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41 Viking River Marseille Cruise Reviews

This was our second river cruise, and about our 30th cruise overall. The longship is new, well thought out overall, and the food excellent. The experience was much better than I expected and for our cabin (lowest price), pricing was much ... Read More
This was our second river cruise, and about our 30th cruise overall. The longship is new, well thought out overall, and the food excellent. The experience was much better than I expected and for our cabin (lowest price), pricing was much less than what we received. There are daily shore excursions included and with 1 exception the guides were excellent. The crew is exceptional, looking to make things better, not just waiting at the counter receiving requests: For example, we had a long trip from home to the ship, my wife was exhausted, and laid out on a sofa, head on my lap,until our room was ready. One of the crew saw this, and went and expedited the room availability. 10 minutes after she talked to us, she came back, insisted on carrying our carry-on bags, escorted us to the room with keys in hand. The only crew member who was not exceptional is the concierge. She was unreliable in following through when she said she would be available. She could offer only online web site information, and tickets she got for us in Paris required us to pick then up at a site 10 miles away from the museum, and at a different location. The Viking representative at the hotel, when shown our voucher tells us on arrival: "Why did she do that? The hotel concierge can sell tickets right here, at a lower price than that." When a discounted trip from Budapest becomes available, we will definitely use Viking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Although we had difficulties with the Viking-arranged flight reservations to France, the rest of the vacation was EXCELLENT! The cabin was just roomy enough and the accommodations were first-rate. The food was superb. I especially ... Read More
Although we had difficulties with the Viking-arranged flight reservations to France, the rest of the vacation was EXCELLENT! The cabin was just roomy enough and the accommodations were first-rate. The food was superb. I especially appreciated the fresh local fare and the extra effort that the galley staff put in to make sure everything was as fresh as possible. The meal service was excellent. The service staff were courteous, efficient and charming, for the most part. Shore excursions were very good, although some of the docents were a bit "long-winded" and took more time than we expected, leaving little or no time for anything other than the formal tour, such as visiting other sites, shopping or eating at a local restaurants. Our captain was wonderful - she was amazingly skilled and fully in command. The respect for her among the crew was obvious. It was a real treat to have a woman in charge! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The longship accommodation was excellent bearing in mind limited space and my partner and I had no trouble in storing clothes and belongings. The food was excellent and always well presented. It was never of the "steak and ... Read More
The longship accommodation was excellent bearing in mind limited space and my partner and I had no trouble in storing clothes and belongings. The food was excellent and always well presented. It was never of the "steak and chips" variety although we did have a beautifully tender "chateaubriand" one night. The excursions were well planned and organised and very interesting. The lady who took us round Cluny was a quite brilliant communicator and very knowledgeable. The captain and staff were charming and always helpful. My only complaints were the fault of "Head Office"s lack of communication. You failed to tell us that we could have had three days to start with on the "cote d'azure" You changed the time of the first outward plane because we did not have time to make the connection at Schiphol: this resulted in us setting off at 3.00am and hanging about in Amsterdam for three hours. On the return journey at Lyon no-one explained that the coach could not enter the airport and had to stop at the TGV train station. You can imagine the confusion this caused. I was the only one in the group who spoke French and fortunately could grasp the situation and what needed to be done! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was my 2nd river cruise with Viking and I have already booked my next one with them. Boat and service was up to the normal Viking standard, very good. Viking didn't recognise that we were 2nd time travellers. We were told ... Read More
This was my 2nd river cruise with Viking and I have already booked my next one with them. Boat and service was up to the normal Viking standard, very good. Viking didn't recognise that we were 2nd time travellers. We were told we would find something in our room. It was sent to another room, when it did turn up it was a bottle of the same free wine that we had been drinking all week. The last port we docked at was Chalon-sur-Saone, which is a very nice town, but we docked in a unused run down port. Opposite the boat when we docked was a make shift bar that looked very rough. People I spoke to on our trip also felt like myself, which was uneasy to be in this area and didn't want to go for a walk after dinner, and it is a quite a walk into town. Other boats of the same size were using the water edge dock nearer the town centre. We booked this cruise after looking at out flight times, but Viking gave us later flights. On the walking tour of Lyon we had a local guide who seem to know very little about the town and seem to keep looking at her mobile. I am hoping the next trip is of a better standard. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The bathroom floor is 2-3 inches higher than the stateroom floor. On the second night, I got up to use the bathroom and tripped and fell on the ledge. I hurt my back and my shin. I spent the entire next day in bed iceing my injuries. I ... Read More
