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Iceland's Natural Beauty General - 2022


TayanaLorna
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3 hours ago, FLORIDA FLOUNDER said:

Just got home from the July 3rd sailing and I booked a whale watching excursion in Akureyri before I left home. So yes, you can do your own thing. 😃 We opted for the Express whale watching tour and it was amazing! It ended up costing $322 for 2 people and it's about a 7 minute walk from the pier where we were docked. We saw dolphins, porpoise, seals and a puffin.

Be sure and get up at 4:30am in the morning to see whales form your balcony as you arrive into Akureyri. We were so lucky to see one as it swam right along the ship starboard side. Talk about right place right time! 

Good info! Whom did you book your whale watching trip through?
 

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4 hours ago, librarylady19 said:

Don't be put off by pricing. I think Viking has a very big markup on many of their tours.

 

Yes, most cruise lines do the same. We are very familiar with HAL and their excursions but the difference is that with HAL we earn points towards their loyalty program. I guess the markup is how Viking funds their "Included Excursions."

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9 hours ago, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

 Just my opinion, but I think Viking has fewer independent cruisers who are looking for their own excursions than Oceania does. (I don't know about Azamara.) Viking offers a complimentary excursion in almost every port, and their excursions are less expensive and more reliable (in terms of not being canceled due to low signup!), so I think there are fewer people looking for other touring options.  

 

 

We can attest to not cancelling due to low sign-ups. In Sydney we had an almost 10 hr tour of the Hunter Valley Wineries, with only 2 couples in a full sized coach, with driver & guide.

 

After the tour, I sought out the Shore-ex Manager and thanked him for running the tour with only 4 pax.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

We can attest to not cancelling due to low sign-ups. In Sydney we had an almost 10 hr tour of the Hunter Valley Wineries, with only 2 couples in a full sized coach, with driver & guide.

 

After the tour, I sought out the Shore-ex Manager and thanked him for running the tour with only 4 pax.

Wow, that beats our experience in Athens.  We had 5 people on a half day excursion! I was so surprised it wasn't cancelled. 

Edited by IWantToLiveOverTheSea
Not Rome, Athens, duh!
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On 7/12/2021 at 2:59 AM, Heidi13 said:

 

Ethan - I'll suggest that it is unlikely Viking will permit local sales agents to board the ship to sell independent tour options, as those would compete with the optional tours. Accepting a previous reply that Oceania does, I've not seen this on any ship.

 

At least Vking provides a complimentary shuttle into town in most ports, which often is close to the local tourist office.

Sorry, that wasn't what I meant. I should've been clearer. I'm not asking for paid tours. Only for someone who knows the area that I could talk to, to make suggestions or otherwise to help one plan an independent visit.

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15 hours ago, MarkTapley said:

[discussing arctic shorex]

 

Yes, we have booked two excursions with them.  Our TA looked into several independent tour companies and AS seemed to be the best.

 

They also go by "Wild West Fjords", for which you can find reviews on TripAdvisor. Arctic Shorex is that company name they use when marketing directly to cruise ship passengers. When booking through Arctic Shorex they guarantee that you will get a refund if the ship end up skipping the port, and that they'll automatically adjust the start time if the ship is late. Also they meet right at the port.

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On 7/11/2021 at 6:08 PM, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

If you did the following (mostly optional) excursions, I'd love a tiny bit of information about them (liked? disliked? where you went? doesn't have to be a whole review!):

-Icelandic Life at Litlibaer Turf Farm from Isafjordur

-Waterfall of the Gods & Icelandic Farm Life from Akureyri

-Panoramic Scenic Drive & Wartime Museum from Seydisfjordur

-Nature of Djupivogur & Berufjordur Fjord

-Either included tour in Heimaey, plus the extension to Eldfell Mountain

-ATV in Heimaey

 

And did you run across any places where someone was either offering an independent tour, or tourist info person who handed out maps or brochures?

And what are people wearing on board the ship - more summery clothing or wintery?

 

Thanks!!

 

 

Just back from July 3rd sailing...Out of the tours you have listed we did the ATVs in Heimaey and the Eldfell walking tour. Both were fantastic and must do's!!

The ATVs were in the morning before it started to drizzle and super fun. They suit you up in a protective jumpsuit, helmet & gloves and you ride all over the volcanic remains.

Our guide for the Eldfell walking tour was so knowledgable and actually lived through the volcano of 1973 so his insight was absolutely mesmerizing. Be sure and visit the Eldfell Museum afterwards as you'll see a house that was excavated from the volcanic ruins.

The day was foggy and rainy and drizzly (oh my) but a great port to end the week with.😃

 

As far as "what to wear" we wore hiking pants, Columbia tops, puffy vests, hiking boots all week while out on excursions and were very comfortable. At night we cleaned up and put on dresses for drinks and dinner as we had enough of the boots.😜 Honestly though, there's a mixed bag of people and anything you wear will be fine. The ship was very comfortable temperature wise.

