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Viking Homelands Cruise Review

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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

 

hello MZiegler ... we stayed at Thon Hotel Opera in Oslo last year and did the reverse (Oslo to Bergen by train, own arrangements). The hotel is right at the main train station, but is also well located for walking to the most popular tourist sites. We were happy with our hotel choice and suggest you might want to consider it as an option. To save dragging our bags all day (on 3 trains, a bus, and a boat) we used the porter transfer service - perfect. Luggage picked up at the hotel before we boarded the train, and was waiting for us in the room when we arrived in Bergen. We just carried a small shoulder bag for the day http://www.porterservice.no

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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.

 

 

JiminyC-fan, thank you again. This is very helpful, we are in the same Category so I feel a little more at ease. Also, for the Hotel Bristol, were they doing renovations/construction at the time you were there, and if so did it interfere? I was told they have been doing construction for the past year and it is still ongoing, various parts of the hotel. I am looking for a "historic hotel" and are going between Bristol and the Grand.

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hello MZiegler ... we stayed at Thon Hotel Opera in Oslo last year and did the reverse (Oslo to Bergen by train, own arrangements). The hotel is right at the main train station, but is also well located for walking to the most popular tourist sites. We were happy with our hotel choice and suggest you might want to consider it as an option. To save dragging our bags all day (on 3 trains, a bus, and a boat) we used the porter transfer service - perfect. Luggage picked up at the hotel before we boarded the train, and was waiting for us in the room when we arrived in Bergen. We just carried a small shoulder bag for the day http://www.porterservice.no

 

 

Thank you for this information. I did look at Thon Hotel Opera, and was going to book that, however, I had decided that I wanted a more historic hotel, rather than new modern. I will look at the porter service, that is great info. Thanks

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JiminyC-fan, thank you again. This is very helpful, we are in the same Category so I feel a little more at ease. Also, for the Hotel Bristol, were they doing renovations/construction at the time you were there, and if so did it interfere? I was told they have been doing construction for the past year and it is still ongoing, various parts of the hotel. I am looking for a "historic hotel" and are going between Bristol and the Grand.

 

We were there last June and no construction. We did enjoy the historic aspect of it.

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We were just at the Hotel Bristol a couple of days ago. We did the Bergen-to-Oslo extension and booked an extra night so we could see more of Oslo.

 

We loved the hotel, though we had one of those interior rooms that looks at a featureless courtyard. The lobby felt like a large gentleman’s library, complete with shelves of books. There were nooks and crannies throughout. Beds were comfy, room was quiet, staff was great. We didn’t see any construction going on, though I heard a drill a couple of times. Location is good. Breakfast was outstanding, dinner was good.

 

We also ate lunch at the Grand Hotel’s excellent outdoor cafe, and that location is fantastic. Right on the major street, mostly pedestrian. We didn’t go inside. If we stayed there, I would ask for an exterior-facing room.

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Twitchly, if I had known that we had pretty much no free time in Oslo, I would have booked an additional day as well. You were mighty smart!

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We were just at the Hotel Bristol a couple of days ago. We did the Bergen-to-Oslo extension and booked an extra night so we could see more of Oslo.

 

We loved the hotel, though we had one of those interior rooms that looks at a featureless courtyard. The lobby felt like a large gentleman’s library, complete with shelves of books. There were nooks and crannies throughout. Beds were comfy, room was quiet, staff was great. We didn’t see any construction going on, though I heard a drill a couple of times. Location is good. Breakfast was outstanding, dinner was good.

 

We also ate lunch at the Grand Hotel’s excellent outdoor cafe, and that location is fantastic. Right on the major street, mostly pedestrian. We didn’t go inside. If we stayed there, I would ask for an exterior-facing room.

