17 Viking River Viking Delling Europe - All Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise because I had been to Lyon once before but only for a day and I wanted to see more and I am a fan of French food, history, culture, wine and pretty much everything else. The stops were all wonderful and the tour guides ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had been to Lyon once before but only for a day and I wanted to see more and I am a fan of French food, history, culture, wine and pretty much everything else. The stops were all wonderful and the tour guides quite good. The staff on the ship was observent and attentive, all spoke English (since my French is pretty creative that was helpful!). The wine and truffle day was most amazing- my favorite and well worth the investment. My room was nicely appointed and larger than I expected. The food and wine onboard was superb. One little story: After tramping through the damp, rainy, muddy forest in pursuit of truffles, my suede hiking boots were trashed. There was no way I could get the mud off the soles. I finally took them to the desk for some help. 2 hours later housekeeping returned them to me in a logoed box, wrapped in tissue, looking brand new! That was above and beyond expectations for sure!!! So the onboard experience was ib a scale of 1-5-- it was a 10! But the arriving and leaving, not so much. Arriving in Lyon in the pouring rain, the 11 travelers on this ship were greeted by one woman with one umbrella. After traveling for 12 hours, we had to gather all our checked and carry on luggage and drag it, in the cold rain for about a 10 mionute hike across the parking lot to where the bus was parked. She left us cold and wet on the bus to get another group. Upon leaving at 4 in the morning to Marsille, we were once again deposited in the icy wind, to get all our luggage off the bus and find the terminal from which we would leave, again a long walk with all our luggage, no help at all and no one to tell us where to go or what to do when we go there. An inauspicous end to what was a an overall wonderful experience, Beginnings and Finishings count. score 2 in my book. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Beautiful part of France. A wine tasting excursion In Beaujolais country. The Nouveau Beaujolais uncorked when we were visiting. Year of Van Gogh and there was a wonderful day long excursion immersing in Van Gogh’s days in ... Read More
Beautiful part of France. A wine tasting excursion In Beaujolais country. The Nouveau Beaujolais uncorked when we were visiting. Year of Van Gogh and there was a wonderful day long excursion immersing in Van Gogh’s days in Arles. A variety of affordable excursions were offered at each stop, including one included excursion at no additional cost. The three included excursions I took were excellent. All tour guides were professional, congenial, and knowledgeable. I always felt safe. Local food opportunities numerous including a Taste of Lyon, the gastronomy capital of France. Viking ships are very comfortable. The staterooms are equipped with TV and free WiFi. Storage and closet space provide plenty of room. We unpacked all of our belongings for easy access. The bathrooms are very nice with great water pressure. The service onboard ship was of the highest caliber. From serving dinner to cleaning rooms, everyone was professional, congenial, and knowledgeable. The sailing crew were professional at all times. Food on board ship was very good. There was a variety each day as well as standard fare if one preferred. The free coffe/tea bar is a bonus. Onboard entertainment and lectures were outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were invited by another family member to accompany them. We travel a lot but had never been on a river cruise or any kind of cruise before. It was wonderful! The Viking staff was extremely organized and all travel to and from airports ... Read More
We were invited by another family member to accompany them. We travel a lot but had never been on a river cruise or any kind of cruise before. It was wonderful! The Viking staff was extremely organized and all travel to and from airports and then each destination was executed perfectly and in an extremely timely manner! All the buses for transport were luxury. I have some food allergies and sensitivities and each day I met with Peter, one of the officers, to go over my meals for the day. He was patient, helpful and kind and had great ideas and recommendations. Thank you to the Chef! Also Dan was our primary server for food and he helped me out with that so much! — making sure that my special needs were taken care of. Again, all of this was done with such kindness and consideration. Vladimir and Tony made great wine recommendations! And Bruno was also helpful with that! The tour guides that Viking hires are all amazing! Everyone of our tour guides was knowledgeable and interesting. Frances and Natalie we’re both not only knowledgeable and interesting but also really fun and engaging! The night tour of Viviers and the walled city of Avignon and Pope’s Palace there we are among our favorites. So interesting! I know that Viking isn’t responsible for the French people, but all of the places where we visited as tourists, we were so well received by the French people! They were so pleasant and nice even if someone did not speak French! Such a wonderful, interesting, fun experience— That was easy. The Viking Delling was a beautiful boat. Sparkling