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Everything posted by lackcreativity

  1. If you choose Malaga over the excursion to the Alhambra, consider visiting the Alcazaba. It's a Moorish fortress/palace high on a hill looking out over the city. The Viking included excursion finishes right at the base of the Alcazaba, and I think there is even an elevator available to get to the top. We did the hike up to the top, but you do have a choice. Viking runs a free shuttle back to the ship that we used later in the day after spending time on our own. While the Alcazaba is certainly not the Alhambra, it does have a similar feel. We also plan ahead. We have a river cruise
  2. I did confirm that the times that geffric posted were the same for our sailing in October 2018. We found the times in port to be quite satisfactory. Now, we did not take the included excursion to Paris from Le Havre as we have been to Paris previously. I know that with travel back and forth, the time in the city would be a very short visit. We were happy with our half day visit to Honfleur instead. If you have never seen Paris, you may make a different choice. Also, take note of the fact that the included excursion from Zeebrugge does not go to Bruges at all. We took the Bruges
  3. We sailed this itinerary in October of 2018, from Bergen to Barcelona. The times in port seem to be different based on my memory. I will try to locate my original paperwork just to satisfy my curiosity. We did love the cruise. Ah, I see geffric has posted another version of the timing already. It must vary based on the direction of the cruise.
  4. I agree with everything you said. (Well, except the part where you said you have to "read between the lines".) I think Viking's full descriptions of their excursions are quite accurate, and very useful in deciding what to do. We also especially liked the included tours of Tallinn, and Malaga, and would definitely add Dubrovnik and Santorini to your list of excellent included tours. Many other included tours were quite satisfactory. Only once were we disappointed by a guide we found unsatisfactory to the point we left the tour and set out on our own. At another port, Zeebrugge, the included e
  5. In each port, Viking offers one specific excursion designated as the included excursion, and several other optional excursions available for a fee. While a very few may be predominately panoramic bus excursions ( I think the included one in Rome is almost all a bus tour), in my experience most of them are a combination of a bus tour, a walking portion, and some time on your own. Barcelona, for instance, combines all three, while Monte Carlo is all walking. You really need to read the full description of the included excursion to know what is involved. ( On the page for a particular cruise, sel
  6. Thanks for sharing this very nice little story. One more reason I am looking forward to our river cruise in April. We pass through Basel on the trip. I'll be extra nice to the crew members I meet on your behalf!
  7. Original poster: I just noticed your screen name. Wish I had thought of that first! I will be 67 next month, and still work at a flexible hour part time job that I like. The main reason I do that is to finance our travels with what feels like found money. The downside is that being away from work for too long creates its own problems, but then, that's how life works, right? Good luck with your shore excursions, and enjoy your cruise.
  8. Thank you, on behalf of all of us Veranda cabin guests! We accept that there are sacrifices we make to get the good deal on the Veranda cabins, and limited reservations and late sign-up for excursions are that price. However, we do love Chef's Table, so we appreciate that Viking initially seems to hold some spaces. While we haven't always been able to get our first choice of day and time, after three ocean cruises, we are quite satisfied with our experience. An additional plea, if guests who have changed their mind about a reservation in either specialty restaurant or on an excurs
  9. The idea of a stopover is very appealing, or at least coming in early to allow time to adjust. However, I still work part time and my husband retired but now runs a busy ebay business, so we have to limit the time we are away. By the time we both retire for good, then we will have the time, but I wonder if we will feel comfortable spending the money for vacations like these? Not really complaining, as I am grateful that we have been able to do this at all.
  10. We are scheduled for Journey to Antiquities in late October, so I am happy to hear that you really enjoyed the itinerary. I do hope to get a chance to add the Umbria extension to a cruise in the future, but with two trips booked for 2020 our travel budget said not this time. Umbria is one of my favorite parts of Italy, and even though we have been to Orvieto and Assisi, staying in a castle and visiting a couple new places makes this very appealing to me. I also look forward to more information about your trip, especially any advice about the excursions you took.
  11. Thanks to all who have contributed. My early reaction was that maybe it wasn't a good idea, but while I was at work today, the additional responses have swayed me back to the idea that it may be worth a try. We have only sailed with Viking, and we book the least expensive cabins (all have balconies), and will continue to do so to economize. To add another couple thousand to a trip that is 8 or 10 or 12 thousand dollars for the two of us may not be that bad if it makes us more comfortable and less worn out when we get there. I know it's not the same as Business Class, but I am not
  12. Thanks, all. There was much useful information in these responses, but I think my answer is right here. I had looked at photos and videos, and it is rather easy to judge how much more comfortable a flight would be in any kind of lay flat seat on an overnight flight from the east coast to Europe. Even a few hours of sleep would make things so much easier. It was harder to make any judgement about the premium economy from pictures. It sounds like, until we are willing to make the leap to business class, we will continue to struggle through flying coach.
