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LIVE from "Iceland's Natural Beauty" -- All Sailings, 2021


Peregrina651
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11 minutes ago, Msgolferfhcc said:

I know one can’t take outside tours, but are you being allowed to wander on your own? It’s unclear from some posts but those might have been in the transition phase of going back to bubble. Viking did tell me much earlier we can wander Reykjavik prior to checking in. But the some of the other towns where we are only taking the included leave a lot of the day open. Just curious, we’ll follow the rules without a problem, hot toddy in hand!

I have exactly the same question...also with hot toddy in hand!

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9 hours ago, Camden lady said:

Do any of the tours where you can buy souvenirs or maybe one of the hand knitted sweaters?

Trying to recall...Golden Circle stops all had visitor centers/bathrooms.  Northern Treasures - the rest room facilities at the Myvatn lava castles and the craters were in larger buildings so could have souvenirs.  Vok Baths had basically their bathing products.  Dynjandi waterfall nothing.  Skalanes nothing.  Glacial Lake nothing.  

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26 minutes ago, NeilP57 said:

Not forgetting the airport on departure. Plenty of time and opportunity there for souvenir and jumper shopping given Viking likes to get you there about 3 hrs before your flight at the latest. 

Thanks so much.  

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19 hours ago, Tarheel1952 said:

I know tipping is not expected, but when tipping guides and drivers, are most using US dollars?

 

Thanks!

Tipping guides and drivers IS EXPECTED! Don’t know how this rumor started, but the guides and drivers do expect it and don’t turn it down!

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1 hour ago, Mpc524 said:

Tipping guides and drivers IS EXPECTED! Don’t know how this rumor started, but the guides and drivers do expect it and don’t turn it down!

 

Just checked my notes from our last visit to Iceland and noted that Iceland does not utilise a "Tipping" culture. While foreign tourists, especially those from countries with an almost mandatory tipping culture, have increased the prevalence of tipping, the norm is still that tips are not expected. Locals generally do not tip.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, sprshop said:

Has anyone done the Beluga Whale excursion?  Would you recommend it?

Thanks🐳

OK at best. Aquarium is right across he street from where the shuttle docks. Get to see a few rehabbed Puffins in dark interior followed by about 20 minutes viewing the whales underwater. Whales seem to enjoy looking at the humans.
No boat ride on our excursion.

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2 hours ago, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

We can wander at will but Ive heard third hand that next cruise coming up will be different.

You heard correctly.  We are on Sky, starting on August 14th and we will not be allowed to leave the Viking “bubble” once we enter it.  Glad to have a week on our own to drive and wander at will.  Having a great time.  BTW, we saw the Viking busses as we passed the Fjallsarlon lagoon, on our way to the Jokulsarlon lagoon for our Zodiac ride.

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Would someone who is currently on board please ask the crew what little things they miss the most/need the most since they cannot get off the ship. Toothpaste? Candy? We’d be happy to bring small fairly light stuff that we have room for in our suitcases. It would be nice if someone posted a list and everyone started bringing a few items. We had planned to ask when we got on board but it looks like we may be in a bubble

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1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Just checked my notes from our last visit to Iceland and noted that Iceland does not utilise a "Tipping" culture. While foreign tourists, especially those from countries with an almost mandatory tipping culture, have increased the prevalence of tipping, the norm is still that tips are not expected. Locals generally do not tip.

 

 

When we traveled in 2018 to Iceland, tipping was not the norm nor expected.  Heidi, saying "increased the prevelence of tipping" is an understatement.  Places where tipping, propina or baksheesh was not expected now want more and more no matter the quality of the service provided.  As a live aboard small boat cruiser in the Caribbean for 20 years, i have seen it happen.  

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3 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Just checked my notes from our last visit to Iceland and noted that Iceland does not utilise a "Tipping" culture. While foreign tourists, especially those from countries with an almost mandatory tipping culture, have increased the prevalence of tipping, the norm is still that tips are not expected. Locals generally do not tip.

 

 

BUT, Viking recommends tipping tour guide $2 pp and bus driver $1 pp. 

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3 hours ago, dcl999 said:

Would someone who is currently on board please ask the crew what little things they miss the most/need the most since they cannot get off the ship. Toothpaste? Candy? We’d be happy to bring small fairly light stuff that we have room for in our suitcases. It would be nice if someone posted a list and everyone started bringing a few items. We had planned to ask when we got on board but it looks like we may be in a bubble

So thoughtful 

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I leave Jupiter tomorrow, so making a couple comments on our last 2 days and the cruise in general.  It has been so wonderful, but I did so much sightseeing I barely had a chance to use any of the amenities on board, except of course to EAT!  Bisteca (rib eye steak) at Manfredi's, by the way, is really, really good.  I'm not a huge steak lover but I did think it was excellent.  

