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Viking Homelands Cruise Review

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We noticed probably 4 in their early twenties and they were the youngest and seemed to enjoy it. I would think if your husband is open to chatting with an older crowd then he will be just fine. We went to Alaska a few years ago on HAL. We were young for the crowd but made quick friends with what was probably the oldest couple. Age means nothing to us. We enjoy young and old alike.

 

We did a little bit of everything in the ports.. Some we took the included tour, some own our own, Alla Tours in St Petersburg (well worth not paying for Viking's tour) and a couple paid Viking tours. I did a lot of research beforehand and from there I determined exactly what we needed to do to accomplish our goals in each port.

 

Stockholm on our own. Heard too many negatives about a boring bus ride.

Helsinki, included

St Petersburg 2 day Grand tour with Alla Tours, we ended up with only 6 people on our tour. It was perfect.

Tallin, included. After that we had lunch in Talin that I had made reservations for prior to leaving home. It's called Vanaema Juures and was very good. I highly recommend. It's small and in the cellar. Has a traditional Estonian menu. Great food

Berlin, paid Viking tour called Historic Berlin which was fantastic.

Copenhagen, included and then stayed in town to explore on our own

Aalborg, included

Stavanger, made our own reservations through Norled for Pulpit Rock

Eidfjord, on our own ( huge favorite port of mine)

Bergen, we were there for 2 days so we did included for one day. and explored on our own the next day.

Took the train to Oslo and did the included tour there.

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About Oslo/Bergen train: Thanks, JC fan, for info about the voucher. We're doing this extension before our Wake of the Vikings trip so food for the trip was one of those little annoying details I'd wondered about. Any other helpful train hints?

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We are planning to take the train to Oslo after disembarking the Homelands cruise at Bergen and then a couple of days later take the train to Stockholm for our rhomeward flight. This thread has been very informative thank you. Would love to hear from anyone who has taken the train independently as we are planning

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Geosez, one thing you need to know is what direction the train will be heading. Forward facing seats seemed to be the ones everyone wanted. My plan of attack was to take the first forward facing seats we came upon. It becomes quite the free for all getting nice seats even on the train to Berlin. Make sure on any of the buses and trains to get a full window for picture taking. Several seats had windows that were sectioned in the middle of the row. We had that one once and after that we learned to look at the windows before choosing our seats. We ended up with great seats on both trains that had a little "table" off to the side and I'm thinking a tad more legroom. Not all rows have them. Our guide told us to get our food early on because the line gets longer after a certain stop because one of girls gets off and it leaves only one other girl to help the concession area after that.

 

Sorry I can't help you, baycruising.

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We just returned from our cruise on the Viking Star. I asked so many questions so I thought that maybe I could start a thread that might be helpful to others.

 

First off, I was worried about our DV category being too small and not having enough storage. I was pleasantly surprised. We are over packers but still found plenty of room. I did ask that the coffee maker be removed for the extra storage. I have read that some would like to see the bathroom smaller for more storage but honestly I wouldn't. It, too, has lots of storage. The shower and heated floors are the best part. I thought the bed and nightstand right next to the closet that I had seen in pictures was going to make it tight but it isn't at all and that happened to be "my" side of the bed. Loved the USB ports at bedside. We did bring a converter from home that had 3 outlets and 4 USB ports. I found it on Amazon. We mainly used it and plugged it in at the desk.

 

Get familiarized with the TV and all the offerings it has. Take advantage of the port talks on the TV. Check your account. Find those hidden movies that I found on the last night. I saw the movies listings but didn't realize that there are many to choose from. Enough for men and women.

 

The included tours ended up being pretty good. I did hear some grumbling from other cruisers on our ship about how boring Stockholm included tour was so we decided to skip it.

 

Alla Tours in St Petersburg was definitely the best decision we made in tours. It worked out that there were only 3 couples. We were kicking ourselves for not booking them in the other ports as the Viking tours are somewhat large at around 26 people. I highly recommend anyone to consider using them.

 

We took the train to Berlin and then the Historic tour of Berlin with Viking. Enjoyed it very much. I did hear people saying that the included tour left them alone too many hours in Berlin so if you can't keep yourself entertained then you might want to consider a different tour.

