Viking River Cruise

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#1
Pittsburgh PA
92 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
I'm new to this board and river cruising. We have signed up for the Viking Rhine Getaway next April. Is there much time to explore the ports on ones own after the daily excursions? We are fairly young (25-55 yrs old) and would love to have lunch in the local cafes and explore on our own. Not a big deal but I am trying to plan our activities in advance. Thanks
#2
New Albany, Ohio
556 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
If you take a look at the itinerary on-line you can get an idea of when the ship will stay in port. If you do a morning tour and have free time in the afternoon you can stay and have lunch in town or do whatever you wish. Just be back in time for sailing. Looks like free time in Cologne, Rudesheim, Speyer, Strasbourg and possibly Breisach. We did the 15 day Rhine cruise a few years back which incorporated cities on your cruise along with others. You will see beautiful and varied landscape as you sail, especially the area near Switzerland.
Make sure you dress in layers and bring a hooded rain slicker as the area around Amsterdam could be wet, windy and rainy in the spring.
Enjoy!
#4
Pittsburgh
55 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Hey, a fellow Pittsburgher!

We're doing the Viking Portraits of Southern France in March 2013. We are cruising south to north and will extend the trip by visiting Paris for 3 days. Hope you have a great time!!
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#5
FLorida
416 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by Huffy2k
Hey, a fellow Pittsburgher!

We're doing the Viking Portraits of Southern France in March 2013. We are cruising south to north and will extend the trip by visiting Paris for 3 days. Hope you have a great time!!

Hail from another Pittsburgher! I am booked on the "Rhine Getaway" this December. From what I can see on the website, tours are usually in the AM and then you have the afternoon (and sometimes evening) to explore on your own.

Just got back form a China trip with Viking and it was fabulous. Top notch all around.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Lori
#7
The Villages, Florida
1,005 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Originally posted by beanpittsburgh
I'm new to this board and river cruising. We have signed up for the Viking Rhine Getaway next April. Is there much time to explore the ports on ones own after the daily excursions? We are fairly young (25-55 yrs old) and would love to have lunch in the local cafes and explore on our own. Not a big deal but I am trying to plan our activities in advance. Thanks
You will love your trip! We always thought that having lunch in town was the highlight of each day. You get to rub elbows with some of the locals. Your local tour guides will almost always tell you where the nearest beer garden is or would be happy to point you in the right direction if they don't mention it as part of the tour!
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#8
FLorida
416 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by beanpittsburgh
Maybe us Steeler Fans should just all go at the same time on the same cruise. Make sure yinz all post a cruise review. Thanks for responding!
An all Pittsburgher cruise... Now THAT would be a blast!!!
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Lori
#10
Pittsburgh
55 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by Lori Dobson
An all Pittsburgher cruise... Now THAT would be a blast!!!
I will bring the Isaly's chipped ham and Iron City!
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#11
FLorida
416 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by Huffy2k
I will bring the Isaly's chipped ham and Iron City!
Maybe a sandwich or two from Primanti's....
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Lori
#13
Wisconsin
29 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by Huffy2k
I will bring the Isaly's chipped ham and Iron City!

Nice to see all you Steelers fans bonding! We are Packer fans, not going well this year
Anyone ever take the beverage package on one of these river cruises. We have done special coffee packages on Princess and thought is worthwhile....

Also is there any way to find out ahead of time what the optional excursions are. We are supposed to get a packet but have not received it yet and our trip is in 5.5 weeks. I like to plan a bit more in advance.

Has anyone ever purchased wine locally and had it served on board. I thought I read they will allow this with no extra cork charge.
#14
Pittsburgh
55 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
2thklnr, I've also read that Viking allows you to bring local wines on board. Since my wife and I prefer wine to mixed drinks, we will probably take the local wine option rather than purchase the drink package.

Sorry about the Packers, you know their coach is a Pittsburgh guy!
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#15
Wisconsin
29 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by Huffy2k
2thklnr, I've also read that Viking allows you to bring local wines on board. Since my wife and I prefer wine to mixed drinks, we will probably take the local wine option rather than purchase the drink package.