 

Yesterday we were in Djupivogur, a tiny place, but perhaps we were the last group of people allowed to wander around on our own there; not sure.  I took the ice lagoon zodiac trip and while the drive there and back was awfully long (with a few short stops, and some quick drive throughs of various places along the way) it was worth it.  Take a snack, though, if you need to eat every couple hours.  Boats were large and fairly roomy, the ride easy (not scary) and the ice charming and interesting.  Guide on the boat tells you lots.  The walk up from the zodiacs to lunch was a little bit tiring as it's mostly uphill, but we had plenty of time because lunch was not scheduled immediately after our boat ride.  It was easy to get into the boat.  Guide for the trip there and back was quite good; so was the bus (clean, lots of space, bathroom for use in emergencies, etc.)  We had bright sunshine all day. 

 

Today was Heimaey, a charming place with lots of scenery around the port.  We tendered, but it wasn't too long or rough.  Day was a repeat of yesterday ..bright sunshine and fairly warm.  If you're taking an excursion here do yourself a favor and read the Daily about where to meet for your particular excursion.  People were confused because they didn't read.  Some excursions met in Star Theater, some on the pier.  If you're meeting on the pier, you don't need to go to the theater, you just leave a half hour early and go downstairs for a tender.  It gets crowded down there so be patient.  When you get ashore, check in with the Viking folks ashore to get a tour number (bus, boat, walking, whatever).  There were tons of tours today, and the vendors were not all on time, so it was a little bit disorganized ...by them, not Viking!  I did the included bus tour in late AM, stayed in town (hopefully you'll be allowed to do so) and then took an afternoon paid boat trip around the island.  There's a shuttle provided from the Eldheimer Museum back to the tender pier for those visiting the museum.  We also receiving a small bag lunch (a surprise) an hour before our AM tour...but you can find a few restaurants and grocery stores in Heimaey if you'd prefer to have something substantial.  For the boat tour, you'll want something warm, even if it's sunny and warm on the pier.  Probably just a fleece would do if the weather is good.  If you have binoculars, or have a pair in your stateroom, you may want to bring those.  There are puffins (until they fly away) but they're up on the cliffs or in the water, so binoculars would be useful.  

 

For tendering, seas in Heimaey can be a little choppy, but Viking provides 3 or 4 deck personnel to help people get on and off safely.  Keep your hands free and wait for them to help you.  There was also a small Ponant ship here, which was interesting.  And in Djupivogur there was a small ProCruises Iceland cruise ship.  

 

This morning we got our Covid test results from yesterday  to take with us to the airport tomorrow.  If you're staying over several days in Iceland, you'll need to be careful of the timing of the test.  

 

This has really been a wonderful cruise.  The weather is definitely unpredictable, but these last two days were gorgeous, and the other days not really bad, just cloudy most of the time.  We didn't miss any ports because of sea conditions or Icelandic Coast Guard concerns or Covid.   As far as I know nobody got sick, although one woman slipped on wet moss, fell and had to be helped back to the tender by the local ER folks.  But she was OK, and in good spirits. 

 

Viking did a really, really good job with the whole cruise.  I've heard a few complaints (too long a ride on Zodiac excursion with no opportunity to buy food, for example) but overall, feedback has been terrific.  And Viking kept us safe and healthy, with little disruption to the usual cruise experience.  I just wish I had slowed down a bit and could enjoy things on the ship more.  Sorry I can't comment much on all those extra things.  

 

If you have an early flight home, there will be food in World Cafe starting at 5 AM.  If you need breakfast before that, room service is available.  I've heard KEF airport is really congested, so today will be trying for many of us.  

 

If anyone has questions, I'll be spending a lot of time in airports tomorrow, so fire away.....

Ruth 

 

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And just a couple more things:  I was never on a bus for longer than an hour and a half max without a bathroom stretch break.  Overall, the guides were excellent.  The crew on the ship bends over backwards to meet your every desire.  

 

If you want to see puffins, and it's not after they've left town, take the Footsteps of the Elves excursion.

