Viking Buri Lyon to Arles

Jul 22nd, 2019, 04:20 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 185
Viking Buri Lyon to Arles

My wife and I just returned from a Lyon-to-Arles river cruise aboard the Viking Buri that was outstanding in every way. We traveled with three adult children (in their 40’s) who loved every minute of their first river cruise. The food and service were top notch, and the local guides were quite good. We have been on six previous Viking river cruises, but our most recent river cruises have been with Tauck. We honestly expected Viking to suffer by comparison, but this was not the case. Highlights of the cruise included viewing the Bastille Day fireworks in Lyon from the top deck and an excellent onboard lecture on the French Resistance. We went on each of the included tours and found them to be informative and just the right length. In Avignon, we booked a private tour of the lavender fields and village of Sault with Time4Provence. Arles was our last stop, but unfortunately the ship was berthed in Tarascon, quite a distance away. A shuttle bus was provided for the morning tour, but there was only one afternoon departure for those wishing to return. This eliminated the spontaneity of following our own schedule and walking directly into the city center, as we had been able to do in the other ports. The Buri had a great team at the top: Michael Bright, Program Director; Peter Campbell, Hotel Manager, Asen Petrov, Maitre D’. Each of these gentlemen provided extra service to our family. Michael telephoned our private guide in Avignon, when she was a few moments late, then went ashore to wait for her and make sure we connected. Peter made lunch reservations for us in Lyon (which we had been unable to do on our own). Asen was very solicitous of our daughter who had some food allergies, stopping at our table to let her know if there was a dish she should not eat. I should also give kudos to the captain and co-captain who were extremely skillful at navigating our long vessel through the numerous locks with only inches to spare on each side. About the accommodations: We booked late and got the last three cabins which were on the lower level. We have never stayed “below” before but thought these cabins were just fine. The air travel: Our cruise included free airfare which was a bonus considering summer is the high season. Three of our party used the free airfare, paying the extra fees to customize the air and to stop over in Paris. However, our daughter and son-in-law used miles to fly business class, and this led to the only negative experience of the trip. Viking refused to provide them free airfare from Paris to Lyon or transfers from the airport to the ship, even though they were on the same flight as the rest of us. We thought the free airfare should apply whether it was the entire international journey or the segment from Paris to Lyon. So they wound up buying the airfare on their own and paying Viking $120 each for the transfers. There were nonsensical explanations from Viking about the air travel and transfers being a “package deal,” but it seemed chintzy to us, especially since the buses used for the transfers were less than half full. Our competent travel agent intervened without success and admitted the policy was “difficult to explain”. Our departure on the last day was at the ungodly hour of 3:30 a.m. (bags in hallway at 2:45), but this was alleviated by the fact that a Viking representative met us at the Marseille airport and stayed with us through the check-in process.





pctraveler is offline  
Jul 24th, 2019, 11:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 14
Dear Pctraveler,

Traveling with your extended family sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy a vacation, and we’re glad to hear your cruise was enjoyable overall.

We appreciate you taking the time to share your review, and have noted your comments regarding your daughter and son-in-laws' transfer and air arrangements. To address this, we have arranged for a member of our Customer Relations team to contact you directly.

Your feedback is appreciated, and we look forward to connecting with you to learn more. Thank you once again for taking the time to report on your experience, and have a lovely day.

Best,
Viking Cruises
VikingRiverCruises1 is offline  
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