 

While I'm at it I may as well list the excursions we did...

day 1 walked Reykjavik on our own 

day 2 Golden Circle (amazing!!)

day 3 included tour (nice) then enjoyed the ship

day 4 express whale watching tour in morning (booked on line before we left the house) (amazing!) included bus tour in afternoon  (just ok)

day 5 included walking tour in morning (great guide) walked up to the golf course then hiked in the mountains back to the ship on our own (amazing!!)

day 6 ice lagoon by zodiac (amazing, long day and worth every penny!!)

day 7 ATVs through the volcano in morning (amazing!) and the walking tour in the afternoon (wonderful)

 

Hope this helps! Have fun! 😊

 

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2 hours ago, FLORIDA FLOUNDER said:

Just back from July 3rd sailing...Out of the tours you have listed we did the ATVs in Heimaey and the Eldfell walking tour. Both were fantastic and must do's!!

The ATVs were in the morning before it started to drizzle and super fun. They suit you up in a protective jumpsuit, helmet & gloves and you ride all over the volcanic remains.

Our guide for the Eldfell walking tour was so knowledgable and actually lived through the volcano of 1973 so his insight was absolutely mesmerizing. Be sure and visit the Eldfell Museum afterwards as you'll see a house that was excavated from the volcanic ruins.

The day was foggy and rainy and drizzly (oh my) but a great port to end the week with.😃

 

As far as "what to wear" we wore hiking pants, Columbia tops, puffy vests, hiking boots all week while out on excursions and were very comfortable. At night we cleaned up and put on dresses for drinks and dinner as we had enough of the boots.😜 Honestly though, there's a mixed bag of people and anything you wear will be fine. The ship was very comfortable temperature wise.

 

While I'm at it I may as well list the excursions we did...

day 1 walked Reykjavik on our own 

day 2 Golden Circle (amazing!!)

day 3 included tour (nice) then enjoyed the ship

day 4 express whale watching tour in morning (booked on line before we left the house) (amazing!) included bus tour in afternoon  (just ok)

day 5 included walking tour in morning (great guide) walked up to the golf course then hiked in the mountains back to the ship on our own (amazing!!)

day 6 ice lagoon by zodiac (amazing, long day and worth every penny!!)

day 7 ATVs through the volcano in morning (amazing!) and the walking tour in the afternoon (wonderful)

 

Hope this helps! Have fun! 😊

Florida Flounder. Thank you for your detailed description of your shore excursions. 

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7 hours ago, FoggyEthan said:

Sorry, that wasn't what I meant. I should've been clearer. I'm not asking for paid tours. Only for someone who knows the area that I could talk to, to make suggestions or otherwise to help one plan an independent visit.

 

Don't recall anybody coming aboard in any of the ports we visited, but during the port talk the Cruise Director/Shore-ex Mgr did a good job of covering many of the local attractions, with lots of photos.

 

The Viking Port Talks were a big improvement on the usual shopping themed ones on mega ships.

 

Not exactly what you were hoping for, but worth checking them out. Hopefully post-COVID they still do port talks, as the Theatre was always standing room only.

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54 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Don't recall anybody coming aboard in any of the ports we visited, but during the port talk the Cruise Director/Shore-ex Mgr did a good job of covering many of the local attractions, with lots of photos.

 

The Viking Port Talks were a big improvement on the usual shopping themed ones on mega ships.

 

Not exactly what you were hoping for, but worth checking them out. Hopefully post-COVID they still do port talks, as the Theatre was always standing room only.

And 30 minutes later they are on the TV in your cabin. No crowds.😎

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An FYI for those spending additional time in Iceland after the cruise.

 

We are on the July 17-24 cruise but staying an additional week until July 31. Today we registered our arrival with Iceland. Because we cannot use the test results provided by Viking at the end of the cruise, on the same screen there is a tab to schedule the Covid-19 PCR test for our return to the US. Cost will be 50 Euro each. We had planned on doing the test while in the Westfjords region at a local hospital. Unfortunately the PCR test is only administered in Reykjavik - and can only be scheduled eight days in advance. So we have had to do a change in our itinerary. But this means that we will now see some of the South Coast region. And we have booked the same hotel (Hotel Anna) that DaveSJ711 stayed at when in the area. 

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57 minutes ago, Heartgrove said:

An FYI for those spending additional time in Iceland after the cruise.

 

We are on the July 17-24 cruise but staying an additional week until July 31. Today we registered our arrival with Iceland. Because we cannot use the test results provided by Viking at the end of the cruise, on the same screen there is a tab to schedule the Covid-19 PCR test for our return to the US. Cost will be 50 Euro each. We had planned on doing the test while in the Westfjords region at a local hospital. Unfortunately the PCR test is only administered in Reykjavik - and can only be scheduled eight days in advance. So we have had to do a change in our itinerary. But this means that we will now see some of the South Coast region. And we have booked the same hotel (Hotel Anna) that DaveSJ711 stayed at when in the area. 