clean -5 stars on everything! Thank you Philip for doing an amazing job keeping our room spotless. Another thing that I thought was so nice, upon returning to the ship after each tour there was a little treat of some type. If it was cold outside there was a hot beverage waiting, at night time there was a yummy little mini berry milkshake waiting for us, unusual refreshing juices were another item.. I was also surprised that there were interesting talks or activity on board almost every day either about World War II and the area we were in or just educational sessions on the Provence area or a cooking demonstration or French tea. Unexpected and engaging. And you could do as much or as little as you wanted. Again, everything was so well organized and executed perfectly and I thought it was an amazing value. Thank you to the Captain of the Viking Delling and the entire staff! They all know and do their jobs extremely well and with great customer service skills and wonderful sense of humor! Looking forward to our next Viking River cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to explore that portion of France. It was our first river cruise and Viking cruise. For our cousins, it was their first cruise of any sort. The trip was beyond our expectations. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to explore that portion of France. It was our first river cruise and Viking cruise. For our cousins, it was their first cruise of any sort. The trip was beyond our expectations. The food on the ship was excellent. The service was impeccable. Our matre'd was also a trained somalier so we used his expertise in wines of the region to explore viticulture and the regions treasures. The wines were one of the best aspects of the journey. The tours were very informative. There was some question if my wife would be able to make the trip because of issues with her knees, but she found that the "slower" group provided her with an opportunity to see many of the local sights included in the regular tours. Watching others in the group who had even more challenges and how well the handled the trips as well as their enjoyment of them made it even more memorable. The presentation about the French resistance in world war 2 was particularly excellent. We stayed in Lyon for a few days after the crew and visited the Resistance museum which was made more fascinating by the talk a few days earlier. Our cousins were so impressed by the trip that they booked additional trips in the upcoming two years. We will have the pleasure of joining them on those trips also. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Staff was great. Services are excellent. Foods are excellent. Entertainment and ports excursions are adequate. We love the pre-extension in Nice with excellent excursions. The Viking staff there also were very helpful. Our flight came late ... Read More
Staff was great. Services are excellent. Foods are excellent. Entertainment and ports excursions are adequate. We love the pre-extension in Nice with excellent excursions. The Viking staff there also were very helpful. Our flight came late and Viking host was there to greet us and helped to process the hotel room and the following day excursions. The whole trip would be great if our cabin were not equipped with sewage smell. But, we were outside most of the time so it was not that bad and we were tired when we got back to the room and fell asleep fast. However, when we were up, needed to get out of the cabin fast to avoid the sewage smell. Dining, food were excellent. Entertainment activities, port excursions were excellent Cabin and dining service staff, crew were very accommodating. Sewage smell was the whole time we were there. They came by and fixed twice by spraying the odor eliminator. I heard that they offered upper floor an apology and a bottle of wine. They did not say anything to us on the lower floor. People in our next door cabin confirmed to us. We complained twice before someone came and took a look. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We spent a couple of days in Paris before the cruise to get ourselves acclimated to the time zone. To get to Lyon, we took the high speed train, which unfortunately was not high speed . There seemed to be some mechanical problem, but there ... Read More
We spent a couple of days in Paris before the cruise to get ourselves acclimated to the time zone. To get to Lyon, we took the high speed train, which unfortunately was not high speed . There seemed to be some mechanical problem, but there was no communication as to why we were stopped for quite a bit of time, and it was quite hot in the train as there was no ventilation. When we finally got to Lyon, everything went smoothly, including embarkation and all the pre-cruise activities such as the safety drill. We signed up for all the included shore excursions plus several optional tours. All the tour guides were very informative and gave us ample time to go on our own as well. All the meals, evening entertainment and services were as we had come to expect of a Viking cruise. All staff were very friendly and helpful. This time we opted for a french balcony stateroom expecting to get to have a great view out of our balcony. Since the vessel was always tied up next to another vessel while on port, we had to keep the drapes closed all the time. We got to have the pleasure of seeing the view only when we were underway, which was a very limited time, since the distances between ports of call were quite short. There was very little cruising time and it was not as scenic as the Duoro river cruise. The optional shore excursion to Les Baux de Provence was nothing like anything we've ever experienced. It was well worth the time and money. We thought that it was the highlight of our trip. We are now excited to be planning our next cruise on Viking Ocean Cruises next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Avignon has been on my bucket list since high school. Everything about this lived up to our expectations and in fact surpassed them. When I called to make the reservations, Damian Tulloch spent and hour and a half on the phone with me to ... Read More
