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Normandy. WW Ii Tour with Viking - ?s


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If you have done a river cruise with Viking to Normandy, can you please comment on the amount of walking necessary on their tour that deals with WW Ii sites, monuments, etc?   If the walks are long and extensive, are there benches or places to sit and wait while other participants took advantage of the full tour?    Hoping someone can recall.
 

 

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rather than using Viking, you might want to book through Trip Advisor or Get Your Guide.  They are smaller groups than Viking would offer and therefore more flexible.

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I had not heard of Get Your Guide. Will keep the name in mind for other possibilities. We will definitely go with the Viking route this time for this location since it is included and not a short tour. It will use a good deal of the day. Thanks for replying.

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In addition, it is difficult to book independent tours while on river cruises.  As you say, you've already paid for the included excursion.  The port arrival and departure times often aren't known until last minute (up to the dockmasters, etc).  Often the ship will drop off in one spot and pick you up in another, spending the time queuing up for locks, to save time.

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On 7/7/2021 at 9:24 PM, mlbcruiser said:

If you have done a river cruise with Viking to Normandy, can you please comment on the amount of walking necessary on their tour that deals with WW Ii sites, monuments, etc?   If the walks are long and extensive, are there benches or places to sit and wait while other participants took advantage of the full tour?    Hoping someone can recall.

I don't know which sites your tour will visit but our tour included the American Cemetery & Memorial, D-Day Museum & Omaha Beach (pretty much the rest was a driving tour with photo stops) -  is was a very easy tour interspersed with rests while driving to/from a site &, of course, lunch. There are places to sit in the museum. As you enter the American Cemetery, there is a long row of places to sit opposite the visitor center & some benches are interspersed throughout the area (e.g., The Garden of the Missing) - there are no benches interspersed among the white crosses where the soldiers are buried. I can't remember if there were places to sit when we stopped at Omaha beach.

Our tour was a long day - as I recall, it lasted about 12 hours. All told, the total amount of walking didn't amount to much more than an hour - at the most, 1.5 hours. The surfaces were flat & even and I don't recall more than a few steps.

I traveled with my aunt who had some mobility issues. We purchased a cane that turned into a little chair & when we had to stand for periods of time (especially in museums) or walk any distance, my aunt's cane turned into a little chair on which she could rest (they are sold all over in case you are interested in such a cane - even Walmart carries them). I recall my aunt using the cane on the paths as we walked throughout the American Cemetery - I think that was the only time she utilized it on the Normandy tour.

I think you are needlessly worrying. Hope you have a wonderful cruise and tour of Normandy.🙂

 

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Dogs4fun, many, many  thanks to you for your very informative reply! This is exactly the type of info that I was hoping for. Yesj,  this tour sounds pretty much exactly like the one you were on.

 

Woth regard to the cane with a little stool on it, I actually got my husband one last year. He is 6‘3“ tall and his right leg and right arm don’t work very well. At first we were trying to use it wrong but I realize your face toward the handle of the cane and sit facing the shaft of the handle instead of the handle at your back, as we we first tried it. It did not seem very stable and was a bit low for him, even though I got the tallest one I saw online. It was. difficult for him to rise from it. . (He has to mostly rely on his left leg and hoists himself forward and up out of a sitting position.) Several days ago I told him we need to get that cane out and have him try it using it correctly.  Of course it would be a bit more cumbersome than a regular cane, which he will rarely agree to use, but does very occasionally. I think a rolling walker with a seat on it would be great for him, except that you really needs 2  good arms to propel them forward easily. 
From your description of the tour, though, I think he might be OK on this tour.

