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GVHarrier

All Viking Far Eastern Horizons 2019 (April September, October, November)

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We're looking forward to our Far Eastern Horizons tour in October 2019. Since this itinerary is new for 2019, it seems like it would be good to pool our ideas, resources and experiences for all four 2019 sailings.

 

We took our first Viking Cruise this year, Into the Midnight Sun" and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is my first Asian trip and my husband's 2nd.

I expect to be looking into private excursions to supplement Viking's Included and Optional tours. On our recent cruise, I arranged two very enjoyable private tours, connecting with people on our ship through the CC board and hope to do so again.

 

I know it's over a year away and I'm also researching for our Grand European Tour in the spring but it's never to early to begin planning.

 

Looking forward to learning and sharing with all of you and meeting some of you next year. Don't forget to sign up for the Meet & Mingle.

 

Jeanne and Ron

Rochester, NY

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We have a river cruise in the spring of 2019 and this is still 1 year away for us but I'm hoping to meet some folks who are planning this same itinerary. We'll be doing Hong Kong to Tokyo on the Orion, beginning on October 18, 2019. We will likely plan extensions on our own. Would love to hear about your experiences or your plans.

 

Jeanne and Ron

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Hi Jeanne and Ron

We are also on the October 18, Far Eastern Horizons Cruise .  We just started a roll call for this trip. Like you, we enjoy planning small private excursions. We have used CC extensively in the past to meet with fellow cruisers who are also interested in private excursions. Hopefully our roll call will begin to grow as cruise time approaches.

Cheers

Karen and Rich

Dresher, PA

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Hi Karen and Rich,

 

I started this back in August because I was surprised there were no roll calls for this itinerary on any of the dates. I've joined river cruise roll calls for the Grand European for 2018 and 2019 and found it very helpful to have input from all of those who are taking the same itinerary even if they are not on the same date. It doesn't seem that many Viking travelers use Cruise Critic. There were only about 30 on our Midnight Sun cruise board and I found it very helpful to check out other boards with the same itinerary. I will check out your roll call but it might be best to pool resources into one board.

 

Have you made any plans yet? We have not as we've been focused on our river cruise plans. Have you signed up for the Meet and Mingle?

 

Looking forward to meeting you both!

Jeanne and Ron

 

 

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Hi Again Jeanne and Ron

We just signed up for the Meet and Greet. We are just starting to re-explore private tours for each port. We were going to do a similar Oceania tour last year but cancelled . We had amassed a bit of info from own research...plus....we have excellent feedback from folks that did that cruise. We will share info on the boards soon. Also interested to see what Viking has to offer. If anything like Oceania, they will be large groups and overpriced.

Karen and Rich

 

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I understand what you are trying to do but I would like to suggest that you also participate in roll calls for your particular sailings--and that you follow all other pertinent roll calls because you never know where you will find helpful information. They are bound to be started anyway and you don't want to miss out on any of the conversation about your cruise. Also, when it comes to tour shares, it will be easier to organize them in a thread that is also organized by sail date.

 

When I start "Everything" threads like this, I also start making lists of other helpful threads and of the relevant roll calls (and that includes any B2B that includes Far Eastern Horizons as one of its legs). We can't stop other conversations from popping up elsewhere, but we can make them easier to find. On your lists, don't forget the Ports of Call forums.

Edited by Peregrina651

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Thank you Peregrina651 for your tips. I appreciate any help I can get. 

I guess I posted on a board instead of creating a roll call and will follow the roll call started by KCRC and add lists of the other threads and roll calls on my thread. Hopefully, I can figure this out.

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Just work on making this the go-to place for information about the itinerary and on keeping it on the first page, where it can be seen. It takes a while and it takes effort to make a thread a go-to place for information and conversation--and even then it can be a fizzle.

 

I wasn't clear when I said I make lists. I post  these lists in the thread and every time, I revise I add information, I post them again--and always with the caveat that people are welcome to add to them. And I repost them every few pages even if they haven't been updated just to keep them near the active conversation.

 

Ask questions, especially when the conversation lags. Most people don't speak up unless they have something specific to say.

 

Edited by Peregrina651

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I'm just off an Orion two week tour of China and meant to be Japan. Unfortunately our Dalian port was cancelled before we booked but not made aware until paid in full and our two Japanese ports cancelled due to potential issues from typhoon Yutu while on board. 

If you have any China port questions I'm happy to answer. Not sure what ports you are going to?

 

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Hi Maddie2312

I am booked on this tour for September next year.  I would be interested in  any comments you have about this tour. What ports are they substituting for the Japanese ones?

I am off next week on a river cruise in Myanmar with APT.

