18 Viking River Viking Buri Senior Cruise Reviews

We, husband (75) and wife (62), have completed three Viking River cruises; Bordeaux (16), Rhine (17) and lastly Rhone (18). Our latest Viking cruise was up the Rhone River in France, from Avignon to Lyon, 28 October - December 4, 2018. ... Read More
We, husband (75) and wife (62), have completed three Viking River cruises; Bordeaux (16), Rhine (17) and lastly Rhone (18). Our latest Viking cruise was up the Rhone River in France, from Avignon to Lyon, 28 October - December 4, 2018. Our ship was the Buri, and as far as we could tell, it was virtually identical to our previous ships, the Forseti and the Hlin; all relatively new, extremely nice ships. In 2016 and again this year, we had one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, cabins on the lowest level, with the small, elevated windows because the cabins were half-underwater. Last year we had a cabin on the top deck with a balcony, but since we almost did not use the balcony, and primarily only used our cabin for sleeping, we think our Category E, 150 square feet cabin was sufficient. Our cabin number was #150, the most forward of the cabins. This was an advantage, since it was close to the dining room and lounge, and everything else, and we did not have to walk down a long hall to get to our cabin. Unless we get some super deal on a "better" cabin in the future, I will book a Standard cabin as far forward as possible. We extended three days in Dijon; a wonderful city. Last year we did a pre-extension in Amsterdam. The year before in Bordeaux, we did not extend; and we regretted it. I highly recommend one extends (always three days I think) pre or post cruise, if not both. Why not extend to enjoy some interesting city/town once you have flown all the way to your destination, and then take a relatively short seven-day cruise? If at the end of a cruise, you will otherwise be rushed off the ship to a bus after arriving, and will be directly transferred to the airport for your flight home without giving you the chance of visiting your departure port. At the initial departure port, you will usually have the opportunity to see something of your departure city. Adding a pre or post extension adds three days to your seven-day cruise, so your vacation will last at least ten days if not 13 days for both. Another suggestion is to sign up for at least one, if not two, excursions every day. Viking usually offers included (aka free) walking tours at every docking site. We usually take these excursions except when they conflict with a more interesting Optional (aka expensive) excursion. Yes, the Optional tours can be expensive, but they are usually great experiences. Not once have we regretted paying for Optional tours. In fact, our best memories, and most spoken experiences to others have been these Optional excursions. Most of the Optional excursions include nice bus rides in very nice buses to get you to desired sites. On our last trip, they always had a "Leisure" walking group, among the 2-3 total groups for the Included excursion, which I took because of my age/arthritis. My younger, healthier wife always went with the other walking groups that walked faster, and climbed more stairs. We still had breakfast and lunch together; it just meant that for two hours we were separated in different walking groups. We really enjoyed all the towns/cities we visited. My favorite was the very pretty, interesting, completely walled medieval city of Perouges. We also liked Avignon, Lyon and especially Dijon, and actually all points between. On the negative side, I would suggest not going in late October as we did, even though the cruise/cabins are cheaper at that time (that is why we did it). It rained at least half the time, but was not too cold. The ship has enough large umbrellas for all. We took umbrellas with us on the bus, as well as our walking tours, and if not needed simply left them on the bus when we were out of the bus. To add to the sometimes bad or marginal weather, there is the famous "Mistral" wind. Look it up on the internet. In southern France, it blows 120-160 days a year, from 54 mph to 90 mph, averaging 65 mph. I can attest that it can be a challenge walking in the rain when the Mistral is blowing. However, we survived, and were not significantly bummed-out by the weather during our trip. Some passengers sometimes stayed on-board rather than brave the bad weather, but they missed a lot. In conclusion, we once-again enjoyed our cruise + extension, and hope to book another cruise in 2019, this time on Portugal's Douro River with extension in Lisbon or possibly Spain if we can find a real sale (it always 2 for 1, so that is not a sale) price that includes free air from the West Coast. If you have not already figured it out, probably every other River cruise company is cheaper, and many have very high ratings. We will wait a couple of months for Viking to offer a good deal on the internet on a Portugal cruise, and if not forthcoming, will start investigating with Tauck, AmaWaterways, Crystal, Uniworld, and Scenic River Cruises as well as Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle travel. These all provide quality River cruises, and likely at more reasonable prices than Viking. I really like