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cassandra44

2 day extension -Oslo & Bergen Rail...problems

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We are booked on the Viking Homelands cruise Stockholm - Bergen leaving late May and we also booked the 2 day extension.

We have just discovered on looking at our tickets that we only have a very short time in Oslo - just a few hours!! Although we have a full day in Bergen before disembarking ship -the Viking extension has us staying for another day in Bergen at an hotel then leaving on the train for Oslo at 9 a.m. on the 2nd day of the extension (then just staying in Oslo for 1 night).

We are expected to get into Oslo around 2....so that really means that there is very little time to do anything in Oslo since we are scheduled to fly out the following morning.

When we booked this cruise and the extension in May 2013 we understood that there would be 2 nights in Oslo - not just one. Had we known we would have an extra day in Bergen we would not have booked the extension.

The brochure says Oslo and Bergen Rail - 2 nights....it mentions sights to see in Oslo and there is no reference at all to having to stay in Bergen for an extra night off the ship.

We are really quite annoyed since we had several things planned in Oslo....e.g. the sculpture garden, Viking ship museum and the Royal Palace.

It would have made a lot more sense to have us on the train to Oslo immediately after disembarking and since the train leaves at 9 a.m. this shouldn't have been a problem.

Now it looks as if there will no time to do anything in the capital city!!!

I posted this on the roll call for our specific cruise but since people on later cruises might also be affected I am also posting it here.

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Staying the extra day in Bergen didn't make sense to us either. That's why we instead booked the one night extension. We leave the Star that morning and take the train right away to Oslo arriving in Oslo early afternoon. Shows we have a panoramic tour, and visit to the Akershus Fortress and Viking Ships Museum. We then independently booked a second night in Oslo at the same hotel - Radisson Blu Scandavian. (We're watching to be sure the hotel isn't changed.) This gives us an extra full day to see more there. It was also easier for us to get the United mileage flights we wanted out of Oslo rather than Bergen.

 

The descriptions of these two post-extensions are also very confusing. In the beginning paragraphs it sounds as though we are starting in Oslo and then going to Bergen for a tour! The "Day 1" and "Day 2" descriptions though show going from Bergen to Oslo.

 

We had also thought about doing this extension on our own, but weren't sure if we could get off the "Star" in time to make the train that morning. Figure if we're on their extension, getting off will be expedited. This is supposed to be "the most beautiful train ride in the world." Hope it lives up to the hype.:)

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We too are a but disappointed. Our 'day' in Oslo also happens to be the 17th of May. When almost everything is closed. Not that the holiday is Vikings fault. But it really should be two nights in Oslo so we can see some of the sights. As it is we are really paying for a more leisurely trip to the airport.

 

I will make my feelings known when we return home. We haven't had much luck with any pre or post excursions with Viking.

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OBX cruisers....Thanks for the heads-up. I have contacted our agent this evening and asked her to contact Viking to have us switched to the one day extension and to keep our booking for the second night in Oslo. We note that the day they have booked us for Oslo is a Sunday so that would present problems- with the switch we will have Saturday and Sunday.

Given that we were misled when we booked the extension and that we were led to believe we would have 2 days in Oslo I really hope that Viking will undertake to make the switch.

Surely they must understand that changes made after the booking was made are really problematic.

It shouldn't be difficult for them to make the switch.

Popsa...sorry to hear about your problems too.

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Thanks Cassandra. Let us know now you make out.

 

I a little concerned the train will be sold out and we will be switched to a bus. That will be a show stopper for us.

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I certainly hope Viking has made sufficient reservations for the train - the experience that others had with the Downton Abbey pre trip excursion leaves me wondering.

The train is supposed to be the highlight of the Bergen /Oslo extension!

We also hope we have enough time to visit the sculpture garden in Oslo. I spent time there about 13 years ago when I was at a conference in Oslo and it is quite spectacular.

The city hall is also worth a visit.

It was a very expensive city even back then so I can only imagine what it will be like now! Still it's worth it.

Edited by cassandra44

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OBX cruisers....Thanks for the heads-up. I have contacted our agent this evening and asked her to contact Viking to have us switched to the one day extension and to keep our booking for the second night in Oslo. We note that the day they have booked us for Oslo is a Sunday so that would present problems- with the switch we will have Saturday and Sunday.