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Thanks GVHarrier for starting this role call. We are booked on the 11/1/19 Far East Horizons cruise. I started a roll call for that date a few months ago and have only had a few people join. If there is a greater response to this joint roll call, that's terrific. In the past, I've gotten some great tips from roll calls as well as been able to plan some private excursions with other members.

Happy Holidays to all! 

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13 hours ago, HollyK777 said:

In the past, I've gotten some great tips from roll calls as well as been able to plan some private excursions with other members.

 

I have as well so I will attempt to do as Peregrina651 suggested above and try to keep tabs on the various roll calls for this itinerary so we can all benefit from each other's experience. I have noticed there are individual roll calls for all 4 of the 2019 Far East Horizons cruises (April, September, October and November). I invite all to share what you know here, while also connecting with those on your specific cruise roll call. 

Happy travels!

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GVHarrier,

Have you written anything about your into the Midnight Sun Trip....really thinking about it for 2020....will probably book while onboard the Sea next week.  Thinking about London to Bergen,  so we can go to Ireland first.  Also want to do train to Oslo at end.  Wondering if we need to book through Viking but it seems from others DYI can be done easily and for less$$$.  I would love your private excursion info.

 

I can't really add to your Far East Horizons because the ports we did do were on the WC and that wonderful cruise was Viking's first in the East and I think will be tweaked.

 

For the Grand European we did the Budapest to Amsterdam .  Spend extra time at both ends!!!  There are many private tour guides in Budapest.  We went out to Egger and some wineries.  Take a tour of Parliament and we had a memorable dinner at the Fisherman's Bastion...magical!

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deec,

We were on the June 26 Midnight Sun cruise on the Viking Sea and you can find a thread for it, if you want to read more. We had a private tour with Wild About Orkney (Rosemary Horton). She took 4 of us to 7 locations, leaving from St. Magnus Cathedral (which we enjoyed viewing while waiting to meet her) in Kirkwall and returning directly to the ship at the end. It was a perfect tour. We were able to get to all of the sites we wanted to see, which wouldn't have been possible with any of the Viking Tours and it was very reasonably priced. We did pay in advance so I'm not sure what would have happened if we couldn't make it to the port.

For Lofoten, there were 7 of us who toured with Lofoten Lights. We paid for the tour at the conclusion. It was definitely worthwhile although not as perfect as Orkney.

 

 

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Hi Harbourside

 

I was on a different itinerary to your one with the only cross over port being Hong Kong. The ship docked very centrally in Kowloon beside the new  top end Ocean Terminal shopping centre which you need to go through and the Star ferry terminal. The port side (even numbers) had the best view of Hong Kong Island which was spectacular at night. The laser show the city does at 8pm had the ship coordinating the music on deck so we could fully experience it. Head up to open deck 8 with a glass in hand to toast the start of your adventure. I would recommend taking the included tour as this was the best one of the trip we had. It visited the Victoria Peak up by tram then down by coach to Stanley market where the prices were more reasonable than some of the other main markets. We were then off to Aberdeen Harbour for a short Sampan cruise which was fun. The last bit was a visit to a jewellery factory and showroom that I could have done with out but many people bought things. If you've been before on our second day we went our own way taking the Star ferry over to the island walking around then taking one of the old fashioned trams to Victoria Park towards Causeway Bay to escape the high rises. We then got a tram back to the Central MRT (metro) and travelled from there and went to an amazing Michelin Star dim sum restaurant called "Tim Ho Wan" just over 10 minutes walk from Sham Shui Po station in Fuk Wing Street. Highlights were the mouth watering bbq pork buns, delicate shrimp dumplings, a turnip dish and fried custard balls. They give you refreshing Chinese tea and is very reasonable and billed as the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant. We went after peak lunch as queues can be crazy apparently but were seated after a few minutes wait at the door. An experience I won't forget. There were strangely no ATM in the shopping centre but found them at the Star ferry terminal beside the tourist information. We had 3 nights due to the other port cancellation so on our final day we went to Lantau Island  to visit the Big Buddah and temples. Book online to save if you're going an pay the extra to get the Crystal (glass floor) cable car in both directions. We only booked it on the way up and didn't realise you also got fast queuing so on the way there we waited 15 minutes to get on but on the way back it changed all our plans as the wait was nearly two and a half hours. It was a Sunday. The extra was only £5/$7US and they wouldn't let us upgrade our ticket so we had no choice but to wait.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, maddie2312 said:

I was on a different itinerary to your one with the only cross over port being Hong Kong.

Thanks maddie2312

Our Far East Horizons cruise departs from Hong Kong and we haven't yet decided whether to add on there or not so this gives us food for thought. We expect to add several days in Japan after finishing up in Tokyo. We will likely add a day in Hong Kong just to make sure we're ready to go when the cruise begins. 

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Hi Maddie2312, 

Our itinerary is the same as yours  Far East Discovery, Hong Kong to Beijing, and doing the 4 day extension at the end in  Beijing.

Any advise for the other ports would be appreciated.

We do have a port side cabin as advised by our Viking rep.

Did you do the Chefs table.  If so what one did you enjoy.

 

Thanks.  Just packing to go to Myanmar.  River cruise with APT.

 

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These are the ports for Far East Horizons:

Hong Kong, China; Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan; Kagoshima, Japan; Nagasaki, Japan; Busan (Pusan), South Korea; Hiroshima, Japan; Osaka, Japan; Shimizu, Japan; Tokyo, Japan

We have overnights in 4 of the ports: Hong Kong, Hiroshima, Shimizu and Tokyo.

 

Any suggestions on excursions for these ports is greatly appreciated.

 

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We are also booked on the Far Eastern Horizons leaving 11/1/19....Paul and Marianne from Fort Worth

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On 12/18/2018 at 3:26 PM, Mpc524 said:

We are also booked on the Far Eastern Horizons leaving 11/1/19....Paul and Marianne from Fort Worth

 

My wife Sally and I are booked on the November 1-15, 2019 cruise. It will be our 15th Viking cruise. 

 

You can see our pictures of our previous Viking cruises here:

 

https://RhodesVacations.com

 

So excited!

 

Steve and Sally

Parker, Texas

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Glad you found this, Steve! I started it but haven't been diligent about keeping it active. I haven't been focused on this one since we'll be taking our first river cruise next month (Grand European). I saw your post on facebook too. We're going on 10/18.

 

Jeanne

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Hello everyone 

 

We are just back from a 28 day journey from Bangkok to Tokyo - it was an amazing trip. I wrote an almost daily blog of the trip covering every port of the Viking River And Ocean Cruises Friends - Facebook page . You will need to join that group and then if you search for one of the ports you should find my post and can then search on my name as you will know who I am! I have posted full instructions on the forum for the cruise we were on....so I guess if you search my posts on cruise critic you should find the instructions!! Hope that it helps.

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We  just booked for 2021. Looking forward to what everyone has to say over the next couple of years.

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We just completed the April Far Horizons cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo.  I believe it may have been Viking’s first or second time into some of these ports so I thought I would would provide some input on the tours we took to those of you will be doing these tours later this year and next. I have always gotten a lot of value from Cruise Critic’s reviews and wanted to pay it forward. 

 

We generally like to do a combination of included, optional, private guides and do-it-yourself tours and that is what we did this time.

 

We arrived 2 days early on our own and stayed at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel, a lovely hotel and the one used by the Viking Pre-tour, although we paid less.  The first day we used Tours by Stephen https://www.stephentourhk.com to visit Lantau Island. He was an  excellent guide with great input on the culture and history of Hong Kong.  I would highly recommend him.  He gave us numerous suggestions  for things to do on our own the next day, and by then we had mastered the metro with Stephen’s help. 

 

After boarding the ship we did the included Postcards of Hong Kong which was excellent and we got a great guide. I believe Viking has experience in Hong Kong and had a great tour and guides as a result. 

 

In Taipei we did the Taipei in Brief included tour. We did 3 stops, the Taipei Tower 101.  No time to go to the top and just enough time to run down the street to get a photo. Not sure why we went to the deck on the 5th floor, was just a place to take a photo in front of a screen. Silly really.  Second stop Chiang Kai-shek Memorial for the changing of the guard, very interesting, but not much time wish we had more.  Third stop the Martyrs Shrine for a photo op. Good guide and just about what expected from a included tour.  Remember the port is at least 45 minutes from Taipei, so DIY is more difficult here . 

 

At Kagoshima we took the optional tour to Sakurajima Volcano.  Nice ferry ride over with the bus and a circling of the island with a stop at the lava flow, a buried shrine gate and a foot bath at the hot springs.  Good value for the money. It was a rush to get back in time for the Kagoshima scenic ride, which was the included tour for this stop.  It was 2 stops, one to a high point in the city to view the volcano and a stop at a small museum. It was our first stop in Japan and the guide gave us a lot of basic information on Japan.  If that was the only tour in Kagoshima, I might have been disappointed. 

