What Is A French Balcony On A Viking Longship
French Balconies look and act like a regular balcony, with the only exception being that there is a railing placed directly behind the glass, meaning you cannot step out onto a separate space without splashing into the river, that is. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection calls them Full Open Air Balconies.
Consider Scheduling Your River Cruise In Shoulder Or Off
Without question, summer is peak travel season in Europe. We should know! Our most recent cruise was during the last week of June and first week of July. Amsterdam, Vienna, and London seemed to be especially overcrowded this year. Europe also set record-breaking temperatures in this summers heatwave, approaching 100° F the day we visited Vienna. School was still in session while we were in Europe and many of the tour destinations were packed with students on field trips. You might want to verify European school holidays before booking your trip. This summer has also seen low water levels on the Elbe and Danube rivers, leading to the cancellation or adjusted itineraries of a few cruises. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict rainfall with any accuracy. Viking has created an Update on Current Sailings page to keep passengers informed of any required changes. As always, it is wise to research your travel before booking. Although shoulder season cruises may be slightly higher pricewise, off-peak season cruises definitely offer economical savings!
Is Viking River Cruises In Financial Trouble
The coronavirus pandemic has had a financial impact across the cruise sector to varying degrees. In general, cruises were canceled, and when they resumed, cruise lines found it more challenging to fill their ships with passengers.
Viking river cruises were one of the cruise lines that were better financially positioned than most and proactively offered cash refunds or travel vouchers. They are still operating and looking forward to putting the covid-19 pandemic behind them.
If you are worried about a cruise lines financial condition, make sure to purchase a travel insurance policy that will refund you in case a particular line goes bankrupt. Relying on a credit card chargeback instead of travel insurance is risky, particularly since theres a time limit for making claims. If you book cruises far in advance, you wont be able to charge back the cruise if the cruise line goes bankrupt.
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General Rule For Tipping On A River Cruise
We’re often faced with the questions ‘are gratuities included on a river cruise‘ or ‘do I need to tip staff on my river cruise‘. And it’s a fair question – there are different rules for different cruise lines. And where some ocean cruise lines will automatically add a gratuity/service charge to your onboard account , this will not happen onboard a river cruise.
With some river cruise lines, you will not have to worry about tipping anybody, as all gratuities for onboard staff, onshore tour guides and bus drivers is included in the upfront price of your cruise.
However, this is not always the case. A selection of river cruise lines will include gratuities for onboard staff, but NOT onshore tour guides and bus drivers. In this case, you are given the opportunity to tip tour guides and drivers at your own discretion . And some river cruise lines do NOT include ANY gratuities in the upfront price. In the case where gratuities are not included, there is a recommended daily amount which is distributed to the Cruise Manager and other staff onboard. You are also able to tip tour guides and bus drivers at your own discretion daily .
River Cruise Lines That Do Not Include Any Gratuities
AMAWaterways Gratuities to your Cruise Manager and ship crew are not included in the cruise price. While the amount of these gratuities will depend upon your degree of satisfaction for services received, general tipping guidelines are Europe: For good service, 3 Euros per passenger, per day for the Cruise Manager and 12 Euros per passenger, per day for the crew, which will be divided up among the ship’s personnel. It is also customary to acknowledge a particularly good performance of a local guide by leaving a tip of 1-2 Euros per tour. Gratuities on most vessels, but not all, may be charged on credit card as well as cash. Vietnam & Cambodia: Pre and Post Cruise: National Guide US $2 per person per day. Local Guides, US $1 per person per half-day tour, US $2 per person per full day tour. Bus Drivers, US $.50 per person for half-day tour, US $2 per person for full day tour. Cruise: Cruise Director, US $2 per person per day. Ship’s Crew, US $10 per person per day. Cruise Guide in Cambodia, US $2-3 per person per day . Cruise Guide in Vietnam, US $2-3 per person per day
Amadeus River Cruises Amadeus does not include gratuities in the upfront price of your river cruise. They leave tipping to your discretion, to reward for good service where you see suitable. As a guideline, Amadeus suggests $10 per guest, per day which is distributed to onboard staff.
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How Do You Pay The Gratuities
You have two choices when paying your gratuities. First, you can prepay your gratuities to Viking River Cruises or your cruise agent before sailing. Second, if you choose not to prepay your tips, they will be automatically added to your onboard ship account.
You do not need to bring cash for tips, as tips are automatically charged to the card tied to your onboard account.
Take Advantage Of All Of The Dining Rooms
Courtesy of Viking Cruises
On a Viking cruise, diners can visit any restaurant without incurring any additional charge. Many travelers play it safe, sticking with contemporary American fare at the buffet, but our Viking source strongly recommended exploring all of the ships culinary options.
