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  #1  
Old October 25th, 2013, 10:58 AM
missykwfl missykwfl is offline
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Default Questions re: Viking Tours - Grand European River Cruise 11.2013

I read a wonderful post from someone who took the cruise in 2009...we haven't received our cruise documents yet, but how are the tours scheduled?

I know with HAL we booked our excursions through their website....is it the same with Viking or do they just have tours and then you can pick options ones after that? Also, they sound like they don't last too long.

My husband has a tendency to wander around when he sees something he wants to explore, which I am normally OK with...however, I'm usually the one looking at my watch worrying about getting back to the ship....how strict are they on their ALL ABOARD times?
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  #2  
Old October 27th, 2013, 09:26 AM
sitraveler sitraveler is offline
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Since no one else answered I'll jump in.

The tour in each town is a couple of hours, fairly easy and most informative. It's basically a walking tour. You may leave the tour but common courtesy would cause you to let the tour guide know.

In many places there are optional tours and you typically get a list on boarding and can sign up for what you want.

Sailing times are strict but I've never seen a river cruise passenger miss the boat.
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  #3  
Old October 27th, 2013, 09:39 AM
missykwfl missykwfl is offline
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Red face Thank you

thanks so much for the information. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
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  #4  
Old October 28th, 2013, 11:52 AM
janmcn janmcn is offline
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We did the Grand European Tour in Sept. and were concerned also about how to "sign up" for the tours, etc. since we usually do ocean cruises.

When you get on board, you will receive a page(s) that indicates the "Optional Tours" given, along with the cost and times. You need to sign up right away for those (I think they gave us until that night.) There were only a few optional tours. The ones we did and would recommend also were: Schonbrunn Palace, an afternoon tour in Vienna; The evening of music also in Vienna, and the excursion to Rothenburg, Germany which was wonderful….the quintessential storybook village.

The other tours vary depending on the port location. Some left right from the dock. You were assigned a number by the from desk and that denoted your tour group. You had VoxBoxes which were wonderful for those who "wander"…if you are getting static, you've wandered too far ;-) We enjoyed that "freedom." I would recommend the boat's tours since one time we thought we'd just go on our own and realized that without speaking German we were at a disadvantage knowing what things were. Usually there was plenty of time to explore on your own after the tour.

Most of the tours were not too long. Sometime they offered shorter tours for people who couldn't/or didn't want to walk as far. You signed up for those the night before.

All of the next day's information was give to us at a "general meeting" just prior to each evening's dinner.

Enjoy the trip…it was wonderful!
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Jan. 21, 2014 Veendam Caribbean 21 days
Sept. 8, 2013 Viking Skadi 14 days River Cruise, Budapest to Amsterdam
March 30, 2013 Oosterdam NZ, AU, Pacific Island, HI to Seattle 37 days
April 27, 2012 Panama Canal Cruise, FL to San Diego on the Statendam 16 days (4* Mariners!!!!)
January 6, 2012 Veendam Valparaiso to Buenos Aires, including "drive by" of Antarctica (and side trip to Iguazu Falls) 18 days
May 13, 2011 Prinsendam Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam and Nordkapp 45 days
Aug. 19, 2010 Eurodam Amsterdam to NYC via North 18 days
Sept. 17, 2008 Zuiderdam Mediterranean 24 days
May 25, 2008 Volendam Alaska Southbound 7 days
May 16, 2008 Veendam Alaska Northbound 7 days
Aug. 3, 2005 Volendam Alaska Glacier Bay 7 days
Feb. 5, 2000 Ryndam Western Caribbean 7 days
Nov. 28, 1994 Maasdam Panama Canal 14 days
Feb. 2, 1994 Maasdam Western Caribbean 10 days
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  #5  
Old October 28th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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oysterdam oysterdam is offline
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Here's a link that gives detailed day by day information for your cruise (in case you have not found this already):

http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/ab...-a-glance.aspx
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  #6  
Old October 28th, 2013, 01:21 PM
missykwfl missykwfl is offline
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Default Thank you Thank you

janmcn - thanks for the information. I especially like the information about the optional tours to take....

oysterdam - thank you for the link. I haven't tried it yet but will do so shortly.

