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No information on Madrid pre-cruise guided tour

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We will be spending two days in Madrid ahead of Iconic Western Mediterranean cruise in late October.  A month ago, I called Viking to ask if tours are available and was told they are included and I would receive an email about them.  I received travel documents on Saturday, which gave hotel information for Madrid pre-cruise days, but nothing about included tours.  So I called Viking again today to see if I would still be getting an email.  Nope!  I was told there would be a walking/driven around tour on day 2, but nothing on Day 1.  How will we know when/where to meet guide on day 2?  Evidently, we will find out when picked up at airport!  What if we plan activities on our own for day 1 that we repeat with the Viking guide on day 2?  Is this how pre-cruise days are typically communicated by Viking?

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2 hours ago, bap said:

How will we know when/where to meet guide on day 2?  

 

On Day 1, you will be told when and where to meet (usually in the lobby). There should be a Viking rep in the hotel when you arrive to guide you through check in.

 

I just read the description of the included tour. Very vague but it does seem to include the areas that I think are the highlights of the city (Royal Palace and then the old heart of the city.

 

Write to the folks at tellus@vikingcruises.com (include your name and booking number). Ask them for details of that tour. Particular, I think you want to know the following:

 

  • how long is this tour?
  • where does the bus drop you to start the walking portion of the tour (you already know that it ends at the Prado Museum)?
  • what is the walking route or at least what are the highlights of the walking tour (with that info, you can kind of figure out what the route is)?
  • How much time will you have in the Prado?
  • Lunch is not included in the tour but if it goes through the lunch hour, you might want to know if there will be a lunch break

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“I just read the description of the included tour. Very vague but it does seem to include the areas that I think are the highlights of the city (Royal Palace and then the old heart of the city.”

 

Thanks so much for your suggestions!  May I ask where you read the description of the included tour? 

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39 minutes ago, bap said:

 

“I just read the description of the included tour. Very vague but it does seem to include the areas that I think are the highlights of the city (Royal Palace and then the old heart of the city.”

 

Thanks so much for your suggestions!  May I ask where you read the description of the included tour? 

From the itinerary, scroll down to view the Madrid pre excursion. Here is the link.

 

https://www.vikingcruisescanada.com/oceans/cruise-destinations/western-mediterranean/iconic-western-mediterranean/index.html#modal/10108531634

 

Edited by Heidi13

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We were on the Western Mediterranean reposition cruise and opted for the pre-Madrid portion. Viking met us at the airport and transported us to the hotel. After breakfast on the second day, we took the bus trip and walking tour. I opted for the leg to the Prado and enjoyed the quick tour there (it was raining so the museum was packed with visitors). Some opted to remain at the Prado for a longer visit and made their way back to the hotel via taxi or walking. I returned on the Viking bus. On the third day we had breakfast and Viking transported us to the train station where we got on the high speed train to Barcelona. Fantastic ride! When we arrived there we were transported directly to the ship with minimal viewing of the city. Viking took care of our luggage after we left the hotel and we didn't see it in our stateroom until later in the afternoon. If your comfortable with making your own travel and hotel arrangements, you could save some $$$; however, we found them to be very helpful. I believe the Madrid hotel was the Intercontinental.

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Did a pre cruise extension to Madrid last year in conjunction with a river cruise on the Douro.   The included Madrid tour is a solid bus ride/walking tour seeing the highlights of the city and finishing at the Prado (good visit of the museum highlights).   You can return to the hotel with the  bus or stay at the museum.  We did the latter and walked a short distance for lunch and a visit to the Reina Sofia museum (where Picasso's Guernica is exhibited).   We purchased tix (senior citizen discount) for the Reina Sofia online before leaving the US.   We then walked across the street to the Botanical Gardens and returned to the hotel by taxi (under $10 for 4 pax).  

 

On the next day, we took the optional tour ($$) to Toledo - the guide was fine, but we skipped several of what I think are the highlights of this El Greco city.   I have been on business to Madrid several times and to Toledo on my own (train from Madrid) but my traveling companions had not been to Spain before.   I don't believe there was a free tour offered on this day.. 

 

The hotel we stayed at was first class and easily walkable to the 5th Ave type  shopping street of Madrid (Calle Serrano) and Plaza Colon (natural history museum and interesting Columbus sculptures).  Coming from the states, we arrived in Madrid early in the morning and couldn't check in, so we took a taxi to the center of the city (Plaza Mayor) which has restaurants and a great food market (stalls selllng everthing from fish to wine to veggies).  We had tapas at 11am.   You can take the easy to use Madrid metro instead of taxi, but for the 4 of us, the taxi was more convenient.

 

Hope the above helped.

 

Eastporter

 

 

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1 hour ago, Eastporter said:

Did a pre cruise extension to Madrid last year in conjunction with a river cruise on the Douro.   The included Madrid tour is a solid bus ride/walking tour seeing the highlights of the city and finishing at the Prado (good visit of the museum highlights). 

 

Do you remember where it was that the bus dropped you to start the walking portion of the tour? How long was the tour?

 

Both the Prado and the Reina Sofia are have nice cafes.

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My error earlier - the Douro cruise and the Madrid pre extension was this past Spring (2019) - May/June, not last year.  

 

The included bus tour of Madrid stopped at 2-3 locations (Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace) and we disembarked for short (20-30 min) guided walks at each site after which we returned to the bus.   It's too far (and hilly) to walk between sites.  The guided walks included some time in the Plaza Mayor market as well and were well worth the time investment.  The bus tour ran from maybe 8:30am to 11am excluding the time in the Prado.  The (for us) bus tour finished at the Prado where we had a 45 min or so tour of the highlights of the museum, after which we left the tour and the bus returned to the hotel.   The Reina Sofia is maybe a 15 min walk from the Prado and there are numerous restaurants on the side streets.  The Botanical Gardens are next to the Prado and across the main boulevard from the Reina Sofia.   The Gardens are a deal.   Senior Citizen pricing was less than a Euro per person and there is a nice cafe/bar in the Gardens.   

 

The Viking hotel was the Madrid Intercontinental which is on the main (maybe 6-8 lane) boulevard that runs straight to the Prado  (~ 2/3 miles away) and ends at the main train station.  The boulevard changes its name along the way but i's always called Paseo xxxxxxx.   The Intercontinental is an IHG hotel and I got a free upgrade by showing my membership card. 

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The hotel is on Paseo de la Castellana (not far from the American Embassy), which becomes Paseo de Recoletos and then Paseo del Prado. It is a 3km walk from the hotel to the museum.  The hotel, however, is around the corner from Museo de Sorolla. It is one of my favorite haunts in Madrid. If nothing else it gives you the chance to see the interior of a late 19th-early 20th century home --and art studio --and it is close to the hotel. 

 

image.png.ea9e305566d7247bbe5f89240fd0e707.pngimage.png.776c6056c4ee128760618b32cb668189.png

 

 

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I have to say that Viking could improve in this area.  We are also doing the Madrid extension and I had to call Viking to get some more details.  I am sure that it will be well organized but we are meeting up with others in our party both in Madrid and Barcelona and needed some times so that we can reserve dinners etc.  We now have train times and information and learns that the city tour is the second day, however all we had on our Viking documentation was the Hotel Intercontinental.

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