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Bookboss

Viking Homelands, 15 days

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Hello fellow cruisers,

i am looking for info, tips, tidbits etc., on the Viking Homelands Cruise.  We are taking that cruise on 5/11, which goes from Bergen, Norway, to 5/25.

We have done several Viking River and one Ocean.   The Ocean was almost two years ago, and they did not have their act as together as the River Cruises.

Please share about your experience, and any tips, or information regarding restaurants, reservations, shore excursions, etc.

Also I’m interested in currency tips, since we will be in four different countries.   

Thanks so much.

 

BOOKBOSS 

 

Edited by Bookboss

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Well that's a whole lot to ask for! I'd say to relax and go with the flow. It's a great itinerary. We never feel the need to rush around ticking a list of 'must sees'. What we usually did was to take the included tour then dive off from it and relax having a coffee and watching the world go by in the various cities and countries that we visited. Sometimes we made a mental note of places we'd like to go back to eg Copenhagen. The jazz cruise there was a highlight by the way. 

Whatever you do I'm sure you'll enjoy the cruise and the experience of it all. 

Edited by Nippy Sweetie

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When we landed in Bergen, we were able to get both Norway krones as well as euros from the ATMs exiting the airport.  We were doing Trade Routes, so those were the only 2 currencies we needed on this trip.  Those ATMs also had several other currencies you could get as well, but I don’t remember which ones.  
 

Those ATMs gave some of the better rates on this trip with my bank.  

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Scandinavia uses credit cards even for small transactions. Got small amounts of varied currencies from AAA.  Put each in a separate envelope.  Put in room safe.  Took out for that day's excursion.
In Russia, they like tips in US $.  Unsure if this is totally kosher, but it is what it is.

 

1 Did tram up the hill in Bergen by ourselves. Cheaper & easy. I walked the 2.5 Km back down into town.  Easy.
2 Pulpit Rock excursion is pricey. Just walk past the bow of the ship and take the local Pulpit Rock RODNE cruises. Book it online. Be sure to check Viking ship departure times.
3 At Eidfjord (a beautiful spot) the Flamsbana train trip thru the mountains is expensive but totally worth it. Waterfalls galore. Tunnels thru the mountains have huge roundabouts inside!
Alternatively, folks who just hiked the area on their own had a better time than the local Viking tours offered.
4 In Alborg Denmark, A Day in the Life of a Viking was a good excursion
5 In Copenhagen I loved the excursion to the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum. Terrific. Saw old ships & saw new replicas being built using the old tools & ways.  Wife enjoyed Charming Coastal Copenhagen tour.
6 Rostok Germany we opted out of long Berlin trip taking the included local walking tour, OK and afternoon the fun trip along the coast on the steam engine Molli Railway.
7 Gdansk Poland, wife went to Malbork castle & loved it.
8 Tallinn Palmse Manor Tour plus a great country lunch & seaside walk in National Park. Also included an Upper Town Walk in Tallinn. Excellent!
9 St Pete we joined others on a private TJ Travel 2 day tour. Less $$$ than Viking. Saw more sites than possible with ship tours & with very personal guide service. Outstanding!
Wife added evening ballet alone and had a TJ personal escort. Got back close to midnight. Was well taken care of. Cheaper than Viking, same seats. 
10 Helsinki Porvoo tour was OK at best.
11 Vasa Museum & Stockholm by Boat pricey with nice lunch. But EASY to do on your own without advance reservations. Save the $$$ and do it yourself.
 

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Phillw1776 pretty much nailed it. There are a number of companies that do the St. Petersburg tour and do a good job. In Tallinn we did the Soviet Flashback and got a really informative understanding of the Soviet time. We, too, did the walk of Tallinn and thought it was great. The Grieg house and concert was nice- beautiful setting. We did a couple f the castle tours and thought Malbork was one of the best. Friends did the Berlin excursion and, as Phil says, very long day. When our friends did it a few years ago they were dropped off in town and were on their own. I would suggest you check if a guide is included or if you should arrange for a tour guide n your own.

Our cruise started in Copenhagen and we went a few days early so we could get a little acclimated. Had a great time on a canal cruise, the Vasa museum, and other sites before boarding the ship. Helped with jet lag, too.

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Philw,

thank you so much.  I sincerely appreciate your detailed info.  

 

The missus had already “marked” most of your recommendations.  

 

I really appreciate the currency thing, and you confirm what another recent traveler shared in regard to credit cards.   We have never looked at AAA for currency.  Wells Fargo, will put together a small currency package for these short country stops, per a friend that took this cruise last year, so we are going to look into that.

 

Happy  Trails, and thanks, 

 

BOOKBOSS

Edited by Bookboss

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Kriswal,

thanks for taking to time to provide some good info.

 

we often book our own shore tours on ocean cruises, Azamara, etc., and get some other cruisers to share the cost.  We may  be doing that for a few of the shore tours here. 

