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Excursions - do they sell out?

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Seems like many of you opt out of the included excursions in favour of private excursions. I get the reasons why, but why pay for a cruise that has included excursions imbedded in the price and then opt out?

 

Excursions, like food are subjective. Your opinion and actions depend on your personal perspective. Viking offers included excursions in each port. This is very good for first time cruisers to get a general overview of the port and one of the reasons that justifies the higher price. Since it is a destination focused cruise line this makes sense.

 

Some passengers are very experienced and the basics in ports have been covered before and they are looking for something more detailed. Then a private excursion might be the solution, for whatever the reason. But, I am wondering, like you, why people would book this line if they are going to inflate the cost that much more by not taking advantage of what is offered.

 

We did the Homelands cruise and it was our first cruise and we did make some alternate decisions. In SP, if we did the included, we would have to piece together other excursions and not get as thorough an experience. To get the thorough experience with Viking, the cost seemed way out of line. We opted for a local excursion with a full itinerary for about half the price and fewer people. In Gdansk, we did an excursion through Viking that was not included. Our time in port was too short to do both and the paid excursion seemed more interesting. In Copenhagen, we did not do the included, though we had planned to originally. Lots of time in this port so I had arranged a bike tour in the afternoon and in the morning found a walking tour that there were about 20 of us on that seemed to be out of the ordinary so we made that choice.

 

So each instance offered a different reason for our choices but if I had done that for all the ports I certainly would not have chosen this cruise line. Just like I would not choose a line that has a butler for this is a service that I would find unnecessary and an included expense I could not justify. Each to his own means that there are no wrong choices. Some may not be for you but may be exactly what others feel are important.

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Seems like many of you opt out of the included excursions in favour of private excursions. I get the reasons why, but why pay for a cruise that has included excursions imbedded in the price and then opt out?

 

(y) Everything that Dauntless has just said and then a few more observations.

 

Please don't let Viking hear me say this but I don't sail Viking just for the freebies (though they certainly do help) but because of certain intangibles that it does offer--port-intensive itineraries, no casino, no children, no nickel and dime-ing, no announcements, laid-back entertainment, a liberal BYO policy and no corkage fee, etc.-- all of which attract like minded guests, people I can relate to. Yes, there are included tours but I don't feel that I must take them just because they are included in the price. If the included tour is doing something that I want to do, I will take it; otherwise, we either book an optional or head off on our own.

 

We stopped even considering ocean cruising right around the time we did our first river with Viking and have only returned to it when Viking opened its Oceans division, hoping that they would be able to translate the river experience into an entirely different approach to ocean cruise. Viking is going to a lot of places I would like to get to see and I'm just waiting for the new schedules to open up to see where we will be going next.

 

 

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This will be our first Viking cruise, and all of the reasons you listed are exactly what we are looking forward to. We have the same opinion on excursions. Although we will stay with Viking on our Cuba days, everything else will be on our own at our own pace. our favorite moments are stopping at a local cafe and just taking time to absorb the fact we're on vacation, and enjoying the views around us.

 

 

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Seems like many of you opt out of the included excursions in favour of private excursions. I get the reasons why, but why pay for a cruise that has included excursions imbedded in the price and then opt out?

 

I know there is a price included in the Viking fare that covers the included excursions - and for us the price point absolutely impacts travel frequency with them...in general, we do not take excursions, regardless of cruiseline. I tried this route years back.....The biggest reason is that I do not do well in large busses for lengths of time. If it is a ride to and from and not a twisting road, I can do that......so transfers into towns when we do not dock there works.

 

We are also active people, and we tend to like to go at our pace....stopping to enjoy the atmosphere and people when, where, and for how long we want to.

 

When an optional excursion - or something I have found through research grabs our attention, we do private or small group tours at a lower cost than any of the cruise

Iines charge, and all of the times, in all the places we have done this (except once in Egypt), they have been excellent.

 

Would I REALLY like it if Viking would offer up the option at a different price point that excluded excursions....absolutely (it would increase how often we could sail with them).....but then those who do not drink wine or beer would probably REALLY like a different price point that excluded alcohol....etc......so for all the reasons and more that Dauntless and Peregrina pointed out.....we thoroughly enjoy traveling on Viking. We are anxious to see how Viking continues to expand in the Americas and elsewhere....I honestly think it takes traveling on Viking to truly appreciate what it all means.....

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Vineyard View - thank you for your rational stance. I have been feeling upset by those that think that all will be okay. There are many current cruisers who are not getting their selected choice. I always do my own excursions as well so I am really not interested in paying for them as part of the cruise fare.

