New to river cruising - when do you reserve optional tours?

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#1
38 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
This will be our first river cruise. We will be traveling on the Viking Skadi Aug 23, 2014 from Amsterdam to Budapest. I have read through some of the posts and some people mention optional tours offered through Viking. Are you able to reserve these optional tours in advance online or do you sign up for them after you board the cruise ship? I'm hoping a veteran river cruiser can explain how to do this. Also - what are the best optional tours for the Ams to Bud itinerary? Thanks!
Kristine
#2
Littleton, CO
902 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
You reserve on the ship. I believe we did it on the first day. I did lots and lots of research about our cruise and pretty much knew what was offered so that we could make an informative fast decision.
#3
New Jersey
996 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Although not with Viking....we always wait and reserve our optionals when we are on board. Have never had one "sell-out" but sometimes they do change . Can read about them in the literature sent or online at their website so we usually have a good idea of what we definitely want to do. There are not usually "conflicting" optionals (as on a Cruise ship) so the only decision is "to do/ or not"!!!
#4
NW Ohio
8,203 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
There will be specific information about the optional tours for your itinerary in your travel documents. You can then sign up for any you are interested in once onboard, or, if you desire addt'l info, talk to the Program Director to help decide. The Program Director will advise passengers what the cutoff time is for each optional signup. It is possible that a tour may be canceled is there is not enough interest.
#5
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
warmsands ~ usually during the first evening of Viking cruises there'll be a meeting int he lounge and the optional tours will be explained and then you can sign-up for any you'd like to take. The cost will added to your on-board bill.

It's wise, however, to follow jiminyC_fan's suggestion and so some research first to know when you board just what optionals you're interested in taking. This also gves you an opportunity to ask questions on CC about tours.

You mentioned you're sailing Amsterdam to Budapest - if that's the European Sojourn then I think this is the link for your booklet:
http://wpc.475d.edgecastcdn.net/0047...014/2014_Europ

Viking is now beginning to list the digital version of the itinerary booklet on their web site. It's usually mailed to passengers about 2 to 3 weeks before the trip. But many of us appreciate having a more detailed description of both included tour and optional ones earlier to do our research and make decisions. The itineraries are found in the "Your Trip" section, and then "Already Booked" and then "Itinerary and Departure Information" and then just open the booklet for your trip - or actually any trip to see more itinerary details!

And if you really want to take a certail optional tour - book ASAP once you're on board! We've never had a problem but usually Viking requires a minimum of 20 to 25 passengers. And we've seen optionals canceled due to lack of interest.

Have a GREAT first cruise!!!!!!
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#6
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
11,522 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We usually book most of the optional tours on Vantage. However, most of the tours are included in the trip price. Vantage China only had four optional tours for the 20 days and they were rather inexpensive. We did them all and enjoyed them all.
#7
Coastal NC
3,233 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I will be traveling with Vantage in May (1st trip with them) and they are the only cruise line that I have taken that has asked for the optionals to be book, and paid for, before the trip.

I have traveled with Viking, Uniworld, Grand Circle, AMA and Gate one. All optionals for those companies were booked the first or second day of the cruise.
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Sharon

Viking, Portraits of Southern France. 2006
Uniworld, Castles Along the Rhine, 2007
Gate 1, Thanksgiving Cruise, 2007
AMA Waterways, Portugal on the Douro, 2008
Grand Circle: Romance of the Rhine and Mosel, 2010
Viking Emerald, China's Cultural Delights. 3/28/2011
Grand Circle: Old World Prague and the Blue Danube. September 7, 2011.
Viking Spirit, Paris to Normandy. 12/11/11.
Grand Circle's [i]Essence of the Elbe: 5/27/12/ to 6/11/12
Grand Circle Russia Revealed with pretrip to Helsinki and Tallinn , 2012. .
Viking Sun, Treasures of the Rhine. Nov 11, 2012.
AMACerto, Istanbul to Budapest. May 30, 2013.
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Grand Circle: Spain's Northern Coast & the Bay of Biscay. 4/30/2015 to 5/21/2015. Ship: Corinthian
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Grand Circle: Grand Baltic Sea Voyage. . 7/30/2016 to 8/15/2016. Ship: Corinthian
Viking: Castles & Legends. Munich to Budapest. 12/5/16 to 12/16/16. Viking Ve.
Viking Sky: Mediterranean Getaway, Rome to Barcelona, 2/25/17 to 3/4/17.

Grand Circle: Maritime Jewels of the British Isles. 7/23/17. Ship: Corinthian
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Viking RA: Pharaohs & Pyramids. March 8, 2018
#9
New Jersey
996 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by H2Otstr
I will be traveling with Vantage in May (1st trip with them) and they are the only cruise line that I have taken that has asked for the optionals to be book, and paid for, before the trip.

I have traveled with Viking, Uniworld, Grand Circle, AMA and Gate one. All optionals for those companies were booked the first or second day of the cruise.
Vantage always sends an email or letter about the optionals. Althought they are "asking" ...these tours are always available when we have gotten on the tour and booked them. No need to pre-book or pre-pay.
#10
84 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We are doing a Gems of the Danube cruise with ScenicTours, this will be our first river cruise. Can anyone tell me how much, if any, time you have to look around on your own after or before taking the included tours.

Thanks.
#11
Long Island, New York
4,501 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
H2Otstr: Be cautious booking optionals with Vantage pre-trip because they can increase the cost of your trip insurance and they should not. If you do book ahead, and your ins. goes up, tell them to remove the charge and they will. Since that happened to us, the only thing I'll book ahead of time are performance type things, like the ballet in Russia, (and even that was available on the ship) otherwise I find I've never had trouble booking on board. Usually the TM will hold a meeting to explain all of the optional tours on the first or second day and you will have an opportunity to sign up for them at the same price.
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#12
Ontario, Canada
2,736 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by pthardy
We are doing a Gems of the Danube cruise with ScenicTours, this will be our first river cruise. Can anyone tell me how much, if any, time you have to look around on your own after or before taking the included tours.

Thanks.
pthardy - It depends on the stop. Some stops (ie: Vienna) include extra time, and a shuttle service into the town centre.

We did this last September, but ran into some challenges with the lock strike, so our itinerary was altered a bit.

Are you doing the entire package (ie: over to Prague) or just Nuremberg to Budapest?

Fran
#13
Texas
308 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
For those traveling on AMA cruises, AMA has begun a new practice of prebooking optional tours once final payments have been made. Check their website for information. We took the Prague to Budapest trip in March 2013 and this was not the case at that time. On that cruise all tours, including optional ones, had no charge and were booked onboard. We were the only 2 people on a lovely optional culinary tour of Vienna, with a bus and our private driver and tour guide. We are taking a wine focused Rhine cruise on AMA in November and received some preliminary info on the new prebooking practice.
#14
Long Island, NY
6,348 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Avalon has had the option to book tours. Look under my Avalon excursions.
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