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Readytogokjs

Viking Ocean Roller Coaster...need help.

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From my experience, there's always one included excursion per port stop - no choice. There's usually a choice of times, and in some cases, a choice of days if the stop is 2 days.

 

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Squawkman has it right, although I should point out that on embarkation and disembarkation days, there usually isn't an included excursion. However, if the ship stays overnight and there's time the 2nd day, Viking usually will offer an included excursion that day. 

 

You may see only one or two times listed for an included excursion, but once on board you'll figure out that while there may only be 5 times listed, there will actually be multiple coaches lined up to take everyone signed up for a particular time.  (As an aside, in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Viking had booked every single available coach - whew!)   All the info you need for the next morning's excursion will be included in the Viking Daily or whatever it's called that you get the evening before. Make sure to note when and where you meet for the tour number on your excursion ticket (example: excursion identifier like LWO 1a).

 

Trust me, I've been on many, many included excursions on Viking Oceans and it has never been a problem getting on one.  Occasionally you'll need to sign up for a late morning or early afternoon tour when you wanted the first one of the morning.   But everyone gets to go.  I often I found the afternoon times had fewer people signed up, which was a plus for me.  Also, I could go out first thing in the morning and explore the port, come back for lunch, and go on the afternoon excursion with much of a whole coach to myself!

 

As for quality, everyone's expectations are different, and so are the tour guides and tour opportunities in each port.  I've generally been pleased with the included tours, but I have no idea if others feel the same way or not. Honestly, my guess is that no cruise line can provide a truly comprehensive, fabulous excursion to 930 cruisers in a big city.  Actually, even in a medium sized city, it may not be possible.  

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Roothy123 gives a very accurate description of the excursions on Viking Oceans. We have completed three cruises, with a mix of included excursions and optional ones. Only once have we used a private company for a shore excursion (Alla Tours for three days in St. Petersburg). We have only experienced two disappointing excursions out of the thirty or so we have taken, and both times it was related to a disappointing guide. Most guides are quite satisfactory, but they only really impact the tour if they are exceptionally good (or bad).  

 

Most included tours are designed as an introduction to an area, not an in depth tour. They can be mostly panoramic bus tours, or walking tours, or a bit of both. The larger the city, the more that becomes true. For cities like Rome, Paris, and Barcelona, a one day, first time visit by cruise ship can only provide a snapshot of the city. In Dubrovnik and Santorini, the included excursions were really exceptional, partly since the locations themselves stole the show. When possible, we use the Viking free shuttles to extend our time in port on our own.

 

Managing your expectations is the key to enjoying the Viking excursions, and I don't mean that in a negative way. Everyone is guaranteed a spot on the included excursion, but not necessarily at the time of your choice. Many people want the early morning time slots, but sometimes the late afternoon ones allow the place you are visiting to be less crowded, after most of the cruise ship passengers have returned to their ships. Sometimes your first choice of an optional excursion may not be available, and a second choice can be just as wonderful. From Koper, Slovenia, we had two excursions we really wanted to do, but could only take one, so we didn't pine over the place we didn't get to see, and enjoyed our selection immensely. From Malaga, if you can't get tickets for the Alhambra, visit the Alcazaba Palace instead. Maybe as a child of the 70's,  the line from the old Steven Stills song stuck in my head: "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with". When we travel,  it works for me!

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Viking offers one included tour in each port. It is different in each port. Sometimes walking, sometimes bus. Quality depends on the quality of the contractors in that port. Tours are usually just a few hours. This is because most people want time to explore on their own or to do an optional tour as well. 

 

You can see what is offered in each port on the Viking website.  On the itinerary page, scroll down to the day by day and click on any day. 

 

There are multiple time slots with multiple buses/walking groups in each time slot. 

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Well folks, I'm trying.  I was able to see an opening or two for things we wanted.  I grabbed them.  Problem now is, it wasn't enough for all 4 of us...so I'm still waiting for tours to "open up".  I haven't heard back from Viking since the first phone call when I was told they would get back to me.  

 

I'm trying very hard to relax about this.  However, I want to purchase tickets to Sagrada Familia and really can't since I don't know what time slot we will all end up in for the included tour.  Currently 2 in one and 2 in another.  (trying to get into the earlier one).  Also still waiting on an opening in a paid tour option (3 of us are in and one still waiting).  Actually, not one tour has all 4 of us in the same time slot.  Disappointed for sure.  Thanks for all your words of encouragement, just not feeling thrilled about this yet.

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Contact the folks at TellUs@vikingcruises.com, explain your problem and ask them if they can get you all on the same tour at the same time. They might not be able to get you the early slot (because everybody wants to be on that one) but they should be able to straighten things out that so you are all on the same tour. Give your booking number and your phone number.

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On 6/24/2019 at 2:33 PM, Readytogokjs said:

Having some ups and downs with Viking Ocean and we haven’t even stepped on the ship yet.  All and any advice is appreciated.  I’m feeling very disappointed at this point.

Currently having an issue with excursions.  I get it, we booked 2 of the least expensive rooms and higher paying cruisers have first options.  What I DIDN’T understand…is that excursions would sell out and I wouldn’t be able to take part.  Not one of the excursions I wanted was available within 15 minutes of the time Viking set for me to book on-line.  I was on at 3:01 as instructed.  Even the included excursions only have late afternoon still open.  (Was hoping to at least have a few morning excursions).  Being a first time cruiser, I thought perhaps I was not understanding, maybe another tour would be added.  So I called customer service.  NOPE.  She told me no seats would become available unless someone else cancelled.  She recommended I keep checking the site for inventory to open up and that they do not have a waiting list.  She then suggested I book my excursions through an outside company.  I have a problem with this.  First and foremost, an outside company doesn’t really care if I make it back to the ship on-time.  Chances are things would be fine.  BUT WHAT IF?  If I was ABLE to book through Viking, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be left behind.  This is part of the reason I wanted to try this type of cruise.  I didn’t want to have to worry about finding reputable companies to book with.  I thought I was getting Viking.

I was also reminded that “next time I cruise with Viking, I should book a step up in the room department for better options”.  This does not sit well with me.  I certainly PAID for what I thought was a cruise with excursions and options and I wonder what other things will not be part of my trip because of my room selection.    

Any suggestions?  ANYONE?

This was not my first bump in the road.  When we received our air information, we had a really long layover.  This was eventually corrected but it was not easy.  I began with the “chat” and was told “nothing we can do”.  I asked if there was anyone else I could talk to and explain the situation…”no”.  I relayed this information to the folks I’m traveling with who had been on a Viking River Cruise before and still had an email of someone who helped them in the past with an error.  GREAT…I emailed her and suddenly, my flight was changed.  I did not receive any return email…but the problem was solved.   My frown turned up-side-down.    A big thank you for that! 

I am not someone who expects everything to be perfect, my group of 4 is very disappointed however.  Any advice is appreciated.  

 

This one is easy. Get yourself a great Travel Agent! Someone you trust. Tell them what you want and they should get it for you within reason. Especially the air situation. 

 

Jim

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Last year ( 2 couples) did a private a private tour, they picked us up at the ship and at the end they dropped us off at the Sagrada Familia they had gotten us tickets for a timed entry for an English speaking guided tour.  While waiting for the time, we had a nice lunch about a block away.  Took a cab back to the ship.  Very easy and solved all of our timing issues 

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