The bathroom floor is 2-3 inches higher than the stateroom floor. On the second night, I got up to use the bathroom and tripped and fell on the ledge. I hurt my back and my shin. I spent the entire next day in bed iceing my injuries. I was in moderate to mild pain the rest of the trip. Three weeks later, I still have bruises on my back and a bump on my shin. In my opinion, the stateroom is very poorly designed. I don't think most people expect to have to step up to entire the bathroom. Every other cruise line I have been on, has the bathroom floor on the same level as the stateroom floor. Several other people I spoke with complained about the design also. It seems as though Viking has neglected to consider the safety of its passengers. The ship was clean, the staff were friendly and helpful and the tour guides were very knowledgeable. Unfortunately, it was all over-shadowed by my fall and injury. I also must comment on the food. Many of the dishes were overcooked. The lamb was tough and dry, the fish dry and overcooked as was the coq au vin. The Eggs Benedict was good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
From when we started the booking process until we were helped to check in at the airport for the return flight, everything was excellent. We were met at the airport by a Viking representative and led to a Mercedes taxi to meet the boat at ... Read More
From when we started the booking process until we were helped to check in at the airport for the return flight, everything was excellent. We were met at the airport by a Viking representative and led to a Mercedes taxi to meet the boat at Avignon. We had previously been bused on other cruises, but as we were the only couple on this flight and they didn't want us to have to wait, we were on our way immediately. We were met at the ship by the Program Director which made us feel very special. Our room was immediately available which was so nice after the long journey. We chose this cruise because we had been on two others and thoroughly enjoyed the "Viking Experience". It was nice this time because we could look forward to the elements that we enjoy about Viking. Everything is so well organized and efficient. Nothing is too much trouble. The boat itself is spotlessly clean and the rooms are tidied and checked twice a day. The food is delicious and plentiful and the wines have been carefully selected and flow freely at lunch and dinner. We like the fact that the cruises are smaller and are really only catered to adults. We enjoyed the onboard talks and games. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and we enjoyed all the excursions. We would be very happy to enjoy another river cruise and are hoping to do one of the ocean cruises in the not too distant future. Viking is definitely the way to go! Thanks very much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have done many ocean cruises, but my wife occasionally would get sea-sick. We decided to try a river cruise and based on this experience will be doing many more. The Viking Delling was a great ship and the people we met were very ... Read More
We have done many ocean cruises, but my wife occasionally would get sea-sick. We decided to try a river cruise and based on this experience will be doing many more. The Viking Delling was a great ship and the people we met were very friendly. We became good friends with 4 other couples (10 people in total). We are planning on being on another cruise together in 2016. The activities were just the right intensity and most of the excursions were included (we only added one). The food was very good and the accommodations nice. The best thing was my wife didn't have the slightest bit of motion sickness. Highly recommend this ship and Viking in general. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our second river cruise - first on Viking. We were luckier than a lot of people in that we had excellent weather and no problems with locks or high water, etc. Would not cruise the Rhône again - quite industrial with many locks ... Read More
This was our second river cruise - first on Viking. We were luckier than a lot of people in that we had excellent weather and no problems with locks or high water, etc. Would not cruise the Rhône again - quite industrial with many locks and not as pretty as the Seine. The transfers were excellent; the ship was very nice; cabins comfortable; service excellent and the included side trips were fine; we also did not have much access to the sun deck - and the outside seating area at the bow of the ship is quite small. Dining - oh what a disappointment. We were looking forward to local dishes and wines - not so. The buffet lunch consisted every day of pasta tossed with olive oil, spinach and tomatoes - with accompanying salads - every day. Dinners were hit and miss - Quality and quantity just not there - seems that Viking was trying to cut corners - at least on this ship. Breakfasts were good - eggs cooked to order, smoked salmon. Cheeses, cold cuts, etc. The complimentary wines were inferior. Definitely below expectations. We spent three days in Paris at the end of the cruise at the Meridien Etoile - nice room and very central to the metro and the Air France office across the street - very kindly pointed out to us by Bernard, Viking's host at the hotel. Convenient to walk across the street to print out boarding passes and check seats. Our transfer from hotel to de Gaulle airport was brilliant - our Viking host was on top of everything and stayed with us until we went through security. No standing in line whatsoever. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