Given that we were misled when we booked the extension and that we were led to believe we would have 2 days in Oslo I really hope that Viking will undertake to make the switch.

Surely they must understand that changes made after the booking was made are really problematic.

It shouldn't be difficult for them to make the switch.

Popsa...sorry to hear about your problems too.

 

We booked the one night extension. I caught the mistake on our documents when

I saw that our hotel was booked in Bergen instead of Oslo. I had a difficult time convincing them of their mistake, finally resorting to sending a photo of my document page that has the wrong (Bergen) hotel info printed. Anxiously awaiting to hear that we disembark Star, board the Bergen Express to Oslo, join up for an afternoon tour that will include the Viking Ship Museum. We will be on our own for the evening, and staying at the Radisson Blu Scandinavian hotel in Oslo. Viking will arrange transfer to airport the next morning.

Good luck to us all. It appears the Viking operations needs more time to become acquainted with this new line of products. (Excursions)

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I think the problem is that we and many others booked very early...in May 2013. We booked through an agent and were expecting to get further information as it became available (since the brochure was sketchy).

At the time we booked we had been told it was flexible dining and that our extension was a rail trip from Bergen followed by a 2 day stay in Oslo. Having had such good experiences with Viking river cruises we went ahead (and we had also sailed on Oceania shortly after it was inaugurated and loved it)

For some reason a long time elapsed without any further info from our agent (and we had been out of the country on a couple of other trips) and eventually I contacted Viking directly where for the first time I learned of the site "MyVikingJourney" and then of course we kept seeing more information about changes that had been made to dining (fixed not flexible as we were told) and about the booking periods and so on ( that's how we discovered that the basic balcony category was going to be treated like the great unwashed with no possibility of booking any dining in advance).

None of this was communicated to our agent ( who works for a pretty large Canadian company) and if we hadn't done the work on our own we would still be in the dark.

I strongly believe that Viking should honour its commitments to those who signed up in good faith very early. They had our deposit very early and our final payment was made in December of 2013 so they have been sitting on our money for some time now.

Given that we placed faith in this new company it seems the least they can do is to live up to the terms of the original contract.

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Seems like we will be on the same cruise on 29May! I think it will all be worked out for our cruise...but I'm really glad i went over our documents with an eagle eye. I did the booking on my own and it was pretty detailed figuring out the shore excursions. So far, the post cruise excursion has been the only glitch.

Ukelady and her mom booked the two day Bergen-Oslo excursion

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We booked the one day excursion and there are some issues with that one too. The Radisson Blu Scandinavian is not a top hotel. Expedia offers it for $125 a night and tripadvisor gives it some low ratings, especially recently. Clearly not the luxury hotel promised. Their breakfast is praised, but on Sunday breakfast is served from 7AM. For us and anybody else with a flight before 10AM, we will have to leave the hotel before breakfast starts. Viking picked this hotel and also picked the flights for us, so they knew that we would miss breakfast, even though the excursion promises it. I mentioned this to the Viking agent and they did not seem aware of the conflict. Viking should either give us box breakfast or reimburse us for the cost for buying at the airport or on the plane.

 

This is going to be a great cruise and the glitch on hotel breakfast is minor, but wish Viking would have addressed it.

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We booked the one day excursion and there are some issues with that one too. The Radisson Blu Scandinavian is not a top hotel. Expedia offers it for $125 a night and tripadvisor gives it some low ratings, especially recently. Clearly not the luxury hotel promised. Their breakfast is praised, but on Sunday breakfast is served from 7AM. For us and anybody else with a flight before 10AM, we will have to leave the hotel before breakfast starts. Viking picked this hotel and also picked the flights for us, so they knew that we would miss breakfast, even though the excursion promises it. I mentioned this to the Viking agent and they did not seem aware of the conflict. Viking should either give us box breakfast or reimburse us for the cost for buying at the airport or on the plane.

 

This is going to be a great cruise and the glitch on hotel breakfast is minor, but wish Viking would have addressed it.

