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Everything posted by Lotusgirl22

  1. I am impressed with the temporary exception, especially as compared with what other tour operators are doing (or their silence). It is decisive and allows passengers to make decisions about imminent travel.
  2. You can also walk up the bell tower (there is an admission charge). It is quite interesting.
  3. We did both the express Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon, but on different days on our pre-cruise extension before boarding. Once on the ship, Viking had a shuttle from the ship to downtown, which was quick. We did the South Coast tour the day after boarding the ship. I thought we had plenty of time at the Blue Lagoon, even time for a cup of coffee after enjoying the facilities. We did not need to bring a towel, as they were provided at the Lagoon. Check the BL website to ensure that is still the program.
  4. We have been there twice and done both of those hikes, and really enjoyed them. We had good weather both times, but there were still some muddy areas. I strongly recommend sturdy shoes.
  5. We went to the Blue Lagoon last June while on a pre-cruise extension in Reykjavik. I loved it. After reading up on what to expect, which I encourage you to do, I was worried about my hair and contact lenses. I just put my hair up and did not get it wet and wore the contact lenses and did not put the silica on my face. No problems! You will definitely want to shower afterwards. You did not indicate what month you are traveling. In June, it was light very late. I believe the hours of the Blue Lagoon are extended during certain months, if you want to go later. I do not know if you could fit it in with your plans, but we took an express Golden Circle Tour with a company called Extreme Iceland. Rather than leaving early in the morning like most of the tours, we were picked up at our hotel at around 11:45 a.m. and returned at around 6:30 p.m., small group in a van, and nothing seemed overly crowded. Very enjoyable.
  6. Olden was an unexpected port for us last June when we missed a different port because of weather. Because we had visited Briksdal glacier quite a few years ago, we chose a ship excursion which visited a National Park visitor center, traveled by bus along a beautiful lake, waterfalls and mountains to Kjenndalen glacier and then went up the Loen sky lift. It was a gorgeous day - we skipped the coffee and sweet that was included and walked around to enjoy the views and the para-gliders jumping off. This excursion was quite pricey, but we were happy with it. It was not crowded. We could have arranged something when we came ashore.
  7. Hi, bobcatcruiser - thought I would take a shot at responding to your questions, as we took the Iceland/Norway cruise last year in June, and it was our first Viking Ocean cruise. Some background - we are in our early 60s and very active. We have cruised a lot, mostly some years ago, as we have been focusing on active land journeys. Also, as the cruise ships got bigger and the nickeling and diming commenced, we did not enjoy cruising as much as we once did. We chose this Viking cruise because we really wanted to go to Iceland and a return to Norway was a bonus, and because the size of the Viking ships and the all inclusive pricing were of interest. We loved the cruise and the ship. It was like cruising was 30 years ago (pre-megaships), but updated with wifi, etc. The itinerary was great for us - we did the Iceland pre-cruise package, so were able to see a lot of the Reyjavik/South Coast area. We did a combination of optional and included excursions, and our own thing. We like to hike, and I researched the ports and we were able to get some very good hikes in, on our own. We would not have been satisfied with only the included excursions because most of them are quite sedentary. I will add that the weather was very good and we met some very nice and interesting folks on the trip. As noted by others, the demographic skews older on Viking, so you would be younger than the majority, but for this itinerary most (but not all) passengers were fairly active. In the old days, we were the "kids" on a lot of cruises, and it was fine. We did our own thing. I have always thought that the entertainment on cruise ships is just ok, and that was my view with Viking as to the evening shows. We did enjoy the live music in the lounge areas. I thought the food on Viking was very good - definitely better than Royal, Princess, Holland, Celebrity, Windstar. We did not take advantage of any of the lectures, as we were enjoying the sunny evenings. So, it depends on what you and your fiancé are interested in. As someone else suggested, I recommend that you read through this forum. If you like the action of the large cruise ships, you may not be satisfied with Viking. I was really happy with the Iceland/Norway cruise with Viking, but to be honest, I would not choose to travel on the Anthem, the Grand Princess or with MSC, as the ships have gotten too big for us.
  8. You can purchase tickets for the Mt Floyen funicular in advance online. We did that last year. You can then bypass the ticket purchase line. We went up in the afternoon and spent quite some time hiking and then hiked down. (When purchasing, you can choose to purchase round trip or one way). Obviously, you do need to make your way to the funicular area. We were fortunate in that we had beautiful weather, which is not always the case in Bergen.
  9. And a nice write-up in this morning's Chicago Tribune summarizing those plans, with particular focus on the Great Lakes cruises.
  10. The Golden Circle tours include three main sights: a spectacular waterfall, a National Park and a geyser. Just Google a few of the tours, and you will get a good idea of what to expect.
