Home / Travel / Viking Kadlin from Paris to the Heart of Normandy

Viking Kadlin from Paris to the Heart of Normandy

My wife and I have recently returned from our 8th Viking cruise which on this occasion was on the Viking Kadlin sailing along the River Seine between Paris to Normandy…

 

*****

The usual pre-cruise service that we have come to expect from Viking continued, including quality accessories, prompt documentation and glossy literature…

*****

 

 

For this cruise we had booked a French balcony cabin (208) on Middle Deck…

*****

Flights and transfers were all included in the Viking Package and we flew scheduled Air France from London, Heathrow to Paris, Charles De Gaulle airport where we were met by a Viking Representative for our private transfer to the ship’s berth.

On arrival onboard the Viking Kadlin...

…we were offered a welcome drink, completed a quick check-in and were shown immediately to our cabin…

*****

*****

The cabin benefitted from a compact en-suite with underfloor heating…

…supplied with high quality toiletries…

 

 

The cabin also had ample storage…

…and hanging space…

…in addition to a numerous selection of electrical sockets…

*****

*****

Complimentary bottled water is also replenished daily…

 

Viking Kadlin is classed as a ‘Viking Longship’ and as such follows a similar layout to other Viking Longships that we have recently sailed on.

The central point of activity and generally the area for embarkation and disembarkation is the foyer area split between two decks mid-ships…

*****

On the lower level, (Middle Deck) , can be found the Reception Desk and small Boutique Shop…

*****

Also situated in the foyer area is a lift facility between the Upper and Middle decks.

…while access is available to the Middle Deck accommodation going aft or forward to Main Dining Room…

 

*****

 

On the ‘Upper Deck’ level are two 24 hour complimentary beverage and snack stations…

a small library...

complimentary computers…

...and a number of soft seating areas…

*****

The upper Deck also affords access to the focal point for onboard entertainment and relaxation, The Lounge and Bar …

*****

 

*****

*****

…and the Aquavit Terrace. This is an open viewing area at the front of the ship which doubles as a cafe for lighter breakfasts and lunches. It features more than 180 degrees of floor-to-ceiling glass doors and can be extended with an additional covered area that can be accessed through sliding doors…

*****

The Sun Deck can be accessed from a number of points around the ship, forward, central and aft…

 

 

*****

*****

*****

 

Life onboard – Dining

Breakfast, lunch and dinner  are served in the restaurant,  while lighter options for breakfast and lunch are also available in the Aquavit Terrace…

All dining is on an ‘open seating’ basis.

Breakfast and lunch in the restaurant mainly follow a ‘buffet’ style though some dishes are available to order through the table waiter. The central buffet console offers freshly made egg and omelette dishes…

…in addition to comprehensive selections of fruits, cereals, breads, cold meats and cheeses…

 

*****

*****

…yogurts and smoked fish…

During our cruise along the Seine my wife and I preferred to take lunch in the Aquavit Terrace…

…where the daily centrepiece was usually a carvery… 

*****

…and on days when the weather was sunny and fine, there was also a lunchtime BBQ…

 

Dinner onboard is a ‘full service’ meal, again on an ‘open’ seating basis, the main venue being the Restaurant on the Middle Deck.

A typical evening menu…

*****

…and as they appeared on the table…

*****

*****

For one evening there was a change to the routine at dinner when there was presented, in buffet form, a ‘Taste of Normandy’…

We both really appreciated the ‘Raclette’ (melted cheese wheel)…

*****

*****

Also included was a charcuterie…

 

…gallons of moules and selected meats…

…and, for us, rounded off with a superb cheese board…

On Viking Kadlin there was also the opportunity, albeit for limited numbers, to dine in the evening on the Aquavit Terrace. Having met two delightful American couples on our first evening onboard we arranged an ‘Al Fresco’ evening berthed alongside at Rouen. The menu…

The Starter choice…

Main Course choice…

Dessert…

…the Wine…

…and the Team…

Before finishing this section on food it is worth noting that each evening there were a number of dishes ‘always available’,  in addition to the daily changing menu…

 

These include Caesar Salad, Rib Eye Steak, Poached salmon and Roast Chicken and Creme Brûlée.

And finally, while on the subject of food, it would be remiss not to mention the excellent teas that are served in the lounge in the afternoons…

*****

*****

*****

…all to the accompaniment of the resident pianist

Life Onboard – Social & Entertainment

The main early evening (pre-dinner) onboard event is usually taken up with the daily briefing for the next days activities and excursion arrangements. These are conducted by the ‘Programme Director’ in the main lounge.