A simple place to start: Mamsens, a chic deli located on every Viking ocean cruise ship.
Located in the Explorers Lounge, Mamsens serves traditional Scandinavian fare inspired by Ragnhild Hagen Viking Chairman Torstein Hagens mother, or Mamsen, as she was known to the family, our source wrote. The deli, named in her honor, serves cuisine inspired by her kitchen, from sweet rolls with cloudberry jam, salmon gravlax, open-faced sandwiches to her heart-shaped waffles served with jam or gjetost and Norwegian brown goat cheese.
Youll also want to check out Manfredis Italian Restaurant and The Chefs Table, the cruise lines premium restaurants. Some suites come with a guaranteed reservation, but if youre grabbing a stateroom, try to visit the restaurants early in your voyage.
And if you enjoy your experience at one of those premium restaurants, feel free to head back later in the trip at The Chefs Table, the menu changes every three days.
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Which River Cruise Lines Are The Most Inclusive
In the river cruise world, the lines that have more amenities bundled into the price tend to — not coincidentally — be more luxurious and expensive. These include Tauck, Scenic, APT and Crystal, followed by Uniworld and AmaWaterways. An exception to this is Emerald Waterways , which is owned by the same tour company as Scenic. Although it is considered a more moderately priced line, Emerald offers a fair number of inclusions , primarily because many of its travelers are Australian . The same applies to Australia’s Travelmarvel, which is owned by APT .
On A River Cruise Get Off The Boat
Courtesy of Viking Cruises
Given the luxurious nature of the Viking vessels, its easy to understand why a traveler would want to stay on the boat. Thats fine if youre on an ocean cruise, but for river cruises, make sure youre taking advantage of the local culture.
Sailing down rivers puts you in the heart of many of the cities you visit, our source tells us. During each port of call, guests can explore the destinations with a short walk from their ships dock. Plus, the ships sail smoothly down Europes waterways, meaning, no waves for those who get seasick.
This is where a carefully planned travel itinerary can really elevate your trip. Of course, if you miss a stop, you can still enjoy the cities: Vikings Culture Curriculum program provides onboard performances and lectures from artists, musicians, and historians, along with authentic culinary demonstrations.
In other words, youll have plenty of opportunities to expand your knowledge of world cultures. Just make sure to make an effort!
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Cocktails And Premium Alcohol
If you would like to enjoy alcoholic beverages beyond the included beer and wine at lunch and dinner, Viking Ocean Cruises offers a drink package for an additional cost. The Silver Spirits Beverage Package allows you to enjoy unlimited beverages in all dining venues and bars throughout the ship for the duration of your cruise for any drink up to $15. Both guests in a stateroom must purchase the package for the full length of the cruise. A 15% service charge per person is included with the price.
Quick Guide: Tipping On River Cruises In Europe
You do need to know what to do about tipping on river cruises in Europe. Especially in the UK where we dont have a culture of tipping, it can seem daunting for new customers.
If you have sailed on an ocean cruise you will be familiar with either pre paying your tips or having them added to your on board account, or they have been included in the cost of your cruise usually as a special offer .
We have put together a simple checklist to help you compare inclusions by operator to help you budget for your cruise. Being forewarned is being forearmed.
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What Are The Gratuities On Viking Cruises
How much you choose to tip is a personal matter and completely at your discretion. To save you worry over whom to tip and how much, we automatically add a discretionary hotel and dining charge of $15.00 per guest per day to your shipboard account, which appears on your final invoice at the end of your cruise.
Plan In Advance How You Will Pay Gratuities
Tips are not included with your cruise price, and although they are classified as voluntary contributions, one might also say they are expected. Not to worry. You will discover that shipboard staff members more than earn their tips, making them very well-deserved.
Viking now offers a pre-paid gratuities option, and you may purchase the standard recommended gratuity for your cruise through the My Viking Journey portal. The amount is distributed equitably among the entire onboard staff, including the Program Director.
If you choose not to pre-pay gratuities, the standard amount will automatically be added to your shipboard account, to be charged to your credit card. You may personalize the amount at your discretion by visiting the reception desk.
To avoid sticker shock, we recommend that you calculate the total of your gratuities using the amounts listed below. Simply put, multiply the number of days in your cruise by 14 per guest, per day.
Recommended Tipping Amounts:
Program Director 2 per guest, per day
Onboard Staff 12 per guest, per day
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Claim Your Seat Early For Shipboard Events
As I mentioned earlier, one of the highlights of a Rhine River cruise is viewing the 40+ castles that line the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. We procrastinated in heading for the Sun Deck for the narrated tour that afternoon and only got a seat in the shaded section because some kind passengers let us squeeze in. Later in the cruise, when it came time to sail through Austrias Wachau Cultural Landscape, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, we did not make the same mistake and got great shaded seats.
