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Jay Bee

Viking Homelands port times and excursions

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be aware Viking are randomly changing booked excursions without telling passengers

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

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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

 

 

Noticed this and decided this thread might be a good place to share. Specifically I have created something similar to yours (which I couldn't find sad to say) and posted them into a folder on DropBox (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v41tt71jnasjpu2/AADp_Qk6-C8GOPj1Z4uZ0FCwa?dl=0). It contains three files:

1: A consolidation of info for all the excursions for the Viking Homelands on Viking Star (Bergen to Stickholm) using cost and excursion times provided in OurVikingJourney (cruise date July 24th 2016).

2. A timeline view (with costs) for these excursions provided in an Excel spreadsheet that you can manipulate should you so desire and as a PDF file if all you want to do is print it out.

Although the data used is specific to the July 24th sailing, I'll hazard a guess that most of the info is consistent regardless of which ship you're on and the actual date of cruises during Summer 2016. It should also help that the cost and schedule data came from MVJ rather than the general VO pages.

 

Note that I have already shared this on the roll call for VH Bergen|Stockholm 24July2016 (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2197664). This posting also provides the link to where I posted the same docs on GoogleDrive of that works better for you than DropBox.

 

Note that I've read the precautions from CaptHornblower but will put on my Pollyanna hat and assume the best in the booking process. But not be completely naive either.

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Well done CharTrav on sharing your hard work. It is a useful piece of work for those with Viking Homelands cruises over the summer. Anybody can adapt the spreadsheets for their own level of detail required, and the pdf file with all the excursion details in one spot is a good tool. I am a meticulous planner and did something similar for my Homelands cruise, but not with quite your detail and effort. I note you board on 24 July and have outlined some kore of my story in the next post.

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CharTrav, I board Viking Homelands on 1 May, and my PV status enabled me to get confirmed bookings on 21 Feb at zero hour. Six weeks after I had the confirmations in B&W, Viking made the first change to my excursions (St Petersburg) - without notice. The Viking dictionary obviously defines "confirmed" differently to me. I could not get that first change fixed so, after a week of frustration, made a work around by moving multiple excursions to get a new set of options locked in. I was told on the phone the excursion was overbooked - yet as a PV status and first hour booker with confirmation, I am mystified how this could be the case. The included tour I booked has disappeared from my version of myvikingjourney (it must have been so overbooked it disappeared) yet I note the same tour is still shown on your spreadsheet and pdf.

 

A week after that first change, Viking cancelled another tour, the Aalborg City Walk (ACW), and placed us on a previously non-listed tour (without notice). In our version of myvikingjourney, ACW is now shown as a paid for excursion and booked out. Yet in your version of myvikingjourney, and in all of Viking's continuing advertising, ACW is still an included excursion. Mystery! I have my complaint logged with my local Viking office, and TellUs@vikingcruises. "Logged" means in the last week four emails and one phone call, yet there is no answer.

 

My quick calcs suggest you can get confirmed bookings next month, say 7 May to 21 May depending on your cabin status. By the time your cruise starts, just maybe Viking will have ironed out its system. But as you say, don't be naive. I first raised with Viking problems in myvikingjourney in early February.

 

Viking has acknowledged in a number of threads on this Cruise Critic site that the myvikingjourney has problems. What I am saying, is the problems are not yet fixed, so I say to all Viking Cruisers, check your Viking Calendar, check your tickets, and if necessary, when you get on board, line up at the Explorer desk and get your confirmations restored. I got dudded on the first change, I hope I don't get dudded on the second, or get any more changes. It is perhaps not a life or death deal, but it is not what I paid for.

 

Note that I've read the precautions from CaptHornblower but will put on my Pollyanna hat and assume the best in the booking process. But not be completely naive either.

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CaptHornblower: info you provide is good to know. One thing I'd noticed when comparing the 2016 with the 2015 data, was the one of the tours in Warnemünde became included which to me made sense; as a free alternative for those like me who have no desire to spend 12 hrs doing Berlin, half of which is going to and from. Also have been there twice for work. After booking will stay alert to unexpected changes.

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I wouldn't count on the system errors with excursion booking to be fixed any time soon. The same types of "errors" happened this time last year, so the chances of them being fixed in the next month are slim to none. Take Hornblower's advice and check and recheck, and check again with your paper tickets once you board.

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Thanks for the advice. Btw -- checked out your blog. Very nice. Also noticed you're planning to launch a quilting blog. I'm not into quilting but know a few who are.

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First I will endorse the comments from CharTrav about your blog. I liked it, great pictures and well written. Continuing system errors - I received my documents today. The cruise documents show the excursion that was cancelled by Viking as now not cancelled, but it remains absent in myvikingjourney. And one other excursion which is in myvikingjourney, is not showing in the documents, maybe a third cancellation, or just a system glitch. It would be great to know what was on and what was off, as there are options we could take. Anyway, I shall relax and sort it out on board. I think Viking need your technology skills.

I wouldn't count on the system errors with excursion booking to be fixed any time soon. The same types of "errors" happened this time last year, so the chances of them being fixed in the next month are slim to none. Take Hornblower's advice and check and recheck, and check again with your paper tickets once you board.

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Thanks CaptHornblower but I'm fully employed elsewhere. In the meantime good luck on your cruise and your conversations with the ExplorerDesk on board.

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First I will endorse the comments from CharTrav about your blog. I liked it, great pictures and well written. Continuing system errors - I received my documents today. The cruise documents show the excursion that was cancelled by Viking as now not cancelled, but it remains absent in myvikingjourney. And one other excursion which is in myvikingjourney, is not showing in the documents, maybe a third cancellation, or just a system glitch. It would be great to know what was on and what was off, as there are options we could take. Anyway, I shall relax and sort it out on board. I think Viking need your technology skills.

 

I am not sure if you've tried calling Viking, but my experience in straightening out one messed up excursion booking (for our Viking Homelands cruise July 2015) was that calling at 8 am Eastern time got me straight through. The Viking rep fixed the problem AND sent me a pdf of our full set of excursions -- more accurate than what MyViking Journey was showing. I would NOT recommend calling on a weekend or any time when all 3 U.S. time zones are likely to be calling. Apparently the excursions people work out of Boston, so they were awake and helpful.

 

Waiting until you are on board also works, though you may "miss out" if an excursion is already filled up. They can straighten out just about anything on board, especially if it involves you buying more! Do NOT expect them to simply "exchange" excursions of equal value, however. We had one paid excursion get cancelled at the last minute (vendor's boat broke down). Our refund was processed by Viking's central office people -- refunded to the credit card we had used to book it on MVJ. The "new" excursion we took to replace it (same cost) was charged to our card as part of our on board bill. Fortunately, both transactions came through on the same bill so zeroed out. There is no guarantee this will happen, however.

 

Good luck!

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Eaglewatchers: good to know. I'm on the east coast so your solution would help. Of course that poses s quandary for me: call from home, arrive at work late; call from home and declare a work at home day; or get up earlier than usual (ug!) so arrive at work by 8 and call from there. Hmmm. What to do? Hope I don't have to worry about making any calls at all? Agree that best to address these issues soonest. On board ship is truly suboptimal.

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Thanks for the nice comments Char Traveler and Hornblower re my blog. We're about to leave on Viking River Cruise to Eastern Europe, so I'll be blogging about that as soon as I get home. We're going on Viking again because of the fairly large future cruise credit we got from Viking because of all the snafus on the maiden Ocean voyage. We're looking forward to this trip as it's something Viking has done for years and seems to know how to handle any surprises that might come up.

 

Because MyVikingJourney was such a "success" on the Oceans side of things last year, river cruisers now have to use MVJ for Rivers as well. Viking sent me an e-mail about a week ago advertising a new-for-2016 optional excursion, inviting me to go to MVJ and sign up. It looked interesting so of course I went to MVJ - - as you can probably guess, it's not on there anywhere. In addition, there's no indication anywhere of how long we'll be in any given port. They used to at least give you an idea. Now with MVJ, nothing. Which leaves you to guess how much time you'll have on your own in port. I realize they can't always be precise, but AM, PM, evening, or late at night would sure be nice to know. This info used to be available on their old website, but not on MVJ. But hey, got to keep up with the times!

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Id4elizabeth: you SO inspire me to jump on my favorite soapbox about the love affair folks seem to have with web services and throwing all their content along with user interface "into the cloud". Sometimes it works really well (HollandAmerica is a good example there however slow and tedious I found it be 5 yrs ago); other times it isn't (looks great with gorgeous graphics but doesn't work worth a hoot). I liked VR's practice of publishing the whole itinerary in downloadable PDF. But perhaps that approach only works when there are only a handful of optional paid excursions with the rest included. I await my baptism by fire with the MVJ's reservation system.

 

Have a great time on your cruise. I look forward to your reports. For me I get to squeeze planning for this Summer with being productive at the office.

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Thanks for the nice comments Char Traveler and Hornblower re my blog. We're about to leave on Viking River Cruise to Eastern Europe, so I'll be blogging about that as soon as I get home. We're going on Viking again because of the fairly large future cruise credit we got from Viking because of all the snafus on the maiden Ocean voyage. We're looking forward to this trip as it's something Viking has done for years and seems to know how to handle any surprises that might come up.

 

Because MyVikingJourney was such a "success" on the Oceans side of things last year, river cruisers now have to use MVJ for Rivers as well. Viking sent me an e-mail about a week ago advertising a new-for-2016 optional excursion, inviting me to go to MVJ and sign up. It looked interesting so of course I went to MVJ - - as you can probably guess, it's not on there anywhere. In addition, there's no indication anywhere of how long we'll be in any given port. They used to at least give you an idea. Now with MVJ, nothing. Which leaves you to guess how much time you'll have on your own in port. I realize they can't always be precise, but AM, PM, evening, or late at night would sure be nice to know. This info used to be available on their old website, but not on MVJ. But hey, got to keep up with the times!

