Tips for New Viking Ocean Cruisers

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#1
Maryland
4,975 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Since a lot of river cruise (only) passengers, I thought it might be helpful to start a "Tips" thread for new Viking Ocean cruisers to read before their upcoming ocean cruise. Ocean cruising IS, after all, a bit different from river cruising. Feel free to add your own comments, and please correct me if I'm wrong about something. It's been almost 2 years since I was on Star, so things may have changed.

On embarkation (arrival) day you're required to be on board the ship 2 hours pre-departure. You'll be expected to attend a short muster drill before the ship departs. There is no standardized time, but often for cruises in which the ship spends a night at the embarkation port, it is around that 2 hour mark. Almost always, from what I've heard, it does NOT affect dinner.

As of Sept. 2015, the "back on board" time was a half hour pre-departure time for the remaining ports. Viking will tell you every day what that time is. If you're tendering (getting on a small boat to be taken ashore) the time of the last tender will be announced as well. For us in the Med in 2015, it was a half hour pre-departure.

You have to take your ship key card with you when you go off the ship, as well as when you leave the room, of course. (The doors won't stay open even if you want them too - fire suppression technique, I suppose). The card will be scanned when you leave the ship and scanned when you return. You may also have to show it to get into a port area or port terminal. I carry a lanyard-type thing to hold mine (photo here): http://www.pbase.com/roothy123/image/165572124

You'll need to put bags through an x-ray when you return to the ship - or sometimes in a port terminal. (They are not looking for alcohol, just dangerous things.) You'll also go through a scanner.

It's a big ship, so when I get on board, I usually make note of what's around each elevator bank, and whether I need to turn right or left to get to my room. (They're are two banks of elevators, although I'm thinking one may be smaller than the other.)

If anyone mentions "port side" it's the side on the left as you're facing the water ahead. Please call the ship a ship, not a boat. These ships are 48,000 tons of ship!

Ocean cruises often stop in places where the dock is far from center city. Keep that in mind when making plans. Of course, in just about every place I've been, especially Europe, cabs were lined up waiting for fares, so you're not stuck. Also note that just because a cruise ship docked a particular place last year or last week, that doesn't mean it will dock there on your cruise. Dock (or tender) locations and decisions are dictated by the port, not the cruise line. (Sorry, no walking through other river ships to get to yours!)

Occasionally (in some ports) Viking (and other cruise lines) will keep your passport for most or all of the cruise. In many ports, you'll be told to that an ID ashore. These things are usually dictated by the countries you're visiting. Some countries require that no food be taken ashore. Remember to take the quiet vox box on tours, although occasionally the tour guides won't use them. Remember to charge them after use!

Don't forget there's an electrical outlet alongside the bed. There's also a coffee maker (very strong coffee in my opinion), hairdryer, and snacks and binoculars in/on the desk. (I love that desk!) Your room steward can get you more hangers if you want. If the coverlet's too hot at night you can ask for something else. We put our luggage under the bed. We usually take a few basic meds like Tylenol and Pepto Bismal tabs. However, there IS a doctor and nurse on Viking, and I think there ARE basic things like cold medicine in the ship store. However, the store isn't always open (mostly closed while in port due to country regulations). If you need something, I think you can call the nurse 24/7, though - ask at Explorer's Desk. You can view Viking info (restaurant reservations etc.) on the TV.

Mid-cruise Viking will send around a questionnaire asking or verifying how/when you'll be leaving the ship. Then they'll assign you a time to depart. If you have independent plans, it sounds like you can leave fairly late, at least compared to what other cruise lines do. You'll have to be out of your room by around 8, though. Viking puts all bags ashore, after you place them outside your door the night before. (Therefore you need a small carryon, or at least a bag! Keep out what you'll need in the AM. Viking will have this and more spelled out in their disembarkation information.)

If you have a Viking transfer to the airport, expect to get up VERY early. It's just what cruise lines have to do....

If you want to be outside on the deck while the ship's moving, or after dinner, you may need some warm clothing. It's always colder in the wind.

If you want a quiet but possibly salty place to be by yourself with a 360 degree view, the aft part of deck 2 is a winner. I'll probably be there for cruising the last half hour to Geiranger and other places where I want to do photography without a crowd. It was an excellent spot for our departure from Kotor in 2015.

If you tender, wear decent shoes and try to keep both hands/arms free. The tender crew like to be able to offer a hand with tendering, as steps and low ceilings can be a bit tricky. I'm pretty mobile and coordinated, but still, I usually put my arm out so they can grab it and help me.

Don't miss eating dinner at least once in the World Cafe. It's not an ordinary buffet - and if the weather's good, you can eat outside. Also, if you like scones, hot ones, plan to eat dinner late that evening - very filling and great.

If you're looking for a library, there isn't one. However, there are books scattered about in various places. Go looking...

Someone else can probably fill you in on the latest tips for getting additional specialty restaurant reservations, if that interests you. I'm running out of steam...

I have some photos and documents from our 2015 cruise that might be helpful to look at. Just keep in mind things may have changed since then. Here's link: http://www.pbase.com/roothy123/viking_star_&page=all

Enjoy your cruise. I know you will.
#2
United States
38 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
Roothy, thanks for taking the time to compile this valuable list of helps! We will be on VH in September for our first Viking cruise - this just makes me more excited to board!
#3
Arlington Heights, Illinois
19 Posts
Joined May 2017
Roothy, great idea for a thread! We are cruisers with Viking River experience, but not Oceans. Looking forward to some great tips here.

MT
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Viking Spirit 8/12/18 Venice to Athens
Viking Spirit 8/19/18 Athens to Hong Kong
Viking Hemond 2014 Paris to Marseille
Viking Spirit 2014 Paris to Normandy
Viking Embla 2012 Budapest to Nuremberg
Viking Sun 2011 Amsterdam to Basel
Aegean Pearl 2008 Greek Islands
#4
Maryland
4,975 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Thanks, and sorry for the typos. I DO know a bit about grammar and spelling, but sometimes I type so fast my brain doesn't cooperate - or at least that's my excuse! Anyway, when I mentioned scones, I meant to add that they're served during afternoon tea.

Another helpful hint might be: Do your laundry/ironing during dinner time or early in the morning - not on sea days! AND:
Each day when you go off the ship, particularly if you're not going with a Viking-arranged excursion, take the phone number of the ship. If you have an emergency, you'll want to have it. I also take the name and phone number of the ship's agent in each port. That info is normally printed on the daily paper that is delivered to your stateroom the night before.
#6
NC
203 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by roothy123
Since a lot of river cruise (only) passengers, I thought it might be helpful to start a "Tips" thread for new Viking Ocean cruisers to read before their upcoming ocean cruise. Ocean cruising IS, after all, a bit different from river cruising. Feel free to add your own comments, and please correct me if I'm wrong about something. It's been almost 2 years since I was on Star, so things may have changed.

On embarkation (arrival) day you're required to be on board the ship 2 hours pre-departure. You'll be expected to attend a short muster drill before the ship departs. There is no standardized time, but often for cruises in which the ship spends a night at the embarkation port, it is around that 2 hour mark. Almost always, from what I've heard, it does NOT affect dinner.

As of Sept. 2015, the "back on board" time was a half hour pre-departure time for the remaining ports. Viking will tell you every day what that time is. If you're tendering (getting on a small boat to be taken ashore) the time of the last tender will be announced as well. For us in the Med in 2015, it was a half hour pre-departure.

