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V. Expeditions: Everything Galapagos+Machu Picchu


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On 2/29/2020 at 1:11 PM, Peregrina651 said:

But, you will see all of this when you start adding these voyages to your databases (the links to Char's databases are in her signature file and eventually we will post them in a thread so that even mobile users can access them, because signatures are suppressed on the mobile website. 😞 )

As requested, have uploaded an updated version of the consolidated cruise schedule spreadsheet (NOT a database per se but organized so one can treat it like one, i.e., apply filters on it and stuff like that..but no SQL queries.. 😀). Here's the direct link to it:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v0h7vvslptkwg2n/Viking Ocean Cruises (2020 to 2022).xlsm?dl=0

No dropbox account is required.  Per a request received from another CCForum person, I added links to the "ReadMe" tab so you can (a) download a fresh copy of the file should you somehow manage to mangle the thing beyond repair and (b) access the folder which holds previous and future versions of it.   And yes -- I'll do my usual of building up a consolidated report on the whole cruise/tour and posting that to DropBox as well.  Targeting having that done later this week.

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On 2/28/2020 at 5:21 PM, SantaFe1 said:

Mine did the same. We got the glossy brochure in the mail Last Friday afternoon. By Saturday morning We had a provisional booking ( wanted one of those elusive DX rooms) and paid on Monday morning ( right before the stock market fell). I looked at all the hotels, which look wonderful, read the excursions, wondered if I was too old to do a “wet landing” and just told myself oh what the heck, I’ll buy some water shoes!  I am so glad Viking finally came up with this bucket list trip and will take care of all the details for us!

I did the Galapagos extension with Viking in December before my SA cruise. The wet landings in the islands were easy. Ankle to lower calf deep and always two people stabilizing you if needed (I’m perfectly able to do it but was nice with all my camera gear in hand).

 

TBH though, not sure I’d do the Expedition ship as the National Geographic hotel (Finch Bay) that they put us up on was lovely and we had a really nice 20 passenger yacht to take us to each island with a National Geographic naturalist as a secondary guide. It was a much nicer level of individual attention with just 11 of us. 

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33 minutes ago, noe4laj said:

with all my camera gear in hand

 

Note to self: Waterproof day bag/backpack. Must be entirely immersible.

 

Thanks, for the input. Very helpful.  Especially the part that says that Viking already has a foothold in the Galapagos market.

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I did have a wet bag just in case, though technically they exclude guaranteeing against  camera/electronics. I used it sometimes and kept it out while on the zodiac at others. Caught some great shots deciding to keep it out the last time!

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1 hour ago, noe4laj said:

I did the Galapagos extension with Viking in December before my SA cruise. The wet landings in the islands were easy. Ankle to lower calf deep and always two people stabilizing you if needed (I’m perfectly able to do it but was nice with all my camera gear in hand).

Just looked over the pre-extension to SA and the Chilean Fjords and I agree with Peregrina - it's nice to know touring Galápagos is not something completely new to Viking. And this will not be on either of the larger VE ships but on a much smaller - 90 pax - chartered Santa Cruz II, which will be going thru a complete refurbishment in the Viking style this November. You can view its current config using CruiseMapper. 

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26 minutes ago, CharTrav said:

Santa Cruz II, which will be going thru a complete refurbishment in the Viking style this November.

 

Gonna have that new ship smell when you board in December!

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Thanks for posting this! I have been looking at Galapagos itineraries and did not see this offering on my own. Did the glossy brochure have pictures of the refurbished ship? I can't find anything on Viking's web site or on-line.

 

I looks like some very nice pre and post cruise packages are offered with this also. Congrats to those who have decided to go!

 

Edit: now I see it hasn't been done yet hence no photos

Edited by AWorldCruise4Me
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13 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Gonna have that new ship smell when you board in December!

Assuming this will be a good thing. Right?

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Assuming that this will be the ship, I may change my mind and join.

