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Touring on your own with Viking River Cruise

Touring on your own with Viking River Cruise

Old Sep 15th, 2017, 03:27 AM
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Touring on your own with Viking River Cruise

We enjoy river cruising but are quite independent travelers especially when we're already been to a destination that the cruise stops at. We will be going on the Rhine Getaway Viking River Cruise and in several cities we'd like to go on our own rather than with included or optional tours. Does anyone know if they will permit you to go into a city on the bus with folks who are taking their included tours, drop off, go off on our own and then arrange to meet back up with the bus to return to the boat?
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 04:34 AM
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Since there's a space for everyone on the buses in each port, it shouldn't be a problem to take transport into each port (getting back might be tricker, but I'm sure it's possible). You are never required to take one of the included shore excursions, and in most places you don't even need to take a bus into the city on the Rhine cruises since you dock right there (Viking owns many of its own mooring positions and has favorable locations in many ports).

The main exception is Kehl, which is the stop for Strasbourg. It's a 10- to 15-minute drive into town from the German side of the river over the international bridge.
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Old Sep 17th, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Thank you so much. I had thought that there should be space for everyone on buses for included tours but got concerned when their "sign up" site says you must sign up for included as well as optional tours.

If you are familiar with Kehl, can you tell me how close the Viking ships dock to the Kehl train station? I found frequent trains between Kehl and Strasbourg for a mere 10 min ride at 4.10 euros. The Strasbourg train station appears to be walkable to the cathedral and various Christmas market areas. Thanks.
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Old Sep 18th, 2017, 05:37 AM
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They just want to know which bus you want to be on. They usually have early and late departures in most ports. So sign up for the bus you want to be on, and talk to the concierge when you're onboard to get some clarity on what you should do.

I never went into Kehl, so I don't know if the train station is walkable from the docks. The train station is certainly walkable to most Strasbourg sights, but if you take the bus in, you won't need the train. (And a taxi might not be much more than the train fare for two.)
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 12:51 PM
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We asked the staff on our Danube Viking River Cruise if they could direct us to the metro stop when we arrived in Vienna.They said it was too dangerous for passengers to travel alone. When we said that was what we were doing they changed their tune and said more people should get out on their own. We told the guides we wouldn't be on the bus and easily traveled all over the city. There was a Meteo stop a block from the ship's mooring.
And in St. Petersburg on the Viking Russian River cruise,we took the bus into the city and they announced the pick up time and location of the bus for those who wishd to spend the day independently which wendid.
I wonder if the policy is different from one ship's staff to another?
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Old Sep 24th, 2017, 05:15 AM
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>>I wonder if the policy is different from one ship's staff to another?
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Old Sep 24th, 2017, 07:02 AM
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"When you think about it, why would they care over and above that?"

If the tour is optional, presumably because you pay for the tour. Cruise companies make most of their profit from additional activities, not the rooms.
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Old Sep 25th, 2017, 10:46 AM
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The "they" I was referring to was the cruise operator. They couldn't care less if you stay on the tour or leave to go on your own.
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 08:10 PM
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DH and I sailed with Viking on the Rhine last December. We skipped the Black Forest tour and walked through Breisach on our own. If your cruise visits Heidelberg there will be a longer bus trip to reach it from the port. The tour visited the castle first then dropped us at the main pedestrian shopping street along the river.

In Strasbourg I think you could find out where the meeting place is to take the bus back to the boat and be on your own for the day. Our meeting spot was near the cathedral but you'd need to know the specific place. There were 3 times in the afternoon to return to the ship.

You might call Viking's customer service before your cruise to get more information.
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 09:57 PM
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And in Basel and Amsterdam our ship was docked in walking distance to the main part of the city. Easy to do on our own.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2017, 01:29 PM
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Thank you very much for your responses. I feel more confident about doing things as much as possible on our own. Appreciate your first hand info.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2017, 07:56 PM
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Find out if any of the excursions include entry fees to anywhere you might want to visit. You could stick with the tour up to that point and then take off on your own.

If your Viking itinerary includes Cologne, there might be an optional tour to go up into the cathedral via elevator. Some of our shipmates raved about it. I'm sorry I don't remember what this tour is called as we booked late, it was full and no longer showed online.
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