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Posts posted by LibertyBella

  1. We are not cruising her until next Summer (Rome to Barcelona in August), but I was so happy to have two sea days just to enjoy the beauty of the ship.


    Have a fantastic cruise!

    • Like 1
  2. Hello to Jazzbeau and All-


    Well, my husband knows I am researching a Nile River cruise in between all our other travel adventures, and he found information about this ship and showed it to me--the original steamboat Agatha Christie sailed on that inspired her to write the novel Death on the Nile, the PS Sudan.




    The ship is quite old and small, and may lack many of the modern conveniences, but of course it is a historical treasure.  I probably will NOT book a cruise on her, because we like swimming pools, but she is quite lovely to see.


    There are many YouTube videos available to watch about the boat, and each cabin is unique with a special name.  The kings and queens of Egypt used to sail on her, so you will be following in the footsteps of royalty if you reserve!  Bon voyage!



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  3. I love your report and your attitude!  I always say travel is an adventure, and you had a few--great memories. 


    We sailed QM2 last year, and yes, she is a beautiful ship. We are booked on QV next Summer, but could never do a two month vacation, as we have many pets--cats, dogs, and birds,--so I am a bit envious of your long and wonderful voyages.  


    Thank you for sharing!

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  4. I thought about these three-location tours, but finally decided it was just too hectic to squeeze in all of them. I would just choose Sorrento or Positano with Pompeii.  Pompeii is hot and exhausting, but definitely a highlight site to visit and explore.  You can view photos online of the two other cities and see which one appeals to you most.  You will definitely want a lunch break.  There is a lot of traffic in the area, so that can be a challenge if you are in a motor vehicle.


    Capri is harder to get to because you must use water transportation and that will eat up time.  Many folks do not want to leave once they get there, ha-ha. Most people recommend spending the whole day there.


    Finally, in my my most recent excursion (three weeks ago!) we took a boat from Salerno and actually went to Amalfi first, so we had a wonderful view of all the towns on the water. Afterwards we had a relaxing lunch, and then spent the afternoon at Pompeii (this was a Princess excursion).  Our large bus was very comfortable and air-conditioned!

  5. I am not in a hurry to sail on VV, and perhaps may never use them in my lifetime.  But after fifty years of cruising on more than 11 different lines, I pay absolutely NO attention to bloggers, social media, etc., etc.  Been there, done all that.  I was even a professional travel agent for a stint, back when training was impeccable, and fam trips were great and cost peanuts.  I sailed on the original Pacific Princess, the Love Boat, on the Mexican Riviera in the early 1980's, with wild Acapulco as one of our stops.


    Yes, VV comes across as hip, and cool (hammocks), and party-hardy--all inclusive, no kids--sounds like the Carnival Cruise line and Club Med hotels in the 1980's. But all a sudden all the swinging singles became parents, and were willing to spend a bit to take their children on great vacations--so RC ships became playgrounds, and Disney Cruises were invented.  Cruising is constantly changing, but one format or style is not necessarily any better or worse than another--it is just what people prefer at the moment, given their lifestyles!!


    No need to badmouth Princess for the lack of extras--if drinking and eating are your reason for cruising, then find the line that best suits your style.  However, we cruise Princess for the phenomenal itineraries--Alaska, Baltic, Mediterranean--yes, Celebrity rivals them, Holland America is similar but the cruises are much longer, and the smaller ships also hit a lot of ports but cost quite a bit more.  Loyalty premiums?  I have used four different cruise lines that completely went out of business, the same as did so many wonderful airlines, so as decades pass, the concept becomes meaningless. Maybe when the VV cruisers get a bit more sedate, they will switch to Viking--very similar in concept.


    I find it quite amusing to read complaining reviews across all cruise lines, because travel is always an adventure, and you have to learn to go with the flow and enjoy. 


    I always say I am loyal to cruising, because being on the water and arriving in an exotic port is a fascinating experience (we just sailed into Istanbul a few weeks ago--always gorgeous!). Bon voyage to all!



  6. Gosh, I am so sorry that you are missing all these days of your cruise.  I was on EP for the mid-July Med. cruise, and I enjoyed every port, although it was scorching hot, and we were non-stop touring.


    Your Istanbul photos from your room are lovely--better than I took on land standing right in front of the mosques.  Your food photos also look so yummy.


