At first glance, including a Viking River Cruise review on a blog dedicated to RV travel might seem a bit unusual. We took a Viking River Cruise in France on the Lyon and Provence trip on the Rhone River. We were on the Viking Delling ship and thought we should share our experiences with others.

Yet, this cross-over introduces RVers to the charms of cruising Europe’s rivers, blending the thrill of discovery with the luxury of having every detail managed.

This Viking River Cruise review serves as a bridge between two distinct travel passions, illustrating how each offers unique adventures and insights. It’s a way to diversify travel experiences, appealing to those who love the open road but are curious about the serenity and cultural richness offered by a river cruise.

Why Review Our Viking Cruise?

While our main focus is on the freedom and adventure of RVing across the United States, we truly love all travel, European river cruises included. (Although we did also post about our trip to Cuba and RV’ing options there!)

So, why are we dedicating a single one-time blog post to our review of a Viking River Cruise on the Viking Delling? Let us explain.

  • Shared Wanderlust: At the core of it, both RV travel and river cruises share a common thread: wanderlust. Whether you’re cruising the open road in your RV or traveling the scenic waterways of Europe, the desire to explore new places, experience different cultures, and create unforgettable memories remains the same. Our blog is all about celebrating that shared spirit of adventure.
  • Expanding Horizons: Travelers often have a wide range of interests. While we primarily cover RV travel, we recognize that our readers’ interests extend beyond the highways and campgrounds of the USA. By exploring European river cruises, we’re expanding the horizons of travel possibilities and catering to the diverse tastes of our audience.
  • Seek New Inspiration: Sometimes, the best inspiration comes from venturing outside your comfort zone. We believe that by sharing our story of a European river cruise, we’re not just offering insights into a specific type of travel but also encouraging our readers to seek new inspirations and adventures that go beyond the open road.

In a nutshell, this one-off blog post about European river cruises is an extension of our passion for travel and exploration.

It’s a testament to our belief that travel is a diverse and enriching tapestry, with every mode of exploration offering its unique rewards.

Besides, we spotted numerous RVs throughout France!

While docked at our port in Viviers, we found ourselves next to a sizable campground filled with fellow RVers.

We provide many photos and a description below to give a sense of what it was like on the Viking Delling cruise.

RV park by viking river cruise ship
RV campground in Viviers, France

We also encountered several RVs on the roads of France, including our visit to Lyon.

RV in Lyon France
RV in Lyon, France

Viking River Cruise Review: Lyon & Provence – Avignon to Lyon, France

In late September 2023, I had the opportunity to connect with an old friend on a Viking River Cruise ship in France that traveled for a week up the Rhone River.

We were on Viking’s Lyon & Provence river cruise.

We had a great time, albeit a few complications, and since we’ve had so much interest from friends and family about what the trip was like on the Viking ship, I thought a blog post was in order.

Here I provide details on the positives and negatives of my experience with the Viking River Cruise, along with a summary of suggestions.

Viking Delling docked in Viviers France
Viking Delling docked in Viviers France

Travel from the USA to France and Return

Our Viking River Cruise review starts in the United States.

Viking gives you the option of having them book your travel, including all transfers to/from the airport.

I would not recommend this; instead, book your own tickets. Others I spoke with on the cruise said the same thing.

Here are a few reasons:

Viking Picks Your Flights

Viking is in charge of picking your flights.

They choose the least expensive flight options, meaning the flights were at the worst times – either very early morning (i.e., 6 AM’ish) or very late flights. We could not change these.

Airport Confusion

Initially they booked the wrong departure airport for me.

To change this, I had to call back and be on hold for a long time (i.e., 30+ minutes) to reach a customer service agent whose accent was difficult to understand.

Discount Airlines

Viking booked me on discount airlines with bad reputations.

You do not have a say in which airlines they book.

Challenges with Flight Options

Any travel changes that you’d like to make have to go through their travel agents.

You cannot change your seat, upgrade, etc. Only the travel agent can do this for you.

This requires a long phone call.

Non-Existent Communication

My outgoing and return flights were both canceled, but no one told me, not the travel agency, airline, Viking, or anyone else.

I only found out from another Viking passenger on the way to the airport at 4:30 AM.

It was a nightmare to rebook them as I had to call the emergency contact for Viking travel and sit on hold for about an hour while they figured it out. (Which is one reason you want to be sure to have cell service for your trip.)

