Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

BruceB NYC

Members
  • Content Count

    171
  • Joined

About BruceB NYC

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    NYC & BECKET, MA
  • Interests
    Opera
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    VIKING
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Mediterranean

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Cwb348 hi, Did the Viking homelands end of April start of May 2018. Best weather they Ihave a had in the Baltic. Weather was sunny every day in the 60s fantastic. Book this cruise as early as you can As it is one of the most popular Viking is offering. I have posted a day by day of what we did with tips that is somewhere on Cruise critic. If It cannot be found please let me know and I’ll be glad to repost it. 🛳good cruising. bruceb nyc
  2. Definitely. I get to have my own private table aft on the gelato side. Additionally, they leave the wine bottle. 👍🏻🛳
  3. World cafe. 👍🏻🛳
  4. SPB REVIEW VK HL May 2018-Superior 2 day Private SPB Tour in St. Petersburg. If you want a Superior 2 day customized private tour, SPB TOURS, is the one to go to. 2 couples on a Viking Homelands May 2018 Ocean Cruise. Wanted to include Impressionists Paintings now in a separate building from the Hermitage. Not part of any regular tours. Also wanted to see and ride the subway. SPB put together a great 2 day schedule. Had 2 included lunches that all liked. Loved the borscht!! The tour guide Kate & the driver Max were a superb team. They made excellent use of the time & schedule. All our questions were answered. We learned so much as Kate was a wealth of information. Max made us feel very comfortable as we drove in and out of traffic. Again, the 2 day private tour was amazing- no bus crowds, easy access to all sites, cost effective, and a great guide & driver. THANKS!! —-cost The cost of this tour for 6 people total would be $340 USDperson. As a party of 4 for the price of 375 USDper person.
  5. As I noted above in my review of our April 2018 HL cruise, this all day bus and train excursion is "pricey." But if your not getting back there -DO IT. We may have been lucky that the guide we had was a local who made the bus portion a delight. She even sang us folk songs on the return bus ride. We like to do "on are own" where practical, or book a small group private tour like in St. Petersburg. In Eidfjord we had to go with Viking on this excursion. No regrets. This was a "big bucks" trip so for us, and the "Scenic Flam..." and the private SPB added expense was not an issue just part of the overall cost of a great trip. ☺️ BruceB NYC
  6. We're doing the Athens to Venice cruise April 2020. Plan to get to the Viking Star on arrival early morning. Can you recall if the Viking shuttle bus into Athens was available that first arrival day? Thanks, BruceB
  7. A good resource for port information is TOMS PORT GUIDES. Google and look for ports on your cruises. For Viking HL there is a guide for Bergen and one for Copenhagen. His guides have many maps and usually a walking tour. Enjoy.
  8. The two major bus stops I recall from are first Viking trip to Berlin are the Brandenburg Gate and the what is left of The Berlin Wall. At the gate you can walk around and take photos. Very little else is done. At the wall you have a little more time to walk around and view all the "art" on the wall. On our Viking HL return to Berlin we spent time back at the area around the Brandenburg Gate. There was no need to redo the wall. The Reichstag building and grounds offers a lot to see. In the four hours they give you, there is a lot that can be seen on your own. Do research in the area between the Hilton Hotel at Gendarmenmarkt, the Murdered Jews of Europe Memorial, Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, etc. All in walking distance if planned ahead.