Last week, we received a call from our Viking rep: he knew that we planned to go to the Galapagos. I almost reserved on the phone but after checking, I realized that it was a plane/land and boat mixed trip with only 3 nights aboard. Some thing I could reserve anyway I want by flying to Quito. Now that I see a real Viking boat, I may try to get a spot.

I"ll be onboard the Viking Sky at the end of the week, I"ll get a discount by reserving onboard if there is still room.

Thanks for posting a link to the ship.

Edited by jacquesmm
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1 hour ago, AWorldCruise4Me said:

Thanks for posting this! I have been looking at Galapagos itineraries and did not see this offering on my own. Did the glossy brochure have pictures of the refurbished ship? I can't find anything on Viking's web site or on-line.

 

I looks like some very nice pre and post cruise packages are offered with this also. Congrats to those who have decided to go!

 

Edit: now I see it hasn't been done yet hence no photos

 

Viking had announced to its returning guests a 10 day "before it is announced to the public sale" ending 2/29. So information has been available only on the Viking Expeditions website and not any of the other travel sites where one might go to see who is offering what. That should change over the next few days as these itineraries are opened to the public.

 

1 hour ago, jacquesmm said:

I realized that it was a plane/land and boat mixed trip with only 3 nights aboard.

 

There are three different itineraries. Most of the sailings offer 6 nights on board with 5 full days actually exploring the islands. All sailings offer the same first 8 days of Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Guayaquil and embarking in Baltra on day 9. The shorter cruises have just 4 nights on board, with three days exploring the islands. All tours are included in the package price.

 

Enjoy the Sky!

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5 hours ago, AWorldCruise4Me said:

Thanks for posting this! I have been looking at Galapagos itineraries and did not see this offering on my own. Did the glossy brochure have pictures of the refurbished ship? I can't find anything on Viking's web site or on-line.

 

I looks like some very nice pre and post cruise packages are offered with this also. Congrats to those who have decided to go!

 

Edit: now I see it hasn't been done yet hence no photos

Showing how the ship will be configured at first .. to me . seemed a bit subtle at first but there is an interactive site I think you must have found that lays out how it will look after it's refurbished - https://www.vikingcruises.com/expeditions/ships/galapagos/index.html. 

If you want to find out more about it .. how the ship looks now .. you can view its specifications and general cabin configuration on cruisemapper (I'm one of those crazy ones that looks at this stuff and is fascinated by it) -- https://www.cruisemapper.com/deckplans/MV-Santa-Cruz-II-1188.

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On a more cheery topic than what is raging elsewhere on the CC Forum, just started my consolidated report for this trip (using previous Viking River day-by-days as my template) and got thinking about what to add at the end .. where I put my "other notes". Earlier this week, when I checked the Viking site .. there were no FAQs specific to the Galapagos trips. Happy day! Now there is -- and here's the link: https://www.vikingcruises.com/expeditions/frequently-asked-questions-galapagos.html

Hope everybody finds this useful. I haven't read it entirely yet. But am sure it will satisfy my "gotta know everything in advance" itch for sure.  Answered the laundry question too!!!

 

Also too .. the page describing the Santa Cruz II is also evolving .. the interactive deck plan is starting to provide artist's renderings of the various parts of the ship and some of the staterooms.  Check it out! https://www.vikingcruises.com/expeditions/ships/galapagos/index.html.

Edited by CharTrav
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27 minutes ago, SantaFe1 said:

Thank you.  We are so busy trying to figure out whatTo do with our  trip next month that I haven’t even seen thus.

It's a welcome distraction from the ongoing gloom and doom inc worry about our Med cruise in May. 🤪

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From the FAQ re an earlier question:

 

What group size can I anticipate on the Galápagos Islands itinerary?

Maximum of 89 guests total per sailing. For the Peru land portion, a Peruvian Tour Director will be assigned to an average group size of 24 guests; on the Galápagos Islands portion, the maximum group size is 16 guests per Expedition Leader.