Viking so I just hope I can find a Portugal trip that I can afford. There is only thing about Viking that I do not like. It is their automated flight scheduling computer program. When you book with Viking, and get the discounted or free flights, unless you pay $100 extra for each passenger for Viking's Air Plus, their computer will do all the scheduling, and it could be horrible! This is what happened to us this year. As I have written, we paid for the three-day Dijon extension. This required a two-hour bus/car transfer from Lyon to Dijon and then three days later back to Lyon where the airport is. Their computer system booked us on an early morning flight out of Lyon, so in order to make that flight; we would have had to get up in the middle of the night (actually very early morning!) in our Dijon hotel to take a bus/car to Lyon airport in time to make our flight. This was ridiculous. We paid for a three-night extension in Dijon, not a 2-1/2 night extension. I complained loudly, received no relief, paid the $200 for the Air Plus, got my flight schedules revised to be reasonable, wrote some negative reviews on line, and ended up with Viking reimbursing me for the Air Plus charges; thank you Viking. There were 14 of us from the cruise that booked the Dijon extension. Everyone but us had the same or similar problem, but had not complained and got it corrected. Therefore, 12 of them had to leave our nice Dijon 5-star hotel in the middle of the night to get to Lyon in time for their flights. I will definitely gladly pay the $100/passenger for Air Plus next time to either initially get a reasonable schedule, or perhaps only pay if they screw it up again. I guess I know what to expect now; and so should you. Well, I hope you have a good cruise. I hope Viking will allow us to make a fourth cruise with them, next year to Portugal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
For my sister's 65th birthday, we decided to cruise southern France with Viking. She & her husband started with the pre-cruise stay in Nice (which they loved), and my cousin and I joined them on the ship at Avignon for the cruise ... Read More
For my sister's 65th birthday, we decided to cruise southern France with Viking. She & her husband started with the pre-cruise stay in Nice (which they loved), and my cousin and I joined them on the ship at Avignon for the cruise to Lyon. I have been on several river and a couple of ocean cruises with Viking, so it was no surprise that the week was delightful. The staff catered to us & made us happy every day. The cruise director was personable & perky; it was always a joy to have her company. This was southern France, so I wasn't sure if the food could live up to expectations, but no problem pleasing us & reminding us that we were in France. The young chef did not disappoint. Good food, good cheese, good wine. Happiness. Three excursions exceeded my expectations: Flavors of Provence in Avignon, the included tour in Lyon with Christian, and the all day Lyon tour Truffles and Beaujolais. In Avignon, Maison de Fogasses with Chef Luigi Baptiste was the best of the best! I think he enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed him & his lunch! Christian took us into "secret" passageways & shared his Lyon. And the truffle dog Chinook was as delightful as the truffle inspired dishes served to us on the truffle farm! No disappointment on this trip; the only problem is that I want to repeat the experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this particular cruise for the time of year (less crowds), climate conditions (temperatures) at that time of year, the historical aspects of the region, as well as the availability of cabins on board. With respect to these reasons ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise for the time of year (less crowds), climate conditions (temperatures) at that time of year, the historical aspects of the region, as well as the availability of cabins on board. With respect to these reasons everything turned out to be above our expectations. Our cabin was comfortable, spotless and cabin service five star! The entire ship from topside viewing, bow lounge area, dining areas was comfortable and accommodating and made relaxation a great experience. On board entertainment was enjoyed by all and made additional time to meet and interact with fellow passengers from all over and to share experiences - great time! Dining at tables of six to eight created an opportunity to again meet new people and share experiences - we met some fantastic fellow passengers. we partook of several shore excursions every day and they were extremely interesting and informative - not to be missed are the city of Avignon and the points of interest on the tour, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, winery tours, city of Arles, L'Ardeche and its Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, city of Vienne and many other towns. This is an area well worth returning to - a river cruise is definitely the way to go! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I chose Viking because of the 2-room veranda suite. I compared the suites from all other river cruise lines and Viking had everything I wanted: my own personal veranda, spacious rooms, wonderful shower. It was my first river cruise and I ... Read More
