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Roz

Questions on Voyage of the Vikings

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Last night in the mail I received, from the desk of Orlando Ashford no less 😉, a brochure for Mariners called Extended Voyages.  VOV is in there for 2020.  The only cabins showing availability are obstructed ocean views and suites.  I'm toying with the idea of doing VOV as a retirement cruise, so I would be sailing in 2023.  Here are my questions:

 

How far ahead do I need to book to get an inside cabin?  Is it possible to get on a waitlist before itineraries are officially released?

 

I see that next year's VOV is on the Zaandam.  I sailed that ship back in 2004.  For those that have done VOV on one of the older, smaller ships, is there enough to do, especially on sea days?  Lately, I've been very disappointed in HAL's entertainment and activity offerings, and don't want to be stuck on ship for 35 days looking for things to do and bored out of my mind.  

 

I'm guessing that guests who want to do the entire 35 days get first preference, and then empty cabins are filled in with those who only want to do Boston to Amsterdam or Amsterdam to Boston.  How exactly does this work?

 

Any information is greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

Edited by Roz

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I booked my VOV a year in advance and received an upgrade offer to Lanai about 2 months prior.     All cruises have wait lists.    Sign up for HAL deals emails and watch for low deposit day.  Also if you go on another cruise between now and then book onboard- that is the ideal option as they give an OBC, fully refundable deposits and  access to all available cabins.  
 

VOV and a few other cruises can only be navigated by the smaller ships.  The itinerary is very port intensive and when I went in 2017 there were daily enrichment programs that were very good.  They also had regional movies and cuisine.  It is a wonderful cruise.   I personally am not a fan of traditional cruise ship entertainment so I always come self contained for entertainment but was pleasantly surprised on the VOV 
 

I do caution you to check the dry dock schedule to see when the Zaandam will be refurbed.   

Edited by Mary229

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In part because of this concern, we did the 1/2 Voyage of 18 days.  We flew to Amsterdam and boarded the ship in Rotterdam sailing to Boston.  It was fairly port intensive and we truly did not get bored.  A great cruise.  I might need to do the other 1/2 in the future, get off and cruise the Baltic or British Isles or BOTH!  ♥️ HAL. 

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4 minutes ago, Gigi1977 said:

In part because of this concern, we did the 1/2 Voyage of 18 days.  We flew to Amsterdam and boarded the ship in Rotterdam sailing to Boston.  It was fairly port intensive and we truly did not get bored.  A great cruise.  I might need to do the other 1/2 in the future, get off and cruise the Baltic or British Isles or BOTH!  ♥️ HAL. 

 

I'm seriously considering the Amsterdam to Boston leg for a couple of reasons - I can get the long flight out of the way, and I love Amsterdam and would get to spend a few days there pre-cruise and get over my jet lag.

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9 minutes ago, Mary229 said:

VOV and a few other cruises can only be navigated by the smaller ships.  

 

It's not small ships per se, that I object to.  It's lack of activities, which I found on my recent Nieuw Amsterdam cruises.  The size of ship doesn't necessarily determine that.  

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12 minutes ago, Mary229 said:


 

VOV and a few other cruises can only be navigated by the smaller ships.  

 

I have done one VOV on the Eurodam, so HAL's larger ships have no problems in doing them. That said I prefer the smaller ships.

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4 minutes ago, Roz said:

 

It's not small ships per se, that I object to.  It's lack of activities, which I found on my recent Nieuw Amsterdam cruises.  The size of ship doesn't necessarily determine that.  

I just don’t like to advise people about entertainment as I have found that I seem to have odd tastes😉

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2 minutes ago, jakkojakko said:

 

I have done one VOV on the Eurodam, so HAL's larger ships have no problems in doing them. That said I prefer the smaller ships.

My point is that a mega ship is not getting into those fjords.  

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Just now, Mary229 said:

My point is that a mega ship is not getting into those fjords.  

 

HAL does not have mega ships. As this is a HAL board I thought you meant that only HAL's smaller ships can do this itinerary.

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I've done this cruise on the Rotterdam and the Maasdam, and we had plenty of activities on sea days. 
Remember, too, that this cruise isn't a long string of port days, followed by a lengthy crossing; it's an alternated series of sea and port days, so there is time to rest up, but no time to get bored. An important difference! 

There were lecture series when I took the cruises, but those don't seem to be offered to as great an extent in more recent years. Same is true for daytime activities; not as jam-packed as it used to be, but there are things offered. 

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8 minutes ago, jakkojakko said:

 

HAL does not have mega ships. As this is a HAL board I thought you meant that only HAL's smaller ships can do this itinerary.

