I chose Viking with a destination in Avignon, as well as a 3 day pre-trip to Paris. I have significant health issues and I wanted a cruise line with a good reputation that would take care of everything, and so I would not have to be ... Read More
I chose Viking with a destination in Avignon, as well as a 3 day pre-trip to Paris. I have significant health issues and I wanted a cruise line with a good reputation that would take care of everything, and so I would not have to be packing up and traveling from town to town. I wanted a small ship with quiet amenities, and preferably no children to nearly eliminate noise. Most of our passengers were in their 70s, I would say. I am 60 so thereby a youth in comparison, but it was fine. Many of them were in much better shape than me! They were very friendly.
My birthday had occurred at the start of the trip, so the wait staff brought me a very unusual cake with a large sprinkler -- and they all knew my name. Every person at my table got a piece of cake and a glass of champagne, even though my husband and I didn't know them. It was a lot of fun.
The cruise was wonderfully done. Every member of the crew, including the captain, would help you find whatever you needed. I asked our very young housekeeper to find me some very soft towels, and she did (notice Viking: buy some new un-scratchy towels)! She also found us a top sheet for our bed (these seem to be not the style in France). Our cabin was very pleasant; however, we had a king-size bed and I think it took up too much of the room! I would have been happier with a Queen size and have a little more space in the room! The bed was very comfortable. But as I say, ALL the staff was wonderful.
We had a verandah but sadly we never used it because the weather was often chilly and somewhat rainy.
The food was excellent; you could choose how much or little you wanted of everything.
The excursions and tour guides were mostly excellent, but I was not well enough to go on all of them. In fact, I think there were too many, making it difficult to just see a town on one's own, shop, etc. Of course you could skip an excursion to do that if you wanted.
OK, cons:They now charge for some excursions, which from what I was told was not the case in the past. They seem to go quickly from from port to port, which I understand in order for people to see as much as they can, but I would have spent say two days in four ports rather than a day in seven ports.
The ads you see on PBS with lovely old houses on either side was not the case on this tour (Lyon to Avignon). There was only scrub brush, some small trees and a nuclear power plant on the sides of the Rhone River. This was a big disappointment.
I had been told by someone on the Danube tour that there had been classical and baroque music in the evening. We did not have that -- only "easy-listening" type music.
The 3-day pre tour they offer is actually 3 nights. It includes the day you land on the plane, which was 4 PM for us, and of course we were all exhausted. The Air France plane we took, arranged by Viking, was almost unbearably cramped. I could not reach my bag on the floor from my seat. My knees touched the back of the seat in front of me and I am 5'5". The toilets smelled awful later in the trip, so I assume they had not been re-filled or treated in between flights. I was told Delta was the same. I brought my own healthy snacks, fortunately. Apparently this is air flight in the new age, but it was horrendous.
I think I might go again because the travel itself on the ship was so pleasant, but I might in some other case arrange for spending more time in each place by using a different method of transportation. It was pretty expensive even with discounts, so I would have to take that into account -- and find a plane that will "let" you pay for more leg room -- only $800 round-trip for two people. Read Less