122 Viking River Viking Delling Europe - River Cruise Reviews

we wanted to join a couple we traveled with before. We like France. But not up to our expectations. Service was very good, but no one was from France and so really didn't know the france culture. We had trouble with our ships ... Read More
we wanted to join a couple we traveled with before. We like France. But not up to our expectations. Service was very good, but no one was from France and so really didn't know the france culture. We had trouble with our ships engine, so that difficinetly caused a nnegative feeling among the people on the ship. The locations we visiste were graet. Some of the guides were very noligable and some were just mediocure. The food was very good, as ussal but some of the "local" menu could have been better. Too much time was spent on busses traveling to diffent locations. We took a cruise down the Danube inthe prior year, it was much better as the German commander wea much more in control and knowlegfable about our area and destination. the Cruise director was better. These little things made a differnce. We are going on a cruicse next year in May, I hope it more like the first cruise and not the second./ Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Travelling with a friend, this was our first Viking cruise and first river cruise as well. We decided to go as an incentive/reward for my friend's recovery from hip replacement surgery. The choice of itinerary was based on length of ... Read More
Travelling with a friend, this was our first Viking cruise and first river cruise as well. We decided to go as an incentive/reward for my friend's recovery from hip replacement surgery. The choice of itinerary was based on length of cruise (I had commitments that precluded a longer cruise) and the desire to see a part of France I had never travelled, and one my friend had not seen in over 40 years. The experience of a Viking cruise was well worth our time and money. From the moment we claimed our luggage and walked out to meet our transfers at the airport, we knew we were in undeniably experienced and knowledgeable hands. Once onboard, the food and wines were excellent, the staff attentive and the ambiance relaxing yet stimulating. The included excursions were interesting and definitely should be taken. My friend on occasion chose the "leisurely" tour if there was a chance for too many stairs, and we compared notes after, finding that the regular tour generally had more information. We also added a few optional excursions and found them to be best of all! We are now negotiating when to take the next one - my friend is ready to leave anytime, but my scheduled commitments are a bit more demanding. But we are definitely returning within the year - perhaps the Danube next time? Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose a Viking River Tour because ocean cruises have too many people. They feel like being in a crowded mall. This was our first trip to Europe. Viking was amazing. The ship was small and intimate. The crew was attentive. The ... Read More
We chose a Viking River Tour because ocean cruises have too many people. They feel like being in a crowded mall. This was our first trip to Europe. Viking was amazing. The ship was small and intimate. The crew was attentive. The concierge helped us make dinner reservations in Lyon based on our desire to have steak tartar. The concierge also helped us find a restaurant supply store when my husband expressed an interest in purchasing a French made frying pan. The included excursions were an excellent overview of the area. Our favorite was the trip to the wine chateau. The cabin was small (expected since this is a ship) but comfortable. Very little time was actually spent in the cabin. The dining was excellent. The food was predominately the local cuisine. It was a extreme cut above any all-inclusive we have gone to in Mexico or Jamaica. Of course the plane ride was very long and the jet leg was hellish. Large time change. The awful part was the long layovers. This trip was intended as a once in a lifetime deal. It's more expensive than our usual vacations. With that being said...we were so impressed that we have every intention of going again in a few years. We'll have to save up. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have been on two Viking River Cruises so we know the quality of Viking. (We have also been on one Viking Ocean cruise and have another planned of Sept). We picked this river cruise for its itinerary. We have never been to the south of ... Read More
We have been on two Viking River Cruises so we know the quality of Viking. (We have also been on one Viking Ocean cruise and have another planned of Sept). We picked this river cruise for its itinerary. We have never been to the south of France. It began in Avignon and ended in Lyon. The Cruise Director, Christine, made ALL shore excursions excellent. We don't pick a river cruise for the cabin, but it was certainly adequate. We view the boat as a floating hotel. The food was very good, but we don't take a cruise for the food, we take a cruise for the itinerary. I hate beating a dead horse or repeating myself, but the itinerary is our most important reason for choosing a specific cruise. We don't choose a cruise boat or ship for the boat or ship, because (again) the boat or ship is a floating hotel. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose Viking because of friends who have traveled previously and enjoyed it. This was their fourth Viking tour with plans to travel again next year. The attention to personal detail by staff was a priority. From "good ... Read More
We chose Viking because of friends who have traveled previously and enjoyed it. This was their fourth Viking tour with plans to travel again next year. The attention to personal detail by staff was a priority. From "good morning" to service at mealtime to dealing with changing onshore tours. Everything was clean and neat with extra attention to the rooms. The balcony was appreciated, however, our weather did not warrant its use. The room was an adequate size. The food was country appropriate and very delicious and the wine kept coming. Meal time was looked forward to because of the view, the organization, and the friendliness of staff. The tour directors during land excursions were very knowledgeable and, for the most part, very understandable. The information discussed during bus rides was appreciated. We did spend way too much time on buses because of difficulties by Viking. We did not get the Cruising part of the journey. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Wanted a wine oriented cruise and the Agent Lynne suggested this as an alternative to the Burgandy tour, which included Paris and Dijon, both of which I had visited before.The staff and service were excellent. Our weather saw rain clouds ... Read More
Wanted a wine oriented cruise and the Agent Lynne suggested this as an alternative to the Burgandy tour, which included Paris and Dijon, both of which I had visited before.The staff and service were excellent. Our weather saw rain clouds and cold,every day, though not a Viking problem. Entertainment a pleasant surprise. Guides and tours first rate. Minor problem areas: (1) need instructions on shower operation (2) regular wines very good but upscale wines (Silver Spirit) should be upgraded.Ship is beautiful and well laid out..All dining provided excellent experience with variety and quality that could not have been better. As a widower travelling alone I was still made welcome and comfortable by the staff and other guests.Naturally, I enjoyed the wine tastings in the Beaujolais and Chateauneuf-duPape to taste these wines and see the beautiful areas proved rewarding. Also I particularly enjoyed our market tour with the chef.All in all a great trip and a top value. I would consider another wine related trip, such as your bordeaux trip Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We originally booked because of a referral from a friend. After doing some research, we found that the line had many satisfied guests, our experience met and exceeded our expectations. The service was friendly and very good but not ... Read More
We originally booked because of a referral from a friend. After doing some research, we found that the line had many satisfied guests, our experience met and exceeded our expectations. The service was friendly and very good but not overbearing, the food was excellent, and the excursions were interesting and enjoyable. My constructive remarks are that the cabins are a bit small, especially the shower but very acceptable. The wifi was slow and sometimes had no service making it difficult to stay connected to work. Also wifi related, if the cabin would allow for a wifi connected TV device like an Amazon Fire Stick or a Chrome-cast (HDMI connected to the TV), so travelers can stream news from their respective countries, states and cities. The selection of standard channels on-board were very limited. We would absolutely travel with Viking again, maybe opt for one of the suites next time for more room (We chose Veranda B room), but overall, a very enjoyable cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The ship was wonderful. great layout and cabins are large. Crew could not have been more wonderful and helpful. Shore excursions are always very well organized and very informative. Food was exceptional. We will never go back to the ... Read More
