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Clay Clayton

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About Clay Clayton

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Traveling the World
  • Interests
    Cooking, Reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, Viking Oceans, Celebrity, NOT Costa
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    hmmm, only one?
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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  1. *can’t advise someday I will learn to proof better!
  2. We have embarked from San Juan twice (Transatlantics in 2018 and 2019). In 2018 the ship was docked at the pier across from the Sheraton. However, in 2019, due to Pier Construction we boarded at the Pan American Pier which is across the canal/bay from Old San Juan. We weren’t informed of this change in Pier until a week or two prior to our cruise. Unfortunately due to our late arrival the night before, we didn’t head to the ship until 10:30 am so I can advise if you can drop your bags earlier. But did want to make you aware that your docking location is never guaranteed until you see the ship tied up. Have a great cruise!
  3. We were on a different cruise but we were also docked in Hong Kong at the terminal CruiseWonderland referenced. The included tour there gave us a good overview. We were bussed to the Peak Tram-the funicular that takes you up to Victoria Peak. Up too the guide gave us an overview of the City and we had some (short) free time to wander and see the views. The bus met us up there and we drove downhill. There were other groups who were driven up to the Peak and then rode the funicular down. Viking (or the local agency) seemed to have this well organized. While everywhere was crowded, it was much better than if all 930 of us arrived almost at the same time. Our next stop was Aberdeen where we boarded fake motorized “junks” for a quick ride around this harbor including a drive by of the Jumbo (Jeez it is huge) Floating Restaurant. From there we headed (back on the bus) towards Stanley. The guide pointed out sights among the way-Cricket Fields being the one I remember the most. The main reason for visiting Stanley was to shop in the relatively compact market. Since this was our last port, it was great for us to pick up a gift or two for family. Since it was mostly a clothing and gift market (and not food) it held little interest for us but there was a nice waterside promenade at one end of the market which we enjoyed. From there we went back to the ship. The worst part of the tour was the amount of time we spent in traffic getting from place to place. Hong Kong is big and crowded. I suspect one could do a similar tour using public transportation but since we were at the end of a month long mostly DIY Asia trip we were just fine to let Viking handle it and go where they told us to go. LOL Hong Kong does a sound and light show with their skyscrapers and that evening Viking did a nice job of setting up the upper outside decks for us to enjoy the show-passed sparkling wine, piped in the music, etc. The show was a great way to end our trip BUT if you have been to Shanghai, theirs is a more impressive light show. Other cruisers aboard who had been to Hong Kong before went to Macau rather than taking the included tour. Most said it was “meh” I Seem to recall that most regretted paying Viking for the excursion and seem to think they would have done better to take a cab or other transport on their own. I know many crewmembers went to Disneyland and seemed to really enjoy that. Our air home was booked through Viking so we were taken to the hotel attached to the airport the next day after a late breakfast aboard (grilled lamb chops please!). For those whose flights were scheduled to depart before 6 pm, a hotel conference room with banquet type tables and chairs was available along with coffee, tea and cookies (biscuits). I know some of those folks were not happy with the situation and would have preferred to have a later bus to the airport. The room was a little tight for the number of people and I think they expected that the promised refreshments would be more like meals. For those like us who had late evening flights (ours left at 23:30), a hotel room was assigned. This was great for us. We walked over to the airport (10 min) and had some great noodles at one of the many restaurants located landslide. We then came back and took a nap, trying to make sure we didn’t want/need to sleep on the 12 hour flight to Seattle. After a shower we headed back to the airport and boarded our flight. We were scheduled to arrive in Seattle at 9 pm so by not sleeping on the overnight flight, we were more than ready to climb in bed upon arrival. We experienced no jet lag and our body clocks were reset almost immediately. I am envious of “your” cruise. This was our first time in Asia. Hopefully it won’t be our last.
  4. I don’t know that I have ever seen rust stains at the anchor openings while onboard a Viking ship. I guess Extra painters are part of the reduced crew aboard.
