My Viking River Cruise Along the Seine

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Viking River Cruise from Paris & The Heart of Normandy trip travelogue along the Seine River with lots of stops at many charming and centuries old towns and villages in between. This Viking River cruise Seine review shares my recap of my experience that can be helpful when planning your own European river cruise.

I know it has been a while since I last posted about my trip to Paris . It is when I told you I would soon be sharing the Viking River Cruise part of the trip Ed and I took to France. Well, with the holidays and more travel, time got away from me.

Now that things have settled down, I had time to go through all my photos.

I took a ton! I can’t share all of them, but will share the highlights of the 8-day trip starting with the ship accommodations, what we ate and the excursions we went on to explore the towns along the Seine the ship visited. This post will be a two-parter. I will post the second next weekend.

Viking Longship on the Seine
Viking Longship Kadlin on the Seine

Viking has many European river cruise itineraries. After searching the Viking site, I decided that the Paris & The Heart of Normandy cruise was perfect. I had never been to Paris and had always wanted to go.


I also wanted to see the WWII D-Day beaches in Normandy. The Paris to Normandy cruise allowed me to visit both in one trip and not have to drive or navigate anywhere. Viking took care of everything.

Viking Kadlin Reviews along the Seine in France

That is what is so nice about river cruising. It is casual and relaxed. You feel pampered and can truly enjoy taking advantage of all the excursions Viking offers each day or just hang back and do your own thing at each port stop.

It is a mode of travel that is unlike any other as you have one “hotel” and do not have to pack and unpack every 2 or 3 days as you move through the country.

We traveled the last week in September into October and I highly recommend Europe during this time of the year not only because the weather is cooler and it’s much less crowded, but also less expensive.  

Our ship was named the Kadlin, after the daughter of Norse nobility. During the cruise, we heard from our fellow passengers about other Viking cruises. Many have been on quite a few. This was our first river cruising trip and I’m hoping it won’t be our last.

Day 1 & 2: Paris and LePec

After spending 4 days biking and walking around Paris, we were ready for some relaxing when we arrived at the ship. On the first two days, the boat was docked in LePec which is an hour outside of Paris.

Booking TIP: We were told that the cruise normally starts and is docked in Paris right by the Eiffel Tower but that the Longship Kadlin that we were on was too heavy and long for that section of the river. This was a surprise to me not actually starting the cruise in Paris. If you want a full day and half in Paris and are not going on your own before or after the trip or adding a trip extension, ask before you book to make sure your cruise actually starts in Paris.

There was a bus excursion into Paris on Day 2, but since we had just spent 4 days in Paris on our own, we opted to stay in LePec and tour the town and surrounding area of Saint Germain en Laye by ourselves.

Accommodations on the Viking Kadlin

Lobby area of the Viking River Cruise ship Kadlin

Once we got onboard and checked in, we checked out our stateroom and then explored the ship. We were there early so there were not many other passengers on board yet. Even when the boat was filled, it never felt crowded. We always found seats in the lounge, at meals, and outside seating.

Open wood Staircase in main area of the the ship

When you arrive onboard, this staircase is the first thing you see. It goes up to the 3rd floor/deck of the ship where the lounge and our stateroom were located.

The dining room on the Viking Kadlin

The closed doors behind the staircase are the doors to the dining room where all the meals were served. There were both long tables that sat 8 and round tables all along the floor to ceiling windows. I liked sitting at the round tables as it was easier to have conversations with everyone at the table. At the long tables it was hard to meet the other passengers at the opposite end.

We met new people at every meal. By midweek though, we had made some new friends and started to sit together. Fun fact, we met two different couples who live very close to us in South Carolina. Small world!

There are three decks and the Sundeck on this ship. The Lounge, Aquavit Terrace and Veranda Staterooms and Suites were on the Upper Deck. Reception, Dining and more staterooms on the Middle Deck and a few more staterooms on the Main Deck. Our stateroom was on the Upper Deck.


It was called a Veranda Stateroom with a queen size bed and a bath with heated floors and a decent size shower. I was expecting it to be very small, but there was plenty of space.