  13. We are in our mid sixties, and consider ourselves "budget luxury" travelers. As such, we have flown international flights in economy, so we can put the extra money towards another future trip. However, as we are getting older, the flights are getting more difficult. We are not ready to consider business class, but is the upgrade to premium economy worth the cost? When they say extra recline, is it enough to make sleep possible? I appreciate any advice on the subject.
  14. We loved Trade Routes of the Middle Ages. Lucky you!
  15. The port times are not listed for Viking cruises on the website. In order to know this in advance, you would actually have to call Viking to book a 24 hold on a specific sailing and they will send you a quote which will have the port times. Many cruise lines do list the port times on their website, but Viking is not like most cruise lines ( and I mean that in a good way!).
  16. I can't actually tell you about the Hotel Rochester based on experience, but based on a quick Google Maps search and view of the photos, I would be delighted if they move us there for our start to the Paris to the Swiss Alps cruise in April. It is much more central to the sights of Paris for walking, and still convenient to the Metro. Ratings on Tripadvisor are at 4.5 / 5 for 1200 reviews, so I think you will be fine.
  17. I have always thought I would like to spend an extended stay in one of our favorite locations, but always opt for the "want to see as much of the world as we can" vacations instead. If I accidentally ended up spending ten days in Barcelona on a Viking ship for free, I would like to think I would enjoy that quite a bit. After reading so many of your posts here over the years, I am not surprised that you made the best of it.
  18. This is one of my favorite things about Viking. We always do the "budget luxury" version of a Viking cruise, and could not be happier. Once in a while we may miss out on an optional shore excursion because we are the last ones to have access to booking excursions, but if it were a very important site we wanted to visit we would book a private tour instead. Mostly, on the few times this happened, we were just as happy with our second choice.
  19. While we came from a very different direction from you, we ended up at the same place. We had never taken an ocean cruise before, and had no real desire to do so. However, after taking a Viking river cruise and learning about the then brand new Viking ocean division, we decided to take the plunge. After three ocean cruises with Viking, it is now our favorite way to travel. It's just perfect for us: quiet, understated, with an uncrowded feeling, while beautiful, entertaining, and just the right touch of luxury. The places we have visited are fabulous, and most of all, the people we have met (bo
  20. It is SM77 who will be on the Buenos Aires - Santiago cruise with you. We haven't ventured south of the equator yet during any of our trips. We are lifelong residents of the Baltimore suburbs, but our daughter is an actual city dweller so we do get down there regularly. My husband is quite excited about the UMD basketball season, but my consolation to your husband regarding the Orioles. We abandoned hope long ago!
  21. Your timing is interesting, as just this weekend I was browsing the Oceania site! There are two cruises in the western Mediterranean in April 2121 that have excellent itineraries for us. Knowing that you do like Viking makes me give extra consideration to your recommendation. With three Viking cruises currently booked, so far I am just "window" shopping, but Oceania seems a good place to start. Thanks for your advice.
  22. Expanding on your question about entertainment, Viking also has a resident historian along with several guest lecturers along on each cruise. Most of their presentations are during the day, and we go as often as our schedule allows. Sometimes we catch up on a missed topic as they are available on the in room tv. Most are related to the area you are traveling and are quite interesting. Some are absolutely terrific! These lectures are in addition to the daily port talks. We had never taken an ocean cruise before Viking, and from what I hear it is quite different from traditional lar
  23. Even before the specific excursions for your tour show up on My Viking Journey, you can view the likely options on the Viking website. Go to the Homelands page, and scroll down to the itinerary page, and click on the St. Petersburg listing. Scroll down below the generic post to find the list of possible excursions that may be scheduled for your specific sailing. To be honest, the majority of places that people wish to visit in St. Petersburg are all museums and churches. We enjoyed our three day visit there tremendously this spring, even though it was almost all museums and churches.
  24. I'm glad to know that you love Viking as much as we do, but I hope I never encounter a place I wouldn't want to get off the ship to visit again. The only one that comes close is Katakolon, the port for Olympia. The first visit to Olympia was interesting, but not enough to go see it again. Even so, there was a rather pretty little dockside area we didn't explore on our first visit so I would at least get off the ship to visit that. As far as the crowds, we travel in early spring or in the fall to try to mitigate that somewhat. Even so, I can't blame other people from wanting to see
  25. Thanks for all the opinions offered in response to my question. It is becoming clear to me that my concern about returning to places we have already visited is unnecessary. If we enjoyed a place on a first visit, why wouldn't we enjoy it a second time? We have been to Venice three times, and each time we found something new to see. We have been to Boston a dozen times, and love every visit. ( That might have something to do with the fact that our son moved there for grad school and stayed!) All of our significant vacations so far have been to Europe, which I just love. But if I de
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