  5. Yikes! Only 2 billon left.
  6. FWIW & YMMV, but I have an email from Viking confirming that if I cancel, then We would loose the vouchers we were given to make up for the three days we lost when our Transatlantic turned around due to Lady Corona 😢. But the same email confirms that if Viking cancels that the voucher would go back into our account. So while we hope to use it for a cruise this March, we haven’t booked it yet in case we end up not feeling like we are ready to be out in a Petri dish by then. If I was you I would get something in writing regarding the voucher.
  7. We were on Celebrity so different itinerary than Viking I think. We enjoyed the cruise very much. As long as you don’t mind multiple sea days it’s great! We ported in Ketchikan, Otaru, Hakodate, and an overnight in Yokohama. It was our first time in Asia and we loved Japan. (But then we surprisedly liked our time in China too ) We spent one extra day in Tokyo and then three? in Kyoto. If we had it to do over, would probably have stayed in Yokohama rather than Tokyo-slightly less expensive and easier to understand the lay of the land. We wanted to go to the Cup o’Noodles Museum and make our own but ran out of time...or energy actually. Also, more time in Kyoto would have been great as would Hiroshima. We did a day trip there while in Kyoto. If you get to Japan, be sure and try to schedule “Goodwill” guides. These are volunteers who love showing tourists around and are free! You are expected to pay for their transportation, any meals, and any admissions. Six of us had a lovely guide for a full day in Tokyo and it cost us each $8. She got to practice her English and we got a very personalized tour and had the opportunity to connect directly with a local. The two of us did the same thing in Hiroshima and while it was more per person, I think it cost us a total of $70 for our admissions & trams (he had an annual pass for both) and lunch for all three, it was still a great deal and we feel like we learned more than we would have with a bus group.
  8. No idea. We were just on a road trip. No cruise involved. Well...once we got to the west coast we cruised to Japan (on X) leaving Vancouver in Early September.
  9. Yes, the first picture is from Jasper. The second is from YoHo. We went in the summer (not our first choice either but) and many of the waterfalls were not at their most beautiful as all the snow has melted. I would love to go in spring when the snow is melting. I would suggest doing some research on the Average temperatures and such. Happy to share any tips though not sure I have any. You might want to first check our blog from August 2019 and then send me an email to BigNCBear@aol.com with any questions. Here is a link to the post I did after we left friends near Glacier National Park and were headed to Calgary and our 10 day or so trek through the Canadian Rockies. https://cruisinwithclay.com/2019/08/24/to-calgary/
  10. Yep! Also trains up to Denali fromAnchoage. More info here: https://www.alaskatravel.com/alaska-railroad/?_Cart=a09298d4dd024988 But the fare from Seward to Anchorage is not cheap especially if you want to be in the Dome cars. That’s probably one reason the three of us traveling together rented the car instead! LOL
  11. Can’t answer your question but did want to suggest looking at renting a car and driving yourself to Anchorage. The drive is beautiful. It is inky like 120 miles but it took us all day since we were stopping so often to enjoy the beautiful scenery. As I recall (this info is over 10 years old), Hertz didn’t charge a drop off fee. We were doing the opposite so picked up the car at the airport, had a couple of days using Anchorage for our home base visited Denali and Talkeetna (landed on the glacier from there) and then drove to Seward. Friends took the train (which I suspect is what Viking uses) and while they enjoyed it and did see some sights we didn’t, I think we had a better trip down to Seward. Hertz was located near the cruise port so we were able to drop off our luggage and then the car and walk back to the ship.
  12. If you can get to Jasper do it. And drive the Icefields parkway south towards Banff. IMHO much more beautiful scenery (and less crowded) than Banff. See first picture below. if you can, try to also go into YoHo National Park. It’s the contiguous park yo Banff and Jasper that is located in British Columbia (under an hour drive from Banff). Takkahawk Fall there is AMAZING! (Second picture below)
  13. We have had the best luck with promos a couple of months before saildate. It seems that if you wait until a couple of weeks, the promos are gone. I know for my DMIL, she snagged her 150% solo promo fare in late December for a March cruise. Not sure if it’s because Viking doesn’t mind sailing with a cabin or two empty or what. But for a couple of our transatlantics, the ship wasn’t completely sold out and the prices the last week were the same as at initial offering and there didn’t appear to be any free air or obc promos.
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