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roothy123

Tips for New Viking Ocean Cruisers

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6 minutes ago, newcruiser1956 said:

First time cruising to Europe.  Can you explain how luggage works coming back into the US? .. we fly into JFK and then connect on to home.. Do we have to get our luggage and go through customs and then recheck luggage to our final destinations or will it travel on its own and we get it like normal.  Sorry if silly question...

 

Not a big International traveler but the 2 times I've done it, coming home you go through customs and all at your first stop.

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So does that mean we have to get our luggage in JFK,  go through customs and then to our US gates,  recheck in our luggage to go to our final destination?  I know we (humans) have to clear through but want to know about my luggage..  

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18 minutes ago, newcruiser1956 said:

So does that mean we have to get our luggage in JFK,  go through customs and then to our US gates,  recheck in our luggage to go to our final destination?  I know we (humans) have to clear through but want to know about my luggage..  

 

After you go through customs, your luggage will be waiting for you.  You claim it and then transport it where you are told to go.  You then go to be checked in for your continuing flight with the same procedure you went through boarding at your original departure airport.

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You will go through immigration first and then collect your luggage on the belts on the other side.  From there, you'll head to customs with your luggage and the little blue and white declaration card (or receipt from Global Entry kiosk) and proceed through customs.  That generally is just going to a door with a sign that says "nothing to declare" and handing your form to a customs agent.  You'll then find a counter to recheck your luggage, go through security again, and proceed to your connecting gate. 

 

It's a bit of a rigamarole, and can be quick or take forever depending on the time of day.

 

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Also, some of the terminals at JFK have the Automated Passport Control kiosks at immigration that are like Global Entry kiosks but available to all US citizens and some other country's citizens that have previously entered the US on the same passport they're using.  

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On ‎12‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 4:50 PM, newcruiser1956 said:

First time cruising to Europe.  Can you explain how luggage works coming back into the US? .. we fly into JFK and then connect on to home.. Do we have to get our luggage and go through customs and then recheck luggage to our final destinations or will it travel on its own and we get it like normal.  Sorry if silly question...

I think some others have answered this question. However as another tip since you may be buying souvenirs, etc on the cruise to bring home, make sure your suit cases are not over the 50lb limit by even 1lb. We have a small scale that has a hook to lift the suitcase by the handle that we take on all flying vacations. It cost under $20 at Walmart. On Med. cruise that ended in Barcelona the lines to check baggage at the airport were extensively long. Every time someone was over weight in front of us it delayed the wait even longer. If your suitcase was over the limit, you  had the option to pay a huge amount or go out of the line and repack your bags and then start over at the back of the line. I was loaning my little scale to everyone in line behind us until we checked our bags. The $20 spent on this scale was well worth it.

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Question about signing up for tours.  Can I sign up for both my husband and myself with just one log in?

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Y

17 minutes ago, CatGirl922 said:

Question about signing up for tours.  Can I sign up for both my husband and myself with just one log in?

Yes, although I don't remember exactly how the screens look!  That is, of course, assuming that you're both on the same booking number/cabin or suite!  Later on, once signed up, you can check My Viking Journey's calendar and it will show what has been booked for that day, by you and/or your husband.

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7 minutes ago, roothy123 said:

Yes,  you can do one or both of you.  My daughter and I sailed together and I did them all at the same time.

 

 

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1 hour ago, CatGirl922 said:

Question about signing up for tours.  Can I sign up for both my husband and myself with just one log in?

Yes. In the tour screen you will have your name and your husbands name. You check both before clicking on the book button. If either of you don’t want to take the tour just leave that name unchecked

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35 minutes ago, vnb2003 said:

Yes. In the tour screen you will have your name and your husbands name. You check both before clicking on the book button. If either of you don’t want to take the tour just leave that name unchecked

Thank you so much for the detailed response.

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Plus, you can book different tours for each if you so desire.  Both names are listed.

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When are excursions posted? Will we have to schedule them?  Are there choices for each port? We are going to Norway/Iceland in August.

