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ClevelandKid

Viking reviews of shore excursions

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Greetings all,

 

Each time a shore excursion wraps up, we fill out a questionnaire about our experiences (you know, on a scale of 1 to 5 how did you like...).

 

Are those available anywhere even in summarized form?  I am sure Viking won't give it out as raw data, but something/anything would be helpful in avoiding the duds.  Like letting the travel agents see something!

 

Of course, there is always this forum, but not everyone has done each excursion, so comparison shopping is hard.

 

Thanks,

Pat

 

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12 hours ago, ClevelandKid said:

Greetings all,

 

Each time a shore excursion wraps up, we fill out a questionnaire about our experiences (you know, on a scale of 1 to 5 how did you like...).

 

Are those available anywhere even in summarized form?  I am sure Viking won't give it out as raw data, but something/anything would be helpful in avoiding the duds.  Like letting the travel agents see something!

 

Of course, there is always this forum, but not everyone has done each excursion, so comparison shopping is hard.

 

Thanks,

Pat

 

Not aware of that type of data being available in the public domain. Even if it were available, as shore-ex are so contingent on the guide, I not sure how effective the data would be.

 

In Cairns, we did the included excursion and had a hopeless guide, so our review would not have been favourable. Many others did the same tour and had excellent guides, giving very positive reviews. We actually learned about things we saw from other pax once back on the ship.

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37 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

we did the included excursion and had a hopeless guide, so our review would not have been favourable.

 

 

Hopefully, you reported your experience so that particular guide could be weeded out of the program.

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18 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

 

Hopefully, you reported your experience so that particular guide could be weeded out of the program.

 

We provided feedback on each of the shore-ex, as the Manager and staff were most responsive, following up with each of them.

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We always fill out the survey, and found they DO pay attention to them.  We had one excursion that was quite unfavorable, and we let them know about it on the survey.  Before the cruise was even over, we had received an onboard ship credit as well as a bottle of champagne.  Even the positive review surveys were acknowledged at times.  I know some will say you can do better by utilizing private companies for some excursions, but we have generally found Viking excursions to be very good. Over the years, we have decided to stick with them, as it was a lot easier.  Our feeling is to utilize private excursions for only those experiences not offered by Viking.   JohnEB

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We second JohnEB concerning fill out the survey.  One that comes to mind was an expensive helicopter tour in Rio.  The few of us that went all complained about the route the pilot took and the brevity of the flight.  Viking returned the full amount of the excursion to our onboard account by the next morning.  A van tour of Rio plus a not so good helo ride for free.  You will have to look long and hard to find a cruise line more fair than that.  This is one of the things that keeps us spending what travel funds we have with Viking.

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12 minutes ago, johneb2 said:

We always fill out the survey, and found they DO pay attention to them.  We had one excursion that was quite unfavorable, and we let them know about it on the survey.  Before the cruise was even over, we had received an onboard ship credit as well as a bottle of champagne.  Even the positive review surveys were acknowledged at times.  I know some will say you can do better by utilizing private companies for some excursions, but we have generally found Viking excursions to be very good. Over the years, we have decided to stick with them, as it was a lot easier.  Our feeling is to utilize private excursions for only those experiences not offered by Viking.   JohnEB

 

I wonder about the St. Petersburg tours and if anyone here would chime in. We had planned on Alla Tours for the cruise we would be on as I type. Alla and a couple others are very highly recommended and regarded for the two days in St. Petes. On the re-book for about the same time next year however, we have a goodly amount of voucher credit to "use up" and switching to Viking offerings in St. Petes might be a good way. Anyone recommend alternatives to Alla that they found at least acceptable?

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2 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

We second JohnEB concerning fill out the survey.  One that comes to mind was an expensive helicopter tour in Rio.  The few of us that went all complained about the route the pilot took and the brevity of the flight.  Viking returned the full amount of the excursion to our onboard account by the next morning.  A van tour of Rio plus a not so good helo ride for free.  You will have to look long and hard to find a cruise line more fair than that.  This is one of the things that keeps us spending what travel funds we have with Viking.

 

Jim - we had a similar experience in Akaroa (Christchurch). We were originally scheduled for Lyttleton, where we had a great private tour planned, but when they switched us to Akaroa, the 90 mins drive to Christchurch, just didn't make private tours viable. So we switched to ship tours, the included in the AM and punting on the Avon in PM.

 

The 6.5 hr optional departed at Noon, but the ship was due to weigh anchor at 17:30, so our scheduled return at the tender dock was 1 hr after departure. Since it was a ship's tour, we weren't concerned, but eagerly awaited info on how they planned to resolve. Heard nothing until we received the Viking Daily - they cut the tour to only 5 hrs. Therefore, the tour now comprised 3.5 hrs driving to/from Christchurch, with only 1 hr 40 mins punting on the Avon, a boxed lunch and then a quick walk through the gardens. The bus A/C was non-existent and heading home we sat in direct sunshine, while they sent an employee out to the bus. It was cooler outside than inside the bus.

 

We requested a prorated refund for the reduced duration, but within an hour had a phone call apologising for the poor experience and advising they issued a full refund. Brilliant service.

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We used Red October in St. Petersburg and found them brilliant.  We'd been there a couple of times and knew what we wanted to see.  They did all of that and more.  The first morning they picked us up early (all 6 of us were ready and excited) but things weren't open yet.  They took us to a small but gorgeous church, lit in candles, with the priests chanting before heading out for our excursion.   One warning:  the lunch began with a tumbler full of vodka that was replenished with every sip.  The 2.5 day excursion was so good that our guide was tipped almost the same amount that we paid.  This was about 5 years ago so check the website and reviews for something more current.

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We were extremely pleased with Dancing Bear Tours in St. Petersburg. We engaged them for a two-day individual tour (just 2 of us, a knowledgeable guide and a driver). With this arrangement we were able to plan an extensive itinerary as the guide was always with us while the driver was able to drop us at the entrance of all attractions and, by communicating with the guide, pick us up when ready to leave. There was no waiting and no long walks from and to parking lots. A look at their website and a quick email to Julia would be worth while. Undoubtedly the best treatment we have ever received on any tour, anywhere.

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While I was very happy with the quality of the Viking Tour guides - they both were excellent, - the larges coaches that Viking uses are just unable to deal with the massive amount of traffic in STP.  We spent almost 2x the amount of time more time on the bus sitting than touring  the various sites.   I had spent several weeks in STP years earlier on business, bit if this has been my first - or only time in STP... I would have been heartbroken and very disappointed. It's well worth the $$$ in to use the private tours with the small vans or mini busses... 

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We were quite pleased with Alla.  Found out the difference between front of the line (as advertised by the cruise line) and skip the line - Alla.  I am sure RO, SPB, etc. are similar.  

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Yes TJ Tours in StP used small Mercedes vans and skipped the lines. Excellent guide & service.

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