You have to take your ship key card with you when you go off the ship, as well as when you leave the room, of course. (The doors won't stay open even if you want them too - fire suppression technique, I suppose). The card will be scanned when you leave the ship and scanned when you return. You may also have to show it to get into a port area or port terminal. I carry a lanyard-type thing to hold mine (photo here): http://www.pbase.com/roothy123/image/165572124

You'll need to put bags through an x-ray when you return to the ship - or sometimes in a port terminal. (They are not looking for alcohol, just dangerous things.) You'll also go through a scanner.

It's a big ship, so when I get on board, I usually make note of what's around each elevator bank, and whether I need to turn right or left to get to my room. (They're are two banks of elevators, although I'm thinking one may be smaller than the other.)

If anyone mentions "port side" it's the side on the left as you're facing the water ahead. Please call the ship a ship, not a boat. These ships are 48,000 tons of ship!

Ocean cruises often stop in places where the dock is far from center city. Keep that in mind when making plans. Of course, in just about every place I've been, especially Europe, cabs were lined up waiting for fares, so you're not stuck. Also note that just because a cruise ship docked a particular place last year or last week, that doesn't mean it will dock there on your cruise. Dock (or tender) locations and decisions are dictated by the port, not the cruise line. (Sorry, no walking through other river ships to get to yours!)

Occasionally (in some ports) Viking (and other cruise lines) will keep your passport for most or all of the cruise. In many ports, you'll be told to that an ID ashore. These things are usually dictated by the countries you're visiting. Some countries require that no food be taken ashore. Remember to take the quiet vox box on tours, although occasionally the tour guides won't use them. Remember to charge them after use!

Don't forget there's an electrical outlet alongside the bed. There's also a coffee maker (very strong coffee in my opinion), hairdryer, and snacks and binoculars in/on the desk. (I love that desk!) Your room steward can get you more hangers if you want. If the coverlet's too hot at night you can ask for something else. We put our luggage under the bed. We usually take a few basic meds like Tylenol and Pepto Bismal tabs. However, there IS a doctor and nurse on Viking, and I think there ARE basic things like cold medicine in the ship store. However, the store isn't always open (mostly closed while in port due to country regulations). If you need something, I think you can call the nurse 24/7, though - ask at Explorer's Desk. You can view Viking info (restaurant reservations etc.) on the TV.

Mid-cruise Viking will send around a questionnaire asking or verifying how/when you'll be leaving the ship. Then they'll assign you a time to depart. If you have independent plans, it sounds like you can leave fairly late, at least compared to what other cruise lines do. You'll have to be out of your room by around 8, though. Viking puts all bags ashore, after you place them outside your door the night before. (Therefore you need a small carryon, or at least a bag! Keep out what you'll need in the AM. Viking will have this and more spelled out in their disembarkation information.)

If you have a Viking transfer to the airport, expect to get up VERY early. It's just what cruise lines have to do....

If you want to be outside on the deck while the ship's moving, or after dinner, you may need some warm clothing. It's always colder in the wind.

If you want a quiet but possibly salty place to be by yourself with a 360 degree view, the aft part of deck 2 is a winner. I'll probably be there for cruising the last half hour to Geiranger and other places where I want to do photography without a crowd. It was an excellent spot for our departure from Kotor in 2015.

If you tender, wear decent shoes and try to keep both hands/arms free. The tender crew like to be able to offer a hand with tendering, as steps and low ceilings can be a bit tricky. I'm pretty mobile and coordinated, but still, I usually put my arm out so they can grab it and help me.

Don't miss eating dinner at least once in the World Cafe. It's not an ordinary buffet - and if the weather's good, you can eat outside. Also, if you like scones, hot ones, plan to eat dinner late that evening - very filling and great.

If you're looking for a library, there isn't one. However, there are books scattered about in various places. Go looking...

Someone else can probably fill you in on the latest tips for getting additional specialty restaurant reservations, if that interests you. I'm running out of steam...

