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Review: Viking Sky, Trade Routes of the Middle Ages

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lackcreativity:  Thanks for your responses.  We've done the Honfleur tour on a Viking River boat years ago.....agree its a quaint place worth seeing  We'll do Bruges on our own, too.  Been there but not long enough for either of us.  We are looking forward to re-visiting and exploring new places

 

Nasty weather can really dampen the experiences!  On our Barcelona to Venice cruise, it poured rain every day after Rome...Venice had snow flurries on our way to airport!  March 2018 

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Thanks so much for the reviews.  We recently booked this cruise for Sept of 2020 - so I have a long wait.  I'm beginning my research of the ports and the possible excursions.

We are doing the reverse - Bergen to Barcelona with the Viking extension in Oslo.  We usually do extensions on our own, but with the train and all, we figured it would be more relaxing to just let Viking handle it all.

I'm surprised at the reactions to Amsterdam - it's one of our favorite cities.  I don't know what area you were in but we pretty much walked all over except for the Red Light district and didn't encounter anything like that.  We have been there 3 times now - twice recently and once a long time ago.  The last 2 times we stayed at The Toren near the Anne Frank House and the Westerkirk once pre and once post a Viking River cruise.  We just loved it.  I don't know where Viking goes on their walking tour, but I'm sure we will just hop the tram near the port and go off on our own.

I'm torn about Paris.  I've never been and I'd hate to be that close and not go - but Monet's Gardens are also on my list of places to see before I die :classic_biggrin:  The photos look so lovely!  I have a lot of time to decide.

We saw an optional excursion in Portsmouth that includes a steam train ride.  We are both train buffs so we want to do that one.  I hope it's offered.  I also want to go to Cornwall.  For some reason it fascinates me.  It seems like such a magical place.

So thanks again!  I have awhile to plan my cruise, so this helps!

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After Bergen (Viking into the Midnight sun 2016) we did the rail trip and spent 4 days touring on our own in Oslo  Loved it.  I arranged all our (Oslo) transportation with Viator and never had a problem,  We joked we did "planes, trains, and boats" to get around.  It's a wonderful city to explore!  We stayed in the Thron Hotel just across from the opera house and very close to the rail station so we easily dragged suitcases to and from hotel.  The train goes to the airport from the hotel.

 

Monet's Gardens are incredible,  not crowded early (Viking does get their groups out before the crowds!)  Our day was a little overcase, but every picture came out beautifully.  Well worth the tour.....Enjoy!

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Thanks very much for the review and comments.  We are contemplating this cruise on October 6.  We have 24 hours to confirm, and your reviews have helped make up our minds.

Side note:  I believe we will be on Viking Jupiter which is the same ship we will be on from Santiago to Buenos Aires in December.  We were on Viking Star in October and again in December.  It was wonderful to see many of the same staff.  We were lucky enough to even be in the same cabin, 8019, with the same steward, Ang!  It felt like a family reunion - in a good way!  

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On 1/9/2019 at 11:38 AM, Cyber Kat said:

Thanks so much for the reviews.  We recently booked this cruise for Sept of 2020 - so I have a long wait.  I'm beginning my research of the ports and the possible excursions.

We are doing the reverse - Bergen to Barcelona with the Viking extension in Oslo.  We usually do extensions on our own, but with the train and all, we figured it would be more relaxing to just let Viking handle it all.

I'm surprised at the reactions to Amsterdam - it's one of our favorite cities.  I don't know what area you were in but we pretty much walked all over except for the Red Light district and didn't encounter anything like that.  We have been there 3 times now - twice recently and once a long time ago.  The last 2 times we stayed at The Toren near the Anne Frank House and the Westerkirk once pre and once post a Viking River cruise.  We just loved it.  I don't know where Viking goes on their walking tour, but I'm sure we will just hop the tram near the port and go off on our own.

I'm torn about Paris.  I've never been and I'd hate to be that close and not go - but Monet's Gardens are also on my list of places to see before I die :classic_biggrin:  The photos look so lovely!  I have a lot of time to decide.

We saw an optional excursion in Portsmouth that includes a steam train ride.  We are both train buffs so we want to do that one.  I hope it's offered.  I also want to go to Cornwall.  For some reason it fascinates me.  It seems like such a magical place.

So thanks again!  I have awhile to plan my cruise, so this helps!

We sail on the Jupiter in April... That excursion was shown for us also.When it came time to book it was NOT on the available excursions to book. Have a back-up just in case.

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13 hours ago, HockeyMom44 said:

We sail on the Jupiter in April... That excursion was shown for us also.When it came time to book it was NOT on the available excursions to book. Have a back-up just in case.

