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Portraits of Southern France on Viking Europe


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The departure of our JFK to Paris flight was delayed 50 minutes leaving us with a very tight connection in Paris for our onward flight to Marseille and so in the luggage claim area in Marseille, not too surprisingly, my name appeared on the dreaded monitor announcing that my luggage did not make it to Marseille. BUT the Viking agent who met us at the airport, guided me to the appropriate office, translated for me and volunteered to claim my luggage for me when it arrived on a later flight and see to it that it rejoined me at the ship later in the day. And that is exactly what happened!


This was a trip that at every turn, had Viking staff going out of their way to make sure things were to our liking. Most impressive to me, was the pre-cruise assistance that I received from Telma, the concierge on Viking Europe. Since we were on the northbound sailing, I learned, here on Cruise Critic, that there would not be a tour of Pont du Gard (the Roman Aqueduct near Avignon).

When we received our cruise documents from Viking before our trip, an email address for Viking Europe was included. I emailed to them an inquiry to see if it would be possible to visit the site on my own and received a reply from Telma that very evening, saying that she would be happy to arrange such a trip for me but that would mean that I would miss the scheduled tour of Avignon.

However our air arrangements were scheduled to get us into Marseille at 8:40 AM on that first day so I asked Telma if it would be possible to visit the site when we first arrived on board. She said that she would be happy to arrange my visit but cautioned that we would be jet lagged so suggested that we nap a bit on our arrival to Viking Europe and make the visit that afternoon. Telma provided me with an estimated cost of the taxi fare and the cost of admission and an estimate of how much time we should allow to visit the site.

My visit to Pont du Gard was wonderful and I am very grateful for the help that Telma provided to me before we were even on board (particularly when I was able to witness for myself on our own sailing how busy she was with the guests on board).

Everyone of the crew on board was attentive and helpful. From Rudy, the Program Director, to Max the Chef, to Adrian and Karel in the bar and especially Ana our room steward we were always met with a smile and the question of how may I help you?

Having read some of the less than flattering posts about Viking on these boards, I felt compelled to share our experience and say without hesitation that we had a marvelous time and will be sailing with Viking again.

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For some reason my review of this cruise has still not been published on Cruise Critic so I thought that I would add that the food served on board was very good (a French specialty offered every night since it was after all a French River Cruise).

The cabin was a comfortable size with plenty of storage space for our things and our luggage fit nicely under the bed.

The tours were diverse and interesting. One of our most unusual tours was the evening guided walk through the old town of Viviers by flashlight!

Hopefully the review I posted will show up one of these days.

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The Portraits of Southern France cruise is the next one I want to take with Viking so I was glad to read this thread. I can vouch for the people on Viking being very good at helping passengers make alternative plans at stops from our experience on the Rhine in 2012 and am happy to do it after all the disses Viking gets here (but yes, I do believe sometimes things do not go so well).


While not as bad as the 2013 high water problems, there were serious low water problems on the Rhine in 2012 causing changes in stops. longer bus rides etc. We wanted to take a train to Worms (famous cathedral, nice town) since we had been to Heidelberg not long before this river cruise. Though we had done our own research, we let the cruise director know what we were doing and asked where we could meet the boat. We were given train schedules, maps, and a good description of where and what time to meet the boat. They also were watching for us at the next stop. When we left the boat in Amsterdam to go to the airport via the nearby train station (our own air), we were given instructions and times again. They do not always succeed but they try very hard to please.

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