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Jay Bee

Viking Homelands port times and excursions

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We are doing the Viking Homelands cruise this summer (Stockholm to Bergen). I found an old post from 2013 with port times and wondered if anyone had something more current. Also, what about the scheduling of the included tours? Is it possible or recommended to take and additional tour if the port times allow?

 

At what point will Viking let us know about this? It would be nice if they put such information right on the web site.

 

Thanks,

Jan

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Dear Jay Bee,

 

We are happy to jump in and respond to your inquiry.

 

Because port times are unique to each sailing, we do not post the schedules to our website. Instead, the port times are included on each copy of the guest invoice. You are welcome to book as many included or optional shore excursions as your schedule allows.

 

If you do not have a copy of your invoice, please contact us directly at TellUs@vikingcruises.com and we would be more than happy to send one to you.

 

Thank you for allowing us an opportunity to respond. We look forward to welcoming you aboard this summer!

 

Kind regards,

Viking Cruises

 

We are doing the Viking Homelands cruise this summer (Stockholm to Bergen). I found an old post from 2013 with port times and wondered if anyone had something more current. Also, what about the scheduling of the included tours? Is it possible or recommended to take and additional tour if the port times allow?

 

At what point will Viking let us know about this? It would be nice if they put such information right on the web site.

 

Thanks,

Jan

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Aha! Thank you very much! Had I only scrolled down far enough, I would have seen that on the invoice. I will email the address you provided to ask about the included tour schedules.

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Jan, we are doing the reverse of your cruise in May. Our excursions are on the website now, if you register at MyVikingJourney.com. The excursions are described and times listed. I have pieced together the information that there might be more than one time slot for excursions that fill up. We were able to schedule the included tour plus one paid tour later in the day only on one day. On the other days, the times conflicted so we had to choose one or the other.

Edited by Lucky Granny

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Thanks, Granny. I am registered in MyVikingJourney but our excursions won't be posted for a few more months. Seeing as how the port times are long for many of the days, it's too bad that the included tour schedule conflicts with additional tours. I would be most interested to hear your reviews of the excursions when you return. Have a great cruise!

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JayBee-

We are sailing June 19 on Baltic Jewels/Midnight sun, and excursions have just posted for most of the ports (though not all), 10 days before we can book (Explorer Suite). It does seem that all the ones I've looked at so far (the Norway fjords part) are overlapping, even when a whole day is spent in port.

 

I find that the descriptions/durations for the excursions match those posted on earlier-departing cruises to those specific ports, so while times and prices are not there, the general ideas are.

 

Does anyone know if Viking adds excursions later in the day sometimes? If so, do we have to keep checking MyVikingJourney, or are they not added until we are on board? Seems a shame to have such a busy morning then a totally free afternoon and evening, in some cases.

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JayBee-

It does seem that all the ones I've looked at so far (the Norway fjords part) are overlapping, even when a whole day is spent in port.

 

Disappointing. And it's hard to know how this makes good business sense for Viking since anyone with a little energy and effort can book privately for extra excursions.

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JayBee,

We did that cruise last July (Bergen to Stockholm). Be CAREFUL about booking excursions too closely together. Sometimes they do not return on time or there are delays because of passport control (St Petersburg). We were advised to allow 90 min between excursions. Doing so also gave us time to eat lunch on the ship (buffet). In Stockholm we managed two in a day-- morning Vasa museum (FANTASTIC!) and later afternoon canal boat trip (also great fun). Allow yourself some time to simply walk into/stay in town in some ports: Alborg, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Bergen, Stavanger. Not much to do on foot in Flam. SPB is completely controlled- no "walk offs." In other cities the port is not walkable into town.

 

DO NOT take the bus into Berlin-- terrible waste of time sitting on a bus with almost no time in Berlin! See discussion here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2231168

 

We did write a review: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=509623

Have fun!

Edited by eaglewatchers

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Thanks, Eaglewatchers! That is great information and advice. I'm glad to know that so many of the cities are good for just walking and exploring. Regarding the trip to Berlin: what you say makes sense. When we docked in Alexandria, we didn't hesitate to take the very long trip to Cairo (I think it was 4 hours each way), but that was a different situation entirely. Berlin is easy enough to get to on a land trip with much more time to devote to it.

 

Jan

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Given the name of this thread, it seems a good place to ask two questions I've been thinking about:

 

1. Viking advertises their destination cruises as allowing longer times in port. However, our Viking Homeland cruise departures from various cities are at 2 pm, 3 pm, two at 4 pm, 6 pm, and 6:30 pm. These early departures are similar to other cruise lines that want you back on the ship drinking and gambling. Does anyone have an explanation for these early departures?

 

2. With Viking Ocean now having a year under it's belt, does anyone have an opinion about how Viking excursions compare with the other lines? Do they add touches that the other lines leave out or is the experience the same as other cruises?

