I have just read the review by Tvrajan and couldn't agree more. We were on the same ill-fated cruise. I will not rehash the details of his well written review but will add that as a health professional I was stunned by the lack of ... Read More
I have just read the review by Tvrajan and couldn't agree more. We were on the same ill-fated cruise. I will not rehash the details of his well written review but will add that as a health professional I was stunned by the lack of training of the staff in handling such a situation. We were told by several including staff that the Pride had been infected with the noro virus on at least 8 of their recent cruises. Obviously, whatever they were doing wasn't effective in decontaminating the boat. It would seem prudent to cancel or delay sailing long enough to thoroughly clean the boat by professionals and not put a largely elderly group of passengers in harm's way week after week.
Once onboard, the staff were working so hard to care for us all but were woefully unprepared. For example, we came back one morning to find our neighbor sitting on a chair in the hall - obviously very ill - while they cleaned her room. Her soiled linens were on the hallway carpet while full but unsealed red hazardous waste bags were beside them. On our return an hour or so later, the unsealed bag had been joined by several others in the hall. While we were not allowed to serve ourselves (appropriately) they left bread baskets, butter, cream, etc. on the tables for all to share - even moving partially used bread baskets from table to table. I could go on and on.
I didn't become ill until Saturday and we were scheduled to leave the next morning. I couldn't keep anything down and was bedridden. My fiancé went to the Program Director to inquire about a hotel for the night and changing our flight to the following day in order that I would be better able to travel. He was told that in-spite of our travel insurance and Viking air, the flight would be around 2K pp and wasn't likely to be covered. He then said that while I might be weak and dizzy, it wouldn't "hurt" me to fly.
Long story short, in spite of 4 previous positive Viking experiences, their indifference to basic preventive measures, lack of customer service in assuring I was able to fly the 14 hours home, and ultimately their paltry $250 toward a future trip by way of compensation for our "disappointment" (as they put it), our future river cruise dollars will be spent elsewhere. Read Less
My wife and I have never been on a river cruise before, even though we have taken a number of ocean cruises. Going to Giverny and seeing Monet’s garden has always been on my wife's bucket list, and after much discussion, we booked ... Read More
My wife and I have never been on a river cruise before, even though we have taken a number of ocean cruises. Going to Giverny and seeing Monet’s garden has always been on my wife's bucket list, and after much discussion, we booked trips on a Viking cruise entitled “Paris and the heart of Normandy”. We flew Icelandic air and arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, where we were promptly, efficiently and courteously picked up by a Viking representative and brought to the ship, which was anchored close to the Eiffel Tower. We arrived in Paris a little later than anticipated, so we thought we would be taken directly to the ship. Instead we were taking the Novotel hotel, where we were offered pastries and tea. We didn’t know anything about normal Viking procedures and so did not think that this was out of the ordinary. It was only later that we learned that the reason for the delay in allowing us to board the ship was that there had been an outbreak of Norovirus related gastrointestinal disease during the previous cruise.
Things seemed to be going very well the first day. The next day, the hotel manager told us that she was the bearer of bad news and that a few passengers had come down with gastrointestinal illness. During the remainder of the trip, as we continued to enjoy the trip, more and more passengers and crew members began to fall ill, at the rate of about 10 every day. The ship begin do resemble a hospital ward rather than a carefree vacation environment!
On Wednesday, we began to hear alarming rumors - that a passenger had died and that another had been taken to the hospital after having had a fall. We received very little information from Viking, other than that the outbreak was not contained and more passengers were falling ill. Over the next few days, we learned that both rumors were true. One of the passengers, a spritely, vivacious 70-year-old, who had been perfectly fit had fallen ill on Tuesday and died later. The rumor about the hospitalization was also true, except that it understated the problem rather than exaggerating it. As far as we know, at least 4 passengers had needed urgent care. One of them had become so dehydrated that he fell in the bathroom and had to be rushed to the hospital. Parenthetically, and to our surprise, at least two of the passengers were charged $1240 a piece for that urgent care.
While the land arrangements were overall extremely well done (the trips were well thought out and the guides were uniformly informative and well trained), it is also fair to say that a pall hung over the entire ship. We were all constantly wondering when the boom was going to lower on us and when we too would fall sick. By our estimate, of the 180 people on board (about 140 passengers and 40 crew members), about 100-120 people fell ill through the 8 day voyage.
What surprises us about this is that there have been Norovirus outbreaks on Viking Pride at least since September 2015 (see the review posted on 9/15 by “Happy Traveler Duo”). Despite this, Viking has continued to use the ship on cruises without a break and without a serious attempt at decontamination. News of the passenger’s death was not made public and we only heard about it through friends of the dead passenger’s roommate.
Overall, the trip could have been an outstanding experience. The cabin was adequate, the food outstanding. Both my wife and I are vegetarians, and had been concerned that our dietary needs might not be met within a small ship. On the contrary, the chef and the maître d’ went out of their way to make sure that we were adequately fed, with excellent and creative vegetarian alternatives. The land trips were well organized, well thought out and expertly guided. The visits to Giverny and Monet’s garden were totally enjoyable, as were the visits to the Normandy beaches. Despite all of this, we have to rate the overall experience poorly due to the serious health problems and the emotional toll on those of us who survived through it without falling sick (at least till now!) We know of at least one passenger who has fallen ill after reaching the States. I suspect the experience was even worse for those who did fall ill. We cannot recommend a trip on the Viking pride to anyone who is contemplating one. Read Less
We were so excited to sail on this river cruise line, as we had heard so much about it. Unfortunately we and others on the ship soon became ill. Our embarking time was delayed on the first day so they could clean the ship, as so many on ... Read More
We were so excited to sail on this river cruise line, as we had heard so much about it. Unfortunately we and others on the ship soon became ill. Our embarking time was delayed on the first day so they could clean the ship, as so many on the cruise the prior week had come down with a gastrointestinal illness. In fact, several days before arriving, we were sent an email stating that our arrival would be delayed several hours so they could clean/disinfect the ship to address the illness passengers on the week of September 12 experienced. It was described by staff as one person getting ill, then others getting sick all week long. This is exactly what happened to us. On our first day, instead of being able to have lunch on board, we were directed to a hotel conference room where we were given water and coffee/tea, but no food (it was all gone by the time we arrived but was only croissants anyway). We soon set off on our own and saw some sights and found a great cafe to have lunch right by the Eiffel Tower. We also purchased the extension in Paris post-cruise, and my husband was very ill the day after we left the boat, as were several others in the group of 24 who stayed on in Paris. We had to call in a doctor during our Paris stay. All of the illness cast a shadow over the cruise, as we were worried that we would get sick, which eventually did happen. They stressed that everyone should use the anti-germ agent they provided outside of the restaurant, but that still didn't prevent the spread of disease.