  9. Here's a review I did with daily excursions taken. Great trip. We were 2 couples (65+) on this wonderful cruise. Having 8 countries and 11 cities to visit was amazing. Previously we had been on 3 Viking River Cruises together, so this was our first ocean cruise, All agreed it was a great trip. Viking handled everything from beginning to end perfectly. An amazing itinerary. Great ship, excellent dining, an exceptional crew, a rating of 9.5/10!! 1. PRE CRUISE IDEAS -Do research using Rick Steves “Northern European Cruise Ports”. Go on line and look at YouTube Videos of all ports and those by Rick Steves. Search past Cruise Critic postings. Many CC posts contain useful information like a complete set of the Viking Daily for a 2016 Homelands cruise. Some menus have been posted as well. Lots of good stuff on CC. 2. STUDYING VIKING MATERIALS ---Go over the Viking website for information about each port and the various excursions. Reading the first 40 pages of the big Viking Ocean Brochure helps getting a perspective of the ship and may answer many questions you have. Look at the back pages for the “Deck Plans” to get a feel for where places are located. Helps to have a “heads up” advance to the cruise. 3. If you want to explore beyond the Viking Included Excursions, plan ahead. Cities like Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm, & St. Petersburg have a lot to see. 4. Some of the day by day things we did. Day Date Description Port Arrival Port Depart FRI APR 27, 2018 Depart Newark, NJ (EWR) – Economy -SAT APR 28, 2018 Arrive Bergen, Norway (BGO) SAT @ 11:30 a.m. arrive on Viking Sky Veranda - 3088 SUN APR 29, 2018 Bergen, Norway 07:00 PM If the first day is clear (we had a lot of rain) walk into town and do the funicular ride up Mount Floyen. Spectacular views. Return by 30-40 minute hike down or get the round trip (senior) tickets (one way was $6.50 pp). Day 2, we did the included bus tour, funicular, walk around town. MON APR 30, 2018 Eidfjord, Norway 07:00 AM 07:00 PM Took the pricey “Scenic Flam Railway” excursion. DO IT. It one of best “once in lifetime” excursions. Includes a nice buffet lunch at the STALHEIM hotel. The view out the back was spectacular. TUE MAY 01, 2018 Stavanger, Norway 08:00 AM 02:00 PM A nice walking tour with an amazing museum to visit. WED MAY 02, 2018 Alborg, Denmark 12:30 PM 08:00 pm A nice walking tour. THU MAY 03, 2018 At Sea 01:00 At Sea 11:00 PM Copenhagen, Denmark 08:30 AM 09:00 PM --Skipped the included tour. Did our own thing. Left as soon as possible (8 a.m.) and followed the walking tour route into Copenhagen past the Little Mermaid, and various sights, Palace, Castle, etc. Did the Rick Steves recommended 1 hour Netto Boat tour from Nyhavn. Shuttle bus back to boat for lunch. Quick out to shuttle bus back to town. Walked along the famous Stroget, longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. Got to City Hall and Tivoli. Shuttle bus back to ship by 6 p.m. FRI MAY 04, 2018 Berlin, Germany 06:00 AM 06:30 PM In Berlin we did our own thing. Viking does a great train ride in and out to Berlin. It includes a 1.5 hr or so bus tour. We skipped it having done it another time with Viking. Instead, from the arrival train station we took the S-Bahn metro towards the Reichstag. Walked along the Spree River to get there. Had reservations for a public free audio tour of the Reichstag Dome. (Do Dome reservations online). Picnic lunch in the park. Short walk to the Brandenbugh Gate. Long walk along the Unter Den Linden, then to the return Viking bus located outside the Hilton Hotel by far end of the Gendarmenmarkt. While waiting to load the return buses to the train, at the nearby Dom Curry, try the local Curry Wurst Sausage with a side of excellent sweet potato fries plus a roll (7.40 euros). SAT MAY 05, 2018 Gdansk, Poland 01:00 AM 10:00 PM Did the 3.5 hour walking tour. A total gem and surprise of a city (once known as Danzig). SUN MAY 06, 2018 At Sea MON MAY 07, 2018 Tallinn, Estonia 07:00 AM 03:00 PM A 2 mile 2 hour walking tour. Again a total surprise and gem of a medieval town. The harder walk was really easy. TUE MAY 08, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 07:00 AM & WED MAY 09, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 06:00 PM --Did a 2 day customized