I ended up with middle seats for both long flights (including one 10 ½ hour flight) since I was rebooked on a different flight at the last minute and no other seats were available.

If I had control of my booking, this would have been a lot easier.

Lost Luggage

On the way to France, my luggage was lost. However, Viking did great with this issue and retrieved my bag for me when it was available at the airport.

Embarkment on the Viking Delling

The next step in our Viking River Cruise review is embarkment on the ship.

Passengers arrive at various times throughout the day, and the check-in procedure is straightforward.

However, meal times, specifically lunch and dinner, are scheduled.

If you arrive between these designated times, you may find yourself waiting for your next meal. This can be a bit challenging, especially after a long flight with limited opportunities to eat.

It would be beneficial if Viking River Cruises could consider offering a simple buffet during these transition periods to accommodate travelers who have had a long day or two of journeying.

Gangway onto and off the ship on the Viking river cruise
Gangway onto and off the ship

Review of the Viking Delling Ship

View of the Viking Delling
View of the length of the Viking Delling

We were traveling on the Viking Delling ship. It is a long river boat, with space for a little under 200 guests.

My initial impressions were that it was spotless, shiny, and very well kept. This remained the same throughout the trip. The staff kept the interior of the ship very clean and tidy.

When you first enter the door, you enter a lobby with a reception desk.

Reception desk on Viking River Cruise
Reception desk

There are three floors.

Two story foyer in the middle of the Viking Delling ship
Two story foyer in the middle of the ship
Entry to foyer from hallway on viking river cruise
Entry to foyer from hallway
River view from viking river cruise
View from the lobby area

An elevator is available if needed.

viking ship elevator
An elevator is available to travel from the first to second and third floors

There is a small library on the third floor with seating and books.

Viking ship library
A small reading library with seating on the third floor

One of my favorite things was the availability of a help yourself coffee station that made fabulous coffee, tea, espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, etc, at the push of a button.

The coffee was great and available 24 hours a day. For this aspect, I give this Viking River Cruise review an A+.

Viking ship coffee station
Coffee station available 24 hours per day

Review of the Staterooms on the Viking Delling

There are hallways on each floor, going in two directions from the main lobby area.

viking river ship hallway
Hallway to the staterooms

The hallways are wide and easy to walk down. The video below shows a quick walk down one of the hallways in the Viking Delling.

YouTube video

Our room was on the lower level, i.e., the cheap seats. We were in room 125.

room 125 viking delling
Room 125 on Viking Delling Ship

In my opinion, paying for a higher grade stateroom on a Viking River Cruise is not really worth it.

In many of the room with windows and balconies, those features were not very useful as when we were docked, we were typically either right next to the dock wall or parked next to another Viking ship, blocking the view from the windows or balconies.

We had a little window that gave us natural light, which was fine.

When the ships were docked right next to each other, passengers from the far ship had to go through the lobby on the near ship to get to the dock.

viking delling and buri docked in lyon france
Viking Delling and Viking Buri docked side by side in Lyon, France. Docking in this way blocks the view of the staterooms on one side of each ship
view of lyon from the upper deck of the viking river cruise ship delling
View of how close we are docked next to the Viking Buri ship while in Lyon

Plus most of our traveling was done at night when we were sleeping, so the idea of sitting on your balcony and enjoying the sights didn’t really work out for those who paid extra for those rooms.

We found that we spent very little time in our stateroom anyway, as most of the time when we weren’t sleeping we were out doing something or sitting on the decks of the Viking Delling.

Lyon as seen from a viking cruise ship on the rhone river in france europe
View from the Viking Delling river cruise

Stateroom Layout on the Viking Delling

We had two single beds, each with a small side table.

The beds were very comfortable. There is room under each bed to store your suitcase.

The staff clean your room twice a day, including a turn down service. (Please excuse our mess!)

Two single beds in our viking river cruise room
Two single beds in our stateroom #125

Our stateroom had a closet for hanging clothes, shelves, a safe, and a chest of drawers.

There was plenty of storage for everything for two people.

However, there weren’t really enough hangers for both of us to use for our clothes, so you may want to bring extras.

Closet for hanging clothes on viking delling
Closet for hanging clothes
Safe on viking ship
Shelves and safe

A full length mirror is available behind the door.