From our first day on board, we were very impressed with the tour director, crew, accommodations and food. Everyone was courteous, efficient and more than accommodating. When our luggage did not arrive with us, the tour director and ... Read More
From our first day on board, we were very impressed with the tour director, crew, accommodations and food. Everyone was courteous, efficient and more than accommodating. When our luggage did not arrive with us, the tour director and concierge were more than helpful and we received our bags the next day. The food was fabulous and the excursions were very well planned and executed. We are already planning for our next Viking river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I booked a package directly from Viking including RT air, 7 night cruise from Avignon to Chalon sur Saone, 3 night extension in Paris, and all transfers. We flew into Marseilles where a representative took us to a waiting transfer bus. ... Read More
I booked a package directly from Viking including RT air, 7 night cruise from Avignon to Chalon sur Saone, 3 night extension in Paris, and all transfers. We flew into Marseilles where a representative took us to a waiting transfer bus. The cruise was very good. Our cabin was a category A veranda on deck 3. Cabin was well appointed. The bed was comfortable. The lighting was excellent. Although the bathroom was small, it was well organized. The L'Occitane bath products were very good. The bath towels and bed linens were extremely nice. Our cabin stewardess promptly serviced our cabin whenever we went to breakfast or dinner. There was also bottled water in the cabin. Electrical outlets were in pairs. 110v and 220v on both bed stands and in other locations. Hairdryer dried my hair. It was better than many other cruise lines. Included tours were good. We opted for the leisure tours and were happy with the pace. The audio listening device was excellent. Food on the ship was good. Dinner had 3 menu choices that changed nightly and 3 standard options ( steak, chicken, and salmon). I ate all my meals in the main restaurant. I loved the Taste of Provence lunch buffet. The included beer and wine with meals was good. The docking locations were not always in good locations. It would have been better if they docked in places where you could just walk off and be in a town or offer shuttle service in all ports. A shuttle bus was offered only in Tarascon going to Arles. Entertainment was limited to a piano player and some local entertainers. There was a lecture or selling event in Lyon on silk scarves. The scarves were not all silk and were priced too high. A rayon scarf for 59euros was the cheapest on the ship. I did not buy any scarves at that sale. I did buy some beautiful silk scarves in Paris. The transfer from Chalon to Paris was by bus. We stopped for a brief walking tour and lunch in Auxerre. We arrived in Paris and were taken to the wrong hotel. The guide insisted that we were in the right place. Only after we showed her the printed paper with the hotel location, did she apologize. That mishap delayed our arrival at our Paris Hotel by more than an hour. The included hotel was the St. James Albany Hotel on Rue Rivoli. Location was excellent. It was across from the Louvre and Tuilleries Gardens. Metro line 1 had a stop close to the hotel. Included breakfasts were average. The hotel room was dark and dirty. Linens were terrible. It was not nearly as good as our cruise experience. The restaurant at the hotel was 202 Rue Rivoli. We ate dinner there one evening. I made the reservation on tripadvisor and saved 20% off the entire bill. The food was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We just returned from our long-anticipated Viking river cruise in France and came away wishing we had paid closer attention to the itinerary (Portraits of France) as our expectations were not met. We made assumptions (based on ... Read More
We just returned from our long-anticipated Viking river cruise in France and came away wishing we had paid closer attention to the itinerary (Portraits of France) as our expectations were not met. We made assumptions (based on Viking's marketing and other friends cruise experiences in other countries and on other cruise lines) about what a river cruise would entail and felt if we had known what to pay attention to, we would have chosen a different itinerary and possibly a different cruise line. Our main disappointments were as follows: 1) there was minimal to no time to spend on either our balcony or topside due to touring schedule and/or time of day we were sailing.We expected to see scenic vistas while sailing, but instead saw miles of flat farmland...AND much of the sailing took place at night and we saw nothing 2) we also anticipated time to leisurely stroll through quaint towns where we docked, but instead oftentimes were docked in industrial settings where our stateroom view was an abandoned,graffiti-laden warehouses. On only two occasions were we close enough to walk into the town for a very short period of time. 3) the 7 day agenda was very structured and very fast-paced....not conducive to relaxation and independent exploration. 