Again, thanks so much!
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  #7  
Old October 28th, 2013, 02:22 PM
DeeDC DeeDC is offline
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oysterdam, that is a great link...I don't know why I had not seen it previously.

Did anyone keep track of times that you arrived/departed from ports. I am wondering how much of actual daytime cruising we will have to just sit and watch the riverbanks go by? Or is it like ocean cruising that most days you travel during the night.
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Old October 28th, 2013, 03:02 PM
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oysterdam oysterdam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missykwfl View Post

My husband has a tendency to wander around when he sees something he wants to explore, which I am normally OK with...however, I'm usually the one looking at my watch worrying about getting back to the ship....how strict are they on their ALL ABOARD times?
Because river ports are so close together, most cruising is done at night, usually only for about 6 or 8 hours until you reach the next port.

We have found that many times the departure time is anywhere from 11pm to 1am, giving you plenty of time to head ashore after dinner and explore before needing to be back on the ship.

That being said, departure times are the times, so if the departure time is 11pm, you will want to be on the boat before then. However, if you miss the boat, unlike an ocean cruise you can take the train to the next port (likely a couple hours train ride away).
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  #9  
Old October 28th, 2013, 04:29 PM
missykwfl missykwfl is offline
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Default All aboard

Thanks, but I don't think I'm gonna share that information! I'll just have to make sure I heard us back on the ship 30 minutes prior to their stated all aboard time....
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  #10  
Old October 29th, 2013, 12:32 AM
franski franski is offline
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Most (if not all) river boats have a system where you hand in your room key to the front desk, and take a card when you go off the boat. That way, the staff know who has returned (or not returned) before they set sail.

They often are on a timed course (especially if they have a booking for a lock) so are very clear about the "on board" time - but I have seem them hold buses if passengers are missing.

Given the smaller number of passengers, they are very aware if there are one (or two) missing.

Fran
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  #11  
Old October 29th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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Sparky333 Sparky333 is offline
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janmcn, if you see this, how large were the groups on the excursions on this particular itinerary? I'm wondering if our experience on Viking's Passage to Eastern Europe is the norm (40+ per group) or if it was just on that trip and not all of their cruises.
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  #12  
Old October 29th, 2013, 12:42 PM
janmcn janmcn is offline
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Yes, I would say the groups were that large, too…(40's) However in some of the "walk off" tours where you walked off in the town and were met directly with a guide, the numbers were more like 20-30.

There were a few times where they offered a separate tour for the "slow walkers" and those were fewer by a lot…10?

Jan
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Jan. 21, 2014 Veendam Caribbean 21 days
Sept. 8, 2013 Viking Skadi 14 days River Cruise, Budapest to Amsterdam
March 30, 2013 Oosterdam NZ, AU, Pacific Island, HI to Seattle 37 days
April 27, 2012 Panama Canal Cruise, FL to San Diego on the Statendam 16 days (4* Mariners!!!!)
January 6, 2012 Veendam Valparaiso to Buenos Aires, including "drive by" of Antarctica (and side trip to Iguazu Falls) 18 days
May 13, 2011 Prinsendam Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam and Nordkapp 45 days
Aug. 19, 2010 Eurodam Amsterdam to NYC via North 18 days
Sept. 17, 2008 Zuiderdam Mediterranean 24 days
May 25, 2008 Volendam Alaska Southbound 7 days
May 16, 2008 Veendam Alaska Northbound 7 days
Aug. 3, 2005 Volendam Alaska Glacier Bay 7 days
Feb. 5, 2000 Ryndam Western Caribbean 7 days
Nov. 28, 1994 Maasdam Panama Canal 14 days
Feb. 2, 1994 Maasdam Western Caribbean 10 days
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  #13  
Old October 29th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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Sparky333 Sparky333 is offline
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Thanks for that, janmcn. I really enjoyed the Viking cruise we were on in Eastern Europe except for the big groups. I'm pretty sure even the times we walked off the ship and didn't need a bus the groups were still 40 or more. Maybe there's hope that wouldn't always be the case if we choose Viking again.
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