The ship was wonderful. great layout and cabins are large. Crew could not have been more wonderful and helpful. Shore excursions are always very well organized and very informative. Food was exceptional. We will never go back to the larger cruise ships again This was our 2nd Viking River Cruise.. Stayed 3 nights in Nice prior to the cruise. Hotel was a great location rooms were nice and hotel staff was very helpful. We had picked this ship because of the itinerary and it was one of the new Viking fleet. The buffet selections at both breakfast and dinner were exceptional as always. wait staff was always available when needed and checked on everyone continually. The chef could not have been more friendly and was always out and about speaking with passengers. Our cabin was always kept clean and we were always given several bottles of water each day in our fridge. Local entertainment at some ports was brought on board for the passengers both during the day and in the evening. Each of our ports of call were different and where most cruise lines want you to shop on your shore excursions Viking focuses more on the history and culture of each port but of course there was always some free time for shopping. We will choose Viking for our next cruise vacation sometime in the near future. Again what a wonderful experience this company gives each passenger from the time of your initial booking to days following your return with a phone call asking how your experience was. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Our third Viking River cruise. Service , food and staff usual high standard. Ship was beautiful - modern , airy and clean. New outside terrace too - fortunately we had good weather so ate outside several times . Tables were quickly taken ... Read More
Our third Viking River cruise. Service , food and staff usual high standard. Ship was beautiful - modern , airy and clean. New outside terrace too - fortunately we had good weather so ate outside several times . Tables were quickly taken at lunch time but everyone appeared sociable and were willing to share . Perhaps a few tables for two are needed as sometimes we didn't feel like chatting and would have preferred a romantic lunch together. Oliver the director was outstanding- chatty, fun and had some clever acts up his sleeve which were displayed several evenings . [ His background was a professional in the circus/ entertainment field]. Itinerary was a little disappointing .. to many visits to Roman remains for us . We enjoyed the wine tastings and learnt a great deal about wine . [ It all gets you drunk whatever you pay for it !!] We felt more free time for wandering or shopping was needed but lunch beckoned on board .Morning excursions were included , afternoon ones were optional and charged for. We didn't go on the afternoon excursions. We went for a walk along the river or relaxed on board . We had the 'drinks' package. We totted up our daily alcohol and fancy coffees and it definitely worked out cheaper for us than paying[ individually ] as a total at the end of the cruise. Our cabin was 106, with a small high window [lower deck ] and suited us perfectly,we wouldn't have sat outside on a balcony on October. Luxurious toiletries as usual. Bed comfy and with the climate control adjusted to out desired room temperature at night , we slept well. Disembarkation was smoothly organised and transfer to Marseilles airport on a luxury coach . Met at the airport by a Viking rep. who steered us through check in and answered any queries. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was the worst trip I have ever taken. First they advertise 4 0r 5 star hotels. The one in Nice had no air conditioning in the hotel and the resturant was so hot that you were afraid to eat the food. The rooms were very hot and they ... Read More
This was the worst trip I have ever taken. First they advertise 4 0r 5 star hotels. The one in Nice had no air conditioning in the hotel and the resturant was so hot that you were afraid to eat the food. The rooms were very hot and they turned half of the rooms power off at night. I have sleep apthnia and was unable to run my machine that night. They had no concern for us. Their representative said oh well. They did not care if we had air or power in our rooms. second: we got on the bus to meet the ship. It had no air. My wife passed out on the bus and broke her hand and foot. Again the attendant said they could not stop and and their refrigeration system was broken. We had to wait 2 hours before we could get her ice. When we reached the ship we told them we would like a first aid kit. They did not have one. Asked if they could call a Doctor. No we needed to set sail. Finally 5 days later they say a Doctor is coming to the ship and we must stay in our ship all day. He came at 10:00 that night. They never contacted us and said oh well.No concern. The trip itself was not good either, scenery was bad and the last two nights were spent in a abandoned ship yard. The stops were terrible. Viewed Provance by BUS > Terrible. We never knew that it was a 5 hour bus ride to Paris from Lyon. Save your money and go with a real Cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our second viking cruise. We wanted to spend time in southern france without packing and unpacking. We had been to some cities there before but wanted to see more . Overall we liked it a lot. The cruise was as advertised. ... Read More
This was our second viking cruise. We wanted to spend time in southern france without packing and unpacking. We had been to some cities there before but wanted to see more . Overall we liked it a lot. The cruise was as advertised. It was low key and comfortable. Food was excellent. Biggest concern is tipping. We have found that tipping early and often during the cruise makes a big difference in getting needed attention during meals. All nd then they guilt you into a large big tip at the end that supposedly is divided among the crew. Why not just pay them a fair salary and let us personally tip those who merit it? There were lots of pretty views. Much of the time the sun deck is closed due to low bridges so it's worth getting a cabin with good views. We enjoyed the tour of the kitchen. It's amazing what they do in that small place Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We loved the Viking Delling Southern France River cruise. The ship is perfect for relaxing cruising and stops along the river for tours. The ship layout feels very spacious when your in the dining, lounge or deck areas and you spend very ... Read More
We loved the Viking Delling Southern France River cruise. The ship is perfect for relaxing cruising and stops along the river for tours. The ship layout feels very spacious when your in the dining, lounge or deck areas and you spend very little time in your room except to sleep. The cabins are small but efficient and sure meet out needs. You want to be out visiting the towns along the river on the free tours provided by Viking and the tours are very well done by Viking experts in each town. The ship activities were top notch each day and things like Frances cheese tastings gave you knowledge of the making of cheese and then the tasting of each of the cheeses and how each region in France has different tastes. The best thing about Viking Delling is that you are pampered by an excellent staff on a ship that is perfect for river crusing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We were happy to start the second part of our trip in Chalon sur Saône on the beautiful Delling. The ship was new and beautiful and our room even in the less expensive category was beautiful and comfortable. The staff, led by Mia ... Read More