 

Which excursion wasn’t available - the train in Portsmouth, the one to Cornwall or Monet’s Gardens?

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4 hours ago, Cyber Kat said:

 

Which excursion wasn’t available - the train in Portsmouth, the one to Cornwall or Monet’s Gardens?

 

On April's  "Along Europe's Western Coast" cruise, there is no train to Cornwall excursion offered in Portsmouth. The Monet's Gardens excursion is available in "Paris."

 

The offered Portsmouth excursions are a follows:

  • Panoramic Portsmouth
  • Bombay Sapphire & Laverstoke Mill
  • Historic Winchester & Its Glorious Cathedral
  • Mystic Stonehenge
  • Beaulieu, National Motor Museum & New Forest
  • Arundel Castle
  • Panoramic London
  • Kayaking on the Beaulieu River
  • Windsor Castle & Eton
  • Exbury Gardens & Lyndhurst
  • Salisbury & Stonehenge

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18 hours ago, OneSixtyToOne said:

 

On April's  "Along Europe's Western Coast" cruise, there is no train to Cornwall excursion offered in Portsmouth. The Monet's Gardens excursion is available in "Paris."

 

The offered Portsmouth excursions are a follows:

  • Panoramic Portsmouth
  • Bombay Sapphire & Laverstoke Mill
  • Historic Winchester & Its Glorious Cathedral
  • Mystic Stonehenge
  • Beaulieu, National Motor Museum & New Forest
  • Arundel Castle
  • Panoramic London
  • Kayaking on the Beaulieu River
  • Windsor Castle & Eton
  • Exbury Gardens & Lyndhurst
  • Salisbury & Stonehenge

 

Thanks, but the train and Cornwall were separate. It wasn’t a train to Cornwall.  The train ride I saw was in Portsmouth and the trip to Cornwall was from Portsmouth. Our cruise is still a long way off so I will play it by ear. Who knows what they will come up with. The Windsor excursion sounds like a possibility. We enjoyed it the last time we were there. Or maybe we will just do the Victory and have some fish and chips along the waterfront. 

 

Glad to hear Monet’s Gardens was available from Le Havre. 

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4 hours ago, Cyber Kat said:

 

Thanks, but the train and Cornwall were separate. It wasn’t a train to Cornwall.  The train ride I saw was in Portsmouth and the trip to Cornwall was from Portsmouth. Our cruise is still a long way off so I will play it by ear. Who knows what they will come up with. The Windsor excursion sounds like a possibility. We enjoyed it the last time we were there. Or maybe we will just do the Victory and have some fish and chips along the waterfront. 

 

Glad to hear Monet’s Gardens was available from Le Havre. 

We sailed the Trade Routes of the Middle Ages in October, and it seems the shore excursions do change over time. Our included excursion in Portsmouth was a visit to the Naval Dockyards, which we found very interesting, but now it is a Panoramic tour of the city. When we booked the trip, Bruges was the included tour from Zeebruges, but within days of booking it was replaced with a visit to Knokke. I do recall seeing a steam train from Portsmouth, but it doesn't appear now.

 

LeHavre is a difficult choice. We did Honfleur, and loved it,  but were also very tempted by Monet's Garden. We passed on Paris because we have been before, but probably would have gone otherwise. It's not an ideal way to see such a beautiful city, but since you never know what the future may hold I would have not wanted to pass up the chance.

 

Falmouth was a port I was looking forward to very much, with the chance to see Cornwall (and maybe catch a glimpse of Ross Poldark 😉), but alas bad weather closed the port and we missed that stop. It pays to be flexible when travelling, because glitches do occur, but even with the bad weather it was still a great trip. Bruges lived up to our expectations, and Malaga was an unexpected delight.

 

Have fun planning, followed by a great cruise!

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22 minutes ago, lackcreativity said:

Falmouth was a port I was looking forward to very much, with the chance to see Cornwall (and maybe catch a glimpse of Ross Poldark 😉), but alas bad weather closed the port and we missed that stop.

 

They are now offering a Picturesque Poldark Tour:

Follow in Winston Graham's footsteps, and experience the St. Agnes landscape that inspired his 13 Poldark novels. A brooding drama set in 18th-century Cornwall, Poldark is a popular television series based on the novels by Winston Graham. You will have the opportunity to visit the places that inspired the author, and locations where the Poldark TV series was filmed. Much of the action in Poldark takes place against the backdrop of Cornwall’s breathtaking and rocky coastline. You will visit Portreath, which was once a busy port, importing coal and exporting copper. Then, you will travel to St. Agnes Beacon, where Ross Poldark famously galloped across the cliffs on his horse, and to St. Agnes Head, which was used to represent Nampara Valley—part of the Poldark family estate. You will then continue on to visit the seaside town of Perranporth, where author Winston Graham lived and the Poldark story began.

