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Kentishincanada

Madrid Extension

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We are currently sitting in first class on the train from Madrid to Barcelona where we board Jupiter for our Southern Atlantic crossing.  I wanted to write this before it becomes jumbled with other ports and to give other passengers confidence to book the extension.

 

We were met at the airport by the Viking representative and six of us were transported to the Intercontinental Hotel for our two night stay.  The hotel is excellent and we found it very easy to walk around the city.  We had a meeting on arrival with our Viking Rep David who gave us a map and lots of hints for restaurants sights etc.  We then took David’s advice and visited a fabulous restaurant local to the hotel for late lunch which morphed into dinner.

 

Next morning we gathered for our included tour.  In good Viking fashion we were on two buses which were half full so we did not feel at all ‘herded’.  Our guide was Claudia and what a gem.  She walked us around the Prado Museum and had the ability to make so many of the art works come alive.  After our tour, we took David’s advice and had lunch on one of the rooftop bars overlooking the city - it was a gorgeous day and we had a lovely view.  More wining and dining that evening before packing for the trip to Barcelona.

 

After a wonderful Intercontinental breakfast we were introduced to Monica who is currently doing a great job of keeping us happy on the train - lots more wine.

 

Could we have done this stopover cheaper?  Yes, I am sure we could, however we felt so free to enjoy beautiful Madrid without worrying about anything that I would wholeheartedly recommend this extension especially if, like us, the burden of luggage etc.,is getting a bit much.

 

Next step Jupiter.

 

J & J

 

 

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Thanks for posting this. Our experiences with Viking extensions has always been positive, so we did book the Madrid extension shortly after booking the Mediterranean cruise beginning in Barcelona we'll be taking shortly. I totally agree Viking services are worth the additional cost. There are other ways to save money rather than DIY extensions to places Viking covers.

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Thank you for such an enthusiastic review! So glad to read of your experience.

 

A number of years ago we did a pre-cruise extension in Paris. Our experience was nowhere near as pleasant as yours and we have done our own pre- and post-extensions since. We now do our own research and planning for the pre and post activities and have had great experiences, but the Viking support would be nice at times.

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OYO or with the cruise line, I like that we have choices. Still, I am not a fan of two-nights in a large city with lots to see; I'd rather two full days for checking out the town's sights.

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On 11/13/2019 at 5:24 AM, Kentishincanada said:

Could we have done this stopover cheaper?  Yes, I am sure we could, however we felt so free to enjoy beautiful Madrid without worrying about anything that I would wholeheartedly recommend this extension especially if, like us, the burden of luggage etc.,is getting a bit much.

 

Next step Jupiter.

 

J & J

 

 

That is the feeling I am getting from reading reviews, etc., in preparation for boarding Viking Venus on 26 January 2021. Because of my preference for arriving a day or more in advance, the question becomes: "Where do we do the pre- (and post-) extension?" I was on the fence about flying into Barcelona, or should we go to Madrid. Since I am an AA elite flyer, I know my way around their scheduling and - wonder of wonders - we can fly from Reno to Madrid with one connection, in DFW (my former "home" airport), so Madrid is looking good to me, and your report pretty much seals the deal.

I do have a question about the train to Barcelona: what time did you have to meet the train?

Now, on the other end, at Bergen (we are doing Iberian Explorer B2B with In Search of the Northern Lights) I am thinking we will just go straight home, Bergen-Helsinki-LAX-Reno, but I have plenty of time to discuss options with the experienced cruisers on this forum, so give me your best shot - I probably have until April to develop a plan.

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We actually gathered in the hotel about 10.00 am and our train was about 11.20 am arriving Barcelona around 2.45 - not sure of exact times.  Meanwhile Viking had driven our luggage from Madrid to Barcelona so we just boarded the train with our carry-on bag.  Once we arrived in Barcelona a bus was waiting to take us directly to the ship.

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5 hours ago, Kentishincanada said:

We actually gathered in the hotel about 10.00 am and our train was about 11.20 am arriving Barcelona around 2.45 - not sure of exact times.  Meanwhile Viking had driven our luggage from Madrid to Barcelona so we just boarded the train with our carry-on bag.  Once we arrived in Barcelona a bus was waiting to take us directly to the ship.

 

13 hours ago, Squawkman said:

We leave Madrid 10:30am and arrive in Barcelona 1:15pm.

Thanks for the responses. It's kind of funny that I was concerned the Viking would have us leaving Madrid at a very early (or late) hour, but your information pretty much seals the deal for me.

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3 hours ago, What was that? said:

 

Thanks for the responses. It's kind of funny that I was concerned the Viking would have us leaving Madrid at a very early (or late) hour, but your information pretty much seals the deal for me.

 

Not going to be too early because they have to clear the terminal before they can start dealing with the arriving pax and it is not going to be too late because Iberian Explorer does not overnight in Barcelona.

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25 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Not going to be too early because they have to clear the terminal before they can start dealing with the arriving pax and it is not going to be too late because Iberian Explorer does not overnight in Barcelona.

