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Viking Paris to Swiss Alps - Time in Port & Docking Locations


lucky cal
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My mother and I are cruising on Viking's Paris to Swiss Alps itinerary on August 5th. We have taken a number of ocean cruises but this our first river cruise. I tend to be a detailed planner, and two things are driving me crazy. The first is not knowing how long we will be docked in each port. The second is not knowing exactly where we will dock for each location.

 

We have reserved an excursion in each port, but I'd like to know how long we'll be docked. That way I would have a better sense of timing and know if I can/should research and plan any other activities for time on our own.

 

As far as docking location, I'm trying to determine how close we will be to each town. Are we able to walk to and from the ship for free time on our own, and if not, does Viking provide a shuttle into town?

 

I'm sure we will receive more detailed information with our final documents but we won't receive those until 3 weeks before the trip and that's not much time to research and plan.

 

If anyone can shed light on the timing and docking location for the following ports on the Paris to Swiss Alps itinerary, I'd be grateful!

 

Strasbourg

Speyer

Mainz

Koblenz

Cochem

Bernkastel

Trier

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Most of the European rivers are controlled by River authorities, who tell the ships when and where they can berth.  

Even the captain often doesn’t know the day before, especially if high or low water disrupts scheduled timetables.   We sailed last September during the record low water (thankfully we had only minor disruptions) and ships were constantly shuffled to allow tours to disembark and re-board.   

I doubt you will be able to get definite berthing information before your trip.  

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41 minutes ago, Marjan1 said:

Most of the European rivers are controlled by River authorities, who tell the ships when and where they can berth.  

Even the captain often doesn’t know the day before, especially if high or low water disrupts scheduled timetables.   We sailed last September during the record low water (thankfully we had only minor disruptions) and ships were constantly shuffled to allow tours to disembark and re-board.   

I doubt you will be able to get definite berthing information before your trip.  

In addition, times are subject to change as late as the night before, due to traffic at locks (and sometimes water level). You won't get detailed timing in your final documents.

 

This is why, generally, people stick to the included excursions, and research ports where there will be free time so they know what they would like to do when they get the time. I would not recommend booking outside excursions.

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5 hours ago, lucky cal said:

My mother and I are cruising on Viking's Paris to Swiss Alps itinerary on August 5th. We have taken a number of ocean cruises but this our first river cruise. I tend to be a detailed planner, and two things are driving me crazy. The first is not knowing how long we will be docked in each port. The second is not knowing exactly where we will dock for each location.

 

We have reserved an excursion in each port, but I'd like to know how long we'll be docked. That way I would have a better sense of timing and know if I can/should research and plan any other activities for time on our own.

 

As far as docking location, I'm trying to determine how close we will be to each town. Are we able to walk to and from the ship for free time on our own, and if not, does Viking provide a shuttle into town?

 

I'm sure we will receive more detailed information with our final documents but we won't receive those until 3 weeks before the trip and that's not much time to research and plan.

 

If anyone can shed light on the timing and docking location for the following ports on the Paris to Swiss Alps itinerary, I'd be grateful!

 

Strasbourg

Speyer

Mainz

Koblenz

Cochem

Bernkastel

Trier

Totally agree with the other two posts. On the dozens of River Cruises I have done you will not find out details till the night before in your news letter about the following days program. Unfortunately I've even had to put up with a port being skipped because of water or docking difficulties. Some River Cruise lines do have their own Docking stations on some rivers so sometimes you can guarantee where you will be docked but not always.

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Hello lucky cal,

Welcome to the river cruising board. They do say that river cruising is a different kettle of fish from ocean cruising and IMO you can catch a serious case of the overplanning bug with river cruising ☺️. But first, let me recommend the stickies by our host jazzbeau to you where you can find lots of info.

 

Now onto the ports. The previous posters have already explained to you the situation. For your specific ports here are a few pieces of info (in order of appearance on your cruise): Trier is embarkation port most likely unless Viking has changed that to Remich. Close to town and out of town locations are possible. Bernkastel-Kues small place, relatively close but could be on other side of river. Potentially a bit of a walk. Cochem, not sure, but unlikely to be far. Koblenz, own dock on the Rhine, 100m into town. Mainz, potentially close to city centre, two docks available, not sure about walking distances. Speyer, don't know. Strasbourg, definitely out of town as Strasbourg centre is on the Ill, not on the Rhine, dock in Kehl with shuttle provided.

 

Note that this info is based on what past cruisers have reported here on cruisecritic (and what my memory has retained). You can probably find out more in the roll call for this itinerary.

 

With all the variables and short-notice changes I would advice you not to book any activities outside of what Viking offers. Unless it is something you have set your heart on. Then cater for all eventualities and find a good guide with car or a taxi.

 

On a side note, a few companies do publish the planned port times online, but they are always subject to changes at short notice.

 

Past cruisers can give you last year's port times and excursions of course, but note that these may have changed for this year.

 

Have fun planning.

 

notamermaid

 

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On 4/8/2019 at 10:25 PM, lucky cal said:

My mother and I are cruising on Viking's Paris to Swiss Alps itinerary on August 5th. We have taken a number of ocean cruises but this our first river cruise. I tend to be a detailed planner, and two things are driving me crazy. The first is not knowing how long we will be docked in each port. The second is not knowing exactly where we will dock for each location.

 

We have reserved an excursion in each port, but I'd like to know how long we'll be docked. That way I would have a better sense of timing and know if I can/should research and plan any other activities for time on our own.

 

As far as docking location, I'm trying to determine how close we will be to each town. Are we able to walk to and from the ship for free time on our own, and if not, does Viking provide a shuttle into town?

 

I'm sure we will receive more detailed information with our final documents but we won't receive those until 3 weeks before the trip and that's not much time to research and plan.

 

If anyone can shed light on the timing and docking location for the following ports on the Paris to Swiss Alps itinerary, I'd be grateful!

 

Strasbourg

Speyer

Mainz

Koblenz

Cochem

Bernkastel

Trier

Typically Viking only publishes time in port info fo Ocean.  Like you , I try to plan my time in advance.  We are on this itinerary in Nov for the Christmas markets traveling Zur to Par.  You just need to contact a Viking rep and ask for the projected time in port and they will give you the current expected schedule (subject to change based on river conditions.  I Got this info for our cruise no problem.  Good luck - this is a nice trip if you have never been in these towns especially Basel and Strasbourg and of course Paris, our personal favorite city in Europe.

Doug

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1 minute ago, Oldiesfan said:

Typically Viking only publishes time in port info fo Ocean.  Like you , I try to plan my time in advance.  We are on this itinerary in Nov for the Christmas markets traveling Zur to Par.  You just need to contact a Viking rep and ask for the projected time in port and they will give you the current expected schedule (subject to change based on river conditions.  I Got this info for our cruise no problem.  Good luck - this is a nice trip if you have never been in these towns especially Basel and Strasbourg and of course Paris, our personal favorite city in Europe.

Doug

PS - your ship typically will dock right alongside old town making it unnecessary for a shuttle and an easy walk into the village.

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