We were happy to start the second part of our trip in Chalon sur Saône on the beautiful Delling. The ship was new and beautiful and our room even in the less expensive category was beautiful and comfortable. The staff, led by Mia (excellent cruise director) and Eve (excellent hotel manager) was super. They treated us as if they were our hosts to a wonderful journey that lasted all week. It was everything a cruise should be and more! Always the unexpected surprise was waiting for us, we were spoiled all around. Chalon sur Saône is not a picturesque port but it permitted us to go to Beaune on the first day which was relatively close. There we visited a wonderful old hospital from the Middle Ages, it was exceptional. We also went to a wine tasting event and drove across the wineries in the region with a few short stops. We also had an hour to spend in beautiful Beaune, a lot of nice stores especially for foodies. Next day was in Lyon, I had no idea what to expect but it really was one of the highlights of the trip. The Fourvière Basilica was breautiful as were the roman ruins nearby. Both sides of the Saône river offered a lot of visiting options and after the tour we took advantage of the free shuttle from port. The following day we were in Vienne, a small town with a few ro9man ruins and a church on top of Mount Pipet that we reach in a small tourist train. It was not the nicest town but our guide was so enthusiastic that she made it interesting. After cruising another few hours we arrived in Tournon. In Tournon there was not much but a bus took us to a winery in Tain l'Hermitage across the Rhône river. There we visited another winery, a chocolate factory and store and a small art museum of the paintings of Pierre Palué. His daughther was there and was very interesting. That night we stopped in Viviers, it was after dark and with a guide we took a night walk across the village to the top of the mountain,. it was eerie and special. All the houses seemed dark because of their shutters ! We finally got to Avignon, the first day we were bussed to Arles but by then I had had enough of roman ruins and I preferred going back to Avignon that afternoon. We went to the Avignon bridge and the Dom's gardens next to the Popes 'Palace ( beautiful views). The next day we had a guide tour of the Palace as well as the town which is beautiful and full of interesting spots, nice shopping also. After lunch we crossed the bridge to Villeneuve sur Avignon and climbed the Tower of Philippe Le Bel and had a wonderful view of Avignon and the surroundings. It was a wonderful cruise and the crew made it more special. The pianist in the lounge was wonderful and always playing! The only suggestion is that half of the guest did the Normandy cruise the week before and a lot of the ship activities and meals were repetitious. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our second Viking cruise. We are already booked for a small ship ocean cruise with them this year. Everything Viking does is highest standard. Rooms are small but to be expected. Bathrooms are well designed. Plenty of closet and ... Read More
Our second Viking cruise. We are already booked for a small ship ocean cruise with them this year. Everything Viking does is highest standard. Rooms are small but to be expected. Bathrooms are well designed. Plenty of closet and drawer space. We had a veranda and enjoyed sitting out on it and observing the many sites on the shoreline as we cruised. Very relaxing atmosphere. The daily tours were well organized. On a few occasions, we left the tour and wandered off on our own. There was usually afternoon time for self-touring as well. We did not take any of the additional tours as we were well entertained in each town on our own. The tour guide was very helpful in directing us to things to do as well. I liked that these were included with our cruise rather than having to pay additionally for every single excursion as is true with many cruise lines. The evenings were very informal with simple entertainment and presentations from locals. We liked the low-key atmosphere. Because of open-seating at meals, we met many interesting people and have made several long-term friends--one couple with whom we have booked other Viking cruises together. The food was incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed the choices and the wines which come with the meal. The wines which were included with our cruise fare were very nice. Occasionally we purchased local wines and they served them to us at dinner without a corkage fee. First class operation The ship crew could not have been better on both Viking cruises we have experienced. They get to know everyone and their tastes and try very hard to make everything go smoothly and make you feel at home. I totally appreciate that all transfers are handled by Viking. Even if the hour of the morning is too early, at least we knew that they were going to take care of EVERYTHING and we had NO worries. We added the Paris 3-day tour and loved the Hotel Westminister. It was a beautifully restored old hotel with exceptional location. It made touring Paris extremely easy. The tour guide who met us at the hotel took care of everything and gave us excellent advice about using our time in Paris wisely. I only have praise for the Viking River Boat experience. As a retiree, I like the small boat and small group. It meets our needs perfectly. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our very first river cruise, after having taken 30 ocean cruises. We boarded the ship in Avignon and sailed up to Chalon sur Soane. We signed up for the 3-day Paris extension through Viking and our package also included ... Read More
This was our very first river cruise, after having taken 30 ocean cruises. We boarded the ship in Avignon and sailed up to Chalon sur Soane. We signed up for the 3-day Paris extension through Viking and our package also included airfare. After reading some of the reviews on this site, I did have some concerns, but ultimately we found the trip to be exactly as advertised and more. The ship itself was beautiful - immaculate and beautifully designed and decorated. We had a small suite which was wonderful - a separate sitting/living room with veranda, and a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling window. The bathroom was large with a very nice sized shower with high-end amenities provided, along with fluffy towels, bathrobe and slippers. We did visit some of the other cabins and found them to be quite small, so we were very glad to have the suite. The entire staff on the ship was friendly, efficient and always ready to help make our vacation a memorable one. Matt, our cruise director, was excellent and seemed to be everywhere. Everyone from the room attendant to all of the restaurant service staff seemed to enjoy their jobs and were always pleasant and friendly. The food was very good, although the quantities and frequency of meals were less than on a typical ocean cruise, but more than sufficient. Matt did a great job of keeping us informed as to what was happening, where we needed to be at certain times, etc. He even provided some of the entertainment, doing a "Liar's Club" one night and a funny trivia game another night (similar to what happens on some ocean cruises). There was a piano player/singer who also performed every night in the lounge. In addition, they did a few extra programs on various topics, such as cheese, chocolate, etc. The weather was beautiful for the entire week, we had rain one morning, but luckily it was a morning when there was no included tour, and by the time we boarded the buses at 2:00 p'.m., the sun was out. The weather was warm, but not nearly as warm as the 100+ temps that had been experienced a few weeks before. The AC on the ship worked fine and we were always comfortable. We did find the river cruise to be a more structured day compared to ocean cruises, but that's because Viking provides at least one included tour each day and it leaves at a very specific time, sometimes as early as 8:30 A.M. The buses used were all new, large and even had bathrooms onboard. Most of the tour guides did a great job and it was very helpful to have the Vox radio devices so we didn't have to stand right in front of the guides to hear them. My only complaint about some of the tours was that very minimal time was allowed for shopping and there were times I could have done with a little less history and detail about the site we were visiting, and a little more free time for shopping. We did do two of the optional tours with mixed results. My husband did the Chateaunauf de Pape tour and thought it was pretty good. We both did the Lyon "cooking class", but for $79 each, it was only a 2-hour session in an un-air conditioned location, the dish cooked was a dessert - I guess I had thought we might be taken to a farmers market to do some shopping, then to a kitchen to prepare an actual meal, or at least a main course. I didn't feel this was worth the $140+ we paid. Most of the bus rides were relatively short which had been another concern of mine, based on some of the other reviews I had read. When river levels are such that the boats can't move as readily, I guess Viking ends up using the buses for more distance travel, but fortunately that didn't happen for us. We had no water-level issues, other than the fact that we traveled under many low bridges, so the upper deck was closed for most of the travel times until we got to the Soane River which seems to have much higher bridges. When the ship was in port, the upper deck was open. We stuck to the planned schedule and only rafted to another ship on one or two brief occasions - because we were on level 3, we could still see out while people in the lower decks found themselves directly facing cabins from other ships. But this didn't happen much at all on this trip. Overall, we had a very nice trip. We were very happy with the Westminster Hotel in Paris which was for our Paris extension. It is an older hotel, but absolutely beautiful with a great included breakfast, and in an excellent location. We were a 10-minute walk from The Louvre and a $10 Euro cab ride from the Eiffel Tower. Viking had a rep at the hotel to meet us, and she distributed room keys, provided helpful information, and was available for 4 hours each day to answer questions and provide assistance. All the transfers and flights worked out well too. There were people on the cruise portion of the trip who had to leave the ship at 3:00 a.m. on the final day, and I definitely would not have been a happy camper if I had been in that group. Viking advertises these trips as 8 days, but they really aren't a full 8 days, especially when you have to leave the ship in the middle of the night! Essentially, it is a 7-night cruise, and barely 7 days depending on what time you arrive on the first day. Because we were doing the Paris extension, we disembarked the ship at 8:00 a.m. for the 4-hour+ ride to Paris, with a 2-hr. stop in Auxerre which was a lovely city. When we left Paris to fly home, a small bus arrived to pick us up, and a Viking rep actually met our group at the airport and helped us find our way. Viking did a great job of handling all these travel details for us and we only had to show up at the appointed times. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Based on a number of reviews on this site, I decided to book this river cruise from Avignon north to Chalon sur Saone in Summer rather than Spring. There is less chance of the river level being too high for the ship to go under low ... Read More
