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Everything posted by palermo22

  1. The trip was challenging yet a lot of fun. Where else can you get within a few feet of a Komodo Dragon or hold and feed a Kuala Bear or rome among Kangaroos and feed them?
  2. Pushka: got a little confused - it wasn't Hamilton Island (which is part of the Whitsunday islands) where we had a bad time - it was the Thursday islands that we had a horrible time. No, Hamilton island was very nice (the weather wasn't). For the Thursday Islands we were all asking "why did we go 200 miles just to be disappointed on Thursday Islands"?
  3. Just returned from a 17 day cruise from Bali to Sydney. I hope this review gives you answers that you haven't been able to find elsewhere. I won't go into a lot of detail but if you have questions then by all means let me know. We were on the Sky about 1 1/2 years ago so a lot of my comparison is with that cruise (Barcelona, the Baltic and Beyond). Last cruise we were in a Deluxe Veranda and this cruise we were in a Penthouse Veranda. While they are similar, the Penthouse Veranda is almost 70 square feet bigger. The closet inn the Deluxe Veranda is only accessible by climbing over the bed - while the PH Veranda was in a different location and was so much more practical. If we ever take Viking again - and I am sure we will - it will definitely be in a PH Veranda. The food: definitely was better this time around - we were very critical of the food last go-around - while the portions were smaller - there was more variety and more flavor. I'll give the food a 4* rating after giving it a 3* last year. Entertainment: this was a surprise as we weren't expecting an extravaganza show and we didn't get one. What we did get was four talented singers/dancers who put a good show (one night show tunes and another night Beatles song book). The cruise director (Bevan) did a show and he pulled it off with his great singing - and then there was Ian - the assistant cruise director who id an Elvis show. Mixed in were a few different singers. I would give the entertainment a 3+. Here comes the negatives: of course we knew what entertainment was on the ship and what there was to do on sea days. But it was really noticeable that there just isn't a lot to do. Make sure you have a good book to read or that one of the speakers aboard is talking about something that you have a deep interest in. Finally the worst part of the cruise: the excursions! Just to give Viking everything they deserve (both good and bad) - I obviously can't blame the negatives on the weather which was awful. Almost every port was 100% humidity with showers. This is the rainy season from Bali through the Australian East Coast - so they get a pass for the weather. But I (and most of the others) found both the included and paid for excursions to be quite simply awful. The companies that were hired didn't follow the agendas and at times seemed lost (both literally and figuratively). In one of the ports we were to go to a museum - the driver got there at 9:30 only to find out that it opened at 10 AM. Then he allowed two hours to go through the museum telling everyone to be ready to leave at 12 Noon - problem was the museum at best only took an hour. Everyone climbed back into the bus except for two couples - who were adamant that they were going to stay until 12 Noon - no matter what. The driver lost complete control of the situation and 40 people wound up waiting 45 minutes for four people. One of our port stops was Hamilton Island (part of the Thursday islands) - there was absolutely nothing to do there (there were no formal tours - and we had to use a Tender to reach the island) - most people (including us) walked around for a n hour and saw nothing of interest - and we took the first Tender where there was room and went back to the ship. The most horrifying excursion was going to Komodo Island. Temperature was around 90 with 100% humidity and when the tour was complete - Viking was unprepared for the people taking the Tenders back to the ship. We all waited about 45 minutes for Viking to get their act together - and meanwhile we were all lined up on a pier that probably was a hundred yards long - absolutely no cover from the sun was provided - and at least two people needed medical attention from passing out. As it turned out, the best tour (excursion) that we had was the three days (after the cruise was completed) we spent in Sydney. We signed up directly with Blue Mountains tour company and had a delightful time. I would definitely take a Viking cruise in the future but I would have to be convinced that the problems attached to the excursions for this cruise would not be repeated.
  4. We have booked RomeInLimo for all three of our Italy stops - and everything I have read about them has been top-notch. They have suggested that we use a private guide on our tour of the Vatican at a cost of 150 Euros. Just wondering if anyone has used the private guide provided/suggested by RomeInLimo and either glad they did or thought it was a waste of money. Perhaps others have used private guides through other tour services as well - perhaps they can comment on this question as well.
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