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I believe they have to leave Stockholm at 2 in order to clear the archipelago before dusk. The others I wondered about as well.

 

Jan

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Great questions, as they go to the heart of their main mission or at least their main sales point. aLso the main reason we are taking this cruise.

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Lucky Granny - answer to question #2: the same in our opinion. The optional tours are a bit better (in general) than the included tours. Some of the guides we had that we chatted to talked about how they work for different cruise lines and land tours and the tours are basically the same, regardless of who hires them. Also, upon ocassion, the tours don't turn out to be exactly as advertized, ie an intimate lunch at a charming restaurant turns out to be in a huge banquet hall with many hundreds of people, only about half of which were on Viking - the rest were from an MSC cruise (St Petersburg). Not saying the tours are bad, just that there's nothing "special" about them either.

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Thank you, Elizabeth. That is the answer I expected but was not hoping for. I'm just hoping the Viking excursions won't leave us disappointed. For instance, the Norway in a Nutshell train trip that can be purchased in Flam includes a boat trip in one of the fjords, while the Viking excursion for twice the price does not.

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If you are able to book the same excursions on your own in some ports (such as Flam RIB boat tour), do so. The tricky considerations: Viking may not arrive on time for your privately booked options or may be leaving too early for you to make it back to the ship. Some folks arranged private tours in SPB in small groups (8 people) and had those tour operators handle Visas, etc. seemed to do alright. We watched a few of them arrive back at the ship JUST in time... but they got a great deal!

 

Some took Viking's ultimate SPB two-day combo of paid excursions ("Ultimate SPB"?) and actually got a pretty good deal by being able to see MORE and pay less than they would have if they tried to book all the things separately. If you have no interest in the ballet, however, it is not worth it.

 

What Viking's tours do accomplish is to get you into some of the busy places before they open, thereby avoiding the worst of the crowds. This was true at the Peterhof in SPB and the Hermitage. Those were PAID excursions, however.

 

We had never been on a cruise before so have no basis for comparison re the included tours. Our advice is to read carefully to determine how much time you'll be sitting on a bus! We DID think most of the guides on the included tours were EXCELLENT. Some paid VIKING excursions that were very good:

 

*Vasa museum in Stockholm (Guide was the BEST we had anywhere)

*Bergen excursion to Stave church and Olle Bull's house (VERY knowledgeable guide... but you could travel to these places on your own and sans guide)

*Canal boat in SPB that included Church of the Spilled Blood.This guide was also outstanding.

*Chocolate making in Tallinn -- lots of fun and did the same walking tour of a wonderful town... and STILL had free time to enjoy more of the town on our own.

 

We did a canal boat tour on our own in Copenhagen -- leaves from the center of Nuhavn (SP?). It was terrific. We simply stayed in town at the end of the included tour and did this on our own. Very reasonably priced. Viking booked the same company for a jazz canal cruise in the evening (last minute offering), and they paid much more -- though they had wine and music.

 

Side note: DO NOT be late for the ship in Tallinn (or Helsinki, depending on which way you are going). There is such limited air transport out of Tallinn/into SPB that it may take you days to "catch up" to the ship, depending on which direction you are taking the itinerary. A few folks missed it on our cruise and missed SPB ENTIRELY because of it. You can't simply hop a plane into Russia!

 

Have fun!

Edited by eaglewatchers

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Wow....good information. Thank you, Cindy and David. It does sound like there are a few advantages to being with Viking. The last minute jazz canal tour in Copenhagen.....was that an opportunity offered to everyone? Sounds like fun. Thanks again.

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The last minute jazz canal tour in Copenhagen.....was that an opportunity offered to everyone? Sounds like fun.

 

Yes, that jazz cruise was open to everyone -- first come first served. There was a fee, but not exorbitant. I believe it was announced in the Viking Daily, the newsletter that comes out about 6:30 pm each evening with specifics about the coming day. That's where you find out restaurant hours (which slide a it depending on port times and early excursions) and especially what time to congregate for your excursions... or what time you'll be able to disembark on your own.

 

Tip: Go to the living room on Deck 2 and grab a Viking Daily when it comes out around 6:30. They deliver them to all staterooms, but it may not get there until 60-90 min later. We liked taking it to dinner with us. There weren't that many last minute events to sign up for, but some sold out quickly-- even if "free." Example: one of the shows that was done in the night club type venue--- which is small and can only hold a limited number. Tickets were free, but required. They did repeat it a couple of times due to demand.

 

Have fun!

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Thank you, Elizabeth. That is the answer I expected but was not hoping for. I'm just hoping the Viking excursions won't leave us disappointed. For instance, the Norway in a Nutshell train trip that can be purchased in Flam includes a boat trip in one of the fjords, while the Viking excursion for twice the price does not.