I chose Viking because of the 2-room veranda suite. I compared the suites from all other river cruise lines and Viking had everything I wanted: my own personal veranda, spacious rooms, wonderful shower. It was my first river cruise and I enjoyed everything that Viking could provide. It was my first trip to France so I didn't know what to expect in terms of the river vistas, which were a bit underwhelming, and I was taken aback by the nuclear reactors along the river. But that is just a fact of life in France--nothing that Viking can control. The amenities on board were superb--food, drink, service and entertainment. I don't drink anything alcoholic, but my husband assured me that all the complementary and optional wine choices were first rate. All the food choices were marvelous. I normally avoid sweets, but the desserts could not be resisted. Merci beaucoup Viking Buri. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We had been to Paris three times, but we wanted to see Provence, and this trip provided that for us. We took a pre-cruise extension in Paris and Dijon/Beaune, which was absolutely delightful. Our tour director (Lot?) was outstanding - ... Read More
We had been to Paris three times, but we wanted to see Provence, and this trip provided that for us. We took a pre-cruise extension in Paris and Dijon/Beaune, which was absolutely delightful. Our tour director (Lot?) was outstanding - funny, knowledgeable and helpful, and we saw fantastic things. Markets and vineyards and wineries - it was magnificent. Then we boarded our ship in Lyon and had a day and a half there to explore this fabulous old city. We had a chance to buy their beautiful silks and chocolates and other goods, and visit their glorious old buikdings snd churches. The Old Town is really fun to walk and shop. The seven-day river cruise was so delightful. Each port was interesting and OLD and so much fun. Our favorites were Arles and Avignon, places we had heard of our,entire lives. I know this sounds trite, but it was just a magical itinerary. The ship itself was as lovely as all the longships - this was the second one we had been on. Our Cruise Director, a very young man from Belgium, was WONDERFUL! Hilarious and entertaining, and between him and the head of hotel, they kept everyone in stitches. We had a ball. And the food was fantastic! This was our fourth Viking river cruise. We have also gone on a Viking ocean cruise and are scheduled for another. We rave about Viking to anyone who will listen. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Everything was performed with CH precision! Ship was immaculate and tours excellent throughout. Everything was flawless!! Food-excellent and ample. Viking post add-on to Paris performed perfectly. Airport transfers executed without ... Read More
Everything was performed with CH precision! Ship was immaculate and tours excellent throughout. Everything was flawless!! Food-excellent and ample. Viking post add-on to Paris performed perfectly. Airport transfers executed without problems. We enjoyed the lounge aboard ship and spent a good deal of time relaxing there. Viviers was a surprise and gave us a good appreciation of what it must have been like to live in France during the middle ages. We felt that we finally got to know Lyon and had enough free time there to fully explore the area. The only negative was the air transportation. We went comfort class but were disappointed in the stateside portion of the flight. We would have preferred a more direct flight. I was told (after the fact) that we could have worked with Viking to improve the flight selection. We will try doing that next time AND THERE WILL MOST DEFINATELY BE A NEXT TIME!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Dear friends asked if we'd like to join them on a Viking River Cruise. We had not been to Europe before and thought if ever now would be a great time with our friends who travel extensively. We were very pleased with Viking Buri ... Read More
Dear friends asked if we'd like to join them on a Viking River Cruise. We had not been to Europe before and thought if ever now would be a great time with our friends who travel extensively. We were very pleased with Viking Buri shipand crew. They made us feel lke honored guest. The cabin we chose was a French Balcony with sliding door to the outside I would recommed this type room, they are small and the slider gives you the open feeling and you can get fresh air. If you are heading North I would suggets the Starboard side rooms as they face rive river when docked. The dinning was fobulous great selections and well served. Wine, beer and soft drinks included with your meals. The overall service was terrific fromthe cabin attendents to the lounge, dinning room and front desk. The tours were very good, we recommend the Pont Du Guard trip to see this Roman Aquiduct over 2000 years old and still standing! Avignon and Lyon where our favorinte ports easy to walk around and very friendly atmosphere. I recommend at least trying to speak some French like bonjour and merci it goes a long way just trying is appreciated by the locals. Just a heads up, you must move your luggage from the buses to and thru the airports which are quite large, be sure you have rolling bags! Viking is a class act I can not imagine any other line doing as well. WQe will do another river cruise in the future with them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was out first river cruise, after several ocean cruises previously (Seabourn, HAL, Celebrity, Cunard). We selected this particular cruise because it synched up with business travel and included Avignon as a port of call. Talk about ... Read More
