 deck ship first launched in 2014 (the previous season). A really clean ship, tight but efficient rooms. Great staff...MUCH better service than the ocean cruises where the tips are automatically added to your bill. I loved the small size compared to most ocean vessels. ** Sometimes were were off on a tour and the ship moved and picked-us up at a different dock. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
It appears only negative comments are showing up for this cruise. But....... We just got home from the Portraits of Southern France cruise with a three day extension in Paris and had a wonderful time! Everything about the trip from ... Read More
It appears only negative comments are showing up for this cruise. But....... We just got home from the Portraits of Southern France cruise with a three day extension in Paris and had a wonderful time! Everything about the trip from being met in Marseilles, to the ship itself, to the daily and optional tours, to the meals were first rate all the way. No attention to detail was missed as far as we were concerned. It was also done during a heat wave and the ship and crew made sure that we had plenty of water and that the tours did not go at a too fast pace. The evening meals were some of the best we have had on river cruises. The officers and staff were always engaging. The Captain even invited me to the wheel house to see how the ship was maneuvered in a lock. The Viking Hermond is a first class ship with a first class crew. Do not let negative reviews stop you from experiencing this beautiful river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Seine. Although the Neptune is an older ship which has to show its age and without the "flash" of newer vessels -- we had traveled on a sister ship four years ago so we new what to expect. ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Seine. Although the Neptune is an older ship which has to show its age and without the "flash" of newer vessels -- we had traveled on a sister ship four years ago so we new what to expect. However, in some ways, I liked the smaller size of the Neptune. The public areas easily accommodated the passengers without crowding. There were more smaller, round dining tables that facilitated conversations compared with the long, rectangular tables on some of the newer, large ships. Some of the reviews complained about delays in dining service. I am amazed at those comments -- we had lovely meals with never a problem of delays, and we never noticed anyone else having difficulties. The tour itself was great. All the stops along the Seine were interesting, including Monet's house and garden at Giverny, Rouen and, of course, the day excursion to the D-Day beaches in Normandy. Of note, there were very few optional excursions at an additional cost -- the standard tours were all you needed. Of special note, we greatly enjoyed our program director Lionel. He was informative while being very entertaining by injecting his great sense of humor into a pleasurable trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The Hermod is only a year old and is in beautiful condition and very well maintained by the staff. It is simply gorgeous. The public areas are very well appointed. The dining room suffers from a low, hard ceiling and is very noisy. It ... Read More
The Hermod is only a year old and is in beautiful condition and very well maintained by the staff. It is simply gorgeous. The public areas are very well appointed. The dining room suffers from a low, hard ceiling and is very noisy. It really needs sound baffles. You have to shout to carry on conversations. The service was very slow--only 10 servers for 184 passengers. Ten minutes to get a glass of iced water. The "gourmet" food was well prepared but I prefer the simpler fare of the Viking Pride. The servers waited on all the tables so you never got acquainted with just one for your table with him/her knowing your preferences. The entertainment was mostly the pianist in the bar. He was very good, could play just about anything. The servers were attentive. The drinks expensive: $3.25 for a Coke in the bar. This was offset by free nuts, pretzels, etc. Meals had unlimited free French wine, one red, one white. Too acidic for me, I prefer a Pinot Gregio type which they served only once. The shore excursions varied by difficulty and were all interesting, several offered at each stop, but with the heat wave (95 F) exhausting for me. The best night was the last: we were entertained by an accordionist on the Sundeck, in twilight, next to the Avignon bridge. Spectacular. This was my 3rd Viking river cruise. They were all very good, but the Hermod suffers from a staff that isn't very intimate with the passengers. I was told the staff rotates frequently and their emotional remoteness shows. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Based on a wonderful Rhine cruise on Viking last year, we booked the Portraits of Southern France river cruise for this year. What a mistake. We arrived in France at the tail end of the European heat wave. The temperature was in the upper ... Read More
