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roothy123

Tips for New Viking Ocean Cruisers

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As example, below is what is shown on summary page, followed by details provided for each

 

 

tallin overview.JPG

tallin 1.JPG

tallin 2.JPG

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1 hour ago, ropomo said:

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.

1 hour ago, ropomo said:

 

We are also going to be on an upcoming Viking Homelands that sails on May 25th from Bergen.  The tours just posted the other day at about Day 110 out.  If you'll be on that cruise, there is a group page for us.

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We are on the Viking Sea sailing just before you on the 23rd.  We will try to leave some sights for you to see as well! 😉 

Edited by ropomo

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Good to see how the info provided on MVJ  for VO excursions keeps improving. Referring here to the addition of saying the number of days before one can book. 

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2 hours ago, moatenote said:

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!).

 

You said it! Usually is the key word in the sentence and there have been times when book has been open for a few days (for Suites) before the excursions are actually posted.

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I have a new cruiser question: How long does it take to disembark for shore excursions? Is this the same for both Viking shore excursions and other/private excursions? I sure appreciate the voices of experience here!

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2 hours ago, CatGirl922 said:

We are also going to be on an upcoming Viking Homelands that sails on May 25th from Bergen.  The tours just posted the other day at about Day 110 out.  If you'll be on that cruise, there is a group page for us.

 

When you say  group page do you mean a roll call for your sailing or something else? If you mean a roll call, it is okay to post the link for it so that folks can find it easily. The best way to find a roll call s to look for it  in the roll call section: Viking Ocean Roll Calls

 

3 minutes ago, Orangegurl said:

I have a new cruiser question: How long does it take to disembark for shore excursions? Is this the same for both Viking shore excursions and other/private excursions? I sure appreciate the voices of experience here!

 

Included tours usually meet on the pier and you are assigned a bus as you show up.

 

Optional tours muster in the Star Theatre and then are walked one busload at a time to the gangway.

 

The process is well-rehearsed and runs very smoothly--for the most part.

 

Anyone else can disembark whenever they are ready there is no waiting until the shorex have off loaded.

 

The only thing that slows things down is when pax must pass through immigration on shore (as in Russia).

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Thanks for the information! If we are taking an Alla tour in SPB - how long should we plan for immigration? The tour meets at 8:30am and I want to allow enough time.

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34 minutes ago, Orangegurl said:

Thanks for the information! If we are taking an Alla tour in SPB - how long should we plan for immigration? The tour meets at 8:30am and I want to allow enough time.

Not possible to say.  It took us a quick 2-3 minutes of the Rooskie customs guy glaring at us and looking back & forth at our local tour operator (TJ Travel) email, our "visa" and our passports.  He then stamped our passports really hard and waived us through.  Day 2 he glanced at the "visa" and waived us through.

Depending on your cruise director and time of departure of Viking tours, they should let you off ~8 or so assuming the ship has the general OK.  We 12 gathered in the Atrium and our cruise director had us 1st off as our TJ Travel tour had 7:30AM written on our email.  Nice!

 

Edited by philw1776

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52 minutes ago, Orangegurl said:

Thanks for the information! If we are taking an Alla tour in SPB - how long should we plan for immigration? The tour meets at 8:30am and I want to allow enough time.

Two of us took the Alla tour for 2 days.  We got through Russian customs in just a few minutes but then had to wait over an hour for the rest of the tour group to clear customs.  They were on a Princess ship.

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4 hours ago, CatGirl922 said:

We are also going to be on an upcoming Viking Homelands that sails on May 25th from Bergen.  The tours just posted the other day at about Day 110 out.  If you'll be on that cruise, there is a group page for us.

 

We went on the Viking Homelands Cruise last May and I thought I would add our thoughts on the tours for you.

First, we were disappointed that some tours were sold out, but we kept checking while on board with the Excursion people and even added ourselves to the wait list for the all day Eidifjord/Train/Flam tour since it was so popular.  A few days ahead, Viking said they had enough folks to add an addition group, so they did.  Turned out to be the BEST tour we had !!

The same held true on the Included Tours.  We didn't get the times we wanted on several of them, but kept checking and quite often because people cancel a lot during the trip, they opened up.

Moral:  Don't give up!  You may still get the tours and times you want.

 

As for the Homelands tours:

Outstanding:  Eidifjord Train/Flam;  Hermitage Museum, Peterhof Palace, Gdansk included walk, Tallin included walk, Stavanger included walk, Warnamude included walk/bus tour, Copenhagen included walk, Aalborg included walk,

OK:  Bergen included bus tour, St. Petersburg included bus tour

Not so good:  Helsinki included bus tour

You can tell we enjoyed the included tours that involved some really good walking, often over cobblestones, hill and dale!