Perfect! You will enjoy Country Hotel Anna. It’s up against an escarpment (near where some Game of Thrones filming was done—though neither of us have watched the show—but it’s very dramatic!). They have some hot tubs with views to the water & the escarpment. The food in their restaurant is very good, and their staff is exceptionally friendly. We stayed in the apartments but they also have rooms in the main house which are decked out in antiques I think.

 

Getting your PCR test is easy and straight forward. Just make your reservation (as you know)—when we were there it was a week in advance. Show up and do the test. We did ours two days before we flew and had results back in 4 hours. We just took a screen shot of the certificate letter they sent us (in case we couldn’t access email at the airport) and showed it when checking in.

 

Bon voyage!

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On 7/12/2021 at 9:15 AM, AKexplorer said:

Unfortunately we are not doing the viking transfer. I am just weighing options of booking an early private tour to a place like the Blue or Sky Lagoon versus dropping or bags at the ship and then exploring on our own with a city day pass for the museums and such. If we can't hand off our luggage then that limits our options somewhat. I believe there may be lockers for storing luggage at the bus station but adding in those costs just make a private tour more cost effective when including the convenience factor.

FWIW, I would advise against the drop and explore plan.  The shortness of the flight along with the frustrations of our travel made us very glad we went to the Blue Lagoon. We then went to the ship with full intentions to take the Viking shuttle into town and exploring Reykjavik.  BUT, we were seriously beat and instead enjoyed relaxing on the ship that afternoon and evening....especially since We had the early morning Golden Circle the next morning.  YMMV

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32 minutes ago, kate7047 said:

Interesting, but the link completely leaves out the denominator. 29 out of how many that were tested?

So, at the airport, on the exit testing- 29 tested positive and over half had been vaccinated......    How about Viking passengers-  any word on that?  Do they tell you?

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On 7/13/2021 at 4:06 AM, FoggyEthan said:

 

 

They also go by "Wild West Fjords", for which you can find reviews on TripAdvisor. Arctic Shorex is that company name they use when marketing directly to cruise ship passengers. When booking through Arctic Shorex they guarantee that you will get a refund if the ship end up skipping the port, and that they'll automatically adjust the start time if the ship is late. Also they meet right at the port.

I have been trying to reach Arctic Shorex for 3 days with no response. I want to have them confirm that if we are a little late tendering ashore on our July 17 Sky cruise stop at Seydisfjordur on July 21, that they will wait for us. Since the excursion is non-refundable, I want to make sure we won’t be left behind. 

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47 minutes ago, Envelope21 said:

I have been trying to reach Arctic Shorex for 3 days with no response. I want to have them confirm that if we are a little late tendering ashore on our July 17 Sky cruise stop at Seydisfjordur on July 21, that they will wait for us. Since the excursion is non-refundable, I want to make sure we won’t be left behind. 

 

We are docking at the pier in Seydisfjordur on July 21. No tendering. 

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On 7/13/2021 at 12:28 PM, Jim Avery said:

And 30 minutes later they are on the TV in your cabin. No crowds.😎


On our 2018 cruise, I had to stop watching one lecturer live after he kept putting me to sleep. He wasn’t boring, but there was something about his voice that knocked me out every time. I ended up watching him back in the room on the TV so I would stop embarrassing myself. 

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8 hours ago, Envelope21 said:

I have been trying to reach Arctic Shorex for 3 days with no response. I want to have them confirm that if we are a little late tendering ashore on our July 17 Sky cruise stop at Seydisfjordur on July 21, that they will wait for us. Since the excursion is non-refundable, I want to make sure we won’t be left behind. 

Sorry they've been hard to reach. I've usually gotten a response within 24 hours. But if you look at their terms and conditions, it seems that they will move the tour if the ship is late. But if tenders are going but you can't get on one, then that may not fly. Hope you get your answer soon!

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10 hours ago, Heartgrove said:

 

We are docking at the pier in Seydisfjordur on July 21. No tendering. 

Really? My cruise docs say it is a tender port. I hope you are right! Thanks!

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Envelope21 said:

I have been trying to reach Arctic Shorex for 3 days with no response. I want to have them confirm that if we are a little late tendering ashore on our July 17 Sky cruise stop at Seydisfjordur on July 21, that they will wait for us. Since the excursion is non-refundable, I want to make sure we won’t be left behind. 

They responded to me right away.  I was told they cater these tours for cruise ship passengers.  When you book your tour, they ask for the name of your ship.  If the ship is late, they will wait for you.  I ended up booking two trips with them and got a 5% discount.

Edited by gskimmel
added info
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