Based on a wonderful Rhine cruise on Viking last year, we booked the Portraits of Southern France river cruise for this year. What a mistake. We arrived in France at the tail end of the European heat wave. The temperature was in the upper 90s. The air conditioning on the ship was not functioning properly and the cabins/restaurant areas were very warm to the point of being uncomfortable. We were never addressed by the Captain to explain the problem. Various crew members gave different reasons. It was obvious that there had been some instruction not to comment to guests. I felt so sorry for the restaurant servers who had to work so hard in the heat. The problem was finally fixed on Day 5 of the trip. Thank goodness the weather broke and became cooler. On the evening before the problem was fixed, however, our cabin was 81 degrees. We could not open our doors because there was an invasion of spiders. The ship had to call for pest extermination. The we could not use the veranda since it had been sprayed with pesticide. The other not so great part was dinner in the restaurant. Again, some offerings were hit and miss. The serving portions were also very small. There was nothing available for snacks for that 9PM hunger attack. We were fortunate that we had a suite that was supplied with fruit. The ports of call were mostly great. Lyon was fantastic. The small French villages and cities were beautiful. We especially enjoyed our excursion to Beaune. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I booked this trip as a RIVERBOAT CRUISE. The boat was only able to cruise for 1 1/2 days due crew error (crew on the boat informed us the boat was damaged the first night by backing into an object). Starting the fourth day of our trip the ... Read More
I booked this trip as a RIVERBOAT CRUISE. The boat was only able to cruise for 1 1/2 days due crew error (crew on the boat informed us the boat was damaged the first night by backing into an object). Starting the fourth day of our trip the boat became a very expensive hotel room and then things got worse. On day five we were offered the opportunity spend an entire day on a bus for the included tour and on day 6 we were bused to Avignon to stay in a hotel that is on par with a Holiday Inn. The trip did not meet what was promised by Viking in the following areas: 1. We were not provided with the scheduled river cruising for the majority of the trip. 2. We did not stay on the ship for 2 of the 7 nights. The hotel accommodations were significantly inferior to the suite we had booked on the ship. The food at the hotel was completely unacceptable and this is something that has been commented on numerous times by previous travelers so Viking is well aware of this fact. 3. We lost a complete day of our vacation by being bused from Lyon to Avignon. We wanted to spend time on the boat and river cruising, we had no intention of participating in the Arles tour but were forced to spend the entire day on a bus. 4. Starting on day 3 of the cruise we were constantly worried about what was occurring and how things were being handled. Having a very junior crew member handle the situation was completely unacceptable and stressful for the guests on the boat. 5. After the captain announced that the boat was ‘having problems’ we never saw her again until we were leaving the boat to be bused to Avignon. When asked where the captain was crew members responded that they did not know. We thought she had left! Having her stand at the end of the ramp as we were disembarking was laughable, she doesn’t speak English, the vast majority of the guests were English speaking and no one was there to translate. So the only interaction the captain had with guests during this entire time was to tell us the boat was broken and good bye. 6. We were assured by crew members numerous times that Viking would fully compensate us for our losses and ‘take care of us’. 7. We were advised by crew members that the hotel accommodations in Avignon would be similar to our room on the boat. The hotel accommodations were completely unacceptable, the room rate was in the range of 150 euro per night. 8. The hotel room in Avignon had 2 twin beds that could not be made into a single bed. No other rooms were available. We were advised that this was an error Viking made when booking our room. When we booked this cruise we requested a single bed, upon arrival we found that our room had 2 twin beds and we asked our stateroom attendent and reception to have the beds made into a single. The staff could not explain why this error occurred and just continued to apologize and assure us that Viking would ‘make things right for us’. The trip and Viking’s handling of this situation has been extremely disappointing. What is going on with Viking. We travel extensively having cruised many times with Azamara, Wind Star, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania. We have always had wonderful experiences and expected the same from Viking. I know Viking is attempting to break into this cruising market, however, with this type of customer service, I doubt this will be successful. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Six of us booked the 14 days titled France's Finest. We got only as far as Lyon on day two of the second half of that trip on the Viking Hermod. As told by other people, the ship was rendered not able to continue because the ship ... Read More
