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sandbag7

Included tours: is that it?

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So, we are about 17 days away from being able to book our free and paid tours on our winter cruise in search of Northern Lights; it’s a new itinerary for Viking  and we are new to Viking.  So far the only “included” (free) tour on each day is a bus tour; not even a walking tour.  Is this the usual thing or is it a oroduct of the unusual Northern Norway itinerary?  Any significant chance that Viking will add any different tours between now and the January sailing?

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We found that the included tours on the British Isles Explorer itinerary were all very basic, and ended up not taking any of them.  We did pay for 4 optional tours, with very mixed results.  Thankfully we were able to arrange private tours through the Roll Call for most of the ports, and they worked out very well.

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We had a mix of bus and walking tours for our included excursions last spring (Trade Routes of the Middle Ages). Some included canal rides. I think it must depend on where you go. 

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We were very disappointed with how many were bus tours on our 3 week Barcelona to Stockholm cruise. Most of the bus tours we did not enjoy at all. Given a choice, we booked a walking tour, but there were too few of them. A big reason we booked Viking was the "included tour in every port". We normally book independent tours, but since we had included tours we went with those. Viking was much more expensive than the other cruises we have been on (over 50). ..but we thought that included tours bumped up the value. We LOVED our cruise, and we are going from Auckland to Bali in Feb (32 nights) but the tours were disappointing.  A big disappointment was that in LeHavre (for Paris) the included tour was the bus to Paris. That's it. No alternative. We hired a taxi and guide to Honfleur when we got off. But really? They could have had a bus to Honfleur with on your own time or a walking guide. And in Warnemunde, originally it was Berlin by train or nothing. At the last minute they added an included tour of Rostock...a walking tour (with a bus ride to Rostock). It was one of the best tours of the trip!! We loved it and had time to explore Warnemunde after. I had emailed the folks at Viking ahead of time expressing our displeasure at only Paris or Berlin...they did something about the Berlin stop but not the Paris one.

Email them and see if you get an answer, I'm not familiar with your itinerary.

We still can't see any excursions from Auckland to Bali on MVJ, which, again, I think is a shortcoming, it would be nice to be able to do some advance planning....even if they are not guaranteed.

We need to budget for our cruises, and we skipped a vacation this year to save money for our big Auckland to Bali cruise next year. To be able to see the excursions ahead of time, and to know that they were not all bus tours, would be great!!

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Hi we’ve done the northern lights cruise but not with Viking. It was February and up in Tromso and Alta it was -18/-20. It was also very snowy so not that easy to walk around. That may have something to do with it?.........

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we did midnight sun this summer which has some ports the same and all obviously in the same neighborhood.  I think once you experience the ports you'll "understand"!  Only Tromso was what I'd call a sizable town, others were usually SMALL.  The 'included bus tour' took you out of town but there usually wasn't much to see besides scenery ... a scenic overlook stop for 10 minutes and time to move on!! However in several of the places in addition to the 'free tour', the town themself ran a free shuttle from the pier (typically NOT in town as you might find on a river cruise) to the town area .. providing a tour map and facilitating a self guided walking tour .... in the end you it was like getting two free tours: one by bus and one walking.

 

(p.s. in Tromso we booked the extra tour to Mack Brewery ... they took us by bus out of town for some site seeing then returned to the brewery which was a short walk from the pier! And it turned out it was the building that WAS the brewery and is now a museum and brew pub for their craft beers ... walking distance from the pier . . .  the bus ride covered some of the same ground as the 'included tour')

Edited by Capt_BJ

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Thanks for all the good info;  we usually arrange our own tours but these small towns, with winter weather conditions will make that a challenge.  No one on our cruise board has shown an interest in private tours.   And CC isn’t what it used to be, and  I had better luck arranging tours with fellow passengers in the pre CC era (before 2001).  Anyway   I’m somewhat surprised about the weak included tours given Viking’s stellar reputation but I guess a few bus tours won’t kill us.

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We are on the March 2 sailing of this trip.  We're assuming that it will just be too cold for some people to enjoy walking tours.  When we were in Stavanger on the Viking Homeland trip, a walking tour was included.  This time it's a bus tour.  I've found some websites with tours but these are all outdoor things for the winter - dog sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, etc.  Considering the temperatures, I know many of the passengers wouldn't be interested. 

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Ocean cruises and river cruises are different.  It's best to be open to a totally new experience.  Personally, I have no problem with "panoramic" coach tours, but I don't immediately choose them just because they're included in the price of the cruise (for Viking, anyway; but usually $70 and up for a short panoramic tour on other lines we've used).  I also don't immediately shun the included tours, as in some of the very large cities that ocean cruise lines often go to, anything else isn't really feasible.  Some of Viking's included tours include a little bit of walking plus a larger bit of riding on a coach.  It all depends.  Although I'm not mobility challenged, I DO think it's nice that Viking provides coach tours in a number of ports,  even if walking tours could be arranged. 

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also with regard to walking tours on your trip the current weather in Atla Norway:

 

29°F (-2°C), Wind S at 4 mph (6 km/h), 81% Humidity

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have you checked to see if a roll call is opened for your trip?

 

this can be a good way to find others for a sep' tour . . . 

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