Based on a number of reviews on this site, I decided to book this river cruise from Avignon north to Chalon sur Saone in Summer rather than Spring. There is less chance of the river level being too high for the ship to go under low bridges in the Summer. We passed under many bridges during our cruise and even with the Rhone and Saone "below normal levels" there was not a lot of room between the top deck and the bridge, but we got through them all OK. We reviewed the included and optional tours when we first boarded the ship and made our tour decisions then. I would recommend doing that as some optional tours filled up quickly. We found the included and optional tours to be worth it and well run. Because of the average age of the river cruise passenger (see below) there was always a "Leisurely Group" for the included tours for folks with mobility issues. The Program Director (Mia), the Chef and the dining staff were exceptional. Great food; friendly, professional service (when my wife mentioned that she was on a gluten-free diet, they provided gluten-free croissants - which were delicious). Mia's late afternoon and post-dinner sessions were informative and entertaining. Special thanks go to Doro, our concierge, who was up to any challenge including finding my wife's luggage that Air France lost for two days (tip - if you are traveling with a spouse/partner - pack half of each person's stuff in each checked bag in case one gets lost.) Doro also found a way to package and mail an oversize poster that I purchased back to the states during one of our stops. Eve, the Hotel Manager was also very helpful, offering encouragement friendship and any assistance she could (complimentary clothes laundering,etc.) while my wife was luggage-less. At one point I mentioned to Eve that I had bought an African mango in Avignon. the next day 3 mangoes appeared in our room. There were several "pleasant surprises" like this from the staff throughout our vacation. I also observed both Doro and Eve expertly helping many guests with a number of varied requests/situations during our cruise. Our ports of call were interesting, safe & varied. The staff did a great job of keeping everyone on schedule; pointing out interesting sights and things to do and leaving enough free time for strolling and shopping. There were a couple of ports where we were parked right next to another Viking ship overnight. Other than opening your curtains and being surprised by looking at the window of someone else's room, it wasn't realy much of a negative. The overnight ports are about 50-50 - some in fairly nice areas (Avignon, Lyon, Arles) others in less attractive industrial areas (Chalon sur Saone). We found that the transfers to & from the airport provided by Viking were very efficient. Viking has employees assist you with luggage pickup and other issues (like lost luggage) and checking in to the airline at the airport. You definitely feel you are being well taken care of by Viking. We did find that, while there were some passengers in their 40's and early 50's; and some teens and 20's with families - the majority of our fellow passengers were in their 60's and 70's. Americans, Aussies, Scots and Brits mostly, which made for interesting conversations. We would definitely do another river cruise with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Our tour director referred to our trip as the cruise from hell, so i am not exaggerating. The customer service aspects of how Viking dealt with a catastrophic A/C failure on its ship during a heatwave was telling. First deny the problem, ... Read More
Our tour director referred to our trip as the cruise from hell, so i am not exaggerating. The customer service aspects of how Viking dealt with a catastrophic A/C failure on its ship during a heatwave was telling. First deny the problem, than deflect the blame for the problem, then distract the passengers from the problem. Fixing the problem should have come first. An apology and acknowledgement would have gone a long way, too. First the Good: (1) The fellow travelers were great -- every made the best of a difficult situation. (2) The ships staff and crew - they were troopers and had to put up with the same discomfort that the passengers did, and they did so with charm and good humor. (3) the Itinerary - the towns we visited were well chosen, and the local guides were excellent. (4) The ship (Viking Delling) had everything one would want on a river cruise ship -- the staterooms are well designed, the bathroom is large as far as cruise ships go, and the showers were great (hot water and good pressure). The lounges and common areas were plentiful and well designed. (5) The chef was accommodating to the vegetarians and gluten-free diners in our group. The Mediocre: (1) the food was so-so. It was plentiful, but nothing to write home about. Avoid the soups at all costs. Their version of clam chowder and lobster bisque were watery soups--not a chowder or a bisque. (2) the women in our group complained there was not enough time to shop in the towns we visited. (3) The on board entertainment -- it was basically a Ricky Martin look alike, with a nice voice, at the piano, doing English as a Second Language Karaoke each night in the lounge. The Ugly: (1) the ships air conditioning did not work. The temperature on our trip exceeded 35 C, on some days it got up to 40. Because the ship's A/C didn't work, the temperature in our stateroom exceeded 80 at night, and there were no windows to open so it was impossible to cool down. During dinner, guests at our table took to wrapping ice cubes in napkins, and wrapping the rolled napkins around their necks -- for 3 nights in a row. (2) The Ship and Viking refused to acknowledge that the A/C wasn't working: for a couple days. They blamed the unusually hot weather and said since a ship is made of metal, it was unavoidable that the ship would get this warm. Then one night another Viking ship docked along side us, we were able to walk into their lobby and dining room, and their A/C worked perfectly fine. So instead of fixing the problem, they offered an open bar to distract us. If our crew or Viking had acknowledgment the A/C system failure earlier, it could have called for repairs earlier. Instead they put their head s in the sand and made the passengers suffer. It turns out that the A/C outage was caused by a plastic bag being sucked into a water intake valve. If Viking had sought a repair as soon as the problem was noted, rather than blaming the design of the ship's A/C system or the weather, the problem would have resolved days earlier. (3) The Viking booked air transfers required at least 25-30 passengers to depart the ship at 3 am (luggage out in the hall at 2:15 am) for a 2 hour bus ride to the airport on the last night of the 8 day / 7 night trip. So in effect, it was a 7 day / 6 night trip. Requiring your guests to set alarms at 2 am on the last night of the tour is not a good way to have people remember the trip fondly. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Weather. Our cruise happened to coincide with a severe heat wave in France. High temperatures each day were 90-100+ degrees for the entire cruise. This would have been tolerable if the ship’s air conditioning hadn't started ... Read More
