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VIKING SKY HOMELANDS REVIEW APRIL 28, 2018 VOYAGE We were 2 couples (65+) on this wonderful cruise. Having 8 countries and 11 cities to visit was amazing. Previously we had been on 3 Viking River Cruises together, so this was our first ocean cruise, All agreed it was a great trip. Viking handled everything from beginning to end perfectly. An amazing itinerary. Great ship, excellent dining, an exceptional crew, a rating of 9.5/10!! 1. PRE CRUISE IDEAS Do research using Rick Steves “Northern European Cruise Ports”. Go on line and look at YouTube Videos of all ports and those by Rick Steves. Search past Cruise Critic postings. Many CC posts contain useful information like a complete set of the Viking Daily for a 2016 Homelands cruise. Some menus have been posted as well. Lots of good stuff on CC. 2. STUDYING VIKING MATERIALS Go over the Viking website for information about each port and the various excursions. Reading the first 40 pages of the big Viking Ocean Brochure helps getting a perspective of the ship and may answer many questions you have. Look at the back pages for the “Deck Plans” to get a feel for where places are located. Helps to have a “heads up” advance to the cruise. 3. If you want to explore beyond the Viking Included Excursions, plan ahead. Cities like Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm, & St. Petersburg have a lot to see. 4. Some of the day by day things we did. Day Date Description Port Arrival Port Depart FRI APR 27, 2018 Depart Newark, NJ (EWR) – Economy SAT APR 28, 2018 Arrive Bergen, Norway (BGO) SAT @ 11:30 a.m. arrive on Viking Sky Veranda - 3088 SUN APR 29, 2018 Bergen, Norway 07:00 PM If the first day is clear (we had a lot of rain) walk into town and do the funicular ride up Mount Floyen. Spectacular views. Return by 30-40 minute hike down or get the round trip (senior) tickets (one way was $6.50 pp). Day 2, we did the included bus tour, funicular, walk around town. MON APR 30, 2018 Eidfjord, Norway 07:00 AM 07:00 PM Took the pricey “Scenic Flam Railway” excursion. DO IT. It one of best “once in lifetime” excursions. Includes a nice buffet lunch at the STALHEIM hotel. The view out the back was spectacular. TUE MAY 01, 2018 Stavanger, Norway 08:00 AM 02:00 PM A nice walking tour with an amazing museum to visit. WED MAY 02, 2018 Alborg, Denmark 12:30 PM 08:00 PM A nice walking tour. THU MAY 03, 2018 At Sea 01:00 At Sea 11:00 PM Copenhagen, Denmark 08:30 AM 09:00 PM Skipped the included tour. Did our own thing. Left as soon as possible (8 a.m.) and followed the walking tour route into Copenhagen past the Little Mermaid, and various sights, Palace, Castle, etc. Did the Rick Steves recommended 1 hour Netto Boat tour from Nyhavn. Shuttle bus back to boat for lunch. Quick out to shuttle bus back to town. Walked along the famous Stroget, longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. Got to City Hall and Tivoli. Shuttle bus back to ship by 6 p.m. FRI MAY 04, 2018 Berlin, Germany 06:00 AM 06:30 PM In Berlin we did our own thing. Viking does a great train ride in and out to Berlin. It includes a 1.5 hr or so bus tour. We skipped it having done it another time with Viking. Instead, from the arrival train station we took the S-Bahn metro towards the Reichstag. Walked along the Spree River to get there. Had reservations for a public free audio tour of the Reichstag. (Do reservations online). Picnic lunch in the park. Short walk to the Brandenbugh Gate. Long walk along the Unter Den Linden, then to the return Viking bus located outside the Hilton Hotel by far end of the Gendarmenmarkt. While waiting to load the return buses to the train, at the nearby Dom Curry, try the local Curry Wurst Sausage with a side of excellent sweet potato fries plus a roll (7.40 euros). SAT MAY 05, 2018 Gdansk, Poland 01:00 AM 10:00 PM Did the 3.5 hour walking tour. A total gem and surprise of a city (once known as Danzig). SUN MAY 06, 2018 At Sea MON MAY 07, 2018 Tallinn, Estonia 07:00 AM 03:00 PM A 2 mile 2 hour walking tour. Again a total surprise and gem of a medieval town. The harder walk was really easy. TUE MAY 08, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 07:00 AM & WED MAY 09, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 06:00 PM Did a 2 day customized private tour with SPB TOURS. Got to see the Impressionists Collection now housed in the new location-General Staff Building. Had a Metro ride and everything else you should see. Great and exciting tour. A+ THU MAY 10, 2018 Helsinki, Finland 07:00 AM 04:00 PM Did the 8a.m. 3 hour bus tour. Got back for shipboard lunch. Took the shuttle back in and walked all around. Up and down the Esplanade and Markets. Shuttle bus back to ship by 3:30 p.m.. FRI MAY 11, 2018 Stockholm, Sweden 09:00 AM Up at 5 a.m. for the entrance into Stockholm. The islands going in are a sight to see. Viewing on deck 3 forward, decks 7 or 8, or your veranda. Wow!! Got the first 2 hour bus tour out. Stayed in town to walk around Gamla Stan (old town). Visited two key places. A tour of the City Hall and then a long walk to the Vasa Museum. Shuttle bus back by 6 p.m. A long day. SAT MAY 12, 2018 Depart Stockholm, Sweden (ARN) SAT MAY 12, 2018 Arrive Newark, NJ (EWR) 5. Some tips-things we learned Being in the lower Veranda Deck cabin meant we had the last choice for selecting Included Excursions. Knowing this I got on-line at 3 a.m. EST when the day arrived for us to book the Included Excursions. In the big cities we wanted the earliest time slots. Many were “Sold Out”. Some we got the first time slots out. Others a little later. Stockholm had no early time slots available. I contacted Viking about my issues. Viking indicated that as we got closer to the cruise, there could be more slots available as well as people canceling. To some extant this did happen. In particular Stockholm, Viking added a whole new list of time slots. TIP- Check every day for included excursion openings and changes. DINNER RESERVATIONS AT SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS. Our cabin V-2 Veranda did not have pre-cruise reservations. On board the first night we did make reservations for Manfredi’s and the Chef’s Table in person at the front desk of the World Café. Better yet, use the on screen capability in your cabin to make reservations. It also gives the daily menus for all dining venues. We had 2 visits to each specialty restaurants. There were a number of tables that never got occupied. Suggest you go directly to the venue you want and see if they will seat you. Dining- You will not go hungry on this cruise. The World Café (deck) is causal and buffet. The wait staff supply drinks and table clearing. Always there. The Restaurant is a fixed menu with a more formal sit down service. The selection of entrees at dinner from the World Café is large. It also has a nice Sushi selection, good size shrimp and crabs legs. You will see all this when you get there. It’s all very good. Recommend Chef’s Table the “Asian Panorama” menu. At Manfredi’s try the bistecca fiorentina-rib eye steak. ENJOY AND HAVE FUN