 

Yes, I've read the disappointing reviews of the Scandinavian. It appears that Viking has a contract with Radisson Blu hotels. At this point I am satisfied that they have us staying in Oslo. (Our docs had information for Radisson in Bergen for the night of the 13th)

My concern now is reservations for Bergen Express when we disembark the Star. We have no ticket or Oslo tour information or transfer details from the Radisson to the airport.

(We are on the one day tour also.) Tell me, Did you receive any of that info in your docs?

It's going to be a magical time for us all......

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We are on the 27 June sailing, so no docs yet. I feel that Viking will provide us with the tickets and transfers when the time comes, since the excursion is their own. Noticed that there are only a few trains per day on that route. Only one in the morning is from Bergen at 7:57 arriving at Oslo at 2:45. Next one is at noon, so we are surely on the 7:57 one.

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I am confident that all the logistics will be worked out to our ultimate satisfaction.

I am keeping in mind that this is an inaugural cruise for Viking Ocean.

Thanks for the heads up on train times, as it is essential we are on the early train.

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I agree that some glitches are to be expected but I think Viking could have done more homework in advance (some things were glaringly problematic)- and they dont seem very responsive when contacted about problems.

My agent has contacted them a couple of times and each time she has had a brush-off. The last occurred yesterday when she contacted them about our problem with the Bergen/Oslo extension....They did not respond to the concerns we raised about a change from the initial booking in May 2013 but instead just cut and pasted current information about the 2 day extension (which we had never seen) loftily proclaiming that it was always their intention to have 1 night in Bergen and 1 in Oslo ( if so they should have made that clear when they issued the first brochure!)

I am disappointed to hear about the Radisson Blu Scandinavian and that it's receiving poor reviews. We used their extensions on a Danube cruise both in Budapest and in Prague and in both cities we were very satisfied with the hotels (both Hilton). I would have thought in the inaugural season they would have made sure that the hotels chosen are in accordance with the descriptions. That's a no-brainer.

Anyway we remain cautiously optimistic and hope Viking is listening to the concerns expressed here.

BTW re the train to Oslo - it must be the early departure because our agent was told we get in early afternoon on the Sunday (although the person said 2 it is in fact closer to 3 - I checked the schedule). Does anyone know if we have Komfort class?

We are a bit concerned that the day in Oslo is a Sunday and many things are closed on Sundays - just wish we had booked the 1 day instead of the 2 day extension....

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THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!

We asked our agent to check with Viking to change to the 1 day extension because we never wanted to spend the extra night in Bergen and when we booked the 2 day extension a stay in Bergen was never mentioned - it was sold to us as 2 days in Oslo!

This is her response (just received)

 

"You are not going to believe this, I have trouble with it.

They are no longer offering the 1 day Bergen Rail and Oslo

extension. Apparently there is a new brochure that has been issued and it is not offered any more.

So.. only alternative is to cancel the whole extension at a fee of $260.00 and you do the rail and hotels by yourself"

So not only are Viking not acknowledging the fact that they changed the terms of our contract but they actually want to charge us extra to cancel the whole thing!

I am simply appalled at the way Viking is handling this issue - I will never book with Viking Oceans ever again!

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I am confident that all the logistics will be worked out to our ultimate satisfaction.

I am keeping in mind that this is an inaugural cruise for Viking Ocean.

Thanks for the heads up on train times, as it is essential we are on the early train.

 

Hi, In April 2014 Viking UK sent me the following proposed itinerary. We have decided not to go on it.

 

Day Time Duration (mins) Action Hotel Name Included meals

1 06:30 60 Breakfast and disembark ship

07:30 10 Transfer to station, check-in and board0

07:58 Train departs for Oslo, snack car on train

14:27 Train arrives Oslo, city tour starts

14:30 60 Panoramic drive of Oslo

15:30 20 Photo stop

15:50 30 Panoramic drive to Viking Ship Museum

1620 45 Visit Viking Ship Museum

17:05 30 Panoramic drive to Oslo hotel

17:35 Check-in and evening at leisure, own dinner arrangements

Radisson Scandanavia

Day 2 07:00 90 Breakfast

08;30 Check out of hotel and transfer to airport

This would be for a UK flight.