Six of us booked the 14 days titled France's Finest. We got only as far as Lyon on day two of the second half of that trip on the Viking Hermod. As told by other people, the ship was rendered not able to continue because the ship hit something.. We all felt the jolt during the nite and even light in our bathroom went out. That was the end of our cruising. After two more nights aboard, we were bused to Avignon to different hotels. 1. There was obviously no set plan when an emergency occurs...it would seem that Viking would have a written Disaster Plan. It would have been helpful to crew and passengers! 2. The hotels and food offered were sub par and again not what we had experienced before. 3. The weather was very hot and many people had a really hard time as many of us are older! 4. We were told we would be compensated....and first we got a wrong email talking about water levels and offering 25 per cent off any Viking Cruise. Then we received an email saying first email was wrong and we would be receiving a voucher. We did receive a voucher for $663.88!!! We divided cost of this part of cruise and divided by seven and then multiplied by four and was $2800! We expected that compensation at least or a voucher for a future cruise...we spoke with another couple who experienced water level problem last year and they did not expect anything and received a 75 per cent voucher for another cruise.. 5. Not sure what has happened to Viking and their reputation. They have grown so much in last year and it seems quality of care of their passengers has really declined. Not sure about cause of accident, but what happened to us after that was not what we expected from Viking. 6. This was a special trip for us and we do not do a lot of trips and planning a year in advance is what we do. I do hope Viking reconsiders their small compensation. We were very disappointed Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The Avalon Poetry 2 is a very pretty smaller ship. The staterooms are very nice and the bathroom is the nicest of any cruise vessel I have been on. Everything is immaculately clean. The angling of the bed to look out the window is ... Read More
The Avalon Poetry 2 is a very pretty smaller ship. The staterooms are very nice and the bathroom is the nicest of any cruise vessel I have been on. Everything is immaculately clean. The angling of the bed to look out the window is wonderful. The window opening to make the stateroom into a balcony is also very nice. The downside, is not being able to keep window or curtains open while docked next to another boat. This is a well known problem with river cruising. Lots of ships and only limited places to dock. You may be stacked up several deep and have to walk through a few to get off. One very annoying thing, is the extremely loud intercom messages you receive in your stateroom. Often as early as 7 am. and thru out the day. It is intrusive and gives you the vibe of being herded and every minute planned. Since this is my first River cruise, I don't know if that is standard practice. On ocean cruises, this only seems to happen in public areas. There is good closet space and the bed is comfortable. The food has varied from horrible to very good. If food is your big thing, I would look into another line. For the price of the cruise, it seems nit picky and cheap that they do not include wine or beer at lunch. However, your glass is never empty at dinner. Cocktails etc are reasonable at the bar and there is a happy hour, daily. It seemed like the included tours would justify a higher price point. In reality they are a slow walk around the local area with a guide and listening devices. You could easily do this yourself and not have to keep up with the glacially slow pace. We thought we could start with them and then go off on our own if we wanted. 90% of the time on this southern France itinerary the ship moves to the next port as soon as you leave for the tour and you are bused to the next location, so not possible to do your own thing without risking missing the bus. Very disappointing. The 3 wine tasting/ countryside optional (paid) tours were very nice and reasonably priced. Still, for the price, it seems they could have been included. I believe they are on some River cruise lines. Next time I would research a bit more thoroughly. Fellow passengers are, as expected, older. My dyed red hair, stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of white locks. There are many groups of friends and families traveling together. While everyone is friendly, Australians, Canadians, etc seem to stick together. It becomes tiring listening to boring or laughable opinions while