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Viking or Tauck for Paris to Normandy


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I am trying to decide on the 8 day Paris - Paris River Cruises offered by Tauck (Ms. Sapphire) or Viking (Viking Skaga).  This will be our first visit to Paris and would like to extend on our own in Venice.  They are both about the same price - Viking being just a little less.  Any suggestions please???  Thanks!!!

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We've booked the Viking (Paris to Normandy and back), originally 11/2020 and now 11/2021. We did a Viking river fall of 2019 and LOVED it. It's go go go every day, good food, good tours, stellar customer service, zero complaints! (We booked a 15-day Viking Ocean cruise for 11/2022, too, based on the ports and the level of service we've experienced so far on the river.)

Edited by dizzlepop
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Most of the Seine cruises I looked at are 8 days, as you note.  The one itinerary that stands out (if you have the extra time) is Scenic's 11-day Normandy & Gems of the Seine, with overnights in Rouen and [this is very unusual] in Honfleur.

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  • 2 months later...

You may want to check out the number of passengers carried on the river boats.  I believe the Tauck vessels have a lower number of guest on board. Also look for guest reviews on the Viking and Tauck.

I really think both will be an excellent trip for you.

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1 hour ago, MSEm said:

You may want to check out the number of passengers carried on the river boats.  I believe the Tauck vessels have a lower number of guest on board. Also look for guest reviews on the Viking and Tauck.

I really think both will be an excellent trip for you.

It's also worth reminding to check the length of the river ship along with the number of passengers, so that you aren't misled by marketing hype.  No river ship is longer than 135m [Viking 'long ships' are the same length – can't be longer or won't fit the locks].  On the Seine, 135m doesn't work – as Viking found out when the Seine river authorities wouldn't let them dock in Paris because they couldn't turn around safely.  So Viking's latest Seine ships are 125m.  But all Viking ships have a very the dense passenger load.  Tauck is at or near the other extreme, with very few passengers occupying the same amount of space.  This also shows up on shore excursions, where the Viking groups are always larger than other cruise lines'.

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Excellent info in Host Jazzbeau post on the length of the vessels. I have never sailed with Tauck but I did tour one of their vessels.  I have  completed 4 river cruises with Viking during the "off or Shoulder" seasons.  Check for the total cost,  are tips included in the fare or added to the ship board account. What are any additional cost. Having smaller groups when touring could be an advantage.

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Tauck, hands down. As others have said fewer passengers. And Tauck, all spirits, wine, etc. all day included, premium excursions - included, gratuities included, booking dates for pre/post hotel are flexible. Transfers included - even if you book your own air. Tauck Air department contract air more flexible than Viking's. Viking pre/post dates are set in stone, no flexibility to go early/stay late. Have cruised both lines - Viking does provide reduced/free econ air. Tauck's air contract is sometimes flexible, meaning that if the airline/Tauck cancel, refund is not a problem. Repeat clients get a "Gift of Time" (pre/post) if rebooking by a certain date. Food ++ Tauck vs. Viking. Hotels pre/post much better. Tauck a better value ... 

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  • 3 weeks later...

We loved our Paris to Normandy Viking river cruise in 2017- however, at the time, Viking leaves from Le Pecq, a suburb of Paris.  I think the Tauck ships are docked in Paris.  I would have liked for the ship to have been docked in Paris so that was a disappointment.  

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5 hours ago, SM77 said:

We loved our Paris to Normandy Viking river cruise in 2017- however, at the time, Viking leaves from Le Pecq, a suburb of Paris.  I think the Tauck ships are docked in Paris.  I would have liked for the ship to have been docked in Paris so that was a disappointment.  

Viking built slightly shorter ships in order to dock in Paris proper.  125 m long, I believe, as compared to the usual 135 meter longships.  From what I gather, they have the same floor plan as the 135 m versions, but with a few less rooms.

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Posted (edited)

I've done the Viking cruise to Normand twice, once from Paris and once from Le Pecq.  I may be the only one to say this, but I enjoyed being in LePecq.  We had stayed two days in Paris and it was rather relaxing, as there is another town (I forget the name) at the top of the hill (easy walk) and they had a small Christmas Market (samples of Pate, make my mouth still water).  Very nice experience.  But if you have not been to Paris before, you must start in Paris and the Viking ships now start in Paris again.

Edited by rcaruso
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All good suggestions but it depends also on your priorities....better food, smaller tour groups, easier planning, fun little surprises then I don’t think Viking would ever be the correct answer to your question.