 

I don't think many people saw whales, however.  Belugas, can't say, as I didn't hear any feedback about that excursion.  As mentioned above, I think the belugas have been moved to the facility right by the pier, so there's no "in the wild" experience any more. 

 

If you walk to hike the mountain in Heimaey, there are trails in several places in town, but it's a little too tricky to describe here.  I went about half way after going upstairs at the Eldheimer Museum and walking out to a path.  It is NOT an easy hike, however.  

 

Vendor for the Wildlife of Heimaey By Boat was late in getting a boat to us, so that was a little frustrating.  I would say the trip was worthwhile, but not exceptional.  But others really liked it.  

 

I guess you may not be able to just tender to Djupivogur and Heimaey and wander on your own, but if so, just for your info, we were not required to wait until a particular time to go over as some previous cruises were.  

 

Have to go now....very, very early disembarkation tomorrow.  Enjoy your cruise.  I certainly did. 

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2 hours ago, covergirl1300 said:

BUT, Viking recommends tipping tour guide $2 pp and bus driver $1 pp. 

 

The Viking Tipping Policy, as explained in FAQ also opens with the statement, "How much you choose to tip is a personal matter and completely at your discretion".

 

The Viking recommendation may meet the needs of many pax, but it is generic and does not account for local customs, nor the level of service provided by the guide/driver. Determining local customs is critical when travelling the world, as in a number of countries, even today, tipping is considered as rude.

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1 hour ago, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

And just a couple more things:  I was never on a bus for longer than an hour and a half max without a bathroom stretch break.  Overall, the guides were excellent.  The crew on the ship bends over backwards to meet your every desire.  

 

If you want to see puffins, and it's not after they've left town, take the Footsteps of the Elves excursion.

 

I don't think many people saw whales, however.  Belugas, can't say, as I didn't hear any feedback about that excursion.  As mentioned above, I think the belugas have been moved to the facility right by the pier, so there's no "in the wild" experience any more. 

 

If you walk to hike the mountain in Heimaey, there are trails in several places in town, but it's a little too tricky to describe here.  I went about half way after going upstairs at the Eldheimer Museum and walking out to a path.  It is NOT an easy hike, however.  

 

Vendor for the Wildlife of Heimaey By Boat was late in getting a boat to us, so that was a little frustrating.  I would say the trip was worthwhile, but not exceptional.  But others really liked it.  

 

I guess you may not be able to just tender to Djupivogur and Heimaey and wander on your own, but if so, just for your info, we were not required to wait until a particular time to go over as some previous cruises were.  

 

Have to go now....very, very early disembarkation tomorrow.  Enjoy your cruise.  I certainly did. 

Thank you! Safe travels. 

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1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

The Viking Tipping Policy, as explained in FAQ also opens with the statement, "How much you choose to tip is a personal matter and completely at your discretion".

 

The Viking recommendation may meet the needs of many pax, but it is generic and does not account for local customs, nor the level of service provided by the guide/driver. Determining local customs is critical when travelling the world, as in a number of countries, even today, tipping is considered as rude.


While I generally agree with your comments, from our recent Iceland experience,  I must say that the tour guides and bus drivers seemed most happy to stand at the door to receive our tips. I think expectations may be different when serving a US based audience. And actually, it’s been a tough year and a half for those tour guides. Who can blame them?

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46 minutes ago, Australia08 said:


While I generally agree with your comments, from our recent Iceland experience,  I must say that the tour guides and bus drivers seemed most happy to stand at the door to receive our tips. I think expectations may be different when serving a US based audience. And actually, it’s been a tough year and a half for those tour guides. Who can blame them?

I have traveled extensively by air, sea, train, auto and no one ever seemed insulted by tips passengers shared with them.  Had part time experience in Hospitality Industry and all tips big or small were appreciated.  After the year the people around the world have lived thru I feel certain driver and guide will appreciate my tip.  I really don't care what anyone else does, I will tip.

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8 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Just checked my notes from our last visit to Iceland and noted that Iceland does not utilise a "Tipping" culture. While foreign tourists, especially those from countries with an almost mandatory tipping culture, have increased the prevalence of tipping, the norm is still that tips are not expected. Locals generally do not tip.

 

 

We were just there for three weeks, including the cruise. All guides and drivers on the cruise buses did expect tips. We heard about the supposed no tipping policy and in our trip around the Ring Road, EVERYWHERE we went, there was a tip jar on the counter, even the fancier restaurants….Apparently, they are no longer insulted by tips…..

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