eating. There are no tables for two. We found we could sit in one table for 4 in the corner and generally no one else would sit there. Our cruise was not full. So one might have to deal with endless conversation. Some will love it, just wasn't something I wanted to do all the time. Part of river cruising, like it or not. No one dresses up. Don't worry about your clothing. Many of the older men, dressed like they were going out golfing, rain or shine. Once or twice they said no shorts at dinner. That was about it for any dress code. We have done about 20 ocean cruises, most of them on the smaller sized ships of Oceania, or Azamara, also tried Windstar. In the end I personally prefer the ambience. However, it's hard to beat the experience of floating down a river, watching swans and birds, seeing charming villages and castles. The area of Southern France is really beautiful and I highly recommend the itinerary. The down side is the several changes of plans and this is when the weather is beautiful. Don't fall in love with one certain place as you may not end up going there. There is way toomuch bus time, in my opinion. I know from reading other reviews that many cruises turn into a bus trip. It's easy to see once you are on a river. Not just the river boat companies we see advertised in the US, but many,many others. Lots of traffic. Our very nice cruise director, a Jean Loup, said they need more rivers, not more ships. True words. Would I do it again? I would have to give it some thought. The idea of it is fabulous, but the changeability of weather, river level, flooding etc. and constant changes of port stays, make it a harder decision. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
High water on both the Rhone and Saone from flooding (heavy rain and snow melt) altered our itinerary. Viking emailed us one day prior to tell us to meet the boat in Lyon instead of Chalon-sur-Saone. We never did get to see Chalon. Then we ... Read More
High water on both the Rhone and Saone from flooding (heavy rain and snow melt) altered our itinerary. Viking emailed us one day prior to tell us to meet the boat in Lyon instead of Chalon-sur-Saone. We never did get to see Chalon. Then we remained docked in Lyon for four nights, taking a bus to Beaune, Vienne, and Tournon. Cruise director then announced that cruise itself was "cancelled" and that we could go to all of our remaining sites by bus instead. Quite a few folks accepted Viking's offer to refund the UNUSED portion of our non-cruise. Then, the next night, the message changed that the Heimdal would indeed proceed down-river the next morning. We could choose to skip the next tour by remaining onboard for the first cruise of the week or take a bus to Tournon. We took the bus option and were glad we did because it was the highlight day of our trip. We never got to see Viviers either because the ship needed to get to Avignon while the water and bridges were cooperating. To be fair to Viking, the meals were wonderful (same white wine every day though) and quite varied, and they had no control over water levels. But they did know that the high waters would not recede quickly and that our "cruise" was in jeopardy. A cruise-by-bus was not what we paid for. And the short five hour (4-9 pm) cruise that we enjoyed was overpriced. We await a response from Viking about compensation or incentive for another cruise at this time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
From when we started the booking process until we were helped to check in at the airport for the return flight, everything was excellent. We were met at the airport by a Viking representative and led to a Mercedes taxi to meet the boat at ... Read More
From when we started the booking process until we were helped to check in at the airport for the return flight, everything was excellent. We were met at the airport by a Viking representative and led to a Mercedes taxi to meet the boat at Avignon. We had previously been bused on other cruises, but as we were the only couple on this flight and they didn't want us to have to wait, we were on our way immediately. We were met at the ship by the Program Director which made us feel very special. Our room was immediately available which was so nice after the long journey. We chose this cruise because we had been on two others and thoroughly enjoyed the "Viking Experience". It was nice this time because we could look forward to the elements that we enjoy about Viking. Everything is so well organized and efficient. Nothing is too much trouble. The boat itself is spotlessly clean and the rooms are tidied and checked twice a day. The food is delicious and plentiful and the wines have been carefully selected and flow freely at lunch and dinner. We like the fact that the cruises are smaller and are really only catered to adults. We enjoyed the onboard talks and games. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and we enjoyed all the excursions. We would be very happy to enjoy another river cruise and are hoping to do one of the ocean cruises in the not too distant future. Viking is definitely the way to go! Thanks very much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I am asking for a refund of my entire trip on the Viking Pride, Paris and the Beaches of Normandy, 12-19 April (including air travel which began on 11 April). The ship was in an accident the day before our arrival (11 April, 3 p.m. Paris ... Read More