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Posted (edited)

We did the (more than) equivalent trip with Grand Circle about three or four years ago.  Two nights in Honfluer, two in Paris with night cruises in Paris along the Seine, great tour directors, etc.  And, I would bet, much cheaper.  https://www.gct.com/trips/river-cruises/europe/the-seine-paris-to-normandy/2021/itineraries?icid=global:itineraries:europe-by-river-cruise:sen2021

Edited by Jeff in Torrance
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We did the first Scenic Seine cruise. The reason the ships are shorter is the length of the locks similar to the Douro, which are even shorter.

I would definitely do this trip again because the French powers that be had not signed the papers to allow Scenic Gem to moor in Honfluer but she does now. I suggest deciding what you want to experience and check to see which company covers the most in their itineraries. CA

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On 2/20/2021 at 10:20 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

Most of the Seine cruises I looked at are 8 days, as you note.  The one itinerary that stands out (if you have the extra time) is Scenic's 11-day Normandy & Gems of the Seine, with overnights in Rouen and [this is very unusual] in Honfleur.

I have this one booked for mid Sept of this year- it's looking promising.

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2 hours ago, amawells said:

I have this one booked for mid Sept of this year- it's looking promising.

I have it booked for next Spring.  Please come back and give us your review on the River Cruising forum.

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Be warned - in the nicest possible way - the day you go to Giverney is an early start but it’s worth it when we arrived there was no one else there I got a picture of the bridge and waterlilies without anyone in it. If your interested in textiles don’t miss Bolbec. I will be with you in spirit. CA

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On 5/28/2021 at 5:39 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

I have it booked for next Spring.  Please come back and give us your review on the River Cruising forum.

Hi Jazz,🙂  which cruise are you doing? I know there are 2 listed in April.

 

I keep looking at all these river cruises for next year and have never sailed on the Seine.........actually I have never been to Paris. Everytime I think I am going to book one, I end up doing something else LOL.....

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Posted (edited)

I haven't sailed with either. I found a trip that I liked on Tauck and called them the other day. I asked a few questions on how they handled things during COVID and wasn't thrilled with their responses. For example - I had a Princess cruise booked with their insurance (AON) and also a trip booked with Allianz insurance. Princess refunded the AON insurance and Allianz also refunded their insurance, no questions asked. Tauck did not nor did AON. Their insurance for the trip I was looking at was $699 and only covered $20K in medical. I realize I don't need to buy their insurance but their deposit is refundable or not (or maybe just transferrable) based on if you buy this insurance. She went through a few scenarios with me. Considering I still don't know what is going to happen with 2022 travel, I deferred. I like this trip that they have. I have no doubt they provide a great quality trip but I will do it when the world is more stable. There were only a few cabins left that had no single supplement. If I wanted one of those, I would have to book soon.

 

I also asked if they had any airfare deals (like other lines) and while they do airfare - it isn't a deal. She mentioned most Business Class air was $5000 that she sees from US to Europe. She did say I could book it and didn't have to pay it until final payment. She sort of had the attitude and did state "we are the best and people don't question our prices". 

 

I did call Crystal on a river cruise. They are waiving their admin fees and their refund is refundable until 120 days out. There is no single supplement on this. While I know Crystal wasn't the best at refunds - at least they are saying they are refundable and Mr. Visa or Mr. Mastercard can help me out on that, they couldn't on Tauck as they don't refund this. It is impossible for me to arrange to get time off from work 15 months in advance. That and the world situation - just too risky for me.

Edited by Coral
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3 hours ago, Lois R said:

Hi Jazz,🙂  which cruise are you doing? I know there are 2 listed in April.

 

I keep looking at all these river cruises for next year and have never sailed on the Seine.........actually I have never been to Paris. Everytime I think I am going to book one, I end up doing something else LOL.....

April 25 to May 5.  The trip starts with AMA's Tulip Time April 18-25, then the TGV to Paris to join Scenic Gem.  With a jet lag day in Amsterdam and a few days post-cruise in Paris it rounds out to our preferred three weeks.

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24 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

April 25 to May 5.  The trip starts with AMA's Tulip Time April 18-25, then the TGV to Paris to join Scenic Gem.  With a jet lag day in Amsterdam and a few days post-cruise in Paris it rounds out to our preferred three weeks.

Tulip Time was my very first river cruise!  I LOVED IT😃.....it was on AMA too.  You have 2 wonderful itineraries!  I was looking at Scenic but realized I have a cruise booked for March.......going again in April? I will look for later in the spring/early summer. 

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Lois, We are on the 8 day Scenic Normandy trip that departs June 4 2022, if you are interested in the shorter version.  We plan to spend a week pre- cruise on our own in Brittany.  We had this planned in 2020 and 2021, so hopefully this will be a go.

 

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