Avignon has been on my bucket list since high school. Everything about this lived up to our expectations and in fact surpassed them. When I called to make the reservations, Damian Tulloch spent and hour and a half on the phone with me to make sure that everything I was looking for was taken care of. The staff on the cruise was top notch, especially the Program Manager, Oliver. He was truly amazing. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to be with every single group during every tour, to make sure that everyone had everything they needed. We signed up for two of the special tours, Flavors of Provence, and a Taste of Lyon. Both were excellent. All of the tour guides were well versed on their areas. We were really pleased with all of the shore excursions, especially the steam train in Tournon, such a beautiful area. Our cabin was a perfect size for our needs and was kept spotless by the cleaning staff. On the 18th, we returned to our room to find a "cake" made of towels and a note from the staff wishing my husband Happy Birthday. Such incredible thoughtfulness. Viking truly is the best. They made it a very special trip for us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We wanted to take a cruise and looked first at cruises within the United States but it was actually less expensive to go to Europe with Viking and the airfare was outstanding with Viking taking care of all the details. It was a "no ... Read More
We wanted to take a cruise and looked first at cruises within the United States but it was actually less expensive to go to Europe with Viking and the airfare was outstanding with Viking taking care of all the details. It was a "no brainer" to us. Viking met us at the airport and provided bus transportation to the ship. They took care of our luggage and delivered it to our room. Disembarkation was smooth as well with Viking taking care of all the details including taking our luggage to the bus and the bus itself. The ship was clean as was our cabin. Dining was outstanding. The food was excellent, the variety vast, and the featured local specialties were fun. There was some ship-based entertainment which was fun and we particularly enjoyed the cultural presentations. The service was beyond reproach. Every employee was courteous and went out of his or her way to make sure we were accommodated. The selection or ports and the included excursions were great. We also went on several optional excursions which were well planned and definitely a good value. We have already scheduled another cruise this year with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our second cruise with Viking was as excellent as our first. It started the day before we left with the wonderful surprise that instead of the standard stateroom we had booked, we'd been moved to a French balcony on the third level. ... Read More
Our second cruise with Viking was as excellent as our first. It started the day before we left with the wonderful surprise that instead of the standard stateroom we had booked, we'd been moved to a French balcony on the third level. The transfer from the Marseilles airport was easy, even though our flight was delayed over an hour, and Viking took us directly to the Delling. As we arrived late, lunch was over, and yet the bartender was able to find us a sandwich and a cool glass of wine to settle in. Our (upgraded) cabin was smaller in square feet than we had a few years ago on the Viking Sun but was designed nicely so there was plenty of room to store our clothes and toiletries and tuck the suitcases under the bed. We never felt cramped during the cruise, even though the only place to sit was on the bed. We really appreciated the ability to open the slider during the cruise and breathe the fresh air of Southern France or peek out at the locks we went through. The crew and staff on the Delling were fantastic. Our cruise director, Michael, was funny at the right times and serious when he needed to be. We had hoped to go the limestone caves outside of Arles and Michael did everything he could to try to arrange it, but as the late November sailing was after the "season", it was impossible. Still, we appreciated the effort. The food was fantastic with excellent chef's choices every day and plenty to choose from besides. My husband described the duck at the Flavors of Provence dinner as the best he'd ever had and I loved the varying selection of cheeses every day at breakfast. Since most of our meals were on board, we really appreciated all the regional specialties that were part of the menus. We had everything from escargot to Chateaubriand and each meal seemed to be better than the last. We chose to purchase the Silver Spirits package and that meant that we were able to enjoy a different bottle of wine each night. There was a nice selection of