 

well I got him what is considered a light weight (50 lbs) foldable mobility scooter that he has used on a few different ocean going cruise ships, he is resisting bringing it on this trip. I’m sure online there would be several times when it might come in handy when we are on our own, especially in Paris. An additional issue is the cruise company requires a doctors note stating the passengers fitness to travel and once a list of all medication’s. Frankly I think that is ridiculous because plenty of people are traveling that don’t bring mobility scooters that have various conditions that could be even more risky. My DHS condition started six years ago and we have traveled internationally and domestic Lee many times without incident. It’s annoying to him to have to make a doctors appointment and go in for basically what would be an unneeded extra check up which I’m sure our doctor will want before he writes the letter only because he will make more money that way and while the doctor has renewed prescriptions for him, he has not actually seen my husband since last August!  
 

if you have comments about any of the other included tours on the Paris to Normandy itinerary With Viking, please do not hesitate to share them. If you prefer, you can private message me through the messaging feature on here by clicking on my screen name as well.

 

Thanks again for your help!

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@mlbcruiser - I assume that you know that Viking offers tours designed for those that walk at a slower pace?  They weren't offered in all of our ports of call but they were offered in a good number of them. When you board your ship, speak to your cruise director & see which tours are more gentle & designed for slow walkers. Our guide in Rouen moved at a pretty brisk pace & my aunt was struggling to keep up. Fortunately, I had previously visited Rouen so we simply ditched the guide and set off on our own at a pace that was comfortable for auntie. We had an enjoyable time on our own and actually saw a little more than those on the ship's tour (we actually had time to visit a street market). 

Lesson learned - from then on, we booked the gentle paced tours offered in Lyon, Arles & Avignon.

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Yes, I actually am aware of the gentle walkers’ tour options. I double checked just within the last couple of days to make sure they offer them on this line. We did an Emerald Rhine cruise just a few summers ago and one of the tour guides seemed to think it was a marathon, with very many in the group getting left far behind her, though it was not a tour for slow walkers. As for the pace on any included tours, gentle or not, it seems like the speed and quality May often depend upon the particular guide one gets. I am anticipating having to do as you did and sometimes break off from a tour if it is too much for my husband to handle,  or we just want to go off on our own. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s a good heads up to me and others who may be wondering about the gentle walkers tours. I will have to educate myself about what things we might want to see a ditch stop. On our prior cruise and even sometimes on our ocean going cruises, my husband wants to go back to the ship before I do, So I end up going back out on my own.

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dogs4fun, definitely thinking that we want to visit Versailles on our own, but

i’m concerned about the time.  Our Viking ship leaves Le Pecq for Paris at some point. Late  afternoon? I’m going to try to find out scheduling on this but it might  not be something I can find out yet. I don’t think Viking begins running cruises on the Seine until 6/18. 
 

 I know viking’s  tour departs the ship after lunch. Do you possibly have any recollection of your Viking tour timetable,  what they showed you at. Versailles, etc?

 

sharkster77 suggested we book a trip through one of the independent tour companies. It might be a good idea. Might make things go a little quicker and easier since we wouldn’t have to worry about getting a taxi there and back.

 

I’d really like to see are the king’s apartments, a couple of the major rooms inside the rest of the palace and also the area where Marie Antoinette’s separate “country home” is located. If it’s hot, we might not care about spending much time around the gardens. A glance would be good enough. Likely not possible to get all of those things in With so little time so need to decide which I think would be the most interesting to us. So much research yet still to do at a time when my schedule is very busy. 
 

If you have any thoughts or information with regard to the actual Viking tour timing and such, please reply! Thank you.

 

 

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1 hour ago, mlbcruiser said:

sharkster77 suggested we book a trip through one of the independent tour companies. It might be a good idea. Might make things go a little quicker and easier since we wouldn’t have to worry about getting a taxi there and back.

 

 

 

 

No, I did NOT suggest that you book a trip independently---I said exactly the opposite and spelled out the reasons why that would be difficult.

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Sorry, sharkster77.  My error. As you may have seen, that suggestion was made by GACNJC referring to the Viking Normandy tour. However, I was thinking that  suggestion  might be useful in a port other than  Normandy. My apologies that it apparently wasn’t more clear. 
 

