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Glenndale

Saga Excursions

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For those of you who have received your brochures for upcoming cruises, how do the prices compare with other lines you have cruised on?

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When does the trip brochure come out before the cruise. Others cruise lines are about three months is Saga similar?

 

(Booked through TA will I get one?}

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 I don't know how they compare to other cruise lines but a couple I've looked at seem to have a very high mark-up when compared to booking the main component of the excursion direct.

 

For a 1-hour (30 minutes in the air) Bergen seaplane excursion Saga is charging £269 per person.

If you book direct online, the seaplane trip costs roughly £175.00.  So Saga is effectively charging £94 each for the 10-mile round trip between Bergen and the seaplane base.

 

Similarly for the 3-hour steam railway excursion, Saga is charging £99 per person but the railway fare is only about £12.  This time the bus trip is probably about 40 miles, effectively costing £87.

 

I know you get the security and convenience of it being a Saga organised tour but I think the mark-up is extortionate.  Whilst I'm prepared to pay a reasonable premium, this puts me off booking because I feel Saga are simply gouging their passengers.

 

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That's disappointing and unfortunately where the seaplane is concerned it's likely that Saga will have bought up all the capacity 😞

We usually book privately, especially thru roll calls, lets hope that when word gets round about CC Saga forums more people will get involved. 

We will be visiting Bergen on our tour and will probably book the funicular online as my s-i-l will be travelling with us and has never visited Bergen or taken a cruise before.

Sadly most cruise companies behave in this way as there are many who don't have the confidence to book privately for fear of missing the ship.

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Saga's prices actually compare quite favourably with some other lines.  Norway is always more expensive than other areas, as we all know - it is very pricey to have  a coffee or  beer ashore; one advantage of being on a cruise rather than land based trip.

 

People on our other favourite line (Seabourn) often organise their own tours, and/or join up with others through the roll calls.  There is just the risk that if you do not get back in time the ship will probably not wait.  Now that we have a forum people will start recommending firms to do tours with  (which is allowed on CC, it is just Cruise Agents you should not name).

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My post clashed with the previous one!  Both typing at the same time, with a similar message.

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Posted (edited)

 

4 minutes ago, lincslady said:

My post clashed with the previous one!  Both typing at the same time, with a similar message.

Yes 😀

To be fair, on our Sapphire Northern lights cruise we felt that the tour prices compared very favourably with the prices P&O charged for tours on a similar cruise.

Edited by Glenndale

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It would seem that all cruise lines do whatever they can to take advantage of their literally captive audience.

 

I know Norway is expensive but even so I can't imagine it costs £94 per person for a 10-mile return bus trip!  However, even that short distance is enough to make me wary of booking the seaplane tour privately, especially as a solo traveller.  It's a shame, I was fully prepared to pay Saga 'over the odds' for an excursion, but I simply can't allow myself to be taken advantage of to this extent.  (It's the Yorkshire genes!)

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Tigrou, I've just priced up a seaplane tour with Fjordtours for 3 people which comes to 8625 NOK approx £804. This works out at £268 each with no transport to the seaplane site. 

If you really want to do it go for it, life isn't a rehearsal xxxx

B*gger the genes 😜

 

https://www.fjordtours.com/things-to-do-in-norway/action-sports/fjord-glacier-sightseeing-with-seaplane-from-bergen/

Edited by Glenndale

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Glenndale, thank you.  

 

That's the longer 50 minute tour, not the 30 minute one Saga is offering which is 1875 NOK per person (£175-ish) when booked direct.

 

I have flown on a seaplane in Alaska, with amazing views of the glaciers, so the Norway one isn't a 'bucket list' job, more a 'might be nice'.  Depending on the weather I'll probably opt for the funicular railway and a wander around the town.

 

 

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We’ve just received our Documents with the Shorex info. I admit I’m a little disappointed at how costly some of them are but I know Norway is an expensive country. 

DH loves steam trains and we’ve would have paid up to perhaps £60-70 pp for the trip but £99 each is crazy for a 3 hour tour of which only 1 hour is on the train for just 12 miles. 

The cruise on Lysefjord from Stavanger is £114. This is something that is quite easy to book once ashore, providing you disembark as soon as possible, to beat the rush. However, if you pay that price in advance and the weather is nasty, as it was on one of our visits to this city, you will see very little of the views, which makes it a costly way to spend a few hours in a steamed up small boat. 

Corinne

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Posted (edited)

Are you talking about the Flam railway or the Setesdal?

I was looking at the Setesdal for booking privately but it isn't available for our dates. Maybe Saga has chartered the train for you?

Looks like our documents will arrive while we're away on Queen Victoria.

Yes the Lysefjord cruise is easily booked privately but need to keep an eye on the weather forecasts.

Whatever, we will enjoy our cruise 😁 and hopefully you will too.

Edited by Glenndale

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The steam railway shore excursion from Bergen is the Old Voss Steam Railway Museum.  The train trip itself is between Garnes and Midttun for which a ticket costs 130 NOK (about £12.25).   The Saga excursion cost is £99.

 

With DH it would have been a must so I keep looking at it because old habits die hard!  No disrespect but it doesn't look particularly special, especially not for £99.  If Flam was an option then I'd definitely do that regardless of cost.

 

As you say Corinne, the weather is always a consideration for many of these shore excursions.

 

I have booked the trip to Flor & Fjaere gardens in Stavanger, and am hoping they get the minimum number required to run it.  And that the weather's good of course!  Saga must have a special arrangement because the trip they're offering is slightly different to the only option available to book direct, the timings of which wouldn't work for our time in port.

 

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Tigrou, the garden may be lovely but £89 for a 150 minute trip seems also very overpriced. Unfortunately there aren’t enough of us on this Roll Call to organise any private trips, I don’t think. 

 

Or are there?  😉

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For those of you going to Stavanger you can walk around there quite easily. We did not go to Pulpit Rock as we are not that fit to get up there.  One place that we found to be incredibly interesting was the Sardine Canning Museum. Really good value and very friendly.  

 

Bergen is also easily walkable especially around the old town. You can make your way to the funicular easily from there.  Be aware Norway is the most expensive place we have visited but also the most lovely especially if the weather is kind.  If they offer a bus ride inland it is spectacular.  

 

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4 hours ago, cinnamon said:

Tigrou, the garden may be lovely but £89 for a 150 minute trip seems also very overpriced. Unfortunately there aren’t enough of us on this Roll Call to organise any private trips, I don’t think. 

 

Or are there?  😉

 

Booking direct costs 1290 NOK (approx £121) but includes a dinner buffet, so on this occasion Saga's price seems pretty good.  The direct booking options don't work with our times in port so Saga must have made a special arrangement.  Personally I wouldn't want the buffet anyway, I'm only interested in the gardens, so it works well for me.

 

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2 hours ago, shoreham01 said:

For those of you going to Stavanger you can walk around there quite easily. We did not go to Pulpit Rock as we are not that fit to get up there.  One place that we found to be incredibly interesting was the Sardine Canning Museum. Really good value and very friendly.  

 

Bergen is also easily walkable especially around the old town. You can make your way to the funicular easily from there.  Be aware Norway is the most expensive place we have visited but also the most lovely especially if the weather is kind.  If they offer a bus ride inland it is spectacular.  

 

Thanks for this, I agree both Bergen and Stavanger are easily walkable and if the weather is fair, the trip up the funicular is well worthwhile. 

 

In Stavanger (in the rain) we were really surprised how much we enjoyed the Petroleum museum and learned a lot about the North Sea Oil industry in a fun way. 

 

We’ll take your recommendation and perhaps try the Sardine Canning Museum this time. Coffee break will be back onboard though. Norwegian prices make your pulse race. The only times we had coffee breaks ashore was to get free WiFi and that’s not needed on Saga. 😀

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Posted (edited)

Our excursions for the 26th September appeared on the website yesterday, 65 days out.

We will book the funicular for Bergen, only around £4 for seniors 🙂 and a fjord cruise 

http://booking.visitbergen.com/65/Search/SearchResult.aspx?ProductID=257&c=en&culture=en&ref=bergen

We have done this before and my s-i-l is looking forward to this - around £60 per person.

The Setesdale railway trip from Kristiansand is £94 and we have signed up for it even though I feel it is expensive 🙁

Edited by Glenndale

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Posted (edited)

We thought the excursions on our upcoming Baltic Cruise on Spirit of Discovery were quite well priced, especially for St Petersburg. For most of the ports however, we are doing our own thing.

Edited by IbizaLover
Misspelled

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Despite what I think is an unreasonable mark-up by Saga for the Bergen seaplane excursion, it's now sold out on the Fjord Adventurer cruise.  As is the helicopter excursion in Stavanger, the second most expensive excursion on the itinerary after the seaplane.  It looks like my fellow passengers have deeper pockets than mine!

 

Interesting to see that the 'Hike to Westeras' and 'Geirangerfjord Rib Adventure' are also sold out, given recent posts I've seen here and on FB about some of Saga's excursions being inappropriate for their passengers because of the level of activity required. 

 

Personally I think it's good they offer a range of excursions for passengers to choose from, just like any other cruise line.  Although they have the 50+ age requirement, they do need to get away from the 'floating nursing home' image which I believe is perpetuated by some of their loyal customers.  Nothing in Saga's marketing puts me off the idea of cruising with them, only the comments I read from long-standing passengers.  For me age is just a number, but unfortunately for many it's an attitude.  

 

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Tigrou - I am not too surprised that the 'strenuous' and pricey excursions are sold out on your cruise.  I had predicted that there would be a younger and/or fitter crowd on the new ships - which is good.

 

You will almost certainly have some older/less fit people on board, and they will be well catered for, as the excursions are specially labelled as strenuous, moderate, or easy, or even panoramic, i.e. just a coach drive, so there is indeed something for everyone.  I like to think that the several comments from (essentially  one) previous passenger about a care home have dried up.

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lincslady - it's not so much the 'care home' reports that concern me as comments from a few regular Saga cruisers on FB.  They are the ones where I think their attitude is older than their age, if you see what I mean.   Before Discovery was launched they were generally negative about it, saying Saga had shot themselves in the foot, it won't make money, the idea of all cabins having a balcony was ridiculous, and so on.  Then once Discovery was a reality they changed their tune, saying she's a lovely ship but, presumably because they always need something to complain about, they now say Saga is wrong by catering to 'younger' people, for example with the shore excursions!

 

I don't give 2 hoots how old someone is, to be honest I'm absolutely useless at guessing anyone's age between about 8 and 80.  It's their attitude that matters, and the impression I get is that some of the 'regulars' actually want Saga to be like a floating care home. 

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I am an  idiot, but what is FB (have heard of it before)?   Mind you, I now know a scrubber is not what I thought it was!

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Doh!!  Just realised.  I don't do Facebook, somehow don't fancy it.

 

My only completely personal concern about the new ships was that they hold so many passengers, having been used for many years to ships with only about 400 on board.  I know they are small by today's standards though.   The only thing I am not  so keen on now that Spirit is here is, again purely personal, I think the balconies are a bit small and seem to lack really comfortable seating.   But in every other way, gorgeous.  And with the Saga advantages of excellent friendly caring staff, and the special advantage of door to door travel, after many years of slogging to airports and hanging round in them.

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