I joined the Viking Heimdal part way through the Lyon and Provence itinerary, this was the last 3 nights of the River Cruise.
I took a short flight with British Airways in to Lyon, I was met at the airport by a Viking representative and I was transferred to Vienne where the ship was docked and this transfer took about 40 minutes.
Upon arrival at the ship, there was a smooth check in service on board and I was shown to my cabin. I stayed in a lower deck cabin which sometimes puts people off but it shouldn't. There are excellent prices for this cabin type and my cabin was light and airy with two upper rectangular windows at the top letting in plenty of light. There is complimentary water and complimentary toiletries in the cabin, you can have the beds made up as a double or twin. There is a hairdryer something we get a lot of enquiries about! The plug sockets are European so take an adaptor with you. There is free Wi-Fi all over the ship which is great if you want to stay in touch with your loved ones. On the Television in the cabin you can view the menu's for breakfast, lunch and dinner, track your progress on the cruise to see where you are on the map. Look at destination information and of course English TV channels and movies. There are no tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin but there are Stations where you can help yourself to tea/coffee and a cookie!
Dinner on board on the first evening was fantastic! There is a choice of a standard menu which you can have any time or a regional specialities menu which changes every evening, or you can mix and match over both menus. Drinks are included with lunch and dinner which is usually house wines, beers and soft drinks. You can purchase a drinks package if you would like to have all drinks included. the dress for dinner is smart casual, no need for formal wear just what you would wear to a nice restaurant.
We sailed early morning on the Rhone from Vienne to Lyon to arrive at breakfast time. Breakfast has either a menu which you can order from and examples are eggs benedict, pancakes and omelettes etc or you can choose from the breakfast buffet which has a cooked breakfast, cereals, a cooking station for omelettes. Teas, coffees and juice are served with breakfast.
My first excursion was panoramic Lyon. Where the ship is docked in Lyon it is walkable to the town centre and it takes about 45 minutes. I went on the coach excursion which shows you all of the main sights such as the Notre Dame De Fourviere, we then went to the old town of Lyon which has plenty of shops and cafes in the quaint cobbled streets. Our Tour guide was excellent, very humorous and answered everyone's questions with ease.
Back on board for lunch and free time this afternoon. There is one excursion included every day on board and there is a choice of an additional optional excursion which is payable. If you don't fancy that you can stay on board the ship and make use of the sun deck if the weather is nice or go into Lyon where there were various craft markets on whilst I was there. If you decide to stay on board you can have a drink in the lounge or on the Aquavit sun terrace, there is a small library where you can borrow a book or a couple of internet stations.
The next day was a wine tasting excursion in Beaujolais. The drive was spectacular, we passed through vineyards and stopped at a lovely French village for coffee. Then on to Chateau Ravatys where they make the Beaujolais wines, the tour guide explained how the wine was made, we saw the Vineyard, barrels and vats and then got to sample some of the wines!
The coach then headed back to Lyon for lunch on board and again free time or the optional excursion (payable).
On my last night it was cocktail drinks with the captain, this usually happens the night before disembarkation.
Disembarkation is a smooth process you are given coloured tags for your flight and can put your main case out early or the night before depending on the time of your flight.
Gratuities are included in the cost of the Viking River Cruise so no need to tip, this has all been done for you.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my experience on the Viking Heimdal, the ship is lovely, very light and airy with panoramic windows. The service on board was excellent and the value for money is fantastic when you think what's included in the price.