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Dark Avenger

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About Dark Avenger

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Denver

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  1. Viking Homelands 8/13 seriously considering canceling - Mid April. Prepaid Business Class airline tickets, no insurance (my situation). While an extended offer to cancel for credit is a step in the right direction - a two year, non-transferable credit, coupled with a one year airline credit is just too risky. Too many "life related" things can happen and get into the way to discount the true value of that credit. I am not as worried about the ship related health risk, as I am about canceled ports and excursions. For example - what if Viking is forced to cancel St. Petersburg? Certain key ports make, or break a good experience. Been planning this trip for 2 years - that's what I get for booking early! I understand Viking's plight - but we each need to make the best personal economic decision with the best information at hand. The have had the use of my full cruise fare since last summer. My other option is to convert the vacation into a Northern European land trip. When I have asked the "what-if" questions regarding possible port cancellations - I get the "we don't know" answer - but as you all know - Viking can cancel, or amend the itinerary at will and at any time. I have communicated, in witting, to the highest level in VO's management - response pending. I generally don't think this way - but you could even re-book later and use the cash (not the credit) - might even make up for the change fee in a lower fare and I bet cabins will be available. You have the Italy issue with your cruise (we loved it, by the way), but that's pretty real right now. Nothing beats optionality, and that what cash always gives you. No more booking way early for me.
  2. We are on a Baltic cruise in August with a pre-trip to Berlin. Our plan is to fly direct Denver to Frankfurt and then take the ICE DB train to Berlin. There is a discount plan called the Rail&Fly program - has anyone taken advantage of it? How about this train? Sounds like the ICE train station is next to the Frankfurt Main airport. Wonder how long is prudent to schedule between flight arrival and getting on the Berlin train? Sounds like due to the popularity of this train, it's important to have a seat and ticket prior to arrival, even though they run hourly.
  3. We are on the Homelands Aug 13th Star Cruise with a pre-trip to Berlin. Our plan is to fly direct Denver to Frankfurt and then take the ICE DB train to Berlin. There is a discount plan called the Rail&Fly program - has anyone taken advantage of it? How about this train? Sounds like the ICE train station is next to the Frankfurt Main airport. Wonder how long is prudent to schedule between flight arrival and getting on the Berlin train? Sounds like due to the popularity of this train, it's important to have a seat and ticket prior to arrival, even though they run hourly.
  4. Piggy backing on the topic - where do I find my election (sign-up) date for excursions? PV-1 Penthouse Veranda and the Homelands departure date is August 7th / Stockholm Just booked my airfare and I will probably do some private tours this time around. Does that make me a little anal retentive? On a related note: How early is too early for signing up for say St. Petersburg with someone like Alla? Have not taken the deep dive yet into all the analysis, but I need to prior to the Viking excursion sign up deadline for my cabin class.
  5. I always like that old saying, "if you aren't flying first class, your children will" . Same applies to premium economy, which always sounded like an oxymoronic term. My new goal is to try business class on my next long distance flight to Europe.
  6. First time on this board. Planning airfare for a cruise next August - Starts in Stockholm ends in Oslo. Berlin (on our own) is first stay. Start (leave) from Denver. Like Lusitania/United and the Denver Frankfurt route is a good one for us. I'd like to avoid the east coast and Heathrow. Cheap business class tickets(2) on the 787 Dreamliner for the long leg of the trip would be the dream. Some time in my life I would like to fly business class before I die, but don't want to take out a second mortgage to do it. I am tempted by the business class fares advertised the the "consolidators" for lack of a better definition. Can I name names? Can anyone recommend specific companies, or T/A's and stay within CC rules? Our preferences might make it hard for these types of ticket / re-sellers to offer us the most attractive monetary terms. Any sage advice, recommendations, or shared experiences (positive, or negative) for us?