private tour with SPB TOURS. Got to see the Impressionists Collection now housed in the new location-General Staff Building. Had a Metro ride and everything else you should see. Great and exciting tour. A+ THU MAY 10, 2018 Helsinki, Finland 07:00 AM 04:00 PM -Did the 8a.m. 3 hour bus tour. Got back for shipboard lunch. Took the shuttle back in and walked all around. Up and down the Esplanade and Markets. Shuttle bus back to ship by 3:30 p.m.. FRI MAY 11, 2018 Stockholm, Sweden 09:00 AM-Up at 5 a.m. for the entrance into Stockholm. The islands going in are a sight to see. Viewing on deck 3 forward, decks 7 or 8, or your veranda. Wow!! Got the first 2 hour bus tour out. Stayed in town to walk around Gamla Stan (old town). Visited two key places. A tour of the City Hall and then a long walk to the Vasa Museum. Shuttle bus back by 6 p.m. A long day. SAT MAY 12, 2018 Depart Stockholm, Sweden (ARN) -SAT MAY 12, 2018 Arrive Newark, NJ (EWR) 5. Some tips-things we learned ---Being in the lower Veranda Deck cabin meant we had the last choice for selecting Included Excursions. Knowing this I got on-line at 3 a.m. EST when the day arrived for us to book the Included Excursions. In the big cities we wanted the earliest time slots. Many were “Sold Out”. Some we got the first time slots out. Others a little later. Stockholm had no early time slots available. I contacted Viking about my issues. Viking indicated that as we got closer to the cruise, there could be more slots available as well as people canceling. To some extant this did happen. In particular Stockholm, Viking added a whole new list of time slots. TIP- Check every day for included excursion openings and changes. DINNER RESERVATIONS AT SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS. Our cabin V-2 Veranda did not have pre-cruise reservations.On board the first night we did make reservations for Manfredi’s and the Chef’s Table in person at the front desk of the World Café. Better yet, use the on screen capability in your cabin to make reservations. It also gives the daily menus for all dining venues. We had 2 visits to each specialty restaurants. There were a number of tables that never got occupied. Suggest you go directly to the venue you want and see if they will seat you. Dining- You will not go hungry on this cruise. The World Café (deck) is causal and buffet. The wait staff supply drinks and table clearing. Always there. The Restaurant is a fixed menu with a more formal sit down service. The selection of entrees at dinner from the World Café is large. It also has a nice Sushi selection, good size shrimp and crabs legs. You will see all this when you get there. It’s all very good. Recommend Chef’s Table the “Asian Panorama” menu. At Manfredi’s try the bistecca fiorentina-rib eye steak. ENJOY AND HAVE FUN P.S. A tip on “tipping” --There’s always discussion on tipping for this cruise. Here’s what we found out. Tipping for tour guides & bus driver. Used Euros in euro countries. Germany, Estonia, Finland. PP 2€ tour guide 1€ Driver. In non Euro countries. Used per couple $5 tour guide, $3 driver. No one complaints. In non euro Countries guide/ driver took tips in € or $. Have a great trip.
  10. Hi Again, Glad to repost. It's a bit long. Also added a "Tip on Tipping". If other questions please don't hesitate. It was a great trip. VIKING SKY HOMELANDS REVIEW APRIL 28, 2018 VOYAGE We were 2 couples (65+) on this wonderful cruise. Having 8 countries and 11 cities to visit was amazing. Previously we had been on 3 Viking River Cruises together, so this was our first ocean cruise, All agreed it was a great trip. Viking handled everything from beginning to end perfectly. An amazing itinerary. Great ship, excellent dining, an exceptional crew, a rating of 9.5/10!! 1. PRE CRUISE IDEAS -Do research using Rick Steves “Northern European Cruise Ports”. Go on line and look at YouTube Videos of all ports and those by Rick Steves. Search past Cruise Critic postings. Many CC posts contain useful information like a complete set of the Viking Daily for a 2016 Homelands cruise. Some menus have been posted as well. Lots of good stuff on CC. 2. STUDYING VIKING MATERIALS ---Go over the Viking website for information about each port and the various excursions. Reading the first 40 pages of the big Viking Ocean Brochure helps getting a perspective of the ship and may answer many questions you have. Look at the back pages for the “Deck Plans” to get a feel for where places are located. Helps to have a “heads up” advance to the cruise. 