regional wines, which we mostly stuck to, and also selections from other wine areas. Our waiters were always quick to bring us the wine menu and keep our glasses full. For those without the package there was a generous supply of wine each lunch an dinner and many treats throughout the cruise. One thing I really like about Viking is how they will always welcome you back to the ship after a day of touring with some regional drink. Since it was November, ours were always warm and so toasty! The best entertainment was Les Gitans, a gypsy group that was fantastic. We also enjoyed the lecture on the French resistance. We learned so much! Viking's service is without parallel. They did their best not to disrupt any of the tours despite the French strike which closed down or slowed down many of the roundabouts. They were able to reroute or adjust so that everyone got to do everything they wanted and more! I think the only disappointment on this cruise was that there is actually very little cruising and it mostly happens during dinner. Also be aware that disembarkation is very early, in our case 3:30 a.m. That said, the cruise was fantastic and I can't wait to go with Viking again. Avignon: The gothic cathedral in Avignon is amazing and so well preserved. We also enjoyed walking along the river to the Pont and up to the gardens next to the Palace. We happened to be in town for a wine festival and so enjoyed some wine tasting at Les Halles that wasn't expected. Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Tasting: This was a fun little tour where we learned what makes Chateauneuf du Pape wines so delicious and also had a chance to do a tasting. Arles: We walked in the footsteps of Van Gogh and the ancient Romans. After the tour there was enough time to try Du Bar a l'Huitre where we had a nice fish stew on the terrace and watched the people walk by. Viviers: This ancient village was a lovely surprise, complete with cobblestone alleyways and a cathedral. Our guide, like all the guides, was so knowledgeable and really brought this little town to life. It's so fun to explore a place you've never heard of before and learn so much. Rhone Valley Vineyard Hike: This hike took us up the slopes near the Hermitage wine region of the Rhone where we learned what makes Hermitage special and how the wines nearby are made. It also felt good to stretch our legs on a beautiful day. The wine tasting here was also very delicious but because we had to reroute our walk to catch the bus (the strike interfered) we didn't have time to make purchases. Beaujolais Wine Country: This cruise is a wine lover's delight. More information on viniculture made our day so enjoyable. Lyon: We had two chances to eat off the ship in Lyon, one at Merle in Les Halles (oysters!) and another at a Bouchon. These meals were memorable and worth skipping the also delicious meals on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This cruise was my wife and I third cruise with Viking. It started out great. The flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt, Germany left on time and we had TSA pre-screen at no extra cost. We arrived in Frankfurt on time and got to our gate ... Read More
This cruise was my wife and I third cruise with Viking. It started out great. The flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt, Germany left on time and we had TSA pre-screen at no extra cost. We arrived in Frankfurt on time and got to our gate for the connecting flight to Marseilles. That's when things went downhill from there. Our flight to Marseilles was cancelled just before boarding time. Now this is not Vikings fault or the airline's. The problem was at Marseilles airport. The earliest flight out was 4:30PM the next day to Munich then to Marseilles. We did notify Viking about our flight changes to have someone take us to the ship. We were told that someone would be there to pick us up. Nobody was there. After a second call to Viking Customer Relations we got the address where the ship was docked and had a taxi take us to the ship. We got there at 3:00AM the next day. We were reimbursed by Viking for the cab fare of 229 Euros. After all that the trip was really great except for the hot weather. The food, staff and crew were great. Some of the staff were from another ship on our first cruise back in 2015. The guides and the excursions were all very good. We always book a veranda stateroom. The room was always kept clean and is roomy enough for the two of us. We booked the post cruise extension in Paris. The hotel was right next to the Eiffel Tower. The room was big and the bed was comfortable. The breakfast was also good. The lobby layout was bad and the staff was OK. The WI-fi was lousy. We always enjoy traveling with Viking River Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
It was a present from my son for our birthdays. The food was A+ and the service was A+. I have Crohn's and could not leave the ship very often. I wish they would have had a shuttle once we got to Lyon to get to the shopping areas. ... Read More