Aside from the significant problem of illness, the cruise was OK. We spent too much time in Vernon, where there is little to see, and not enough in other areas. There were some beautiful cities along the Seine that we couldn't visit, and we usually had to make choices between two very good tours in other areas, so we felt we missed a lot. There was a lot of time during two days where we "cruised". The staff was perky and helpful, and the rooms were kept clean. The cabins were small but functional. When we saw other ships on other lines as they passed us on the Seine, we realized that ours was not a great ship. The food was good, with lots of choices. However, after the first few illness cases early on, I did not take any fresh food, only cooked or sealed items, so I think I missed out on a lot of good food experiences. The crew redirected the next batch of cruisers on September 27 to the same hotel where we waited to board on our first day, so I just hope they did a better job of cleaning the ship before they let the m board.
This was not an all-inclusive tour, and we felt that tips were clearly expected. Our pot-trip was about $1800.00, and the hotel would have cost about $900.00 or so if we booked on line, so we were disappointed that the Viking staff stressed how much she should have gotten for her tips. The one tour that was included was very good, but the support was not worth the extra $900.00 we paid (this did include transfers to the hotel and then the airport, but this was still a lot of extra money).
We will probably take another cruise, but will book with another line. Read Less
This was our second river cruise, having used Uniworld previously. We wanted to try Viking to see how they compare, other than knowing that they are slightly less expensive than Uniworld. Initial impression of the ship was that it was ... Read More
This was our second river cruise, having used Uniworld previously. We wanted to try Viking to see how they compare, other than knowing that they are slightly less expensive than Uniworld. Initial impression of the ship was that it was very worn and needed updating. Now I know that it is being replaced next year. Our cabin was, however, very nice and the steward, Helena, kept it immaculately clean.
It became apparent by the third night of dining that the dinner offerings were not to our liking and the ingredients were "low budget." First night, beef bourgogne (stewed tough meat on egg noodles)...Second night, coq au vin (stewed chicken)..Third night, stewed lamb shank. There is also a fish and a vegetarian option, and the fish was good one time and not overdone, but the mahi-mahi tasted frozen and was dry. Also, there are standard offerings that can be ordered any night--salmon, steak, I forget what else...I had the rib eye steak one night and it was tough and grisly...not the rib eye we are used to in the US, but a different cut of meat. One night I had the scallops and it was 3 small scallops the size of a quarter on rice for a main entree. And here is the real kicker: The same red wine was served every night! Why not change it up a bit, even if you spend the same amount per bottle?? We are in France and want to try different local wines...don't have to be expensive, but a variety. Same thing at lunch...same white wine every day...I don't get it. Breakfast was the best meal of the day, lunches were okay, and dinner was disappointing. I think Viking has a set menu they follow and the chef has her/his hands tied and must follow the menu. I say this because we did the following week on the Viking Buri (this cruise was week 1 of a 2 week cruise) and the menu repeated! Very disappointed. To be fair, the service was excellent, but the dining room felt crowded and it was very loud in there...dinners seemed "busy" and a bit frenzied, not relaxing and elegant. We felt that the dining room was understaffed and they needed at least 2 more servers. Some of the desserts were good and so were the french fries at lunch, as well as the ice cream, but offerings were very limited and the variety was poor...many repetitions of food items or recycling of items, which is to be expected on any cruise, but this time it was painfully obvious. All in all, the dining was disappointing.
The excursions were interesting, and the guides were good with the exception of one who was far too detailed on the history of certain things...20 minutes in one spot just listening, but we enjoyed all the excursions and added several optional ones as well. The only downside to the excursions was the bus rides. The bus seats were very tight and close together and my knees were squished into the seat in front of me on every trip except one. I am 6 feet tall and the other tall passengers has similar problems and complaints. Viking should lease buses that have more space between the seats for their guests' comfort. I expected to be comfortable on excursions, but I was not.