4) dinners got tedious as there was only one dining time (7pm) and we quickly saw that passengers would line up 15-20 minutes early outside the dining rom in order to secure specific seating. The 'Captain's Dinner' was quite humorous because the Captain did not attend it nor did the Captain speak English (all passengers were from U.S., Canada and Australia). 5) do NOT pay extra for the elite beverage package...definitely not worth the cost. My advice to anyone looking to take a river cruise: pay attention to the # of passengers, the sailing timeline, the scenery that you can expect to see, the amount of free time and proximity to towns, the ability to dine off the ship at least once. AND...read reviews from passengers who have been on the cruise ( ship and itinerary) you are considering! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Although all details of our outward and homeward journeys from and to Bristol went according to plan, felt that as we lived in Bristol and had an airport that flew direct to Marseille, the fact that we had to go via Amsterdam which ... Read More
Although all details of our outward and homeward journeys from and to Bristol went according to plan, felt that as we lived in Bristol and had an airport that flew direct to Marseille, the fact that we had to go via Amsterdam which incorporated 2 flights each way was definitely not in our best interest. The 'Buri' was indeed all that we had hoped for and more in that it was kept immaculately clean and well maintained and the staff were all very friendly and willing to help in any way they could. The food was definitely all that we had anticipated with wine flowing freely during lunch and dinner periods. We had previously spent a river cruise on the Rhine not with Viking, and were disappointed that when we docked we then had to be coached to places of interest, whereas on the Rhine we actually docked at the places of interest and were able to wander at will and not constantly being put onto coaches. The guides that were provided for these on shore excursions were excellent and very knowledgeable, and although my husband is hard of hearing, with the 'walkie talkie' devices we were given, he was able to heard all the relevant information, which certainly helped with his enjoyment of this holiday. However, we were not impressed that the sun deck was not accessible for quite a large amount of the time we were on board,and also that the latter part of our 'cruise' we were berthed in Lyon and had to be coached to the latter destination as the ship couldn't navigate under the bridges owing to the swollen river! We felt that the Viking ships were too large for this particular river and would have been better being one deck less, thus allowing people to enjoy the advertised river cruise and not glorified coach trip. Perhaps a suggestion to remedy this complaint might be to make use of local day excursion boats instead of coaches, thus still having a river view of the surrounding countryside. Our friends had paid £800 more than us for a balcony and spent 3 days not being able to pull their curtains back as we were moored alongside another Viking ship until such time as the river allowed the inside ship to sail. and their cabin looked directly into the other ship, which reading other reviews appears to be a common complaint. All in all we did enjoy the trip - staff and ship first class, but feel that the above issues do need to be resolved before we will be taking a cruise with Viking again, or in fact any river cruise line if this is common practice. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We booked this cruise as at the last moment, the cruise we had planned on Danube from Budapest to Germany got canceled becuase the ship was damaged and had to go into dry dock for repairs. Our pick up at Marsailles airport was well done. ... Read More
We booked this cruise as at the last moment, the cruise we had planned on Danube from Budapest to Germany got canceled becuase the ship was damaged and had to go into dry dock for repairs. Our pick up at Marsailles airport was well done. So from June 22 through June 30 we were on the Viking Buri, a brand new ship for 2014. Upon arrival at the Buri, we were told we could not sail as scheduled the next day, Monday June 23, was Bastille Day, a French national holiday and the river locks would be closed! Question was immediate, why did not Viking know this in advance?? A preview of things to come! We remained tied up until Tuesday. As the river was up a bit (high water), the top (observation deck) was closed as the Buri was too high to pass under the bridges with the deck set up for use with chairs and awnings. We were told it took two hours to take down everything on the top deck and two hours to set it up so since the bridges were closer together than four hours, the deck would remain closed. So that meant 190 or so unhappy passengers would have to try to find room on the small bow observation deck where there was room for possibly 50+. Due to the river height the Buri was trapped at Lyon between low bridges. So we ended up in Lyon, where