It was a present from my son for our birthdays. The food was A+ and the service was A+. I have Crohn's and could not leave the ship very often. I wish they would have had a shuttle once we got to Lyon to get to the shopping areas. The views were beautiful from the top deck and the waiters treated you like royalty. The wines were fantastic - every meal. Go, enjoy and love what you see in France. Avignon was my favorite place to visit. I did get to go there and it was superb. The people all treat you fantastic in France. I LOVED the people. If you enjoy sightseeing and shopping this is the cruise for you. Be ready to be pampered. I would love to do another cruise in Italy if they had one, but as of now, they do not. Thanks for all you have given my family. Mihai - the waiter was the highlight of my cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Have now been on several Viking cruises. Every time the crew has been fabulous, friendly, helpful. Conditions on the ship are always prime. Meals excellent. Did not participate in too many evening entertainments preferring to wind ... Read More
Have now been on several Viking cruises. Every time the crew has been fabulous, friendly, helpful. Conditions on the ship are always prime. Meals excellent. Did not participate in too many evening entertainments preferring to wind down from the day in my cabin. Enjoyed our choice of shore excursions. They were timed nicely around meals. Buses top notch. Also, the luggage brought by my travel friend was lost along the way. The ship purser was exceptionally efficient in tracking it down and arranging transport to our boat at the next stop. He handled every detail. We booked our air travel through Viking as well. Just a day or two prior to departure we were notified by Viking that there was a possibility of a strike at one of our airport stops. They immediately rerouted us, managing the seating we wanted on our flights etc. It was luxurious having someone handle all that detail. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a fabulous cruise! It was even better than we expected. Everything about it was first class! I can’t say enough wonderful things about Viking. The crew was friendly, helpful and always available to answer any questions. The ... Read More
This was a fabulous cruise! It was even better than we expected. Everything about it was first class! I can’t say enough wonderful things about Viking. The crew was friendly, helpful and always available to answer any questions. The ship was immaculate and the crew was fantastic. The pre-dinner get togethers were an entertainment in themselves. More…the tours were great. They were very informative and the variety of choices was terrific. The cabin was a good size and fully supplied with soap and all necessities. The food was very good. There was a wonderful variety every meal!! Every night we met new people and had such fun. The dining experience was very impressive. The culture, art and scenery we experienced was breathtaking. I hope many more people will get to enjoy this beautiful country. I definitely recommend Viking to everyone who love to travel. This was our first cruise but not our last with Viking!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Just had a difficult week on the Viking Delling, Portraits Of Souther France. For five days we endured temperatures up to 100 degrees F, without any Air Conditioning on the ship. The crew were in denial for three days even though it was ... Read More
Just had a difficult week on the Viking Delling, Portraits Of Souther France. For five days we endured temperatures up to 100 degrees F, without any Air Conditioning on the ship. The crew were in denial for three days even though it was clear there was no AC. Dinner was a nightmare for passengers and staff on a steel ship at 100 degrees F and sleeping was nigh on impossible. We were given a free bar on two nights but there was no attempt to alleviate the heat by fans etc... When the fault was identified, on the last night, UPS apparently 'lost' the part, so the final night on board was also blighted. The problem should have been recognised and fixed earlier and fans made available to help comfort. The staff tried hard and the rest of the services were very good but it still made for a very uncomfortable week. Entertainment was a piano bar singer, but then you don't expect much on a River Cruise where space is pretty limited. Excursions were good and we had the chance to visit Chateau Neuf De Pape, a holy grail for the wine enthusiast. Walking in the heat was difficult but Viking can't control the weather (just the A/C). Food was good with a choice of dining options and when the Restaurant was almost unusable due to heat, they set us up on the Terrace and on the Sun deck for the full menu choice. This really stressed the staff as they were then climbing three sets of stairs with plates and drinks in 100 degs. They really did their best in a difficult situation. Our flight timings were all great, as we made sure when we booked that we got the right options from Heathrow, transfers were spot on. In summary, if the A/C had been recognised, mitigated and dealt with sooner, then the trip would have met all our expectations. We would try Viking again but are inclined to try the competition first. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Viking Cruise reference: Viking Delling River Cruise - Portraits of Southern France – Avignon to Chalon sur Saone July 1 to July 8, 2105 I am a retired USAF officer and still do occasional consulting work for DOD focused contractors. ... Read More