 

 

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Time to corral all of the links mentioned so far. That way no one has to go crazy reading every single page just to find a link that was mentioned. I'll post it again every few pages so it is easy to find.

 

Please feel free to add to the list as you do your research or if you have been and have pictures or blogs to share.

 

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Do we need visas?

 

It depends on the nationality of the passport you travel on, not where you live.

 

US citizens can check out Travel.State.Gov for more information:   https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html and then scroll down to country information. Actually, regardless of your passport, this website is full of helpful information for travelers on a country by country basis.

 

Citizens of other countries should check with the consulates of the countries they are traveling to.

 

It is our responsibility to show up with the right visas.

 

One guy reported here that he was really upset that he was not told by the booking agent that he needed a visa and that it was Viking's fault and that they should refund his money because of it. He never read any of the documents that were sent him. He showed up at the airport for a flight ending in Russia and was told that he could not board the plane because he did not have the necessary visa to enter Russia. It was a very expensive mistake and he did not get much sympathy from the audience.

 

End public service announcement!

 

 

 

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On 2/28/2020 at 3:06 PM, Peregrina651 said:

Until Cruise Critic carves out a separate place for us to talk about the new Expeditions cruises and adds the new ships to the Roll Calls, I want to start a thread where we can share what we are learning about the about the Galapagos + Machu Picchu itineraries on the Santa Cruz II. 

 

Yes, Viking is taking on the Galapagos-- and sweetening the pot with Machu Picchu. The first sailing is at the end of December, 2020 -- just in time to celebrate New Year's Eve in Lima, Peru.

 

Let me start with a link to the itineraries: https://www.vikingcruises.com/expeditions/cruise-destinations/galapagos/index.html

 

The Santa Cruz II is a leased vessel which Viking has refurbished to its standards. Viking will be running the hotel operation, as it does on all of the vessels it leases. Here are some things that we have learned about the ship and the itinerary in the process of booking:

 

  • No verandas in any of the cabins.
  • No mini-fridges, at least in OV cabins
  • No laundromat on board. Waiting for answer about laundry service.
  • Gratuities are not included on board the ship; still trying to get an answer about what is covered on the land portion.

 

Not only do we want to learn more about the ship but we would love to hear from people who have already visited  the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Cuzco and The Sacred Valley. Anything special we should know to make the best of our visit?

 

 

 

 

My wife and I took a tour with a very similar itinerary as this.  It wasn't with Viking as obviously they did not offer it then.  What I can tell you is be prepared for a trip of a lifetime.  Make sure you are prepared to take plenty of pictures.  As for the Galapagos, don't get discouraged with the ship size.  The ships are strictly limited by the Ecuadorian government.  Unless they have changed the guidelines, only one ship is allowed to visit each island each day.  Be prepared as most of the islands do not have docks.  You take a zodiac to the shore, where normally the men form a chain line to pass the belongings on to shore.  You do have to wade through shallow water to reach the shore.  You will see wildlife up close....very close!  Just remember though, they are not domesticated, just naive. I actually had a bird land on my wrist, but I could not get my camera to focus, because he was too close!!  Also, remember to fill up your water bottle each morning, as they were very environmentally conscious, requiring you to use the same water bottle for the entire time on the ship when visiting the islands.  As for Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley, you will do considerable hiking but it is well worth it; it is beautiful.  At Machu Picchu, if you are purchasing your own tickets, you must purchase them in the town, not at the mountain.  Also keep in mind, you will be dealing with high altitudes.  It is not uncommon to experience headaches and some dizziness.  While some say using "leaves" (I forget the type) helps alleviate it, we found 5 minutes of oxygen worked when we needed it once.  Both the leaves and oxygen were available from hotels and establishment free of charge or for a very small fee.  Please don't let that scare you, just be aware of it.  Also Cuzco was very beautiful, and the people were very friendly.  We found the food to be of excellent quality throughout.  They do have some unusual drinks and food if you are adventurous and like to try them!  If you decide to do snorkeling while in the Galapagos make sure you know your limitations.  When we went they offered snorkeling close to the island and further out in deep water.  Both offered great views of fish life, but the currents can get quite strong in the deep water.  If you need any further clarifications, let me know.   Enjoy your trip!

