This trip was amazing from the start. We were met by Viking representatives that had a desk at the airport. We were driven from the airport to the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel. We had no idea that it would be so far from the airport. We had initially considered finding a cheaper hotel and seeing Paris on our own. We so glad that we decided to book the 3-day pre-cruise in Paris. It gave us the opportunity to rest after the long flight from the west coast. We also had the opportunity to visit top visitor attractions in Paris that other cruisers saw only on a bus tour. The hotel was close to the Opera House and many visitor attractions. But the best part of the trip is that we got to meet other Viking cruisers at the hotel and quickly became friends. We visited Notre Dame, the Louve, Musee D'Orsay, the Eifel Tower, and had the opportunity to use the Paris Metro transportation system with our new friends.
Viking had a desk in the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel and the pre-tour excursions and neighbor walk was well done. The hotel's buffet breakfast was great.
We found Paris' attractions to be very crowded, although we were traveled during an off season. We especially enjoyed Viking's itinerary and being able to see places off of the beaten track: Giverney and Monet's Garden, Roeun and it's spired cathedrals, Normandy, and La Roche-Guyon with its amazing castle built next to a cliff and 300 spiraling steps that lead UP to the dungeons at the top. I could have stayed at Monet's Garden all day! The history of D-Day and Normandy lead us to do a lot of reading about WWII when we returned and gave us a greater appreciation of the ingenuity to build artificial harbors in England for the 5 Normandy beaches and the courage of our US and allied soldiers.
We had previously gone on a Holland America cruise, but preferred the more intimate Viking river cruise experience with a maximum of 190 cruisers. The food and the service were superb. The chefs were very accommodating when there were special diet requirements.
Throughout the trip, we liked the portable audio device that allowed us to hear the local guides clearly. We also liked that we were broken into smaller groups and that there were several guides. It was nice that daily excursions were included in the cruise price.
Some of the excursions required us to get up early the next day so we didn't take advantage of the entertainment. We went only to one.
The staff calls you by name. You are not a room number. Amazing!
On the final day, a Viking agent accompanied us to the airport. We got to the airport 3 hours, 20 minutes before the departure time. It was like Disneyland with lines that snaked. We crept along one long line and that was followed by at least 3 additional long lines. We were so glad that a Viking agent was there to communicate with the French-speaking agent at the airport. We barely made it on to our flight.
What made our trip especially memorable was meeting new friends. We hope that we can travel together on future Viking cruises. Everything was perfect and it this was one of our most memorable trips. Thank you Viking staff!
Our cabin was cleaned at least twice a day. We had a standard room which was small but we have no complaints as we spent most of our time outside of our room. The internet was sufficient and it was nice that it was FREE.
And the best part is that the beds were very comfortable.
I suggest that you bring earplugs. I am a light sleeper and there is some noise when the ship sails at night.