Gratuities And Tipping Policy On A River Cruise
If youve cruised before , youll be familiar with paying gratuities whether it be before departure or at the end of your cruise. It has become standard procedure with many ocean cruise lines to provide guests with the opportunity to pre-pay gratuities, charge them to your onboard account or many even allow you to remove the suggested amount from your account . And on occasions, gratuities are included in the price you pay upon booking, usually as a special offer.
River cruising is similar in the way that guests are given the opportunity to pay gratuities and in many cases, gratuities are already included in the upfront price of your river cruise.
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Take A Zoom Lens For Your Camera
One of the highlights of cruising the Rhine River is the opportunity to see firsthand the 40+ castles and fortresses that populate the banks of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The view is breathtaking in person, but the distant castles dont photograph so well, unless you have a zoom lens. My iPhone camera is not so equipped, but fortunately a fellow traveler whose camera was outfitted with a zoom lens offered to let me copy the images from her cameras SD card. Perhaps future iPhone incarnations will include a quality zoom . . . . Hint! Hint!
Is There A Dress Code On Viking River Cruises
dressThereriver cruiseDressesRead on to check out the items that should never go in the luggage that you pack for a cruise.
- Beer or liquor. Passengers on a cruise drink beer.
- Books and magazines. A couple relaxes on the deck of a cruise ship.
- Different outfits for each day.
- Electric blanket.
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Viking River Cruise Secrets For First Time Cruisers
Confession time: Although I love to travel and explore new destinations, I was never particularly interested in traveling by cruise. Concerns about seasickness, tiny cabins with no space to breath, and hidden port and drink fees kept my feet firmly planted on land. I had zero interest in being on a huge ship with hundreds of people, dressing up for dinner every night, with short port excursions crowded with people.
Still, with so many interesting cruises and cruise destinations, I warmed up to the idea over the years. A river cruise was one of the cruises I was most interested in, so when I was invited on a Viking River Cruise this winter, I was excited.
Still, some of those old apprehensions resurfaced, and I didnt know what to expect. Oh my goodness, was I pleasantly surprised! My cruise turned out to be nothing at all like I expected and it was one of the best travel experiences Ive ever had. I honestly cannot wait to take another Viking trip!
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Sunday 29th of September 2019
Thank you for sharing your experience and views…
Saturday 21st of September 2019
We are very seasoned cruisers. We always leave a tip envelope for our cabin steward. Since fixed dining is passe the wait staff varies so no need to tip. The hint to tip the maitre de is ignored. If we have a favorite bar and are taken care of then we slide them a tip. This is North American culture.We concur that the ships crew work hard as they do perform various roles not just waiter or room steward but also other roles assigned to them.
Saturday 21st of September 2019
Good suggestions :-). We too like to leave a little something extra for our cabin steward or stewardess .Thanks for reading and commenting…
Sunday 15th of September 2019
The perennial question is, if I tip my room steward or waiter, does he get to keep it, or must he share it with the others?
Tuesday 17th of September 2019
We think it’s understood that a personal tip is intended for the individual to keep for themselves :-). Of course, you’d be paying this in addition to any built-in gratuities the cruise line charges.
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Know What Youre Paying
Courtesy of Viking Cruises
As we mentioned earlier, Viking cruises arent cheap, but that doesnt mean that you cant travel frugally.
Viking River Cruises offer a 3.3 percent discount for travelers who pay via e-check, so if youre looking for a way to reduce your expenses, thats a great place to start. You should also research tipping policies for your vessel while tips are voluntary for both ocean and river cruises, Viking ocean cruises have a discretionary hotel and dining charge of $15.00 per day .
For river cruises, tipping recommendations vary depending on your location. The Viking River Cruises website contains gratuity recommendations for various cruises, along with currency recommendations.
While youll want to show your gratitude to the ships staff, youll want to know what youre paying, particularly if youre traveling on a ship that doesnt use your typical currency. Planning in advance should help you avoid a costly mistake .
Are Viking River Cruises Expensive
Viking River Cruises are expensive compared to a discount ocean cruise, but they are all-inclusive journeys on their luxurious longships. Fares cost several thousand dollars, although exact rates vary by month and route.
Unlike a discount ocean cruise, you wont have to pay much more once youre onboard. Your cruise fare includes all shore excursions, port charges, onboard meals with beverages , self-service laundry, access to the spa, daily 24-hour room service, and Wi-Fi. Viking claims that if you use all of these amenities, theyre worth $200 per passenger each day. Thats a pretty good value in comparison to discount ocean cruises where it can feel like youre nickel and dimed.
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