We chose this itinerary mostly to see Paris, but the other ports were quite wonderful, too. This sailing left from Paris during the great Strike of December 2019, which added some unexpected drama to the tale and certainly caused inconvenience for everyone in France at that time. Despite it all, Paris was magnificent and Viking made the entire voyage as enjoyable and convenient as they could, given the challenging situation.
We chose an inside cabin, since we have sailed several times with Viking on Christmas cruises in Europe and we don't use a balcony in the short, dark cold winter days. We were happy with our cozy cabin and especially like the heated floors in the bathrooms. As usual, everything was spotless and comfortable: linens, storage, lighting, TV, fridge - all in good order and just what we needed.
The holiday performances onboard were worth a special note: several local groups and school choirs performed remarkably good holiday music. It was a treat and everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy the quality and variety of the live music on this trip.
Viking always does a nice job with their excursions and we had excellent walking tours in Rouen, St. Germain-en-Laye, Auvers-sur-Oise, Normandy, Bayeux and Les Andelys. The guides were well-organized, full of information and charming to all. These cities and towns in France have such unique stories, with well-preserved city centers, that it is easy to spend a full day wandering through the cobblestone streets, even in December.
I took a bus tour with a group of Canadian military families to visit the sites on Omaha Beach and Normandy (this was the 75th anniversary of D Day) and got a new perspective on the scale and consequences of that war. The cemeteries are profoundly sad and beautifully tended, making that day a solemn one and worth the time to pay respects.
Overall, this cruise was a magical way to see France and to enjoy Paris. It's important to know that the ship does not sail from Paris, but from the port of Le Pecq, normally about a half hour cab ride from the center of the city. There is also a complicated but viable RER train which goes to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which we had planned to take - before the general strike stopped all transport. We managed to wrangle a 90€ shuttle from our hotel (we had spent a week in Paris before the sailing to make sure we made the launch) because there was literally no other way to get to this ship: no metro, no RER, not even any normal cabs since the airport was also closed. The strike and subsequent complications with transport were in no way Viking's fault, of course - but our relief was powerful and sincere when we finally put our feet on those red carpets leading on the Rinda at last.
Inside cabins are great in December, because you won't miss the balcony at all. (We used the deep, curtained window sills to store packs, hats, gloves and packages, which was handy). Bring ear plugs if the odd bumps and gurglings of water flowing by at night bother you. Everything is close on such a small ship so room location doesn't make much difference. We couldn't figure out how to control our room heat, so be sure and ask a housekeeper how to get the heat to stay on. And - those heated bath floor as are DIVINE!
The city has a marvelous old center, with flea markets, boutiques, cafes and churches. At the holidays, it was enchanting. We wandered for hours. Photos are at https://tinyurl.com/ya72zvk8View All 10 Rouen On Your Own Reviews
Under normal circumstances, it does require some time to get from the city to the pier. But that only usually involves a 30 minute cab ride or an RER train trip, neither of which is terribly expensive or difficult.. Just keep in mind that when you arrive at the airport, your ship is NOT in the city of Paris, but in a suburb named Le Pecq