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About Heidi13

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    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    British Columbia
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    Travel, Photography, Swimming, Walking Dogs, Football (Glasgow Rangers)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Tending to Viking Ocean
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  1. We have also changed cabins a few times on B2B's and found it fairly painless. When ready to move, got lots of help from the Stewards.
  2. Have to compare apples to apples and also consider fuel costs. Viking ships cruise at 17 or 18 kts, with a max speed of 20 kts. RCI's ship cruises at 22.5 kts, with a top speed of probably 24-25kts. With the distances involved, Viking could not schedule a cruise at the vessels top speed of 20 kts, as they require leeway for weather or other delays, so it would be scheduled at 17/18 kts. RCI transit at 22.5 kts is 2.5 days, while Viking require 3.5 days, which provides RCI 2 additional port days. Fuel costs are also a significant issue, as the Cuba cruises are scheduled at slow speed. ABC with longer high speed runs would incur significantly higher bunker costs and I doubt a fuel premium would be well received by pax already booked.
  3. ABC Islands are an excellent option, but if you are concerned with not changing home port and TAR dates/times, they are not feasible from Miami in 8-days. From memory Miami to Curacao is 1,300 to 1,400 n/miles, which is a little over 3 days steaming at 18 kts. Therefore it requires 7 days steaming at almost full speed to get there & back. Provides time for 1 port, but also requires a huge bill for bunkers.
  4. Congratulations on retirement - best job ever. Rather than having to pick a destination, suggest considering a World Cruise.
  5. With 40 years of both working and cruising as a pax, I have seen many changes, sadly few were to the benefit of the customer. Our 2015 World Cruise was our final cruise with any mainstream line. We researched most of the luxury/premium brands - Crystal, Seabourn, Regent, Silversea, Azamara, Oceania & Viking. Suggest this would be a meaningful exercise for the OP, as while they are generally smaller ships, have better service and quality meals, each of the Lines have specific appeal. Our final choice was Viking, with the following points standing them apart from some of the other luxury/premium lines: - More casual atmosphere, with zero formal nights. We used each Line's website/FAQ dress code and not info posted on reviews - No kids, Viking is 18+. While kids are rare on these lines, Viking stands alone at 18+. Note that Oceania is actively promoting kids on some Alaska cruises. - No Casino, we have no desire to use a casino, so on other ships it is a waste of space. Viking's ships with no casino use the space for other purposes. - Alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks - Viking has zero restrictions on bringing drinks aboard at any port. They will even open and serve your bottles of wine in the restaurants, with no service charges. - Excursions, they provide a free excursion in each port. - Enrichment - Viking ships have a resident historian and/or astronomer. In addition, they screen informative TedTalks on cabin TV's and the Theatre. - Ship size - at 930 pax the size was right in the middle of our desired range of 750 to 1200. The really small ships have less entertainment options, so with 930 pax, Viking was a good a good compromise. All ships are identical and < 4 yrs old. When looking at any premium/luxury line, look at what is include, as the base fare will be significantly higher than a mainstream line. Our next World Cruise with Viking next year is about 60% higher base fare than our 2015 cruise, but since the Viking Cruise is all-inclusive, I predict the daily cost will be virtually identical.
  6. If they are changing the entire ports of call, they could just as easily change the home port.
  7. Haven't cruised to St Petersburg with Cunard, but the rules are identical for all cruise lines. Many cruise lines include a statement that give the impression you require a Russian Tourist Visa, unless taking a ship's tour. This is incorrect. Most of the major tour providers in SPB are approved vendors for Visas and your daily tour ticket is your Visa. It is available to cruise passengers visiting from 72 hours, or less. You must remain with your guide and must return to the ship overnight. Going ashore, present your passport & tour ticket for that day to Russian Immigration and then meet the tour rep inside the terminal. I note that some cruise lines have been letting pax on ship's tours off the vessel first. Based on feedback from other pax, all tours were excellent. We used Alla and were very happy.
  8. Caribbean has zero appeal to us, preference would be trans-canal or down to the Amazon.
  9. The 26 Glacier cruise is excellent. You can book direct from Phillips Cruises and it departs close to the ship. In Whittier you must go through the tunnel at the end of the inlet. It is 1-way, with direction changing every 1/2 hr. Of the Princess ships, my favourites for Alaska were the Coral/Island or Diamond/Sapphire. Not sure what ships they have in Alaska these days. Ships I would avoid are the Royal Class and Super Grand Class, which is Caribbean & later. The Grand Class are nice ships, but the Super Grands have an extra deck of cabins (500 pax), but same public spaces. Enjoy your cruise.
  10. The time zone currently in use by CA/OR/WA/BC is Pacific Standard/Daylight Time. All 4 States/Province are currently on daylight saving times or Z-7. Alaska is further West, so uses the next time zone. Since they also use daylight savings time their time is 1 hour earlier (Z-8) than the coast. On departing on a voyage, the Captain checks the current time of the arrival port, determining how many hours, if any, they are different. For Alaska the difference is 1 hour, with the clox going back 1 hour, if northbound or forward an hour, if southbound. While most times on a ship, the cloxs change at 02:00, it is entirely at the discretion of the Master. When clox go back, I have always experienced the change at 02:00, giving pax an extra hour sleep. However, when cloxs go forward, some Masters will elect to change cloxs at Noon, so pax do not loose an hour sleep and also assist with compliance of crew hours of rest requirements. To determine time zone, Google will provide the current time in most, if not all cities in the world.
  11. If your WC visits Dubai, you can purchase medications without prescriptions. We did this on our last WC, as our son lived in Dubai at the time, so took us to a reputable ex-pat Chemist.
  12. In any Alaska cruise, I suggest the deciding factor is itinerary - looking at both the ports of call and the hours in port. For embarkation you have options with R/T or 1-way cruises. The 2 main departure ports are Seattle & Vancouver - Vancouver is closer to Alaska and ships do not require a visit to Victoria, so those ships should spend more time in Alaska. Vancouver ships also sail more of the sheltered & scenic Inside Passage, while Seattle ships go up/down the Pacific Ocean. Glaciers - Although I have been in Glacier Bay well over 20 times, I am still one of the first ones out on deck. The Rangers also board, providing lots of information. I have also never missed a visit to Glacier Bay. Tracy Arm is spectacular, but I have only ever made it in once. Hubbard Glacier is also impressive, but again I have missed one or two visits. The 3 main SE Alaska ports are very busy & touristy, suggest visiting some of the lesser known ports and also heading up to Prince William Sound and Whittier/Seward.
  13. Whistling on board is bad luck, as it is considered to be encouraging the onset of storms. Colour of the sky at sunrise/sunset - Red sky at night sailors delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
  14. Haven't seen the towel creations on a daily basis for about 20 years. On our last WC we only received them on special occasions - birthdays, etc. Regarding the cabin steward, we have always found them extremely responsive to our needs and only ever had to ask once. If we didn't want towel creations/chocolates we would advise the cabin steward and in the unlikely event they continued we would provide a reminder.
  15. Have never provided a tip in advance and in 40 years of both working and as a pax, we have received only exemplary and prompt service from cabin stewards, some of whom I have had for 4 months.
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