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Paris, France

Paris with Viking Cruises: The First 24 Hours

I didn’t even want to look at it.

Sitting there, all empty-like. Teasing me while I waited for the jet doors to close for good. I watched as fat droplets of warm, South Florida rain leaked down the pane across the aisle. 10 minutes left.

Five.

That “it” would be seat 41B on my Air France flight from Miami to Paris, which, to my delight in 41C, would remain empty the full 8 hours we soared across the Atlantic.

Paris, affectionately known as the City of Lights, would play host to a few more shiny objects this week as the team at Viking Cruises set out to name a handful of new vessels built specifically for the gentle ribbons of France’s Seine River.

If you recall last week, I was aboard the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Going from the robust Spring Break party that was the Coco Cay lagoon in the Bahamas to sipping a Bordeaux while ingraining the finer points of 19th century Impressionism was going to be quite the change of scenery, but hey, c’est la vie.

At my disposal was three years of high school French (shout out Madame Schmidt) and a handful of ski trips to Quebec City where the most I learned was how to ask for the boiled maple syrup poured in the snow and rolled on a stick.

Thankfully, I had the PR team at Viking to lean on. For the past few weeks, they’d been nothing but saintly as I navigated vaccine requirements, PLF forms, sworn statements and pre-cruise COVID testing protocols.

Was it a lot? Sure. Did Viking make it easy? You bet.

Fast forward to landing (the most important part!) when that delicious jolt of anticipation burst out from my core. Of course, what do I open the window to? Fat droplets of cold, French rain leaking down the pane. 

Viking Cruises
A Viking rep was waiting for us at the airport | Photo: Evan Gove

Sights of Paris Shore Excursion 

After hopping on the Viking-provided transportation to the ship at Pont de Grennelle in the heart of Paris, I was just a COVID swab away from a tuna tataki bowl that was as gorgeous as it was tasty and a shore excursion through the city.

Our tour guide Sandrine, a native of France, spent the afternoon captivating us with the history, culture and secrets of the city. I’d tell you some of what she said, but where’s the fun in that? Take the tour for yourself! 

Viking Shore Excursion
Sandrine on the Sights of Paris tour | Photo: Evan Gove

From the towering astylar know as the Arc de Triomphe to the still under construction grounds of Notre Dame cathedral, Paris had something thing new to stare at in awe around every corner. Not even an overcast day and cold breeze could damper the group as we chatted animatedly about the sights, smells and sounds of France’s most visited city.

As fate would have it, the city had relaxed COVID protocols just a day before I arrived, so the chances I’d need to display my vaccination card at restaurants or stores was slim. 

Masks, however, it’s important to note, remain on for Viking guests while on board for the time being. 

Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral | Photo: Evan Gove

With day one in the books, it was time to fully enjoy the heated bathroom floors and the plush bed in my stateroom.

Enjoy them, I did.

Our travels in France will continue through the weekend, so stay tuned for the naming ceremony write up and drop any questions in the comments! 

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Evan Gove is the SEO & Content Manager for Porthole Cruise and Travel's digital department. He covers cruise industry news and writes ship reviews for porthole.com. You can also catch him as a guest on the YouTube series Cruise Control with Bill Panoff. Follow his tweets and posts about the cruise industry from Porthole Cruise and Travel's social media accounts.