we stayed for four days. The Buri was tied up next to her sister ship which blocked any view of Lyon. The dock area was far from the city center dock so it meant getting a taxi or a long hoofing to get out of the industrial area into the city proper. We ended up getting bussed to the various sights but it was a long walk to get to the bus pickup area, a problem for those on board who could not walk long distances. The river at our docking area stank badly also making the observation bow deck unpleasant and generally prevented anyone from opening their cabin windows if they were on the left side of the Buri. Those on the right side looked directly into the sister ship, several feet away, not exactly pleasant. Our weather was hot (90+ F) but the Buir's cooling system kept the ship very comfortable. Naturally a fair number of passengers raised holy heck about the situation. Unfortunately there was nothing the staff, crew or ship's officers could do about the situation. Nothing was ever heard from Viking Corporate Management about the situation. Management did not handle the situation very well at all. Obviously some part of Management had put the new Bari and sister ship on this river without regard to the ships overall size and cruising conditions on the river. Essentially a very stupid Management decision. There was no mention at the time of any compensation or partial refund which would have gone a long way to calming some passengers (nor even a free open bar). Upon returning to the USA, I heard some had later received a letter about what happened, but I did not get one. Overall, very poorly handled by Viking!! The staff and crew were excellent under this trying situation. If you had to get trapped on the river, at least being in Lyon was better than being stuck in one of the other much smaller towns and villages. Many of us on board, did our best to make our extended Lyon stay as good as possible. Our shipmates overall were a good, friendly bunch of people from all over the world. Our dining was excellent with a variety of choices always available for each meal. Service by the wait staff was excellent. The lunch and dinner wine/beer or other selections were not top-shelf but still good. Our room was serviced very well each day. Several evenings there was entertainment in the lounge which most enjoyed. Some passengers who paid the somewhat expensive up-tic for drinks were disappointed at the lack of selection and variety. On a previous Alaska cruise in 2013, our small 50 passenger ship had a much better stocked bar and at lower prices. SUMMARY - I have been asked by friends if I would choose Viking again and, honestly, I have to say no, mostly due to the lack of response from their Top Managment. It is difficult to accept that Bastille Day popped up out of nowhere for them and that by late June, that no one was aware (concerned) that the ships could not always pass under the bridges on the sailing route. What really dismays me is that the Viking 2015 Cruise Brochure shows the Buir and her sister ship still scheduled to sail for this particular voyage. DON'T THEY LEARN ! ! ! ! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We really enjoyed the cruise from beginning to end! There are a few areas which could use some minor changes to attract a younger crowd. Most of the guests on our cruise seemed to be in their 60s-70's and older. We are in our ... Read More
We really enjoyed the cruise from beginning to end! There are a few areas which could use some minor changes to attract a younger crowd. Most of the guests on our cruise seemed to be in their 60s-70's and older. We are in our 50's, so some things weren't quite as suited to us. The piped in music, individual cabin music , and the piano player played music more suited to an older crowd. The shore excursions were historically educational and offered walking opportunities. We took all the excursions possible and did enjoy them. This walking tour opportunity allowed a close up look at the cities we visited and gave an opportunity to shop and enjoy the historical sites. I was concerned that many of the guests in their 70's and older, who had canes, would have trouble with these walks, but all seemed okay with mobility, although sometimes they lagged behind. We attended the educational talks on the ship but knew much of the material already, having prepared before the trip. The servers were excellent and helpful, their English skills were very good, without heavy accents. The servers worked hard to bring whatever was asked of them and took special care of my husbands food allergies, which was greatly appreciated. The food portions were smaller than on a typical American cruise, but much more healthy and less bulking than an American buffet. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We've just completed Viking's Portraits of Southern France on Viking Hermod (south to north). It was mostly enjoyable but the weakest out of our six European cruises. We really enjoyed the friendly passenger mix of US, Canada and ... Read More