 

 

Hope this helps

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Ingra Tor? We were never sent these details by Viking ....since we used an agent the details should have been sent to her but never were. We booked the extension on the basis that it was rail plus 2 days in Oslo- that was in May 2013.

Since then Viking must have sent out these details but not to us.

They also changed from flexible to fixed dining...again no notification to either our agent or us.

If I hadn't called Viking to inquire what was happening about the cruise I would never have heard of MyVikingJOurney....again no notification to our agent or to us that they had set up this site.

They have treated people who booked early very badly.

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My concern now is reservations for Bergen Express when we disembark the Star. We have no ticket or Oslo tour information or transfer details from the Radisson to the airport.

(We are on the one day tour also.) Tell me, Did you receive any of that info in your docs?.

 

Our docs (for the two-day extension, but I'm guessing it's similar to yours but with our additional day in Bergen) show the hotel accommodations (name of hotel, yes, a Radisson Blu at both cities) and then the comment: Your local Viking Host will have further information for you so you can explore Bergen & Oslo and confirm your transfer to the airport for your departure."

 

This is what happened with our Viking River pre- and post-cruise extensions as well; when we checked into the hotel, we were told of the tour time(s) as well as details about the airport transfer. These were not listed in our Viking River paperwork but only given to us at the hotel at the Viking "desk" there.

 

Also, cassandra44, we, too, are wondering if the train is booked at Komfort class and, if not, if there is an upgrade possibility we can make now to ensure it is.

Edited by Ukalady

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I was on the phone to a Viking rep for about 40 minutes. Eventually I got a concession from her that the brochure is badly worded and that the 2 day extension should have been worded differently to make it clear that there is a 1 day stay in Bergen followed by 1 day in Oslo (after the rail trip)

She said that was always Viking's intention but conceded it was not worded that way.

In any event the details were not worked out by Viking until after the initial booking was made in May 2013 and it seems to me obvious that Viking should have sent notification of that to the agents (or individuals booking directly). Instead they sent nothing to the agents at all...not even a heads up about the setting up of MyVikingJourney- and absolutely nothing about the booking procedures for excursions or restaurants or the spa. I really think Viking dropped the ball.

In any event the 1 day extension is no longer available (at first she argued that it was never available until I pointed out that several people on this board have signed up for it). Just another blunder.

Now we are faced with 2 options 1. Continue with the 2 day extension ( and since we have a walking tour in Bergen while still on the ship we dont need another one) or 2. Cancel the whole extension and pay a deviation of fee of $260 because without the 2 day extension they require us to pay extra to fly out 2 days later (even though we are already booked on that flight)- and then do all our own independent booking for hotels, rail etc

We need to decide by this evening.

By the way she said we are not in Komfort class and that is not available as an option... I wonder why not?

All in all we are very unhappy about the way that Viking has treated early bookers. They took our money, put us on the back burner and forgot all about us.

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By the way she said we are not in Komfort class and that is not available as an option... I wonder why not?

 

I get it, cassandra44--it sounds like a lot of miscommunication between original booking and today's "reality."

 

FWIW, I have this just received from my TA regarding my question about the Komfort class booking (I'd asked if it was possible for us to pay a premium to book it for the Bergen>Oslo train trip):

 

Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding your clients’ upgrade request for the rail transport on the Oslo and Bergen Rail extension. The standard seating is the only class of service Viking Cruises can provide during this extension package. While we cannot prevent pax from booking/upgrading to Komfort service on their own upon arrival, we also do not recommend that pax do this as it greatly increases the chance that they will miss our staff. Our staff greets and escorts our passengers as a group in one class of service to make transfers more efficient and to be readily available if any issues arise during the transfer process. Furthermore, we cannot preclude the possibility that our staff may make last minute travel decisions that would prevent them from easily getting in touch with passengers in a different class of service. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

 

Hmmm...I'm not really that worried about "issues" during the transfer process so I'm inquiring of NSB.no whether we can purchase an upgraded Komfort seat the morning of the trip...I'll keep you posted.