We had a full veranda that was accessed by sliding glass doors. We didn’t spend a lot of time here as we liked…

Viking River Cruise Ship bow lounge

…hanging out up by the bow of the ship off the main lounge area where you could see both sides of the river. From our stateroom veranda, you could only see one side and I didn’t want to miss anything.

Lounge area Paris to Normandy Viking River Cruise

The main lounge area was on the top deck and where we spent time after coming back to the ship after touring the port towns and villages or coming back from an excursion.

It had a bar, pianist playing each day and plenty of comfy seating.

View from the main lounge area on a Paris to Normandy Viking river Cruise

It was quite pleasant enjoying drinks and snacks before going to the second level for dinner. When it was too cold to sit outside I liked sitting in one of the swivel chairs that were right next to the windows making it easy to sit and gaze out as the water went by.

Walking along the top of a Viking River Cruise Longship on the Seine in France.

We didn’t have the best weather during our 8 day cruise, but the clouds and rain didn’t stop us from enjoying the trip. When it wasn’t raining and the ship was moving, the Sundeck was the place to be. The 360 degree views were the best. I was glad I brought a sweater as it was breezy, especially on cloudy days.

Food & Drink On Board The Kadlin

If you have ever been on a cruise, you know you won’t go hungry or get thirsty. Breakfast is buffet style in the dining room with the wait staff getting your drinks. There were eggs made to order, all sorts of meats, fruits, breads and pastry as well as a variety of cereals both hot and cold. There was also an option to order specialty items from the wait staff.

Lunch and dinner are full-service, sit-down meals. Dress is very casual, jeans and sneakers were fine to wear.

French wine bottle and glass on river cruise bar.

The bar was full service and most house wines, beer and soft drinks are included in the price of the cruise.

TIP: We opted to purchase the Silver Spirits Package that allowed us full premium bottles of wine at our table and local wines, beers, cocktails and specialty drinks. If you like a good glass of wine with dinner and like to drink a cocktail, I would recommend adding this package to your trip.

In the late afternoon, there was always a special snack set up out on the terrace. One day it was tea and macarons, another day assorted cheeses, meats and crackers from the regions we were traveling. It was just what we needed after a day out and about touring France.

There were also two coffee and tea stations with muffins and cookies that were self-serve and open 24/7.

Glasses of Champagne on trays on ships bar.

After being out on a day excursion, passengers were greeted with warm hand towels and champagne to make the transition back to the ship welcoming.

Outdoor dining area on the bow of the Viking River Cruise Longship Kadlin.

When it wasn’t raining, Ed and I liked to eat on the outside section of the Aquavit Terrace. It was on the bow of the ship with great views.

Food Served on Viking River Cruise from Paris to Normandy

At lunch and dinner, there were a few options on the menu from which to choose. Here are a few of the meals I ate. All were very good.

Day 3: Exploring: Vernon & Giverny

Each day of the trip we docked so the passengers could explore the town or go on one of a few excursions that were offered that day. Most of the excursions were included in the cost of the cruise, but a few were an extra fee.

Ed and I signed up for two of these extra excursions. One was riding bikes from Vernon to Giverny to tour Claude Monet’s house and famous gardens. The other was to Honfluer – a 17th century coastal town. I will share more about Honfleur, the coast of Normandy and the other stops we made in Part 2 of this post.

Sidewalk flower shop in Rouen France

Once the ship left LePec, our first town we stopped at was Vernon, France. Ed and I ate breakfast on the ship and then went into the town around 10:00 in the morning.

Shopping with a pull cart in France.

The town was charming and we noticed everyone walking by us had a French Market Basket filled with fresh produce and a wheeled tote like the one the woman is using in the photo above. Not one or the other, but both. Everyone had them – they both are “a thing” to have if you live in France.

Stalls at the Vernon France Farmer's Market

We walked in the direction where everyone seemed to be coming and going and we ended up at a very large Farmer’s Market with the most colorful offerings.

Fish Stalls at the Vernon France Farmer's Market.

Stall after stall of fresh produce, seafood and flowers. Look at the size of those langostinos!

