Questions re: Viking Tours - Grand European River Cruise 11.2013

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!


Unregistered, just back from your river cruise? Get published on Cruise Critic; Write a Review!
River Cruising
Find Others on Your River Cruise! River Cruising Roll Calls
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 09:31 AM.
#1
9 Posts
Joined Oct 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?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#2
Staten Island NY
1,966 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

#4
1,687 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
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!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Jan and Chris

http://www.quiltingjan.smugmug.com recent travel photos





Jan. 15, 2017 Zuiderdam Panama Canal 10 days***
July 10, 2016 AK cruise on Celebrity Infinity***
June 25, 2016 Family AK cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam 7 days***
Feb. 19, 2016 Oosterdam Caribbean 21 days***July 25, 2015 Voyage of the Vikings 35 days***Feb. 21, 2015 Veendam Panama Canal 14 days***Feb. 7, 2015 Westerdam Caribbean Gertrude Byrne Celtic Music Charter 7 days***Jan. 31, 2015 Westerdam Caribbean 7 days***Jan. 26, 2014 Ryndam 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***
#6
9 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
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!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#7
michigan
253 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
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.
#8
984 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by missykwfl

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).
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature


#9
9 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
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....
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#10
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
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
#11
Mid-Atlantic, USA
539 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
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.
#12
1,687 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
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
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Jan and Chris

http://www.quiltingjan.smugmug.com recent travel photos





Jan. 15, 2017 Zuiderdam Panama Canal 10 days***
July 10, 2016 AK cruise on Celebrity Infinity***
June 25, 2016 Family AK cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam 7 days***
Feb. 19, 2016 Oosterdam Caribbean 21 days***July 25, 2015 Voyage of the Vikings 35 days***Feb. 21, 2015 Veendam Panama Canal 14 days***Feb. 7, 2015 Westerdam Caribbean Gertrude Byrne Celtic Music Charter 7 days***Jan. 31, 2015 Westerdam Caribbean 7 days***Jan. 26, 2014 Ryndam 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***
#13
Mid-Atlantic, USA
539 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
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.