    At least you are feeling better.  You will just have to return to cruise this area again.  I have been home only a few weeks, and I already booked a cruise in the Med for next year--just going to a few different ports, and a different ship.


    Enjoy the rest of your cruise vacation!



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  7. Well, Rome cruises leave out of Civitavecchia, so the "marketing" is not going to change any time soon.


    Yes, the citizens of Venice finally and firmly declined the large cruise ships continued access to their delicate and historical canal waterways.


    It is impossible to see this lovely city in a day, anyway.  I would fly in at least three days early to spend some real time sightseeing in Venice, and then head to Ravenna to board the ship.


    The only time I receive free transfers is if I use cruise ship hotels for advance stays, or cruise air and fly in on the day of boarding.  Otherwise, everything is out of my pocket.


    Oh well, at least you have a month's advance notice.  When Royal Caribbean made this change, they did not notify everyone, and some people had already arrived in Italy at the Venice port and did not know where to go!  They actually had to take a taxi last minute to get to the other city (hundreds of dollars.) Very sad stories.  


    Have a great cruise!

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  8. Do you dress for others or dress for yourself? I love formal dressing! Husband and I just returned from EP the end of July, and he took a lovely dark suit to wear for both formal nights.  He changes his shirt and tie so the outfit looks a bit different in each of the photos.  He wore a sport coat a few times the other nights, but he thinks he did not need it as much as on other cruise lines or locations (it was scorching hot in Italy and Greece.). 


    I always take two long gowns for formal nights, and we pose for all the photos.  He has to look proper and match me!  On Cunard cruises he always takes and wears a tuxedo. We have a great photo collection. We are never able to do carry-on as I like a different outfit every evening.


    One reason I was a bit disappointed with Viking is many fellow passengers dressed like slobs, all times of the day.  We saw no men in shorts on EP formal nights. My next cruise is back on Cunard!

  9. Well, I was in Egypt a long time ago when I was much, much younger, and yes, drank the local water and became ill, but that was just the way it went.  We took the trains everywhere, and explored the country from north to south for weeks, in the heat of the Summer. We stayed in non- air-conditioned cheap hotels, and had to stand in the shower just to catch our breath sometimes. Oh, those youthful poverty travel adventures are nice to remember, but do not need to be repeated.


    It has always been my dream to return to Egypt, and most definitely include a river cruise component (pure luxury), because Agatha Christie made cruising on the Nile a MUST!! 


    I have been researching different lines for a while (hey, I really like that Uniworld fancy decor--you might have convinced me!), but I also want to go when there is a bit of heat, because I do like the sun, and some cruise ships were just avoiding Egypt in the Summer. I also am considering a week long cruise, because I do not want to pack and unpack too often, and I want a bit of elegance.


    I read a review of some folks on the Egypt Tauck tour/short cruise, and they said they wore jeans most of the time.  No, not for me, I want to change for dinner!


    I just booked an Israel land tour for next July, and we were just cruising in Greece two weeks ago and it was scorching, so I if I have air-conditioning in my hotel or on my ship, I can handle a few hours of intense sun excursions almost anywhere.  We may aim for 2026 as well, because I am hopefully planning for India for 2025 (land tour).   Still waiting to do my China river cruise, cancelled due to Covid.


    The planning is always great fun--enjoy!!


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  10. Well, just for the fun of it (yes, it is fun for me to read reviews), I did skim a number of the reviews.  I notice this is the Tripadvisor UK site, but nobody knows why Viking cruises is listed under France.  


    IMO all of these reviews are genuine, but it does seem many of the travelers do not have a full understanding of the river cruising experience, even if they have sailed with Viking before, and they seem to have unmet expectations. 


    Many appeared to be hoping for some kind of ideal cruise experience that would be memorable for all time, and were disappointed that their vision was not achieved. Viking did respond to many of the reviews, both good and bad.


    Yes, like the OP, several were upset with vouchers, but that is a complex issue created by Covid that everybody had to deal with everywhere, so my advice is ALWAYS take the refund first (which is what I did for my other cruises and flights.)


    Yes, my mother and I had Viking vouchers, and DH and I used ours, but she decided she no longer wished to travel, so we signed her voucher over to my brother in a timely fashion so he could use it.  If you DO accept a voucher, learn and understand the voucher rules!!


    Well, my "free" air was not the best, and of course Viking was trying to save money, but I made it on time to my river cruise, and we had a great experience on board (and yes, I checked all the river water levels well in advance of booking!). 


    I think the lesson for all is that travel is an adventure, and if everything turns our perfectly, you are very lucky.  But if not, just go with the flow, and make some unique memories. And if you do not like the hotels or the airlines Viking uses, then just make your own independent arrangements (then you can only blame yourself if the choices are not up to your standard.).

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  11. Individual staff should never be seen as an overall representation of a company, although too often that sadly happens. I just booked QV for next year, sailed QM2 last year, and multiple voyages on QE2.  I find Cunard staff a bit more formal and reserved as compared to the other ten cruise lines I have sailed, but we like that style as well.  


    I find that no matter which cruise I am on, it takes staff a few days to "learn our style."  A bit of training may be required--reminding them nicely, stating our preferences, asking questions, etc. Communication is key!


    Rudeness is never acceptable, neither from passengers, nor especially from staff.  

    I am not sure why the maitre d' responded to you in such a silly way, but perhaps he was having a stressful evening.


    If you have a real problem with a staff person, you should politely and gently try to correct them. If that does not work, then perhaps a discussion with a superior.  Worst case scenario--ask for a new waiter, dining room, etc. 


    P.S. There are always lots of window seats available for breakfast and lunch on port days when everybody is out on excursions!  At night, in the dark, there is nothing to be seen anyway.

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  12. A group is only a group once they arrive at the destination.  I have done "group" cruises traveling with family, and we are spread out all over, so we never fly together.  Once we get on the ship and meet up, then our group is complete.  Many of those family cruises were on NCL (Hawaii, Europe, Caribbean), because it is great cruise line for all ages, and casual, and economical.


    Once I took a different  group cruise and we all (45) rode on the bus together, and then boarded the ship together. Yes, I was the group leader, and it is not easy trying to keep everybody happy, so perhaps you are trying to shift blame to NCL so people do not hold you responsible for uncomfortable experiences.  


    In the scheme of life, five hour layovers are nothing.  I had Viking free air in March, and I would have rather had a five hour layover and two connections versus the three country/three connections schedule I ended up with!


    Nobody here is going to stop cruising NCL because of one bad airfare experience, and I am not sure why you are so adamant.  Of course, you also live in Canada, and your flights are not as frequent or numerous as ours are here in the USA.  Nobody believes NCL is heartless--you are just bringing too much emotion and drama to the adventure and challenge of travel in today's world.


    BTW, I've been cruising for fifty years, and I remember when everything was much more complicated, so if you really want everything to be perfect, go online, review everything carefully, and then book your own air (still no guarantees)!

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  13. Well, I was in Iceland last Thanksgiving for multiple days (not a cruise), and I had a great time. We went mainly to see the Northern Lights, but it was not our first trip to the country.


    The Blue Lagoon is not really a part of a Golden Circle trip--one can sit in the water there and relax for hours.  It is like a spa experience--very steamy, water is not deep enough to swim in, just wade, full service bar, facial masks, etc.  Yes, it is worth doing just to enjoy in between tours, but a bit pricey.


    The Golden Circle usually includes the geysers, the waterfall, and Thingvellir, both a historic and a geological wonder. Sometimes they add the tomato greenhouse as well.  It is a full day of touring, and requires a bit of walking.  However, your weather should be nice, not chilly, or icy, or dark, like it was for us last Fall.

  14. We had a similar tethered balloon ride at our zoo, and although I wanted to go up in it, one day while I was working, my entire family went up in it without me (even though it was MY idea!).


    So for revenge I booked a trip out west in New Mexico and went on a REAL balloon ride, soaring over the landscape for miles, learning how the balloon inflates and deflates, stepping in and out of the basket, having a chase car follow us when we landed, etc., etc.  After experiencing this marvelous adventure, I can say that the very short tethered experience is just a baby ride.

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  15. I just got off my Princess cruise (Enchanted in the Med) and I am a long-time cruiser who prefers the same time/same table/waiter every night. We rarely use specialty dining, especially when we are on an extremely port-intensive cruise. 


    As soon as I saw that Princess has now gone to DMW, I researched the dining rooms and reserved the largest DR for the same time every night (7:00 PM).  I was able to do this online a few months in advance, without downloading the app or waiting for the medallion.


    The first night with our reservation (we waited in the confirmed reservation line), I told the young lady we wanted the same table every night for the rest of the cruise.  Yes, she arranged this for us, and thereafter we NEVER had to wait in line, were told, "Your table is ready," and walked right in immediately to our same table, reserved just for us.  Our waiters knew us well, brought us our drinks immediately, learned our preferences, etc., etc. 


    Too many times I saw people standing and waiting (and waiting) because every thing was full, or busy.  DMW can be chaos if you wait to do anything until you board the ship. Reserve your dining room and time in advance, and then get your table and waiter when you board. Everything went well for us.  Have a great cruise!

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  16. I will say that Cunard is just not for everybody, and that sometimes may be especially so for those who travel with children, who may not necessarily receive the casual family cruise they may be seeking. Forgoing the dress-up experience of formal nights almost defeats the purpose of sailing on the elegant and traditional Cunard Queens.  


    The complaints seem to all be focused on buffet food and ice cream--did they never sit down in the dining room?  As to wi-fi, we never use it--we prefer to attend lectures about architecture, or try to get seats for a planetarium show, or go off on an amazing shore excursion.


    I just booked the QV for next Summer, but I am always ready to sail on the QM2!

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  17. It sounds like you had a great time--thank you for sharing!


    Just booked QV for next Summer,  August 2024 for a Med cruise. Yes, we are on deck seven (smile)! We are certainly looking forward to a wonderful cruise, and we are eager to see how the decor differs from the QM2, as we just love the QM2.  

  18. I get all the Viking brochures, which I enjoy looking through.

    However, I only get emails from them every once in a while.

    I receive emails from other cruise lines sometimes every day!

    My favorite brochures are Cunard--quite artistic in their publication style.

    Every once in a while I would get a magnet from a cruise line, or some other kind of marketing gimmick.

    Thank goodness nobody texts me (yet)!!


  19. You do not HAVE to wait for the 45 day cut-off to have your air ticketed.  You can ask for it to be ticketed immediately, and then go online with the airline to attempt the upgrade.  I had my EZ Air tickets confirmed when I made my final payment.


    I  do have to say UA gave me the full mileage amount for using EZAir, but AA gave me fewer miles.  That may be because AA is now looking at ticket cost, not just miles traveled.  


  20. I just booked the Queen Victoria out of Rome for next August, and I shudder as I think about the airfare, because I know how few and far between cheap European air fares have been lately.


    So, my brother flew out of Toronto to Rome a few years ago to save money (he lives in Pgh., PA), however he had his whole family, but for us to drive up there and park the car is just WAY too much of a hassle.


    In March we cruised on Viking and used their air,  and they put us on a three connection return with three different countries--including Canada.  The aggravation of going from airport to airport just gets on one's nerves.


    Lastly, we just returned from a Princess cruise flying home from Athens--I used Princess Air but I chose and I booked the flights.  Yes, I splurged on the non-stop and it was heaven--and the cost was less than if I booked it myself directly with the airlines, and I was able to choose my seats immediately because I am also a FF on the airlines I used. 


    Final caveat--a few years ago we flew to Europe on FF miles, and on the way home we had a connection--of course the first leg's airline's pilots decided to go on a walkout systemwide, and we were left hanging in Venice, trying to get to London. Nobody would help us get on another flight due to the FF miles rules.  So we had to BUY a flight to London (via Amsterdam); thank goodness travel insurance reimbursed us (But my luggage was lost for a few days). 


    Now I try to avoid ALL connections, no matter how cheap, and I prefer not to use my FF miles for international travel as sometimes the risk outweighs the reward.

    • Like 1
  21. There is a very similar discussion on the Viking Ocean thread and I commented there as well.  And yes, in my opinion (not really, this is a fact), the sales DO exist, because I am receiving offers ALL THE TIME from everybody.  But one has to be flexible, not plan too far in advance, and not be set on a particular ship, date, or itinerary.  It also helps to check pricing regularly, and be on all the email lists.


    Yes, people are paying the full prices (including me), but we are choosing to do so because we want something specific (I  planned my recent cruise two years in advance).  And if people pay, why should the cruise lines reduce prices?  But they will, just to fill ships.  


    One of the bigger challenges these days is then finding reasonable airfare to get to the cruise.  However, you can always search cruises in driving distance from home.  Best wishes!

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  22. Oh well, I am a jewelry lover and I have to look in every store on the ships.  Since I know a lot about diamond quality, precious stones, and settings, prices, and designers, I am probably not the best customer for the stores.  


