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About philw1776

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Hampshire
  • Interests
    Astronomy, History, Ancient History, WWII
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking, Silversea, Uniworld
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

Recent Profile Visitors

681 profile views
  1. Should we shoot the clueless software developers or the evil marketing folks specifying the "improvement"? Viking ignoring the "If it ain't broke, don't "fix" it" engineering rule? Waiting for my excursion booking meltdown later this year.
  2. I find Viking OCEAN excursions expensive in general. Even in relation to upscale Silversea. There were some expensive excursions on our Silversea Alaska cruise. Anything involving a flight is $$$. Worth it as a once in a lifetime experience. Sadly, bad weather cancelled all our flying excursions. As a Scot I should be happy but for once I wanted to spend the money.
  3. Scandinavia uses credit cards even for small transactions. Got small amounts of varied currencies from AAA. Put each in a separate envelope. Put in room safe. Took out for that day's excursion. In Russia, they like tips in US $. Unsure if this is totally kosher, but it is what it is. 1 Did tram up the hill in Bergen by ourselves. Cheaper & easy. I walked the 2.5 Km back down into town. Easy. 2 Pulpit Rock excursion is pricey. Just walk past the bow of the ship and take the local Pulpit Rock RODNE cruises. Book it online. Be sure to check Viking ship departure times. 3 At Eidfjord (a beautiful spot) the Flamsbana train trip thru the mountains is expensive but totally worth it. Waterfalls galore. Tunnels thru the mountains have huge roundabouts inside! Alternatively, folks who just hiked the area on their own had a better time than the local Viking tours offered. 4 In Alborg Denmark, A Day in the Life of a Viking was a good excursion 5 In Copenhagen I loved the excursion to the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum. Terrific. Saw old ships & saw new replicas being built using the old tools & ways. Wife enjoyed Charming Coastal Copenhagen tour. 6 Rostok Germany we opted out of long Berlin trip taking the included local walking tour, OK and afternoon the fun trip along the coast on the steam engine Molli Railway. 7 Gdansk Poland, wife went to Malbork castle & loved it. 8 Tallinn Palmse Manor Tour plus a great country lunch & seaside walk in National Park. Also included an Upper Town Walk in Tallinn. Excellent! 9 St Pete we joined others on a private TJ Travel 2 day tour. Less $$$ than Viking. Saw more sites than possible with ship tours & with very personal guide service. Outstanding! Wife added evening ballet alone and had a TJ personal escort. Got back close to midnight. Was well taken care of. Cheaper than Viking, same seats. 10 Helsinki Porvoo tour was OK at best. 11 Vasa Museum & Stockholm by Boat pricey with nice lunch. But EASY to do on your own without advance reservations. Save the $$$ and do it yourself.
  4. Scandinavia is similarly cash free. However the cash issue arises for tipping guides & bus drivers per Viking recommendations.
  5. Booking Viking Ocean in late summer 2023 when both granddaughters are old enough to cruise on Viking again for another 3 generations cruise. They loved their Paris to Normandy river cruise last July as reservations were made before raising ages. Our daughter their Mom loved Viking so much she won't consider other lines sooner although I've been happy with Silversea as a 2nd choice.
  6. Jeff, Appreciate the roll Call. I used it last year to prepare for the cruise. Every country visited was supposed to go onto the Euro by 2014-2016 but bureaucratic issues have delayed it. Did folks tip guides & drivers in local currencies, Euros or what?
  7. Highly recommend reading that excellent 2019 roll call thread, however excursions change year to year. This year Iron Gate excursions have been added. LEPENSKI VIR 9:30-1:30PM 4 HRS $69 Founded over 8,500 years ago along the banks of the Danube, this important Stone Age find is often called the “first city in Europe.” Enjoy an insightful presentation, guided tour and free time to learn more about this prehistoric settlement and the culture that once flourished here. Later visit the remnants of Golubac Fortress, a medieval town with sweeping views of the surrounding landscape, and the eco-village of Kapetan Mišin Breg, to visit an art gallery, handicrafts and sample local favorites DJERDAP NATIONAL PARK HIKE 9-1PM 4H $79 Reserve the tour onboard after weather check? Will it be available? Do we miss any scenic sail? Natural beauty of Serbia during a hike to a scenic viewpoint in idyllic Djerdap National Park. Stretching along the Danube, the park is famous for its sweeping views of the Iron Gate gorge. Park ranger guide leads you along a forest trail hiking up the 1,174 feet to the Kovilovo viewpoint. Stop for refreshments and time to admire the beautiful landscape before hiking down. Visit remnants of Golubac Fortress, an imposing medieval town, and the eco-village of Kapetan Mišin Breg, visit an art gallery, handicrafts and sample local favorites honey brandy, proja (corn bread) and pohovana kopriva at a private viewpoint. Link to see the easy hiking trail... http://www.geohikingdjerdap.rs/hiking_trails/kovilovo/ We're on the 8 June sailing. Join the Roll call! https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2692883-all-viking-2020-passage-to-eastern-europe/
  8. Would really like a bourbon option in my PV. Doesn't have to be Woodford though!