Viking Cruise reference: Viking Delling River Cruise - Portraits of Southern France – Avignon to Chalon sur Saone July 1 to July 8, 2105 I am a retired USAF officer and still do occasional consulting work for DOD focused contractors. My wife and I live on a lake in NC and enjoy birding and traveling. We recently went to South Africa on a 21 day birding “safari.” We have been on a number of cruises on the Cunard, Celebrity and Abercrombie and Kent cruise lines – enjoyed them all. We are both in our early 70s, are still very active and in good health. We enjoy walking tours, and regularly participate in long birding trips in some challenging terrain. During my Air Force career, I was stationed in Europe a few times, and was fortunate enough to have an exchange officer assignment with the French Air Force. Given my enjoyable experience in France, we thought a cruise in Southern France would be a great introduction to European river cruises. After reading a good number of reviews, my wife and I decided to take our first Viking river cruise. We opted for first/business class air travel to Marseilles and reserved a Veranda suite (AA). The Viking arranged Delta/KLM/Air France flights were fine, but the Viking transfer from the Marseilles airport to the embarkation location was a bit of a goat rope, in that the Viking greeters seemed overwhelmed by the number of arrivals. The luggage transfer from the airport to the ship went well. The Veranda suite cabin was physically quite good - two rooms, a little balcony and a large bathroom (heated floors) – the shower was exceptional (great water pressure). Cabin and laundry service were exceptionally good – thanks to Denis! The boat (Delling) is large and quite well appointed. They serve dinner in one “open” seating, so dinner can produce an interesting traffic jam with passengers and servers jockeying for space, seating and service. The meals were a shade above mediocre and the served wines the same. The servers worked very hard at meeting a seemingly never-ending flow of customers’ demands, but it appeared to us that they were understaffed. As the cruise progressed and it got hotter, service in the dining room slowed perceptibly, requiring us to sit in that overheated facility for extended periods. Our final dinner on board began at 7:45pm and concluded with dessert being served at nearly 10:00pm – nearly two and one half hours spent sitting in a room with the temperature over 95° F. We speculated that the kitchen staff had succumbed to the heat! If your table were on the sun side of the boat, the curtains needed to be closed – so much for the view. For breakfast and lunch, the queue at the grill was slow and unpleasant, as people felt compelled to cut in and reach through the line. The shore excursions were OK, but nothing like Viking’s advertising. Lots of bus and walking time, with the tour guide “herding cats.” On the positive side, the tour guides were well informed, had a good sense of humor and handled English well. Recommend you look very carefully at the itinerary and tours to be sure it includes somethings of genuine interest to you. Onboard activities varied from the interesting to sophomoric quiz games. The nightly piano player/singer was something out of an old “B-movie,” and his repertoire got old very fast. The passenger dress norms ranged from gym clothing to sport coat. Most of the time we wore high-end golf shirts and shorts with comfortable walking shoes and we felt very comfortable dressed that way on board and on the tours. Don’t kid yourself about your ability to walk on cobblestone streets and climb large flights of stairs – some of the tours were arduous and a few passengers with canes and walkers could not keep up. We’d recommend bring a good supply of Euros, with a generous amount of small denominations bills and change for tour guide and bus driver gratuities. The onboard concierge desk has a limited amount of change for larger Euro currency. Onboard internet was a bit intermittent, but if you were persistent, it worked OK. The number of 120v outlets is minimal; recommend you bring 120v plug multipliers (3 in 1), and adapters for 220v outlets. The Tour Director (Sam), was informative, and entertaining, except when it came to providing timely and accurate information about the boat’s malfunctioning air-conditioning system. The cruise began with what I’d characterize as a marginally effective air-conditioning system that got progressively worse until at about the 3rd evening, when it was totally ineffective. During the ensuing four days without air-conditioning, the on-board temperatures reached ~100ᵒF. One passenger we traveled with signed up for an optional tour just so he could sit in the air-conditioned bus and not participate in the walking tour– clever guy! A good number of on-line reviews have referred to our cruise as the cruise from hell. While that descriptor is hyperbolic, from a passenger’s perspective, it is quite accurate. Constant sweating and wet clothes were the norm; an environment in which virtually all activities were unpleasant, to include the most rudimentary such as sleeping and eating. From the onset of the air-conditioning problem, the Tour Director seemed to be in denial, even though it was obvious to anyone on-board that the air-conditioning was not functioning properly. He blamed the unusually hot weather, and said that since the ship was made of metal, it was unavoidable that it would get this “warm.” Warm is not a descriptor I’d use when the on-board temperatures hovered around 100ᵒF!! One night another Viking ship of a parallel design docked alongside us, and we were invited to visit their lobby and lounge areas, since their air-conditioning was functioning very well – so much for the Delling’s design and climatological situation explanation! What surprised and disappointed us the