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robinhood1

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About robinhood1

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Nottingham
  • Interests
    Swimming, Photography, Travel, France
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Mediterranean

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  1. Hello Flashman 181 The first time we were on board we stayed in a Junior Suite - we really liked it - there was lots of space and we really liked being close to the Explorer lounge... ‘’However.... the last three times ( and the next 2) we have booked PV cabins. The cost differential as you point out is quite significant and we have found that we have more than enough space in our PV cabins. The sitting area is very comfortable and great for “patient waiting” in the morning for everyone to get ready and for room service breakfast! We have always been able to book the exact excursions we have wanted every time so that is never a problem. We make our restaurant reservations and then as soon as we get on board we fire up our Explorer App and have always been able to make 2 or 3 more. We also have been able to get extra tables in the Chef’s table by being flexible On timing and just asking at the restaurant! ( Flexibility is the key point for extra speciality restaurant reservations). As for laundry we just send our stuff as we would had we been in the suite. It is very reasonably priced (IMO) and it cost us $200 US dollars or so for 4 weeks when we were in the far east last year. So....for me it is about the space and the upper decks that makes difference in the Junior Suites. We never use the bathroom at the same time so the larger double sink bathroom was of no benefit to us! we would just get in each other’s way. We are always happy in our PVs and like the savings to spend on excursions etc. However everyone has their own preferences and you may feel those benefits are worth the extra. ( By the way it is not an affordability issue for us ...we are fortunate in that respect) . We also find that there is no difference in PV categories really - we have been in each and the price difference now is very narrow. We do like the ones with the large sliding door configuration rather than the opening door. It is worth asking about that when you book. The difference is to do with the structure of the ship....but there are about equal numbers of each. If you have an opening door ...it can be inconvenient to keep it open and sit out at the same time.
  2. Yes it was a challenge....the first entry into Kagoshima was quite straight forward - photocopies of passports were taken by Viking and they were sufficient for there and Nagasaki. We were told that we had to go through immigration by 9.30am whatever we were doing. It did not take too long. After Nagasaki ( no problems) we went to Busan and on the return to Hiroshima it was very difficult. Japanese immigration came on board at Midday - they set up in Manfredi's. We went through as soon as they opened as we were heading off independently that afternoon. We only waited 15 minutes. Those on an organised tour went through based on excursion departure time. It was a nightmare and took some people 2 hours plus to get off the ship. Some excursion groups were kept waiting for over two hours in the Star Theatre - they even had an impromptu concert from one of the vocalists!! There was little that Viking could do - there were about 10 immigration stations set up and they were very thorough. They also fingerprinted everyone!! Just do the Maths - 930 people ...2 minutes per person .....10 stations equals a very long time! At every Japanese port after that there were bag searches only and passport "glances" so no problems . The afternoon tours that day were continually being rescheduled. We were very lucky! We went on the included tour the second morning, We took the shuttle bus that afternoon on our own to the Shukkei En garden and Hiroshima Castle. It cost us about $10!!! We knew nothing of the problems until we got back! We also had our port visit shortened because of the Golden Week celebrations and were just there for 24 hours from Midday. That also gave Viking some other rescheduling challenges.
  3. Having just returned from Orion flexibility is the name of the game. We had two advanced reservations in each restaurant but were able to eat all the Chef’s Table menus and several times in Manfredi’s on our first leg of two. My approach was to make our reservations early in the cruise - then use the phone app to top up and then talk to the head waiters. Keep looking on the phone app as tables come available regularly as people change their plans. Tips were refused by the head waiters - only offered as a thanks not as a bribe!! - and once when we had booked a table in Manfredis for four and asked at very short notice to change to six ( for our trivia team dinner!!!) we were offered the private dining room which was free that night ( very special treat!) . The phone app seems to have a limit on your reservations but as you use them up the slots free up again. On our second leg the World Cafe station was assigned the job of sorting out reservations for continuing travellers before the end of the first leg and booked us four in each!!!! As someone said there is no precise way of sorting things out - on lobster night in the main restaurant there were 50 no shows in the Chefs Table and 25 in Manfredi’s - so tables were very available at very short notice! Also eating later helps...tables after 8.00 are relatively easy to get too.
  4. Hello everyone We are just back from a 28 day journey from Bangkok to Tokyo - it was an amazing trip. I wrote an almost daily blog of the trip covering every port of the Viking River And Ocean Cruises Friends - Facebook page . You will need to join that group and then if you search for one of the ports you should find my post and can then search on my name as you will know who I am! I have posted full instructions on the forum for the cruise we were on....so I guess if you search my posts on cruise critic you should find the instructions!! Hope that it helps.
  5. Were are on board now. The wine list is now to be found on an IPad so it is difficult to copy. However there are around 80 wines on board - the majority priced at around $25 a bottle with a few premium selections at $65 a bottle. We have the silver spirits package as a promotional item so have enjoyed upgrading our wine. All bottles at $25 are included in the silver spirits package by the glass. There is plenty of choice. We have enjoyed the wine selection very much but have settled now on a selection that we like very much! We tend to have two different choices with each evening meal. The included wines are not too bad of course too and they too are upgraded anyway in the two alternative restaurants without charge.
  6. There is very little difference in price between the three categories - Viking reduced the differential two years ago significantly. For us in the U.K. the difference is £50 a category. We have been in all three and have been happy in all three! We like to be close to the front or the back as they are the quietest. We are not affected by the motion at all. On this cruise we are the back of deck 5 and have booked it again. We have the opening instead of sliding door. We are very happy here and have a great view of the sea from the bed on a sea day!!!