 

One of our favorite stops was Eidfjord. We did it on our own. Someone here recommended stopping at the tourist office and pick up a map that shows two different walks. To that person I want to say THANK YOU. The yellow walk is more of a nature hike that they say takes 90 minutes. It took us 3 hours. We stopped along the way and soaked it all up. We took so many pictures. We loved not being on a bus. We loved doing something on our own, with no crowds. We loved the fresh air. It was an easy walk for the most part but it did have a steep climb in the middle. The blue walk is more of an in town walk which we did not take since it took us so long on the yellow walk, haha. There is very little shopping there. Viking suggests that you get up early and watch the sail in to Eidfjord. We got up at 5am and it was worth it to us. Few people did it so it was easy to sit inside or stand outside for the full view. It was very, very pretty. Sailing out they go fast so you don't really get the same affect.

 

Some of you know that we decided not to go through Viking to get to Pulpit Rock in Stavanger. We ended up using the company Norled instead of Rodne because of their better time. It was fantastic. We even had enough time to explore Stavanger afterwards. Both Norled and Rodne are easy to find right at the port. I was looking for some sort of a kiosk or something big with their names on it but all they had was a little table and an umbrella. Both are right next to each other. We had bad weather so we didn't get to see the top of Pulpit Rock but it was still worth it. We were fully prepared for rain so we stayed outside on their deck most of that cruise and the 360 view was worth it It costs considerably less than Viking's tour to Pulpit Rock. The only difference between Viking's tour and Norled's was that Viking stops at a beach for a waffle. We actually saw them on land getting their waffle in the rain.

 

We were disappointed in our post stay. When we first booked we thought we would have more time in Oslo. We did find out differently before we left so we were prepared but it still left us disappointed. It was a 7 hour train journey which was beautiful. Our guide that we had in Bergen for our first day of the post stay stayed with us on the train where we were handed over to a different guide at the train station in Oslo. We arrived around 3 or 3:30 and then had a bus tour around the City, visited the Viking Ship museum (which was fantastic) and Statue Park. We were to see a Ski jump area but the low clouds prohibited it so we went to Statue Park which everyone loved. We arrived at our hotel at 6pm. It left us pretty much no time to explore on our own. We ate dinner and then went back to the room to prepare for our flight home the following morning.

 

Viking was EXTREMELY organized on our pre and post stays. We were impressed.

 

All of the Viking staff were attentive and professional. All the tour guides were excellent.

 

Food.....very subjective but we found it excellent. We loved Chef's Table the most. Make sure to try and get in all menu rotations. At the end of the meal they encourage you to make a reservation for the next menu. It was easy to get a reservation. Manfredi's was good but way too much food for our liking. My advice is to check the interactive menu outside of the restaurants to see what is on the menu for that day and make your decision from there where to eat for lunch and dinner. We never called room service so I can't address it. If you like shrimp salad, go to the pool side restaurant and have their shrimp salad sandwich. I am already craving it.

 

Viking on all of their paperwork and on their website suggests to tip the drivers and guides on the tours. We saw very little tipping going on. It did make me sad.

 

I found the ship chilly in the common areas so ladies bring a sweater just in case.

 

Stop by the Explorers Desk every night after dinner and pick up a map of the port for the following day. It is not very detailed and got us frustrated often but at least we had something. Some ports have maps right by the ship or on the bus. Those maps are by far better than Viking's.

 

Just in case anyone is wondering, the guides do a great job of bathroom breaks. They always point out where they are and when the next break will be.

 

Viking offers a shuttle bus in most of the ports which was fantastic. My advice is to make sure you are getting on the RIGHT cruise line's shuttle bus even if there is a Viking representative standing right next to the bus. Otherwise you will find yourself at the wrong ship and need to take a 15.00 taxi ride to get to the right ship. Don't ask me how I know.

 

I'm sure I am leaving out a few things but I hope someone finds some of this helpful.

Thanks for a great review. I’ve seen that in the Vk HL in past years there are shuttle buses in

Helsinki, Copenhagen, & Stockholm. Did your trip also them?? Thanks

BRUCEB NYC

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We were disappointed in our post stay. When we first booked we thought we would have more time in Oslo. We did find out differently before we left so we were prepared but it still left us disappointed. It was a 7 hour train journey which was beautiful. Our guide that we had in Bergen for our first day of the post stay stayed with us on the train where we were handed over to a different guide at the train station in Oslo. We arrived around 3 or 3:30 and then had a bus tour around the City, visited the Viking Ship museum (which was fantastic) and Statue Park. We were to see a Ski jump area but the low clouds prohibited it so we went to Statue Park which everyone loved. We arrived at our hotel at 6pm. It left us pretty much no time to explore on our own. We ate dinner and then went back to the room to prepare for our flight home the following morning.