A FANTASTIC UNFORGETTABLE ITINERARY

Viking Sky Cruise Review by BruceB NYC

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
VIKING SKY HOMELANDS REVIEW APRIL 28, 2018 VOYAGE

We were 2 couples (65+) on this wonderful cruise. Having 8 countries and 11 cities to visit was amazing. Previously we had been on 3 Viking River Cruises together, so this was our first ocean cruise, All agreed it was a great trip. Viking handled everything from beginning to end perfectly. An amazing itinerary. Great ship, excellent dining, an exceptional crew, a rating of 9.5/10!!

1. PRE CRUISE IDEAS

Do research using Rick Steves “Northern European Cruise Ports”.

Go on line and look at YouTube Videos of all ports and those by Rick Steves.

Search past Cruise Critic postings. Many CC posts contain useful information like a complete set of the Viking Daily for a 2016 Homelands cruise. Some menus have been posted as well.

Lots of good stuff on CC.

2. STUDYING VIKING MATERIALS

Go over the Viking website for information about each port and the various excursions.

Reading the first 40 pages of the big Viking Ocean Brochure helps getting a perspective of the ship and may answer many questions you have. Look at the back pages for the “Deck Plans” to get a feel for where places are located. Helps to have a “heads up” advance to the cruise.

3. If you want to explore beyond the Viking Included Excursions, plan ahead. Cities like Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Stockholm, & St. Petersburg have a lot to see.

4. Some of the day by day things we did.

Day Date Description Port Arrival Port Depart

FRI APR 27, 2018 Depart Newark, NJ (EWR) – Economy

SAT APR 28, 2018 Arrive Bergen, Norway (BGO) SAT @ 11:30 a.m. arrive on Viking Sky Veranda - 3088

SUN APR 29, 2018 Bergen, Norway 07:00 PM

If the first day is clear (we had a lot of rain) walk into town and do the funicular ride up Mount Floyen. Spectacular views.

Return by 30-40 minute hike down or get the round trip (senior) tickets (one way was $6.50 pp). Day 2, we did the included bus tour, funicular, walk around town.

MON APR 30, 2018 Eidfjord, Norway 07:00 AM 07:00 PM

Took the pricey “Scenic Flam Railway” excursion. DO IT. It one of best “once in lifetime” excursions.

Includes a nice buffet lunch at the STALHEIM hotel. The view out the back was spectacular.

TUE MAY 01, 2018 Stavanger, Norway 08:00 AM 02:00 PM

A nice walking tour with an amazing museum to visit.

WED MAY 02, 2018 Alborg, Denmark 12:30 PM 08:00 PM

A nice walking tour.