Sorry about the Packers, you know their coach is a Pittsburgh guy!

Thanks for the sympathy Huffy2k Mike McCarthy is a great coach! I think I did hear he was from Pittsburgh and his parents still live there.

We too enjoy wine but like to have a mixed drink or special coffee too...just don't know if that is worth $210/pp for a week.

How about those optional excursions? I have heard they are not as pricey as the big cruise lines offerings and that they need 20 to sign up in order to run the trip. I am still waiting for my packet from Viking with those trips listed and purchased a travel guide with all the ports so I am at a standstill on decision-making until I get more information.

I am also wondering about getting euros here before we leave or exchanging once we get there. Seems like it might be convenient to get them ahead.
#16
New Albany, Ohio
556 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Huffy2K,

I read where you are taking the S. France cruise and thought I could give you some info on your upcoming trip.

My wife and I took the S. France cruise on the Viking Europe at the end of August starting in Avignon and ending in Chalon-sur-Saone. We then flew from Lyon to Munich and spent 5 days there on our own. This was our 6th cruise with Viking.

We flew from Boston through Munich and landed in Marseille at 12:30. The temperature was around 95 degrees and there were brush fires and smoke which made for a, shall I say, unique plane landing. We were the only Viking passengers that arrived at that time so we had a very colorful French taxis driver take us to the ship. I enjoyed the ride but my wife said it was a white knuckle ride and she kept her eyes shut most of the time and prayed. I will say we past everyone and everything on the drive and he knew how to use the horn

We got to the ship around 3pm and as usual, Viking had a great buffet set up with free drinks. Some people were out exploring Avignon but we stayed in the lounge conversing with folks and then to our room to unpack and then off to dinner.

Day 2 – Sailed into Arles and did a morning tour in this quaint French town. In the afternoon we purchased the optional tour to Les Baux which included a stop at St Paul de Mausole hospital near St Remy de Provence where van Gogh spent a year. My wife is a watercolor artist with cd's and a local tv show so this was a must visit for us.We thought the places were beautiful and well worth the price. Sailed to Avignon at dinnertime.

Day 3 – Morning tour of the town and Popes Palace. Again we did the afternoon optional tour to Chateauneuf du Pape for a wine tasting which I felt was the best of the three. The ride into the countryside was fine but I’m not convinced it was worth the 98 euros but it was the only way to experience it. The ship picked us up there and we sailed into Vivers for dinner and a evening stroll through the town which is very small.

Day 4 – This morning we sailed into Tournon arriving after lunch and the afternoon tour was to a small painting exhibition, then to a wine tasting and a chocolate factory with free samples.

Day 5 - Vienne – morning walking tour and a mini-train ride with afternoon sailing to Lyon. The afternoon and evening was free time. Lyon is a fun city with great restaurants. Many people at dinner ashore.

Day 6 - Morning bus and walking tour of Lyon then afternoon sailing arriving in Macon during dinner.

Day 7 – Chalon – In the morning we did the optional tour to Cluny arriving on market day being held in the square near the abbey. The Benedictine Abbey tour is very historical and hard to imagine how big it actually was. It was a lot of fun experiencing the outdoor market and the ride there was through rolling countryside and very interesting to us. That afternoon was a visit to Beaune and Hotel Dieu - Hospices de Beaune with it’s tile roof – a must see. There was another wine tasting in this town as well.

The last thing I'll say was the food was very good on this cruise and the crew was exceptional. We've always taken Viking so I can't compare to others but we enjoy the trips and always feel welcome being with Viking and their crew.

I hope you have a wonderful experience.
#17
Pittsburgh
55 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Jacksonnh - thanks for the firsthand report from your cruise. We are also sailing north from Avignon so our itinerary should be pretty much the same as yours. I especially was interested hearing your thoughts on the optional tours - I'm pretty sure we'll be doing them all as well! Thanks again, I enjoyed hearing of your experience - we're really looking forward to our trip!

thklnr - sorry about the Packers yesterday, what's going on with them this year???
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#18
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Jacksonnh ~ SO happy to read your review - we'll be doing this cruise - from north to south - next month beginning Oct. 21!! This will be our first River Cruise (usually its Celebrity or RCCL) so I'm happy to hear as much as possible before we leave for Europe!