 

 

Twitchly, Thank you! From looking at the map it seems both hotels are in a good location, only a few blocks apart? Glad to hear about the construction as a non issue. When I had contacted the hotel for the reservation back in November 2017, (They had shown sold out online, so I emailed them), they were the ones that told me they had renovations going on thru this summer 2018. They only had a standard room available and so I booked that one for now. But your comment about the Grand again makes me still second guess which hotel...... I'm going to have to pick one at some point, I appreciate everyone's input.

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Twitchly, Thank you! From looking at the map it seems both hotels are in a good location, only a few blocks apart? Glad to hear about the construction as a non issue. When I had contacted the hotel for the reservation back in November 2017, (They had shown sold out online, so I emailed them), they were the ones that told me they had renovations going on thru this summer 2018. They only had a standard room available and so I booked that one for now. But your comment about the Grand again makes me still second guess which hotel...... I'm going to have to pick one at some point, I appreciate everyone's input.

 

Yes, just a few short blocks apart.

 

Another data point: our tour guide said that the Grand Hotel is where they put the Nobel Peace Prize winners. My sense is that the Grand is more, well, grand, and that the Bristol is more Agatha Christie.

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Yes, just a few short blocks apart.

 

Another data point: our tour guide said that the Grand Hotel is where they put the Nobel Peace Prize winners. My sense is that the Grand is more, well, grand, and that the Bristol is more Agatha Christie.

 

 

Twitchly, thank you for the information. I do have to say that reading this gave me quite a laugh, as well as helped my decision. I think I may go with the Agatha Christie. I like more of the friendliness, down to earth vibe, relaxed. The Grand may be more formal....

 

With that being said, however, I did enjoy the long ago cruises that had formal night with the Captains dinner, I like to get dressed up and go to dinner at times, but it seems that lately there are less opportunities for it. I read that on the Viking cruise it was more "regular" dresses, no gowns or formal wear. Can you advise on the typical "packing" needed for the Homelands cruise. - What was the typical passenger wearing men and women, daytime and evening. My normal packing may be "over dressy". Also, does Viking have formal picture night as the other cruise lines do. As I mentioned, we are by no means new to cruising, but this is our first Viking. Thanks!

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With that being said, however, I did enjoy the long ago cruises that had formal night with the Captains dinner, I like to get dressed up and go to dinner at times, but it seems that lately there are less opportunities for it. I read that on the Viking cruise it was more "regular" dresses, no gowns or formal wear. Can you advise on the typical "packing" needed for the Homelands cruise. - What was the typical passenger wearing men and women, daytime and evening. My normal packing may be "over dressy". Also, does Viking have formal picture night as the other cruise lines do. As I mentioned, we are by no means new to cruising, but this is our first Viking. Thanks!

 

 

If you scroll through past posts in this forum, you’ll find lots of discussion about dress. Basically, daytime wear included pretty much anything from casual jeans to dressier slacks (what I would call the “ladies who lunch” look). That’s also what people wore in the World Cafe buffet, day and night.

 

The other restaurants featured slightly dressier clothes in the evenings — no jeans, for the most part, and no sweatpants or shorts. Men mostly wore khakis or something similar with collared shirts and the occasional jacket. I don’t remember seeing any ties. Women wore a range from slacks to dresses. I wore slacks.

 

No formal nights. Think a (regular) dinner at your basic country club.

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On our recent Mediterranean Odyssey our group of 6 decided to have "theme nights" at dinner in the main restaurant. Each couple chose 2 nights and let us know the theme for their nights (one theme was to be a color theme and the second was whatever they came up with). One couple chose "Semi formal night," so we did dress up a bit more than usual (my husband wore his cumberbund and bow tie with his regular slacks and a casual shirt). I always enjoy seeing people dress up a bit, but certainly appreciate the option to stick with "country club casual".

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If you scroll through past posts in this forum, you’ll find lots of discussion about dress. Basically, daytime wear included pretty much anything from casual jeans to dressier slacks (what I would call the “ladies who lunch” look). That’s also what people wore in the World Cafe buffet, day and night.