These latest question I was asking  dogs4fun was not in regard to Normandy, but another port stop on the Seine iiinerary, Le Pecq, and the optional tour to  Versailles. That one is NOT included as a free option but costs $130 pp.   Since that poster has done a Viking cruise on the Seine, I  hoped they might have taken the Versailles optional tour or know something about it,  either details or at least the amount of time docked at LePecq. Wasn’t sure the question would be seen by Dogs4fun but was hoping it would. 

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3 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

Do you possibly have any recollection of your Viking tour timetable,  what they showed you at. Versailles, etc?

Sorry, I have visited Versailles several times but never from a cruise - we visited when staying in Paris & spent the entire day at Versailles (took the train). Spent another day at Versailles on our second visit. 😁 It is fabulous and not to be missed! On our Seine cruise, we simply took the included tour of Paris.

 

3 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

I’d really like to see are the king’s apartments, a couple of the major rooms inside the rest of the palace and also the area where Marie Antoinette’s separate “country home” is located.

Versailles covers a large area - as I recall, the walk to Marie Antionette's Estate (the Queen's Hamlet, Petit & Grand Trianon) is another 15 minute walk after you have walked through the huge main palace. If you walked from the main palace gate to Marie's Estate, I would think you are looking at about 30 -35 minutes of walking.

This is what Viking states about the walking portion of their Versailles tour:

* Moderate - Walking portions may be long and somewhat challenging with occasional step-ups, stairs and inclines. Total time walking or standing normally ranges from 1.5 to 3 hours.

If your DH is joining you on this tour, I would be a little concerned.

There is a little tourist train that one can ride that will reduce walking. 

https://en.chateauversailles.fr/plan-your-visit/facilities/little-trai

You can check the palace website here:

https://en.chateauversailles.fr/

If you want to DIY Versailles, I would recommend that you save it for a time when you are spending several days in Paris. Does your cruise start and/or end in Paris (I don't know which Seine cruise you have booked)? If so, are you planning on arriving a day or two prior to your cruise or staying in Paris after your cruise? Arriving pre-cruise or staying post-cruise would lend itself well to Versailles DIY. 

Otherwise, I would recommend that you bite the bullet and book the tour offered by the ship - it appears to visit most of the sites you want to see plus there is time to explore the gardens (when, hopefully, you could head over to Marie's Estate).

According to Viking's tour description (listed on their website), the tour of Versailles lasts 5 hours. Below is the tour's description:

Enjoy a day at the former home of French kings: the awe-inspiring Château de Versailles. The palace and its sprawling gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, began as a small hunting lodge. Over the years, it was enlarged by each of its three resident kings—most famously Louis XIV, the “Sun King.” A local guide will accompany you to the château, where you will marvel at the extravagance and excess of French royalty. See the state apartments of the king, the Hercules Drawing Room with its magnificent painted ceiling and the famed Hall of Mirrors—the glittering corridor of chandeliers and glass in which the Treaty of Versailles was signed, thus ending World War I. Learn about court life in the 18th century, and see the queen’s apartments and the chamber of Marie Antoinette. Later, there will be time to explore the vast, elaborate gardens.

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So nice of you to take the time to give me all of that information, dogs4fun!  Very helpful and I truly appreciate it!

 

 yes, our crI did look on some of the links you provided and see what you mean about the size of Versailles. Up to now, I had only done a brief check on a different Versailles site about a week ago, and read about reservations, also & about it being accessible, etc.  Based on the description on the Viking website, It sounds like they are stressing the challenges of the tour. So I almost think in our case we will likely have to go on our own. IF we go at all now. That way maybe when there are steep steps and things, we could find a place for my husband to leave his scooter, see a particular area, then go back to his scooter and resume at our own pace Tough to know for sure though. I can probably find that sort of thing out by calling or emailing the proper information provider at Versailles. I already knew it was big, but it’s huge!  Sounds like we would definitely be wanting to use the trolley if we did anything more than see the main palace.

 

I did not know that shore excursions were on the Viking website. I had a much much briefer description of the Riverside tour on the email I received about booking optional shore excursions, oddly enough. Today I called Viking directly at a number that was on my confirmation page. It allowed me to get directly to someone who could supply a few answers. 