On two evenings pre-dinner there were the traditional Captain’s ‘Welcome and Farewell’ parties with complimentary drinks.

As past travellers with Viking Cruises we were invited to a separate ‘Explorer’s Cocktail Party’ held in the Aquavit area…

*****

…where we we pleased to be recognised as the ‘top’ Viking sailors on this particular cruise…

 

Post dinner entertainment is not a high priority on river cruises and most evenings music was provided by the onboard pianist, Blondie… 

Two out of the seven evenings we were berthed alongside and the opportunity to explore the local area at night took priority.

On three other occasions Viking provided local entertainment and on  these occasions the quality of the performances were excellent.

*****

*****

 

Life Onboard Cruising on the River

Such was the itinerary on this particular river cruise that we strangely experienced the least day-time scenic cruising of all our river cruises. That of course is not to take anything away from the itinerary: it was an action packed schedule and distances between the respective stops were generally more adequately covered in the evenings or over night.

The two full mornings we did experience ‘time on the water’ were most enjoyable, here’s a selection of the views we took in…

Church of St George at Orival…

Le Village at Herqueville…

Early morning mist between Veron and Rouen…

 

We often met some familiar river traffic…

many practical river pleasure craft

some unusual river pleasure craft...

…and some downright eyesores…

We transited a number of locks in both directions, including the one at  Le Bas de Posés…

On our return through this particular lock,  we met another Viking longship heading in the opposite direction, Viking Rolf…

 

Indeed, as we were coming up she was going down…

 

*****

While, during this particular lock transit,  the crew made good use of our lock time…

…window cleaning.

Before heading into the full itinerary section I’ll finally mention in this section one activity I always enjoy, a visit to the Wheelhouse…

On this occasion we spent a good half hour in the wheelhouse as we cruised along the Seine between Rouen and Les Aldelys. Captain Schuhl gave a really interesting briefing on the workings of the ship, wheelhouse and navigation of the river including explanations for the array of controls and instruments in the wheelhouse…

*****

The wheelhouse…

…can be raised and lowered hydraulically to enable navigation under low bridges at varying tidal levels and on our visit Captain Schuhl gave us a demonstration while inside the wheelhouse…

*****

…or, as viewed from the Sun Deck…

*****

*****

Meanwhile, of course, on the approach to low bridges, taller Sun Deck structures are also lowered…

The Itinerary

In many cases the major highlight of river cruising with Viking, and indeed with many others barring the few budget operators, is the range of included excursions to places of interest along the river.

 

Viking additionally offer a number of additional excursions that attract an additional cost and these usually feature visits that will be of a particular interest to certain groups.

For the first two days Viking had arranged  excursions to various Paris sites. My wife and I have visited Paris on many occasions, indeed, while serving with the Royal Navy my wife worked for two years in the British Embassy in Paris. We therefore chose to utilise one of their coaches as a shuttle as far as the Champs Elysee from where we embarked on our own pre-planned itinerary.

After walking the length of the Avenue Champs Elysee…

…our plan being to scale the Arc de Triomphe, something neither of us had previously done…

The Arc de Triomphe sits on what is probably the busiest 12 road roundabout in Europe, though you wouldn’t think so from my above photograph. It is advisable to take, as we did, the underpass…

…from where entrance tickets can be purchased…

…and we are on our way…

*****

…284 steps later and we are on the terrace atop the Arc de Triomphe… 

…with commanding views across Paris…

…towards the  Sacré-Cœur…

From the Arc de Triomphe we strolled through the Parisian streets heading towards the River Seine

…and crossing to head in the direction of the Eiffel Tower…

We then returned along the river stopping at the unofficial Princess Diana monument…

…and the Place de la Concorde, Hôtel des Invalides, and a  classic Al Fresco pavement lunch before returning to the ship in preparation for the ‘Welcom Onboard’ Party.

