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Viking Star, Viking Homelands cruise

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We're very interested in the Viking Homelands cruise and would appreciate any information from previous travelers. Also, which side of the ship is usually the docking side in ports?

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The docking side varied. You may find the following materials I prepared before we went on the cruise last Summer and afterwards useful: excursion descriptions, a timeline to help plan and schedule them, and scanned copies of all the Viking Daily Pages. You can download them from Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v41tt71jnasjpu2/AADp_Qk6-C8GOPj1Z4uZ0FCwa?dl=0. Enjoy!

 

 

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One of the BEST trips we have ever taken. Absolutely beautiful and when you are sailing through the fiords, you have beautiful views on both sides of the ship. Wouldn't get hung up on that issue on this trip! When you are in Flam, do the railroad trip. You don't need to use Viking for that, you just walk off the ship and onto the train. Took a couple of hours to go up and back. You can buy your tickets ahead of time, go in the am, and then do Viking freebie in the afternoon.

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Thank you both for your information. And wow, CharTrav, you're the most organized person ever!! Your wealth of info will be very, very helpful! We started planning rather late, so not sure we can get this cruise in 2017. We've done 3 river cruises and loved them. This itinerary looks wonderful.

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The docking side varied. You may find the following materials I prepared before we went on the cruise last Summer and afterwards useful: excursion descriptions, a timeline to help plan and schedule them, and scanned copies of all the Viking Daily Pages. You can download them from Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v41tt71jnasjpu2/AADp_Qk6-C8GOPj1Z4uZ0FCwa?dl=0. Enjoy!

 

 

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CharTrav. Thank you for all the time you spent creating the files from your Homelands cruise. It has been helpful to me as I do my research for our Homelands cruise on the Sky this May. Deborah

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Thanks. I've promised in other forum threads to provide the rest of the excel sheets we used to plan and cost the excursions along with the full featured version of the timeline. The timeline file (excel) in Dropbox is the skinnied down version; sheered of a number of columns linked to a companion costing sheet and used to filter the sheet in various ways. Someday I'll get it done cuz I'll have to add in explanations of how to use it and anonymyze (sp?) it for general use; both of which will take time and thinking how to do. And I'm not retired....yet.

 

 

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The docking side varied. You may find the following materials I prepared before we went on the cruise last Summer and afterwards useful: excursion descriptions, a timeline to help plan and schedule them, and scanned copies of all the Viking Daily Pages. You can download them from Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v41tt71jnasjpu2/AADp_Qk6-C8GOPj1Z4uZ0FCwa?dl=0. Enjoy!

 

 

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CharTrav, I think this question is on topic; its not my intent to hijacking a thread :) I was just wondering if you found any of the port sail aways that were scenic/memorable enough that you wouldn't want to miss due to a scheduled activity or dinner? Most of the Baltic ports are new to me. Thanks, Deborah

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In choosing a cabin, I've appreciated knowing whether the ship docks on the port side or starboard. I was happy to look at the daily Viking pages (thanks to CharTrav) and see that the ship docks in every port (no tendering!). It looks like they did tender in Flam, but that port is no longer on the posted schedules.

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CharTrav, I think this question is on topic; its not my intent to hijacking a thread :) I was just wondering if you found any of the port sail aways that were scenic/memorable enough that you wouldn't want to miss due to a scheduled activity or dinner? Most of the Baltic ports are new to me. Thanks, Deborah

 

 

First of all we only ate in the World Cafe so had total flexibility on when we ate. However if you look at the Viking Daily given to us on the first day (scanned and stored in the Dropbox link I posted the other day), you'll see that our sail outs rarely caused such a conflict. Mid-afternoon, midnight, and only 3 times at around 6. Never smack dab during dinner. You might have to decide to skip a port talk.

 

Looking at my photos, I was able to capture most of our arrivals and departures. I even caught an overflight of a formation of 2 Warthogs and 2 MiGs lead by a huge tanker just after we got back to the ship in Tallinn. Learned later there'd been a joint exercise involving touch-and-gos on one of their highways. Anyway, I would say going by how beautiful it was coming into Stockholm, that a sail out there would be equally gorgeous. It really is tho a matter of the weather. Departure from Bergen would have been something except for the fog. I was glad that the day before, the weather was wonderful so I got lots of good shots of us at port, across the bay, the surrounding hills, sunset, and sea gulls. We lucked out coming out of Flåm. The day had been utterly rotten weatherwise but just after we set sail the weather flipped. Sun, blue sky, the works. Stavanger was another foggy sail out. Would have been great otherwise. Coming into Ålborg was spectacular, particularly as we came around the northernmost tip in the sunshine. Our cabin was close enough to the bridge that I could see the crew and occasionally waved at them (they waved back too!)

 

On my huge list of things to do is to finish prepping these pix so I can post them on my photo site. The fact tho that I'm two years behind, having only posted half the pix from our Grand European Tour in 2014, doesn't leave me feeling too hopeful. Still, miracles do happen. Right?

 

Hope this was helpful.

 

Char

 

 

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Wow, let me add my thanks CharTrav for you generosity sharing this. My husband and I are looking forward to going on this cruise in early May.

 

 

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First of all we only ate in the World Cafe so had total flexibility on when we ate. However if you look at the Viking Daily given to us on the first day (scanned and stored in the Dropbox link I posted the other day), you'll see that our sail outs rarely caused such a conflict. Mid-afternoon, midnight, and only 3 times at around 6. Never smack dab during dinner. You might have to decide to skip a port talk.

 

Looking at my photos, I was able to capture most of our arrivals and departures. I even caught an overflight of a formation of 2 Warthogs and 2 MiGs lead by a huge tanker just after we got back to the ship in Tallinn. Learned later there'd been a joint exercise involving touch-and-gos on one of their highways. Anyway, I would say going by how beautiful it was coming into Stockholm, that a sail out there would be equally gorgeous. It really is tho a matter of the weather. Departure from Bergen would have been something except for the fog. I was glad that the day before, the weather was wonderful so I got lots of good shots of us at port, across the bay, the surrounding hills, sunset, and sea gulls. We lucked out coming out of Flåm. The day had been utterly rotten weatherwise but just after we set sail the weather flipped. Sun, blue sky, the works. Stavanger was another foggy sail out. Would have been great otherwise. Coming into Ålborg was spectacular, particularly as we came around the northernmost tip in the sunshine. Our cabin was close enough to the bridge that I could see the crew and occasionally waved at them (they waved back too!)

 

On my huge list of things to do is to finish prepping these pix so I can post them on my photo site. The fact tho that I'm two years behind, having only posted half the pix from our Grand European Tour in 2014, doesn't leave me feeling too hopeful. Still, miracles do happen. Right?

 

Hope this was helpful.

 

Char

 

 

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Thanks for taking a look back at your photos. I know all too well that weather will determine what views we will have. We were on the Pride of America in December and the day we were to sail past Kauai's Na Pali coast the fog was so thick we couldn't see a coastline not even a vague shadow of land :mad: Deborah

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Thanks for taking a look back at your photos. I know all too well that weather will determine what views we will have. We were on the Pride of America in December and the day we were to sail past Kauai's Na Pali coast the fog was so thick we couldn't see a coastline not even a vague shadow of land :mad: Deborah

 

 

On the topic of spectacular sail outs, on our first ever cruise (I did one in the Caribbean on the original Carnival back in '76), doing the Inner Passage on the Holland America's Statendam, both the sail in and out at Ketchikan was memorable. As we sailed out, I was part of a gang at the stern shooting away like we'd been starving, until the last hint of sunset was gone and beyond. https://walesworld.smugmug.com/Travel/Vacations/Alaska-Tour-Cruise-2011/Ketchikan/i-VkHqr9R. This was the beginning of it. You should be able to scroll foreward and backward.

 

 

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CharTrav has certainly done a great detail of information. Just a caution to check your calendar for docking and departure times which change a bit (like Stavenger docking at 12 noon on 9-9-17 sailing).

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Allow me to hijack your thread just a bit. We're booked on this cruise in May. One thing that I note is that we have 6 currencies in 15 days. How did you manage that? I'd hope to mostly use credit cards, but there's always the tips for shore excursions and small amounts for lunch. Did you hit ATMs for small amounts everywhere or try to use the currency for the last port or try and use dollars or euros everywhere?

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Four of us just signed on for the Viking Homelands cruise on July 1, 2017. Looking forward to reading how others have dealt with this.

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Allow me to hijack your thread just a bit. We're booked on this cruise in May. One thing that I note is that we have 6 currencies in 15 days. How did you manage that? I'd hope to mostly use credit cards, but there's always the tips for shore excursions and small amounts for lunch. Did you hit ATMs for small amounts everywhere or try to use the currency for the last port or try and use dollars or euros everywhere?

 

This is something I considered. I wanted to be prepared and this is how we handled it. I brought $100 in ones for incidentals. That will probably cover most things with Viking for 2. They suggest small tips for their tours that are included. I guess the figure when it is all added up it is worthwhile for the guide and driver. Of course, that all depends on how you feel about it.

 

For the rest of the trip, we went early and stayed late and had a total of 20 days. How much you will need depends on what you do. We had 5 days in Sweden, 5 days in Norway, 2 days in Denmark, 2 days in Russia, 1 day in Poland and 3 days in countries using the Euro. I like to tip in country's currency so the guides do have to lose part of the tip in having it converted. For private tours, you may not be able to add the tip to your card so investigate. Take bathroom money. It's not much but when you don't have it and can't get in, that's a problem. Some of the included ports may not have ATMs until you get to town or your excursion destination. You might be able to use Euros or dollars but you never know if you are getting a fair rate of exchange so I wanted to avoid this. If you are using your card, always pay in their currency(your bank will convert it) or you might find a conversion fee added on to the total.

 

We took $300 in foreign currency for the 2 of us. In countries where it was just start up money and plenty of chances to get more, not much. In Poland. we took the castle tour and there was no ATM at port so I went prepared. In SPB we could not tip on the card so we planned accordingly. Vendors may or may not take cards and sometimes the price is better with cash. Our bank did not charge for the currency and took back all the paper money we brought back with no charge. So that was our plan.

 

It was a trip of a lifetime for us and I know you will have a wonderful time.

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My DH dealt with all expenses starting on our travel day (I took care of everything - cruise, excursions, EconomyPlus upgrades -up until then). As far as I know, he hit ATMs in each of the countries where he thought we'd need local cash. Worked out ok. On the topic of restrooms and charges/tips to use, we learned on the St Petersburg ultimate 2 day that it included providing our tour guide with a bag of change we could use for that purpose.

 

 

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Our cruise starts in Bergen, Norway. Anyone have any info about how far the Bergen airport is from the port/dock where the Viking Star will be?? What is the best way to get from the airport to the ship?

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Our cruise starts in Bergen, Norway. Anyone have any info about how far the Bergen airport is from the port/dock where the Viking Star will be?? What is the best way to get from the airport to the ship?

 

I would say take the airport bus. It runs quiet often and is very economical. You can use your card. It doesn't take you to the ship but it goes to Raddison Blu which is a couple of blocks away. You will be able to see the ship from here. You could do a cab from here or the airport. The airport is about 25 minutes out of port.

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In choosing a cabin, I've appreciated knowing whether the ship docks on the port side or starboard. I was happy to look at the daily Viking pages (thanks to CharTrav) and see that the ship docks in every port (no tendering!). It looks like they did tender in Flam, but that port is no longer on the posted schedules.

 

 

 

In 2015, we did Flam, and it was NOT a tender port. Very easy walk off, and a terrific brewery (recommended by our passport control officer in Bergen) right next to the ship! Too bad they changed ports.

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On our Grand European River Cruise many passengers came up short for coins for the bathrooms. One would hold the door for the next one in line. That was a lifesaver for so many. I had the money but it is something to consider if someone else is in a bind.

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On our Grand European River Cruise many passengers came up short for coins for the bathrooms. One would hold the door for the next one in line

 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that 'ship might have sailed'. It seems like 'they' are on to you and now many places have a timer and if it takes too long, it automatically locks. If you are the first one in, no big deal but what if you are the next one in and the door locks and there is no one on the outside to put in more money? Now this didn't happen to Lucy and Ethel when they were in Europe but I think we might definitely have a sitcom episode in the making and it could be expanded to make you the pier runner for the cruise. Things that make you go "umm".

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Well darn. It worked a couple of years ago, LOL. Like I said. I had money so I wouldn't have been on a sitcom.....thankfully.

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We are booked for the Viking Homelands cruise June 3,2017.

Can someone tell us if the ship docks in Gdynia or in Gdansk?

 

Does Viking provide any shuttle buses for those not participating in Viking excursions?

Thank you for your help!

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