Weather. Our cruise happened to coincide with a severe heat wave in France. High temperatures each day were 90-100+ degrees for the entire cruise. This would have been tolerable if the ship’s air conditioning hadn't started breaking down on Saturday and had pretty much failed completely by Monday in much of the ship. Cabins were only slightly cooler. We were eating in 95+ degree temps in the dining room at dinner Sunday-Tuesday. People brought pillows and bedding up on the sun deck at night to escape the heat in their cabins. The crew did not acknowledge the problem until Monday at the evening briefing. They did declare an open bar, but that was all and then they ran out of ice. The problem was not fixed until 2am Wednesday morning just before we got off. Viking is giving everyone a 25% refund on the cruise in the form of a voucher to be used within 1 year for another cruise. Reasonable if not generous compensation. It is interesting to note that other reviews mentioned that another Viking ship on this route, the Hermod, also had A/C trouble on this route during this time. There may be a fleet wide design problem that needs to be addressed. In the mean time, you can add heat waves/air conditioning failures to high rivers/low bridges as risks to be assessed when thinking about taking this cruise. Embark/debark notes. Wednesday embarkation was quick and easy. A light Lunch was available from 11 am. A short city walk in Avignon started at 2:30. The following Wednesday departure included breakfast. The night before, they figure out when you need to leave based on your travel plans. Some people had to leave at 2 am! You can stay on the ship in the morning until you are scheduled to go but everyone needs to be out of their cabins by 9 am and off the ship by noon. If you stay on the ship until after 11 am, you can grab some of the lunch probably meant for the new passengers. Ports of call. The itinerary was ok, but not spectacular in regard to scenery and sites. I would call it a real second string list. Several of the small towns in the middle seemed identical without much to distinguish them. I can’t even remember their names. I wish they had included Marseille on the coast and eliminated one of the others. There were Roman ruins in several locations that were a high light. The scenery on the river while cruising varies a little bit. Going north, you start out in the flats for a couple of days. Trees line the bank, so you can't see much. It is pretty, but not spectacular. As you go north, the country gets hillier, but no mountains, gorges, or castles. At the end, Burgundy is flatter again. It starts to get light at about 5:30 am. A special treat is to get up the mornings you are cruising and watch an incredible sunrise as you glide down the river. There are lots of swans on the river. An unexpected delight. Unlike ocean cruising, there is absolutely no rocking or sense of motion. We would wake up and have to open the curtains to see if we were moving. The engines are super quiet and smooth. The only time we felt anything was when the ship bumped the sides of the locks. Many of the locks are only a few inches wider than the ship. You can reach out your window and touch the walls. The locks are a minor interruption. Each takes 20 min or so and it is interesting to see the ship rise in each one. Shipboard info. Staff was uniformly excellent. They were hard working, gracious, and provided excellent service. Times for all activities vary from day to day. There is no set schedule like on a large ship. You really need to go to the daily briefing just before dinner to find out what is happening the next day and when. This info is also printed out each evening and left in your cabin. After the briefing, dinner is served. Because there are about 8 waiters for 150 people, they want everyone to arrive at dinner at the same time, not straggle in over the next hour like on big ships. Drinks in the dining room are included. Any drinks purchased in the lounge upstairs need to be paid for. The Delling is 1 year old and still in immaculate condition. Only trouble in our room was toilet flush button was difficult to work. Also, the cabin door would not lock unless pulled shut. Huge expanses of glass everywhere on the ship are great except when it is sunny it can get hot even with the A/C working. There are sheer curtains but no blackout curtains in the public areas. Cabins have blackout and sheer curtains. Hallways are relatively narrow. Two people cannot pass without turning sideways and making room for each other. In our room, there was 18" between 2 sides of bed and the window or cabinets. 2 people could not pass each other to get to the other side of the bed. The bathroom was very small, but had an amazingly efficient layout. The shower stall is long, but very narrow, about 4’ x 2’, but the shower head is very adjustable. We had no problems with water on floor. Lighting for the big mirror in the bath made everything look orange. L'occitane products were a plus. Cabin attendants were very attentive, but unobtrusive. The Aquavit Terrace up front is mostly without a cover and can get hot when the sun is out. It is well shielded from wind and is a great place to watch the scenery go by. This is the only place you can be outside when the sun deck is closed. A continental breakfast and light lunch & dinner are served there. Up on the sun deck, there is some shade, but much if it is open and uncovered. Cruising speeds are slow, so there is not much wind. Reliable, sort of fast Wifi is really only available in the center common areas of the ship. Trying to do anything In your stateroom is irritatingly slow. Near the reception desk is best. You have to log on each day with your cabin # and name, no password. Going north, a cabin on the left side of the ship will face away from the dock most of the time with the exception of Charon where you see a concrete wall 2 ' away. Nice way to end the cruise. Viking does not always have the best docking spots. Maybe because their ships are so big. In Arles, we were a 20 minute bus ride away from town while other ships were docked in town. In Chalon, the dock is an abandoned wharf with rusting warehouses and 20 minutes from town. This was the worst spot of the cruise and it is unfortunate that it came on the last (or first) day of the cruise depending on your direction. Much has been written about the sun deck being closed a lot due to low bridges. I would estimate it was unavailable about 1/4 to 1/3 of the time. There are just chairs and loungers, umbrellas, putting course, shuffleboard, and the herb garden up there. Nothing else, you have to bring up food and drinks from below as there are no waiters. It was hot and kind of desolate up there anyway. Food and Dining. In the dining room, tables are set for 4, 6, 8, or 10. No tables for couples. Tables around the outside of the room are a bit quieter than those in the center. In the center of the dining room is a buffet line. There can be quite a bit of congestion there with people queuing up for breakfast eggs and hot lunch entres. I would avoid sitting near it except at dinner when it is not used. The tables near the edge may or may not have a view depending on what is going on. If they are in the sun, they can be quite hot, even with the sheer drapes closed. Get in early to get the most desirable tables. They fill up quickly. If you sit at the same table you can get to know your waiter and they will remember your preferences. There are no assigned seats, but after a couple of days we ended up looking for people we knew and sitting with them. Meeting new people at each meal the first couple of days can be exhausting. The food on board was generally very good, but there wasn't nearly the variety of a large ship. Some of the dishes were themed around the area we were cruising. I'm sorry, but there was no Baked Alaska Parade. Much but not all of the food is made on board with exceptions like bread. We saw the executive chef in the local markets shopping for local delicacies . There are usually 3 courses plus cheese plate with 3 selections per course. Menus always had meat, fish, and vegetarian options with salmon and rib eye always available. Portions were European sized, ie small, but adequate. The wine included was ok, nothing special. The red changed from merlot to Burgundy as we sailed north. Several people we knew had the upgraded Silver spirits package and were happy with it. Dinner usually lasted about 2 hours from 7-9. Food is not continuously available except some pastries at the coffee stations, and there is no room service. The bottled mineral water, Harz Quell, handed out for tours, had a pronounced mineral taste that we didn't like. The bottled water provided in the cabins and the water in the dining room was fine. Fellow Passengers. About 90% of people on board were 60+ year old retirees with a couple of extended family groups that included working age adults and school aged kids. About 75% were American with about 20% British/Australian/Canadian, and 5% other. Most were very pleasant and easy going. A word to other Americans, most people on this cruise are relatively successful. Please resist the urge to spew your conservative political views, name drop your famous friends, reveal the square footage of your house(s), etc in the first 10 minutes of sitting down with you at dinner. We don’t care. We are on vacation and will never see you again. Your cringe inducing attempt to establish your social status is really obnoxious. If you want to establish your alpha status in this group, buy your table, or even the whole dining room a round of drinks or something so we can toast your success and hopefully not have to listen to you. On the other hand, one of the joys of cruising is meeting people from around the world. We met 2 lovely