Full length mirror viking
Full length mirror behind the door to the stateroom

American type electrical outlets were available (but no USB outlets, so bring a USB plug so you can charge your phone, etc.).

We also had a mini refrigerator.

There are outlets by the dresser and also ones behind the pillows on each bed.

Electrical outlets on viking delling
Some of the outlets in the stateroom

Review of the Bathroom on Viking River Cruise Ship

viking river cruise bathroom in europe
Bathroom in stateroom 125

The bathroom was extremely nice for a cruise ship and much better than I expected. This part of the Viking River Cruise review gets high ratings.

The floor was heated and the shower pressure was great with lots of hot water. It was also much larger than you’d find on other cruise ships.

The bathroom was spotless and cleaned twice a day.

A hair dryer is provided, along with travel size toiletries (e.g., shampoo, lotion). Fresh towels were always available.

Nice shower in bathroom on viking delling
Nice shower in bathroom
Sink area in the bathroom on river cruise ship in france
Sink area in the bathroom
Towels on viking ship
Fresh towels are always available in the bathroom

The video below shows a walk-through of our stateroom. It’s a little messy, so please ignore that! But it will give you a sense of the size of the bathroom and overall space.

YouTube video

Dining on the Viking River Cruise

Meals are served at set times on Viking River Cruises. We found the chef-prepared meals to be really delicious.

On the chef’s day off, they bring in a caterer, which offers a little variety.

There are two areas for dining: the formal dining room and also an outdoor patio area.

viking dining room
Interior dining room
View from the interior dining room to Lyon france from rhone river
View from the interior dining room

The weather during our trip was fantastic, so we tried to grab a table outside on the patio whenever we could.

This area was popular, so we had to get there early and usually shared our table with other travelers, which livened up the experience.

Sitting on the patio at the front of the ship was also very fun when we went through the many river locks along the way.

View of Lyon from the outdoor patio area on the Viking Delling
View of Lyon from the outdoor patio area on the Viking Delling
viking cruise ship delling patio dining
Interior of the patio dining area

Dietary Preferences

When you sign up for the cruise, it asks for your dietary preferences.

The meals were designed to accommodate vegetarians and gluten free diets, etc. along with the regular fare. This is another positive aspect of our Viking River Cruise review.

Every day we had a choice of two breakfasts: a continental breakfast on the patio or a full breakfast in the dining room.

We usually had the lighter continental breakfast, but it was the exact same food every day. Even the layout was exactly the same.

This got a little old as it seemed Viking could have come up with some different pastries or something each day.

continental breakfast on a viking cruise ship delling
Continental breakfast items served daily

Lunch is a choice of meals that are representative of the region that change every day as well as other options that stay the same and are available every day.

Dinner is different every day as well on Viking River Cruises. Again, an A+ for this review of Viking River Cruises.

It includes a choice of starters, main courses, and dessert. There is always one vegetarian option available.

The dinners were really delicious and enjoyable times to share our experiences with others and make new friends.

viking Dinner menu with regional specialties
Dinner menu with regional specialties
Viking cruise lines always available menu
Viking always available menu

Bar and Lounge Area on the Viking Delling

The bar area includes a bar, lounge type tables and chairs, dance floor, and a piano which was usually played in the evening.

One evening was particularly entertaining as the cruise staff led people to dance to the YMCA song, do the chicken dance, make a conga line, and other wedding type dances. It was hilarious to watch as everyone was having a great time on this Viking River Cruise.

Bar on the Viking Delling ship
Bar on the Viking Delling
piano in viking cruise ship
Lounge area near the bar on the Viking Delling
viking delling view from bar over rhone river
Piano in the lounge area with a great view of Lyon out the windows

Alcohol Upgrade on a Viking River Cruise

Viking River Cruises provides a choice of complimentary wines, beer, and soft drinks during lunch and dinner.

There is also the option to purchase the Silver Spirits upgrade package, which includes premium wines, cocktails, etc. It cost $25 per day on our cruise. We purchased this and found it to be a good value.

Even though we are not heavy drinkers, it was nice to be able to upgrade our wine or enjoy a cocktail whenever we wanted.

The bartenders and servers will ask for your stateroom number, and will add the cost of alcohol upgrades to rooms without the Silver Spirits package.

Wi-Fi, Cell Service, and Computer Stations on a Viking River Cruise

Wi-fi service is available and worked well.