 

The other restaurants featured slightly dressier clothes in the evenings — no jeans, for the most part, and no sweatpants or shorts. Men mostly wore khakis or something similar with collared shirts and the occasional jacket. I don’t remember seeing any ties. Women wore a range from slacks to dresses. I wore slacks.

 

No formal nights. Think a (regular) dinner at your basic country club.

...what I would call the "ladies who lunch" look.....

 

God bless Stephen Sondheim!

"

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I just realized that I typed Baltics cruise. It was the Homelands cruise. I don't know if it is possible to edit the title.

Thank you for your post. We are going on the same cruise this Sept and we also booked our flights from Denver through Viking. Lots of good info.

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Thank you everyone for all your comments and reviews, they are extremely helpful and I can't wait to go. One last question, lol. Does Viking have pictures taken throughout the cruise and "portraits" such as the other cruise lines , eg Celebrity, Princess etc ?

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Thank you everyone for all your comments and reviews, they are extremely helpful and I can't wait to go. One last question, lol. Does Viking have pictures taken throughout the cruise and "portraits" such as the other cruise lines , eg Celebrity, Princess etc ?

 

No.

No photographer(s), however staff are very accommodating to take your picture with your camera.

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Having just booked the Homelands cruise for May 2019, Hubby and I have begun our research and we have found this thread to be very very informative. Oh my, very excited about this cruise. We are planning on doing our own post cruise Bergen to Oslo trip, probably with Norway in a Nutshell at this stage.

Thanks for the great info in this thread!

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Hi Raison,

Just got back from VK HL April 28 2018. Part of my CrC review of the VK Sky.

Great cruise. Enjoy.

 

VIKING SKY HOMELANDS REVIEW APRIL 28, 2018 VOYAGE

We were 2 couples (65+) on this wonderful cruise. Having 8 countries and 11 cities to visit was amazing. Previously we had been on 3 Viking River Cruises together, so this was our first ocean cruise, All agreed it was a great trip. Viking handled everything from beginning to end perfectly. An amazing itinerary. Great ship, excellent dining, an exceptional crew, a rating of 9.5/10!!

1. PRE CRUISE IDEAS

Do research using Rick Steves “Northern European Cruise Ports”.

Go on line and look at YouTube Videos of all ports and those by Rick Steves.

Search past Cruise Critic postings. Many CC posts contain useful information like a complete set of the Viking Daily for a 2016 Homelands cruise. Some menus have been posted as well.

Lots of good stuff on CC.

2. STUDYING VIKING MATERIALS

Go over the Viking website for information about each port and the various excursions.

Reading the first 40 pages of the big Viking Ocean Brochure helps getting a perspective of the ship and may answer many questions you have. Look at the back pages for the “Deck Plans” to get a feel for where places are located. Helps to have a “heads up” advance to the cruise.

3. If you want to explore beyond the Viking Included Excursions, plan ahead. Cities like Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm, & St. Petersburg have a lot to see.

 

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Thank you for your post. We are going on the same cruise this Sept and we also booked our flights from Denver through Viking. Lots of good info.

 

We're going on this cruise next April...also flying from Denver. Just now starting to research flights. We start in Bergen and end in Stockholm but will be staying a Stockholm a few extra days. What airline did Viking book for your flights and how many connections do you have getting to the cruise? Did you do Viking Air?

 

Thanks for putting up with all my questions.

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We're going on this cruise next April...also flying from Denver. Just now starting to research flights. We start in Bergen and end in Stockholm but will be staying a Stockholm a few extra days. What airline did Viking book for your flights and how many connections do you have getting to the cruise? Did you do Viking Air?

 

Thanks for putting up with all my questions.

Hi Soccermom#3

 

Viking provided us with the Best flights

from NYC using Newark AP. Details below. Going was one stop to Oslo then a short flt to Bergen. Return was NS back. Always checking Fligjtsnahead and this was the most expensive one listed. Thrilled that VK used SAS.