Produce Stalls at the Vernon France along the Seine Farmer's Market on a Saturday morning.

Wooden produce crates were everywhere. I would have LOVED to bring one or two of them home as a souvenir.

After walking around Vernon all morning we headed back to the ship for lunch, then relaxed and read for awhile before departing for our bike ride to Monet’s house across the river in Giverny.

Bike Trail in Giverny France

The weather cooperated making the 20 minute ride each way quite enjoyable.

Tourists walking along a road in Giverny France

Once we arrived in Giverny, we parked our bikes and toured the heart of the village on foot. It was quite a charming, quiet little village with Monet green accents, narrow streets and interesting homes and gardens.

Home in Giverny France

Even though each house was unique, they all had vines and flowers growing all around them.

Claude Monet house in Giverny France

This is the side view of Monet’s home taken from inside the property. Over that high vine covered wall is the narrow street in the photo above.

It was very crowded at the house since it is a tourist attraction. We had to wait in lines to see both the gardens and house.

Claude Monet's Garden Water Lilies

If you are familiar with some of Monet’s works, then you can see how these gardens inspired him to paint the way he did and become the founder of Impressionism.

Claude Monet Water Lily Pond in Giverny France

Everything in bloom with paths all over and leading back to the house.

Claude Monet House in France

The house is secondary to the gardens. I couldn’t get any photos inside the house as it was too crowded to even lift my camera.

16th Century Old Mill in Vernon France

After touring the village of Giverny we headed back to Vernon on our bikes and made a stop at a 16th century brick and timber structure called, The Old Mill. Many have painted it, even Claude Monet. During WWII it was badly damaged, but has been restored.

Normandy Apple Cider

While we were at The Old Mill, the bike tour hosts offered us an apple tart, macarons, cider, and champagne. We ate and drank as we sat on the banks of the river.

Flower pots along the street in Vernon France

After about 20 minutes, we were back on the bikes headed for the ship.

Diane Of In My Own Style On river cruising on the Seine in France

The ship left about 30 minutes after we got back. Since the sun was still shining, we sat on the veranda for a while before heading to the dining room for dinner.

Read Part 2 of the cruise: Viking Cruise Part 2

I will be sharing the rest of the trip later this week. If you are interested in other rivers on which Viking has cruises, you may enjoy reading about The Rhine Getaway from Amsterdam to Basel Switzerland my friend Kelly took.

Have you ever been on a Viking River Cruise? If so, what cruise did you take? If you are thinking of going on one, don’t hesitate to ask a question in the comments.

If you missed my Paris trip posts and would like to read them, you can find them, here:

My Must-Have’s For Effortless Travel

This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase am item I recommend, I will make a small commission.

When going on a river cruise you might want to consider taking travel size binoculars, a lightweight cardigan, crossbody handbag and compact luggage that will fit in a closet or under a bed.

Click on the items below for more details:

What to do when you go on a Viking River Cruise along the Seine from Paris to Normandy.

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  1. OK… convinced that this will be my first trip once I retire! 62 now so i still have time to plan/save! Looks fabulous! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Cyndi – It is worth saving for. You will truly enjoy the trip and speaking with the other passengers who have been on a few of the different cruises all of them are a trip you will never forget.

  2. Hi Diane,
    We have been on two Viking river cruises…the Elegant Elbe (Prague to Berlin) and Budapest to Bucharest . They were both amazing …this year we are doing the Viking ocean cruise to Alaska…a week on the ship (only 950 passengers) and then a week on land. We can’t wait. We feel Viking is a great value providing exciting experiences and very comfortable travel.

    I’m so happy you and Ed had so much fun.


    1. Hi Carole – You are a world traveler! Life is too short not to enjoy and see as much of the world as we can, right? :-) A cruise to Alaska is on our bucket list. The one you are going on sounds fabulous. Will have to look into it. You will have to tell us all about it on your return.

  3. Thank you for sharing! So sorry you weren’t able to get indoor pictures at the Monet house. He is one of my favorite artists. The trip sounds lovely. Silly question – how did you manage to find your bikes once you parked them? Such a lovely trip!