 

Good points, Peregrina. I might have assumed that from the same conditions you mentioned, but I like to KNOW. Thanks for taking the time to try to increase my "cruiser sense."

 

As a side note, for this boarding I would expect few passengers debarking in Barcelona as this will be the maiden voyage of Viking Venus, on 26 January 2021.

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3 hours ago, What was that? said:

 

Good points, Peregrina. I might have assumed that from the same conditions you mentioned, but I like to KNOW. Thanks for taking the time to try to increase my "cruiser sense."

 

As a side note, for this boarding I would expect few passengers debarking in Barcelona as this will be the maiden voyage of Viking Venus, on 26 January 2021.

 

LOL but you know what they say about assuming.

 

I've have boarded in and departed from Barcelona, with Viking, a couple of times over the past couple of years and have seen the set up from both points of view. Particularly in Terminal C, the same space that is used for sorting the luggage of the departing guests is used for checking in the arriving guests. While they might be able to handle the few passengers who arrive before disembarkation is complete, having to deal with a bus load of guests before the check in desks have been rolled into place is not the arrival experience that Viking wants it to be.

 

Trains in Spain are run by Renfe.The website is multi-lingual and not to difficult to navigate. Trains run from Madrid's Atocha Station to Barcelona-Sants. The hotel and Atocha Station are more or less on the same street-- a major artery and so very slow during rush hour (just another reason for the later trains, I guess).  Barcelona-Sants is 10-20 minutes from the ship, depending on traffic.

 

It might be the maiden voyage for the public but there is an invitation only sailing bringing the ship from Venice (or is it Rome?) to Barcelona and I don't expect that everyone will be continuing on to London.

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2 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

It might be the maiden voyage for the public but there is an invitation only sailing bringing the ship from Venice (or is it Rome?) to Barcelona and I don't expect that everyone will be continuing on to London.

I figured as much - I had heard rumors. I guess I should have said it would be the maiden commercial voyage open to the general public. But I guess that sailing will not spoil the "new ship smell." At least I hope not! 😉

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Thanks for this positive report!  We will be doing the Madrid extension post cruise after our Trade Routes of the Middle Ages cruise next fall. We added the Madrid extension a few months after booking because it gave us another train ride (we are doing the Oslo pre-extension for the train ride) and another city!  We have never been to Spain before. 

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1 hour ago, Cyber Kat said:

Thanks for this positive report!  We will be doing the Madrid extension post cruise after our Trade Routes of the Middle Ages cruise next fall. We added the Madrid extension a few months after booking because it gave us another train ride (we are doing the Oslo pre-extension for the train ride) and another city!  We have never been to Spain before. 

 

WARNING: The train ride from Barcelona will not be half as picturesque as the train from Oslo to Bergen.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

WARNING: The train ride from Barcelona will not be half as picturesque as the train from Oslo to Bergen.

Good point! We are not decided on what to do on the other end of our cruise - we end up in Bergen. There are Viking extensions for Bergen and Oslo, but I am not ready to decide whether to do one of those, or fly "straight" home. I think I can get a flight from Bergen to Copenhagen CPH connecting to a CPH-LAX flight, and there are frequent flights from there to Reno, and another routing via Paris CDG (overnight stay at CDG). I'll talk to my TA and Viking Air Plus about it when the flights start opening up, there's plenty of time. But if anyone has more imagination than I do regarding what to do from Bergen, I would welcome hearing what you think.

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22 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

WARNING: The train ride from Barcelona will not be half as picturesque as the train from Oslo to Bergen.

 

 


No, but the attraction for this train is that it’s one of the high speed bullet trains - not sure about the bullet train designation, but it is a high speed train and we have none of those in the US. The tracks are not in good enough shape!

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18 minutes ago, Cyber Kat said:


No, but the attraction for this train is that it’s one of the high speed bullet trains - not sure about the bullet train designation, but it is a high speed train and we have none of those in the US. The tracks are not in good enough shape!

 

I did the Barcelona to Madrid run in 1970 (student traveling cheap) and it took forever (12 hours if I remember correctly);  roads and railways have improved exponentially since then and it is now much easier and much faster to get around.

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On 11/17/2019 at 9:29 AM, Peregrina651 said:

 

I did the Barcelona to Madrid run in 1970 (student traveling cheap) and it took forever (12 hours if I remember correctly);  roads and railways have improved exponentially since then and it is now much easier and much faster to get around.

The AVE train (Alta Velocidad Espanola) is capable of speeds close to 200 MPH so that's why it only takes under 3 hours. Plus they run incredibly and reliably  on time.

I am not a fan of arriving in a foreign city with no local knowledge. Whatever extra cost of having Viking people available to guide me is well worth it. We did a pre-cruise extension in Copenhagen and it was great. We're doing the Madrid pre-cruise extension in April 2021 (a long time to wait).

Enjoy your cruising days.

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