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About lackcreativity

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  1. Cruisemom, You have given me a lot more to think about. I think I will check out a map of Pompeii to see where the places you mentioned are located in relation to the entrance, so I can get an idea of the distances. Thanks.
  2. DGHOC, We didn't do any of the optional excursions this time, just combined the included ones with extra time on our own. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is a really popular one, according to many posters on here, but we wanted to to go to the Nobel Museum so had to pass on it. The included Scenic Bornholm was our only disappointment. Unfortunately, we hit the perfect trifecta of a Sunday at the very beginning of the season with totally dreary weather and a lackluster guide. I imagine that it could have been a charming little port, but not on that day. Unexpectedly, the sail in to Stockholm (sail out for you) was really a treat. People gathered all over the ship to watch the scenery, and there were complimentary beverages and nibbles passed by the crew. It was an environment unlike any we had seen before, and fun to imagine how nice it would be to have one of those little cabins on one of those little islands. We didn't have to get up early like you might need to do, but I am glad we didn't miss it.
  3. Thanks all for the advice about visiting these sites on our own. We are fairly new to cruising, having done our share of escorted land tours, and so far we have been content to take the Viking excursions. At this stage, it just seems easier to let someone else do the work. Sometimes we stay in port on our own after an excursion and use the Viking shuttle back to the ship. For our one vacation a year, the convenience is worth the cost. I am leaning towards Herculaneum, thanks to the information offered here.
  4. When we did Russia and the Baltic Sea last spring, we arrived early on the first of the three days and were able to complete the full three day tour with Alla tours. I think it was more or less 8:30 to 5:30 all three days of the tour. Of course, I don't know if DGHOC's sailing represents at change for all itineraries going forward, or just a deviation for that one cruise. We usually do Viking's tours, but on this one occasion we did the group tour with Alla. Both that tour and the entire cruise were excellent. Tallinn was delightful, and Visby was a pleasant surprise. If you choose to give Viking a try, hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
  5. JB, Like you, the arthritis has good days and not so good. This is the first winter that it has become a challenge at times. I am hoping that the warmer weather in October may prove helpful, but I am certainly not ready to stay home because of it. Thanks for your advice.
  6. We will be taking a cruise with a stop in Naples this fall. I have been debating whether to visit Herculaneum or Pompeii from there. We are 67/68 and I am not as agile as I used to be (arthritis), but since that is a recent development I don't know yet how much that will impact our touring. Any advice for me?
  7. I can understand the "it's exhausting, save Venice for the next trip". However, life is unpredictable, and you never know, so I would go to Venice. Personally, Rome is my favorite city in the world (though that list does change often), but Venice is a close second. It is such a unique city, with a challenging future from both climate issues and overcrowding, so I would go now. And again later, if you are so lucky!
  8. A printed map is very helpful, but I also like to use Google maps. As I am researching the trip, (using Pinterest, Trip Advisor, Rick Steves etc.) I go to my Google maps, locate the site of interest, then mark it with a star. From there, I can use Google to search nearby for restaurants and mark those too. It makes it easy to learn which places of interest are located close together. Soon before my trip, I will download the map to my tablet. That way I can use the map offline without a need for wifi or expensive data usage. A paper map can be easier to pull out on a street corner, but the Google map is more detailed.
  9. HDS, Just to add a little more information, my designation of the included tours for Dubrovnik and Katakolon as excellent are based on several factors that differ for the two examples listed. A good guide is one of the prime factors in evaluating the value of any excursion, and we were lucky with both of those tours. The destination itself is another factor, and I think I would love Dubrovnik no matter what. Walking through those city gates is indeed like walking back in time. The tour was very good, with inside visits at a monastery and a small exhibit about the (mostly young) men lost in the war. At the end of the walking tour, we told the guide we were remaining behind, bought tickets on our own to walk the city walls, and then had a nice lunch to recuperate from that adventure. We took the Viking shuttle back to the ship late in the afternoon. It really was a great day. Katakolon is honestly a place of less interest to me, but the include tour took us all through the park, with admission to the archeological museum at the end. It showed us everything that the site had to offer, in an organized and efficient way, with an interesting guide. We even saw a group of young students (and a local dog) run a race on the original Olympic track. I think that Olympia was kind of a low key visit, but I think the tour was the best possible version of this site.
  10. Happy to help. We have taken three ocean cruises with Viking, with another one this fall. Hope you enjoy yours as much as we have.
  11. Don't just assume that the included excursions are to be dismissed, but read the full descriptions carefully. On the limited portion of your cruise that we have covered, both the Dubrovnik and the Katakolon included excursions were excellent. In many ports, Viking offers free shuttle service to a central location in the port city. We usually combine an excursion and some time on our own after that. Our excursions include a mix of optional ones and included ones. We are not very experienced cruisers, having only sailed with Viking, but optional excursions seem reasonable. Simple, half day excursions may be $49 - $79, and full day excursions perhaps $99 - $129. The extraordinary ones (like helicopter rides) are priced accordingly. The most we ever paid was $149 per person for a full day excursion to Predjama Castle and Postojna Caves, which included two admission fees and lunch at a hotel restaurant.
  12. Cocopico, I went to my own photos planning to add to this discussion, but decided mine did not do the event justice, so I didn't post earlier. Your photos are much better than mine. Thanks for the memories! Just to be clear for those of you who are new to Viking: while the chocolate nights happen regularly, they are not included on every sailing. It does make them a very special event. But don't fear, there is plenty of chocolate goodness even without it. My husband was especially fond of the chocolate croissants at breakfast.
  13. We share your opinion about Viking, but came to that conclusion in a totally different way. We had never cruised at all, thinking we had no interest in what we had heard about mainstream cruises. At least some of what we heard must have been true, because we have seen family photos to back it up. Finally, we did take a Viking river cruise, and then learned about the new ocean division. We decided to give it a try, and were absolutely delighted. It was nothing like what we thought cruising was , and everything we hoped it would be. My only problem now is that every time I am tempted by an itinerary on another line like Oceania that Viking doesn't yet cover, I am reluctant to switch. While I imagine that I would enjoy Oceania very much, I know I love Viking. These trips are expensive, and it seems a bit of a gamble. Now if I could only get Viking to add Malta to their travels, without having to take a World Cruise, I would be thrilled!
  14. Peregrina, Thanks for the detailed reply. I am drawn to the beautiful tile work in Herculaneum, and perhaps the museum in Naples afterwards if energy permits. The impressive size of Pompeii would be amazing to see, but navigating it would be a challenge, so smaller and more up close and personal in Herculaneum sounds like the way to go. We will be in Ephesus and Athens on this cruise, so I will have plenty of opportunities to see old stuff!
  15. Of course Viking only covers their portion of your travels. If you were extending your trip for a week traveling on your own after your cruise, would you expect Viking to insure you for that? If you bought the airline's insurance on your flights, would you expect that to cover your cruise as well? This is what makes it so important to research what you are getting into when you make travel choices, and why this forum is so helpful. We have had experience with Trip Mate, Viking's insurance partner, on a land based trip we took several years ago. They covered everything we expected and then some, but everything was booked though the tour company. Some issues regarding trip insurance are still not clear to me. If I am on a private tour, does my Viking insurance cover me if I am injured? What if we are off ship on our own? But then this is a topic for another thread.
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