No, I guess I wasn’t clear.  Those mega ships have all of those amusements that smaller ships don’t.  

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We did the VOV this summer on the Zuiderdam.  There were plenty of activities if you like to attend the lectures.  There were 4 lecturers and 2 were great, the other two were so-so.  Port talks that were given by the EXC person were incredible; the ones given by the cruise director not so much.  We found plenty to do but a lot of our entertainment was walking the deck on lookout for whales and icebergs.  This type of cruise is more enjoyable by someone who likes to be out of doors and off the ship exploring.   For us it was a one and done but I'm glad we got to experience the ports that we did.  I've read some not-so-good things about the Zaandam lately and I can't rave about our onboard experience on the Zuiderdam but still glad we went.  You will find plenty to do.  

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I'm booked for the VOV in 2020.  I booked it with my PCC as soon as I saw it posted on HAL's website.  From what I could gather dealing with my PCC re cabins, the insides and balconies tend to go first.  HAL holds certain cabins for folks that are only doing 1/2 of the cruise, so that everyone has a chance to get withn the Category they want.  However, a lot of the Categories show as GTY on the website.  I got the sense that HAL wants you to deal with a TA or PCC if you want a particular cabin.

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We did VOV in 2016 and 2019.  When they changed the itinerary a few months before we  cruised in 2019, we lost Stavenger and got Bergen.  We were docked at the furthest berth.  In 2014 on the Legend of the Seas, they docked us in Bergen right next to the fortress.   They also switched Reykjavic and Akureryi.

 

I wish they hadn't planned the itinerary to hit Reykjavic during their two day holiday.  If that happens again, we'll book only out of town shore excursions.  I'm bringing this up, because HAL could have spent an extra day in Rotterdam, left a night later, etc, and missed that crazy pandemonium that was our Easy Reykjavic tour.

 

Being on both the Rotterdam and the Zuiderdam, they're both great.  Our Legend of the Seas ship had only one foot clearance under the bridge in Bergen. 

 

On the Rotterdam, to get a private balcony, you must purchase a suite.  On the Zuiderdam, they have Balconies categories too!

Edited by knittinggirl

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Roz - please be aware of the Polar Code that comes into full force on 1st January 2022.

This will effect all of the large cruise ships & make them non compliant to do sail past cruises in Antarctica & calls at Greenland as all ports are north of 60 deg. north.  This also effects all of the older expedition ships doing Polar cruises.

Also these ships will be effected when they drydock & are issued with new certificates from 1st January 2017.

There maybe some ships able to do VOV including Greenland in 2021 - but do not count on it.

Certainly NO HAL, Princess or Celebrity cruise ships will be able to go to Greenland in 2022 onwards.

Some new Hurtigruten, Silver Cloud & new expedition ships will be able to go to Greenland.

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6 hours ago, SeaDog-46 said:

Roz - please be aware of the Polar Code that comes into full force on 1st January 2022.

This will effect all of the large cruise ships & make them non compliant to do sail past cruises in Antarctica & calls at Greenland as all ports are north of 60 deg. north.  This also effects all of the older expedition ships doing Polar cruises.

Also these ships will be effected when they drydock & are issued with new certificates from 1st January 2017.

There maybe some ships able to do VOV including Greenland in 2021 - but do not count on it.

Certainly NO HAL, Princess or Celebrity cruise ships will be able to go to Greenland in 2022 onwards.

Some new Hurtigruten, Silver Cloud & new expedition ships will be able to go to Greenland.

Thank you so much  for this information.  That changes my plans significantly 

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So, it sounds like if you want to do Greenland, the 2020 VOV is the cruise to take. We are booked on the full 35 journey and are looking forward to the cruise.

 

I also noticed on the Hal website that after the zaandam drydock two entertainment venues are to be added. Lincoln center stage and the one with the dueling pianos, billboard on board. So sounds like nice choices for some varied entertainment for the evenings while sipping my martini.

 

This will be our third hal cruise, and we were able to get an ocienview cabin on the lower promenade. 
 

Not sure what to pack for for the weather, as we are from Florida and don’t really have winter wear. Do we need to get some warm coats or just spring type jackets. Any thoughts? Would appreciate any advice from those that have done this cruise in the past.

 

thanks

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We did the Rotterdam to Boston this summer on the Zuiderdam.  It was 17 days.  We did not get bored.  We had 4 days in Iceland and 2 days in Greenland.  We also visited 3 other ports for our first time.  It was very enjoyable and we did not get bored.  I do not believe I would want to do both segments.