Overnight we sailed to the town of Vernon. This town provides easy access for the main excursion of the day, a visit to the village of Giverney and the home of the artist Claude Monet…

 

*****

This was obviously a very popular tourist attraction and Viking pitched the visit spot on, with an early departure from the ship in order to beat what we discovered on leaving were massive crowds…

Through that excellent planning, and with a good guide,  we were able to have a most beneficial look around the Monet Foundation property and his famous garden…

*****

We returned to the ship for a late lunch and were given some free time to explore Vernon. From my pre-cruise research I was aware of a famous landmark in Vernon, Le Vieux Moulin…

It was actually situated on the opposite bank from where we were berthed and required a 15 minute walk to reach. There was then the bonus on that side of the river, a mere stones throw away,  the equally historic Château des Tourelles…

While the remainder of the afternoon was spent supping French ale with my new found American friends and  tablemates…

…there was one last challenge. We were due to sail early the following morning and again my research had indicated that there was something worth seeing late in the evening. Following dinner and the evening’s entertainment, a wander back across the bridge to the ‘Moulin’ proved most satisfying…

The following day (Monday) we spent the morning sailing towards Rouen where we arrived in time for lunch and our next included excursion, a guided walking tour through the medieval quarter of Rouen, the cultural capital of Normandy known as the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’

Centre piece of the walk was a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral…

Home of Rouen’s most magnificent steeple, it is also, strangely, the burial place of Richard the Lionheart

Other Rouen sites included the 14th Century Renaissance-style Gros Hologe Astronomical Clock…

…and the  Place du Vieux Marché ( Old Market Square), site of the execution of Joan of Arc…

The building on the right with the sloping roof is the Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc church, seen next from inside…

…while viewed from the rear, the cross actually marks the spot of the pyre upon which she was burned…

 

Viking Kadlin remained berthed alongside in Rouen overnight.  There was no programmed entertainment and we had all been informed of an event that takes place each evening on the facade of the Notre Dame Cathedral. 

Along with a number of other passengers we duly made our way the the Cathedral and were not disappointed with the 20 minute ‘Light & Sound’ show. Each year has a different theme, this year’s  being entitled  Guillaume Le Conquérant (new creation) and Vikings…

*****

*****

 

*****

*****

The following is a link to a short video I also took on the evening…

What an incredible display.

The following day (Tuesday) was once again an early start as this was probably for most passengers the jewel in the crown visit. Viking had on offer a choice of two 11 hour complimentary excursions to the Normandy beaches. One was entitled Normandy Beaches: Commonwealth, which covered British and Canadian D Day landing beaches and other sites associated with Commonwealth soldiers while the other, Normandy Beaches: US, concentrated more in and around Arromanches, Omaha Beach and the American Memorial and  Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.

Having visited sites such as the Bayeux tapestry and pegasus Bridge on an earlier visit my wife and I chose the US orientated excursion. Our first stop was at Arromanches…

…with complimentary admission to the D-Day landing Museum…

…and the opportunity to explore the surrounding area with some free time…

…including the remains of the Mulberry Harbour, so important in getting supplies ashore…

…and a closer look at some of the wartime debris that still remains on the beaches…

*****

 All too soon we were back on our coaches and heading for…

…yes, the German gun batteries at Longues-sur-Mer…

*****

Our next stop was an excellent lunch arranged by Viking River Cruises at the Omaha Beach Golf Club…

*****

 

Following lunch we again boarded our coaches for our visit to The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach…

 

…where, at the Memorial…

…in front of the ‘Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves’ statue

…we attended a short service of remembrance which included a bugle playing the ‘Last Post’. The (mainly US) visitors then stood before the US flag and gave a wonderfully rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner which we found particularly moving.  We then had some free time to wander and pay our own individual respects…

 

The cemetery sits on a ridge above Omaha Beach and at some points the visitor is able to take the view over a small area of the D-Day landing site …

The final visit before we headed back to Rouen was to take a coach drive along almost the length of Omaha Beach…

…making one last stop at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer’s Avenue de la Libération to view two further Memorials,  one on the waterfront promenade…

…and the other set into the sand on Omaha beach…

The following day, Wednesday, we set sail from Rouen and headed back along the River Seine in the direction of Paris.

Just prior to lunch we spotted ahead of us our next destination stop, the town of Les Andelys dominated by the Château  Gaillard…

Needless to say this afternoons included excursion was a guided walk through the historic town…

…and a hike up to the Castle…

…and a visit into the ‘Inner Bailey’...

*****

The view from the ramparts were also quite spectacular…

Shame, on this occasion, about the overcast weather.

The guided excursion continued around the town, though the only real place of any historical interest was Saint Jacques des Andelys Hospital…

 

The origin of the Saint Jacques Hospital go back to around 1225 , when it was founded to  welcome the poor pilgrims who went to Saint Jacques de Compostela….

 

We sailed from Les Andelys early evening and berthed at Mantes-la-Jolie in the early hours of Thursday morning, the final full day of this cruise.

In the morning there was an optional tour (paid)  to the Palace of Versailles and for any passenger who wished to have one more full day in Paris there was a complimentary shuttle.

Never having been to Mantes-la-Jolie before, my wife and I spent the morning exploring this quaint river side town…

with this typically French mural decorating an end  wall near the 11th century tower of the church of St. Maclou…

 

Following lunch onboard the day’s included excursion was to Château de Malmaison…

This elegant manor house served as the home of Napoleon Bonaparte and where he spent his final days in France with his wife Josephine.

Our excursion included a full guided tour of the Château including Josephine’s music room…

…the Emperor’s Council Room…

 

…where affairs of State were conducted and both the Emperor’s…

 

…and the Empresses’ bedrooms…

 

While this excursion was taking place the Viking Kadlin re-positioned from Montes-le-Jolie to its Paris berth. Meantime,  the excursion continued from  Château de Malmaison for a visit to the town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye…

…one of the more affluent suburbs of Paris.  With its exclusive residential neighborhoods it is often referred to as ‘The Golden Triangle of the Yvelines’.

The centrepiece is the  Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, seen above, which, during the occupation from 1940 to 1944, was the headquarters of the German Army. Indeed, eagle eyed readers may well have spotted the concrete bunker to the left of the Château in the above photograph, now highlighted …

 

Saint-Germain-en-Laye was also the home of the composer Claude Debussy…

Saint-Germain-en-Laye also boasts one of the best views over Paris, seen here in the distance from the famous 2.4-kilometre (1.5 mile) long stone terrace that fronts the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

 

…overlooking the Seine…

Our visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye brought to a suitable conclusion the itinerary of this particular river cruise. As already mentioned, actual on-the-river sailing time was rather limited, however, the destinations visited, their significance to the area, and the amount of time spent on the respective excursions more than compensated.

As always, disembarkation from Viking shipsand transfers are  slick and well organised.

 

Summary

Once again a Viking River Cruise fully lived up to our expectations with excellent service, good food and onboard facilities: all this coupled with superb organisation and high quality excursions included in the price.

One is also made to feel better without having to go through the tedious procedure  of pre-registering credit cards.

Staff ethos continues to be amazingly good and we were well looked after particularly at our regular table hosted by the genial and rather handsome Adrian…

Also interesting  to note is that Viking do not rest on their laurels. This year we noticed that their ‘Quiet Box’ had been upgraded to considerably more modern and stylish pieces of kit…

 

*****

No longer is it necessary to chop and change channels depending on your guide. The new procedure is just to make contact between your personal ‘quiet box’  and your Guides paddle and your receiver automatically mates with the guide’s channel….

Needless to say yours truly couldn’t resist a shot with the Rouen guide’s paddle: for illustrative purposes only of course.

And finally I’d like to just mention that there is now a dedicated River Cruise Group currently active on Facebook where questions, answers and experiences are freely discussed.

Here’s the link for any reader who is a registered Facebook user…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/432126450634189/

 

If you have enjoyed this review of Viking Kadlin’s journey long the river Seine  and would like to be amongst the first to hear of new reviews including a return to Cunard’s Queen Victoria  plus  Solent Richard’s next guide to Saigon in his ‘One way to do…’ series,  why not join over 500  followers by clicking on the ‘Follow’ link on the front page.

You will be alerted by email immediately a new post appears.

 

©2016 – 18 * Solent Richard’s Cruise Blog * All Rights Reserved

Duplication in part or whole without prior written consent is prohibited by international laws.

 

Disclosure to potential conflict of interest:

It is common throughout the travel industry for travel journalists and many cruise bloggers to be provided with complimentary cruises for the purpose of their reviews.

Solent Richard has no ‘conflict of interest’ as he is not an accredited journalist, he pays for his cruises, and is happy to confirm that all his reviews are his own given without fear or favour.

Click Here For Original Source Of The Article

Ads by WOW Trk

Check Also

Happy Birthday to the 747

September 30, 2018 The Boeing 747 turns fifty years-old today. Smithsonian magazine has published an essay of mine about the plane for its “American Icon” feature. You can read it here. It appears in the magazine’s print version as well. The longer, unabridged version is below. FIFTY YEARS AGO, on the last day of September […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php