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Can a person with walking difficulties taking a viking cruise

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we are looking into a Viking Paris to Swiss Alps cruise and my wife who has walking difficulties would like to know if she would have a hard time with all the excursions and do a lot of people stay on the boat during excursions.  She doesn't use a wheel chair she just can't walk long distances.  

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Any tour with the word "panoramic" in it is mostly a bus tour.  3 big steps to get on/off the bus.  Easy.

Most non-panoramic tours do involve a few miles walking.  

Few people stay on the ship.  I did once when wife went on a tour & it was fun. Once.

Sometimes they have dedicated "slow walker" tours.  Sometimes.

Admittedly, the cruises are designed for active people.

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Can your wife do stairs? The ship itself can present problems. Elevators don't always go to all decks, and when boats are rafted (moored up against each other because there isn't much room at a dock) you might have to go up & down stairs and across decks to reach shore - not all boats are the same level. So it's not *just* the port tours you need to think about.

 

We're fine walkers but still did our own thing - left tours early, skipped included tours to see other stuff, just went back to the ship for a drink etc. That's usually fine. Confirm movement (sometimes a tour starts in once place and ends in another and the boat moves along the river - you should be able to make arrangements but it's something you'd want to check....)

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2 hours ago, philw1776 said:

Any tour with the word "panoramic" in it is mostly a bus tour.  3 big steps to get on/off the bus.  Easy.

Most non-panoramic tours do involve a few miles walking.  

Few people stay on the ship.  I did once when wife went on a tour & it was fun. Once.

Sometimes they have dedicated "slow walker" tours.  Sometimes.

Admittedly, the cruises are designed for active people.

Agree that these cruises are designed for active people. Carefully check the included tours - many are walking tours. 

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Europe in general is difficult for anyone with mobility issues - big cobblestones, lots of stairs, no elevators, etc.   If your wife can navigate getting on and off and around the ship, she could go, but if she can't do the tours she will be missing a lot.  If anyone stayed on the ship on the river cruises I've been on, it had to be only 1 or 2 people.  Most people are taking a river cruise to see the ports.

 

Roz

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13 hours ago, bestcruise said:

we are looking into a Viking Paris to Swiss Alps cruise and my wife who has walking difficulties would like to know if she would have a hard time with all the excursions and do a lot of people stay on the boat during excursions.  She doesn't use a wheel chair she just can't walk long distances.  

The replies in the thread you started on Thursday last week are helpful. 

 

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Thank you for your advice.  The steps on the ship and getting off the ship shouldn't be a problem.  It is the long walk from the ship to town that is a problem since we usually don't go on tours.  If it boat docks close to town then we just see a few sights and stores and head back.  What can help us  out if someone knows how far the ship is from town in the following cities: Trier, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz, Speyer, and Strasbourg.  This would very much help plan our trip.  Thank you.

 

 

 

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none of those cities are normally far, but last year due to river levels there was some juggling of docking locations.  Some of those ended up not close to where they were "supposed" to be.

 

River cruises are almost by definition more strenuous than ocean.  There may be a bus that takes pax on a tour to the center of town that you could get and and then do your own thing instead of the tour and then meet up at the return time

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I would suggest that if you decide to do this, you should consider a cruise line other than Viking.  Not because there's anything wrong with their cruises, but for your situation they really aren't a good choice.  Viking shore excursion groups are larger than on other cruise lines [per many reports here on CC and my own observations from several cities in Europe].  That means that it will be more difficult for the guide to give you and your wife the extra time and attention that can make all the difference.  All river cruise ships are the same size – dictated by the locks on the rivers they sail – but Viking has more passengers than any other cruise line. That means everything is more crowded, and each passenger gets less personal attention.  Choose a cruise line with fewer passengers and documented 'slow walkers' excursion groups.

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14 hours ago, bestcruise said:

Thank you for your advice.  The steps on the ship and getting off the ship shouldn't be a problem.  It is the long walk from the ship to town that is a problem since we usually don't go on tours.  If it boat docks close to town then we just see a few sights and stores and head back.  What can help us  out if someone knows how far the ship is from town in the following cities: Trier, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz, Speyer, and Strasbourg.  This would very much help plan our trip.  Thank you.

 

 

 

Apart from the long transfer from Paris with stop in Luxembourg and probably the American cemetery you will be faced with varying distances from port into town. As you have given the towns you will be visiting here is my assessment from land trips and what past cruisers on Viking have reported (I have never travelled with them): Trier could be town location - okay, or industrial setting - then not walkable. Or small town Schweich or small town Priol. I do not know about shuttle or drop-off from there. "My Viking" online could give you hints.

Cochem looks like they dock on the other side of the river - that makes it a pleasant walk through that part of the town or at least a kilometre round trip if you want to cross the bridge to get to the main attractions. A shuttle to Reichsburg castle - the usual excursion - will remedy that. Never been to the castle so cannot tell you the situation up there.

Koblenz is easy, the first shops and attractions are only one hundred metres away. If you do not like a long guided tour, travel to Ehrenbreitstein on the cable car. Viewing platform at the fortress is a distance but probably doable.

 

Mainz depends on the landing stage, but my guess is 500 metres to the town centre.

 

Speyer seems close but it could be a kilometre into town. So not sure about that one.

 

Strasbourg city centre is not on the Rhine, the ships dock in Kehl. Viking uses shuttles.

 

Only you can know what "not far" means but if your wife struggles with a round-trip of one kilometre than this will mean a great restriction on a Rhine River cruise.

 

If you are fine with doing little and enjoying the trip for the ship amenities, company of like-minded travellers and landscape - the Moselle is more beautiful than the Rhine in many people's opinions - then I am sure you will really enjoy it.

 

Perhaps past Viking cruisers can give you more details of the shuttles and excursions, or talk to Viking.

 

Have fun planning.

 

notamermaid

 

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Did you consider another cruise line?  I have not been on Viking but understand they only offer one free tour per stop while AMA (and possibly others) offer several different tours per stop.   One they do offer is a slow walkers trip per stop.   These are excellent tours that offer many of the main sights but at a slower pace than the others.   They are great for people who have a hard time walking, those who walk with a cane, etc.

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We did an AMA cruise of the Danube and did the slow walker group tours.  They did a fabulous job!  We had one passenger who could walk a bit but also used a wheelchair and AMA was great at helping her.  The groups were very small.  We had shortness of breath and hip replacement issues.  Most of our stops also had taxis waiting so if it was a bit of a walk into town, taxis were available too. 

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If Viking has a slow walker group you should be fine. The regular tours I went on were pretty intense with alot of walking and would not suit someone with mobility issues. On Avalon we saw the crew help someone off in a wheel chair and they also had a slow walker group. 

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All Vikings off ship tours are rated for walking difficulty, 1, 2 or 3 witha description of what difficulties are encountered, e.g. cobbles.

 

There's no problem staying on board during tours, I've done so, and no pressure to go on tours.  Last trip I had a broken arm in a sling and missed out almost every tour, including a full day one.

 

Some times the boat moves along the river so those on the trip return to a different place to rejoin the boat, meanwhile those who stayed on board had some extra cruising.

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