Viking River Cruises ms Viking Burgundy by Kaia Canfield Western Europe April 1, 2002
The Provence, France on the Rhone River cruise with Viking River was extremely relaxing, fun, and stress-free and for a great price. We started in Marseilles and were brought by taxi to Avignon to board the ship. It is a very small ship with about 150 passengers. The food was very good but smaller portions than you may be accustomed to on larger cruise ships. There was virtually no on board entertainment to speak of, but since we were in the center of a small town each night, we thoroughly enjoyed walking around and enjoying the local atmosphere.
Seating for dinner was a "free for all" except a select group. That made it difficult for four of us traveling together to sit together. We also did not develop a rapport with the serving staff as we normally like to do. Some of our fellow travels were also rude by "saving" tables and it created a few nasty moments. Meals also took an extraordinary amount of time (usually at least 2 hours for lunch and 3+ hours for dinner.) Americans typically do not want to spend that much time sitting at a table! There were mostly older (60+) on the ship who may have liked that much time eating.(that way they didn't have to worry about evening entertainment!)
The excursions were well planned and executed except for the Camargue. We would have preferred more time at the coast of the Mediterranean instead of hours spent looking at fields, flamingoes, and white horses. The short city tours were excellent at helping us get our bearings so we could go out on our own. I would highly recommend this type of cruise for mature people (definitely no children) who like to treat the ship as a hotel base. We found it more economical and practical than trying to travel on our own. We also would prefer a river cruise next time that does not backtrack over the same area already stopped at. Maybe Peter Dielman or Uniworld next time.