 

1. I will do some of the included tours if they are walking. I may or may not be able to get the times that I want, but I will work around that.

2. There are some places where the infrastructure is minimal and Viking appears to have locked in the local operators. That makes things difficult for those in lower cabins who cannot get on an optional viking tour . I do think that the bookings should be done earlier in the process and I do not agree with using the cabin level for this timing determination. That's my opinion but I understand that others disagree. Also, I find that the optional excursions are reasonably priced to I actually could take advantage of some.

 

I am looking forward to this cruise because of the itinerary and I will have a good time and have no regrets. The daily rate for Viking is quite high compared to some other very good cruise lines but they are new at dealing with this passenger load. They will lose my business in the future unless they come up with a solution that meets my needs.

 

I agree that the alcohol situation is similar. It all sounds great to have it "included" but on most lines I am not happy with that either since I am a wine drinker and the included wines are not sub par.

 

Oh well. My only issue is that I am having a hard time planning which I love.

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Aquidneck1 - thank you.

 

I totally agree that Viking's optional tours are really well priced compared to other cruiselines.....and even at times competitive to small group tours. Viking honestly is more than fair! I just can't do a large bus.

 

I am a wine drinker as well, and unless you go very high end cruiseline, or snag one of the promotions (and those are great) the additional cost of alcohol can really add up.

 

The daily rate with Viking itineraries really varies - some itineraries I can understand and some I cannot.

 

So all that said - I am a big fan of Viking for a whole lot of reasons, and I hope to travel more with them after this next trip.....but there are itineraries out there that are very attractive to us that are not Viking, at good price points in balcony staterooms on smaller ships (not 930 pax but 1200-1400 pax)....and since excursions are not a part of our decision making (we DIY FAR MORE than we small group or private tour in ports), with the right beverage included promotions offered, I am looking at a few options for the future......but having experienced some of them as well as Viking, I know what the trade-offs are - and it's all part of the decision.

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This board is amazing. Post a question and receive quality, thoughtful, well written advice and perspectives. No flames or sarcasm. Just experienced travellers helping others. You know who you are .... thank you!

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This board is amazing. Post a question and receive quality, thoughtful, well written advice and perspectives. No flames or sarcasm. Just experienced travellers helping others. You know who you are .... thank you!

 

Imho, the tone of this forum reflects the character of the people who choose to sail Viking. If you like what you find here, you will like what you find on board.

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Yes, about 120 day out they are posted to MyVikingJourney, with prices and maybe times (I can't remember). Before that you can see what might be on offer for your cruise on the itinerary page for your cruise on the Viking main website. Some of the newer ports (like Marseilles and St. Tropez) don't show shorex on the itinerary page:(. Hopefully Viking gets around to updating.

 

Ooh, so that means they actually offer excursions in Marseilles and St. Tropez, they just aren't on the itinerary page yet? Yay! I was concerned about that. (Even though I've got 200 days to go until departure!)

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I cannot emphasize more strongly that once on board you should check so-called sold our excursions because they do have openings. Unfortunately Vikings waitlist system does not work and they will not contact you. We just this week went on a wonderful excursion that was not it all full that the others wanted to be on but they never knew that there were openings after they had been told it was booked.

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Ooh, so that means they actually offer excursions in Marseilles and St. Tropez, they just aren't on the itinerary page yet? Yay! I was concerned about that. (Even though I've got 200 days to go until departure!)

 

The bad part is that they may never get around to updating the generic pages for Marseilles and St. Tropez and we won't know what is on offer until they post it for us on MyVikingJourney.

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I cannot emphasize more strongly that once on board you should check so-called sold our excursions because they do have openings. Unfortunately Vikings waitlist system does not work and they will not contact you. We just this week went on a wonderful excursion that was not it all full that the others wanted to be on but they never knew that there were openings after they had been told it was booked.

 

Which excursion? You were on Homeland, right?

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Welcome home, philw1776.

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. While we are delighted to hear that you had a wonderful time on your shore excursion, we would like the opportunity to clarify any concern you have about our waitlist system. We invite you to email us at TellUs@vikingcruises.com so we can further discuss this with you. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Kind regards,

Viking Cruises

 

I cannot emphasize more strongly that once on board you should check so-called sold our excursions because they do have openings. Unfortunately Vikings waitlist system does not work and they will not contact you. We just this week went on a wonderful excursion that was not it all full that the others wanted to be on but they never knew that there were openings after they had been told it was booked.

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