I have to say the service onboard for us was excellent. I think that my reasons for not being totally happy with this cruise have to do with Viking corporate and that they seem to be trying to maximize profit over comfort and quality...won't use Viking again. Did I mention on the supposed best dinner night we had surf and turf, but instead of a lobster tail you received 1 prawn on your steak?? That's what I'm talking about... Read Less
This was our first Viking cruise "Paris and the Heart of Normandy". Our room was larger than expected with 2 twin beds with ample storage, the activities director "Clare" was a delight, outstanding food and all ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise "Paris and the Heart of Normandy". Our room was larger than expected with 2 twin beds with ample storage, the activities director "Clare" was a delight, outstanding food and all walking tours interesting and informative and on our return we were greeted by the staff with a refreshing drink. At all time the staff was friendly and their service exceptional. We enjoyed on board wine tasting, cheese tasting and a visit to the kitchen with the Chef. I highly recommend a river cruise, it's more relaxing, the scenery is up close and the ship is smaller with 150 passengers. Having open meal seating gave us the opportunity to meet our fellow travelers, a definite plus. A member of the Viking team met us at the airport, transported us to our hotel (we stayed 3 days in Paris prior to the cruise), transported us to the ship and at the end transported us to the airport. The entire trip was worry free. I can't thank Viking enough for the "Perfect Cruise" and we hope there is another Viking cruise in our future. Read Less
Leisurely cruise down the Seine. Our program director was amazing. She arranged to have us switch from British to American tour of D-Day beaches in the middle so we could view the Bayeux tapestry and the American Cemetery, and arranged ... Read More
Leisurely cruise down the Seine. Our program director was amazing. She arranged to have us switch from British to American tour of D-Day beaches in the middle so we could view the Bayeux tapestry and the American Cemetery, and arranged for a wheelchair when my knee gave out so I could to Versailles. She was bright, funny, and accommodating. Our chef was great, too. I have several food allergies and each day the Maitre'd would bring me the menu for the day so I could choose my meals and the chef would prepare them for me in a separate space in the kitchen using separate utensils. Chef was very charming and made me feel that accommodating my requests was nothing special, just his job. I appreciated having most of the tours included. Sometimes, the cost of tours can cost almost as much as the cruise. Tours were well organized. The ship itself was small and in need of updating, but since it is being replaced next year there is no point. It was lovely to see the river flow by, very relaxing. Overall, a good cruise, I would recommend Viking Cruises, and would take another cruise with them. Read Less
This is my second cruise with Viking because I was so pleased with my first experience. My sister and her husband joined us when I talked about our first experience. The entire staff did everything to make our cruise the best experience ... Read More
This is my second cruise with Viking because I was so pleased with my first experience. My sister and her husband joined us when I talked about our first experience. The entire staff did everything to make our cruise the best experience we ever had and they succeeded. The food was excellent with good selections every night. Our tours were well planned and very well done. The tour guides were well informed and were very entertaining. We were given good tips on highlights in the cities we stayed. The organization was excellent so that we made the most of our stay in each of the ports.
I highly recommend Viking cruises. The caring staff met our every need. Read Less
Last year I took my adult daughter on a Viking Cruise to China and we were very pleased with the total experience so I decided to book a second cruise this year with my wife, son and his wife. We decided to take the Paris & Heart of ... Read More
Last year I took my adult daughter on a Viking Cruise to China and we were very pleased with the total experience so I decided to book a second cruise this year with my wife, son and his wife. We decided to take the Paris & Heart of Normandy cruise with a Pre-Cruise stay in Paris and a Post-Cruise extension to Oxford & Highclere Castle. Again we couldn't have been more pleased.
Viking does a great job with their cruises but in my opinion they do even better with their excursions. We loved the city walk through Le Marais in Paris, visiting Claude Monet's home, Gardens and Lily Ponds in Giverny. The special ceremony they arranged at the American Military Cemetery in Normandy was moving and the high speed train transfer from Paris to London was a nice experience. We really enjoyed our stay in a great hotel in Oxford along with all the side excursions and tours from there. Viking also did a great job with our transfers to and from the airports, hotels and cruise ship.
We have five adult children so needless to say we are already planning another two or three trips with Viking. It looks like Russia may be on the list. Read Less
This is the best way to travel, bar none! It has all the advantage of an ocean cruise without the crowds of people, taking buses to points of interest and waits to get off and on the shop. Great food and ease in getting around the ship.
... Read More
This is the best way to travel, bar none! It has all the advantage of an ocean cruise without the crowds of people, taking buses to points of interest and waits to get off and on the shop. Great food and ease in getting around the ship.
Looking forward to our next River Cruise. I enjoyed watching the countryside as we cruised. The entertainment was OK but that's not important to us. I liked the ship because it was small and we got to know the other guests. I would only be interested in ships accommadating 100 to 150 guests. It's like having our private ship!
Service was outstanding. Read Less
This was our first Viking cruise. We were pleased with the ease of transfers to the hotel for our 3 days in Paris pre-cruise, to the ship and then from the ship to our Eurostar train trip to England and finally from our Oxford hotel to ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise. We were pleased with the ease of transfers to the hotel for our 3 days in Paris pre-cruise, to the ship and then from the ship to our Eurostar train trip to England and finally from our Oxford hotel to Heathrow. All went smoothly and was worry free for us. The Hotel Rochester 3 day stay pre-cruise was very convenient being just a block off the Champs Elysees in the 8th Ar. and close to the metro. The staff spoke English and were very friendly and efficient. The beds were good and the breakfast was excellent. Our morning Marais walk with Christine was very informative and enjoyable. The transfer to the ship on Sunday was worry free but seemed to use up almost the whole of one of our Paris days. Between the check in , meetings and lunch there was little time left before we had to be back on board for dinner and sailing. (However, I will not complain after reading the review of the April 2015 - ship out of commission, etc.) Our Montmartre walking tour was lovely and gave us time to enjoy this quaint area. Our cabin was spacious, the bed comfortable, and quiet. We never heard engine noises and only felt minimal movement going through locks. The food was like eating at a 5 star restaurant every day. The staff was unfailingly courteous, friendly, and English speaking. Loved our magic lemonade following shore excursions. The Monet/Giverny tour was a highlight! A 20 minute bus ride to paradise - the gardens were wonderful and quite extensive while the house was just as it was when Monet lived there. The tiny village was scenic and we had time to