    1. Hi Cate – Our tour guides had arranged in advance where to park our bikes. They were off a parking lot not far from Monet’s House. We locked them to each other so they would not be stolen.

      1. Hi Diane,
        We are going on this cruise in Sept this year. Wondering how far the bike ride is? My husband is not too keen on biking. Is there a way to walk it instead of bike it? Reading your account of your trip has me all excited for our trip. Wondering also if the versailles excursion is worth it.

        1. Hi Barb – You will love the Viking Cruise. I hope to be able to go another one soon. The bike tour was short – only a few miles each way and all on a flat path. I don’t think there would be enough time to walk to Monet’s House from the ship.

          For the excursions, we couldn’t do all of them so we had to edit. Ed had been to Versailles before and didn’t really want to go again. We also heard it gets very crowded so you can’t really see anything. Knowing this made our decision a little easier. I enjoyed all the excursions we took and would suggest you do as many as you can.

  4. Beautiful pictures from your river cruise! My husband and I love cruising and have done a Rhine river cruise with Uniworld (Castles on the Rhine), and in April we ‘ll be taking AMA Waterways’ Legendary Danube cruise with a pre-trip stay in Prague. We have done two cruises with Viking’s Ocean cruise division – Iconic Western Mediterranean (Barcelona to Rome) in 2018, and Viking Homelands (Scandinavia, Russia, Estonia, Germany) last year. We are taking Viking’s Empires of the Mediterranean cruise (Athens to Venice) this September. We love Viking – beautiful ships and staterooms, excellent food and service , and wonderful excursions. Your Paris to Normandy cruise is on our bucket list for next year! Looking forward to seeing more of your photos in Part 2!

    1. Hi Terry – What fun to have been able to take so many fabulous cruises. From other passengers on our ship, we learned that they all loved the Danube cruise the best and would do it again. What was your favorite cruise? The pre-stays are a must so you can really see a region. I hope you have a wonderful time on your Med cruise this September.

      1. Hi Diane – We’re really looking forward to the Danube cruise and have friends that did it last year and loved it. And we definitely agree that the pre- or post-cruise extensions are a must. We’re extending in Venice on our Med cruise in September. We’ve loved all the cruises we’ve taken so far, but I think the Viking Homelands that we did this past September was our favorite. Scandinavia and the Baltic region is a beautiful part of the world to visit. My late mother was Norwegian, so seeing Norway has been on my bucket list for a long time. We visited three ports in Norway; Stockholm; Copenhagen and Alborg in Denmark; Helsinik, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia (stunning!), Tallin, Estonia,; and Berlin. I took a ton of pictures!

    2. Hi Terry, my husband and I met Diane and Ed on the Paris to Normandy trip last fall that she is writing about. We enjoyed it so very much, we’re now taking the Mediterranean cruise you mentioned this coming October, arriving in Spain one day early and staying in Rome two nights after. I’d love to get some do’s and dont’s from you. My email is [email protected] if you would be kind enough to give me pointers? Thank you!

      1. Hi Sally – How exciting for you and Steve to be taking the Mediterranean cruise in October. We both now know that the Viking experience will be wonderful. When I post the second part of the trip next week, I am including a photo of you gazing out at the water on the Aguavit Terrace. :-) Hope you are doing well.

  5. What a lovely trip. Monet’s home and garden was a highlight of one of the trips I took to Paris. I’ve never been on a Viking cruise but have friends who have raved about that mode of travel. Having one “hotel” and not packing and unpacking every 2 or 3 days certainly appeals to me. I’ve been to the D-Day beaches also and am excited to see your pictures and read about your experience. My dad was a Navy retiree as is my husband. I will always remember our visit to that part of France.

    1. Hi Vikki – You must have loved touring Monet’s home and garden since you enjoy gardening so much. Your mind must have been on overdrive seeing so many pretty flowers and plants in such mass. I agree that it was nice to go from town to town and not have to keep packing and unpacking as we moved through the country. My dad was a young GI who arrived in France via Omaha Beach back in 1944. I wish he could have been with us as he always wanted to go back to remember, but never got the chance.