I am asking for a refund of my entire trip on the Viking Pride, Paris and the Beaches of Normandy, 12-19 April (including air travel which began on 11 April). The ship was in an accident the day before our arrival (11 April, 3 p.m. Paris = 9 a.m. New York). We were not notified until two days after our arrival and our embarking on the ship that we would not be sailing, due to the French authorities not allowing the Pride to sail with passengers in such a condition. We were bused instead to our first destination, and our bus was in an accident immediately upon leaving the port area. The bus smashed a small white car up against a phone pole on the side of the highway. The side door to the bus was crushed, not allowing any emergency exit should there have been a need. Upon arrival at Giverny, the bus was changed out for a new bus and our belongings were transferred. There were missing items. Time was abbreviated at each destination (:58 minutes to run through Monet's gardens and house); we never got to Vernon as promised. We were also bused to a hotel on the outskirts of Paris where we had to endure bad food and pay for phone usage ($56.95), not to mention having to pack, unpack, repack, and load our own bags on and off the ship and to the buses and to the hotel and to and from our rooms at the Marriott. We were bused for 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the Pride, now docked in Rouen at the repair yard. Our views were industrial all around, with loud noise from repairs being completed as we ate our lunch on the sundeck breathing in and ingesting all the dust from the charcoal factory next to us. Again, we were bused to town and time was cut short due to transportation issues from where we were supposed to be docked and the repair shipyard where we had no internet service as well. When we finally sailed our first centimeter out of the shipyard, we gathered on the deck, only to find crew members with sanding belts, loudly sanding off the paint on the bow area, dust flying at us in every direction. I have video with audio for your perusal if you desire. We had to go into the lounge, where instead of watching the ship progress down the Seine, we watched the crew sand, hose down, and then paint the bow in front of us, as we cruised. In summary, Viking River Cruises practiced deceit in not informing me that the ship was inoperable, instead deceiving me into "embarking" onto the ship, as your contract states, so that I was at your mercy in your alternate arrangements. I argue that Viking had enough time and should have had the decent courtesy to clearly inform me of the situation so that I could have made my own decision about traveling. I did not choose a Viking Bus Tour for my once-a-year holiday! Besides my extreme disappointment with your business practices, I am embarrassed to have talked my friend into going with me. She had been saving for six years to go on a vacation. I also believe you treated the ship's employees poorly, as they kept telling us they did not know anything further about the situation. It seems to me to be a clear case of "get them on the ship and keep stringing them along..." That is outrageous and inexcusable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We just returned from a cruise from Paris to Normandy on the AMA Legro and we have to say it was absolutely phenomenal! The Best! The staff on board just couldn't do enough for us and we have never seen such outstanding attention to ... Read More
We just returned from a cruise from Paris to Normandy on the AMA Legro and we have to say it was absolutely phenomenal! The Best! The staff on board just couldn't do enough for us and we have never seen such outstanding attention to detail. The cruise director, Sebastian, was out of this world, and just the best. Martin, the hotel manager was always there for us, the attendants were always happy, smiling and so very helpful, and even Dori, who took care of our room and her helper, were just the best. I wanted to take everyone of them home with me. The chef paid exceptional attention to the way the food was prepared, visited our table daily to make sure everything was as expected, and the whole experience was an experience of a lifetime. I've been home two days and have already told my sister and daughter they MUST travel with AMA Waterways. The ports were beautiful and the excursions so interesting. It was so unbelievable to have the wine at meals, champagne on occasion and the excursions included in the price, so we knew what we were entering into financially when we embarked onto the ship. That's unheard of! Tamas was exceptional in the lounge and dining room, the main bartender so happy and joyful to be around, and we could tell the crew were genuinely interested in their guests and taking care of them. This was all just "WOW!" Can't wait to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This trip was for me a check on a long held item on my bucket list. I have been to France, Paris and the area just north of the Pirineos, before. But, as a former history teacher, there was a great desire to sail north on the Seine and ... Read More