 

I was on the ill fated Viking Oceans Homeland cruise that ended in Tallinn. We too received a credit for for the "short" cruise and booked a river journey which we have never done and would not use Viking except for the credit. I received an email about tours being available for my river cruise and to go to MVJ. When I go there, nothing. Business as usual for Viking. I dread making air arrangements with them since my cruise has "included" air and I was told twice I could deviate and use custom air. Every time I ask a question I get a different answer so this adventure should be interesting.

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Terrier: highly recommend using Custom Air. It's worth the extra $100 for 2. Do your own research as to what airline and flight itinerary you want, coming up with various acceptable choices. Then when you call Viking Air use that as your "this is what I want". They have a "bucket" of already reserved itineraries with various airlines including I know for a fact United. It's then simply a matter of exploring which ones they can do working from your top to bottom choice. That's what I did when we did the Grand European Tour 2 yrs ago. Called up with 4 choices in front of me. Couldn't do the first one (connect to Budapest via Zurich) but could do the second (connect in Munich). We were done in less than 15 min.

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Terrier: highly recommend using Custom Air. It's worth the extra $100 for 2. Do your own research as to what airline and flight itinerary you want, coming up with various acceptable choices. Then when you call Viking Air use that as your "this is what I want". They have a "bucket" of already reserved itineraries with various airlines including I know for a fact United. It's then simply a matter of exploring which ones they can do working from your top to bottom choice. That's what I did when we did the Grand European Tour 2 yrs ago. Called up with 4 choices in front of me. Couldn't do the first one (connect to Budapest via Zurich) but could do the second (connect in Munich). We were done in less than 15 min.

 

 

Thanks for the advice. Keeping my fingers crossed that it works out well. We did not have the option of Viking Custom air on the Homelands cruise.

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Btw. I should be working sigh. But looked at the promotional area for the eastern Europe (Poland, Prague, elegant elbe?) and what I see is all the info that used to be provided in a consolidated PDF but split apart, presented in pieces for each port. However all the info is there including when they arrive and depart from each port. It's not given as exact times (wasn't before either) but good enough to estimate (e.g., "after dinner" ~ 7 to 8 pm). In fact, when I first starting compiling what became that excursion document for MVH, lacking anything on MVJ, this is where I got my info from. When my MVJ went live with useful data, I just updated what I'd already prepared. The info about each port is the same - whether given in the promo area or in MVJ.

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Thanks for the advice. Keeping my fingers crossed that it works out well. We did not have the option of Viking Custom air on the Homelands cruise.

 

 

The other important advantage here is that YOU determine the layover times for connections. And don't get stuck with finger biting impossibly short connections. I was adamant about making sure to leave a good 2 hrs between connecting flights. None of this barely 45 min insanity.

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Char Trav - where did you find the arrival/departure times on the Viking site? We're on the Budapest to Bucharest cruise leaving May 3 and it's not on my MVJ (nor on My Calendar). I got the impression from your message it might be somewhere else?

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Char Trav - where did you find the arrival/departure times on the Viking site? We're on the Budapest to Bucharest cruise leaving May 3 and it's not on my MVJ (nor on My Calendar). I got the impression from your message it might be somewhere else?

Couldn't do this from my iphone .. too hard. Go here: http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/cruise-destinations/europe/passage-eastern-europe/2016-budapest-bucharest/index.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjwrte4BRD-oYi3y5_AhZ4BEiQAzIFxn0WG9pmc9JhXmsZIduLUYB5K0Z7E3wxwcfl_RuXBJsQaAl7u8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CNO5nrmMm8wCFUQGNwodfqQKAA#itineraryday/1

Look at the Itinerary area on the left .. Click on each of the days (tedious I know .. and apparently following the MVJ style of atomizing everything .. sigh..) and then read the descriptions provided for each port. You'll get a description of the included tours and a close enough approximation of the arrival and departure times for each port. What you will NOT see (sadly) is info about optional paid excursions but I haven't checked each and every day - just a few. But that is the kind of stuff they USED to provide in their downloadable "all about your cruise" PDF which contained not only that plus all kinds of other stuff .. stuff that is now listed individually in the FAQ area. It's always that way -- things are made better and at the same made worse. Sheesh! Guess it's a matter of patience .. forbearance.. and persistence. Hope this is helpful.

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Char Trav - where did you find the arrival/departure times on the Viking site? We're on the Budapest to Bucharest cruise leaving May 3 and it's not on my MVJ (nor on My Calendar). I got the impression from your message it might be somewhere else?

 

 

Also - the arrival and departure times should be on the invoice you received. That PDF file they sent you. Just remembered. Also, unless your MVJ site is completely devoid of data, the itinerary is provided in My Journey Details under MyAccount. And there it's all together. And exact.

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I have another version of the timeline spreadsheet that goes/works with a companion spreadsheet hubby and I used to record what excursions we wanted to do along with our preferences (1, 2, 3). I keep thinking I could work on them a bit - if only to have a version ready to populate for our next cruise (not this or next year) - and share that version with you (with all the bells and whistles included).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Edited by CharTrav

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