 

One thing I learned late this afternoon: at this time, Viking will not allow its passengers off of the ship in any port unless they will be with a ships tour on land. Of course this is due to changes because of COVID-19, but I hope and pray that will be lifted when we cruise in a few weeks. That means it would not even be possible to break away from a tour Midway through if you get bored or tired or simply want to have time to while away in some other manner on land.

I knew some oceangoing cruises had been doing that initially but that already seems to be changing in some places. And from what I have seen, it sounds like France has opened up to a good extent.

This certainly narrows down our choices! I also got the timetable with regard to departing LePecq. The departure is at 3:30 PM! And the ship goes to someplace called St. Denis and that stop is only 30 minutes long. I assume that the stop is possibly to pick up those Who do the optional Versailles tour
 

Yes, our cruise both starts and stops in Paris. Actually our flight arrives in Paris about 50 hours before we will be boarding the ship. Since it will be about 2 AM on our body clocks when we arrive, and it’s likely we won’t be allowed to access out actual room in whichever hotel we stay at until around 3 to 4 PM (judging by what I have seen as check in times online at various places), going to Versailles that first day will not be a good option. 13 years ago we landed in Manchester,  England at 5 AM, proceeded to pick up our rental car, then drove straight to Edinburgh! Now we are older and a bit less energetic, lol. Since we haven’t been to Paris in over 40 years, I’s hate to use that next (only)  full day in Paris going to Versailles. Yet who knows?  I have thought about possibly adding another day to the back end of the trip. Right now the day we disembark I am hoping to rent a car and drive to the Loire Valley. Spend one night, use about 2/3 of the next day In the same area, and then head back to Paris. Maybe stay near the airport and fly out the next day. Not certain if I can push our departing flight a day later or not. 
 

Once more, thank you!!! 😊
 

 

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8 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

One thing I learned late this afternoon: at this time, Viking will not allow its passengers off of the ship in any port unless they will be with a ships tour on land. Of course this is due to changes because of COVID-19, but I hope and pray that will be lifted when we cruise in a few weeks. That means it would not even be possible to break away from a tour Midway through if you get bored or tired or simply want to have time to while away in some other manner on land.

This is the main reason that we haven't booked any European cruises - the protocols concerning Covid 19 are far too fluid at this time (this includes the protocols on land in the various European cities). 

I would love to visit Europe this fall, preferably by land. I will wait to see how the various countries handle their protocols over the next few months. 

8 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

Yes, our cruise both starts and stops in Paris.

If you decide to add a day or two in Paris, I can email you step-by-step instructions - Paris to Versailles. It is not difficult, you save a bundle of money by DIY & you can spend a lovely, leisurely day exploring the palace & grounds (there are plenty of shady areas where your DH can rest while you explore).

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I certainly understand your hesitancy visit Europe at present. I kept looking  for bit of a special trip to celebrate a very big anniversary this summer. My husband was interested in doing a Danube cruise but those looked less likely to happen. Spain and then France opened up, so I focused on those two areas. Early fall would  ot have worked since our daughter is having a baby in early September and I don’t want to be away at that time. Of course the new variant is complicating things,  but it so far  many restaurants and museums are operating in France. At least we can apply the cost to a future cruise should another dreaded lockdown occur.

 

I just mentioned possibly wanting to extend our stay in France to my husband about an hour ago. I couldn’t quite read what he was thinking about that. Should we decide to and have the option to stay longer, your step-by-step instructions for visiting Versailles would no doubt be extremely helpful. However, I don’t want to cause you to go to the trouble of laying those out or wasting your time since I’m not even certain we are going to have time to visit Versailles after the river cruise at this point.  (I am a little hesitant to extend the trip just in case it turns out we can get tested by Viking as a courtesy before departing the ship. I have heard rumors they will do this for those who require such a test before entering their home country , but have not seen anything by Viking indicating this is true. It might be much easier to keep our present flight home to be within the proper window of having been tested

before our flight home. So many things can change by the time our cruise date is here, who knows what will happen between now & then! Creating the instructions just sounds like too much work to have you do!  Extremely kind of you to offer to do it, though.
 

