I have been on many ocean cruises and I enjoyed the Amawaterways Christmas Market cruise so I expected about the same from the Viking Buri Rhone river cruise. I give the Buri's staff 5 STARS as well as all Viking tour guides, escorts etc. I paid for the transport from the airport to the hotel [I stayed a few days in Paris before the cruise] and it was money well spent! It was very easy to find the Viking Reps after clearing customs. All very very friendly and were very helpful.
I celebrated a special birthday on the Viking Buri and they made it fun! BUT....the cruise was very overpriced. The breakfast buffet area was very tight. The food was fine for breakfast, but the portions were small. If you order pancakes or french toast you may want to order doubles. I got 2 siver dollar sized pancakes!
I looked forward to meeting the Captain. All of the hors d'oeuvres were gone when it started and they did not replenish them. I guess repeat passengers knew to show up early. This is the ONLY cruise that I had to pay for my own cocktail at the captain's party. Later, they passed around champagne.
Overall, the dinner food and wine selections and portions were very disappointing. On Amawaterways we enjoyed a different wine every night. On the Viking Buri, we had the same wine every night except one. $7.99 wine! The menus were strange. The food didn't "flow" e.g. the soup had an Indian curry flavor, followed by something with spaghetti sauce. The beef bourguignon was delicious, but there were 5 or 6 small pieces of beef.
The age of the passengers varied, but most were senior citizens as expected.
The Viking Buri had a few evening walks when it was dark, walking on uneven ground and cobblestones. This just doesn't make sense except to fill a square!
When I received my flight itinerary, generated by a computer, it was outrageous, spending two nights in different airports on the return trip. HOWEVER, by paying $50 per person I was able to talk to a Viking rep in person to get a more realistic flight schedule. Viking should be ashamed to associate themselves with Air France. They are well aware of multiple labor strike actions by Air France. My flight from Marseilles to Paris was delayed an hour just as we were ready to board. I received a phone call last week informing me that Air France was not accountable for this because the Air Traffic Controllers called a strike! I had to RUN to make my connecting flight in Paris as they were paging me overhead ready to close the doors of the plane. When I finally arrived in Miami, I was 1 of 120 passengers whose luggage was not loaded onto the plane. The Air France customer service rep's attitude was "I don't care". I had to file a report online [they were well aware of the passengers names and baggage numbers since the rep had a clipboard with this information.] Every day I checked to see when my bag would be delivered. "Still searching" was the message I received. There are 3 direct flights/day from Paris to Miami. By day 5 I lost hope! My luggage was delivered 6 days and 18 flights later to my sister's house down the street! I filed a complaint with the department of transportation. The airline is required to respond within 30 days. I had to purchase some basic necessities--I had 12 days of clothes, cosmetics, etc in my suitcase and I am waiting for reimbursement. Air France said the check is in the mail! I met some great people on the cruise and this is one birthday I will always remember!!
Cabin 211 was a little tight but average size river cruise cabin. I have sailed on the Amasonata and their cabins are considerably bigger. Our cabin attendant was great! Nothing was too much trouble for him! When I got back to my cabin on my birthday he decorated the room with a towel birthday cake!