5 Viking River Viking Delling First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
We sailed from Avignon upriver on the Rhone on the Viking Delling. The weather turned out warmer and sunnier than we had anticipated. We didn't do any extra days before or after the cruise, but had we known what this part of France ... Read More
We sailed from Avignon upriver on the Rhone on the Viking Delling. The weather turned out warmer and sunnier than we had anticipated. We didn't do any extra days before or after the cruise, but had we known what this part of France was like, we would have stayed a couple extra days in Lyon. Almost all the land tours, whether free or paid were worth it. The free city tour of Arles was better than the extra fee Van Gogh tour, as they overlapped most of the same places. We skipped the extra fee Chateanueuf du Pape land tour, as the Chateau was just ruins and it was more focused on the winery. We took the extra fee land tour to Les Baux and St. Remy (the sanitarium where Van Gogh painted many of his works. Les Baux was a fasinating mountain village well worth the bus trip. We explored most of the city of Avignon on foot for a whole day. We couldn't get on the extra fee Vienne Mini-train trip as there weren't enough seats on the train, but the free city tour of Vienne was good. The free city tours of Lyon were definitely worth the time. We also took the free bus tour of Beaune, which had a beautiful hospital built in 1443. Food and wine on the cruise was excellent. The staff were attentive and friendly. Viking took care of us getting from Marseille airport to Avignon (our flight was delayed several hours because of an air traffic controller strike in France) and from Chalon-sur-Saone to Lyon airport. One recommendation is to book returning flights for after 10 AM, or you might be getting up at 4 AM to catch your flight home. Overall, we would highly recommend this river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We didn't know what to expect- this was our first ever cruise. It was practically perfect! Only negative was a day or two of rain, but you can't blame that on Viking! They thoughtfully had large umbrellas available for us to ... Read More
We didn't know what to expect- this was our first ever cruise. It was practically perfect! Only negative was a day or two of rain, but you can't blame that on Viking! They thoughtfully had large umbrellas available for us to borrow. We had plenty of storage available in our cabin-- very well designed, so the size didn't feel "small". We booked when the cruise was almost sold out, so we had just a standard cabin available. That worked out to be no problem. We were rarely in our cabin (sleep and shower), so we wouldn't have used the balcony much anyway. The food, wine and service: impeccable! The daily specials offered for lunch and dinner were representative of the area we were visiting. If you didn't want to try the local food, 3 other main courses were always available. The breakfast buffets were ourstanding- and if you wanted and omlette or eggs benedict, etc, they were cooked to order. The boat was perfectly clean. The staff, very attentive. The shore excursions-- we had headsets that allowed us to hear our local guide, and he/she could talk at a normal speaking level. In other words, we weren't listening to a canned, pre-recorded speech. The excursions were also very well planned. Onboard, the activities director provided entertainment each day (afternoon, evenings after dinner) that provided information about the local culture of the area we would be visiting the next day. European vacations in the past consisted of following the Rick Steves books. This time, we decided to let someone else (Viking) see through all of the details. It was wonderful to just unpack once, sit back, and enjoy the entire trip. When one considers the cost of travel from one city to the next, transportation within a city to see the sights, entrance fees for sights, meals in restaurants, hotels, etc., to say nothing of language barriers--we thought the Viking cruise was a very good value. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Viking Delling Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness & Recreation 1.0 N/A
Family 1.0 3.4
Shore Excursions 5.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 5.0 4.8
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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