Along our route, we also had excellent cell service with our American telecom providers. Be sure to contact them prior to your travel to determine the ability to use your phone overseas. They usually offer a way to connect as normal.

There are also two computers with Internet access available for use on the third floor. We never saw anyone using them, however.

Computer station on the third floor of viking delling
Computer station on the third floor

We didn’t think we’d need our cell phones, but ended up using them frequently to contact each other, even while on the ship.

We also dropped pins for the ship’s location when we arrived at a port and went off exploring on our own. That made it easy to find our way home.

River Locks on the Rhone River

We also went through several river locks on the Rhone River. Many of these were at night when we were asleep, but we were able to go through a lock from the front of the ship’s patio dining area which was fun.

See the Rhone lock video below.

YouTube video

Review of the Upstairs Deck on the Viking Dellling Ship

Cruisers relaxing on the upper deck of the Viking Delling as we cruised down the Rhone
Cruisers relaxing on the upper deck of the Viking Delling as we cruised down the Rhone

The upstairs deck of the Delling was fabulous. Another A+ for the Viking River Cruise review.

There were only a few times that we spent on the deck while cruising, as most of the time when we were awake we were docked somewhere, so we got off the ship to explore.

A sunny day on the upstairs deck of the viking delling as we cruise down the rhone in france
A sunny day on the upstairs deck

There is a shuffle board and putting green, that many of the cruisers on our ship enjoyed.

Shuffle board and putting green on the top deck of viking river cruise in europe
Shuffle board and putting green on the top deck

Otherwise people read, enjoyed the sun, or enjoyed a glass of wine as we cruised down the Rhone river.

Views along the Rhone river from river cruise
Views along the Rhone river

We passed beautiful sights along the way, but also passed a huge nuclear plant, which was interesting.

nuclear plant rhone river
Nuclear power plant we passed while on the Rhone river in France

The video below is of us cruising up the Rhone River, while enjoying the sun on the upper deck of the Viking Delling.

YouTube video

Viking Daily Newsletter

Every evening you will find a daily newsletter for the next day’s activities.

It includes a calendar of activities and excursions, meal times, and where you will be each day. This is useful as you will usually wake up in a different place than where you were when you went to bed.

The newsletter also includes a short summary of the area we are exploring, with a short history lesson and highlights of the area.

viking cruise ship daily newsletter given on ship
Viking Daily Newsletter front page
viking river cruise ship daily newsletter
Viking daily newsletter describing Viviers, France
viking cruise ship daily newsletter
Third page of Viking Daily newsletter for one day

Review of Viking Excursions

Viking includes some excursions for free at each port, while others are add-on expenses.

We did a few of each, including some walking tours, visits to wineries, a steam engine train ride, and tours of historic buildings.

steam engine train in france, tour from viking cruise
Steam engine train ride

The video below is of our steam engine train ride. (It is similar to the narrow gauge steam engine train ride between Durango and Silverton in Colorado, although that one is more scenic as it goes through the San Juan Mountains.)

YouTube video

The scenery was outstanding, which was also helped by us having sunny 80 degree weather every day, which is not usual for late September in France.

barrels of wine in a cave
Barrels of wine at a winery we visited
Barrels of wine in a winery in south of France
Red wine being put in barrels for storage

Viking Tour Buses

The Viking cruise line has its own tour buses that will take you from location to location.

two viking cruise line buses parked on the street in Lyon France
Viking has its own fleet of tour buses

Everyone gets a card with their name on it that they use to scan at the door when they arrive or depart so that the ship knows if they’re missing anyone.

You will be assigned to a specific group each time.

Viking River Cruise Tours

There’s usually about 3-4 separate groups for each tour. The group leader carries a “lollipop” on a stick so you can follow along.

Each passenger also gets a headset so they can hear whatever the tour guide is saying. This was useful in some places and not as useful in other areas.

It also made the tour group following the tour guide very quiet, which seemed to surprise people looking at the tour group walking down the street in silence. Everyone was listening to their headsets and not speaking to one another.

tour guide lead on a viking cruise walking holding a tour group sign
Viking tour group following the tour guide

We found the excursions to be a little slow paced (likely due to the average age of the cruisers), and sometimes the tour guides were great, but other times they were not. So this gets mixed results for our Viking River Cruise review.

