My first cruise experience was with Viking River Cruises in the south of France. There’s so much to say about this experience, so buckle up, it’s about to get wild! This was an action-packed 8 day experience that I will never forget.
Let’s first discuss the keys points of the experience such as the ship, the food, the staff and the planned activities. Once we get the nitty-gritty out-of-the-way, we can move on to my overall thoughts on the entire experience and if it’s worth it or not. First and foremost, let’s discuss the ship and it’s facilities. Our ship was called the Viking Buri and was a fairly new ship which could carry 190 people. Just as Pierre enjoys new hotels, he also enjoys new cruise ships. Everything felt very fresh and had that brand-new smell to prove it. Walking on board you will immediately enter the lobby area. The lobby is spacious and has beautiful skylights.
You won’t need to go very far and you’ll find the guestrooms. When you walk into the room, you’ll probably notice how bright it is. I really enjoyed the color scheme which helped to liven the mood. Moving into the bathroom, you’ll notice it’s so well designed that it doesn’t feel small. There’s a place for everything. The designer of this ship did a wonderful job!
A feature I really liked about the room, was the entertainment system. Built-in, they offered tons of music and video options all at your fingertips. Another great feature was the fact that there is a ridiculous amount of storage space! Throughout the whole trip I really never felt cramped which was fantastic.
Moving back out of the rooms, let’s head up to the top floor. On the deck, they have a large relaxation area. Up there you can find shuffleboard, a putting green, a walking track and all types of seating to enjoy the outdoors while on the river! If you want to get some fresh air this is the place to do it.
Moving to the front of the ship, you’ll find another outdoor seating area where you can actually eat your meals. Multiple times on the cruise I enjoyed dinner outside and I really thought that this was a fantastic option. Sitting outside along a street in the city is nice, but sitting outside eating on the deck of a moving cruise ship is on another level of greatness!
So we have established that the ship is fantastic, now let’s talk about the food, what everyone really wants to hear about. Wink. Reading up about the experience prior to the trip, I got the impression that the food would be very much of the local variety. Although the food was good , it was definitely adapted to the taste buds of the guests. They did provide a wide range of options for all of the meals so even the pickiest eaters would be thrilled. There was always something new and tasty on the menu each day. Pro tip: I would definitely urge you to consider the chef’s recommendation’s before each meal because usually they’re the best items on the menu.
During these meals guests also receive fantastic service. There were plenty of waitstaff to go around and they were constantly there to make sure your needs were met!
Now let’s talk about the activities and guided tours offered by Viking. The schedule is set up in a way that makes it very flexible. The ship would move to a different town or city almost every day and it was completely left up to the guest to go on guided tours, organized activities or simply explore on their own.
As we all know, everyone is different. This decision really comes down to personal preference. For myself, I do enjoy the facts provided about history and culture so I did feel like joining a guided tour or a cooking class occasionally. However, on other days, I wanted to just explore an area on my own, like I usually do when I’m not on a cruise. All options are completely acceptable during the Viking Cruises which provides quite a nice experience.
It was a French River cruise so perhaps we should talk about France? We started in the south of France, in Avignon and then bounced around the area and eventually headed north to finish the cruise in Lyon. During our trip, I learned how to cook authentic French food, explored ancient castles, bonded with other travelers, learn about French culture and really just had a fantastic time.
During the cruise, there were only 200 passengers so inevitably you will meet the same people multiple times and form friendships. Everyone was in a good mood already and so it’s very easy to bond with people. By the end of the cruise, I didn’t want to leave my new friends. It almost feels like going away to the best summer camp ever!
Out of all of these amazing experiences, I must say that the cooking classes were some of the best. During these classes, I really felt I learned a lot more about the culture and this is what truly interests me.
At this point, I think I’ve covered enough of the experience to really give you a good feel for what was offered. If you couldn’t tell by now, I seriously enjoyed my experience with Viking River Cruises in the south of France. It was an amazing time that will stick with me forever. It was flawless! Whether it was eating amazing local French food in a market in Avignon, or walking through a castle that is over 1,000 years old, all of the experiences provided were just splendid. If you are even considering going on a Viking Cruise, I must insist you do so as soon as possible. Most of the guests on the ship were second or third time customers and this proves the quality of service. Viking has really got me fired up about going on more cruises and I’m sure that once you try, you will be too! Until next time, happy cruising. Bon voyage!
The Nitty Gritty
Taste - 8.5
Value - 8
Feng Shui - 8.7
Convenience - 9.5
Service - 9
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