Many days we were ‘on the bus’ very early – often between 6:30am-7:00. Some days were even earlier. We would go from breakfast (which had to be eaten by 6:00, to make it to the bus) until 2:00-2:30 without any food. One day our excursion went from 7:15am -3:00pm – NO FOOD. There were small mandarin oranges on the bus and on one occasion bananas. Thus, we were going 8-9 hours with NO FOOD. I tried speaking to our guide about the early start times. He was extremely rude and condescending. He simply said that we are starting early to miss the crowds and the heat. Of course, there was never any ‘heat’. It was actually quite cold in the mornings.
Viking River Cruise guests were sometimes seen on our excursions. On the last day, I spoke to a guest of Viking. They took ‘one’ excursion in the morning, leaving between 8-8:30am. They would ALWAYS be back on the boat by 1:00 for lunch. Then, in the afternoon they would take another excursion. They NEVER encountered any crowds. It was December.
Our guide refused to share any information about the next days schedule until the night before. There was a paper on our bed, after dinner, that would give the times. Several times I heard guests request information about times, and Akram (our guide) would not give them an answer. We felt like we were being treated like children! Twice, we had to skip the excursions because of the ridiculous times. We were not the only ones that missed excursions because of the scheduling. Almost 70% of the people on the ship were sick by the end of the trip, from the terrible food and extremely strenuous schedule.