I have some photos and documents from our 2015 cruise that might be helpful to look at. Just keep in mind things may have changed since then. Here's link: http://www.pbase.com/roothy123/viking_star_&page=all

Enjoy your cruise. I know you will.
Great tips! Thank you! I've taken Viking River cruises but this is my first Viking Ocean Cruise.
#7
Michigan
1,268 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
If you are in a V category cabin you will NOT have a coffee machine nor binoculars in the room.
there are plenty of umbrellas ...Large...so pack a small one if you just want to drop it in your bag.
There are also 2 USB ports bedside.
We were able to watch the port talks later the same evening on the TV!!!
On our Baltic Cruise there was a shuttle in most every port that was a distance from the city.......worked wonderfully!!!
Room Service is reliably punctual for breakfast.
our room steward also asked if we would like ice each afternoon.........always delivered by 4:30 so we could make a cocktail.
#8
Boston MA
5,998 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
On embarkation (arrival) day you're required to be on board the ship 2 hours pre-departure. You'll be expected to attend a short muster drill before the ship departs. There is no standardized time, but often for cruises in which the ship spends a night at the embarkation port, it is around that 2 hour mark. Almost always, from what I've heard, it does NOT affect dinner.
Unless you are over-nighting in your departure port, in which case, it will be on Day 2. Muster drill is scheduled between "all aboard time" and sail away. You do not need to go back to your cabin for your life jacket because there are no life jackets in the cabins--and no lifejacket fashions shows. either. Proceed directly to your muster station: either the MDR or the Theater--both on Deck 2. Be sure to check in as you arrive, then find a seat and wait until you are dismissed. All cabins will be checked for scofflaws. Muster drill is mandatory, even if you are doing a B2B (see Cruise Critics' article 11 Ways to Get Booted Off a Cruise Ship).

As of Sept. 2015, the "back on board" time was a half hour pre-departure time for the remaining ports. Viking will tell you every day what that time is. If you're tendering (getting on a small boat to be taken ashore) the time of the last tender will be announced as well. For us in the Med in 2015, it was a half hour pre-departure.
Still seems to be.

You'll need to put bags through an x-ray when you return to the ship - or sometimes in a port terminal. (They are not looking for alcohol, just dangerous things.) You'll also go through a scanner.
Viking has a very liberal BYOB policy, so no, they are not looking for alcohol or even your case of caffeine free diet. Do note that refusing a screening is another one of the 11 ways to get booted off, along with trying to bring contraband on board.




Occasionally (in some ports) Viking (and other cruise lines) will keep your passport for most or all of the cruise. In many ports, you'll be told to that an ID ashore. These things are usually dictated by the countries you're visiting. Some countries require that no food be taken ashore. Remember to take the quiet vox box on tours, although occasionally the tour guides won't use them. Remember to charge them after use!
Viking will let you know if you need to take your passport with when you disembark for the day. Otherwise, keep them in your safe. I scanned our passports and keep a copy on my phone and on my laptop.

As for those QuietVox, last I heard, on the Sea and the Sky they have a standard headset jack so you can bring your own favorite headset or earbuds from home. Unfortunately, the last I heard, the units on the Star still use a dedicated headset; you can only use the headset that comes with the unit and are designed for the left ear.

Don't forget there's an electrical outlet alongside the bed.
One 110v outlet and one 220v outlet plus two USB outlets on each bedstand--plus the outlets on the desk and the shaver outlet in the bathroom.. No need to bring currency converters but having adapters for your plugs means you have twice as many usable outlets for charging your cameras and other electronics--anything that is rated for 110v to 240v. Don't forget all your charging cords!!!! Especially for your cameras since they don't have a standard plug the way our mobile phones do.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#10
Boston MA
5,998 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by irenedee
"No life jacket fashion shows". - lol - that's a good one!
The only ones sporting life jackets for the drill are the crew--and we do get the mandatory demo.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#11
Maryland
4,975 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
I remember in 2015 there was a lot of criticism of Viking for having those life jackets at the muster stations and not in the rooms. It makes much more sense, though, to NOT have them in the rooms. Peregrina, thanks for better stating when the muster drill is likely to be, as I didn't write that very well. Actually, I may not have made it clear that the 2 hour rule applies (I think, anyway) to the actual day of departure, regardless of whether you embark/leave the same day or are overnighting. The two hours allows time to get the ship cleared by the authorities; it's also a good time to do the muster drill, as we're all a captive audience!

