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River and Ocean cruise voyage combo -- good idea for Viking first timers?


WNCtourist
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I'm considering the 15-day Rhine and Viking Shores & Fjords combination river/ocean cruise for 2023. Looks like a new offering starting in 2022? The idea of experiencing both types of cruises and seeing both Scandinavia and parts of Europe is appealing as this would be a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip due to budget limitations and increasing difficulty in handling overseas flights.

 

We've never done a river cruise but have sailed 7 ocean cruises (with Alaska and Hawaii being our favorites) with Celebrity and Princess.  Everything we have read and heard about Viking is very enticing, particularly the smaller size. We would likely be in the lowest stateroom category on both ocean and river ships which means being last on the list to make reservations for shore excursions and dining reservations. Would the included excursions still be available?

 

Thanks for any advice and tips you can provide!

JR

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Posted (edited)

I can comment on the river cruise.  It was fabulous but intense as we went all day, everyday except one morning and one afternoon.  I understand about the travel to Europe and back.  For us we want to do more then 7 days.  You just need to be aware that you will need to pace yourself.  


The aquarium rooms on the river as they are called are tiny but adequate.  We were never in our cabin except to sleep and change.  There is no place to sit except on the bed and limited storage for clothing for that long of a trip.  You can do laundry on the ocean part.  

 

It will be a wonderful but know that you can’t see and do it all so plan to get some down time on the river so you can enjoy the whole trip.  Sea days on the ocean will allow for some rest. 
 

Edited by cruiselvr04
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We think you will totally enjoy your time with Viking. We suggest that you do the river leg first followed by the ocean leg. This is because you’ll be kept very busy on the river and you will have some downtime on the ocean to relax and just enjoy.

 

Tom

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JR,

 

I think it's an excellent choice for a first time (possibly only time) Viking cruiser.  We're in the same boat (pardon the pun) but we chose the Grand European river cruise instead.  It's scheduled for March 2023 and figured it would be our only trip, but now we're looking at an ocean cruise for 2022.  

 

I can't advise you on the cabin choice, but I think you'll love your cruises whatever you choose.

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8 hours ago, WNCtourist said:

We would likely be in the lowest stateroom category on both ocean and river ships which means being last on the list to make reservations for shore excursions and dining reservations.

Be aware that the lowest priced cabins on the River cruises are on the lowest deck and have no elevator access, so you must use stairs.

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We are booked on the Shores and Fjords cruise in 2023. We were booked on it for this year, but . . ., you know.  

 

I've been on the lower deck of Viking's riverboats and never noticed engine noise.  I've also sailed in one of their two-room suites on the upper deck. Having a room to relax in while my SO naps was a nice option, but frankly it wasn't worth the cost for us.  Regardless of the room, you should really plan to spend every daylight hour on a deck that gives you a view of both sides of the river.  Distance up to the sun deck without an elevator could be a significant factor for the less mobile.

 

One unfortunate aspect of the cruise is the limited time in Amsterdam. It's a fantastic city, and though we've been there before, rushing from ship to riverboat without a full day to wander will be a disappointment.

 

Last suggestion: You might consider the sun and shore when deciding which side of the ship to select. We're going north to south, so we've picked the left side of the ship to hopefully see more of the shoreline and the sunrises.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, austinetc said:

One unfortunate aspect of the cruise is the limited time in Amsterdam. It's a fantastic city, and though we've been there before, rushing from ship to riverboat without a full day to wander will be a disappointment.

 

I agree!  Amsterdam is a great city to spend time in. We did our own combo trip with two different cruise companies. In our scenario, there was a full day (to spend in Amsterdam) in-between the ocean and river cruises, one ending in Amsterdam in the morning, the next starting, two days later, also in Amsterdam. You can plan even more days if needed in Amsterdam for logistics of disembarking your first cruise and then embarking on your second cruise. You make a hotel reservation in Amsterdam for nights not covered on either the river or ocean cruises. 