go to the gift shop, some tiny boutiques in the village, and a peek at an art museum down the road. The Vernon walking tour was interesting and we had free time to walk across the bridge to see the mill and Tourelles Castle on the other side of the Siene. The Rouen tour was like Vernon x 10 in area and history. Our guide provided so much information - even the rain could not dampen our spirits. There was plenty of free time at the end of this tour which was nice to stop at a wine bar and do a little shopping. We enjoyed the all day bus tour to the Normandy beaches and D-day sights which were a highlight for my husband. They are pretty far from Rouen so it is a 1-1/2 hr bus ride but the countryside is pretty. We had a driveby at Juno beach and a stop at Arromanches for the small D-day museum there and lunch in a nice restaurant before heading to the American Cemetery. They performed a small memorial service for our group at the cemetery - very moving. The last stop was Omaha Beach and D-day monuments there. It's a little surreal that it is a resort area now. It was a long, full day but well orchestrated by the Viking personnel. Les Andelys was charming. Very tiny and quaint with about 6 shops and galleries, a medieval church and the highlight - Richard the Lionheart's Chateau Gaillard which is a short hike uphill to a prominence overlooking the river. We chose to go on the optional Versailles tour and are glad we did. The palace and grounds were exceptional and over the top in opulence. We only had an hour following the palace tour to see the gardens. I believe that you could spend a few days there and not see it all. It was beautiful! Back in Paris, we had another trouble free transfer to our Eurostar train to England where we were met by our Viking guides and given a short bus tour of London. We missed seeing some things like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey due to a marathon being run through the streets of London that morning - such is life! But we did see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and caught a glimpse of Big Ben and Parliament and Harrod's. We arrived at The Old Bank Hotel in Oxford for our post-cruise days. It was charming with comfortable beds, a nice breakfast and wonderful central location. We had an interesting and history filled morning walk around Oxford viewing the colleges and architecture. We then were treated to a surprise lunch at a cute pub out in the country before visiting Highclere Castle. Also a surprise was a visit to an English couple for an English tea in their home prior to Highclere. That turned out to be the highlight of the entire trip for us! The Dormers of Bowdown House welcomed our group into their beautiful, antique filled, country manor house for tea and history! The Dormers regaled us with amazing stories of their family through the ages and of the current property's importance in WWII. ( No spoilers here.) This is a new cultural experience Viking was trying out and we certainly enjoyed it. I hope that it continues. (We also met Karine Hagen, VP of Viking, and her dog Finse. She was overseeing the visit) Highclere Castle is Downton Abbey and those of us who are fans loved it! We had a private, after hours, champagne reception in "the hall" followed by a tour of the house and Egyptian museum in the basement. Everything is as you see it in the series down to the silver in the dining room. A truly lovely,long and wonderful day! We had free time in Oxford the next morning followed by a bus trip to Blenheim Palace and the Costwolds in the afternoon. Blenheim is fabulous opulence English style! Really wonderful to see the second largest palace in Britian and grounds cared for so well. Another trouble free transfer to Heathrow and off we flew back to reality. We loved our Viking trip and were impressed by how smoothly everything ran. On board, dress is business casual. At the Captain's dinner, my husband was one of only a handful who wore a sport coat. Most ladies wore dresses for that dinner but nice slacks/skirt and a slightly dressy top or casual dress was fine for all others. Both the hotels and the ship have umbrellas and you should bring a light weight rain jacket. Good walking shoes are essential! Read Less
My husband and I and two of our close friends cruised for the second time on the Pride. Our first cruise was in 2010 and we were pleased to see that the ship was still in good shape. This time we cruised from Paris to Rouen and back. ... Read More
My husband and I and two of our close friends cruised for the second time on the Pride. Our first cruise was in 2010 and we were pleased to see that the ship was still in good shape. This time we cruised from Paris to Rouen and back. The Viking representative was easy to find at the airport and transfer to the ship was quick and painless. A light lunch was available but we chose to immediately set out to explore Paris. The ship was conveniently docked about a 20 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. We found the staff on board to be exceptional. Clara Gamez, the Program Director, was well-organized, personable, knowledgeable and helpful. Captain Fantzy invited passengers into the wheelhouse during a morning cruise and also gave an evening nautical talk. Chef Dimitrios clearly loved his job and every night gave his recommendations which we often took. We found the food to be excellent and the portion sizes just right so that we left the dining room satisfied but not uncomfortably stuffed. Brian Brown, the Hotel Manager, was visible around the ship to help with any problems. The local guides that we had were all very professional and knowledgeable. We were often off the ship early so that we were the first to arrive at a destination to avoid the crowds, which we greatly appreciated. Viking offered two choices for the day in Normandy: an American tour and a Commonwealth tour. Being Canadian, we were thrilled as we went to Juno Beach and the Canadian and British Cemeteries. Leisure walks were also available in most ports for those who preferred a slower walk. I would recommend this cruise for those interested in Normandy and a chance to see the DDay locations. If you are looking for many hours just cruising, this is not a good choice as the distance from Paris to Rouen is not far. We enjoyed all the ports and tours provided. NB. Do not miss the Sound and Light show at the cathedral in Rouen. Do not expect big ship entertainment as the river and the ports are the entertainment. Disembarkation was well-organized. We were transferring to another location for a second week of cruising and we had a guide with us for the journey which became a full day excursion that was most enjoyable. We had a great experience with no problems and would not hesitate to recommend this cruise. Read Less
When we arrived at the ship, you could not miss the large dent in the starboard bow of the boat. We were given multiple variations of what went wrong and was assured by Viking that the ship was safe and that we would sail a promised. ... Read More
When we arrived at the ship, you could not miss the large dent in the starboard bow of the boat. We were given multiple variations of what went wrong and was assured by Viking that the ship was safe and that we would sail a promised. Unfortunately the French authorities had a different opinion and refused to let us sail, we were thankful that the French authorities were concerned enough about our safety. Instead of sailing, Viking put us up in a hotel that was not equipped to handle such a large group of people in a remote part of Paris with no attractions. Since we were now on a bus tour of France, we pulled out of port and the contracted bus of Viking was immediately in an accident and the driver refused to stop. Viking did not stop to see if passengers were hurt or access the damage, had they stopped, they would have found that the emergency exit was not functional. Being bused that first trip only allowed us about one hour to visit Monet Gardens and unfortunately did not get to see Monet's house.