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I guess you can tell I am reading my way though the FAQs.

 

I just came across the following statement and I have a few questions about what it says here. Actually, I have a lot of questions:

 

Plastic bottles, bags and containers are strictly prohibited and are not allowed into the Galápagos Islands. Further, please do not bring any nonessential electrical devices (curling iron, electric razor, etc.) on board in order to avoid any power surges or electrical noncompatibility concerns. Further, no drone devices are allowed on this itinerary.

 

  • What about the plastic bottles my meds come in? And what if I I use one of those plastic day by day sorters?
  • What about the drugs and creams that I use on my skin? Some of them come in plastic tubes and can't be stored in metal.
  • How do I keep my camera and camera equipment dry, especially on a wet landing?
  • Electrical equipment? Are devices for charging my camera and phone considered nonessential? Do I have to worry about charging these devices while on board?

 

I could go on and on with these questions but you get the gist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, johneb2 said:

My wife and I took a tour with a very similar itinerary as this.  It wasn't with Viking as obviously they did not offer it then.  What I can tell you is be prepared for a trip of a lifetime. 

 

Welcome, @johneb2 and welcome to the ranks of our resident experts. We hope that you will continue to follow this thread and jump in with advice whenever you can. Every little tidbit will help us to make the best of the adventure. TIA -- thanks in advance!

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:
  • What about the plastic bottles my meds come in? And what if I I use one of those plastic day by day sorters?
  • What about the drugs and creams that I use on my skin? Some of them come in plastic tubes and can't be stored in metal

I would say not to worry about them .. you're not taking them with you to the islands, right?  But just using them onboard ship? There is the statement somewhere in those FAQs that our bags will be inspected the Ecuadorean officials on our way to the Islands and on our way out. Hopefully they won't freak over my little plastic bottles I use to carry some medicines I take daily.  And what about using ziplock baggies?

 

50 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:
  • How do I keep my camera and camera equipment dry, especially on a wet landing?
  • Electrical equipment? Are devices for charging my camera and phone considered nonessential? Do I have to worry about charging these devices while on board?

There is only one wet landing .. and that's on Day 13 on Española Island.  So it's not like it's every day. Also .. I"m not going to worry about charging camera batteries and such.  I think they may be worried about folks bringing onboard their own hair dryers.. stuff that really suck on the power. Charging batteries is not the kind of thing that draws alot of power.

 

Still -- your 4 questions are something deserving of more clarification from Viking.  Am assuming TellUs is watching.  But I am immensely grateful .. as I'm sure others on this thread are .. at the appearance of these FAQs.   They just need to be refined and clarified.  

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2 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

It is our responsibility to show up with the right visas.

 

One guy reported here that he was really upset that he was not told by the booking agent that he needed a visa and that it was Viking's fault and that they should refund his money because of it. He never read any of the documents that were sent him. He showed up at the airport for a flight ending in Russia and was told that he could not board the plane because he did not have the necessary visa to enter Russia. It was a very expensive mistake and he did not get much sympathy from the audience.

 

End public service announcement!

As I know I've shared elsewhere -- on our first VO cruise .. Viking Homelands... I still remember the couple I met as we were coming back to the ship on the 2nd day in St Petersburg.  God knows why she chose me as the one with whom to share her woes.  But basically -- they hadn't bothered to read the precautions provided on the web site -- clear for all to see in the FAQs.  But they honestly were surprised that they needed a visa to go touring in St Petersburg on their own.  As a result they hadn't bothered to book any excursions at all -- included or optionals -- and had spent the entire two days stuck onboard ship. Why they hadn't smartened up after the first day .. and got themselves added to an included excursion on the 2nd day (included excursions were offered on both days --  just checked my spreadsheet from then) -- remains a complete mystery to me. I still regard them as a pair of Sad Sacks.

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