 

Thanks again

 

BOOKBOSS  

Edited by Bookboss

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Will save these great tips too as we are doing this cruise in April, 2021.

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On 2/13/2020 at 10:53 AM, Bookboss said:

The Ocean was almost two years ago, and they did not have their act as together as the River Cruises.

 

Viking has been sailing this itinerary since 2015 and, to date, it has sailed more times than any other Ocean itinerary offered.

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2 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Viking has been sailing this itinerary since 2015 and, to date, it has sailed more times than any other Ocean itinerary offered.

 

I totally agree with you Pergrina651!   We took the Homelands cruise that Bookboss is planning, almost 2 years ago in 2018 and almost exactly the dates they are planning (May).  It was our first Viking Ocean Cruise.  They certainly DID have their act together and it showed.  It could not have been any smoother, and just plain spectacular.  Everything and I mean everything, went beyond expectations.  So much so we've been on 3 more cruises and are planning several more in the future. 

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I follow this blog written by a woman married to a Viking Cruise Director. This week's post might be useful to you all. 

 

https://thefortysomethingtraveller.com/cruise_the_baltics/?utm_source=The+Forty+Something+Traveller&utm_campaign=925387a442-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_02_20_07_00&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_864b70cfd3-925387a442-45432733

Edited by Liz Masterson

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On 2/20/2020 at 10:40 AM, Peregrina651 said:

 

Viking has been sailing this itinerary since 2015 and, to date, it has sailed more times than any other Ocean itinerary offered.

 

Peregrina,

nice info on Homelands, we knew it was very popular, which usually means also well done...as word travels. 

 

OMGosh...over 10,000 posts. Wow.

 

  The Ocean we did, with snafus, was southern Med, and they had some small issues that just added up.   Nothing major, but we didn’t feel like we got the attention from the desk. They looked into it, and didn’t provide an acceptable fix.....we went around them and went to the restaurants, and got things corrected.  In addition, We were 3 couples, and they upgrade two and not the third, so that wasn’t cool.....they wouldn’t upgrade the third and wanted them to pay....very uncool....all of us paid the same price and all were Viking Explorers from River Cruises.  It didn’t ruin the trip, but just wasn’t close to the attention received on River Cruises. 

We were a bit perplexed as to the responses, and they kept saying this is Ocean.not River.   

We are over it, it didn’t ruin a great trip, but we remember it. 

 

Thanks for the info...good luck on your future trips, .

Edited by Bookboss

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14 hours ago, Liz Masterson said:

 

LIz,  thanks so much,,,,great info..love it. 

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4 hours ago, Bookboss said:

The Ocean we did, with snafus, was southern Med,

 

We have attempted that one three times, all as NYE cruises. They each had issues one sort or another but eventually we got to see the places we wanted to see. Viking tried to get it right but have subsequently removed it from mix entirely.  When ship happens, there isn't much you can do about it, be it political unrest or just simply the weather.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

A nice email and announcement from Viking today.   We can elect to not take the tour, and they will give us 24 months to use the issued full credit on an Ocean or River or their other travel product.  

I decided  to check in with Delta, regarding our biz class flights,  which I did on my own, since I’m Gold and in bed with them so to speak, and they said if it’s cancelled we get a full refund, on the other hand, if we elect not to go on our own, they have amended the policy to give us 12 months to use a full credit, which won’t be a problem for us. 

So some good news, concerning potential financial issues if we were to bail soon.   Now   if we could get some good medical/health info as to safety on that front that would be reassuring, but I don’t imagine that will happen for at least weeks. 

 

We did have pretty comprehensive insurance but not for a pandemic alert. 

Edited by Bookboss

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Yes received similar email regarding a Sept 2021 Vikings Homeland Cruise. I would suggest if COVID 19 still an issue then the world as we know it has ended but still good for the company to offer even this far out. Am sure it is a standard email for all bookings

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1 hour ago, flashman69 said:

Yes received similar email regarding a Sept 2021 Vikings Homeland Cruise. I would suggest if COVID 19 still an issue then the world as we know it has ended but still good for the company to offer even this far out. Am sure it is a standard email for all bookings

 

Yes, I received one for the12/2021 cruise I booked last week.

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A few hours later we got the same message for our Egypt/Nile tour for Nov  2020, which we have already had to pay for including their very good price on biz airfare.  

A nice bit of info to relieve some of the questions for this unusual situation. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

We have cancelled.  I suggest you call in...don’t try and cancel via online, it appears the waiver of penalties hasn’t been reprogrammed.   

 

Be sure and cancel any paid excursions, that isn’t in the cruise cancellation...they have to take another action for that, it appears.  My agent looked at the booking and said I can’t do that, he then put me on hold and returned and said he now had a process to do that as well. 

 

You wont get anything immediately...they are saying it will 5-7 days to get the confirmation of cancellation, 

Edited by Bookboss

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