 

Viking was EXTREMELY organized on our pre and post stays. We were impressed.

 

Thanks for posting this, jiminyC_fan. This is the first review I've seen of the post-cruise excursion we'll be taking. I didn't know what was involved aside from the train trip. Good to know we get a nice overview of Oslo en route to the hotel. Your review also makes me glad we booked an extra night in Oslo on our own. The hotel said it would be no problem to keep our same room. So we'll have some time to explore on our own.

 

Do you remember which side of the train had the best views going from Bergen to Oslo? Or doesn't it really matter?

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BruceB, they did have shuttles in Copenhagen and Helsinki but not in Stockholm.

 

Twitchly, you will be very happy you added an extra day in Oslo. While we saw great things, I wish we had more time to explore on our own. IMHO, it really didn't matter which side of the train that you are on. I do recommend forward facing seats though.

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BruceB, they did have shuttles in Copenhagen and Helsinki but not in Stockholm.

 

Twitchly, you will be very happy you added an extra day in Oslo. While we saw great things, I wish we had more time to explore on our own. IMHO, it really didn't matter which side of the train that you are on. I do recommend forward facing seats though.

 

They also had shuttles in Tallin, if you remember. We did have shuttles in Stockholm.

 

Sent from my HP 7 Plus using Forums mobile app

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They also had shuttles in Tallin, if you remember. We did have shuttles in Stockholm.

 

Sent from my HP 7 Plus using Forums mobile app

 

Maybe I am wrong about Stockholm. I remember having to walk a distance, through a tunnel and I believe we ended up at Gamla Stan. Where was the pick up point? We certainly missed something, LOL.

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Maybe I am wrong about Stockholm. I remember having to walk a distance, through a tunnel and I believe we ended up at Gamla Stan. Where was the pick up point? We certainly missed something, LOL.
The pick up point in Stockholm was just across the bridge from the palace on Gamma Stan. Close to the starting point for HOHO bus. After our included excursion we walked back to the ship as we had the time and wanted to cross the island again since we had spent 3 nights there before boarding.. The pick up drop off point was at the far end of Gamla Stan from where ship docked.

 

Sent from my HP 7 Plus using Forums mobile app

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This information about shuttles is helpful to me. We are booked on the Russia and the Baltic Sea for next year, which includes some of the same ports. If there were shuttles is Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Tallinn on the Homelands cruise, then I assume we will have them on ours too. Makes sense, right?

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The pick up point in Stockholm was just across the bridge from the palace on Gamma Stan. Close to the starting point for HOHO bus. After our included excursion we walked back to the ship as we had the time and wanted to cross the island again since we had spent 3 nights there before boarding.. The pick up drop off point was at the far end of Gamla Stan from where ship docked.

 

Sent from my HP 7 Plus using Forums mobile app

 

Hmmm, interesting.

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Does anyone know if and when these shuttles run if the cruise originates in Stockholm. Would be interested to hear as it could help our Sunday - day of departure plans. Thanks

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Our cruise did originate in Stockholm but for the life of me (and my husband) we don't remember a shuttle being offered. We carried quite a few bottles of pepsi back to the ship from Gamla Stan and we walked. Hopefully others can chime in here and correct me if I am wrong.

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Our cruise did originate in Stockholm but for the life of me (and my husband) we don't remember a shuttle being offered. We carried quite a few bottles of pepsi back to the ship from Gamla Stan and we walked. Hopefully others can chime in here and correct me if I am wrong.

 

Well, your cruise was the year after mine so things might have changed. If you were lugging the Pepsi from Gamla Stan, you would not have passed the location we had as it was at the other end of Gamla Stan. If you have the dailys it might be listed. Knowing you have cruised before you may not hold on to things like I did. Also, I don't think they run a shuttle the embarkation day of a 2 dy port so that might explain our differences in recollection.