 

we are on the june 19th baltic jewels and midnight sun. when I go on my viking journey I am not able to pull up excursions in flam or any on the second half of the cruise. it appears that you were able to see excursions in flam on line how did you do it thanks for any help we need to book in a couple of days

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we are on the june 19th baltic jewels and midnight sun. when I go on my viking journey I am not able to pull up excursions in flam or any on the second half of the cruise. it appears that you were able to see excursions in flam on line how did you do it thanks for any help we need to book in a couple of days

 

Love to hike,

You can't book your excursions until a certain number of days before your embarkation date, depending on your stateroom category. For Penthouse Veranda, for example, it was 70 days before (I think). That number of days is somewhere in your cruise info- maybe on your receipt(?) Ask your agent or call Viking if you cant find it.

 

There is also a different number of days in advance that you can book restaurant reservations for Manfredi's and Chef's Table. Our advice: Book what you can but then GO to the restaurant your first night and book any additional nights you may want. If you go in person, they can do it for you on the spot.

 

Maybe Viking will see this reply and provide the # of days for each cabin category to book excursions (and restaurants) here...

 

If you can't get anything to even SHOW on myvikingjourney (even without the option to book), try looking at the main Viking Oceans site and at your cruise title. You can usually see the "typical" excursions for each port listed there. We found that most were the same, though we could not see PRICES. We made a list of possibilities that we thought sounded good, then looked for any changes once the info opened up on myvikingjourney.

 

Important to note: the info showed up on myvikingjourney at least a week before we received an email telling us to book excursions. At first we could "look but not book," but it opened up for booking exactly the number of days ahead that we had been told. It opened at midnight Pacific time on that date, so if you are crazy you can stay up late and book. It pays to check often to see what is there.

 

Somewhere on Cruise Critic we wrote a post explaining how to book DIFFERENT excursions from your travel companion. The web site will allow it, but you need to be a bit savvy.

 

Enjoy!

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we are on the june 19th baltic jewels and midnight sun. when I go on my viking journey I am not able to pull up excursions in flam or any on the second half of the cruise. it appears that you were able to see excursions in flam on line how did you do it thanks for any help we need to book in a couple of days

 

The Baltic Jewels & The Midnight Sun cruise (Stockholm to London) (29 days) combines the Viking Homelands cruise (Stockholml to Bergen 15 days) and the Into the Midnight Sun cruise (Bergen to London 15 days). They probably open up bookings for the second half at the same time they open them for people booking that cruise only, so it would be two weeks after they open them up for the first part of your cruise.

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Dear lovetohike,

 

While, as NavyVeteran has observed, our Baltic Jewels & the Midnight Sun cruise is comprised of two separate itineraries, we do intend to allow shore excursions for both legs to be booked once shore excursion reservations are permitted.

 

Unfortunately, it appears we have encountered trouble loading the shore excursions to My Viking Journey for this particular itinerary. Our web team is aware and currently working to correct the problem. We anticipate a repair to be implemented by the end of next week.

 

If you prefer to contact us with your booking information so we can troubleshoot your individual account, we would be happy to hear from you at TellUs@vikingcruises.com.

 

Thank you for allowing us an opportunity to respond, lovetohike. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!

 

Kind regards,

Viking Cruises

 

we are on the june 19th baltic jewels and midnight sun. when I go on my viking journey I am not able to pull up excursions in flam or any on the second half of the cruise. it appears that you were able to see excursions in flam on line how did you do it thanks for any help we need to book in a couple of days

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Wow, lovetohike, you got a reply straight from Viking! I was hoping they would reply to my question about early departures, but not yet. Our cruise is six weeks earlier than yours so we were able to read about the excursions sooner than you (in addition to the problem Viking explained).

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Dear Lucky Granny,

 

Please accept our apologies for the missed inquiry. While we do our best to answer questions presented on these threads, we also endeavor to protect the forum environment and allow response from other members.

 

Our records indicate that you’ve been contacted by a Viking representative to discuss and answer your questions but, please remember, you are always welcome to contact us directly at TellUs@vikingcruises.com should you have any additional questions moving forward.

 

Lucky Granny, thank you for allowing us an opportunity to respond. We are looking forward to welcoming you aboard in May!

 

Best regards,

Viking Cruises

 

Wow, lovetohike, you got a reply straight from Viking! I was hoping they would reply to my question about early departures, but not yet. Our cruise is six weeks earlier than yours so we were able to read about the excursions sooner than you (in addition to the problem Viking explained).

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Hi folks. We are doing the Homelands cruise on the Sea July 17 from Stockholm to Bergen. On our Roll Call thread (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2151734), I posted a couple of files I created showing all the Viking Excursions with details and costs by day and port. I got these from the main Oceans site as we cannot yet book them. No guarantees of accuracy, and I had to split the file in two because of CC size limits (20 pages in all), but maybe they will be of use to some of you.

 

Gary

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