 

Nagasaki was one of my favorite ports.  The cruise ship docks right in town.  We took the included Peace Park tour and left the tour after the walk through the Peace Park, walked about 200 yards through ground zero and then to the Atomic Bomb Museum on our own.  Museum cost was less than  $5 each including the wonderful English audio guide.  Went through it at our pace and then took the tram back to right in front of the ship.  Way cheaper than the Optional tour to the museum. In the afternoon we walked from the ship to Glover Gardens and Orau Church (about half a mile), both worthwhile stops and easy to do on your own. 

 

At Busan we took the Igade Park Coastal Hike and Skywalk tour.  It was rated demanding and it was very difficult. My iWatch recorded 65 flights of stairs.  Lots of steps, if you have weak knees don’t go.  We are in good shape and enjoyed the beautiful coastline, but you must be in shape to tackle this one. We did not make it back in time for the included Busan Panoramic Drive so I can’t comment on it. Sometimes it looks like you can do both a morning tour and an afternoon tour, but if you are late,  its a no go.  Be sure you do the paid tour in the morning. 

 

In Hiroshima we did the Postcards of Hiroshima, which walked us through the Peace Park and the site of the remnants of the bombed out dome. Because there was a shuttle offered here, we left the tour after it went through the park.  Our intention was to go thru the museum on our own, but the crowds were too great.  So we walked to the nearby Hiroshima Castle (it was ok) and after that walked about a mile to the Sukkei-en Gardens which were excellent.  Then back a mile to the shuttle stop to get back to the ship.  Lots of options here if you are willing to DIY.

 

There was an overnight in Hiroshima and the second day we did the optional Itsukshima Tour.  This takes you on a ferry to a beautiful Torri gate in the water and a shrine again a very good tour, but with a not so good guide. Many on the tour missed going in the shrine because the guide didn’t tell them they needed to go with him and not explore on their own until after the shrine visit. Hopefully Viking will improve on the guides they get as they become more experienced with these ports. 

 

In Osaka, we took the optional Ancient Kyoto tour.  Again it was a good value and we enjoyed it despite the crowds of Japanese there because it was Golden Week..  About 1 hour drive each way, and visits to the bamboo forest, a shrine, a temple for a vegetarian lunch, and the golden pavilion.  Really worthwhile and we had a very good guide here. 

 

In Shimizu we took the included Stunning Vistas of Shimizu to see Mt Fuji which very fortunately was visible both days. This tour goes to 2 stops, first a great observation deck and then a local beach with pine forest and some hiking trails.  My hope is Viking will add an hour to this tour because both places were beautiful and we could have used more time at each. 

 

In Tokyo we used www.triplelights.com to find a private guide.  We did a 6 hour tour of the city and guide picked us up at the ship in the  Hurami Cruise port and delivered us after the tour to the shuttle bus location downtown.  We visited Skytree tower for great views, Asakusa Shrine, Edo Museum and Imperial Gardens. You can pretty much design a tour with the sites you want. Note that the guide is paid in advance to TripleLights and you pay for all transportation costs, lunch and entrance fees for you and the guide.  Good value and saw a lot more than if we did a included or optional tour.

 

We also stayed in Tokyo on our own 2 extra days at the Marriott Prince Sakura Tower using points.  One of the best hotels we have stayed in.  We did the Meiji shrine and Shibuya Crossing on our own using the metro card we got the day before.  Both give a good feel for life in Tokyo.

 

Our last day was also a private tour of Kamakura using TripleLights again.  Our guide was Eiko and she was excellent. Saw both shrines and temples and participated in a teamasters tea ceremony.  Best guide of the trip and a lot fun.  There is a Viking optional tour that goes to Kamakura, but we felt we got so much more out of a personalized tour that costs just slightly more for 2 and would have been less if there were 4.

 

One other note...proper dress is required in the shrines with shoulders and knees covered.  Bring slip on shoes that can be worn with socks because shoe removal is required at several places and its easier if you don’t have to retie shoelaces at those stops 

 

I hope you all enjoy your cruise as much as we did. 

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On 5/9/2019 at 7:49 PM, MVCACruisers said:

We generally like to do a combination of included, optional, private guides and do-it-yourself tours and that is what we did this time.

Thanks so much for your review of ports and excursions. This is the way we enjoy travelling as well. We plan to extend on our own with one day extra in Hong Kong and several days in Japan, visiting Kyoto, using the bullet train. I haven't begun any real planning yet. October will be here faster than we expect.

 

I just read a forum from another cruise line where the passenger mentioned having to repeatedly go through immigrations and how it took hours re-entering Japan from Busan. I wondered about your experience with 4 countries and entering Japan twice.

 

Thanks once again and I plan to follow up on some of your suggestions for private excursions.

Jeanne

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