There were was a large number of VK Cruisers on this flight. The usual $50pp

Viking Air on river cruises was $150pp!!

Did not use and did okay. They were great at all airports. Everything went smoothly. Hope this answers your question. Enjoy.

 

Airline Booking #LEIQJC

NEWARK, NJ (EWR) to BERGEN, NORWAY (BGO)

 

 

 

 

FLIGHT 1 April 27, 2018

SCANDINAVIAN AIRLINES | #NL69AV

DEP NEWARK, NJ (EWR) |

06:55 PM

ARR OSLO, NORWAY (OSL) |

08:20 AM

FLIGHT 2 April 28, 2018

SCANDINAVIAN AIRLINES | #NL69AV

DEP OSLO, NORWAY (OSL) |

09:50 AM

ARR BERGEN, NORWAY (BGO) |

10:40 AM

 

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (ARN) to NEWARK, NJ (EWR)FLIGHT 1 May 12, 2018

SCANDINAVIAN AIRLINES | #NL69AV

DEP STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (ARN) |

12:25 PM

ARR NEWARK, NJ (EWR) |

02:55 PM

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Hi Soccermom#3

 

Viking provided us with the Best flights

from NYC using Newark AP. Details below. Going was one stop to Oslo then a short flt to Bergen. Return was NS back. Always checking Fligjtsnahead and this was the most expensive one listed. Thrilled that VK used SAS.

There were was a large number of VK Cruisers on this flight. The usual $50pp

Viking Air on river cruises was $150pp!!

Did not use and did okay. They were great at all airports. Everything went smoothly. Hope this answers your question. Enjoy.

 

Thanks so much for this info. It helps a lot especially to see you got into Bergen at a decent time. On our Viking River cruise a few years ago, we didn't do Viking Air and our flights from Viking were great.

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Sandakan and Raison, I'm so happy that you found my thread informative. There were very few reviews for me when I was doing my planning so I asked many, many questions and just wanted to pay it forward.

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Hi Raison,

Just got back from VK HL April 28 2018. Part of my CrC review of the VK Sky.

Great cruise. Enjoy.

 

VIKING SKY HOMELANDS REVIEW APRIL 28, 2018 VOYAGE

We were 2 couples (65+) on this wonderful cruise. Having 8 countries and 11 cities to visit was amazing. Previously we had been on 3 Viking River Cruises together, so this was our first ocean cruise, All agreed it was a great trip. Viking handled everything from beginning to end perfectly. An amazing itinerary. Great ship, excellent dining, an exceptional crew, a rating of 9.5/10!!

1. PRE CRUISE IDEAS

Do research using Rick Steves “Northern European Cruise Ports”.

Go on line and look at YouTube Videos of all ports and those by Rick Steves.

Search past Cruise Critic postings. Many CC posts contain useful information like a complete set of the Viking Daily for a 2016 Homelands cruise. Some menus have been posted as well.

Lots of good stuff on CC.

2. STUDYING VIKING MATERIALS

Go over the Viking website for information about each port and the various excursions.

Reading the first 40 pages of the big Viking Ocean Brochure helps getting a perspective of the ship and may answer many questions you have. Look at the back pages for the “Deck Plans” to get a feel for where places are located. Helps to have a “heads up” advance to the cruise.

3. If you want to explore beyond the Viking Included Excursions, plan ahead. Cities like Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm, & St. Petersburg have a lot to see.

 

Thanks Bruce,

I have been reading your review and it is very informative. Great tips about booking shore excursions with Viking and doing some places under your own steam. This is what we are aiming to do as well.

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Hi Raison,

Happy to supply info. I did a lot of CC searching/research because

VK Homelands has such a wide ranging itinerary. Also, our first VK Ocean Cruise.

Learned alot and had a great time. Weather was a record warm in May for the Baltic!!

Enjoy,

Bruce B.

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