most was that there was no attempt made to make the best of a difficult situation; for example, buying a few fans to at least get some air movement in the dining room and bar area. I suggested that to the Tour Director and he told me he didn’t have that authority?! If he doesn’t have that authority, who on-board does? The boat’s captain was nowhere to be found during the “heat wave.” On the final night when the Tour Director finally announced what was obvious to all, he blamed UPS for losing the needed repair part, so the on-board steam bath continued unabated, until the morning of debarkation, when the air-conditioning miraculously began to function effectively Since 1967, I’ve flown and fixed aircraft all over the world and I think Viking’s inability to get a part to its boat in Europe is pitiful. They could have delivered the part via car or train, or put someone on a commercial flight to hand carry the part, or put it in their luggage. The fact that they didn’t even buy a few readily available fans for at least the public areas is unfathomable; after all, we weren’t in the middle of the ocean! On the day of debarkation, we had to have our bags ready for pick up at 6:00am – so we packed in the heat for a good part of the night prior. The queue for the final bill clearing took about 30 minutes – the staff seemed overwhelmed and it was HOT!!. The transfer to the Lyon airport via bus was OK, but then there was a significant “bag-drag” from where the bus dropped us off to the terminal. On the positive side, the Viking transfer rep stayed around to be sure we were checked in OK. The Viking arranged flight to Paris went OK, but sure wasn’t first or business class – just wasn’t offered on that model of Airbus. In summary, we believe the Portraits of Southern France cruise is just a lousy itinerary – there are so many low bridges, the sun deck is lowered and off-limits most of the time, so we could rarely enjoy that aspect of the cruise. They did most of the sun deck reconfiguring at night, so in addition to the heat, the noise of the workers was considerable – like trying to sleep in a steamy bowling alley! Many of the in route stops were in small nondescript French towns, ensuring max bus ride time to see something worthwhile. Many of the docking locations were old rundown piers, replete with graffiti. When docked, most times our suite veranda looked directly onto the side of a rundown pier or old warehouse. Despite the heat, at night we kept our sliding doors closed out of concern for someone stepping off the pier right onto our veranda and into our room. Most of the cruise itinerary shore line was an endless succession of scrub trees, deteriorating ancient ruins, most well out of visual range and floating debris. The locks in-between the different river levels were filthy and smelled as bad as they looked. Lock passage was interesting once, but after the 3rd or 4th time it got very old. We paid a lot of money for this cruise, with the expectation of participating in a cruise and sojourn that was enjoyable; instead, we had to endure a situation that was the complete opposite, a third-world accommodation and experience. Of the eight day, seven night cruise, four days and nights were without effective air-conditioning and were just miserable. Look closely at how many days you actually “cruise” - time on the front and back ends are taken up with embarkation and debarkation activities; no fun there! This situation was not a force majeure; it was a failure of Viking equipment and the inability or unwillingness of Viking’s crew to take any visible action to ameliorate the incessant and intolerable onboard temperatures. Any contention that given the circumstances, the crew did all they could is just not accurate, as I personally suggested to the cruise director at least twice, the introduction of a few air-circulating fans would have been a major step in the right direction. These could have been purchased in route at any city/village – the Euro outlay would have been well less than what an “open bar” cost and would have had a greater positive impact on the passengers’ cruise experience. I mailed two certified letters to the Viking CEO (Hagen) and Complaints Department (Andre), the first of which were received on 20 July and to date (2 Sep.), there has been no response from the addressees. Viking management’s approach to this particle problem has been to stall; I guess hoping we’d just give up – bad assumption! Based on our experience, for anyone looking at a Viking cruise, as long as all goes well, great; but if there’s a problem, don’t count on Viking management to do much. Our travel agent was finally contacted by a Viking rep and as compensation, we were offered credit on a Viking cruise for a small percentage of what we paid for our Portraits of Southern France cabin – over half the cruise (50%) was without air-conditioning, so offering less seems to be out of sync with basic logic. Readers can judge for themselves if less than 50% is fair compensation for a miserable cruise and the lack of response/courtesy from Viking management. Based on our first Viking cruise experience, it will be our last – Tauck Tours, here we come! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Viking Delling Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.4
Family 1.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.6
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.4
Rates 4.0 N/A

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