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Well, your cruise was the year after mine so things might have changed. If you were lugging the Pepsi from Gamla Stan, you would not have passed the location we had as it was at the other end of Gamla Stan. If you have the dailys it might be listed. Knowing you have cruised before you may not hold on to things like I did. Also, I don't think they run a shuttle the embarkation day of a 2 dy port so that might explain our differences in recollection.

 

You may be right on this! I used to save daily's (navigators) but I learned that they only collected dust after awhile, LOL. Once I started trashing them is when I would find out I needed them for something like this, LOL.

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Thank you for all of this great information. Did you have any issues with Russian immigration when getting back on board in St. Petersburg? Our friends did this cruise last year and felt they were hassled a bit.

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Thank you for all of this great information. Did you have any issues with Russian immigration when getting back on board in St. Petersburg? Our friends did this cruise last year and felt they were hassled a bit.

 

It was a very pleasant experience getting back onboard both days. Not an issue what so ever.

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Thank you for all of this great information. Did you have any issues with Russian immigration when getting back on board in St. Petersburg? Our friends did this cruise last year and felt they were hassled a bit.

 

No issues getting back on board either of the 2 days. No issues in SP.

1st day getting in, the immigration guy scowled at our passport for 2-3 minutes then waived us thru. Second day he just waived us thru.

Very elderly ex-military couple who worked in the Pentagon long ago got held up 10+ minutes day one. They thought it was hilarious. No problem day 2.

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I just visited the State Department’s Travel Advisory Page. There is a Level 3 Advisory “Reconsider Travel” re Russia due to both terrorism and harassment of US citizens by government officials. It’s a bit sobering to read.

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All of you have given such wonderful information! We are going on this cruise in July 2018, and we have booked our own post to Oslo. I was wondering for those of you whom stayed in Oslo, which Hotel did you stay in, did you like it? Was it on your own booking or through Viking.

 

Also, how was your experience about availability of the tours/dining when it was your turn to actually book, we too are in a DV category. We are by no means "new" cruisers, and long ago I was a travel agent whom specialized in cruises, however, we are new to Viking and their way of cruising.

 

Thank you in advance

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I just visited the State Department’s Travel Advisory Page. There is a Level 3 Advisory “Reconsider Travel” re Russia due to both terrorism and harassment of US citizens by government officials. It’s a bit sobering to read.

 

 

I agree, and I am a bit concerned for our cruise July 2018....

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We just returned from our cruise on the Viking Star. I asked so many questions so I thought that maybe I could start a thread that might be helpful to others.

 

First off, I was worried about our DV category being too small and not having enough storage. I was pleasantly surprised. We are over packers but still found plenty of room. I did ask that the coffee maker be removed for the extra storage. I have read that some would like to see the bathroom smaller for more storage but honestly I wouldn't. It, too, has lots of storage. The shower and heated floors are the best part. I thought the bed and nightstand right next to the closet that I had seen in pictures was going to make it tight but it isn't at all and that happened to be "my" side of the bed. Loved the USB ports at bedside. We did bring a converter from home that had 3 outlets and 4 USB ports. I found it on Amazon. We mainly used it and plugged it in at the desk.

 

Get familiarized with the TV and all the offerings it has. Take advantage of the port talks on the TV. Check your account. Find those hidden movies that I found on the last night. I saw the movies listings but didn't realize that there are many to choose from. Enough for men and women.

 

The included tours ended up being pretty good. I did hear some grumbling from other cruisers on our ship about how boring Stockholm included tour was so we decided to skip it.

 

Alla Tours in St Petersburg was definitely the best decision we made in tours. It worked out that there were only 3 couples. We were kicking ourselves for not booking them in the other ports as the Viking tours are somewhat large at around 26 people. I highly recommend anyone to consider using them.

 

We took the train to Berlin and then the Historic tour of Berlin with Viking. Enjoyed it very much. I did hear people saying that the included tour left them alone too many hours in Berlin so if you can't keep yourself entertained then you might want to consider a different tour.