If you don't mind a few question....
What ship were you on? We'll be on the Neptune.

Arles - did you go on the walking tour? If so did they tour go past the Du Forum - place Van Gogh painted The Cafe Terrace?? (Being an artist your wife must have been in heaven! I only appreciate Van Gogh work and can't wait to get to Arles & Avignon!!!)

Les Baux - how difficult was it walking around the town? It's listed as a "3" in the Viking itinerary book, says lots of cobblestones and hilly.

Lyon - do you remember names of any restaurants people ate at? We're thinking of a meal ashore and I have a list of possible places!

Cluny - Monday on our trip - do you think the optional tour would be worth it without the market? We're thinking of taking it but wonder if we should just sail on the ship instead.

Wines - how are the wines at lnch & dinner? Always the same ones?
I've read you can bring wine onboard - did anyone bring it to the dining room for meals? If so was there a corkage charge?

Thanls SO much for your time in answering questions - we just can't wait!!!
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Peg
Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
Viking Neptune 10-21-12 Rhone River
Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
Celebrity Constellation 7-3-2010 Baltic
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 2-14-2010 Caribbean
Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda
#19
Wisconsin
29 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
jacksonnh - Thanks for the details on the optional tours. I have some of the same questions as Fotopeg: like where to dine in Lyon? I would love to know where you got your list Fotopeg. We finally got our packet on Sat. I don't see much about what to see on your own...suppose they would rather have you take their optional tours.

I have also read they serve the same house wines all through the cruise but you can bring local wine on board with no corkage fee.

We sail on Nov 11, on the Neptune south to north. It is our first river cruise. Our favorite cruise so far has been the Baltic with St. Petersburg the highlight!

Huffy2k- That was a painful loss for the Pack I heard a sports writer on the radio talking about how they are missing Joe Philbin who left last year(formerly offensive coordinator now head coach of the Dolphins) Rogers just doesn't seem as in sink with the receivers as he was last year. So again, just not our year! Glad the Steelers pulled one out yesterday! I like Rothlisberger I will have to post after we come back to let you know how our trip went. Hope it's not too cold, although we are from Wisconsin!
#20
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
2thklnr ~ list of Lyon restaurants I just put together from google and trip advisor based on the area where we should dock. According to Viking Dock information, in Lyon we should be at Quai Claude Bernard. Somewhere here on CC someone also added that Viking docks near the Pont de l’Universite.

We arrive on day 3 and there’s an included tour after breakfast. Its vague just when it return to the ship but I presume we get back for lunch. Then the afternoon is on our own or an option tour to Perouges. We haven’t decided yet but will probably spend the afternoon in Lyon and have either lunch or dinner there. The next day we sail from Lyon about noon so we’re hoping to visit a French Resistance Museum not far from the docking – it isn’t open day before.

But back to restaurants ~ thankfully Paul Bocuse’s restaurant seems far – we’re splurging on enough!!! But he does have another place just across the river from the dock – a brasserie that looks interesting. I have a list of 5 places but I can’t attest to how good any would be. I’ll E-mail it to you (word document) if you want – just e-mail me at my screen name at aol dot com.

I also gave DH an early Christmas present. The main reason he chose this cruise was because he wanted to see the Rhone River wine country. Originally we were going to take the optional Chateauneuf du Pape tour. Then I had an idea – since we’ll be in Avignon 2 days post cruise I checked on line and found an all day tour that goes to 4 vineyards in the area!! This way he can OD on wine info and tastings!!
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Peg
Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
Viking Neptune 10-21-12 Rhone River
Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
Celebrity Constellation 7-3-2010 Baltic
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 2-14-2010 Caribbean
Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda