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About lackcreativity

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  1. I am ambivalent regarding the hat issue. I am of the age where it was considered rude for a gentleman to wear a hat indoors, and yet women wearing "fashion hats" were exempt from this prohibition. My instinctive reaction to men wearing hats in the dining room is the same as yours, but really, why? I don't think it is inherently rude, only deemed rude because "they" say it is. I don't know what it is like to be balding, but if I were, maybe I would want to wear a hat too. That said, my husband leaves his hat behind when we eat out, even if I have to help tame his "hat hair" from the baseball cap he wore earlier in the day!
  2. Some people may choose to ignore it, and in some cases Viking may neglect to enforce it, but there is still a dress code on Viking river and ocean ships. Posted on the Viking website today and printed in our cruise documents from a month ago: Dress during the day is casual including shorts (if the season is warm), trousers or jeans and comfortable shoes for walking tours. There are no “formal nights” and recommended evening dress is “elegant casual” such as a dress, skirt or slacks with a sweater or blouse for ladies; for gentlemen, trousers and a collared shirt. Ties and jackets are optional. On our four Viking cruises so far, we have not observed anything like what the original poster has described. I have heard that Caribbean cruises may be more casual, but we have only sailed in Europe and haven't seen that first hand. Wearing of jeans in the restaurants in the evening does seem to occur sometimes even though they are not supposed to be, but generally my experience is that people are dressed "elegant casual" as requested.
  3. As much as we have enjoyed our three Viking ocean cruises, I have read enough on this site to know that they sometimes have had problems as they have expanded into brand new areas. They generally work quickly to improve the difficulties for subsequent cruises. I know that is not much consolation to the guests on the maiden sailings of these new routes. Personally, we have only selected itineraries that are mostly familiar to Viking, with perhaps a new port or two added. Our last was Russia and the Baltic Sea, with St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Tallinn that are very familiar to Viking. Visby, Sweden (a delightful stop) and Bornholm, Denmark ( room for improvement on the included tour) were the new ports. It was an excellent cruise. I honestly don't think I would select a first time sailing in a brand new area, in spite of my great satisfaction with Viking ocean and river cruises.
  4. I am only familiar with Viking from one river cruise about five years ago, which we liked very much. Your preference for several options for dining will not be the same as on an ocean cruise. Again, I only know Viking, but there are really only two choices: the restaurant and the Aquavit terrace. The outdoor terrace is a small buffet style with a limited number of lighter fare choices. The restaurant usually had maybe five choices, three of which are the regularly available chicken, steak, and salmon. The other choices often include food local to the region. We had a chance to take a tour of the galley on the ship, and you would be amazed at the quality of the food they produce in such a small space. We love the variety of dining options on Viking Ocean, but are happily returning to Viking river next spring. If things have changed since our first cruise, I look forward to experiencing it next year.
  5. Go to a post by the person to you wish to ignore. Use your curser to hover over the screen name of that person and scroll down to the Ignore User option in the box that appears. I learned this for the exact same reason, and it is the only time I have used the process. Be aware, if someone else quotes the ignored poster, you will still see the comments you are hoping to avoid.
  6. Had that experience on our first Viking cruise on the Danube, back before we knew how many Viking cruisers there are. We had a pleasant conversation with a couple, thinking we were meeting fellow travelers. As it turned out, they were also going to Budapest, but heading in the other direction on the Danube with Viking. It was still a nice encounter, and now it seems we see Viking tags wherever we go!
  7. Sleepybobo, I wish I had know that Alla would let us book the two day tour. I was under the impression that only the three day option was available to our cruise. I'm not sure whether I was mistaken, or whether my Alla contact gave me incorrect information, since we booked over a year in advance. I would have liked the chance to go back to the Hermitage on the third day with Viking. Ah, but then we would have missed the Faberge Museum. Like you, I was disappointed in the subway tour (I know, sounds silly) but the photos I had seen beforehand were more spectacular. Agree completely with your proposed alteration of the Copenhagen itinerary, think that they could limit the Bornholm tour to just one of those villages, and wish our Tallinn tour guide had not let some vocal members of the tour group badger her into waiting for them to go in shops all along the way. Also wish I still had the energy I had in my fifties, but Viking can't fix that! All in all, a great trip, and we also booked the our next trip (ocean) after the next one (river) while on board.
  8. All the information that has been given so far is accurate. Here are a couple more random points. In many locations, Viking provides free shuttle service to a predetermined point for guests. We have often used these, sometimes to remain after a tour, and also to return to the destination after a morning tour. Since we have only cruised with Viking, I can't say for sure, but I have read that the Viking optional tours are more reasonably priced than other cruise lines' excursions. The optional tours often have smaller groups than the included tours. Tour times are usually staggered, so not all passengers descend on a site at the same time. Port times can vary from sailing to sailing, so they are not listed on the website. If you ask for a quote from a Viking agent, they will be printed on your invoice. That's not the most efficient way to get the information, but at least you can find out before booking. On our three cruises, we have used a mix of included and optional tours with great success. Some have been really special, most have be quite satisfactory, and one was disappointing (poor guide). As mentioned earlier, it's important to read descriptions carefully. Most tours involve part bus tours with some part walking. Only once have we used a private tour, in St. Petersburg. That was based on our desire to see as much as possible while there, the excellent reputation of the company, and our fear of being shut out of desired tours. After the fact, I may have eliminated some stops in favor of more time at others, and most of the Viking excursions did not fill up. I could have used Viking after all. But our tour with Alla was excellent, and less expensive than Viking's would have been. For Granada, we would have also sought a private tour if we had not already seen the Alhambra. That tour does sell out, as space is limited, and it is a spectacular sight. In the future, I will continue to use a mix of Viking included and optional excursions, both for the convenience, and our satisfaction with past tours.
  9. Honestly, I don't remember. There was staff there, but don't recall if they were serving or just assisting.
  10. We completed this cruise in the reverse direction in early May. I would agree with most everything you said. Visby was indeed a pleasant surprise, Tallinn lived up to my old world expectations, and we enjoyed our free time on our own in Stockholm at the Nobel Museum. Would have liked to spend more time in Copenhagen after the tour, but that was our first day and we were worn out. Like you, we never have been disappointed by Viking. For the first time, we chose an independent tour rather than Viking for St. Petersburg. We used a company called Alla, and it was an excellent three day tour that hit all the highlights. Our canal tour was also just an hour, so that may be standard, but sadly it rained so hard we couldn't see out of the windows. I also wish there had been more time in the Hermitage, but at least we were there before the opening of the museum so there were no crowds. This was our second cruise with Cruise Director Bevin, and he is a delight! Overall, this was another terrific Viking experience.
  11. We experienced the chocolate feast on one of our Viking cruises, but it was the second one of three, so it is not a regular event. I think Viking is working on adding special events on each cruise, and they may vary. We haven't experienced the brunch buffet that someone mentioned, but we did have the best Mexican themed buffet on our last cruise. I like having something of a surprise to anticipate!
  12. We generally travel in April or October to avoid the heat and the crowds of summer. Along with those perks, we have a fair degree of cloudy skies and rain or showers. Of course, I would rather all sunny days, but I don't let that dampen my enjoyment of the trip. (Sorry for the pun - couldn't help myself!) I do take lots of photos, and love looking at them from time to time, so that can be disappointing when the weather isn't cooperative. To compensate for that, on Flickr where I store my photos, I also keep an album of Favorites. In that album, I collect other people's photos who happened to be at my destinations on the perfect sunny day, or just at sunrise, or sunset. That way I can admire their photographic skill and good fortune, and still have my own first hand experiences to recall.
  13. James Stourton, a British art historian and a former Chairman of Sotheby’s UK, is my personal favorite. His talks on his time at Sotheby's and the Great Houses of London were presented with such wit and charm that they were a highlight of our first Viking Ocean cruise. He happened to be on our shore excursion to Olympia, and his company was a pleasure! I don't know how often these individuals repeat their roles on multiple cruises, but I will certainly watch for some of the speakers named here.
  14. I have just marked my first "Ignore User". Thanks for the advice. I do think I will not miss the posts by this particular individual, and it will make the website more enjoyable for me.
  15. We loose our Comcast signal here at home on a regular basis, and I am pretty sure our house doesn't move at all. Wireless service can be spotty anywhere.
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