10 Day Cruise: 2 nights at Paris Hotel before, 2 nights at Zurich hotel after.
Exemplary staff were genuinely friendly and attentive and it set an overall friendly tone with all the cruisers. They truly went above and beyond to meet every need. Your cruise director will be a visible presence through the entire trip to make certain things run smoothly. Our director, Serge, maintained his energy and enthusiasm throughout the entire trip.
Ship and cabins were always clean and pristine. French Balcony cabins (125 sq ft) are small but efficiently equipped. Our 3 suitcases easily stored under the bed, ample closet and drawer space. Beds were comfortable. We slept soundly and cabin was always quiet. Laundry service was swift and excellent. Hair and bath products were excellent. If you're from the US, bring an adaptor for the hotels and the cabin bathroom. Had an opportunity to take a peak at the below water level cabins. They are slightly larger (150 sq ft) then the french balcony cabins but layout is exactly the same. If a room with a view is a low priority, these are an amazing value.
The food was incredible and fresh. There is a standard menu and a region menu. The region menu changes daily. Lunch buffet was extensive, healthy or decadent if you wish. While in port watched crates of whole pumpkins loaded onto the ship. And the following day, pumpkin soup was at the buffet. Fresh cookies, pastry, muffins always available for snacking at all times. Our ship Chef moved to corporate after the cruise, so we may have had an edge.
Tours were perfectly coordinated and guides were all charming, spoke perfect English and made excellent recommendations for restaurants and chocolate. Viking busses are clean, comfortable, seats recline some. We paid for several tours, but even the free tours are great. Guests are free to explore on their own if they like.
Everyone in Paris was so polite and helpful. Our hotel was small, had a view of the Eiffel Tower and a memorable breakfast buffet. We were glad to have an experienced driver navigate the streets of Paris. Versailles is stunning but mosh pit crowded. Loved this City and wished we had more time to explore.
The Alps tour was a 12 hour nightmare. The tour was overbooked so 2 bus loads of passengers were crammed into the lunch location and the food was awful. The cog train experience might have been worthwhile had there not been fog. We never saw the Alps. The final blow was 2 tour buses descending onto a wood carvers shop. Think 1 ride open at Disneyland in the summer but it was cold and raining. Given the circumstances, I wish we'd had a choice to cancel and spend more time in Zurich.
The Zurich Lindt Tour was the perfect wrap to the trip. If you love chocolate, pay for this tour. We were given cleaned pressed white smocks and hats and shown into a beautiful workroom. There were 3 large temperers at each table with white, milk and dark chocolate. With instruction (Thank you Hans!) we made, decorated and packaged champagne truffles. We were then taken to the factory store and given a discount on all the wonderful candy. You cannot get chocolate of this quality in the US, thus I shamelessly brought home a chocolate dedicated suitcase. Lots of laughter going through customs.
All trips have good days and bad, but with one exception this was a 5 star trip and the most memorable travel experience of our lives. Hoping to travel with Viking again and bring another empty suitcase .....
Very small but efficient. Comfortable bed. Slept well. Plenty of room for storage in the room. 1 large bag and 3 carry-ons fit perfectly under the bed. Bathroom was also small but efficient. Wonderful hair and skin products. Bring an adaptor.