  7. We are currently on Orion - travelling from Bangkok to Tokyo - I have posted on the largest Viking customer Facebook site my reflections on each port. Another poster also posted her reflections on the previous occasions Viking visited these ports. I decided to use that site as it is a little more user friendly that Cruise Critic ( it seems to me!) . I hope that is helpful if of course you are a Facebook user. If you start on that site by searching for the pots eg Sihanoukville you can then pick up the names of the posters and follow the blogs.
  8. Being organised and flexible is the key - Manfredis is definitely a little more challenging to get reservations but they are obtainable. One of the best tools is the phone app which is constantly being updated with availability and as people have said just walk up and ask! We are happy to eat at 8.00 and usually pitch up slightly early to get seated. We have had 4 reservations in each alternative restaurant on this cruise - we like them both very much.
  9. This is a problem for Viking I am sure - lots of tours means it is difficult for them to try to have groups of “gentle walkers”. We were in Hoi An yesterday and it was a nightmare mixing fit walkers with those who should have been either on another tour or in “gentle walker “ groups. Our guide found it impossible to control the group ( which was also too big) and a one hour tour took almost 2 and thus freetime in a beautiful city was almost non existent. I am not sure what the answer is - many moderate rated tours are beyond many mobility challenges guests here in Asia as it is so hot and humid.
  10. The wine pairings do change - we had the Lotus menu last night on Orion ( it is amazing by the way) and our wine flight was completely different! I am getting used to the wines on board now - many of the Chef’s Table wines are selections that are available all the time from the list available to those with the silver package. Our wine waiter in the Chef’s Table will happily substitute if we would prefer something else instead of the selected wine.
  11. Yes we did Snapshots of Rome - we have been to Rome twice so had seen all of the big sites before ( we are from the UK). We did it in the afternoon - we were not hugely impressed. It was 90 minutes from the ship to Rome and over two hours back in the rush hour. It was fine as an afternoon time filler! We were quite frustrated by the time we got to the Vatican - we would have preferred just to have been dropped off there on arrival and be picked up later - we would have then have at least had time to go in the basilica which is stunning! The traffic in Rome was horrendous. I would not recommend this tour if you really want to see some of the highlights of Rome - you will just see the outside of the Basilica and the other photo stop as mentioned. Other alternatives would be advisable.
  12. We had a very similar experience on our cruise in September. Our neighbours were very noisy the first few nights - the male guest was a very heavy drinker and came back very late ( early hours) banging the doors, raising his voice and putting on the TV. We spoke with them when we got to the point of “no more tolerance” and his partner was clearly very embarrassed indeed - it did mostly solve the problem. Although it didn’t stop him coming back late I am sure his wife had made it clear to him that she wasn’t happy. He used to sleep in very late, she often breakfasted on her own. We saw him regularly in the Explorers Lounge drinking with a friend -unfortunately we had found as a neighbour one of the very few irresponsible drinkers on board who was determined to get the very most out of his silver spirits package. We have cruised three times now with Viking and have only heard low level TV - the rooms are very well soundproofed. If our discussion had not worked we would have definitely gone to guest services and I am sure they would have acted. Maybe the bartenders need to be a little more assertive with very heavy drinkers??? !! ( Controversial!!) . Can I say I am sure this is an extremely rare problem1
  13. There are several ways to make a reservation on the ship. Before you go download the Viking Explorers App to your phone. As soon as you get on board log in to the system and make extra reservations over those you have already! Next you can make them on the television system in your room. It is also possible to make reservations by telephone to guest services, at the restaurants themselves, and each day at breakfast time at the entry to the World Cafe on the right side of the ship someone is standing by to make and change reservations! We usually manage to get 2 extra in each when we get on board, and then if we wish to go again , especially if there are menus we haven't tried at the chef's table we speak to the Head Waiter who sorts things out! We have always been able to get as many reservations as we have wanted. Sometimes you may need to be flexible on time and some days they get lots of cancellations ( not sea days!) when people are tired from a full day of activities or lobster is on the menu in the main restaurant! We have found after we have got 4 reservations in each speciality restaurant the system will not let us have others electronically (we are usually in a PV cabin with automatic access to two). The only way to overcome that is through the head waiters in the restaurants themselves until late in the cruise when the "system" seems to open up again. When we were on board in September there were 5 menus ( Chinese, Asian, Scandinavian, Venetian and Tastes of the World) over the 14 days - each was on for two days - that meant that the first menu (Scandinavian) came round twice. There are other menus so I think it impossible to predict what is coming until you can log on and book. We are on Orion in April and our reservation dates for the restaurant are in 10 days time so we will know then! When you go to book on line the menu for the day is shown to you so you can decide if you are happy. They will make changes for dietary and allergy reasons but basically it is fine dining and no choice. We like it very much but we recognise it is not for everyone. We were told last time that the formula of rapid menu change had meant increased covers in the Chef's Table. People seem to either love it or don't! The fans like us try every menu and are very happy!! I am always willing to try something new and although the portions can be on the small side you will never go hungry on a Viking ship! I hope that helps.
  14. That's a good question! We have never managed to eat lobster in three cruises! We have always been eating in one of the speciality restaurants that night! I think they move it around and keep it quiet!! I do know that when it is on, spaces open up in both Manfredis and the Chefs Table as a result of cancellations! So...off we go to one of those!
  15. We have been on three sea cruises and Mamsen's was open every day at lunchtime - it does have slightly strange opening hours but was always open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and late evening. The Explorers Lounge Bar was always open - from mid morning. At breakfast time coffee and juice is served from the bar as soon as Mamsen's opens. Just occasionally it can be very busy if "scenic cruising" is on the menu!
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