THU MAY 03, 2018 At Sea 01:00 At Sea 11:00 PM

Copenhagen, Denmark 08:30 AM 09:00 PM

Skipped the included tour. Did our own thing. Left as soon as possible (8 a.m.) and followed the walking tour route into Copenhagen past the Little Mermaid, and various sights, Palace, Castle, etc. Did the Rick Steves recommended 1 hour Netto Boat tour from Nyhavn. Shuttle bus back to boat for lunch. Quick out to shuttle bus back to town. Walked along the famous Stroget, longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. Got to City Hall and Tivoli. Shuttle bus back to ship by 6 p.m.

FRI MAY 04, 2018 Berlin, Germany 06:00 AM 06:30 PM

In Berlin we did our own thing. Viking does a great train ride in and out to Berlin. It includes a 1.5 hr or so bus tour. We skipped it having done it another time with Viking. Instead, from the arrival train station we took the S-Bahn metro towards the Reichstag. Walked along the Spree River to get there. Had reservations for a public free audio tour of the Reichstag. (Do reservations online). Picnic lunch in the park. Short walk to the Brandenbugh Gate. Long walk along the Unter Den Linden, then to the return Viking bus located outside the Hilton Hotel by far end of the Gendarmenmarkt. While waiting to load the return buses to the train, at the nearby Dom Curry, try the local Curry Wurst Sausage with a side of excellent sweet potato fries plus a roll (7.40 euros).

SAT MAY 05, 2018 Gdansk, Poland 01:00 AM 10:00 PM

Did the 3.5 hour walking tour. A total gem and surprise of a city (once known as Danzig).

SUN MAY 06, 2018 At Sea

MON MAY 07, 2018 Tallinn, Estonia 07:00 AM 03:00 PM

A 2 mile 2 hour walking tour. Again a total surprise and gem of a medieval town. The harder walk was really easy.

TUE MAY 08, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 07:00 AM & WED MAY 09, 2018 St. Petersburg, Russia 06:00 PM

Did a 2 day customized private tour with SPB TOURS. Got to see the Impressionists Collection now housed in the new location-General Staff Building. Had a Metro ride and everything else you should see. Great and exciting tour. A+

THU MAY 10, 2018 Helsinki, Finland 07:00 AM 04:00 PM

Did the 8a.m. 3 hour bus tour. Got back for shipboard lunch. Took the shuttle back in and walked all around. Up and down the Esplanade and Markets. Shuttle bus back to ship by 3:30 p.m..

FRI MAY 11, 2018 Stockholm, Sweden 09:00 AM

Up at 5 a.m. for the entrance into Stockholm. The islands going in are a sight to see. Viewing on deck 3 forward, decks 7 or 8, or your veranda. Wow!!

Got the first 2 hour bus tour out. Stayed in town to walk around Gamla Stan (old town). Visited two key places. A tour of the City Hall and then a long walk to the Vasa Museum. Shuttle bus back by 6 p.m. A long day.

SAT MAY 12, 2018 Depart Stockholm, Sweden (ARN)

SAT MAY 12, 2018 Arrive Newark, NJ (EWR)

5. Some tips-things we learned

Being in the lower Veranda Deck cabin meant we had the last choice for selecting Included Excursions.

Knowing this I got on-line at 3 a.m. EST when the day arrived for us to book the Included Excursions.

In the big cities we wanted the earliest time slots. Many were “Sold Out”. Some we got the first time slots out.

Others a little later. Stockholm had no early time slots available. I contacted Viking about my issues. Viking indicated

that as we got closer to the cruise, there could be more slots available as well as people canceling. To some extant this

did happen. In particular Stockholm, Viking added a whole new list of time slots.

TIP- Check every day for included excursion openings and changes.

DINNER RESERVATIONS AT SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS. Our cabin V-2 Veranda did not have pre-cruise reservations.

On board the first night we did make reservations for Manfredi’s and the Chef’s Table in person at the front desk of the World Café. Better yet, use the on screen capability in your cabin to make reservations. It also gives the daily menus for all dining venues. We had 2 visits to each specialty restaurants. There were a number of tables that never got occupied.

Suggest you go directly to the venue you want and see if they will seat you.

Dining- You will not go hungry on this cruise. The World Café (deck) is causal and buffet. The wait staff supply drinks and table clearing. Always there. The Restaurant is a fixed menu with a more formal sit down service. The selection of entrees at dinner from the World Café is large. It also has a nice Sushi selection, good size shrimp and crabs legs. You will see all this when you get there. It’s all very good. Recommend Chef’s Table the “Asian Panorama” menu. At Manfredi’s try the bistecca fiorentina-rib eye steak.

ENJOY AND HAVE FUN
BruceB NYC’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 3088
Good layout. Comfortable seating. Dual desk with make-up table. Space for 2 to move around easily. USB ports all over. Bathroom roomy & enjoy heated floors. Drawer space
requires some thought when unpacking.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews