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41 Viking River Marseille Cruise Reviews

Based on a wonderful Rhine cruise on Viking last year, we booked the Portraits of Southern France river cruise for this year. What a mistake. We arrived in France at the tail end of the European heat wave. The temperature was in the upper ... Read More
Based on a wonderful Rhine cruise on Viking last year, we booked the Portraits of Southern France river cruise for this year. What a mistake. We arrived in France at the tail end of the European heat wave. The temperature was in the upper 90s. The air conditioning on the ship was not functioning properly and the cabins/restaurant areas were very warm to the point of being uncomfortable. We were never addressed by the Captain to explain the problem. Various crew members gave different reasons. It was obvious that there had been some instruction not to comment to guests. I felt so sorry for the restaurant servers who had to work so hard in the heat. The problem was finally fixed on Day 5 of the trip. Thank goodness the weather broke and became cooler. On the evening before the problem was fixed, however, our cabin was 81 degrees. We could not open our doors because there was an invasion of spiders. The ship had to call for pest extermination. The we could not use the veranda since it had been sprayed with pesticide. The other not so great part was dinner in the restaurant. Again, some offerings were hit and miss. The serving portions were also very small. There was nothing available for snacks for that 9PM hunger attack. We were fortunate that we had a suite that was supplied with fruit. The ports of call were mostly great. Lyon was fantastic. The small French villages and cities were beautiful. We especially enjoyed our excursion to Beaune. 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
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
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 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
It was a present from my son for our birthdays. The food was A+ and the service was A+. I have Crohn's and could not leave the ship very often. I wish they would have had a shuttle once we got to Lyon to get to the shopping areas. ... Read More
It was a present from my son for our birthdays. The food was A+ and the service was A+. I have Crohn's and could not leave the ship very often. I wish they would have had a shuttle once we got to Lyon to get to the shopping areas. The views were beautiful from the top deck and the waiters treated you like royalty. The wines were fantastic - every meal. Go, enjoy and love what you see in France. Avignon was my favorite place to visit. I did get to go there and it was superb. The people all treat you fantastic in France. I LOVED the people. If you enjoy sightseeing and shopping this is the cruise for you. Be ready to be pampered. I would love to do another cruise in Italy if they had one, but as of now, they do not. Thanks for all you have given my family. Mihai - the waiter was the highlight of my cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Viking was highly recommended by friends, and a river cruise you get to see many different towns near the river, and the tour guides tell you the history of each stop. The nice thing about a river cruise is that you have not only the ... Read More
Viking was highly recommended by friends, and a river cruise you get to see many different towns near the river, and the tour guides tell you the history of each stop. The nice thing about a river cruise is that you have not only the hotel, all the meals, and the tour guides for each port. Relaxing, it was not, because each morning you were up early, first to get your breakfast, then to get ready for your guided tour, most tours started at 9am. Then after the tour, back to the ship for lunch. Sometimes the were tours in the afternoon right after lunch. Some tours ended up quite late, so the dinner was a late one. We saw a lot, however, despite the busy schedule. Regarding the shore excursions, some of the guides were very difficult to understand, especially with their heavy french accent. The cabin was rather small, but considering that this was a river ship, it was adequate for us as we are small, but for large people it would be rather very compact, especially the shower. The service was great. Dining was good, especially the breakfast and lunch buffets. We were disappointed with the quality of the dinners, as for a ship of this caliber, the dinners could use some improvement. The entertainment was not like in the ocean cruises, we had one or two outside singers/entertainers for the whole week. There was a ship piano player every night. We opted to include air as part of the package; From Northern California. Viking did a fabulous job of organizing the whole trip, from getting the airfare to providing transportation to the ship, and meeting us with Viking personnel at the airports. We are already booked on another Viking cruise, an ocean cruise to the British Isles, Ireland and Scotland. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I wanted to go to Avignon and wasn't disappointed. The other ports of call Vienne, Lyon, Arles, etc. were lovely and interesting. The winery excursion was interesting and fun. Really all of the excursions were excellent - the tour ... Read More
