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A day in Tuscany - Viking Ocean Excursion


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We are booked on the Viking Iconic Western Mediterrean this November - we booked our excursions and having second thoughts on " A Day in Tuscany"  - it's not sold out, and it's a bit costly - just wondering if anyone has done this and if it's worth the money ? 

Thanks again

Helene

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You don't mention the cost, but the better private tour operators currently charge €650 for an eight person van for a comparable tour.  That comes to €81.25 per person.  How does that compare with what Viking is charging?

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You don't mention the cost, but the better private tour operators currently charge €650 for an eight person van for a comparable tour.  That comes to €81.25 per person.  How does that compare with what Viking is charging?
Only the most insignificant Viking optional excursions would be less than that (pp). And they'd be on 40-pax busses.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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There are a few variables to consider. Is the savings really worth the risk? You’ll need to organize with 3 other couples - if a couple promises to join you then bugs out, your cost will be very close to Viking’s. Also, your commuting time from Livorno to San Gimignano alone is 1.5 hours each way. What if the van breaks down? Will you get back to the ship on time? I had a problem with a Viking River optional excursion a few years ago (can’t really detail here) but suffice to say I was very happy with how Viking handled it after we returned home.

 

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15 hours ago, -Lew- said:

You don't mention the cost, but the better private tour operators currently charge €650 for an eight person van for a comparable tour.  That comes to €81.25 per person.  How does that compare with what Viking is charging?

 

Last October this excursion with Viking was $139 per person.  An 8 1/2 hour day.  

 

If you have not toured Florence, I would definitely do Florence over just San Gimignano.  Your cruise appears to have two days docked in Livorno (or at least two full days in that area) so you could do both.  We loved the Tuscany region.  

 

We did the Ultimate Tuscany extension and we spent one day which included both San Gimignano and Siena with  included lunch in a delightful restaurant in Siena plus an evening dinner at a winery.  Outstanding day and both San Gimignano and Siena are enjoyable hill towns and gorgeous scenery.  We also had a full day in Florence.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by LeRenardrouge
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3 hours ago, Squawkman said:

There are a few variables to consider. Is the savings really worth the risk? You’ll need to organize with 3 other couples - if a couple promises to join you then bugs out, your cost will be very close to Viking’s. Also, your commuting time from Livorno to San Gimignano alone is 1.5 hours each way. What if the van breaks down? Will you get back to the ship on time? I had a problem with a Viking River optional excursion a few years ago (can’t really detail here) but suffice to say I was very happy with how Viking handled it after we returned home.

 

 

One can find negatives in just about everything...

 

I can tell you in 170+ cruising days around Europe, when touring privately more than 90% with private providers, we have never experienced a breakdown or someone not paying their fair share if they could not make the tour for some reason.  I wish I could say the same for some of the ship sponsored tours we have taken...a two-hour delay when a bus broke down in the mountains outside Ponta Delgada and having to wait an hour and forty minutes on the bus in Amsterdam because some fellow travelers didn't feel the meeting time applied to them.

 

Sometimes ship's tours work best, but we have found private tours with reputable companies are best for us most of the time.  Touring with a group of eight and customizing the tour to our liking is a huge plus for us.

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2 hours ago, -Lew- said:

 

One can find negatives in just about everything...

 

I can tell you in 170+ cruising days around Europe, when touring privately more than 90% with private providers, we have never experienced a breakdown or someone not paying their fair share if they could not make the tour for some reason.  I wish I could say the same for some of the ship sponsored tours we have taken...a two-hour delay when a bus broke down in the mountains outside Ponta Delgada and having to wait an hour and forty minutes on the bus in Amsterdam because some fellow travelers didn't feel the meeting time applied to them.

 

Sometimes ship's tours work best, but we have found private tours with reputable companies are best for us most of the time.  Touring with a group of eight and customizing the tour to our liking is a huge plus for us.

Lew - I am certainly not trying to find negatives - but stuff can and does happen. I do not have nearly as much cruising experience as you do. With the exception of one Princess cruise to Nova Scotia with a group of friends who were not interested in Europe, all of our cruises were Viking Europe/North Africa (river and ocean).

 

I agree 100% with you regarding if we talk about my Princess cruise. The group of friends (experienced with Princess) said to book our Nova Scotia tour through Princess. I thought we could do better, but went along with the group. Princess put us on a HOHO with Grayline that not only could I have bought for 40+% less - but wouldn't have had to wait over an hour because other ships (and individuals who could have been us) got preference. Bottom line - no time to hop off even once. And Princess couldn't care less.

 

But we're talking Viking here, and both "situations" I experienced have been well compensated. IMHO, this extra "insurance" is worth the difference. Best example I could give - we were supposed to sail on the Viking Sky 2 days after the mishap in the Norwegian Sea last March. While the last minute cancellation was intrusive, Viking refunded every penny paid (including OBC, air fare, excursions, etc.) and gave us full credit for the cruise fare for any Viking cruise anywhere and anytime. BTW, we are using for the same Iconic Western Mediterranean cruise Helene is going on (that was booked before the mishap).

 

LeRenardrouge - we're also doing Ultimate Tuscany. We spoke with several people who took it as a pre extension to our Southern Mediterranean cruise last year, and everyone loved it.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/14/2019 at 11:18 AM, LeRenardrouge said:

We did the Ultimate Tuscany extension and we spent one day which included both San Gimignano and Siena with  included lunch in a delightful restaurant in Siena plus an evening dinner at a winery.  Outstanding day and both San Gimignano and Siena are enjoyable hill towns and gorgeous scenery.  We also had a full day in Florence.  

 

A question about Ultimate Tuscany - do folks dress for the dinners as on board or is it more casual?

 

Thanks!

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3 minutes ago, Squawkman said:

A question about Ultimate Tuscany - do folks dress for the dinners as on board or is it more casual?

 

Thanks!

 

The dinner at the winery we went directly to dinner from our excursion so everyone had on same clothes.  Two dinners at the Villa (especially last night) people dressed up a little but not really fancy.  Most men wore same type of clothes worn to The Restaurant on the cruise—slacks and nice shirt (no need for ties) and sport coat per your choice. 

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7 minutes ago, LeRenardrouge said:

 

The dinner at the winery we went directly to dinner from our excursion so everyone had on same clothes.  Two dinners at the Villa (especially last night) people dressed up a little but not really fancy.  Most men wore same type of clothes worn to The Restaurant on the cruise—slacks and nice shirt (no need for ties) and sport coat per your choice. 


thanks much!!!

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