This was out first river cruise, after several ocean cruises previously (Seabourn, HAL, Celebrity, Cunard). We selected this particular cruise because it synched up with business travel and included Avignon as a port of call. Talk about hot! 95+ every day and when we embarked, the AC was not working. Once repaired, our cabin remained comfortable. However, whenever the Lounge and Dining room were occupied for group events (read dinner), the AC could not keep up and the room became very uncomfortable. With less heat, this would not be a problem. The boat is in excellent shape and very pleasing to the eye. The crew was exceptional. The excursions (included and optional) were extremely well organized and the fellow passengers were nearly always on time (if that were always the case....). We had one technical issue with a steam train excursion (train ahead of us had engine troubles and our train was delayed, no fault of Viking) and the Viking team brought in the coaches and returned us to the boat on time. Well done Viking! The food was good, not exceptional. The dining service was well above average and the staff friendly. The public spaces were constrained by the limitations of a river boat, so if you want public space variety, stick with ocean cruising. The on board entertainer was average at best, with one act brought on board below average and another exceptional. The cabin is as you would expect, tight on a river boat. The bathroom was also small by ocean cruise standards, but well laid out and very functional. If you set your expectations correctly, you will be very pleased. At age 60, we were perhaps the youngest on board except for a family group with 20 somethings included. Many of the fellow travels were spry, but several were not. The energy level was low based on this demographic and is the only reason we would not hurry back to Viking River Cruising. We will likely return once our energy level matches the demographic served. River cruising is nice (in cooler weather) and perfect for many. It does not match our current style. Perhaps in a decade we will return to the rivers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Our friends invited us to go and gave us the contact of Colley Croteau. We are first time cruisers and just loved everything. The room was lovely. The bathroom floor was heated which was beyond wonderful. The food delicious and ... Read More
Our friends invited us to go and gave us the contact of Colley Croteau. We are first time cruisers and just loved everything. The room was lovely. The bathroom floor was heated which was beyond wonderful. The food delicious and plentiful. The service exemplary. We enjoyed every tour. I especially loved the locks; which were totally unexpected and thrilling. I would have appreciated more educational information about the locks - when and how they were built. The ship was absolutely lovely. I would have liked more time on the sundeck which seemed to be closed more than it was open. Our welcome bus was parked extremely far from the airport so it was a bumpy welcome after a long plane ride. Noone let us know that we would be shlepping 1/2 mile to the bus (from deplaning through terminal to greeting to bus probably >1 mile.) We were disappointed that the ship could not go past Lyon due to high water which made our commute to our last tour over 90 minutes one way. The buses were very well appointed, comfortable and offered great views through clean windows. Back to our room - everything was perfect, clean, new, comfortable, well-lit. The excursions were perfectly organized and very interesting. The entertainment was okay - nothing much; but, enjoyable. We were made to feel very very special and it was lovely to have only 170 people on the ship. Easy in and out. Can't wait for our next river cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Survey tour of southern France Traveling without repacking each day meant more time to relax and enjoy. Living on a hotel that is at the center of each city makes for the best experience. The crew was attentive and good humored. Did ... Read More
Survey tour of southern France Traveling without repacking each day meant more time to relax and enjoy. Living on a hotel that is at the center of each city makes for the best experience. The crew was attentive and good humored. Did it rain? I suppose it did but we hardly noticed exploring the shops, cathedrals, and sights. Our red umbrellas kept us together and more than once allowed us to regroup with our tour. Dining with an excellent chef cooking with local ingredients but also enjoying restaurants ashore made for a gastronomic delight. Pairings of local wines made the meals. Dining with a variety of couples introduced us to our intelligent and learned shipmates. The most comfortable way to tour the Rhone ease and learn about the history and current life in southern France. You must do this once but be warned that you will come back again and again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We extended the cruise by staying 3 days in Paris before boarding our ship in Lyon. We had a wonderful time revisiting sites and dining at wonderful restaurants. Viking arranged for a high speed train to take us to Lyon where boarding ... Read More
We extended the cruise by staying 3 days in Paris before boarding our ship in Lyon. We had a wonderful time revisiting sites and dining at wonderful restaurants. Viking arranged for a high speed train to take us to Lyon where boarding the ship was a breeze. The staff was very accommodating and the food was excellently prepared and delicious. We sailed that night and each day was at a different city/ town along the river. The guides were very knowledgeable and it was so easy to follow along with the head sets provided each person. The ship had entertainment at night that enhanced the experience. One night we took a tour of a town we were stopped at and went to the top of a hill to see the view by night. It was magical. Overall it was a wonderful and charming excursion that we would recommend to other cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My daughter & I went on this cruise together. She did the research to learn about suitable cruises in our budget & time frames. Also, people she knew had taken Viking cruises & described & recommended this Rhone River ... Read More
My daughter & I went on this cruise together. She did the research to learn about suitable cruises in our budget & time frames. Also, people she knew had taken Viking cruises & described & recommended this Rhone River Viking cruise. We enjoyed several of the shore excursions that included healthy hikes as well as the ship's entertainment & activities. Mia, the activities director, joined in many of the socializing times--dancing, etc.--& seemed like a new-found friend. All the tour guides, selected by Viking, were pleasant, knowledgeable, & accommodating for such extra things as finding an unplanned toilet facility. Food was good--(great duck & ever-flowing wines!)--& the servers & all the staff acted like personal friends. We especially enjoyed the piano performances of the pianist, Pedro. All service was excellent--no problems. A mixup regarding several passengers' luggage occurrred with the airline from Amsterdam. The Viking representative who met us at Marseille was very helpful about making the claim for our delayed luggage. It was found & delivered to our room by evening. This was typical of the friendly personal service of all the Viking employees. The room we shared was comfortable & ingeniously designed for maximum convenience of amenities. We enjoyed the friendliness of the small number of passengers (vs. large boat ocean cruises) & were also happy to find some new friends to keep in contact with. We found that friendships especially flourished when we spent time in the lounges. Our cruise did not have children. No one could possibly get seasick on the etxtremely smooth & quiet movement of the ship; if we didn't look out the windows, we didn't realize we were moving at all! Yes, we are looking forward to planning our next river cruise on a Viking boat next summer! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
First time expererince. Small number of passengers. Places to visit. Personnel atention was exceltional. Our bags did not arrive in time but the persistence and professionalism of the staff made a diffrence and they finally made it. They ... Read More
First time expererince. Small number of passengers. Places to visit. Personnel atention was exceltional. Our bags did not arrive in time but the persistence and professionalism of the staff made a diffrence and they finally made it. They acted as if the problem was personally theirs. Quite an experience. The tours were very well organized, the food superb the music exceptionalyy good anfd friendy. I will do it again with Viking river cruises. Tp visist France in this way was a different view. We enjoyed visint lyon museums in a free day and do some shopping on our own . This was nos not programmed but they had some problem and gave us the option to stay in the city which wsas excellent. The room was small but livable and we had the cheapest room on board. The service was outstanding and the manners of the personnel exceptional. a worthwile trip. A success story. HLA Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose to celebrate our 40th anniversary 2016 on a Viking River Cruise from Lyon to Provence after once again visiting my best friend in Paris where she has lived since '69. We began our travels in our late 20's so have been to ... Read More
