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Viking Homelands - Recommended Excursions?

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48 minutes ago, eyevea said:

Did anyone go to the Fiskars Arts Site from Helsinki?  We'd like to not take the cruise tour.  Has anyone done it independently?  or at all?  Was it worth the trip?

 

Though I did not go, I was going to warn you that where we docked was a way from city center.  In looking into it, it seems that our dock was on the side of the city where you will be heading and their site says you can get there by public transport but it varies by season.  hope you enjoy it.

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On 5/4/2019 at 11:34 AM, eyevea said:

Did anyone go to the Fiskars Arts Site from Helsinki?  We'd like to not take the cruise tour.  Has anyone done it independently?  or at all?  Was it worth the trip?

We took that excursion in 2016 and enjoyed it quite a lot.  It is a unique village and the artist’s work was interesting to see.  Our only regret was the fact that this excursion did not allow us to see the city of Helsinki itself.

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15 minutes ago, molymoo said:

We took that excursion in 2016 and enjoyed it quite a lot.  It is a unique village and the artist’s work was interesting to see.  Our only regret was the fact that this excursion did not allow us to see the city of Helsinki itself.

Thanks.  I saw your comment earlier in this thread.  It's what made me wonder whether it could be done independently.  Has anyone done this trip without the ships excursion?

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Hi All, we are booked on Viking Homelands Bergen to Stockholm this August. For those who recommend taking the Rodne Pulpit Rock excursion (much cheaper) as opposed to the Viking one, my concern has been getting back to ship. I looked at Rodne site and there is a cruise from 10am to 1:00pm. Our ship leaves at 2:00. Is this a concern? Also, did anyone take the Viking excursion, and was that very crowded or did it include anything different? The price difference is considerable!

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18 hours ago, Nursekmr said:

Hi All, we are booked on Viking Homelands Bergen to Stockholm this August. For those who recommend taking the Rodne Pulpit Rock excursion (much cheaper) as opposed to the Viking one, my concern has been getting back to ship. I looked at Rodne site and there is a cruise from 10am to 1:00pm. Our ship leaves at 2:00. Is this a concern? Also, did anyone take the Viking excursion, and was that very crowded or did it include anything different? The price difference is considerable!

Viking excursion includes a lame snack.  Not worth it.
Rodne is docked right at the Viking ship's bow.  Could not be closer.  Not a 5 minute walk away.

True, if Rodne's ship breaks down and you come back hours later, Viking will have sailed without you.  I did private in St Pete Russia knowing that if we got back hours late, I'd take the hydrofoil to Helsinki.

 

Edited by philw1776

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Thanks for the response re: Pulpit Rock.

Another question: did anyone take the Viking included tour of a train ride to Berlin? If you did, did you also go on the 90 minute panoramic motorcoach ride? Was it good or just too much time on the bus with little chance to get off? We have been planning to take the train and then hire a private tour guide; hadn't realized that Viking includes this panoramic ride with the train. Thanks for whatever advice you have on this.

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On ‎4‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 7:23 PM, Ienjoycruising said:

WE are starting on Oslo and taking the train to Bergen to begin our Homelands cruise.  Do you recommend that we also take the Flamsbana train ride when we are in Eidfjord?  Are the 2 train rides so different that you recommend us to take both?  Thanks.  I have made notes while scrolling such informative info on the excursions for Homelands.

Here's a review I did with daily excursions taken. Great trip.

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.

 

4. Some of the day by day things we did. Day   Date   Description   Port Arrival   Port Depart 

FRI APR 27, 2018 Depart Newark, NJ (EWR) – Economy  -SAT APR 28, 2018 Arrive Bergen, Norway (BGO) SAT @ 11:30 a.m. arrive on Viking Sky Veranda - 3088

SUN APR 29, 2018 Bergen, Norway 07:00 PM  If the first day is clear (we had a lot of rain) walk into town and do the funicular ride up Mount Floyen. Spectacular views. Return by 30-40 minute hike down or get the round trip (senior) tickets (one way was $6.50 pp). Day 2, we did the included bus tour, funicular, walk around town.  

MON APR 30, 2018 Eidfjord, Norway 07:00 AM 07:00 PM Took the pricey “Scenic Flam Railway” excursion. DO IT. It one of best “once in lifetime” excursions. Includes a nice buffet lunch at the STALHEIM hotel. The view out the back was spectacular.

TUE MAY 01, 2018 Stavanger, Norway 08:00 AM 02:00 PM A nice walking tour with an amazing museum to visit. 