We ended up leaving one tour to explore Lyon on our own, which ended up being the better option.

I’d recommend exploring on your own at times, if you are comfortable, to really get a taste of the culture.

wine and cheese on a table in old town Lyon in france
Exploring on our own, we stopped and had wine and cheese in the old part of Lyon

Fellow Passengers on a Viking River Cruise

About 90% of the passengers on our ship were Americans. The others were usually British or Australian.

English is the language used for everything.

The average age on our cruise was easily over 70 years old, if not older.

We thought it was really great to see them out doing things and enjoying retirement, rather than sitting at home in the USA. Viking definitely caters to this demographic, so it seemed everyone felt comfortable.

older passengers on a viking cruise line excursion on a viking bus
Passengers on a Viking tour bus

Even though all of the passengers were incredibly nice, being younger than this, we found there to be a bit of a generational gap.

We wanted the tours to move faster, for example.

We ended up finding a group of younger people that we socialized with frequently and shared meals with, which turned out to be really nice.

However, it’s clear that Viking knows their target demographic, and that’s upper middle income older retirees from the USA.


Viking expects everyone to dress for dinner in “elegant casual” which you can interpret in any number of ways.

Most people on our cruise wore casual dresses or slacks with button down shirts for dinner. But by the end of our cruise, people were becoming more casual and showing up in jeans and shorts.

No one cared, or even noticed.

For all other times, you can wear whatever you want. Be sure to bring comfortable shoes for the amount of walking you will do.

Viking Staff

Most of the Viking staff were Eastern European on our ship. They were all (with the exception of one!) incredibly nice and friendly.

When you sit in the same place for lunch and dinner every day (although that’s not required, most people end up in the same place), you get to know your servers.

We had very friendly relationships with ours who were usually great at their job. They work very hard at ensuring everyone is happy.

However, we did notice that service began to slack off a bit towards the end of the cruise. Tables weren’t cleared as frequently, etc.

Additionally, they appear to be a bit understaffed and getting a glass of wine could take forever. We noticed some of the other cruisers becoming impatient.

We usually ended up going directly to the bar to get quicker service.

Tips for Viking Staff

Viking bills each passenger a set tip amount per day to be shared with all the staff.

On our cruise, it was $20 per day, which came to $140 for the week.

Cruisers also have the option of choosing to increase or decrease this amount, and/or provide tips directly to the staff with whom they interacted the most. This makes the process easy but also flexible for each passenger’s preference.

For the excursion tour guides, we tipped them each individually.

Some were great; others complained about France’s tax system the entire time, which was humorous. This seemed to be a theme among the tour guides, according to other passengers we spoke with.

entrance to a winery lined with trees in france
Entrance to a winery we visited

Other European River Cruise Lines

There are other cruise lines that travel up and down European rivers, similar to Viking.

We frequently saw Avalon Waterways on our journey, but a quick Google search will also show other options. We are not familiar with any of those, so cannot offer recommendations or reviews.

Viking advertises so heavily in the US that for some reason I hadn’t considered there to be other options.

These lines all have various features, typical passengers, etc., so do your homework on these lines as well.

Summary of our Review and Recommendations for Your Viking Cruise

  • Book your own travel.
  • Eat before you embark or bring food with you if you are hungry.
  • Don’t upgrade your stateroom. Book the inexpensive option.
  • You do not need electrical converters.
  • Bring USB plugs.
  • Bring extra hangers for your clothes.
  • Buy the Silver Spirits alcohol package.
  • Contact your mobile phone carrier to arrange for international service.
  • Be willing to explore the towns on your own, if you’re comfortable not being a part of a tour.
  • Bring comfortable shoes.
  • Bring a small crossbody bag for securely carrying your items while on tours.
  • Enjoy the top deck. Take in the sights while traveling during the day.
  • Consider other European river cruise lines to see which is the best fit for you.

Once You Return Home

I was not prepared for the amount of mail and brochures that Viking would be sending through the mail to my home address once we got home. I receive at least two brochures a week. This is a negative for this review of Viking River Cruises.

These are multi-page well-designed booklets, so Viking is spending an insane amount of money on designing, printing, and mailing these to past and future passengers.

Overall, the cruise on Viking was enjoyable and I would consider taking another cruise. However, I’d make a few modifications to my plans, based on the tips outlined above.