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9 hours ago, SeaDog-46 said:

Roz - please be aware of the Polar Code that comes into full force on 1st January 2022.

This will effect all of the large cruise ships & make them non compliant to do sail past cruises in Antarctica & calls at Greenland as all ports are north of 60 deg. north.  This also effects all of the older expedition ships doing Polar cruises.

Also these ships will be effected when they drydock & are issued with new certificates from 1st January 2017.

There maybe some ships able to do VOV including Greenland in 2021 - but do not count on it.

Certainly NO HAL, Princess or Celebrity cruise ships will be able to go to Greenland in 2022 onwards.

Some new Hurtigruten, Silver Cloud & new expedition ships will be able to go to Greenland.

 

Thanks for the info.  Guess I'll have to wait to see how things shake out.  My plan is to retire on Nov. 30, 2022, so 2023 is the soonest I could get away for more than 2 consecutive weeks.

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1 hour ago, Pchamb3 said:

 

 

Not sure what to pack for for the weather, as we are from Florida and don’t really have winter wear. Do we need to get some warm coats or just spring type jackets. Any thoughts? Would appreciate any advice from those that have done this cruise in the past.

 

thanks

 

I don’t think spring coats would be warm enough unless you layer them with sweater, vest, etc.   It was in the 30’s more than once.  Definitely need a warm hat, scarf  and gloves.  You will definitely need something waterproof.  We had warm, lined windbreakers that were waterproof but wore warm stuff under them.   HAL was selling fleece pullovers and vests that were leftover from a Baltic cruise.  Many people onboard were seen wearing them as they hadn’t brought warm enough clothes.  Ship was chilly at times too.  

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2 hours ago, Pchamb3 said:

Not sure what to pack for for the weather, as we are from Florida and don’t really have winter wear.

I've sailed in that area too many times to count. I bring a lined jacket, and wear it with a sweatshirt, sometimes with a flat-knit sweater under that. Pack your gloves in the jacket pockets, so they will be right there when you need them. 
I have also found nice, fairly warm weather on those trips, so something lighter weight, possibly with the jacket over it, may come in handy, too. 

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16 hours ago, SeaDog-46 said:

Roz - please be aware of the Polar Code that comes into full force on 1st January 2022.

This will effect all of the large cruise ships & make them non compliant to do sail past cruises in Antarctica & calls at Greenland as all ports are north of 60 deg. north.  This also effects all of the older expedition ships doing Polar cruises.

Also these ships will be effected when they drydock & are issued with new certificates from 1st January 2017.

There maybe some ships able to do VOV including Greenland in 2021 - but do not count on it.

Certainly NO HAL, Princess or Celebrity cruise ships will be able to go to Greenland in 2022 onwards.

Some new Hurtigruten, Silver Cloud & new expedition ships will be able to go to Greenland.

 

Thank you for this. I hadn't quite gotten it through my thick head that Greenland was going to be impacted by this change in addition to Antarctica. Doesn't quite seem fair that they are zig-zagging around the southern tip of Greenland, which is not at 60 degrees. The latitude for Qaqortoq is just barely above 60 degrees (60.71).  But oh well, I don't make the rules....

 

Now I'm going to have to fit in both an Antarctic AND Greenland/Iceland cruise before 2022. 

 

Terrible problems, am I right?

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7 hours ago, teacherman said:

We did the Rotterdam to Boston this summer on the Zuiderdam.  It was 17 days.  We did not get bored.  We had 4 days in Iceland and 2 days in Greenland.  We also visited 3 other ports for our first time.  It was very enjoyable and we did not get bored.  I do not believe I would want to do both segments.

 

teacherman, I'm now looking at this route and ship for 2020. How did things go on Zuiderdam at the ports? As she's relatively large for some of them, was tendering so many people ever an issue?  Is she a good ship for cool (and potentially inclement) weather cruising? 

 

Did you find there were a lot of lectures and/or information on the nature, wildlife, ports?

 

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Pchamb3, we were on this year's VOV for the entire cruise, and we live in S. FL. Rather than large, winter coats, several layers of clothing (light jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters) was a good idea because the weather was so changeable, on several days even from hour to hour! Wearing layers allowed for easy changes to mostly match conditions. Also a good idea to have rain gear of some kind. We had yellow rain slickers but have since purchased light, waterproof jackets, pants and boots online for Patagonia and the Antarctic. And, I agree, about also having gloves and hats. It's amazing how cold it is up there with temps in the 40s and humid conditions during their "summertime."

David 

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