When were finally reunited with the Viking Pride, we were driven in an industrial ship yard where a cloud of dust hoovered over us and they planned to serve us lunch outside in the industrial port. We spent two nights in the industrial port.
Viking welcomed us home with a messages offering us an insulting deal on a future cruise if booked with in one year. Read Less
My husband and I LOVED this Viking Paris/Normandy river cruise. It was our first river cruise but certainly won't be our last. We had a wonderful experience with Viking. We loved that there were only 140 passengers and 40 crew, a ... Read More
My husband and I LOVED this Viking Paris/Normandy river cruise. It was our first river cruise but certainly won't be our last. We had a wonderful experience with Viking. We loved that there were only 140 passengers and 40 crew, a much more intimate environment than ginormous ocean cruising. I think we had the best staff; they made the trip very personal, couldn't do enough for you, had an enthusiastic attitude and provided us with a very pleasant experience. Many of the passengers we met seemed like life-long friends by the end of the cruise. We were able to check into our room when we arrived about noon after a very long 13 hour flight (plus 5 hours airport time). A light lunch was offered and then a complementary walking tour of the port area. A briefing by the amazing program director, Clara, occurred each night and provided us with valuable and interesting information for the evening and next day. It was a fun atmosphere and gave us another opportunity to interact with other passengers. The optional shore excursions to the Louvre and Versailles were a bit pricy but worth it to us since we didn't have to hassle with transportation, entrance issues, language problems or deciding on what to see. For the most part, the local guides at each port were knowledgeable and provided good information. The highlights included Giverny/Monet's home & gardens and the Normandy area (bunkers, beaches, museum, cemetery). The memorial ceremony that Viking arranged for at the American Cemetery was touching and emotional. The food was very good although there were times that what I ordered didn't meet my expectations (pulled pork sandwich). There was a good selection of food, decent portions, good wine and a number of nice surprises (food stations on the sundeck; tea and French pastries; cocktail parties; kitchen tour). There was some evening entertainment starting about 9:30 but after very full days, we didn't attend more than 2 of them. Our stateroom, #232, was great...very comfortable bed, plenty of storage, sliding window, tiny but practical bathroom, and clean. We understand that at the end of this cruising season, Viking will be retiring the Pride and the other "shorter" ships. Next time we will do 12 or 15 days as we've decided we love traveling without having to pack/unpack and still have the ability to customize what we want to see and do based on the itineraries offered. Read Less
I am asking for a refund of my entire trip on the Viking Pride, Paris and the Beaches of Normandy, 12-19 April (including air travel which began on 11 April). The ship was in an accident the day before our arrival (11 April, 3 p.m. Paris ... Read More
I am asking for a refund of my entire trip on the Viking Pride, Paris and the Beaches of Normandy, 12-19 April (including air travel which began on 11 April). The ship was in an accident the day before our arrival (11 April, 3 p.m. Paris = 9 a.m. New York). We were not notified until two days after our arrival and our embarking on the ship that we would not be sailing, due to the French authorities not allowing the Pride to sail with passengers in such a condition. We were bused instead to our first destination, and our bus was in an accident immediately upon leaving the port area. The bus smashed a small white car up against a phone pole on the side of the highway. The side door to the bus was crushed, not allowing any emergency exit should there have been a need. Upon arrival at Giverny, the bus was changed out for a new bus and our belongings were transferred. There were missing items. Time was abbreviated at each destination (:58 minutes to run through Monet's gardens and house); we never got to Vernon as promised. We were also bused to a hotel on the outskirts of Paris where we had to endure bad food and pay for phone usage ($56.95), not to mention having to pack, unpack, repack, and load our own bags on and off the ship and to the buses and to the hotel and to and from our rooms at the Marriott. We were bused for 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the Pride, now docked in Rouen at the repair yard. Our views were industrial all around, with loud noise from repairs being completed as we ate our lunch on the sundeck breathing in and ingesting all the dust from the charcoal factory next to us. Again, we were bused to town and time was cut short due to transportation issues from where we were supposed to be docked and the repair shipyard where we had no internet service as well.
When we finally sailed our first centimeter out of the shipyard, we gathered on the deck, only to find crew members with sanding belts, loudly sanding off the paint on the bow area, dust flying at us in every direction. I have video with audio for your perusal if you desire. We had to go into the lounge, where instead of watching the ship progress down the Seine, we watched the crew sand, hose down, and then paint the bow in front of us, as we cruised.
In summary, Viking River Cruises practiced deceit in not informing me that the ship was inoperable, instead deceiving me into "embarking" onto the ship, as your contract states, so that I was at your mercy in your alternate arrangements. I argue that Viking had enough time and should have had the decent courtesy to clearly inform me of the situation so that I could have made my own decision about traveling. I did not choose a Viking Bus Tour for my once-a-year holiday! Besides my extreme disappointment with your business practices, I am embarrassed to have talked my friend into going with me. She had been saving for six years to go on a vacation. I also believe you treated the ship's employees poorly, as they kept telling us they did not know anything further about the situation. It seems to me to be a clear case of "get them on the ship and keep stringing them along..." That is outrageous and inexcusable. Read Less
Here we go! Starting off with Eurostar and what a pleasant journey , the best as per usual with Viking.
This was our 4th River Cruise and we always love the feeling of coming home to a great welcome from all the crew. Our cabin was ... Read More
Here we go! Starting off with Eurostar and what a pleasant journey , the best as per usual with Viking.