    I have a great Effy collection, bought many years ago from diverse locations, including the Nassau store.  I bought a few fantastic  pieces when Lord & Taylor went out of business, and sold everything 85% off.


    Nowadays Effy jewelry uses a LOT of single cut diamonds, and the gold weight has decreased significantly.  They also treat a lot of their precious stones.  I would not even bother getting most of that jewelry appraised--buy it because you like it and you want to wear it, not because you think it is any kind of investment.


    The Cunard QM2 has a Roberto Coin store! But I can buy Roberto Coin at Saks, or Bloomies, or NM, and get a discount (sales a few times a year), and get award points on my store credit card.


    I have never bought anything from DI (overpriced, but pretty).  I bought a small Colombian emerald necklace from Emeralds International when they used to exist (great green stone)!


    I also think Tiffany's is overpriced, especially the silver (just paying for the name).  The best bargains used to be in the diamond districts here in Philly or NYC. 


    Finally,  I have also lost stones set in channel settings--perhaps they were not shaped and placed well, or you bumped the ring and loosened the  diamonds. I usually prefer thick, strong multiple prongs or bezels for security. 


    Nowadays I mainly window shop, but I will always be a jewelry lover (and every once in a while, shopper.)


    I am so sorry your special purchase was disappointing!

  23. I have noticed that in this past year or so of cruising,  the starting prices for new cruises are coming in extremely high for almost all lines. It seems that they are asking the absolute greatest amount for itineraries as they are introduced for sale.


    If a person is absolutely set on a certain date or a certain itinerary, then one is more or less "stuck" paying the price.  Yes, I bit the bullet and had to do this with my recent Mediterranean cruise, which I thought had the perfect itinerary, and I booked two years in advance.  The cruise was very, very popular, and the price never went down.


    As my cruise grew closer, I was getting email blasts from other cruise lines with RIDICULOUSLY cheap last minute (less than three months) offers for Mediterranean cruises.  Viking also sent a similar email to me for more exotic locations for cruises with low bookings. Of course, we all know Viking wants all the money upfront much sooner than other cruise lines.


    Well, I have my bucket list cruises finished for the next few years, so now I can focus a bit more just cruising for pleasure.  I have decided that I am going to be flexible, and just wait until about a half year or less in advance to book, and perhaps take advantage of those great last-minute offers. Yes, I am sure they will be there in the future again. 

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  24. I am so sorry to read your post.  I still travel with valuable jewelry, but it becomes less and less each time. Yes, we dress up a lot for formal nights and take many photos, so I like to wear my jewelry with my special outfits.


    I put my jewelry inside a little case, and it fits in my purse. I keep my jewelry with me every moment until I arrive at the ship or hotel room with a safe.  However, this past cruise I almost lost my small jewelry case in a taxi when I was taking out money. Luckily my husband saw the case and grabbed it for me.  So, sometimes we are just not focused on security all the time, and we get distracted.


    My question is, do you 100% remember packing the jewelry in the checked bag? 


    Could you have misplaced the case somewhere in your home before leaving? 


    Well, we ALWAYS lock our suitcases with the TSA locks no matter what or where--often in the hotel and on the cruise ship as well, if we purchase a lot of souvenirs and we want to keep them secure.


    My past two cruises I have actually taken my formal dresses (rolled, in a heavy duty bag) in my carry-on bag because they are so pretty, and one quite costly, so I did not trust them in the suitcase. 


    I would follow up/fill out reports with as many places as possible about your loss.  Perhaps the case was found, but lacking identification, no one knew to whom it belonged. Sadly, theft is not uncommon in the times in which we live.  There are other various reports of stolen luggage from different cruise lines here on Cruise Critic. Take care.

  25. Gosh, what memories this brings back--I was in Mycenae and Delphi forty years ago--and just revisited Delphi last week!  Yes, it was scorchingly hot--and on our way home we saw plumes of smoke and wildfires very close to the highway! The sites were all opening extra early and closing mid-day due to the excessive heat. (If we would travel there with snow, my husband would want to head straight to the slopes!)


    But, I just had to get to the Delphi museum to get my photo with the Naxos sphinx.  She is a sublime feline, and I just love animals.  Of course, there is something so wonderful about being in the "navel" of the world in the mountains, just waiting for a sacred message from the Oracle.  Nada.  Oh, well, I will just keep traveling.


    P.S.  My father wanted to name me Clytemnestra, but the Church would not allow it...

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