Edited by Ukalady

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We had booked the Oslo 2 day trip and paid for it when the itinerary changed and we were being looped back through Oslo and all excursion were offered for free. I contacted Viking and cancelled and they refunded our money. We then booked the Radisson Blu and the train, Comfort Class and the Radisson for 1 ngiht in Bergen before we board, on our own. Much cheaper and we'll be fine doing this leg by ourselves.

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Do let us know if that works out! It would be nice to book Komfort class. We did a Swiss rail trip recently and were pleased we paid to upgrade because it was very quiet - we had a compartment to ourselves. However it was just as comfortable in the other compartments... simply a bit more crowded. Not sure if Norwegian rail is similar.

 

I didn't want to keep beating the drum about our problems re the extension but I got really fed up when our TA got stonewalled by Viking. She has a lot of clients and she was quite upset about the brush -off she got.

 

When my husband was at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship his rowing coach was Prince Harald of Norway (now the King of Norway). Good job we hadn't made plans to visit the Palace. If we had I wonder whether Viking might have been agreeable to getting us there a day early?

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Last comment accurate but my smiley didnt make it to the post...just a wee bit of Scottish sarcasm:-)

Edited by cassandra44

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I get it, cassandra44--it sounds like a lot of miscommunication between original booking and today's "reality."

 

FWIW, I have this just received from my TA regarding my question about the Komfort class booking (I'd asked if it was possible for us to pay a premium to book it for the Bergen>Oslo train trip):

 

Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding your clients’ upgrade request for the rail transport on the Oslo and Bergen Rail extension. The standard seating is the only class of service Viking Cruises can provide during this extension package. While we cannot prevent pax from booking/upgrading to Komfort service on their own upon arrival, we also do not recommend that pax do this as it greatly increases the chance that they will miss our staff. Our staff greets and escorts our passengers as a group in one class of service to make transfers more efficient and to be readily available if any issues arise during the transfer process. Furthermore, we cannot preclude the possibility that our staff may make last minute travel decisions that would prevent them from easily getting in touch with passengers in a different class of service. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

 

Hmmm...I'm not really that worried about "issues" during the transfer process so I'm inquiring of NSB.no whether we can purchase an upgraded Komfort seat the morning of the trip...I'll keep you posted.

Disappointed re: your negative received response concerning upgrade to Komfort class.

However, I am somewhat reassured by Vikings explanation that their staff "meets and escorts" the passengers. I think I'll be able to sleep tonight......

However, I am decidedly NOT reassured by the remarks that allude to the possibility of "staff making last minute travel decisions". Maybe I should stay up and research Oslo Panoramic tour and the Viking Ship Museum......?

Nah.....I'm going to put my trust in Viking's Norwegian staff to fulfill their obligation to all of us, even if it means they need to arrange after hours entry to the VSM

It does seems we have only a short period of time left to tour once we arrive Oslo at 3:00pm.

It will all be worked out, I'm sure. Let's keep each other posted as we so along. Only a month to go!

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There seems to be quite an overlap between the included port excursion for Bergen (while we are still on the ship) and the next day after we disembark which is the first of our (rather expensive) extension which unhappily has us staying in Bergen for the night before leaving for Oslo. I think the Fish Market is the only part that is different. So perhaps a paid excursion from Bergen while on the ship makes sense. The other option is just to do things on ones own - eg. a tram trip to the stave church.

 

Yes it is sad that we will have so little time in Oslo and we are both keeping fingers crossed that after the train gets in around 3 we will be able to get off on the tour as soon as possible. That day is a Sunday when much is closed so we hope that won't present problems. Just hope that the Viking people have done their homework on when things are open.

 

I'm still really baffled why Viking thought it was a good idea to spend so much time in Bergen and so little in Oslo when it would have made so much more sense to have us to take the train the day we disembark (as we were led to believe we were doing).

In the end we decided to stick with the 2 day extension rather than cancelling, doing independent booking and paying a deviation fee to Viking (we've already paid 1 deviation fee to be in the UK pre the cruise).

Not happy - but just don't have time to make independent arrangements (Viking gave us only a few hours to decide)....

I would urge those on future cruises to avoid this extension and make their own travel arrangements for Oslo.

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