This was our 4th River Cruise and we always love the feeling of coming home to a great welcome from all the crew. Our cabin was just right, we dont spend much time there , the lounge is so spacious and comfortable. I love the way we meet so many interesting and like minded people from everywhere. We thought the welcome meeting was too long and went into too much detail, and we waited so long for our cases that we went to fetch them. At last it time for dinner and as usual it is very good indeed.
Tuesday we went to Monets garden which didnt disappoint in spite of it being early spring.
On of the things I like about Viking is the talks and entertainment Clara gave an excellent talk about Joan of Arc, lots of things I didnt know.
Thursday we saw the Bayeux Tapestry how marvellous nearly one thousand years and so beautiful.
My husband had looked forward to the battle site and got a lot from visiting where his father was injured seeing all the places he has read so much about
Some of the walks are a bit long for me but the crew always try to help and I feel very cared for and well looked after.
The very best thing about the river cruise is even if you dont feel well or like going ashore there is always the scenery to enjoy in real comfort, and the fact that no one keeps pestering you to spend more money. Read Less
First time river cruise and very pleased with the experience. Our cabin was comfortable and the food was exceptional. The staff could not have been more accomodating and were very professional yet approachable. The weather wasn't ... Read More
First time river cruise and very pleased with the experience. Our cabin was comfortable and the food was exceptional. The staff could not have been more accomodating and were very professional yet approachable. The weather wasn't the most cooperative (some rain and lots of wind; very cool temps) but that was not Viking's fault. One complaint would be that it would be nice if all non-alcoholic drinks (soda, juice, tea, etc.) could be included in the 'no charge' category all day and not just during meals. Also, get someone that can actually sing to entertain each evening in the lounge. Read Less
My father had just passed away two weeks before our sail date. We had purchased trip insurance, and we did consider postponing our trip. Our friends and relatives persuaded us to go on the trip as planned. I am so glad we did. We had such ... Read More
My father had just passed away two weeks before our sail date. We had purchased trip insurance, and we did consider postponing our trip. Our friends and relatives persuaded us to go on the trip as planned. I am so glad we did. We had such a wonderful, restful trip. There was absolutely nothing that wasn't first class. I have celiac disease, and I was concerned about having food that I could eat. The chef on the ship was fabulous. Every day for every meal I had gluten free bread, pasta, desserts, etc. I felt like a princess. The entire staff was outstanding. It was like floating down a beautiful river on a 5 star hotel. Our captain was the youngest captain in Viking's history. He was excellent. Just an outstanding trip with outstanding people. The first couple we met on the ship was from a town in the same state where we are from. We have continued our friendship and visited with each other since returning. New friends who are like long time friends. The entire trip was worth making that friendship. We loved all aspects of our cruise, and we will cruise with Viking again. Read Less
I have to say, this trip was special. When we arrived in Paris, Delta had lost our luggage. Viking had someone stay at the airport near us while we did a claim. When we were done, they were ready to take us to the ship. We got to ride ... Read More
I have to say, this trip was special. When we arrived in Paris, Delta had lost our luggage. Viking had someone stay at the airport near us while we did a claim. When we were done, they were ready to take us to the ship. We got to ride along with the chef (Rickie) who was coming off of vacation back home in Greece. It made the ride from CDG very pleasant.
Michael Bright, the cruise director, met us at the gangplank and already knew about our troubles. He told us Viking would pick up our laundry bill until we got our luggage, even if that meant the entire trip. They went out of their way to make us comfortable. Our luggage finally arrived at CDG airport when the ship had sailed to Vernon. A young lady took a car and drove back to CDG and produced our luggage at out room door at 11:03 PM on day three. That is service, not some hollow promise that most other businesses would give you.
Carlos, the Matre 'd, was on top of all things "food" if it related to service. When things got busy and they needed the help, he pitched right in. All in all, the crew made a great trip wonderful.
The tours were very good and informative. I think the entire plan was well thought out.
The after-cruise at the Warwick Hotel was very pleasant. The only questionable thing I have is why no one thought to schedule something for the morning of the hotel transfer. Everyone knows you are not going to get in until the afternoon. It rained the day we transferred and we had to slosh around the Champs Elyseese looking for some place to stay dry. Minor complaint, but I think, valid. Read Less
Highly recommend . We booked late and ended up with a room on the water line, small but who spends time in your room .Food and service was excellent, Tour guides brought us to places we would never have seen on our own 2 feet from the Mona ... Read More
Highly recommend . We booked late and ended up with a room on the water line, small but who spends time in your room .Food and service was excellent, Tour guides brought us to places we would never have seen on our own 2 feet from the Mona Lisa, Unexpected surprises, our lead tour guide meeting us on the street with a very large tray of just baked pastry of the region, a ceremony with flowers at the American Normandy cemetery and his help in finding my father's grave. The 3 day post stay in a great hotel just off the Champs Elysses and a short walk to the Arc to Triomphe We were able to negotiate the Metro due to our previous tour guides instruction. Highly recommend Viking. Transfer to and from the ship was well handled . Read Less
We couldn't have asked for more. We'd never been on a cruise before and were a bit apprehensive about just about everything: travel to Europe, size of cabin and amenities, food (my husband is picky), excursions (would there be ... Read More
We couldn't have asked for more. We'd never been on a cruise before and were a bit apprehensive about just about everything: travel to Europe, size of cabin and amenities, food (my husband is picky), excursions (would there be too much walking for my husbands's bum knee), time at stops, etc., etc. Well, everything was absolutely wonderful. We made our own travel arrangements but from the moment we got out of the taxi at the port, we were treated with exceptional service. The staff was always helpful, friendly and always available. The food was magnificent (and there was a large selection to select from), the chef a delight, the excursions were wonderful and the tour guides had exceptional knowledge. There was plenty of time to enjoy all the sights at the stops as well as just relaxing and cruising on the river. Visiting Normandy was very emotional and we were so glad we got there. We have raved about our cruise to anyone who will listen and are planning on going on another with Viking in two years. Read Less
To me, part of the experience is meeting other people on the tour. What made this experience so special was getting to know the crew in a way that was comfortable and fun. It certainly made a difference with our cruise. We were delighting ... Read More
To me, part of the experience is meeting other people on the tour. What made this experience so special was getting to know the crew in a way that was comfortable and fun. It certainly made a difference with our cruise. We were delighting in the wonderful food, beautiful vistas and the fascination of going through the locks on the Seine. Each port was delightful and we felt we had enough time to see everything of interest. Three days out, we got the terrible news that my husband's brother had had a massive heart attack and died. I was not able to reach my son at home or anyone of my husbands family to get details. I only found out about the even by a remark my son had made on Facebook. I was frustrated and anxious to learn what had happened. When I finally thought maybe someone at the desk could help (it was night time) and told her of my dilemma she dropped everything and assisted me in a way I'll forever be grateful. I still had to tell my husband what happened but I knew I had support from the Staff who were outstanding. I'll never forget it. Although we had this terrible sadness we were able to enjoy the fantastic hospitality of your ship. The crews kindness and thoughtfulness turned an awful event into something we could deal without pressure. Because of this experience, we would not hesitate to recommend a Viking Cruise to our friends. In fact, we already have. Read Less
This was our second Viking River Cruise and it was wonderful. We could not have been happier with the food (every meal surpassed the previous meal!) , the accomodations, the daily adventures, and free time. With only about 150 passengers, ... Read More
This was our second Viking River Cruise and it was wonderful. We could not have been happier with the food (every meal surpassed the previous meal!) , the accomodations, the daily adventures, and free time. With only about 150 passengers, we made several new friends, had the opportunity to talk to many of our fellow passengers and the crew. The crew members are friendly, helpful and truly care about your satisfaction with the cruise.
The historical sites we visited were meaninful and unforgetable starting with Paris, on to Monet's Garden, castles, churches and especially the beaches or Normandy. We will not hesitate to travel with Viking again soon. Read Less
This was our fourth river cruise and our third on Viking. Overall we would rate it excellent. The crew was outstanding, very courteous and helpful beyond our expectations. The ship was clean and well organized. We are "foodies" ... Read More
This was our fourth river cruise and our third on Viking. Overall we would rate it excellent. The crew was outstanding, very courteous and helpful beyond our expectations. The ship was clean and well organized. We are "foodies" and were pleased with all the food.
The city tour of Paris was good and we enjoyed it even though we had visited Paris several times before.The visit to Monet's garden in Giverny was a delight and even though we had been there before we enjoyed it because the local tour guide was so entertaining.
The visit to the Normandy beaches was, of course, very emotional but very interesting and we had time to look around and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Two of the villages where we stopped, Conflans and Les Andelys were pretty quite and not quite as charming as some of the other villages we have visited in France.
One of our favorite things to do on a river cruise is just to sit out on the sun deck enjoying the beautiful scenery while eating lunch or having a glass of wine and meeting new friends. Read Less
My husband and I always wanted to visit the Normandy coast of France, and decided to try a river cruise. I had read some reviews to skip the cruise line's travel arrangements, which I'm glad I did. Others on the trip complained ... Read More
My husband and I always wanted to visit the Normandy coast of France, and decided to try a river cruise. I had read some reviews to skip the cruise line's travel arrangements, which I'm glad I did. Others on the trip complained about early airline booking times. I booked our flight on Air France and arrived in Paris early afternoon. We took the train to the nearest station where the boat was supposed to be docked, but it wasn't there. Luckily, my cell phone worked and I was able to get through to the company and they sent a car to pick us up. Apparently, the ship was moved further up river, but they did not notify us. If you buy your flight through Viking, they pick you up at the airport. But this is the only problem we had.
We were greeted at the ship and given the keys to our room. Of course it's small but I loved it! We had a cabin with a large window that opened. The bed was comfortable, which surprised me. We unpacked our suitcases and put them under the bed. No more packing and unpacking as you travel from city to city! The ship was clean. I had read some reviews the food was so so but I did not find that to be the case. The food and dining service was outstanding! I could stay on that boat for ever!
The shore excursions were great. There were local guides that took small groups to the various points of interest. There was also plenty of free time to spend as you wished.
The concierge was helpful and the staff always friendly.
Overall we had a fantastic vacation! I totally recommend Viking, and can't wait to sail again on my next river cruise!
Where do I begin?...Well to begin with, Viking River Cruises claims to be the "World's Leading Cruise Line...By Far." However, after my trip aboard the Viking Pride during "Paris and the Heart of Normandy," I have ... Read More
Where do I begin?...Well to begin with, Viking River Cruises claims to be the "World's Leading Cruise Line...By Far." However, after my trip aboard the Viking Pride during "Paris and the Heart of Normandy," I have since learned otherwise.
I will break-down the experience into sections:
ARRIVAL/Embarkation: Okay, my son (18) and I had been in Paris for a couple days before the cruise was set to embark. We took a taxi from our hotel to the port the ship was docked at. Note: Some taxi drivers do not know how to find the docking area, and taxis just do not line up at the dock afterwards either--you must pre-arrange one (which reception handles).
The overall appearance of the ship's exterior is nice, as the crew cleans the outside areas daily. The inside was pretty clean as well, with some of the furniture (in the dining room mainly) being in need of a cleaning to remove food stains. The receptionists are nice to deal with when you board the ship; however, you have to wait for your room to become available after it is cleaned. So, the top-priced rooms (i.e. the high level) are cleaned more promptly. The passenger clientele is primarily around the 50-70+ range (my son was one of the youngest at 18). It is much more intimate than Ocean Cruises I have been on, with around 140 passengers.
There is a coffee/tea area set up for 24 hours/daily by the lobby. The machine is a powder-based one--so the beverages were of relatively low quality and were disappointing for the price Viking charges at close to ~$1,000 a day. Lunch is served as you board on the first day in the lounge. Drinks (including sodas and wines/beers are "complimentary" at meals only.
STAFF: Our program director was not very impressive by all means. In fact, my son and I found him rather rude--we tried to ask him questions; he said he would address them later. I think the program director (and all staff) is there to SERVE YOU--it is their job. Also, some of the staff members seemed really on edge and apprehensive. This is because at the end of the cruise, Viking asks you to complete several hefty-length review forms and surveys. These are "used" to make improvements and changed in the company's operation, so crew members are also evaluated accordingly and are worried about gratuities and performance standard issues. The captain did not attend the "Captain's Dinner," which I found very unusual--as I have been on several cruises where this is not the case. The 2nd Captain did not speak much English, so he never associated with passengers much. Some of the dining room waiters were much better than others, depending on where you sit, as there are no assigned seats. Also, the tables are arranged in 4, 6, or larger sets--so there are no private tables for two. You end up knowing a lot of the guests, as each night you meet new people which was nice. The service was usually pretty quick.
FOOD/Offerings: In terms of the food, the coffee in the dining room was good. The house wine was just okay. Viking offers a premium "Silver Spirits" package, which allows you to order more wines and cocktails. The food was decent. Every day, I really enjoyed the soups (Pear-Ginger, Tomato-Basil, etc.). Breakfast was standard, with bacon, sausage, eggs, and the other usual American items. *I really expected more traditional French cooking, as we were, indeed, in FRANCE. One afternoon at lunch, they ha hot dogs in the lounge buffet. The dining room had better food. At that price for a cruise--I did not travel there to eat hot dogs; very few passengers ate there. In the room, they offer a bottle of water each day; the water is German, which is not overly impressive since I expected to drink French bottles like Evian (for purchase only), Badoit, Vittel, Volvic. Lastly, my son was disappointed on the last night when the Tuna Tartare he ordered was made with imitation crab! In a region with tons of seafood, fresh crab would be an expectation! At $1,000 per day, I think that would be a reasonable request.
EXCURSIONS/Guides: The ship does not sail on the first day, leaves at dinner (7:00 PM) the next day. The distance traveled is relatively small (around 160km if that) for 6 days--as the 6 locks gone through take lots of time. We docked at Rouen, Giverny, Paris. Some excursions were included (Normandy Beaches, Paris City Walk, Rouen Tour, etc.), while others were "optional" where the program director sells you the package. We did the Versailles one, as we wanted to see it. However, Viking really makes a great profit off of them, as Versailles's half-day tour was ~80 Euros per person. Admission there costs ~22 Euros. The bus ride from the ship there was around an hour. To Normandy, the bus ride was 2 hours and a bit. Some of the tour guides were much better than others. Some did not really care, while others were very knowledgeable and polite. And, they like tips at the end too, so they recount tons of information to impress you. I wish more of the basics were reiterated--less "fluff." Some of the tours require you waking up early--6:00 AM at times. And, some of the tour guides were very slow to guide the groups (they split you up into several groups, usually A, B, and C). They also counted the number of people on the buses several times, and constantly seemed apprehensive about managing the group which I guess was because they want to reduce any liability on their part. They need a fast group for people who would like to be more adventurous--not everyone was 80 on-board or disabled.
ROOM: The cabin was very small--which we anticipated, as we got the last room on the ship due to a cancellation in March--the cruise was June 26. The bathroom was adequate with L'Occitane ammentities. The beds had dismal linens, just a duvet cover. The pillows were not very usable--they were too soft and had no support. There is a desk area with a chair. It is difficult to store suitcases, but we just shoved them under the desk. The heating/cooling vent is behind the curtain by the window--a little unusual. The housekeeper we had was efficient and kind; they fold towels into shapes at night during turn-down while your at dinner. They likewise make-up the room in the morning as you eat breakfast. The sundeck was nice (when open), except for when people chose to smoke and the smoke emanated across the deck. I would also have loved a fitness room to be on the ship somewhere.
Problems: Upon checkout, we forgot our camera battery charger plugged into the desk-area outlet. However, we immediately called the ship to inform them. They were relatively unhelpful, denied the charger being in the room (even though we know if was there), and said they take no responsibility. The hotel manager said they "thoroughly check rooms as they are cleaned." I doubt that! And, several guests had issues with the in-room safes: ours did NOT work at all. I went to the front desk and told them--they did nothing to rectify that. The fact that they were dishonest about the charger is the part that concerns me--I do not care about the charger as much as I do the lack of integrity and respect for guests once they are off the ship and no longer are a potential profit. And, when I called Viking, it is very difficult to deal with any customer service, as there really is not any. They refuse to give you phone numbers of any high official and take no part in helping you. As soon as the cruise ends, the tone towards you is modified--as you are no longer paying them; thus, are not a focus.
SYNOPSIS: The entertainment was a pianist. That was it except for the last night with opera singers on-board. A couple games in the atrium--nothing else. Other passengers agreed that it could be made more upbeat, with more post-dinner activities (even BINGO would have been a change!). At this price, I would not travel with Viking again. Principle goes a long way these days. They are not the best cruise line "by far." Take your money and enjoy a vacation elsewhere, such as with Crystal Cruises, Grand Circle Cruise Lines (based in America), or Croisi Europe (more authentic). Read Less