We've just completed Viking's Portraits of Southern France on Viking Hermod (south to north). It was mostly enjoyable but the weakest out of our six European cruises. We really enjoyed the friendly passenger mix of US, Canada and several from Great Britain making for good conversation and company. The ship: Hermod was lovely as is usual with Viking's ships. Not enough seating in the lounge however and we had to stand several nights at the pre-dinner talk along with many others who stood or skipped the activity. Husband found the cabin fine but I did not like the tiny window (too dirty to view from this cruise) and increased ship noise. In general, I do not like the cabin size in the new Viking French balcony rooms (same on lower deck even though they list them as larger - must include the high shelf space in front of the window?) which have no space on either side of the bed and a useless bedside shelf where bedding easily swipes anything off of it. Room and bed comfort and closet and storage space (improved from first longboats) are otherwise very nice. Everything in the cabin worked well and the plugs are numerous and very handy. Internet: Very poor. I was surprised because we'd heard that it had improved this year. We had trouble even getting on for several of the days with both an i-Pad and a Samsung tablet. So did others around us. Unusable in the lower cabins but also very poor upstairs. It seems that the antennae is lowered often on this cruise and the signal is not a strong one at the best of times. The crew: The crew with one exception were friendly, enthusiastic and went out of their way to be helpful. The front desk and dining room staff were especially good as was the Chief Engineer. He always had a moment to interact with passengers and we enjoyed his company the most. The program director might be good at organizing but is not a people person. His talks were short, data driven and included little other than what was in Viking's written material. He did not enjoy or encourage questions. We found his lack of enthusiasm affected our choices of activities. This is the first trip that we haven't done most or all of the optional tours - this trip we did none because they seemed boring before we even signed up after listening to his brief, dry descriptions. We hope they were better than that. The room stewards were terrific with very fast laundry service and everything onboard was sparkling clean except cabin windows (on the outside). We had trouble seeing out with all the bird and waterspots on our lower deck window (worse than other ships) and they weren't touched the entire trip. We didn't dock often next to another ship and that was a big plus or would have been if we could see out. The food: Very good. The chef and his crew were quite skilled at presentation and did a good job. All the meat we saw was rare even when ordered otherwise (we find this the usual case on board V ships). We do find Viking's standardized menus a bit predictable and how can they not have fresh, from scratch pastry when in France!?! What a waste of opportunity to please and impress. The entertainment: Lacking. Before I start, we really enjoyed the pianist. He was wonderful. Talks were not inspiring. The cooking demonstration was appreciated but very simple and not special for being in France. Evening entertainment was almost non existent this trip. We were really spoiled on our Christmas Douro trip with two lunches included off the ship and two dinners off the ship which added so much atmosphere and felt very special with the entertainment offered at each as well as onboard. This trip had the least special touches of our six cruises. The itinerary: Great potential but mostly unrealized. Too much time was spent getting from airport to ship at both ends of the trip. The airport greeter was just that - she was nice but only got us from the main lobby to the bus and then left for home. There was no help with luggage at the airport either direction. Another loss of meaningful time was that spent in getting to and from destinations from uninspiring docking points. There was little sightseeing where docked and even less information given about options. The south to north itinerary seems negatively affected with some of the more appealing optional tours unavailable in this direction. Scheduling tours around the lunch meal (both morning and afternoon tours) back onboard was a real negative. Tours were continually rushed to get us back in time for lunch or dinner with insufficient free time other than the scheduled stops. The few choices where you could stay in town (some distance from the ship) were all day or nothing it seemed. We would have loved to stay in town for lunch and have an hour or two to explore rather than have to stay all day or nothing. We like a little time to relax before dinner and this itinerary did not allow for good choices. This itinerary offers nothing extra and nothing that felt special especially south to north. Arles' free time was only shopping in a gift shop at the Van Gogh hospital stop unless you chose to stay the entire day. Tain l'Hermitage's free time was only at the chocolate shop. Our favorite stop here was the Musee Pierre Palue. Beaune's free time was so short we had to skip the wine tasting to even have time for a cup of chocolate in a local cafe. Avignon's free time was also short but it was one of the few places we could walk back to the ship on our own which we did. Lyon's free time was on a holiday so stores, etc. were closed and we didn't know that until the night before. The restaurant recommendations were all very high priced in Lyon. We really missed the previous Viking system with a program director and a couple of assistants who usually stayed with each group in addition to the local guides. Our previous program director's were more hands-on and interactive with the passengers. The program director seemed to do little other than take a few photos and discouraged questions