3. If you want to explore beyond the Viking Included Excursions, plan ahead. Cities like Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm, & St. Petersburg have a lot to see. 4. Some of the day by day things we did. Day Date Description Port Arrival Port Depart FRI APR 27, 2018 Depart Newark, NJ (EWR) – Economy -SAT APR 28, 2018 Arrive Bergen, Norway (BGO) SAT @ 11:30 a.m. arrive on Viking Sky Veranda - 3088 SUN APR 29, 2018 Bergen, Norway 07:00 PM If the first day is clear (we had a lot of rain) walk into town and do the funicular ride up Mount Floyen. Spectacular views.Return by 30-40 minute hike down or get the round trip (senior) tickets (one way was $6.50 pp). Day 2, we did the included bus tour, funicular, walk around town. MON APR 30, 2018 Eidfjord, Norway 07:00 AM 07:00 PM Took the pricey “Scenic Flam Railway” excursion. DO IT. It one of best “once in lifetime” excursions. Includes a nice buffet lunch at the STALHEIM hotel. The view out the back was spectacular. TUE MAY 01, 2018 Stavanger, Norway 08:00 AM 02:00 PM A nice walking tour with an amazing museum to visit. WED MAY 02, 2018 Alborg, Denmark 12:30 PM 08:00 pm A nice walking tour. THU MAY 03, 2018 At Sea 01:00 At Sea 11:00 PM Copenhagen, Denmark 08:30 AM 09:00 PM --Skipped the included tour. Did our own thing. Left as soon as possible (8 a.m.) and followed the walking tour route into Copenhagen past the Little Mermaid, and various sights, Palace, Castle, etc. Did the Rick Steves recommended 1 hour Netto Boat tour from Nyhavn. Shuttle bus back to boat for lunch. Quick out to shuttle bus back to town. Walked along the famous Stroget, longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. Got to City Hall and Tivoli. Shuttle bus back to ship by 6 p.m. FRI MAY 04, 2018 Berlin, Germany 06:00 AM 06:30 PM In Berlin we did our own thing. Viking does a great train ride in and out to Berlin. It includes a 1.5 hr or so bus tour. We skipped it having done it another time with Viking. Instead, from the arrival train station we took the S-Bahn metro towards the Reichstag. Walked along the Spree River to get there. Had reservations for a public free audio tour of the Reichstag Dome. (Do Dome reservations online). Picnic lunch in the park. Short walk to the Brandenbugh Gate. Long walk along the Unter Den Linden, then to the return Viking bus located outside the Hilton Hotel by far end of the Gendarmenmarkt. While waiting to load the return buses to the train, at the nearby Dom Curry, try the local Curry Wurst Sausage with a side of excellent sweet potato fries plus a roll (7.40 euros). SAT MAY 05, 2018 Gdansk, Poland 01:00 AM 10:00 PM Did the 3.5 hour walking tour. A total gem and surprise of a city (once known as Danzig). SUN MAY 06, 2018 At Sea MON MAY 07, 2018 Tallinn, Estonia 07:00 AM 03:00 PM A 2 mile 2 hour walking tour. Again a total surprise and gem of a medieval town. The harder walk was really easy. TUE MAY 08, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 07:00 AM & WED MAY 09, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 06:00 PM --Did a 2 day customized private tour with SPB TOURS. Got to see the Impressionists Collection now housed in the new location-General Staff Building. Had a Metro ride and everything else you should see. Great and exciting tour. A+ THU MAY 10, 2018 Helsinki, Finland 07:00 AM 04:00 PM -Did the 8a.m. 3 hour bus tour. Got back for shipboard lunch. Took the shuttle back in and walked all around. Up and down the Esplanade and Markets. Shuttle bus back to ship by 3:30 p.m.. FRI MAY 11, 2018 Stockholm, Sweden 09:00 AM-Up at 5 a.m. for the entrance into Stockholm. The islands going in are a sight to see. Viewing on deck 3 forward, decks 7 or 8, or your veranda. Wow!! Got the first 2 hour bus tour out. Stayed in town to walk around Gamla Stan (old town). Visited two key places. A tour of the City Hall and then a long walk to the Vasa Museum. Shuttle bus back by 6 p.m. A long day. SAT MAY 12, 2018 Depart Stockholm, Sweden (ARN) -SAT MAY 12, 2018 Arrive Newark, NJ (EWR) 5. Some tips-things we learned ---Being in the lower Veranda Deck cabin meant we had the last choice for selecting Included Excursions. Knowing this I got on-line at 3 a.m. EST when the day arrived for us to book the Included Excursions. In the big cities we wanted the earliest time slots. Many were “Sold Out”. Some we got the first time slots out. Others a little later. Stockholm had no early time slots available. I contacted Viking about my issues. Viking indicated that as we got closer to the cruise, there could be more slots available as well as people canceling. To some extant this did happen. In particular Stockholm, Viking added a whole new list of time slots. TIP- Check every day for included excursion openings and changes. DINNER RESERVATIONS AT SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS. Our cabin V-2 Veranda did not have pre-cruise reservations.On board the first night we did make reservations for Manfredi’s and the Chef’s Table in person at the front desk of the World Café. Better yet, use the on screen capability in your cabin to make reservations. It also gives the daily menus for all dining venues. We had 2 visits to each specialty restaurants. There were a number of tables that never got occupied. Suggest you go directly to the venue you want and see if they will seat you. Dining- You will not go hungry on this cruise. The World Café (deck) is causal and buffet. The wait staff supply drinks and table clearing. Always there. The Restaurant is a fixed menu with a more formal sit down service. The selection of entrees at dinner from the World Café is large. It also has a nice Sushi selection, good size shrimp and crabs legs. You will see all this when you get there. It’s all very good. Recommend Chef’s Table the “Asian Panorama” menu. At Manfredi’s try the bistecca fiorentina-rib eye steak. ENJOY AND HAVE FUN P.S. A tip on “tipping” --There’s always discussion on tipping for this cruise. Here’s what we found out. Tipping for tour guides & bus driver. Used Euros in euro countries. Germany, Estonia, Finland. PP 2€ tour guide 1€ Driver. In non Euro countries. Used per couple $5 tour guide, $3 driver. No one complaints. In non euro Countries guide/ driver took tips in € or $. Have a great trip.
  11. Hi Nursekmr, We did this cruise April 2018. On an earlier Viking trip we did the Viking Berlin bus tour which was fine for that trip. On the HL trip we went back on the train and skipped the included bus tour and did our own tour. I did a long CC review of this HL cruise. You may find it under Viking Sky reviews and if not I can post it again. You must do research if going to do Berlin and then after the trainViking bus the tour on your own. The 4 hours is good for seeing many sights. Skip a sit down lunch and take a picnic from the boat. If that's not your speed, take a private tour. Having been there twice and NOW knowing the drop off location, the Hilton Hotel, at the Gendarmenmarkt, you need a good map. There are many sights within walking distance of the hotel location. On the map things can be deceiving but in real time if you walk around and plan ahead, it's do able. Rick Steves has a very good walking tour of Berlin. Look at videos on line. The Viking HL trip is great.
  12. Did Viking HL April-May 2018 and posted long CC Review. May be listed under “Viking Sky”. On the SP tour. Did a private 4 person tour with SPB Tour company. Needed to do some special stops. Particularly the French Impressionist Collection in a separate building and not part of regular tour. They were Excellent. A highlight for the 2 days. By far this is VIKING ocean best Itinerary. Happy Cruising.
  13. Mark, Thanks for the info. Although a year away I’m always doing research. Bruce B.
  14. Hi G. Girl, Change in my plans. Doing Athens to Venice 2020. Plan to arrive early morning in Athens. Do you recall if Viking has the shuttle bus on the day of arrival? Thanks, Bruce B.
  15. Hi Robin, I’m doing the reverse trip 3/26/19 and don’t know the shuttle bus answer. You should contact VK by email and ask. You can do Athens into town, metro or bus are possible. This web site has port info. http://cruiseportwiki.com/Piraeus I will probably post a day by day review on my return. Right now dealing with the excursions. Very excited. Enjoy your trip. BRUCEB NYC
×
×
  • Create New...