We chose to celebrate our 40th anniversary 2016 on a Viking River Cruise from Lyon to Provence after once again visiting my best friend in Paris where she has lived since '69. We began our travels in our late 20's so have been to Haiti in '76 to Turkey, Greece, Europe, Mexico, and many times to Paris and France. Never on a cruise before. Our Viking Cruise experience exceeded our expectations! Given our past experience that says a lot. We booked another Viking River Cruise for Spring 2017 going from Bordeaux through our favorite wine regions. We hope to chose yet another Viking River Cruise in 2018. Thinking ahead about the pleasure of it all definitely helps one get through the New England winter! The ship, staff, food are just wonderful as are the included shore excursions. All superb. Since it was our special anniversary we were given champagne and a cake at dinner. Upon retiring to our cabin we found red and white artificial rose pedals upon our comforter (I kept a few and still have them on my bedroom vanity tray) and two glasses with a bottle of wine with a card. What a delightful surprise. So lovely. We cherish the memory. We also enjoyed the people on our cruise especially two charming Korean couples. As a result of our raves a couple from Florida we know have decided to take the Paris to Normandy Viking Cruise this Spring (2017). She has been on several big cruise ships, once with me up the West Coast. I'm confident they will find their Viking experience to be a sublime and vastly superior experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
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
The Good: The crew, the staff, the boat. We splurged on an Executive Suite and didn't regret it for a moment. Spacious and well laid out, the stateroom easily allowed this earlier-riser husband to avoid disturbing late-sleeper ... Read More
The Good: The crew, the staff, the boat. We splurged on an Executive Suite and didn't regret it for a moment. Spacious and well laid out, the stateroom easily allowed this earlier-riser husband to avoid disturbing late-sleeper wife. The views from the wrap-around balcony were sensational throughout the cruise. The OK: Considering the limits of time and space, the kitchen crew did a remarkable job three meals a day. A few of the dishes were exceptional, but no one would mistake the Buri for a three-star restaurant. We took Viking's offer of a three-day pre-cruise Paris stay. The hotel located two Metro stops west of La Place de L'Étoile, was relatively, if not optimally, convenient and well-appointed. It was rated four stars. I hadn't previously been aware of the chasm that exists between the fourth and fifth stars. The Bad: The travel arrangements: We had Viking arrange all our travel plans, to, from, and within France. For the trans-Atlantic flights we upgraded to business class. We had no choice of airline, and found Air France's version of "classe affaires" to be shockingly substandard. Both flights were on old planes with obsolete technology. On both flights there were glitches with the entertainment system; it didn't work at all on the flight to Paris and had to be rebooted twice at twenty minutes a shot on the return flight. The comfort and "extras" both in the air and on the ground didn't hold a candle to those of almost any Asian airline or, say, Virgin "Upper Class." The transfer from Paris to Chalon-sur-Sâone, the point of embarcation for the cruise, was via a FOUR-AND-A-HALF HOUR BUS TRIP!! Really!!! There's a 1.5 hour TGV from Paris to Dijon, where the bus stopped for a brief tour anyway, but that was apparently not an option with Viking. Compared to others, our flights to and from France were relatively painless. A couple from England with Viking-arranged travel plans had to be bussed to Marseille from Avignon, fly to Amsterdam, endure a five-hour layover before hopping a puddle jumper to Manchester. Total time: about the same as ours to Washington DC. The excursions. Most excursions started between 8-9 AM and lasted almost exactly four hours. Most involved uncomfortable bus trips; all involved following guides carrying identifying "lollipops" and individual electronic devices as, because of the size of the group (usually 30+) the guide would have otherwise been inaudible. The feeling of being rounded up and herded each morning was inescapable. The one-size-fits-all approach was not what I had hoped for on a "no compromises" vacation. In the 9 years since I've been retired I'd always been able to say I had never been bored. This, sadly, is no longer true. Conclusion: We take one major, blow-the-budget, no compromise trip a year. This was the eighth since my retirement and by far the least memorable. We gave it a shot: I had never wanted to go on a cruise, but was convinced that a river cruise with Viking would change my mind. It didn't. Big trips take lots of planning. The genesis of this trip was to see how well we could do leaving the planning to others. It won't happen again. I will NEVER AGAIN ride on an inter-urban bus nor be rendered a passive gawker on a tour made as impersonal and generic as possible by an "audio device" (a term that by the end of the tour had become an expression "that will live in infamy" with me) that all-but-precludes any meaningful interaction with the guide. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our second river cruise in Europe was on the Viking Buri, perhaps one of the nicest river boats afloat. One of the newer Viking longboats, the Buri has the best of everything a boat could have. The finest furnishings, fixtures, and decor. ... Read More