Very good to know there will be places for my husband to relax in the shade should he get his fill of Versailles if  I still want to see more.


i’m sure you are helping a lot of others with what you have already mentioned in this thread. Can’t say thanks enough!

 

 

 

 

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Dogs4fun, i’m beginning to get a little wary of making various reservations and arrangements for our trip. With this Delta variant increasing so rapidly, the cruise may not be allowed, WE might not be allowed in, or France might shut down! Therefore I’m kind of hesitant 

to go to all the trouble or get too excited about the trip!

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17 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

Creating the instructions just sounds like too much work to have you do!

Just so you know - the instructions are already done as I created them for a family member. So, should you decide you want them, it is no trouble. 😉

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Well in that case, certainly I would like to get them, of course!  Thank you! 
 

I did finally make a hotel reservation last night for the first 2 nights before the cruise. I’m going to keep looking at accommodations over the next couple of weeks just the same. At least I have that base covered satisfactorily.
 

I don’t like to think negatively but based on news reports, I’m getting more and more concerned this trip is not going to happen next month, unfortunately.

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4 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

Well in that case, certainly I would like to get them, of course!  Thank you! 

If you will contact me (my email address is included in my signature), I will be happy to email the directions to you. Even if you don't make this particular cruise, you can always use them on a future visit. 🙂

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dogs4fun, I checked your profile page based on your screen name but no email/messaging address there. The little envelope (messaging feature) shown doesn’t work. I would try your screen name but don’t know the “at” to finish an address. ??? 

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On 7/7/2021 at 8:24 PM, mlbcruiser said:

If you have done a river cruise with Viking to Normandy, can you please comment on the amount of walking necessary on their tour that deals with WW Ii sites, monuments, etc?   If the walks are long and extensive, are there benches or places to sit and wait while other participants took advantage of the full tour?    Hoping someone can recall.
 

 

My wife and I are not big hikers. She has a knee replacement and I was diagnosed with Pneumonia the first day of the cruise. We did the Commonwealth tour not the American beaches ( Bayeux Tapestry) .None of the tours were very tough. I paced myself and enjoyed the trip. Hope this helps.

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1 hour ago, mlbcruiser said:

dogs4fun, I checked your profile page based on your screen name but no email/messaging address there. The little envelope (messaging feature) shown doesn’t work. I would try your screen name but don’t know the “at” to finish an address. ??? 

The messaging system on cruise critic is disabled - it doesn’t work for anyone.

As I said, my email address is included in my signature.

At the bottom of each post you will find my signature -  click on Expand signature. At the bottom, in red, there is a link to my email -  click on it.

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Joe, good to hear that you and your wife were able to handle the tours. My dh and I both have knee replacements, though those don't bother us at all.  However, I have cancelled foot surgery twice in the past 2 yrs. but  I push through it and usually manage to do about whatever I want. Can't say I do it without discomfort much of the time, but at least I am not very restricted. Thanks for your input!

 

dogs4fun,  I have figured out why I couldn't find a signature on your posts, nor "Expand Signature". I decided to use my computer instead of my cell phone to reach this website and did.  So apparently all it took was for me to use a different search engine because when I switched to the one I use on our computer, it shows. There is no signature showing when using my phone. So, you should be hearing from me shortly!

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8 hours ago, mlbcruiser said:

dogs4fun,  I have figured out why I couldn't find a signature on your posts, nor "Expand Signature". I decided to use my computer instead of my cell phone to reach this website and did.  So apparently all it took was for me to use a different search engine because when I switched to the one I use on our computer, it shows. There is no signature showing when using my phone. So, you should be hearing from me shortly!

It isn't the browser. It is just that you can't see signatures on a phone. (I think that they are visible on a tablet in landscape mode, but I'm not certain.)

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