This was a "Congratulations on Your Retirement" cruise to myself and I took one of my daughters. Very different to the two Ocean Cruises that I had take before, which I expected, and I welcomed the change of experience Most of the cruise was wonderful - see other sections of this review for specifics. We cruised from Paris (wonderful to see), and the end destination was the Beaches at Normandy which was so moving. Lots great stops along the way in small villages and at Monet's Garden - fabulous, brought a print home to remind me of this trip! Truly loved all of the old architecture.
Everything was wonderful about this vacation with the following exceptions:
One of the reasons that I booked this trip was the option to see "Downton Abbey", It ended up near the end of the booking that this side excursion was not available. It turned out that Viking knew all along that this excursion might not be an option, they just hoped it would be available for booking. I felt kind of duped, but such is life and our Travel Agent was able to book us on a similar experience.
The food was less than expected. Some meals were very good, some were mediocre. The chicken at dinner had no flavor and tasted like it had been boiled. The scrambled eggs at the breakfast buffet were always cold. Desserts were always excellent!! Not everything can be perfect.
The worst experience happened after our return and it is the reason I will not cruise with Viking again. I purchased binoculars at the ship's store as a gift to my granddaughter who was interested in bird watching. When I got home I found that the piece on top between the lenses that you use to focus never did become clear. It was also difficult for me to move that piece and would have been impossible for a 6-year old. They sent me another pair but in spite of asking that they check it for this problem, it arrived with the same issue.
I then asked for a refund, and was told that I'd have to mail the defective binoculars back to them and I would have to pay for the postage. I questioned the "Customer Service" agent, Kayla, and while she wasn't overly rude. she stood firm that this was their policy. So, for what should have been a $19 refund, I got a $7.37 refund after postage. This isn't about the money, it's about their requirement that I cover the postage to return something I bought from them that was defective. After what I spent on the cruise it seems unbelievably cheap. For the sake of $11.63 postage, they have lost a future customer. Doesn't seem like good business to me!!
Small but adequate. Nicely furnished and immaculately clean. Housekeeping staff was very friendly, eager to please and did an excellent job.
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