  7. Trying to plan our airfare and total vacation for a Homelands cruise starting in Stockholm next August (have the Viking part nailed down). I've read somewhere that the Stockholm portion is quite limited time wise - I think the sail out time (day two) is around 2:30 in the afternoon and part of the first day is of course oriented around boarding. We will be coming from a couple of days in Berlin and I am thinking about adding a day or two in Stockholm - thoughts? Just time and money right? On another matter - I'd love to fly business class on vacation one time in my life and wondered what experiences people have had with the ticket broker/consolidators that advertise business class fares? Prices seem tempting. On the major long leg we would like to go from Denver (home) to Frankfurt direct, short hop to Berlin (2 days) then Stockholm with the return departing Oslo back to Denver at the end. Lufthansa is a good option and we've flown it before and liked it. They co-partner with United out of Denver also. I'd really like to take the Dreamliner (787) all the way, which United flies. Prefer to avoid the east coast and Heathrow. Norwegian Air and Icelandic Air scare me a bit for reliability reasons. I also like to stick with one carrier all the way. Maybe all those restrictions will eliminate a T/A, or broker from getting me the best monetary deal. Any sage advice for us?
  8. On the August 13, 2020 Homelands / Star Cruise Wondering what the boarding time will be on the front end - Stockholm and the disembark time on the final day - Bergen, with a Viking 2 day Oslo train extension Cabin type is Penthouse Veranda
  9. About ready to book an early August 2020 Stockholm to Bergen Homelands cruise - PV1 Any part of that deck, or any suites on that deck less desirable, or more desirable? Close but not too close to the laundry room? Same for elevators? Port / Starboard? Much too anal retentive? Get a life? At least all the ships are the same.
  10. Trying to decide if I want to "spring the trap" on a June 2020 Homelands Cruise. Viking wants full payment August 31st which seems extreme to me. Think I have read about TA's offering shorter final payment dates on this very site. Also, current promotion is the Explorer's Club deal, but they won't guarantee to match any future pricing promotions (reductions). The "early committers" are disadvantaged under that kind of policy. They claim I am also getting the return customer $800/person discount. How common I wonder is it to get the opportunity to do a cabin upgrade at a reduced price closer to sailing date? Based on Viking's recent PR problems I would think they would have to start being more price/terms competitive. Any comments, or shared experiences out there in cyber land related to these issues?
  11. Contemplating Viking Homelands next June/July – thinking about “pulling the pin” soon. 2nd cruise on Oceans for us. Will be traveling from Denver and prefer to avoid US east coast connections. Thinking about 3 days on the front end in Berlin. Perhaps a couple of extra days on the back end (Stockholm, or Bergen, or Oslo). Lufthansa flies out of Denver to Frankfurt and Munich and we like them. Icelandic Air does also as does Norwegian. Heard mixed reviews on both. United flies to Europe, but we’ve had bad experiences with Heathrow. Not married to one carrier. Questions – Which sailing direction would be better? Anyone have any experience with Berlin to Stockholm, or Bergen (or Oslo) connections? We could take the 7-hour train ride from Oslo and catch the ship in Bergen on the front end (or back end). Trying to avoid the Bergen / US connection problem. Viking Custom Air might be an option if we can save money on better seats and if Viking lets you make ticket plans days before and after ship arrival, or departure dates. I like to pick my airline and seats in advance. Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated
  12. We did Viking Mediterranean Odyssey two years ago as a very last minute decision and loved it, one of our best vacations. Did a pre-cruise Venice and post cruise Barcelona add-on independent of Viking. Booked everything myself, which I really enjoy. Thinking about doing the Baltic next summer (Homelands) to go visit "my people" since I am about 50% Swedish and much of the balance German. What better cruise line for a Viking than Viking? Few questions for whomever would like to advise us: Best month/week of the year for this part of the world? Optimum weather the key I guess, with a second variable being fewest crowds. I've read that this part of the world is much less crowed than Italy / France, etc. Best route - east / west, or visa versa? Pros / cons? How little can I put down and what is the least I can pay for the balance as close to sail as possible? - just for trip risk management purposes, struggling with elderly parents, etc. We will have trip insurance for that very reason. Best add on before/after cruise stay Scandinavian city(s) - does not have to be on the route, but close via train, etc. Berlin maybe? Some city where one, or two days is not enough and connections are good. Coming from Denver and like the direct flights that Luftansia has to Franfurt and Munich. Would like to avoid Heathrow. Would consider Icelandic Air. Flight / Airline advice for this part of Northern Europe? Never been north of Amsterdam Best independent non/Viking excursion provider companies, want to explore those options more than on our first cruise. Alla, etc. Travel agent - yes/no If it can save us money, I like the hands on control of doing it myself, but if a experienced TA can save us money, I'd like to research that option Just generally stuff you all have learned on the planning side of a trip like this. This cruise, or other Viking, or even non-Viking cruises Happy to correspond offline, if I can figure out how to do that Any helpful advice will be most appreciated - this is a great board. Sorry for the volume - just thought I would get it all out there at once and before I commit to Viking.
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