 

The other point to make is that in some cases Viking had both a lesurely included tour and a demanding included tour.  They were very good about letting people know on the demanding ones (which we wanted) what the strenuous activity would be.  It was unfortunate that many people were on them who should have been on the bus tours instead.  Some of the tour operators slowed way down to accomodate them, and some just kept going to the schedule and the ones who couldn't keep up dropped out.

 

Have a great time in the Baltics!

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33 minutes ago, moatenote said:

Two of us took the Alla tour for 2 days.  We got through Russian customs in just a few minutes but then had to wait over an hour for the rest of the tour group to clear customs.  They were on a Princess ship.

This experience may not be typical, but then, I suspect there isn't necessarily a "typical" scenario for St. Petersburg.  You may want to ask Alla if they will have people from other ships on your excursion.  We didn't when we used them in 2012.  Also, I was cruising on one of Oceania's big ships (1250 guest capacity) and Viking may get people off the ship faster or in a more orderly fashion because I think they have a higher percentage of people taking the included excursions rather than optional or private excursions than Oceania.  I would guess that means they can control the ebb and flow of passengers getting off the ship a little better.  What I experienced on Oceania 6 or 7 years ago was that a very high percentage of people were taking a tour by Alla or other private tour company, and that most of those people needed/wanted to get off the ship as soon as they could.  There were many, many people lined up to get off even before the ship had been cleared. That meant everyone got to the Russian authorities at the same time, with lines there.  So even though the authorities took only a minute or two for my husband and I to be cleared (but with stern looks, as indicated by philw1776), we had already waited in lines on the ship and in the terminal for a half hour.  If that's the same for all cruise lines, including Viking, I would be sure to eat breakfast, pack up your email from the vendor, etc. and get in line at the ship least 30-45 minutes before your meeting time.  If you're in the Living Room, you can always get a muffin and coffee to kill time, or just get off the ship, go through passport control, and check out the small souvenir opportunities in the terminal.  

 

As I said, with Alla there were only Oceania people in our group, so there was little waiting.  However, two people were not there 5 or 10 minutes after the meeting time.  Alla took the rest of us to our first stop, which wasn't terribly far away, and had someone wait for the other two people.  They rejoined the group there.  They thought getting off the ship would be the same as it was in other ports (i.e. fast, no lines).  At least on the second day of the 2-day tour, things were much faster.  

 

In most ports, passengers tend to filter off the ship over the course of the morning.  However, it seemed like the entire ship was emptying out that first morning, so things were pretty crazy.  Oceania's excursions are pretty expensive, so LOTS of us had booked private tours, which added to the big crush first thing in the morning.  (Just for comparison purposes, we were on one of O's large ships, 1250 passengers.) However, as I mentioned, Viking may be totally different, and of course, things may have changed since 2012. However, I would still eat fairly early and go down to the Living Room, or perhaps where the ship will be disembarking passengers that particular day (normally announced at beginning of day, plus posted on electronic boards).  If there's no line, great.  If a long line is forming, I'd get in line, or at least check the time to see how much time you have.  Of course, having everyone on a private tour meet together on the ship at a particular time is also a great idea!  

 

Enjoy St. P.  It's a wonderful experience.  My pics are here: http://www.pbase.com/roothy123/baltic_cruise_

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It's funny;. Helsinki always seems to disappoint people.  I guess after you've been to Tallinn and St. Petersburg, it pales by comparison. But I found the Baltic to be a wonderful area to cruise - lots of different countries, forms of money, languages, customs, etc.  In other words, there was lots of variety.  I could have done without all the time changes, though.  But I digress....sorry to go off topic.

Edited by roothy123

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Homelands was our first VO cruise and one of our favorites. Interestingly, Helsinki was not a favorite city for me.  My faves were Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Copenhagen, Bergen, and Berlin.  In Stockholm, a must-see is the Vasa Museum.  Not hard to get to, and we spent over two hours touring the ship in there (built in 1628).

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4 minutes ago, moatenote said:

Homelands was our first VO cruise and one of our favorites. Interestingly, Helsinki was not a favorite city for me.  My faves were Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Copenhagen, Bergen, and Berlin.  In Stockholm, a must-see is the Vasa Museum.  Not hard to get to, and we spent over two hours touring the ship in there (built in 1628).