Also, thanks for mentioning that the ship's safe is the best place for passports, as that question comes up a LOT on Cruise Critic boards. I cringe when I hear that people are thinking of taking theirs off the ship. I have a photo of mine on my phone, too, by the way.

Only time I take a current converter and/or plug adaptor is when I'm not sure I'll be able to use my electronics in a hotel pre-cruise. I was hoping to leave my plug adapter home this trip, but I'm not sure if I'll be OK in our airBnB place in Iceland for two days. Batteries may run down....

Has anyone used the "Mobile Passport" app for Americans to get through passport control quicker in U.S. airports? I'm going to try it on this trip, as I hear it works well. Oh, another recommendation would be to apply for Global Entry or at least TSA Pre-Check - well worth the money. Also, sometimes with ocean cruising, a little time is needed between the time the ship ties up and passengers are free to leave. Be patient! Often the ship has to get clearance before they let passengers off (checking manifests or passports etc.) Generally, though, in 2015 in the Med we found Viking to be quite good in letting us off very close to the time stated in the itinerary.

Thanks for the additions, corrections and comments; keep them coming!
#12
Boston MA
5,998 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
I remember in 2015 there was a lot of criticism of Viking for having those life jackets at the muster stations and not in the rooms.
IMHO, just complaining to complain because it is different; most people don't do "change" very well.

Peregrina, thanks for better stating when the muster drill is likely to be, as I didn't write that very well. Actually, I may not have made it clear that the 2 hour rule applies (I think, anyway) to the actual day of departure, regardless of whether you embark/leave the same day or are overnighting. The two hours allows time to get the ship cleared by the authorities; it's also a good time to do the muster drill, as we're all a captive audience!
We overnighted in Barcelona this past December. I just checked the dailies. Back on board time was 5pm for a scheduled 6:00 departure. Muster drill was at 5:15pm. I believe that the "2 hours before departure business" is to prevent people from cutting it too close when arrival day and sailaway are the same day.
In any case, expect muster drill to be be after the back on board time and before sail away.

Only time I take a current converter and/or plug adaptor is when I'm not sure I'll be able to use my electronics in a hotel pre-cruise. I was hoping to leave my plug adapter home this trip, but I'm not sure if I'll be OK in our airBnB place in Iceland for two days. Batteries may run down....
Adapters are so small, why would you worry about not taking one-- or two or three? If you are just charging electronics, you don't need a converter; just make sure that the USB to a/c adapter is rated for 110-240v (you might need a magnifier to read the fine print on the device). Batteries WILL, not may, run down! In fact, I hope you have spare batteries for your camera because you might not get through the day in Iceland on just one--and plenty of SD cards, too.

Has anyone used the "Mobile Passport" app for Americans to get through passport control quicker in U.S. airports? I'm going to try it on this trip, as I hear it works well.
I was considering paying for Global entry (because it gives me TSA pre-check as well--and I hate taking off my shoes and unpacking my bags before stepping through the golden arches) but now I am going to check this out. I wonder if there is any talk about it else where on CC.....
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#13
Boston MA
5,998 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Has anyone used the "Mobile Passport" app for Americans to get through passport control quicker in U.S. airports? I'm going to try it on this trip, as I hear it works well.
roothy, you have completely side tracked me here. Here are links to various review, etc. for Mobile Passport:
From our friends at Custom and Border Patrol about their app.
From the Rick Steve's website--with user comments: Mobile Passport Control App review - Rick Steves Travel Forum
From the Pointsguy website (screenshots and how to use it):Why Mobile Passport Can Be a Better Option Than Global Entry
Currently, Mobile Passport can be use at 21 airports and one cruise port by U.S. Citizens and Canadian visitors. CBP is slowly rolling out more international airports (for instance, not available at LAX).
Expand Signature
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#14
678 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
To make reservations for dining at Manfredis or Chefs Table after boarding the ship you can go to a stand outside the World Cafe during breakfast and lunch hours or on embarkation day. However IMHO the far simpler way is to make the reservations from the TV in your stateroom. It takes about 4 clicks and you are done. If you want to dine with friends in other staterooms it will let you select any number of guests up to 8.
There seems to be lots of availability after boarding for both restaurants even on sea days if you can be a bit flexible with times.