couples from Australia and spending time with them was one of the highlights of the cruise. Tours, Entertainment, and Enrichment. The entertainment was ok. The highlight was one evening when a group of young people from Lyon did some classical and jazz songs. The nightly pianist in the lounge was ok. The on board "enrichment" lectures and demonstrations, all 2 or 3 of them, were disappointing in quantity and quality and no where near as good as bigger ships. At least there were no “art” auctions or jewelry sales to avoid. The included walking tours in each town ranged from ok to pretty good. The quality of the tour guides seemed to go up as we went north. In the south, the guides seemed especially lackluster. Generally though, the quality of your tour guide seemed to depend on the luck of the draw at each stop. There are included tours, alternative tours, and optional tours. The alternative tours do not cost. The optional tours do cost extra. Not all optional tours listed on the brochure are available. It depends on the schedule and direction of your ship. Alternative tours can be taken instead of the included tours and generally have a more specific focus like Roman architecture or Van Gogh. Optional tours are at other times so you can usually go after the included tours. They do not explain any of this well and want you to sign up for alternative and optional tours on the first night. If you don't, they may run out of room. They want you to sign up so they will know how many buses and guides they will need. The only optional tour we took to Baux was worth the cost. You are supposed to tip the guides 2€ and drivers 1€,so keep a bunch of change and small bills for that. They don't change money on the ship. Unless you skip a walking tour or ditch it (which may not be possible if you were bussed somewhere and it drives the guides crazy anyway) you will not have much free time at each port. Maybe an hour here and there. On the narrow gauge train ride excursion, they warn about ash from the coal burning engine. Do not wear contact lenses on this trip! A thumb drive of over 500 pictures taken by the cruise director was available at the end of the cruise for about 18 euros. If it is available, it is well worth it and an easy way to get a lot of pictures, but keep in mind that they are not made by a professionally photographer. Summary Despite the heat and A/C failure, we had an entertaining and relaxing time which was what we wanted. We will probably take other Viking river cruises. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I must begin this review by noting that: (1) this was our second Viking River Cruise, (2) we are vegetarian, and (3) I am a bit of a wine snob (a self-proclaimed oenophile is the nicer way to put it). This background is essential for our ... Read More
I must begin this review by noting that: (1) this was our second Viking River Cruise, (2) we are vegetarian, and (3) I am a bit of a wine snob (a self-proclaimed oenophile is the nicer way to put it). This background is essential for our first cruise, The Romantic Danube was remarkable and set the standard, and our expectations, for Viking. This cruise, the Portraits of Southern France, when measured against the Danube cruise, failed to measure up, in small and significant ways. THE SHIP The Viking Delling is one of the newest of the Viking Longships, first placed in service last year. It is the standard model of Longships, and but for decorating touches, could easily have been the Viking Idun on which we sailed the Danube. Modern, thoughtfully laid out, it is an excellent craft, but not (see below) particularly well suited to sailing the Rhone River. THE FLIGHTS Viking contracts with Delta Airlines, certainly not my first choice of airline, but we had Viking book the travel so they handled us from home door to home door. The flights to Europe were good, leaving home on a 6 PM flight on a Saturday and arriving Nice at just before noon on Sunday. The transfers went well. So far, so good. THE NICE EXTENSION We opted for the three day Nice extension on the front end of the trip. We felt we couldn't do Paris justice in three days (the back end extension) and would rather visit that city for a longer period. Our hotel was Le Meridien, which sits across the main road from the beach in Nice, a great location to be sure. Our room, on the other hand, was small, and remarkably dark. Le Meridien describes this as "Classic rooms at Le Meridien Nice overlook the quiet hotel patio." It sounds nice enough, but the "patio" was a central courtyard of large pebbles (onto which you cannot go) with four or five large plants in oversize terra-cotta pots. Your view is other rooms (the building is essentially square). And the bed, which seems over large in the hotel's photos, is actually two twin beds pushed together. They are made up separately, so a couple ends up half unmaking the beds to push them together. But try and sleep on them as though they were a king and soon enough they become somewhat. They ought to come with a UK Underground Sign: Mind the Gap. The hotel has a rooftop restaurant with a lovely view of the beach and sea. The menu, at least for vegetarians, is woefully limited (salad anyone, or gluten free penne with red sauce). The only other dining option is the cafe (same menu) located in the Lobby (First) floor, home of the surprisingly good daily breakfast buffet. The tour of Nice was very well handled and the Viking desk (only open a few hours each day) did have suggestions for things to do. We skipped the recommended optional tour to Monaco, not being fans of luxury cars and a preset dinner "with a vegetarian option" the Desk could not describe. We made our way around the city, quite easy to do, for shopping and a stop at the Chagall Museum, one not to be missed. We also visited the street market (on the tram line at Liberation) which made me want to shop for fresh produce and run home to my kitchen. The only real issue I have with Viking is the day of transfer to the Delling. Rather than departing "after breakfast" as the Viking Itinerary says, we were told we would leave at 2 PM. It could have been most of another day in Nice but note that Museums, etc., don't open until 10, you have to get to and from them, and you have to check out by noon. No extension of checkout time was possible (though I wonder if we had upgraded the room at significant personal cost if this would have been the case.)The bus trip to Avignon wasn't bad, but the stop at what would best be called a very nice "NY Thruway/Florida Turnpike rest stop was the highlight of the trip. THE CRUISE We had the same stateroom (Veranda) as on our prior cruise. The room was identical (although the Delling has more 110V outlets than the Idun if memory serves, a real plus for U.S. travelers). And shortly after boarding, things took a turn, not for the better. The Food: We had advised Viking we were vegetarian. On the Danube Cruise we advised the Maitre'd. He said he would review the day's meals with us each morning, advise what was vegetarian, what could easily be made vegetarian for us. If that did not suffice, the chef would go "off menu" to prepare something for us. While the food on that trip leaned toward pasta, it was always well made, al dente and with interesting sauces and accompaniments. Our food on the Delling (and many complimented the non-vegetarian offerings) was adequate at best. The pasta was often overcooked, there were no other grains (save one night of quinoa (also overcooked). There was precious little protein to be found (although, ironically, the only night there was tofu it was served with the quinoa doubling down on protein). Our principal protein source became eggs at breakfast. One lunch meal featured a main vegetarian course of gazpacho (well made, but generally regarded as soup and not an entree). On the third day of the cruise, I did take the Maitre'd aside and explain how the food was not up to the standard set by the Idun. He said he would speak with the chef and would prepare special meals for us. After three days of asparagus and zucchini squash, we looked forward to tasting the chef's creativity. The special meals generally consisted of the standard vegetarian menu item with plain rice or steamed broccoli and cauliflower on the side. Lunch was most often from the salad bar (nicely done), but most prepared salads featured fish or meat, so even they were off limits. All in all not a pleasant experience, and by day four I was beginning to miss my own kitchen. And the wine -there was an experience. On the Idun, we considered upgrading to the Silver Spirits package but opted to try the house wines. They were quite good varietals (white was an Austrian Gruner, red a Hungarian blend) with character. So we figured if we are cruising the Rhone, one of France's premier wine regions, the wines would certainly be serviceable. Not so, not at all. Both were Vin du pays (not entitled to claim an appellation) Chardonnay and Merlot. They were simply mediocre wines with no varietal character whatsoever. Only on two occasions did the red served at dinner reflect the local wines, and while hardly good examples, they were at