  11. We took this trip last June, and chose the direction, Reykjavik to Bergen, based upon where we wanted to spend extra time. Both ports present flight limitations. We had previously been to both Oslo and Bergen, so spent a couple of extra days in Reykjavik before the cruise. We took the Icelandair direct flight from Chicago. The flight itself was fine. We ate a nice dinner at the airport before boarding. The seating in economy is probably the most uncomfortable I have ever experienced, but it was tolerable, as the flight was about 6 1/2 hours. The seats have zero padding, so I sat on the folded blanket that was provided. It helped - if I was to do it again, I would investigate the blow up seat cushions that I have seen others use. Originally, when given our return flight arrangements from Bergen, there was only a 45 minute layover in Reykjavik. I had our TA move us to the later Reykjavik flight, supposedly a 4 hour layover. This was a good move, as our flight from Bergen to Reykjavik was about one hour late. We would have missed the earlier flight. This caused a lot of angst for fellow Viking travelers, as they were concerned about missing various flights, and they did not all have the option of a second flight out of Reykjavik. I do not know whether they made their flights. Our flight from Reykjavik to Chicago was much more comfortable than our flight inbound, as we were in business class.
  12. We have used the e-check process twice. We avoided the concerns about disclosure of private banking information because our travel agent processed the payment from their account. We simply wrote the agency a check. I do not know if all TAs would do this - we have worked with them for 30 years.
  13. I do not know if still available post-hurricane, but on two occasions we stored our luggage at a restaurant in Old San Juan called Barrachini (or something like that - check the CC San Juan boards and the web). No need to eat there, but it looks nice. We tipped the young man. Took a taxi there, but were not docked downtown, where Viking docks I believe. Easy to kill time with a nice walk, lunch, etc, and cabs readily available down the block.
  14. This was unfortunate. It is a strong reminder to everyone that cruise line sales agents may not be knowledgeable about visas, etc. Even with a competent and trusted travel agent, it is prudent to double check all arrangements and requirements.
  15. On our recent cruise aboard the Sky, in addition to the delicious restaurant lobster dinner, their was a wonderful surf and turf buffet out by the pool one evening. This was in June on the Iceland/Norway cruise.
  16. HBC - were you satisfied with the activity level of the trip. Was it too sedentary? Thank you for your posts. Much appreciated.
  17. I am bumping up this thread in response to a question on the road call - asking for feedback on the tours on this cruise.
  18. I agree that, weather permitting, train station to port was walkable with carryon bags. While it can be done, I would not be keen to drag large suitcases that distance.
  19. We happened to be in the cabin at the start of our recent cruise when the "candy man" came by. We spoke to him about our preference for diet coke and diet sprite, and the non-diet cans were replaced and we had the correct soda for the rest of the cruise (we were in a DV cabin). Really enjoyed the peanuts and candy - brought them ashore for pick-me-ups.
  20. HBC - thank you for your ongoing review. It is very helpful. I have noticed that the dinner menu often includes an Indian entree. While I see that you and your Mother have not chosen it, I am wondering whether you have heard any feedback from other passengers on those entrees. Also, one of your posts addressed a concern that I have. Are you satisfied with the pace of the tours or do find them too slow and or sedentary? Thank you for your input.
  21. Glad to be of help. It was a wonderful trip.
  22. Embarkation day from the Grand Hotel went very well. They had staggered times from about 11:45 - 12:30ish (maybe later) to leave on buses. The times were posted on the Viking table in the lobby and the table was often manned for questions, and I think to help with tours (although we did not talk to them about that). Pay attention to the messages at the table and ask questions, as the personnel, like many of the locals, were very laid back - but very helpful when you spoke to them. (The same goes for the Blue Lagoon arrangements. One woman complained about not knowing about the departure time, but it had been posted at the Viking desk since the previous evening and I also specifically inquired - it was not on the generic summary itinerary that we were given upon arrival). We simply brought our luggage downstairs to the lobby at around 11:00, when we settled our bill at the front desk, and then went back up to our room for awhile. There was a lot of luggage already sitting there. They just loaded it on the buses that transported guests to the ship - you did not wait for your luggage - it just went on the various buses. If you choose to do a tour that day, I am sure that you can leave your luggage in the lobby to be transported to the ship without worry. I would just speak to the Viking reps about the logistics. We went on a bus that left around 12:15. The drive to the ship is very short. We had to wait about 5 minutes at the port because the authorities allow only one bus to pull into the fenced area. Check-in for boarding was very fast.
  23. We stayed at the Grand Hotel with the Viking pre-cruise extension and were very satisfied. Check-in upon early arrival, comfortable room, nice buffet breakfast. We liked the walk to the city center, but the hotel also has a shuttle to the city center (you are on your own for the return). The Grand Hotel also had a nice happy hour. In addition, I picked up a coupon book at the hotel which included restaurant discounts, as well as two for one cocktails at a few local establishments. We enjoyed a couple of beers at an outside table with mostly locals on a beautiful, sunny day.
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