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Normandy Beaches


coljack
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We are considering booking Viking Paris to Paris  because it includes a Normandy Beaches excursion.  We are in our 70's but still reasonably healthy.  My wife uses a cane for long walks.  Can anyone comment on how strenuous the Normandy excursion is?  Thanks.

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5 hours ago, coljack said:

We are considering booking Viking Paris to Paris  because it includes a Normandy Beaches excursion.  We are in our 70's but still reasonably healthy.  My wife uses a cane for long walks.  Can anyone comment on how strenuous the Normandy excursion is?  Thanks.

I would suggest that you also look at Scenic.  Because their ships were designed for it and their pilots are certified, they are able to dock in Honfleur – which is much closer to the Normandy beaches than Rouen or Le Havre where everybody else* is stuck.  This doesn't change the issue about the walk at the Normandy beaches, but it does dramatically reduce the time on coaches to get there.

 

* there are a few other river cruise lines that can dock in Honfleur, especially CroisiEurope, but they are not in the quality category of Scenic (or Viking).

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I use a cane and did the 11 day Paris to Paris itinerary in 2019. I had no issues with any of the walks around the beaches and went down onto the sand on Sword (could have been Gold) but not at Juno. But because we were on Scenic, our bus fried from Honfleur was quite short. 

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We're in our 70s and I use a stick. We are on the Viking Paris cruise in September so if you can wait till then can let you know. 

Use Google maps to calculate how long coach ride is if that's a concern. We are on a Scenic cruise right now and although they are OK we prefer Viking. One really bad thing about Scenic for those with mobility issues is the passenger exit is from deck 3 down a gang plank that's steep, has a nasty angle at end and a part that only has rope railings.

Viking has exits from decks 2 & 3 and uses one which is closest to land level so most times you can leave boat on horizontal or slight slope using wide ramp with metal hand rails 

 

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On 7/5/2024 at 6:45 AM, pontac said:

We're in our 70s and I use a stick. We are on the Viking Paris cruise in September so if you can wait till then can let you know. 

Use Google maps to calculate how long coach ride is if that's a concern. We are on a Scenic cruise right now and although they are OK we prefer Viking. One really bad thing about Scenic for those with mobility issues is the passenger exit is from deck 3 down a gang plank that's steep, has a nasty angle at end and a part that only has rope railings.

Viking has exits from decks 2 & 3 and uses one which is closest to land level so most times you can leave boat on horizontal or slight slope using wide ramp with metal hand rails 

 

That’s strange as in our two Scenic trips, we only had to use the third deck once. Every other departure was from the second deck. Once we rafted and departed from the sun deck but went directly onto that ship’s top deck and down their inside staircase to their second deck. So I wonder if it is itinerary specific. I wouldn’t be happy with using the sun deck to disembark daily. 

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I just returned from my first river cruise on Viking (on the Rhône from Provence to Lyon). Wonderful experience. I can’t comment on the Normandy excursion specifically but wanted to mention that they offered a slow walkers group for the tours. And many people, even in the regular groups, used walking sticks.

And I agree with pontac, exit and entry was never an issue.

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On 7/6/2024 at 9:19 PM, 1of4 said:

That’s strange as in our two Scenic trips, we only had to use the third deck once. Every other departure was from the second deck.

 

I think your deck two is my deck three

 

The two Scenic ships I have cruised on, and all the Viking boats, have 3 decks which have cabins, and one open one at the top.

In Scenic the first (lowest) deck is called the Jewel deck (on CC it's called Aquarium or Swan)

The second (mid) deck is called the Sapphire

The third (upper) deck is the Diamond Deck

The open deck above that is the sundeck

 

On Scenic the only place to board/leave the boat is the third - Diamond - deck, unless when rafting one has to cross at the sun deck.

 

On Viking, the main entrance is the second deck and the third can be used when that gives a more level access to the river bank

 

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6 hours ago, pontac said:

 

I think your deck two is my deck three

 

The two Scenic ships I have cruised on, and all the Viking boats, have 3 decks which have cabins, and one open one at the top.

In Scenic the first (lowest) deck is called the Jewel deck (on CC it's called Aquarium or Swan)

The second (mid) deck is called the Sapphire

The third (upper) deck is the Diamond Deck

The open deck above that is the sundeck

 

On Scenic the only place to board/leave the boat is the third - Diamond - deck, unless when rafting one has to cross at the sun deck.

 

On Viking, the main entrance is the second deck and the third can be used when that gives a more level access to the river bank

 

On Scenic Gem and Jade we have always boarded and disembarked by the mid deck or, the same deck as the lounge half way between the Diamond and Sapphire decks. Is this what you mean?  The Sun or top deck is the roof of the Diamond deck. 

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It’s all to do with the technical configuration of the vessel. We’ve been exceptionally lucky and have only had to breast up a few times so far in our quite long cruising life. The only slight hiccup we have ever noticed was last year  on the Seine. This was a top deck or sun deck to deck transfer to a Viking vessel, Scenic had a member of crew stationed at the entrance of the stairs to offer assistance if required. We were sat on the sun deck with birthday champagne so we’re privy to the debacle. Okay it’s people but they surly must have been explained the situation. The Scenic crew were put through a really nasty mouthful of officious language by not one but several customers of the Viking vessel. It was made very obvious that they felt entitled to be on the inside but why castigate the Scenic staff and not query their own. Interestingly one of the Scenic officers casually appeared to talk to us whilst this was happening, so maybe not an unusual occurrence. Okay when none of your customers are around different if they are. 
Now I know this is most probably unusual but I have seen complaints being made because of breasting up(rafting) maybe some companies don’t clearly explain the situation.

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16 hours ago, 1of4 said:

On Scenic Gem and Jade we have always boarded and disembarked by the mid deck or, the same deck as the lounge

 

I have probably made a mistake in thinking all Scenic 'Spaceships' are alike. I haven't travelled on Gem or Jade.

 

On Scenic Azure the exit door is in deck 3. The lounge is the same level, as are the cabins. The restaurant is on deck 2 same as the restaurant.

 

On Scenic Diamond (the first Scenic I travelled on) the lounge and restaurant were off-set from the decks the cabins were on. Our cabin was on deck 2. We had to descend stairs to the restaurant and ascend stairs to the lounge, reception and exit. So the exit was midway between deck 2 and deck 3, say deck 2.5 🙂

 

This off-set entrance did not align with other non-Scenic river boats so when rafted on outside only way to transfer to other boat was via the sundeck.

 

I  hated this feature of Scenic boats - having to walk down a narrow gangplank at a steep angle with a section at the highest point where there was no metal hand rail, only a loose rope, and would not recommend Scenic to anyone with mobility problems for this one reason.

 

Yes, other companies boats might have to cross a rafted boat via the sun deck, but even when not rafted Scenic have a high exit point and a scary gang plank. (on the boats I have been on, and it seems on Gem and Jade. I will find out myself about Jasper in 4 weeks time.

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31 minutes ago, Canal archive said:

Scenic Azure is the smallest of their European ships Scenic Gem slightly larger both basically due to the lock sizes on the Douro and the Seine. The others are the same length and have slight differences according to their build year. Just before covid most of their ships had major internal changes.

And even those small Scenic ships have large cabins:  on Gem all cabins except the few in Aquarium class are at least 205sf, with many cabins at 225, 305 and 455; on Azure all except the Aquarium class and one rear-most cabin are at least 215, with many at 247 and 420.  The rear-most cabins on the top deck are panoramic, with amazing views to the aft and side, and are located under the crew area of the sun deck [no jogging and no furniture moving to worry about].  Their 135m ships also have 205sf as the standard cabin size with lots of larger choices.  Having fewer passengers means that both cabins and public areas can be more spacious.

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17 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 on Gem all cabins except the few in Aquarium class are at least 205sf, with many cabins at 225, 305 and 455

 

Many? There are only two  at 455 sq ft, the Royal One-Bedroom Suite and only two at 305 sq ft the Royal Balcony Suite.

 

Balcony Suites are 205sqf, exactly the same size as Viking's Veranda Stateroom.

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On 7/11/2024 at 10:21 AM, pontac said:

Many? There are only two  at 455 sq ft, the Royal One-Bedroom Suite and only two at 305 sq ft the Royal Balcony Suite.

 

Balcony Suites are 205sqf, exactly the same size as Viking's Veranda Stateroom.

You skipped the 10 cabins at 225.  So a total of 14 cabins on their second smallest ship.  But we're not nit-picking!

 

My main point was that a very small number of cabins on Scenic are less than 205sf, whereas on Viking approx. 1/2 of the cabins* are 135-150sf (and I have been informed that the '150' is really only 135 of floor space plus the shelf under the high window).  That's the dramatic difference you get by having fewer passengers on the same size ship:  both private and public spaces are more spacious.

 

* 135m longships have 47 cabins of 135-150sf vs. 48 cabins of 205+

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