Our second river cruise in Europe was on the Viking Buri, perhaps one of the nicest river boats afloat. One of the newer Viking longboats, the Buri has the best of everything a boat could have. The finest furnishings, fixtures, and decor. The locks on the Eurpoean rivers dictate the maximum size these boats can be but Buri's designers managed to get more in the same space with a few design changes. Balconies were added to one side of the ship which gives Viking more revenue but no more passenger space. I feel the balconies are not necessary as the French balcony provides an excellent view and who needs to sit out on a 30 inch balcony? I did not see many passengers using the balconies and they take a foot or more of space from cabins on both sides of the boat. We boarded the boat in Chalon-sur-Saone after flying through Paris to Lyon where we spent the night before taking the train to Chalon the morning we sailed. Upon arrival in Lyon we took the Rhone Express from the airport (every 20-30 minutes and no need for advance purchase) to downtown Lyon where we stayed at the Mercure Lyon Part Dieu, just across the street from the terminus of the Rhone Express and not 70 meters from the train station. The Mercure is an excellent hotel for someone making these connections because of its location and the fact that it is a modern, beautiful hotel with a good restaurant and very reasonably priced rooms with king beds. A quick walk to the train mid-morning for our ride to Chalon on the train designated Lyon-Paris (no mention of Chalone but a red shirted information girl told me which train to catch.) We arrived in Chalone for a quick (15 Euro) cab ride to the ship and since it was after 3PM (1500) we were able to go to our cabin. As wonderful as the ship was, I wish I could say the same about the itinerary. My first River cruise was from Amsterdam to Budapest and there is no comparison to that scenery with what is in Provance. First you docked in beautiful European cities everyday while on this ship we were bused to most of the cities. Also, the countryside in Provance is just not the same as on the Rhine, the Mein and the Danube. One of the stops was at night for A 9-10 PM walk but we got there late and the walk did not end until 11:00; too late for me. Boat sailed, missed that city. Seemed to spend more time in some cities with less in others with no reason. One optional tour that I feel should be missed is the tour to Peroges an almost deserted medieval town. In my opinion a complete waste of time and money. Take the tour to Le Baux a very active medieval town at the top of a hill, if you like medieval cities. It is well worth your time and money. We took all the included tours but no other optional ones as we generally don't like to tour all day, everyday. We like free time to go back and see the cities on our own. Entertainment was an attractive piano player singing popular songs which I find more enjoyable than local folk dancers and musicians. The food was exceptional, the best of any of the three river cruises we have taken, and as good as or better than the food on the 35+ ocean cruises we have taken. The menus had three main courses with salmon and steak as always available options. I usually opted for the fish but had the veal and chateaubrian (sp) - all excellent. Our last day and night was in Avignon, one of the few cities where we actually docked. It was easy to go into town after the morning tour to the Pope's Palace. Our departure after seven nights was at 6AM (11 Euro cab ride with meter started at 7.50 - language differences precluded me from getting an explanation of why the meter started so high) from Avignon in order to catch the 6:45 train to the Marseille airport an hour and one-half away. We had bought train tickets in advance but could not print them until we got to the train station. Use the YELLOW ticket (Billet) machine; the only one with a keyboard to type your name and e-ticket confirmation code. I might add that we had no trouble getting tickets for all the trains and would not have needed to buy them in advance. But you can never be sure what traffic will be. Flight from Marseille to Paris and home. If you have never taken a European river cruise, take the Amsterdam to Budapest or a one week portion of it before you take this one. Then you won't need to take this one because you will have already seen the best of what the European rivers have to offer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This Viking River Cruise way exceeded our expectations. The scenery, the ship, the staff, and the meals were outstanding. Tour guides were great and knowledgeable. Very satisfied with our economy cabin. I highly recommended this event to ... Read More
This Viking River Cruise way exceeded our expectations. The scenery, the ship, the staff, and the meals were outstanding. Tour guides were great and knowledgeable. Very satisfied with our economy cabin. I highly recommended this event to all our friends and family. What we liked was the limited number of guests on board. You got to make friends with many. Unlike a cruise ship that might have thousands on board. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Viking Buri Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.4
Family 1.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.3
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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