The menu for the Chef's Table changes every 3 days and embarkation day is not necessarily day 1 of a rotation. If you stop by the restaurant on embarkation day, all of the menus are available to review and they can tell you which menus are available on what days and can make reservations for you on a date that your preferred menu is offered.
#16
Maryland
4,975 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Thanks mhb for the specialty reservation info, and thanks Peregrina for the links on Global Entry, etc. Just keep in mind that not all U.S. airlines and airports participate in Pre-check. I was a little disappointed to learn that Icelandair, at least at one airport, does not participate.

So I thought of another suggestion for new VO cruisers: Eat breakfast at least once at Mamsen's. I wasn't crazy about the Norwegian cheese curls, but the waffles were great - and you can sit somewhere that affords at least a partial view of what's outside.
#17
Arizona
126 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
We have Global Entry and highly recommend it. It enables us to bypass those long lines at the airport in customs and immigration, just go to the dedicated kiosk, put our passport on the glass, fingers down to scan the fingerprints, smile at the face recognition camera, print the "receipt," and walk out past the flight crew and on our way. Reduces our stress level, especially with a tighter flight connection. Of course, with more people signing up, there can be a bit of a line at the kiosks, but still shorter than the paper-based customs and immigration lines.
There are packing tips all over the place, but one I would add regarding outlets: we buy power strips at the dollar store and take them along- no big loss if we forget one and expands the number of outlets available. The dollar stores are my favorite source for supplies: rain ponchos, laminated bags to carry stuff, containers, etc. I put together gift bags for the people traveling with us and everything comes from the dollar store: plastic wine glasses and decorative napkins for fun happy hours, ponchos, invitations to happy hour In the cabin, night lights, magnets for hanging papers on the cabin walls, notebooks and pens, gift bags to hold it all, whatever else catches my eye. Pack it all in the luggage and assemble once on board. Silly, but fun.
#18
Boston MA
5,998 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Krisval
We have Global Entry and highly recommend it. It enables us to bypass those long lines at the airport in customs and immigration, just go to the dedicated kiosk, put our passport on the glass, fingers down to scan the fingerprints, smile at the face recognition camera, print the "receipt," and walk out past the flight crew and on our way. Reduces our stress level, especially with a tighter flight connection. Of course, with more people signing up, there can be a bit of a line at the kiosks, but still shorter than the paper-based customs and immigration lines.
.
Kris, I was reading about Mobile Passport last night and user comments were reporting that the MP lines were even shorter than the Global entry lines at this point in time. Of course, as more people learn about MP, this will change but as long as the lines are shorter than the non-GE and MP lines, that is fine by me.

Mobile Passport is not like Global entry, which is a pre-screening process and requires an in-person interview at the airport. Mobile Passport simply allows you to fill out and transmit the same information that you would have to fill in at the kiosks in advance of arriving at the kiosks.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#19
San Francisco Bay Area
8,514 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
roothy - thank you for starting this excellent thread for us newbies on VO.
We are not going till 5/19 but I am starting to research.
Any comments on different restaurant options? Do the included tours get filled up early?
Also, what brand of sodas are available in cabins (is caffeine free Diet Coke available)? Any Perrier or San Pellegrino for cabins?
TIA.