Edited by C-sea
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Posted (edited)

We noticed no engine noise in the aquarium room on the lower deck.  We were however in the middle of the boat and not the end.  Because the outside wall is metal we used a couple of 20 pound magnets and hung hats and jackets on the wall.  There is a ledge by the window so you could put extra things up there too.  And yes the lower level is only accessible by a flight of stairs.

 

We would have no qualms about booking the cabin again.  Unlike ocean cruises on the river you’re busy all day.  All Viking categories are balcony on the ocean. Viking does a great job giving an almost all inclusive trip with included excursions.  We felt excursions were very organized and well run.  Just know that if it says panoramic in the description that a bus tour will be involved and may only be driving by places without a lot of stops.  Read the description to know.  We took 2 or 3 optional tours that were also very good and very fairly priced.

 

Amsterdam was good but not our favorite.  We did visit the Anne Frank house, did a boat tour and spent an afternoon at the rijksmuseum.   However you can’t do everything with limited time.  Our feet hurt so bad our last day there we opted to go back to the hotel.  Wear good shoes and build up your walking stamina before you go!

Edited by cruiselvr04
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We did a butterfly cruise on the Viking Sky in 2019.  It was a 31 day ocean cruise called “ Majestic Fjords & Vibrant Russia”.  This was two cruises jammed together and it was wonderful since we stayed in the same cabin for the entire trip. We have also been on the Grand European river from Amsterdam to Budapest.  Totally suggest doing a river trip first then the ocean as the ocean cruise portion is more relaxing.  We are doing a Paris to  Normandy this October then flying to Athens for an Empires of the Mediterranean.  If you fly the long trip to Europe then stay longer to make the experience worthwhile.

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Oh yay! Someone else I’d doing the “butterfly”! We are flying it to Paris from Atlanta…doing Paris/Normandy on Viking Kari for 8 days…we’re going on our own from Paris to London via EuroStar (Chunnel train)… A 2 day extension in London then getting on Viking Venus for the British Isles Cruise…we will also do the train from Bergen to Oslo then fly home from Oslo.  All this is in August 2022.

 

we’ve done the Grand European River Cruise in the past…We have booked 3 other cruises (2 Viking) and all have been rescheduled at least once…this one is on the 3rd reschedule!  We have a GTY for our ocean segment and as of now the Bergen to Oslo train extension is sold out. I know we have some time, but I’ll book the train extension on my own in January or February if a Viking slot does not open up.  Also, I was only allowed to GTY a DV stateroom, but we really want a PV and we are willing to pay for it.

 

we absolutely LOVE Viking…it’s been a full 2 years since we’ve cruised with them…the big “Butterfly” cruise is still a year out, so I’m believing they will come through for us. If you have never cruised with Viking, you will be so happy…only problem is that it’s the “crack” of travel….you will be immediately addicted!

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Thank you everyone for your tips and perspectives -- valuable information which I really appreciate. Just to confuse things, we have been thinking maybe we should focus on Norway more, since that's one place we really want to experience. 

 

So what are your opinions on the Shores & Fjords 8-day cruise (same as before), and adding on the 4-day extension of Best of Norway & Scenic train? Worth it or better to stay with the ocean and river combination?

 

Thanks again!

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2 hours ago, WNCtourist said:

Thank you everyone for your tips and perspectives -- valuable information which I really appreciate. Just to confuse things, we have been thinking maybe we should focus on Norway more, since that's one place we really want to experience. 

 

So what are your opinions on the Shores & Fjords 8-day cruise (same as before), and adding on the 4-day extension of Best of Norway & Scenic train? Worth it or better to stay with the ocean and river combination?

 

Thanks again!

 

We were also interested in a river/ocean combo that included Norway. Aboard Viking Sun, we booked a Grand European ending in Amsterdam, then had a Midsummer Night starting in Bergen about 9 days later.

 

Planned to fill the 9 days with a Viking extension in Amsterdam/The Hague and then the Oslo/Bergen pre-cruise extension.

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