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20 hours ago, lackcreativity said:

We sailed the Trade Routes of the Middle Ages in October, and it seems the shore excursions do change over time. Our included excursion in Portsmouth was a visit to the Naval Dockyards, which we found very interesting, but now it is a Panoramic tour of the city. When we booked the trip, Bruges was the included tour from Zeebruges, but within days of booking it was replaced with a visit to Knokke. I do recall seeing a steam train from Portsmouth, but it doesn't appear now.

 

LeHavre is a difficult choice. We did Honfleur, and loved it,  but were also very tempted by Monet's Garden. We passed on Paris because we have been before, but probably would have gone otherwise. It's not an ideal way to see such a beautiful city, but since you never know what the future may hold I would have not wanted to pass up the chance.

 

Falmouth was a port I was looking forward to very much, with the chance to see Cornwall (and maybe catch a glimpse of Ross Poldark 😉), but alas bad weather closed the port and we missed that stop. It pays to be flexible when travelling, because glitches do occur, but even with the bad weather it was still a great trip. Bruges lived up to our expectations, and Malaga was an unexpected delight.

 

Have fun planning, followed by a great cruise!

 

True about flexible. It’s a long way off, and I’m mostly speculating at this point. We had a tour I had booked disappear from our river cruise. When I called Viking, they couldn’t explain. It wasn’t sold out and they assured me I was still booked. It was fine when we got there and we had a wonderful time. 

 

I’m tempted by Paris and the “you never know factor,”. But Monet’s Gardens is also on my bucket list. As is the Paris to the Swiss Alps river cruise, so I guess I will just see what the future brings. 

 

I’ve heard that Falmouth is an often missed port because of weather issues, so I guess I’ll see about that as well. 15 days on the Viking Sky works for me. I would do London out of Portsmouth if there was time to ride the Eye, or I could just contact all my English cousins and have a family reunion at a pub. They all live in southern England.  

 

No matter what happens I plan to have a wonderful trip. We have 3 other cruises booked, so I consider myself very fortunate!

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Cyber Kat,

We have Paris to the Swiss Alps booked for next spring, and I am already debating whether to go to Versailles or Monet's Gardens.  But first, Russia and the Baltic Sea next month. In between I am contemplating what to do in 2021: South of France by river? new Greek Odyssey by ocean? Italian Sojourn?

 

We are indeed lucky to have these opportunities, and I never forget that.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Cyber Kat said:

I’m tempted by Paris and the “you never know factor,”. But Monet’s Gardens is also on my bucket list. As is the Paris to the Swiss Alps river cruise, so I guess I will just see what the future brings. 

 

We took the the Paris to the Swiss Alps VRC (reverse direction) last June and it was marvelous. Make sure you take the Switzerland extension. Zermatt is beautiful, as is the ride on the Glacier Express, not to mention wine tasting on the banks of Lake Geneva. :classic_biggrin:

 

Photo taken from the Glacier Express:

IMG_4809.jpg

Edited by OneSixtyToOne

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17 hours ago, OneSixtyToOne said:

 

We took the the Paris to the Swiss Alps VRC (reverse direction) last June and it was marvelous. Make sure you take the Switzerland extension. Zermatt is beautiful, as is the ride on the Glacier Express, not to mention wine tasting on the banks of Lake Geneva. :classic_biggrin:

 

Photo taken from the Glacier Express:

IMG_4809.jpg

 

Thanks!  We did the Lucerne extension on our Rhine Getaway and we loved Switzerland, so I would love to go back.  Everyone raves about Zermatt and the Glacier Express. 

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On 1/8/2019 at 7:16 PM, JJean said:

Enjoyed your review.  We are doing this cruise in April.

So are we!  Looks like no one has started a thread for that sailing yet, so I just did.

Head over here as you please:

Cheers,

Bob

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On 5/15/2018 at 1:37 PM, Twitchly said:

Warning: wordy post follows. Will attach photos later.

 

 

Thank you very much for this review.  Appreciate it!

 

Cheers,

Bob

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Glad folks are finding that horribly long review useful! It was fun to re-read it today (nearly a year later!) and remember our wonderful trip.

 

For those considering Monet’s Gardens, I would suggest checking out what will be blooming during the time you visit. I imagine it can look quite different depending on the time of year, which might help you make your decision. 

 

Our next overseas trip is coming up in about 6 weeks — Israel! Not a cruise this time, more’s the pity. Those cruise vacations really spoil you, don’t they?

 

Happy travels!

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