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Heidi13

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About Heidi13

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About Me

  • Location
    British Columbia
  • Interests
    Travel, Photography, Swimming, Walking Dogs, Football (Glasgow Rangers)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking Ocean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Panama
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    www.andyandjudi.com

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  1. Clay - when the stout is poured first they tend to mix, rather than being layered. Never did bother with the science, when I tried it years ago, but it must be due to respective specific gravity.
  2. Affirmative on Silver Spirits. Have pre-ordered for the next cruises, as it was so convenient. In the Theatre, we didn't even have to order, as frequently, just before the show started, another round of drinks magically appeared. Same in the MDR, soon as we walked in, a bottle of wine and beers arrived shortly after we sat down. Once we finished eating, most pax got desserts, I received a glass of 6-grapes. Although it wasn't normally stocked in the MDR, they always had a bottle. When we started having all our meals in Manfredi's, the Living Room Bar always had a bottle, which was routinely stowed out of sight and was known as Andy's bottle. Another benefit of Silver Spirits is once the wine available on the package was finished, they substituted with comp bottles of bottles not included in the package, until they re-stocked. Noting this may not happen on all cruises, since we had some exceptional challenges getting stores. When the ship was getting low on IPA, a number of cans magically appeared in the ice bucket in the MDR and in the cabin fridge. So without a doubt, if not provided on the cruise, we are always ordering SSBP.😁🥂🍻
  3. Affirmative, that is a traditional British drink with a 1/2 pint of Pale Ale poured first and then topped with a 1/2 pint of Stout.
  4. Once the old liners were gone, the Royal Viking ships were the nicest looking ships we passed or docked with.
  5. Great idea. We enjoyed a week on a barge on the UK Canals 3-years ago. Brilliant week, navigating by pubs. In France, rather than pubs we would use wineries.😀
  6. Sometimes it depended on whether we had drank the ship dry of IPA, other times just ordered 1 of each.
  7. You may not have mentioned "Industry Norms" but you mentioned that you disagreed with a previous poster who considered that Viking's optional excursions were moderately priced. Since moderately priced is highly arbitrary, I provided a means to compare Viking's prices, which is with other similar companies. In St Petersburg, we used Alla, as they guaranteed they get us back to the ship, or they pay to get you to the next port. Same guarantee as the ship provides. Just reviewed all posts in this thread and I didn't see anyone blindly suggesting taking Viking excursions. As I mentioned, I believe most Viking pax are sufficiently well travelled and know the pros/cons of ship & private tours. Not aware of any hook to take Viking Tours, in fact we considered them considerably less pushy than other Lines, especially on board.
  8. Just spotted our favourite waiter "Von" heading over to the table. Since dinner is finished, I'm opting for a 6-grapes Port & DW a Grand Marnier.😀
  9. I seem to recall hearing scooter/wheelchairs, etc couldn't be left in the alleyway outside the cabin. Either had to be kept in cabin, or arrangements made with Cabin Stwd to stow.
  10. Although we have only completed 1 Viking Cruise, we found many of Viking's optional excursions across the 4 continents visited were generally reasonably priced, compared to industry norms. How many Viking Cruises have you completed and to what locations, where you find the optional excursions more expensive than industry norms? Yes, we experienced that Viking Excursions were more expensive than comparable tours from private providers - however, this is standard practice throughout the industry and is most likely consistent across all industries. When I managed a shipyard, if the customer wanted us to purchase materials and accept the risk, then we added a percentage to the cost of the materials. When the tour doesn't go well, Viking refund - per our experience in Christchurch. If it is a private tour - good luck, not saying you won't get a refund, but it will take considerably longer than my 3 or 4 minute trip to Guest Services. When compared to cruise industry norms, we found Viking's optional excursions to be generally cheaper than equivalent tours on Princess, when all costs are converted to CAN $. We found that even when using full size buses, Viking rarely filled the buses, with about 35 being the normal on most tours we completed. Some examples from our recently completed World Cruise: Hunter Valley (ship's tour) - full day tour with only 4 pax, a guide and a driver. Yes a little more expensive than some available local tours, but when 60 miles from a ship that sails at 17:00, I consider the extra cost cheap insurance. Blue Mountains - found a local tour operator with a full day tour, at about 25 - 30% less than ship, but they couldn't work around 07:00 docking, or pick up at White Bay. They would have provided a private tour for both of us at twice the cost of the ship. Egypt - 4 day overland with 24/7 guide, buses, flight, hotel, meals, entrance fees for CAN $1,600 pp. Couldn't find anything from private operator any cheaper. We also considered this one very reasonably priced. Saigon - 2 day Mekong Delta with bus, meals, hotel, entrance fees, etc CAN $414 pp While I couldn't find anything comparable, I considered the price very reasonable Cochin - 6 hr city tour and river cruise CAN $79 pp Malaga - 10 hr tour to Alhambra Palace & Gardens which included timed tickets, lunch, etc for CAN $259. We also found a private vendor at CAN $125, but they required a minimum of 10 people confirmed and paid in full more than 4 months in advance, to purchase the timed tickets At no ports, including tender ports do Viking restrict non-ship excursion pax from disembarking. In Bay of Islands (tender) we were on a private tour, so went down to the Atrium, per the request. We were accommodated on the first tender. Getting back to the ship in time - when booking ship's tours, they guarantee the ship waits or the cruise line schedules and pays to get you to the next port. In some ports, especially on our longer cruises, paying the extra for a ship's tour is what I consider cheap insurance. Private tour operators will endeavour to get you back on time, but circumstance outside their control can result in missing the ship. Does it happen - most definitely yes, as I recall my days on the ships receiving calls on the Bridge advising the