at his short presentations. The new concierge system seems lacking in value even though she was nice. Note that the upper decks is most often closed on this cruise due to the numerous very low bridges on the river. One in particular we were holding our breath when we went under and the chief engineer was on the stairs watching inch by inch to make sure we cleared. I don't know what they do if there is rain that brings up the water level. The local guides: We were very lucky with our local guides and each day they were the value added. They knew the locales, the stops and the local people at each. They shared their enthusiasm as well as their extensive knowledge. They made the trip for us and were the highlight each day. Without "great" guides our ratings would be lower. The air arrangements: We tried this for the first time using Viking's air arrangements. In spite of Viking's efforts, it was not something we want to do again unless we have to. They use a computerized system which does not take into account time for immigration, customs, terminal transfers for local to international, etc. Transfer times at airports (such as Paris) were too short and we found planes already boarding before we could even get to them while rushing all the way. We were especially displeased with having to arise before 5am in Lisbon to get to Marseille and our boat by 7pm -- we were routed Lisbon to London to Marseille. A direct flight is less than 2 1/2 hours and we chose the south to north route distinctly because there was a direct flight from our pre-cruise stay in Lisbon. Also we were not pleased with having to leave the ship before dawn because Viking backtracks so far to the airport at the end of the cruise. Thanks to Viking's efforts, we did enjoy entering the US through Seattle instead of San Francisco avoiding the usual nightmare. Delta reassigned our confirmed seats the week before we left on the trip necessitating upgrading our seats to avoid sitting next to the lavatory or in the back row. We felt trapped into this and wonder if that is Delta's usual way of handling discounted tickets in order to sell upgrades. The value: Because we got a good sale on the trip with air we felt we got our money's worth - sort of. We would rather have better discounts on the trip itself and leave the air arrangements to us. We did not feel that the itinerary or entertainment was up to Viking standards. We love France so we're disappointed that the trip felt so rushed and generic when such potential went unrealized. Viking can do better and, in our experience, usually does. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Arriving on our sparkling new boat, Heimdal in March of this year, we grabbed one of Viking's trademark red umbrellas for a walking tour of Avignon in the rain. Others hadn't arrived from their pre-cruise visit to Paris, so we ... Read More
Arriving on our sparkling new boat, Heimdal in March of this year, we grabbed one of Viking's trademark red umbrellas for a walking tour of Avignon in the rain. Others hadn't arrived from their pre-cruise visit to Paris, so we took full advantage of the glistening cobblestones leading through the Roman Ruins and mighty ramparts of the ancient city. Returning to linen tablecloths and fresh flowers greeting us for dinner, we enjoyed a typical gourmet meal and quiet evening in port. The exterior glass walls of our room continually offered the grandest views throughout our week in Southern France. Imagine laying on your comfortable bed in your own home while the French countryside passed slowly by along the banks of Arles, Avignon, Tournon and Lyon. The views were made even more spectacular from the rooftop deck wrapped snugly in the warm blankets brought to you by the courteous crew, sipping a steamy mug of cocoa. Our days were filled with fascinating tours hosted by the most talented and informed guides imaginable, thankfully transmitted to my ear as I wandered about the city snapping photos without losing neither my group nor my wife. Walking in Van Gogh's footsteps, capturing images later discovered to mimic paintings of the master, impacted my life in ways unimaginable. Sadly, I cannot show you these beautiful photos which we will forever treasure. One surreal moment of our voyage included our late-night stroll through sleepy Vivier, along the sycamore lined streets that wound upward between closely grouped homes, rewarding travelers with a panorama from atop this lovely medieval city. Our visit to Tain L'Hermitage became very special as the daughter of noted French painter Pierre Palué invited us into her home to view many of his works, including those of his friends. What visit to Southern France would be complete without wineries and chocolatiers? Viking did not disappoint. Tasty tours highlighted the traditions of their craft. When asked if his vineyards were irrigated, a vintner replied, "Non. The vines must suffer." We never suffered for lack of luxury. As we boarded ship following our many adventures, friendly faces greeted us with refreshments fitting weather and occasion. We cherish our week on the Rhone and hungrily anticipate all that Viking has to offer, sometimes revisiting during differing seasons. The Christmas Markets throughout Europe are not to be missed. Can I rank one Viking Cruise above another? The answer is an affirmative, "No." One cannot rank the Mona Lisa above Starry Night. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
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