This trip was for me a check on a long held item on my bucket list. I have been to France, Paris and the area just north of the Pirineos, before. But, as a former history teacher, there was a great desire to sail north on the Seine and visit Normandy and especially the area of the D Day invasion. From the first minute at Charles De Gaulle, the Viking staff was wonderful in gathering us as a group and getting us on our way to the ship. The ship was delightful, the cabin was well looked after and the service was superb. The staff did so many little extras that it was wonderful, from the warm beverage when we returned from a tour to the towel bunny and Easter eggs in the cabin on Easter Sunday. The cruise on the Seine and the stops that we made were all interesting and historically speaking very meaningful. To visit the Normandy beaches on Easter Sunday was so moving and Viking providing the flowers for us to place at the graves and the ceremony at the American cemetery was very emotional. Viking even provided an alternate tour for those passengers from the Commonwealth countries. I wish I could have taken that one also. I especially liked the cruise on the Seine and seeing the countryside and small towns along the river where we stopped. Rouen and the Joan of Arc tour as well as the history of that city were also favorites. All in all, a wonderful experience, with excellent food and wine and those desserts and cheeses. So special and so well remembered. Can't wait for next year to go on another. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
From the very beginning of this cruise things went wrong. Due to the changing of ports we missed the first nights dinner due to our late arrival, although they did serve us cold soup and a stale sandwich. Captain was aloof, restaurant ... Read More
From the very beginning of this cruise things went wrong. Due to the changing of ports we missed the first nights dinner due to our late arrival, although they did serve us cold soup and a stale sandwich. Captain was aloof, restaurant manager was rude and organization of excursions was day to day. The guides were hard to understand, rushed us through the sites and were not well informed. Some of our excursions took us over 2 hours to arrive. The food on the ship was very inconsistent. Steaks were good, but poultry and fish was overcooked and tasteless. We stayed in Lyon 3 days facing a graffiti riddled building-not the cruising we were promised. Only got to use the sundeck the last day due to high water. The entertainment consisted of a piano player that played the same music over and over again. Only one night did we get a break from this monotony. The complimentary wine was poor in quality and forced us to order from the partial wine list at our cost. We wrote a letter to complain about the quality and low price value. The only thing offered was a discount on our next cruise with Viking-the same discount offered to all other past guests. Why would we want to cruise again with Viking. They did not deliver and we will never use them again. Don't make the mistake of booking with Viking-AMA is a much better choice. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We had previously taken the Rhine River cruise with Viking. I enjoyed it but was left somewhat ambivalent as I really like to have control over my itinerary. This cruise really sold me on what Viking has to offer. After three days in Paris ... Read More
We had previously taken the Rhine River cruise with Viking. I enjoyed it but was left somewhat ambivalent as I really like to have control over my itinerary. This cruise really sold me on what Viking has to offer. After three days in Paris on our own in a rather cramped room with less than friendly personnel, walking onto the Spirit was a delight. (Do they give the crew happy pills every morning?) We were welcomed by Bea, the "hotel" manager and later met the precious Clara, the activity director. The biggest surprise of the week was learning at the end of the cruise that it had been Clara's first week in this position. She had been such a pro - master organizer and information giver. I can't remember other names, but to the one the crew were so cheerful and eager to please all week. Our cabin - #210 - B category (I believe ) did not have the French balcony (we had had one on the earlier cruise), and we did not miss it one bit. I liked the location of our room as it was a quick walk up to the lobby and lounge - further to the dining room.The bed was so comfortable, and there was a place for everything. We were able to put our suitcases and carry-ons under the bed and forget about them. We thought that the food was much better than on the Rhine River cruise - cheers to the chef. Your wine glass is never allowed to go empty; service, overall was impeccable. The tea party with macarons, etc. one afternoon was enjoyable as were all of the on-board activities. We really enjoyed the fellow travelers, about our age for the most part - 50's-70's. As a fellow cruiser said, you meet the nicest people and really feel that you have found your tribe. As far as the itinerary, my husband and I were very pleased. We loved visiting the smaller villages - Giverny, Vernon, and Les Andelys. A high point was Normandy. It would have been great to have had longer there, but it was a long day as it was. Versailles was crowded and chaotic, but we both said we were glad that we went. Another high point was the day sailing from Rouen to Les Andelys - such pretty scenery. I would really like to be able to offer some constructive criticism, but I honestly could not find fault with anything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Our river cruise out of Bordeaux on the Gironde estuary was very enjoyable. The crew was exceptionally pleasant. Food was very good, well presented and varied. Wine was included and definitely a step up over what you expect on a cruise. ... Read More
Our river cruise out of Bordeaux on the Gironde estuary was very enjoyable. The crew was exceptionally pleasant. Food was very good, well presented and varied. Wine was included and definitely a step up over what you expect on a cruise. Being an American I particularly enjoyed the interaction with a varied group of European travelers. The excursions were well thought out and well organized. We only speak English and it was not a problem. The ship is new for 2014 and nicely decorated. Cabins were very comfortable with large windows. Ship size (175 passengers) made all activities easy. The area would be very interesting to wine connoisseurs but there was also many other sights to see and places to visit. The climate is very mild. This is our second CroisiEurope cruise and hope to do many more. joe from port jeff   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Awawaterways and the crew of the AmaLegro exemplify excellence in customer service. From moment we stepped onto the quai in Paris and were greeted by the crew, who took charge of our luggage and invited us to relax and partake of ... Read More
Awawaterways and the crew of the AmaLegro exemplify excellence in customer service. From moment we stepped onto the quai in Paris and were greeted by the crew, who took charge of our luggage and invited us to relax and partake of refreshments in the lounge and get acquainted with some of our fellow traveller, we felt welcome and pampered. It was a charming touch for the Captain to personally greet all the ladies in the lounge, offering each a luscious red rose that continued to bloom in my cabin throughout the cruise, in a thoughtfully provided bud vase. Captain Erno continued to charm the passengers with his amusing anecdotes and by actually succeeding in making a normally tedious but important safety briefing amusing and more easily memorable. It was a nice touch for the crew to be introduced to everyone as well. The Cruise Manager’s daily briefings about the ports we would be visiting and the tours were also quite educational and enjoyable also due to his witty humour. My spouse also enjoyed the opportunity to visit the bridge and the spotlessly clean engine room and discuss technical aspects of the ship and its operation with the Captain and the engineer. The attention to detail was impeccable! I honestly can’t think of a single thing that was lacking or where improvement was needed. It was comforting to be greeting by crew upon returning from our daily tours, with a warm washcloth to freshen up and a small refreshment. Each and every crew member was friendly and approachable and diligently professional about their duties. Our cabin was spotless clean and, on our steward’s birthday, he very sweetly shared chocolates he’d been given with us! Laszlo, the Maitre d’hotel, seemed to be everywhere at once! Always smiling and ensuring everything was perfect with our meals. Meals were delicious and the serving staff provided prompt, courteous service. Special requests were never a problem and were swiftly satisfied. The wine servers rarely allowed glasses to be emptied before being at the ready to pour more should you wish it. Hristo also provided enjoyable brain-stimulating puzzles as diversions during dinners as well. A good selection of excursions/tours were available to appeal to different interests and activity levels. The very knowledgeable, English-speaking guides made each tour education and enjoyable. It was also pleasant to have the opportunity to borrow the ships bicycles, which were adjusted by the crew to ensure a comfortable and safe ride, for our own excursions into the villages we visited to explore and work off some of the delicious foods and wines we enjoyed on the cruise. The