number of pax not back on board. When visiting our son in Victoria, we met 2 couples waiting for the ship, as they were on a tour in the last Alaska port and missed the ship. Had to fly to Seattle, then Victoria, joining the ship to pack and disembark the following day. During the planning process, we consider a number of ship and private tours and base the decision on a risk assessment and our interests. When the risk is too high such as considerable distance from the port (visiting Borobudur from Semarang) , crazy traffic (Java, KL, etc) or distance to next port (Nuku Hiva to Tahiti) we are happy to pay the ship a premium, considering the delta as cheap insurance. I believe the majority of Viking cruisers are well travelled and can make informed decisions regarding ship or private tours. We certainly don't consider Viking's tour marketing as trying to hook us into booking ship excursions exclusively. Since the OP mentioned they have 800 days with HAL, I suggest they are also well travelled and experienced in the pros/cons of various excursions.
  11. Great memories. In the oldie and definitely impossible category for me would be SS Uganda, affectionately know as "Ug tug" and SS Oriana - my first 2 pax vessels.
  12. Princess have had 2 ships with the name Ocean Princess. The original one was one of the 4 "Sun" class, which was transferred to P&O and renamed Oceana. This ship is still in service. The 2nd Ocean Princess was originally R4, then became Tahitian Princess (02 to 09), before being renamed Ocean Princess. It was sold to Oceania Cruises about 4 yrs ago. Also still in service. Not sure how much longer Pacific will remain, as the IP is scheduled for her 2022 WC and she has no cruises after Oct 21.
  13. Only ships operating in Alaska this year will be the Alaska State Ferries, with only BC Ferries and operating in BC Waters, with Alaska State Heading down to Bellingham on weekends.
  14. On Viking Sun, we booked a DV 4 midships on Dk 4 (4058) for the same reasons as you. DW doesn't like the motion, especially when we moved to a suite. Starting with the Sun, Viking added another 3 drawers in the closet. This provides full length in 1 half and 1/2 length in the other. We only drink tea, so when chatting with the WC Desk pre-cruise, we requested the coffee maker & tray be removed. This provided an additional shelf. While the smaller cabin on Sun Princess had more storage, we did not find an issue with storage on the Sun. Although once the washing was done, the drawers were definitely full. Moving to a Suite - well they have a separate walk-in closet!!!
  15. As a fellow longer cruising, especially World Cruises enthusiast, we are extremely happy we found Viking. We were long time Princess pax, so obviously had reached Elite status, which is the equivalent of your status with HAL. Our 2015 WC with Princess was our last ever cruise with them, as their standards have dropped way below the minimum we expect. We considered HAL, Celebrity & all Premium/Luxury Lines before selecting Viking. FYI - HAL was discounted, as since the last Carnival re-org both HAL & Princess have the same management team in many areas. The recently concluded Viking WC was our first cruise with them and even though we missed most ports, it was an amazing experience. However, as with any company, I doubt you we find any product that meets all of our needs, so a few of our thoughts with respect to Viking: Viking do not follow industry norms with their onboard experience and also their business practices. Pre-cruise - in addition to the regular Customer Service, about 9 months before the cruise Viking provide access to the World Cruise Desk, who are specialised Customer Service agents dedicated to WC'ers. About 4-6 weeks before the cruise we received a call, just confirming Visa's were complete, flights booked, WC jacket ordered and to review our preferences for bedding, pillows, robes, cabin drinks, etc. We requested a bottle of Rum & Grand Marnier, which were delivered per request. Early payment - this is a Viking norm and we all have choices. As Peregrina mentioned you can negotiate a better final payment date. If you can't get a suitable date, you can always hold off booking until the date you wish to make final payment. However, the 2021 WC was already fully booked before we boarded Viking Sun on Jan 4th 2020. Based on my heritage, I don't part with money easily, but paying 6 months out for the WC wasn't that much different than 3 months on Princess. Boarding - Viking does not use a "Class" system. We were picked up at the San Pedro hotel and dropped off at the terminal. Photo ID checked at the entrance, so we had a short queue of about 4 couples. Once inside the terminal we walked to check-in, finding lots of stations open, none of them had a queue. Passports scanned and we were handed our key cards. Again no queue at Port Security and annoying photographers and even on boarding, no photo taken, just tap the card. Viking use you passport photo. Time from being dropped off to sitting in World Cafe enjoying a beer was < 20 mins. Cabin Key Cards - all are identical regardless of cabin category, so again no "Class" system based on cabin category. You only use the cards to access the cabin and tap on/off the ship. Never required at other times. Suite/JS/PV benefits - Viking does provide some benefits for those paying more money for the cabin. The Suites have included laundry, shoe shining, dry cleaning, etc. Higher grade cabins can also book ship's excursions earlier, but in a DV we booked every ship's tour we wanted and mostly at our preferred time. They also get more pre-cruise bookings in alternative restaurants - personally we couldn't care, as we wouldn't make them anyway. Onboard we booked that day on the telly, or just turned up and never had a problem. Also booked the private rooms without issue. Between Sydney & Bali, due to port closures, Viking provided the option of disembarking in Bali with a refund of the unused days. They also arranged flights for the WC'ers, regardlesss of using Viking Air. In Dubai, when they finally had to cancel the cruise, they again arranged all flights, regardless if you used Viking Air. Since the USA would not permit Canadians to board the Viking Charter flight, we remained aboard the ship with 6 other Canadians and 460 crew. Viking looked after us extremely well, even sending a crew member with us when we disembarked in Gibraltar to London. She flew to London with us and stayed in the same hotel, remaining with us until we were in T2 heading to the departure gate. So Viking treated us extremely well, even providing a refund or FCC for the days we remained aboard from Dubai to Gibraltar. TayanaLorna & Peregrina both provided our Blog address, so suggest checking it out to see how Viking addressed the virus issue.
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