 

One of our favorite stops was Eidfjord. We did it on our own. Someone here recommended stopping at the tourist office and pick up a map that shows two different walks. To that person I want to say THANK YOU. The yellow walk is more of a nature hike that they say takes 90 minutes. It took us 3 hours. We stopped along the way and soaked it all up. We took so many pictures. We loved not being on a bus. We loved doing something on our own, with no crowds. We loved the fresh air. It was an easy walk for the most part but it did have a steep climb in the middle. The blue walk is more of an in town walk which we did not take since it took us so long on the yellow walk, haha. There is very little shopping there. Viking suggests that you get up early and watch the sail in to Eidfjord. We got up at 5am and it was worth it to us. Few people did it so it was easy to sit inside or stand outside for the full view. It was very, very pretty. Sailing out they go fast so you don't really get the same affect.

 

Some of you know that we decided not to go through Viking to get to Pulpit Rock in Stavanger. We ended up using the company Norled instead of Rodne because of their better time. It was fantastic. We even had enough time to explore Stavanger afterwards. Both Norled and Rodne are easy to find right at the port. I was looking for some sort of a kiosk or something big with their names on it but all they had was a little table and an umbrella. Both are right next to each other. We had bad weather so we didn't get to see the top of Pulpit Rock but it was still worth it. We were fully prepared for rain so we stayed outside on their deck most of that cruise and the 360 view was worth it It costs considerably less than Viking's tour to Pulpit Rock. The only difference between Viking's tour and Norled's was that Viking stops at a beach for a waffle. We actually saw them on land getting their waffle in the rain.

 

We were disappointed in our post stay. When we first booked we thought we would have more time in Oslo. We did find out differently before we left so we were prepared but it still left us disappointed. It was a 7 hour train journey which was beautiful. Our guide that we had in Bergen for our first day of the post stay stayed with us on the train where we were handed over to a different guide at the train station in Oslo. We arrived around 3 or 3:30 and then had a bus tour around the City, visited the Viking Ship museum (which was fantastic) and Statue Park. We were to see a Ski jump area but the low clouds prohibited it so we went to Statue Park which everyone loved. We arrived at our hotel at 6pm. It left us pretty much no time to explore on our own. We ate dinner and then went back to the room to prepare for our flight home the following morning.

 

Viking was EXTREMELY organized on our pre and post stays. We were impressed.

 

All of the Viking staff were attentive and professional. All the tour guides were excellent.

 

Food.....very subjective but we found it excellent. We loved Chef's Table the most. Make sure to try and get in all menu rotations. At the end of the meal they encourage you to make a reservation for the next menu. It was easy to get a reservation. Manfredi's was good but way too much food for our liking. My advice is to check the interactive menu outside of the restaurants to see what is on the menu for that day and make your decision from there where to eat for lunch and dinner. We never called room service so I can't address it. If you like shrimp salad, go to the pool side restaurant and have their shrimp salad sandwich. I am already craving it.

 

Viking on all of their paperwork and on their website suggests to tip the drivers and guides on the tours. We saw very little tipping going on. It did make me sad.

 

I found the ship chilly in the common areas so ladies bring a sweater just in case.

 

Stop by the Explorers Desk every night after dinner and pick up a map of the port for the following day. It is not very detailed and got us frustrated often but at least we had something. Some ports have maps right by the ship or on the bus. Those maps are by far better than Viking's.

 

Just in case anyone is wondering, the guides do a great job of bathroom breaks. They always point out where they are and when the next break will be.

 

Viking offers a shuttle bus in most of the ports which was fantastic. My advice is to make sure you are getting on the RIGHT cruise line's shuttle bus even if there is a Viking representative standing right next to the bus. Otherwise you will find yourself at the wrong ship and need to take a 15.00 taxi ride to get to the right ship. Don't ask me how I know.

 

I'm sure I am leaving out a few things but I hope someone finds some of this helpful.

 

 

We are going on this cruise in July 2018, and we have booked our own post to Oslo. I was wondering for those of you whom stayed in Oslo, which Hotel did you stay in, did you like it? Was it on your own booking or through Viking.

 

Also, how was your experience about availability of the tours/dining when it was your turn to actually book, we too are in a DV category. We are by no means "new" cruisers, and long ago I was a travel agent whom specialized in cruises, however, we are new to Viking and their way of cruising.

 

Thank you in advance

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Hi MZiegler, we stayed at the Hotel Bristol in Oslo. It was booked through Viking. We did enjoy it. We were DV4 and had zero issues booking our excursions and dining. We got everything we wanted and times.

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