I wanted to go to Avignon and wasn't disappointed. The other ports of call Vienne, Lyon, Arles, etc. were lovely and interesting. The winery excursion was interesting and fun. Really all of the excursions were excellent - the tour guides were knowledgeable and entertaining. The dining room crew in particular were excellent. Viking is organized and attentive to detail so that everything runs seamlessly. The cabin was nice and pretty much as expected. Everyone on board seemed to be focused on ensuring a great trip for every passenger. The dining room crew, in particular, were excellent -- they helped to make meals fun. The food was great - I do recommend the drinks package. As mentioned earlier the dining room personnel were beyond excellent and attentive. One major issue - a virus - was addressed quickly but could have been communicated better. I will definitely try another river cruise and am looking forward to planning one in 2018, Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We went on the Portraits of Southern France cruise on October 11, 2015. It was our 3rd Viking Cruise, and we have one more booked and others in planning. In short, we love Viking. In fact, our trip to China with them (May 2015) was the ... Read More
We went on the Portraits of Southern France cruise on October 11, 2015. It was our 3rd Viking Cruise, and we have one more booked and others in planning. In short, we love Viking. In fact, our trip to China with them (May 2015) was the best vacation we've ever taken, and we've been on 39 other vacations to foreign countries. But, now you know a little bit about us, a couple near 70, let me go over some of my thoughts about our France trip, which included a 3-day post-extension to Paris with Viking. The best part, as it always is on the Viking cruises, were the people we met. With open seating at the long, leisurely meals and with a small ship, meeting people becomes very easy to do, and the Viking travelers are quite varied in (generally retired) occupations and home towns. We made many good friends. Our tour director Julian was wonderful. The best things about him were his humor as well as his clear explanations of many choices we had each day. Actually the most fun we had on the cruise were a couple of crazy group games Julian lead on two nights. We all laughed hard as we competed vigorously in competitions that as best I can remember had no prizes whatsoever. The rest of the crew were fantastic and the service was great. They made us really feel at home. Ok, so you are expecting in a review to hear about places, not people. It's the wrong thing to look for, but I'll humor you by listing the cities visited in order of how much we enjoyed them. And, I'll throw a couple non-cities into the mix. They are (with the best first): Lyon, Avignon, Cruising on the rivers, Cluny, Paris, Auxerre, Beaune, Vienne, Steam train, Arles and Tournon. The food at breakfast, as it is on every Viking cruise, is always fantastic. The lunches and dinners on this cruise were a bit hit-and-miss but definitely mainly hits. The local guides varied widely. The best, as the guide in Vienne, knew how to entertain and to tell stories. The worse, as the guide in Paris, tried to machine-gun facts into our ears as rapidly as dryly as possible lest we fail the pop quiz that they appeared to be preparing us for. Sometimes, I turned off the headset and admired the wonderful views all around us. Viking could use a good guide training program. Overall we had an absolutely wonderful time. There were only two major drawbacks. One, don't go in the fall or later unless you have to. In mid-October, we frequently froze with temps starting in the upper 30s many days and only warming up to the 40s. We wore down jackets and sometimes thermal underwear. More than the cold, the skies were mainly overcast, which can turn pretty landscapes into pretty dreary landscapes. Second, until Viking changes hotels from the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel, don't book the Paris extension. The room was tiny and in bad shape and had all the charm and uncomfortable furniture of a college dorm room. The breakfast room was hot, in a windowless basement with mediocre food and coffee that was never, ever hot. A terrible way to start each day. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
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
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'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
We chose this cruise, because we have travel with Viking before, we did the Danube Budapest to Bucharest, and we enjoy it very much, this time we one.. We love the history, the towns we visit were very interested, the Tour guide were ... Read More
We chose this cruise, because we have travel with Viking before, we did the Danube Budapest to Bucharest, and we enjoy it very much, this time we one.. We love the history, the towns we visit were very interested, the Tour guide were great, except we have one that did not speak very good English. but it was ok.. Avignon, we enjoy the Palace of the Popes, and the other towns as well , the tour guide were very informative. We were sorry we did not bring a good pair of shoes, due to the stone they use to build the streets. roads. we wish we had more bus tours. The ship was great, food was ok, no much variety, the cheft need it a little more creativity. to mix with the meat. Also we did not like that dinner was so late in the evening. we went to bed with a full belly, Entertaiment was ok, we would have like when they, more culture , ones. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We had friends recommend Viking Cruises and this trip in particular. We wanted to experience France without the bother of driving and unpacking more than once. We wanted a curated experience that we could just enjoy without any travel ... Read More
We had friends recommend Viking Cruises and this trip in particular. We wanted to experience France without the bother of driving and unpacking more than once. We wanted a curated experience that we could just enjoy without any travel hassles. Our ships suite was perfect. We chose a suite with sitting room and balcony. We did not use the balcony. Too chilly and never any time to use it. The food was exceptional with great choices. The service in both the lounge and the restaurant was first class. All the staff was so friendly and helpful. The excursions were amazing. The guides were very knowledgeable and engaging to be with. We really enjoyed the cocktail hour before dinner, chatting with other passengers about their day and learning what was in store for the following day. We really liked the size of the ship. Big enough to accommodate 180 people but not feel crowded, even when everyone was in the lounge or dining room for dinner. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Prior trips to France were in the north and west. This was a nice opportunity to view the arts, ruins and food of a culturally rich region. The staff was flawless and provided us with opportunities to relax as well as sight-see. ... Read More
Prior trips to France were in the north and west. This was a nice opportunity to view the arts, ruins and food of a culturally rich region. The staff was flawless and provided us with opportunities to relax as well as sight-see. Dining was excellent, and excursion guides, especially in Paris, were well educated and entertaining. Our Notre Dame/Left Bank guide was especially amazing. Few have been so entertaining and well educated! It would have been nice to have more available lectures and other background briefings. Years we enjoyed a small British line staffed in part with classical scholars. There the food was quite simple but the history and culture most enriching. Our stateroom was a bit small but adequate Food was good and we enjoyed the French wines with meals and available espresso drinks between meals. The staff was friendly and accomodating. This was our third Viking cruise. We especially enjoyed the large ship cruise from Montreal to NYC. Viking seems to fill a niche occupied primarily by Lindblad. We missed the "big ship" facilities for lectures and floor shows but Viking guides were fine (esp. Paris Notre Dame). We were blown away by the prior Montreal voyage, featuring Edvard Muench art & accompanying music. We are likely to take Viking whenever possible. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I booked our first river cruise with Viking because of the fabulous stories we heard from many friends and acquaintances. The Rhone trip to Provence and Lyon really appealed to us and a September sailing date promised fine ... Read More
My husband and I booked our first river cruise with Viking because of the fabulous stories we heard from many friends and acquaintances. The Rhone trip to Provence and Lyon really appealed to us and a September sailing date promised fine weather. Our trip was a perfect experience! Our Viking crew was certainly dedicated to making every detail seamless and enjoyable - from travel assistance to dining experiences, shore excursions to personal comforts aboard ship. Dining on board was so wonderful that we rarely stayed ashore for meals. The ports we visited were great choices for cultural and educational experiences and the local guides added personal stories and a sense of pride in describing the histories of their towns and cities. After eight days, we could say that there was never a single glitch. Upon our return home, we joined the chorus of those who sing the praises of Viking River Cruises. We're looking forward to our next cruise...the Rhine? Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our first trip to Europe and with the optional tours provided by Viking, we felt like we really got to see the South of France. Instead of stopping at only the big cities, the Viking Delling stopped at smaller locations. The ... Read More
This was our first trip to Europe and with the optional tours provided by Viking, we felt like we really got to see the South of France. Instead of stopping at only the big cities, the Viking Delling stopped at smaller locations. The optional tours were always first class and covered a wide range of options. They left on time and returned on time. The guides were amazing in their local knowledge and ability to share interesting facts. Their use of the English language made it easy to understand. The food was amazing and the dining became a highlight of the day ~ actually at every meal. Optional seating arrangements allowed us to meet many different people from all over the world. The food was very well done and there were choices for appetizers, salads, main course, wine and dessert at EVERY meal. The service was top notch. Our stateroom was the most efficient use of space and design we could imagine. Storage was plentiful and we were impressed with the cleanliness throughout the cruise. The sheets were high quality and the bed was comfortable. The bathroom was well laid out. What a great way to see France for the first time. We look forward to our next Viking River Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We love history, we love Roman history, and we love wine. We had never been to France before, and this trip gave us everything. Viking organization is impeccable; the shore tours are extremely well conducted. The tour guides are always ... Read More
We love history, we love Roman history, and we love wine. We had never been to France before, and this trip gave us everything. Viking organization is impeccable; the shore tours are extremely well conducted. The tour guides are always first class. There is never any ambiguity about where and when events are going on. I am impressed with how the crew gets everyone to participate, and enjoy themselves. We love the food on board. We really appreciate the local cuisine offerings. We also appreciate the portion sizes - just right. There's never any problem enjoying all the courses and the dessert. The house wines are always good. I know the staff must be working very hard to keep things running smoothly and on time, but they always have a smile and are polite and friendly. They get to know you, even in a trip as short as one week. I have encouraged my friends and acquaintances to consider a Viking trip, even if they think it's only for the well-off, as there are frequent special offers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose the French Provence cruise because we wanted to explore southern France and end it in Paris. Every port gave us an opportunity to see the cities and villages of France. While giving a wonderful place to return to on board the ... Read More
We chose the French Provence cruise because we wanted to explore southern France and end it in Paris. Every port gave us an opportunity to see the cities and villages of France. While giving a wonderful place to return to on board the ship. The rooms were very comfortable and the cuisine was delicious. Entertainment was entertaining. The pianist was very good. All of the staff was friendly and helpful with whatever was needed. We travel with our malienial daughter and she thoroughly enjoyed the river cruise up the Rhone and Saone. She really enjoyed the food and drinks provided by Viking. And the cuisine was geared to give everyone a taste of France. The smaller size ship gives a more intimate feeling and enables the guests to mist and mingle. She found the cruise very enriching and would definitely cruise with Viking in the further, saying it is not just a cruise for older people. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We were intrigued by the combination ability on this particular cruise. We wanted to see a lot of France and so we started on the Heimdal on the Rhone but after that week was over we took the high speed train to Paris and joined the ... Read More
We were intrigued by the combination ability on this particular cruise. We wanted to see a lot of France and so we started on the Heimdal on the Rhone but after that week was over we took the high speed train to Paris and joined the Viking Rinda for a second week, this time on the Seine. Both were excellent. Our cabin was lovely and comfortable and even the weather co-operated (both cruises) and we were able to sit out on our verandah and relax when we didn't feel like going up to the upper deck and join the masses. The food, service, crew, etc are top notch. And so many "extras" are included so we didn't feel nickel & dimed to death like on all the ocean cruises (big ships) we've been on. Loved it! This was our 4th & 5th cruise with Viking River Cruises and it won't be our last. We've also been on one of Viking's ocean cruises and won't go back to the "big" ships after such a lovely inclusive and intimate trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Our friends invited us to go and gave us the contact of Colley Croteau. We are first time cruisers and just loved everything. The room was lovely. The bathroom floor was heated which was beyond wonderful. The food delicious and ... Read More
Our friends invited us to go and gave us the contact of Colley Croteau. We are first time cruisers and just loved everything. The room was lovely. The bathroom floor was heated which was beyond wonderful. The food delicious and plentiful. The service exemplary. We enjoyed every tour. I especially loved the locks; which were totally unexpected and thrilling. I would have appreciated more educational information about the locks - when and how they were built. The ship was absolutely lovely. I would have liked more time on the sundeck which seemed to be closed more than it was open. Our welcome bus was parked extremely far from the airport so it was a bumpy welcome after a long plane ride. Noone let us know that we would be shlepping 1/2 mile to the bus (from deplaning through terminal to greeting to bus probably >1 mile.) We were disappointed that the ship could not go past Lyon due to high water which made our commute to our last tour over 90 minutes one way. The buses were very well appointed, comfortable and offered great views through clean windows. Back to our room - everything was perfect, clean, new, comfortable, well-lit. The excursions were perfectly organized and very interesting. The entertainment was okay - nothing much; but, enjoyable. We were made to feel very very special and it was lovely to have only 170 people on the ship. Easy in and out. Can't wait for our next river cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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