WED MAY 02, 2018 Alborg, Denmark 12:30 PM 08:00  pm  A nice walking tour.  

THU MAY 03, 2018 At Sea 01:00 At Sea 11:00 PM  Copenhagen, Denmark 08:30 AM 09:00 PM  --Skipped the included tour. Did our own thing. Left as soon as possible (8 a.m.) and followed the walking tour route into Copenhagen past the Little Mermaid, and various sights, Palace, Castle, etc. Did the Rick Steves recommended 1 hour Netto Boat tour from Nyhavn. Shuttle bus back to boat for lunch. Quick out to shuttle bus back to town. Walked along the famous Stroget, longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. Got to City Hall and Tivoli. Shuttle bus back to ship by 6 p.m.  

FRI MAY 04, 2018 Berlin, Germany 06:00 AM 06:30 PM  In Berlin we did our own thing. Viking does a great train ride in and out to Berlin. It includes a 1.5 hr or so bus tour. We skipped it having done it another time with Viking. Instead, from the arrival train station we took the S-Bahn metro towards the Reichstag. Walked along the Spree River to get there. Had reservations for a public free audio tour of the Reichstag Dome. (Do Dome reservations online). Picnic lunch in the park. Short walk to the Brandenbugh Gate. Long walk along the Unter Den Linden, then to the return Viking bus located outside the Hilton Hotel by far end of the Gendarmenmarkt. While waiting to load the return buses to the train, at the nearby Dom Curry, try the local Curry Wurst Sausage with a side of excellent sweet potato fries plus a roll (7.40 euros). 

SAT MAY 05, 2018 Gdansk, Poland 01:00 AM 10:00 PM Did the 3.5 hour walking tour. A total gem and surprise of a city (once known as Danzig).  

SUN MAY 06, 2018 At Sea

MON MAY 07, 2018 Tallinn, Estonia 07:00 AM 03:00 PM  A 2 mile 2 hour walking tour. Again a total surprise and gem of a medieval town. The harder walk was really easy.  

TUE MAY 08, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 07:00 AM & WED MAY 09, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 06:00 PM --Did a 2 day customized private tour with SPB TOURS. Got to see the Impressionists Collection now housed in the new location-General Staff Building. Had a Metro ride and everything else you should see. Great and exciting tour. A+  

THU MAY 10, 2018 Helsinki, Finland 07:00 AM 04:00 PM -Did the 8a.m. 3 hour bus tour. Got back for shipboard lunch. Took the shuttle back in and walked all around. Up and down the Esplanade and Markets. Shuttle bus back to ship by 3:30 p.m.. 

FRI MAY 11, 2018 Stockholm, Sweden 09:00 AM-Up at 5 a.m. for the entrance into Stockholm. The islands going in are a sight to see. Viewing on deck 3 forward, decks 7 or 8, or your veranda. Wow!! Got the first 2 hour bus tour out. Stayed in town to walk around Gamla Stan (old town). Visited two key places. A tour of the City Hall and then a long walk to the Vasa Museum. Shuttle bus back by 6 p.m. A long day. 

SAT MAY 12, 2018 Depart Stockholm, Sweden (ARN)  -SAT MAY 12, 2018 Arrive Newark, NJ (EWR) 

5. Some tips-things we learned  ---Being in the lower Veranda Deck cabin meant we had the last choice for selecting Included Excursions. Knowing this I got on-line at 3 a.m. EST when the day arrived for us to book the Included Excursions. In the big cities we wanted the earliest time slots. Many were “Sold Out”. Some we got the first time slots out.  Others a little later. Stockholm had no early time slots available. I contacted Viking about my issues. Viking indicated  that as we got closer to the cruise, there could be more slots available as well as people canceling. To some extant this did happen. In particular Stockholm, Viking added a whole new list of time slots.  TIP- Check every day for included excursion openings and changes.  

DINNER RESERVATIONS AT SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS. Our cabin V-2 Veranda did not have pre-cruise reservations.On board the first night we did make reservations for Manfredi’s and the Chef’s Table in person at the front desk of the World Café. Better yet, use the on screen capability in your cabin to make reservations. It also gives the daily menus for all dining venues. We had 2 visits to each specialty restaurants. There were a number of tables that never got occupied. Suggest you go directly to the venue you want and see if they will seat you.

Dining- You will not go hungry on this cruise. The World Café (deck) is causal and buffet. The wait staff supply drinks and table clearing. Always there. The Restaurant is a fixed menu with a more formal sit down service. The selection of entrees at dinner from the World Café is large. It also has a nice Sushi selection, good size shrimp and crabs legs. You will see all this when you get there. It’s all very good. Recommend Chef’s Table the “Asian Panorama” menu. At Manfredi’s try the bistecca fiorentina-rib eye steak.  

ENJOY AND HAVE FUN 

P.S. A tip on “tipping” --There’s always discussion on tipping for this cruise. Here’s what we found out. Tipping for tour guides & bus driver. Used Euros in euro countries. Germany, Estonia, Finland. PP 2€ tour guide 1€ Driver.  In non Euro countries. Used per couple $5 tour guide, $3 driver.  No one complaints. In non euro Countries guide/ driver took tips in € or $. Have a great trip.

 

 

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I have another question for those of you who have taken the Viking train and bus tour. As far as the bus tour part, are you able to tell me what you saw on the bus tour? And where did the bus stop? Did you feel you saw enough of the main sites or would you go back to them if possible during free time? We are contemplating a private guide tour during free time but wondering what is already sufficiently covered as we don't want to redo those sites in the short time we have. Thanks much.

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2 hours ago, BruceB NYC said:

Here's a review I did with daily excursions taken. Great trip.

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.

 

4. Some of the day by day things we did. Day   Date   Description   Port Arrival   Port Depart 

 

FRI APR 27, 2018 Depart Newark, NJ (EWR) – Economy  -SAT APR 28, 2018 Arrive Bergen, Norway (BGO) SAT @ 11:30 a.m. arrive on Viking Sky Veranda - 3088

 

SUN APR 29, 2018 Bergen, Norway 07:00 PM  If the first day is clear (we had a lot of rain) walk into town and do the funicular ride up Mount Floyen. Spectacular views. Return by 30-40 minute hike down or get the round trip (senior) tickets (one way was $6.50 pp). Day 2, we did the included bus tour, funicular, walk around town.  

 

MON APR 30, 2018 Eidfjord, Norway 07:00 AM 07:00 PM Took the pricey “Scenic Flam Railway” excursion. DO IT. It one of best “once in lifetime” excursions. Includes a nice buffet lunch at the STALHEIM hotel. The view out the back was spectacular.

 

TUE MAY 01, 2018 Stavanger, Norway 08:00 AM 02:00 PM A nice walking tour with an amazing museum to visit. 

 

WED MAY 02, 2018 Alborg, Denmark 12:30 PM 08:00  pm  A nice walking tour.  

 

THU MAY 03, 2018 At Sea 01:00 At Sea 11:00 PM  Copenhagen, Denmark 08:30 AM 09:00 PM  --Skipped the included tour. Did our own thing. Left as soon as possible (8 a.m.) and followed the walking tour route into Copenhagen past the Little Mermaid, and various sights, Palace, Castle, etc. Did the Rick Steves recommended 1 hour Netto Boat tour from Nyhavn. Shuttle bus back to boat for lunch. Quick out to shuttle bus back to town. Walked along the famous Stroget, longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. Got to City Hall and Tivoli. Shuttle bus back to ship by 6 p.m.  

 

FRI MAY 04, 2018 Berlin, Germany 06:00 AM 06:30 PM  In Berlin we did our own thing. Viking does a great train ride in and out to Berlin. It includes a 1.5 hr or so bus tour. We skipped it having done it another time with Viking. Instead, from the arrival train station we took the S-Bahn metro towards the Reichstag. Walked along the Spree River to get there. Had reservations for a public free audio tour of the Reichstag Dome. (Do Dome reservations online). Picnic lunch in the park. Short walk to the Brandenbugh Gate. Long walk along the Unter Den Linden, then to the return Viking bus located outside the Hilton Hotel by far end of the Gendarmenmarkt. While waiting to load the return buses to the train, at the nearby Dom Curry, try the local Curry Wurst Sausage with a side of excellent sweet potato fries plus a roll (7.40 euros). 

 

SAT MAY 05, 2018 Gdansk, Poland 01:00 AM 10:00 PM Did the 3.5 hour walking tour. A total gem and surprise of a city (once known as Danzig).  

 

SUN MAY 06, 2018 At Sea

 

MON MAY 07, 2018 Tallinn, Estonia 07:00 AM 03:00 PM  A 2 mile 2 hour walking tour. Again a total surprise and gem of a medieval town. The harder walk was really easy.  

 

TUE MAY 08, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 07:00 AM & WED MAY 09, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 06:00 PM --Did a 2 day customized private tour with SPB TOURS. Got to see the Impressionists Collection now housed in the new location-General Staff Building. Had a Metro ride and everything else you should see. Great and exciting tour. A+  

 

THU MAY 10, 2018 Helsinki, Finland 07:00 AM 04:00 PM -Did the 8a.m. 3 hour bus tour. Got back for shipboard lunch. Took the shuttle back in and walked all around. Up and down the Esplanade and Markets. Shuttle bus back to ship by 3:30 p.m.. 

 

FRI MAY 11, 2018 Stockholm, Sweden 09:00 AM-Up at 5 a.m. for the entrance into Stockholm. The islands going in are a sight to see. Viewing on deck 3 forward, decks 7 or 8, or your veranda. Wow!! Got the first 2 hour bus tour out. Stayed in town to walk around Gamla Stan (old town). Visited two key places. A tour of the City Hall and then a long walk to the Vasa Museum. Shuttle bus back by 6 p.m. A long day. 

 

SAT MAY 12, 2018 Depart Stockholm, Sweden (ARN)  -SAT MAY 12, 2018 Arrive Newark, NJ (EWR) 

 

5. Some tips-things we learned  ---Being in the lower Veranda Deck cabin meant we had the last choice for selecting Included Excursions. Knowing this I got on-line at 3 a.m. EST when the day arrived for us to book the Included Excursions. In the big cities we wanted the earliest time slots. Many were “Sold Out”. Some we got the first time slots out.  Others a little later. Stockholm had no early time slots available. I contacted Viking about my issues. Viking indicated  that as we got closer to the cruise, there could be more slots available as well as people canceling. To some extant this did happen. In particular Stockholm, Viking added a whole new list of time slots.  TIP- Check every day for included excursion openings and changes.  

 

DINNER RESERVATIONS AT SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS. Our cabin V-2 Veranda did not have pre-cruise reservations.On board the first night we did make reservations for Manfredi’s and the Chef’s Table in person at the front desk of the World Café. Better yet, use the on screen capability in your cabin to make reservations. It also gives the daily menus for all dining venues. We had 2 visits to each specialty restaurants. There were a number of tables that never got occupied. Suggest you go directly to the venue you want and see if they will seat you.

 

Dining- You will not go hungry on this cruise. The World Café (deck) is causal and buffet. The wait staff supply drinks and table clearing. Always there. The Restaurant is a fixed menu with a more formal sit down service. The selection of entrees at dinner from the World Café is large. It also has a nice Sushi selection, good size shrimp and crabs legs. You will see all this when you get there. It’s all very good. Recommend Chef’s Table the “Asian Panorama” menu. At Manfredi’s try the bistecca fiorentina-rib eye steak.  

 

ENJOY AND HAVE FUN 

P.S. A tip on “tipping” --There’s always discussion on tipping for this cruise. Here’s what we found out. Tipping for tour guides & bus driver. Used Euros in euro countries. Germany, Estonia, Finland. PP 2€ tour guide 1€ Driver.  In non Euro countries. Used per couple $5 tour guide, $3 driver.  No one complaints. In non euro Countries guide/ driver took tips in € or $. Have a great trip.

 

 

 

 

outstanding, very helpful review, thanks loads

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ienjoycruising said:

Thanks for all the great reviews and suggestions! 

A good resource for port information is TOMS PORT GUIDES. Google and look for ports on your cruises.

For Viking HL there is a guide for Bergen and one for Copenhagen. His guides have many maps and usually

a walking tour. Enjoy.

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Here's another thumbs up for Tom's Port Guides---we've used them extensively and they're very helpful

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We are going on the Homelands trip later this summer.  Would like some information about what folks did in Stockholm and Bergen because we have extensions to our cruise in both cities.  We are not "foodies," so we don't want to spend priceless time eating when you could be seeing historic sights.  We enjoy learning from a museum, but don't enjoy spending lots of our time inside a museum.  Also would like to know if anyone has visited the Stutthof Concentration Camp instead of a Gdansk tour.  Thanks in advance for any information.

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We went to the Stutthof Concentration camp.  It was very good.  Sad and sobering, but we learned a lot and somehow it was about being witness to a very sad time in our history.

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We also visited Stutthof - as mentioned, very sobering experience, and one I would recommend.  Gives a different perspective on the concentration camps during WWII - Many Americans believe it was simply the Jews that were taken to the camps - however   Norwegian police officers and soldiers were sent as prisoners to Stuffhoff during and after the German invasion of Norway. 

 

if you visit the Resistance Museum in Oslo, their exhibits also discuss the role of the Stutthof camp in Norway's WWII history. 

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