  9. Copenhagen City tour 3 HR INCLUDED 9:30AM 850 years of remarkable history during this tour. The Little Mermaid statue sitting in the harbor at Langelinie and visit the courtyard at Amalienborg Palace. Copenhagen’s largest monument, the Gerfion Fountain. For the final, either enjoy a panoramic sightseeing drive, pass many of Copenhagen’s beautiful sites such as the Royal Winter Residence and Rosenborg Castle. Alternatively, independently explore the pretty area of Nyhavn, with its brightly colored houses along the harbor, home to Hans Christian Andersen. Roskilde Viking Ship Museum & Cathedral 4.5 HR 1:30PM - 6 PM $99 Drive to Roskilde, a remarkable repository of Viking artifacts preserves a lost way of life. Viking Museum, marvel at the five 11th-century Viking longboats, deliberately sunken a millennium ago to prevent enemy ships from entering the Roskilde fjord. Continue to Museumsøen, or Museum Island, working Viking boatyard, where skilled craftsmen create incredible replicas of wooden ships using the same materials and techniques the Vikings used. Demonstrations of rune inscriptions, shield painting and coin striking. Short drive to Roskilde Cathedral, traditional burial place of Danish Kings and queens for 500 years. Earliest examples of French inspired gothic architecture, added to UNESCO list 1995. I loved this ^^^^ tour Wife took optional tour below instead which she loved... (She took NO photos, sadly) Charming Coastal Copenhagen 4 HR 9:15AM - 1:15PM $69 Very enjoyable trip; Dragor is beautiful Overview Copenhagen’s cultural and historic treasures, Little Mermaid statue, City Hall Square, Christiansborg Palace, colorful Nyhavn area and the royal residence of Amalienborg. Insight into the country’s medieval past in Dragør on the nearby island of Amager, a trading center for Hanseatic merchants Today, Dragør is a charming seaside hamlet with winding cobbled streets and 17th-century brick houses with red tile roofs. Guided stroll along narrow warrens and past its lovely marina. Free time
  10. I have one here https://www.flickr.com/photos/seacoast_nh/albums/72157682140797852
  11. a la carte drinks including scotch are inexpensive
  12. 1. We've done ice climbing, hiked to the top of a volcano, etc. and like being social with other like-minded travelers. Opposite poles from vast majority Viking customers at this stage of their lives & 90% of Viking excursions. There WILL be some younger adventurous folks aboard. 2. Port times can vary on same route cruise to cruise. Weather can be a factor anywhere. Missed Naples in the Med because of high winds in Rome. Ships even miss ports in the Caribbean. Port times (goal, not guarantee) will be on your invoice. You should make all your ports Norway or anywhere, but stuff does happen. We've done private tours but you need to be absolutely certain you'll be back on time. 3. Entertainment vs the cruise lines you were on is a huge difference. Not elaborate. Best if you're self entertained. 4. Pay $50 per person for Viking Air Plus for control over your flight selections.
  13. Did Denali pre cruise but on Silversea this last August. I expect you will take the dome train North to Denali. An experience not to be missed! Inside Denali transportation is in a bus looking like a school bus but with better seats. All day tour. We stayed at Grand Denali Lodge. Convenient. Rooms seem to be from the late 70s era but clean. Dinners were absolutely excellent. Fresh food well prepared. We split an entree each evening. Our land package had a night at the spectacular Alyeska Resort and several nice extras best of which was a different train ride along the ocean coast to our ship docked in Seward.
  14. Done 2 Silversea cruises Silver Spirit and Silver Muse, both 620 passenger ships. Loved both cruises. Done 2 Viking Ocean cruises; booked on 2 more Silversea: + All liquor included + Greater selection of included wines. "Please bring me the Cabernet I had last Wednesday" + Panaroma Lounge at the stern is lovely. No similar spot on Viking. Aquavit Terrace comes closest. + Liked the Asian dining experience in Indochine + Larger staterooms & bathrooms (Penthouse Veranda equivalent & larger) + Evening entertainment so-so but better than Viking's; + Far more choices of excursions plus many more excursions for active people + Somewhat more formal white glove restaurant service (I'm OK with Viking's service but Silversea's is better) + Onboard gambling (A big do not care for me) + Atlantide restaurant has wider menu selection & better service than Viking + Spaccanapoli informal pizza dining area (Meh) + Unique Arts Cafe delightful breakfast & lunch light snack cozy nook + Unique Silver note live blues & jazz tapas dining alternative (Meh) - $60 per person for 2 specialty restaurants La Dame & Kaiseki. Not for me. - Not a fan of personal butlers; find Viking's room stewards more than helpful enough - Men need to bring a suit jacket or sports coat for most evening dining & evening cocktail lounges Viking + 2 story Explorer Lounge much nicer than Silversea's excellent Observation Lounge at the bow + World Cafe buffet dining plus Pool dining buffet is top notch + Viking pool area has moveable roof, handy for cold weather + Viking pool grill >> Silversea experience + Manfredis > than Silversea La Terrazza but both are great Italian restaurants + Overall floor to ceiling windows everywhere makes VO ships light & airy - Just one selection of white & one of red wine without buying the "package" (Viking a la carte drinks are inexpensive) Both lines handle excursion departures from the ship professionally & smoothly Both lines have excellent lecture series really worth attending Buffet breakfasts on Viking World Cafe & Silversea La Terrazza somewhat similar Overall I prefer Viking but would sail with Silversea again anytime. Depends more on ports & costs.
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