least serviceable (the white wine stayed poor throughout the cruise). A bit of time on the internet disclosed that the Elegante Chardonnay and Merlot were selling at retail in Europe for the equivalent of $5.50 per bottle. A look at the Silver Spirits package (which would include cocktails and upgraded wine for about $420 as a couple) was equally disappointing. The whites, as an example, reflected few choices from the region through which we were traveling. And the bottle prices (glass prices even worse) shown were between 3 and 4 times the retail price for the same wine in New York. Very few of the wines had a rating higher than 82 on the 100 scale. One fellow traveler who bought the package was told at lunch on the second day (so one meal into the cruise) that regrettably the ship was out of rose wine (the principal wine of Provence). By day three, they were out of her second and third choices as well. The Gift Shop: Normally this wouldn't merit a comment. With limited excursions and a shipboard credit of $125 to spend or lose (it's a benefit from Viking, but we all know it is buried in the cruise price), we decided to purchase some gifts for family and friends (given the precious little shopping time once we left Nice). Oddly the ship was out of many items, the fleece jackets were available in XS or XL or XXL only. "Sadly, we are out of that" became the watchword of this cruise. Shipboard Life: One of the things we liked about the Danube cruise on the Idun was the ability to sit in a chaise lounge on the upper deck while sailing. There you could actually take good photos, read, walk on the walking track, and just relax. Only rarely, on one stretch of the Danube was the deck unavailable due to a couple of low bridges. On the Rhone, even though the water levels were slightly below normal, the upper deck was available only twice and briefly at that during the entire cruise. Here the standard Viking Longboat design failed given the river on which it was being used. Instead, we had the option of our rooms or the lounge, which doesn't actually accommodate the full passenger compliment. Photographs through plate glass windows of the lounge or the plexiglass surrounding the small forward deck were uniformly bad, regardless of the camera used. We did note that other Cruise Lines with similar (if not as new or seemingly elegant) boats had their sun decks usable much of the time. The Places and the Tours: One principal difference between the Romantic Danube and this cruise was the tours in the stops along the way. The POSF stops in smaller towns which, in turn, means the walking tours tend to be more focused on a few sights. The tour guides were, on the whole, excellent, passionate about their home areas and the history to be found there. They do tend to go on at length. When you have fewer sights to see, and the guide feels obligated to talk for the full 3 hours or so, you often get more depth than you ever wanted. Arles' Roman Amphitheatre was interesting, but a shorter visit and less history would have sufficed (since there were other Roman ruins later on the cruise). The Palais du Papes, in Avignon, was initially fascinating. The two hours spent (I don't really care what they ate or whether they had forks [they didn't - they weren't invented in the 13th century]) was exhausting to the ears and feet. More time to shop and to investigate would have been much appreciated. In fact, the only significant shopping time during the cruise was in Tournon. That port of call left us a couple of hours before the main tours to Tain Hermitage (a wine tasting) and the Steam Railroad (which we canceled at the last minute given the heat, only to discover fellow travelers returning to the boat covered in coal soot from the engine). The one exception to the quality of the tour guides was the afternoon walking tour of Lyon. For me, it evoked painful memories of forced marches in my military training may years ago (when I had younger legs and more patience). What was lacking (and often will be on such cruises) was any meaningful interaction with the local population, unless you stopped in a small cafe and made your own contacts (and the French aren't the most welcoming of Americans). Another problem, particularly for my wife who wears hearing aids (not uncommon with the passenger profile Viking draws), is the QuietVox system. In Nice they use a version that has a standard 3.5 mm plug. My earphones would work, many audio assist devices would work. On the ships, they use QuietVox systems with a proprietary connection. Only their earpieces (one over the ear) would work. They have very cheap speakers (since they don’t recycle but dispose of them). A tinny sound is available at best, and for my wife I had to become here simultaneous translator. The Last Stop: One of the greater shocks of the tour was our arrival in Chalone-Sur-Saone. Cruising past a lovely town center (where another line River Cruise Ship was docked), this seemed like a perfect town in which to end the journey. But we cruised on until we docked at a worn down commercial pier outside of town with rusting pier buildings and rusting cranes. The tour to Beaune was lovely, stopping in a vineyard along the way, and may well have been the highlight tour of the trip (with a bit of shopping time, if only we had the energy to actually shop). The Bad News: We were in for one more unpleasant surprise, and another example of the “marketing hyperbole” of Viking. Remember, this was sold as an 8 day, 7-night cruise. Day one, for us, and many who did not do a front end extension began in the late afternoon and wasn't much of a day at all. But the real shock came when we learned that day 8, for us, would begin at 1:30 in the morning.This was to allow time for a quick shower before having our bags outside our door at 2:05 AM. We departed the boat in the dead of night for the 1 1/2 hour bus ride back down the river to Lyon where we arrived at the airport (actually the airport train station and not the airport itself) around 4:40. There we got to drag our bags (under the watchful eye, but not helpful hands) of the Viking representatives through the terminal and eventually to the Aiport departure terminal. Oddly, cars seemed quite able to pull up to the doors of the airline terminal and deposit passengers so why we could not is a mystery for which the Viking rep provided no answer. There we checked ourselves in and then had to wait for baggage check in to open (seems the airport doesn't actually open until around 5 AM). If Viking were honest they would tell you that you are paying for an 8-day, 7-night tour. But you will get, at best, 7 1/2 days and depending on where you live, six nights and a few hours of sleep (remember in Chalone you are a virtual prisoner of the port since you are so far from town and dinner isn't served until a bit after 7 PM). You will sail on a boat with a useless sun deck so you will spend free time in your room or a crowded lounge (care to buy a drink perhaps?). SUMMARY Our intended "once in a lifetime" cruise (Romantic Danube) became, thanks to the superb experience Viking provided, a first in a lifetime cruise. This Cruise has definitely become our last ever Viking River Cruise. Perhaps the experience we had on the Idun is the rule and the Rhone Cruise on the Delling is the exception. But with what Viking charges for adequate food, bad wine, etc. we aren't willing to spend more than $10,000 to find out. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We booked our family river cruise through Viking and it started to unravel from day one. The cruise was due to depart from Chalon-sur-Saone, I suspected something was wrong when the taxi driver and hotel receptionist (all locals) said ... Read More
We booked our family river cruise through Viking and it started to unravel from day one. The cruise was due to depart from Chalon-sur-Saone, I suspected something was wrong when the taxi driver and hotel receptionist (all locals) said Viking have trouble starting from this port at this time of the year as the river is high and they expected we would be bussed to Lyon (where I had paid the day before EUR 250 to transfer from), they were right. After a monty-python type transfer back to Lyon arranged by Viking that at one stage had a group of passengers standing with bags in some far flung Lyon tennis club we were eventually transferred to the boat after close to 3 hours in a bus. We were stuck on the boat in Lyon for around 3.5 days staring at a graffiti decorated dock with teenagers urinating around us on what turned out to be a concert site over a bank holiday weekend. The rest of the Lyon experience was one of a bus vacationers dream (not a river cruise). Some five hours total time on a bus to visit Beaune for instance. The crew point to disclaimers in the ticket, however, given that high water on the Rhone is usual for this time of year the cruise line could have foreseen this, interestingly they have taken Chalon-sur-Saone out of their 2016 destination list. On day 6 we were due to sail to Tarascon for a visit to Arles, this did not happen so another port struck from the experience. We missed out on this port because of "too many vessels in the port"!!!!, so back on the bus for more shuttle misery. The staff on board worked hard and tried to make up for the shortfalls and I have no quarrel with them. The boat is just fine as a vessel. The cruise company did not plan an itinerary that they could reasonably deliver against and they don't seem to care about throwing their guests on miserable long bus rides to make up. I will look into my Australian consumer rights to see what can be done to claim. One last delightful point, we booked a suite to use the well-advertised balcony and look out over the river. As we are tied up in Avignon all I can see is into the bedroom of another Viking ship tied up alongside, I hope they enjoy the view of the river I paid for. I flew my family from Australia for this experience, I advise other travellers to be very careful of this company and avoid this particular cruise like the plague (unless you like bus holidays). Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Two weeks ago as we drove to the airport, we received an email from Viking Cruise Lines that because of rising water levels in Southern France, our ship would not be waiting for us at our departure point in Avingnon. Instead we would be ... Read More
Two weeks ago as we drove to the airport, we received an email from Viking Cruise Lines that because of rising water levels in Southern France, our ship would not be waiting for us at our departure point in Avingnon. Instead we would be staying at a Novotel. There was no estimate as to how long we would be quartered there. While the hotel room itself was sufficient the food was below Viking's standards - one might say the food was inedible. Breakfast service was chaotic and overall attention to detail was lacking. During the 2 1/2 days we stayed in Avingnon we were bused to our destinations (often on trips that were more than 1 hour long). Finally we were taken to the ship (the Delling) - another 2+ hours on the bus. After boarding the ship we cruised for a total of 2 1/2 hours, from Vienne to Lyon. Our dream vacation became exactly what we were not looking for - a bus trip - getting up early to get on the bus and then traveling for hours to our next tourist destination. After the cruise was over we were on a bus for over 7 hours to Paris, where our 5 star hotel was a complete joke. The Warwick has seen better days and the room definitely needed to thorough cleaning. We contacted Viking on our arrival home - May 17 and still have had no word from them. While the ship itself was lovely and we don't blame Viking for the rising waters, we believe that they have handled this problem in an unacceptable manner. It is our understanding that Viking was well aware of the problem at least a week before departure and chose to notify passengers on their way to France the day before so that it would not be possible to cancel. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
On our way to the airport on May 5 we received an email from Viking River Cruises telling us that because of rising water levels, our ship, the Delling, would not be able cruise. We would be housed in a hotel, the Novotel, for at least 1 ... Read More
On our way to the airport on May 5 we received an email from Viking River Cruises telling us that because of rising water levels, our ship, the Delling, would not be able cruise. We would be housed in a hotel, the Novotel, for at least 1 night in Avignon. While we were disappointed we understood that this was something out of Viking's control. However, I was concerned that the Novotel would not meet the standards of a Viking Cruise and I called Viking from the airport asking them for more information and what steps they were taking to make sure we got our money's worth from this trip. The representative I spoke with would not give me any further information. Upon arrival in Avignon we were brought to the hotel via bus. The hotel was adequate the food less than adequate. We were served 5 meals at the Novotel, none of them close to the quality we expected from a Viking cruise. We spent 2 1/2 days at the hotel and instead of cruising to our daily destinations, we were bussed everywhere. Our guides were good but the trips to and from our destinations seemed interminable and were exactly what we hoped to avoid when we booked a river cruise. We finally were brought to the Delling on the 3rd night. The next morning it was back on the bus with lunch at a restaurant - not at all what was promised in the itinerary. We finally cruised from Vienne to Lyon for 2 1/2 hours. That was the full extent of being moving on the water. The bus trips were long and arduous, not at all relaxing. Again, we had lunch at restaurants that were just adequate. We had booked a 3 night extension to Paris. Because we couldn't cruise to our final destination, it took a 7 hour bus trip to get there, not arriving until 4:00. Most of the day was gone by the time we arrived. Our 5 star hotel turned out to be a tired Warwick Hotel that needed to refurbished and thoroughly cleaned. From the hair in the bathtub to no doorman most of the time, it was certainly not worth what we paid for it. I contacted Viking when I got home and was astounded that the customer service department was not available because they were all on a cruise! They would not be listening to their voice mail and would only check email periodically. It is over a week since we returned and have not heard anything from Viking. Not even a form letter apologizing for the circumstances of our cruise. We have subsequently found out that Viking knew of the problem a week before the cruise but didn't notify any of the passengers until it would be too late to cancel. It seems this happens frequently in the spring, but we were never told that this might happen. We would never have booked the trip if we knew that there was a good chance that it would not be allowed to embark. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Having had a wonderful cruise on the Seine (Paris-North-Paris) we looked forward to the Portraits of Southern France. The Viking dock site in Chalon is not a beautiful but we enjoyed the walks away from the ship. We were surprised when ... Read More
Having had a wonderful cruise on the Seine (Paris-North-Paris) we looked forward to the Portraits of Southern France. The Viking dock site in Chalon is not a beautiful but we enjoyed the walks away from the ship. We were surprised when we were told that we were having to hurry along to get to Lyon because we needed to pass through the locks before May 1 closures due to May Day. Since May Day arrives annually on May 1, we were disappointed that whoever made up the schedules hadn't taken this into account. Instead our itinerary was changed to get us to Lyon quickly. Lyon is a great place to visit and we enjoyed the walking tour. The Delling is lovely. We reserve the least expensive cabin when we travel because we only sleep in it. That means we enjoy what the rest of the ship offers. We appreciate that the libraries on the French cruises stock information, fiction, non-fiction that relates to the areas through which we pass. From Lyon we went to Vienne. And that was the end of our cruise. High waters caused the river to be closed. From then on we were on a bus tour. But with a bus tour, one progresses on one's journey. We had to travel the same roads every day for longer and longer times to access the rest of the itinerary, returning to the ship each night. Boring and tedious are not words that one should have to use to describe an expensive holiday. The program staff tried its best, but they lost sleep communicating with Viking land crew about changing itinerary and new arrangements for guides and midday meals. They also had to deal with answering questions to which there were no answers. They were stressed and it showed. We hadn't expected that we would have to be supplying moral support to staff on our holiday. Luckily the problems didn't affect the dining room and the food and service continued to be good. Viking does state in the fine print that gets mailed to guests that it cannot be responsible for weather and water conditions. True. But this is not pointed out when one books the cruise, not is there any mention of possible problems. And we are still trying to figure out how the May Day mix-up came about! Anybody who travels in Europe is aware of May Day closures. Viking offered compensation: $688.88 US on each ticket. We are Canadians and the Canadian dollar is worth about 80 cents to the American dollar. This offer was good for one year. We asked that it be a cash settlement instead since our holiday plans do not include annual cruises. Request denied. We asked that the offer be extended for the same reason. Request denied. Are we being cynical if we suggest that Viking uses bad sailing experiences as a means of selling next year's cruises by offering minimal compensation as a bait to spend thousands more dollars? We are rethinking our future holiday plans. A quality bus tour is beginning to look good! Balcony Boy Read Less
Sail Date April 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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