only disappointment was not one with the cruise or it's crew, but with arriving at the Castle Keep at Chateau Gaillard on a Tuesday to find it closed to the public. I would think that the village would keep it open on days the cruises were in port and close on an alternate day! Every evening we enjoyed the opportunity to linger over dinner, chatting with new friends met on board, followed by more chatting and dancing in the lounge to the selection of tunes played by Krassie, or by some of the local entertainers brought on board. This was my first time in Europe and first time on a river cruise for my spouse and me. We hope it will not be our last! We were so sorry for the journey to end. We were pampered and spoiled by this dream vacation aboard the AmaLegro, and hope to enjoy the hospitality of Amawaterways again in future as so many of our fellow travellers have done! Amawaterways attention to detail did not end when we disembarked. A handwritten thank you card arrived by at my home, sent on behalf of the Cruise Manager, Captain and Hotel Manager. My thanks to every member of the crew of the AmaLegro for making this a memorable and magical experience that I will share with everyone, recommending they try Amawaterways hospitality for themselves.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My cruise on the Rhone River from Lyon to Avignon, France with 3 days in Paris to start, was perfect. I have zero complaints regarding anything whether it be about the ship or the excursions. I have traveled little and am from the Midwest ... Read More
My cruise on the Rhone River from Lyon to Avignon, France with 3 days in Paris to start, was perfect. I have zero complaints regarding anything whether it be about the ship or the excursions. I have traveled little and am from the Midwest USA. Our initial stay was at the Marriott Rive Gauche in Paris where concierge service, by Viking, was provided and appreciated. Our transfers from airport arrival to ship to airport return were dependable and perfect. The ship was fabulous- well appointed, comfortable with service "over the top." Daily information meetings during cocktail hour were needed and appreciated. Every excursion was delightful. I bought 3 extra excursions. A small complaint here would be that I would like "shopping" time in the towns and villages. I'm not a souvenir collector, but, having a fine arts back ground, I would appreciate time to scout out authentic French products and creations. On board food was so fabulous I had not desire to dine elsewhere! Evening entertainment was professional and fun. As I said at the start, this cruise was perfect in every way. I recommend Viking River Cruises to everyone knowing I will be thanked. And thank-you, Viking, for helping me have an experience of a life time. The end result is that I have plans to return to France! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Things got off to bad start when the van that was supposed to pick us up at the airport did not appear for hours...and only came after urgent calls to the ship. So we lost half a day of exploring the embarkation town. (The hotel manager on ... Read More
Things got off to bad start when the van that was supposed to pick us up at the airport did not appear for hours...and only came after urgent calls to the ship. So we lost half a day of exploring the embarkation town. (The hotel manager on the ship did give us a generous drink package in compensation, but we were frazzled even so.) There were similar delays and disorganization on the transfer to the departing airport. As for the cruise itself: Pros: The ship itself was comfortable. The crew relatively friendly. The food was always good and on three occasions extraordinary. I don't think I ever have had such great steak, and I eat a lot of steak. Most of the excursions were very worthwhile--all but one had really knowledgeable and helpful local guides. Only two ports--Avignon and Arles, are major culture rich cities, but all the villages on this cruise had their own special charm and allure. Sometimes that allure was enhanced by the fact they were small and more easy to take in on a short visit. Cons: No onboard fitness room or equipment. Often it seemed Viking had inferior docks at ports-of-call compared to other lines. Very little in the way of evening entertainment. The shore information woman had never been in any of the ports and knew about little more than the offered excursions. Dining room was understaffed--and very noisy. Drinks are VERY expensive if you do not have a package. Most wines were very ordinary--a disappointment on what was a wine country cruise. Perhaps 80% of passengers had been on other Viking cruises and they almost unanimously felt the crew and service on this cruise was well below what they had enjoyed on other Viking ships. Some crew were last minute replacements; others were on their last cruise before their break, so that might have been the trouble. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014

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