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20 minutes ago, Marianna49 said:

When are excursions posted? Will we have to schedule them?  Are there choices for each port? We are going to Norway/Iceland in August.

Free and optional tours and prices will be posted on your My Viking Journey 105 days prior to the cruise.

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105 days is approximate, it may vary by a few days or more.

 

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Actually I think it depends on the level of stateroom you have.  The higher the level the earlier you can see the excursions (and also book in Manfredi's and Chefs table) 

 

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My understanding is the entire ship sees the excursions (included and optional) on the same day, which should be about 120 days before departure, but could be anywhere from 100 - 130 days.

 

Booking for excursions opens based on cabin category. Alternative restaurant reservations also depend on cabin category, except "V", which can only book once onboard.

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I don't know specifics about how many days pre-cruise the excursions are posted or available to book.  However, it might be helpful to keep in mind that there are two things that happen: Available tours for each port are posted on My Viking Journey, with times and prices.  Then, later, people can book them.  If you're in a suite, you can book earlier than if you're in lower-priced cabins.  You can also book them onboard, although it's possible some will be sold out.  

 

There are multiple excursions for each port, but for the included excursions (in other words, included in the price) there is only one per port.  However, there will be multiple times available.  Often there is at least one afternoon included tour.  Everyone gets to go on each included tour, but you must sign up for each one, as they try to keep the number of people on each coach to a reasonable number rather than fill every seat.  You can sign up for the included tour before the cruise via My Viking Journey (recommended) or when you're on board the ship.  Once you've signed up for something, you can change your time if there are spots open.  If no spots are open, once onboard, I would ask if there's any chance you can get onto an excursion at the particular time you want. 

 

The non-included (pay extra) excursions (tours) will be listed on My Viking Journey too.  Usually they end up being in the morning, and there is only one time that they're offered.

 

Occasionally you can do two tours in one day, but not always.

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2 hours ago, Marianna49 said:

When are excursions posted? Will we have to schedule them?  Are there choices for each port? We are going to Norway/Iceland in August.

 

Prior to the final selection of shorex being posted on MVJ, the generic plan can be seen on the Viking website, as part of the description for your chosen itinerary. Look under the ITINERARY tab, scroll down the page until you see the day by day itinerary.  Click on Day 2 where it says learn more.  This will take you to a generic page for that port and there you will see a sampling of tours being offered. Not all of those tours will necessarily be scheduled for your sailing. The included tour will be so marked and the rest are optional/for purchase tours.

 

Even though the included tours are free, you must reserve your places and time slot and get a timed ticket. It is advised that you do this on MVJ prior to sailing.

Edited by Peregrina651

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Guess Heidi and I posted at the same time!  Sorry if I repeated some info.

 

One thing that's worth mentioning is that, at least for the included tours, even with the different times, there are multiple coaches and tour guides.  Once you sign up for, say, the 10:00 included excursion, you go to the assigned spot listed in the daily paper Viking puts on your bed each night.  Then you're assigned to a coach.  As they tell you, if you're traveling with others, you should go together to get your coach assignment so you will all be in the same group and on the same coach.  Many people don't realize that with the included tours, they have multiple buses (coaches) going for each time slot.  Remember your bus number once you get on it!

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9 hours ago, roothy123 said:

There are multiple excursions for each port, but for the included excursions (in other words, included in the price) there is only one per port.

Actually there are occasions where there are multiple included tours in a port as is the case in my upcoming Viking Homelands.  There are some listed as a normal excursion and others listed as "leisurely" which appear to be paced for those that may have mobility issues.

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Oh, that's interesting!  I've never seen that before, although I suppose some people have suggested those be done.   Does Viking say what the leisurely tours include, or just that they are leisurely?  In other words, can you get an idea of what you'll see versus those in the other groups?  I guess that would be hard to do, but I'm curious if they're able to do it!

Edited by roothy123

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I was very interested in finding out when tours would be posted for our next cruise in July, so I went to the website for VO FAQs  

https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/frequently-asked-questions.html   and had face time with a Viking rep.  She said that tours and prices are usually listed 105 days before the cruise date.  (guess that word "usually" could be a problem!).

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