 

We also enjoyed Stockholm, but we spent several days there ahead of the cruise beginning, on our own, and 3 things stood out that we toured - certainly cannot be missed!   1.  The Vasa Museum - absolutely breathtaking.  Take the small ferry from Gamla Stan (Center of town).  We spent 4 hours there.   2.  Drottingham Palace - stunning as well, although the boat ride over there and back was a true highlight!  3.  City Hall - go up the tower and also take a tour of the City Hall.

 

In general, we were VERY impressed with the efficiency with which Viking moved people off the ship to get to their appropriate tours at the required times.  They have this down pat! 

 

Oh - and the Baltics were a fabulous place to cruise - so much history and beauty!

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Just to throw a spanner. Excursions for our Alaska trip were posted in December for our trip in May. Five months out. But we now have to wait a very long time before we can book. I think we are down to 43 days now. Late March. 

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We took the Viking Homelands cruise a couple summers ago as well. The only tour that was already full that we were sad to miss was the railway in Flåm.

 

We also used Alla in St. Pertersburg, and for a significantly lower price than Viking for two days were able to see more.

 

We did most of the included tours and though none of them were spectacular they were all fine. 

 

Its also easy to leave some of the walking tours and head off in some of these small towns to explore on one’s own if you find the pace a tad slow. 

 

Overrall, we really enjoyed the cruise.

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We did Alla in St Petersburg as well, and booked a private tour for 6 of us. Even though our meeting time was, say, 8:30 (don't remember) we were one of the first off of the ship as we were worried about immigration. So we were at the meeting place an hour early, but our guide and driver were there already. We got an extra hour that day!

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Can anyone comment on deck 4 stateroom was better in front or in back?

ruimin

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1 hour ago, ruimin said:

Can anyone comment on deck 4 stateroom was better in front or in back?

ruimin

I'd vote for back just because most of the food is in the back of the ship, and you will, of course, be spending a lot of time going to and from the restaurants!  The back is also a tiny bit closer to the very useful Viking Bar for early coffee & small breakfast nibbles. I also like that I can pop down to deck 2 easily to go outside so I can see whatever's visible on both sides of the ship.  Of course, if you like musical productions, port talks, and assembling for Viking shore excursions, front might be better from a walking standpoint.  As for stability of the ship, that's best in the middle, so as long as you don't go way up high, I don't think you'll notice much difference between front and rear.  As for noise, I've never heard any ever, so can't say.  I think some people with cabins way up front have commented they sometimes hear something coming from the theater. 

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We will be on our first VO trip, Viking Homelands in August.  Can anyone comment on the location/noise level of cabin 7014?   It is a DV cabin.  We are considering a PV 1 or 2, which were sold out until today & are now available as guarantee cabins.  Not sure if we want to upgrade, 7014 looks pretty good and the extra $$ for the upgrade could be spent on excursions.  Thanks for your comments.

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12 minutes ago, hensus said:

We will be on our first VO trip, Viking Homelands in August.  Can anyone comment on the location/noise level of cabin 7014?   It is a DV cabin.  We are considering a PV 1 or 2, which were sold out until today & are now available as guarantee cabins.  Not sure if we want to upgrade, 7014 looks pretty good and the extra $$ for the upgrade could be spent on excursions.  Thanks for your comments.

On the lower floors, the elevators and stairs are separated from the cabins by a thick wall.  Therefore, while 7014 looks to be right near the stairs, I'm guessing noise wouldn't be a problem, except maybe during the safety drill, when you won't be there anyway!  Also, since there aren't many rooms in that stretch, I wouldn't guess you'd have much foot traffic. But I've never had a cabin on 7  (or any PV), so I really don't know!   If it were me, however, I'd just stick with 7014 and spend more on excursions!  

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48 minutes ago, roothy123 said:

 If it were me, however, I'd just stick with 7014 and spend more on excursions!  

 

Agreed. The noise spillover from the elevator lobbies and the stairwells is minimal no matter which deck you are on. The same goes for the corridors; you just can't hear what is going on outside your door, even when the corridors are at their busiest.

Edited by Peregrina651

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Thanks to all the comments, we decided to get the stateroom in back.

 Ruimin 

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20 hours ago, stretchcruz said:

We did Alla in St Petersburg as well, and booked a private tour for 6 of us. Even though our meeting time was, say, 8:30 (don't remember) we were one of the first off of the ship as we were worried about immigration. So we were at the meeting place an hour early, but our guide and driver were there already. We got an extra hour that day!

We had the same experience.  We got off the ship fast and easy when it cleared.  We had 3 couples and luckily all 3 of us did the same thing.   We got that extra hour as well, both days.

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