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Heidi13

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About Heidi13

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    British Columbia
  • Interests
    Travel, Photography, Swimming, Walking Dogs, Football (Glasgow Rangers)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking Ocean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Panama
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    www.andyandjudi.com

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  1. Alaska cruises from Vancouver started well before Seattle ever had regular R/T Alaska cruises. Seattle started getting ships as Vancouver did not have sufficient berths for the increasing number of ships. I worked 2 full seasons in the 70's & 80's and all the ships were based in Vancouver. The primary reason the ships didn't go to Seattle in those days is Vancouver is closer, so less fuel and the route to Alaska is more scenic.
  2. It is certainly easy to skip Canadian ports, as you have a couple of choices - South America or Asia.
  3. Thanks for posting this, as I wasn't aware she was originally CalMac tonnage. Which route did she operate on? Unlikely I was on her, as we only ever used CalMac when heading over to Rothesay.
  4. Our FCC's are all with Viking and we have 2 years to book a cruise. If not applied to a booking they will issue a refund. However, we have already booked a River/Ocean Combo in May 2021 and will use the other one in 2022.
  5. Clay - when the stout is poured first they tend to mix, rather than being layered. Never did bother with the science, when I tried it years ago, but it must be due to respective specific gravity.
  6. Affirmative on Silver Spirits. Have pre-ordered for the next cruises, as it was so convenient. In the Theatre, we didn't even have to order, as frequently, just before the show started, another round of drinks magically appeared. Same in the MDR, soon as we walked in, a bottle of wine and beers arrived shortly after we sat down. Once we finished eating, most pax got desserts, I received a glass of 6-grapes. Although it wasn't normally stocked in the MDR, they always had a bottle. When we started having all our meals in Manfredi's, the Living Room Bar always had a bottle, which was routinely stowed out of sight and was known as Andy's bottle. Another benefit of Silver Spirits is once the wine available on the package was finished, they substituted with comp bottles of bottles not included in the package, until they re-stocked. Noting this may not happen on all cruises, since we had some exceptional challenges getting stores. When the ship was getting low on IPA, a number of cans magically appeared in the ice bucket in the MDR and in the cabin fridge. So without a doubt, if not provided on the cruise, we are always ordering SSBP.😁🥂🍻
  7. Affirmative, that is a traditional British drink with a 1/2 pint of Pale Ale poured first and then topped with a 1/2 pint of Stout.
  8. Once the old liners were gone, the Royal Viking ships were the nicest looking ships we passed or docked with.
  9. Great idea. We enjoyed a week on a barge on the UK Canals 3-years ago. Brilliant week, navigating by pubs. In France, rather than pubs we would use wineries.😀
  10. Sometimes it depended on whether we had drank the ship dry of IPA, other times just ordered 1 of each.
  11. You may not have mentioned "Industry Norms" but you mentioned that you disagreed with a previous poster who considered that Viking's optional excursions were moderately priced. Since moderately priced is highly arbitrary, I provided a means to compare Viking's prices, which is with other similar companies. In St Petersburg, we used Alla, as they guaranteed they get us back to the ship, or they pay to get you to the next port. Same guarantee as the ship provides. Just reviewed all posts in this thread and I didn't see anyone blindly suggesting taking Viking excursions. As I mentioned, I believe most Viking pax are sufficiently well travelled and know the pros/cons of ship & private tours. Not aware of any hook to take Viking Tours, in fact we considered them considerably less pushy than other Lines, especially on board.
  12. Just spotted our favourite waiter "Von" heading over to the table. Since dinner is finished, I'm opting for a 6-grapes Port & DW a Grand Marnier.😀
  13. I seem to recall hearing scooter/wheelchairs, etc couldn't be left in the alleyway outside the cabin. Either had to be kept in cabin, or arrangements made with Cabin Stwd to stow.
  14. Although we have only completed 1 Viking Cruise, we found many of Viking's optional excursions across the 4 continents visited were generally reasonably priced, compared to industry norms. How many Viking Cruises have you completed and to what locations, where you find the optional excursions more expensive than industry norms? Yes, we experienced that Viking Excursions were more expensive than comparable tours from private providers - however, this is standard practice throughout the industry and is most likely consistent across all industries. When I managed a shipyard, if the customer wanted us to purchase materials and accept the risk, then we added a percentage to the cost of the materials. When the tour doesn't go well, Viking refund - per our experience in Christchurch. If it is a private tour - good luck, not saying you won't get a refund, but it will take considerably longer than my 3 or 4 minute trip to Guest Services. When compared to cruise industry norms, we found Viking's optional excursions to be generally cheaper than equivalent tours on Princess, when all costs are converted to CAN $. We found that even when using full size buses, Viking rarely filled the buses, with about 35 being the normal on most tours we completed. Some examples from our recently completed World Cruise: Hunter Valley (ship's tour) - full day tour with only 4 pax, a guide and a driver. Yes a little more expensive than some available local tours, but when 60 miles from a ship that sails at 17:00, I consider the extra cost cheap insurance. Blue Mountains - found a local tour operator with a full day tour, at about 25 - 30% less than ship, but they couldn't work around 07:00 docking, or pick up at White Bay. They would have provided a private tour for both of us at twice the cost of the ship. Egypt - 4 day overland with 24/7 guide, buses, flight, hotel, meals, entrance fees for CAN $1,600 pp. Couldn't find anything from private operator any cheaper. We also considered this one very reasonably priced. Saigon - 2 day Mekong Delta with bus, meals, hotel, entrance fees, etc CAN $414 pp While I couldn't find anything comparable, I considered the price very reasonable Cochin - 6 hr city tour and river cruise CAN $79 pp Malaga - 10 hr tour to Alhambra Palace & Gardens which included timed tickets, lunch, etc for CAN $259. We also found a private vendor at CAN $125, but they required a minimum of 10 people confirmed and paid in full more than 4 months in advance, to purchase the timed tickets At no ports, including tender ports do Viking restrict non-ship excursion pax from disembarking. In Bay of Islands (tender) we were on a private tour, so went down to the Atrium, per the request. We were accommodated on the first tender. Getting back to the ship in time - when booking ship's tours, they guarantee the ship waits or the cruise line schedules and pays to get you to the next port. In some ports, especially on our longer cruises, paying the extra for a ship's tour is what I consider cheap insurance. Private tour operators will endeavour to get you back on time, but circumstance outside their control can result in missing the ship. Does it happen - most definitely yes, as I recall my days on the ships receiving calls on the Bridge advising the number of pax not back on board. When visiting our son in Victoria, we met 2 couples waiting for the ship, as they were on a tour in the last Alaska port and missed the ship. Had to fly to Seattle, then Victoria, joining the ship to pack and disembark the following day. During the planning process, we consider a number of ship and private tours and base the decision on a risk assessment and our interests. When the risk is too high such as considerable distance from the port (visiting Borobudur from Semarang) , crazy traffic (Java, KL, etc) or distance to next port (Nuku Hiva to Tahiti) we are happy to pay the ship a premium, considering the delta as cheap insurance. I believe the majority of Viking cruisers are well travelled and can make informed decisions regarding ship or private tours. We certainly don't consider Viking's tour marketing as trying to hook us into booking ship excursions exclusively. Since the OP mentioned they have 800 days with HAL, I suggest they are also well travelled and experienced in the pros/cons of various excursions.
  15. Great memories. In the oldie and definitely impossible category for me would be SS Uganda, affectionately know as "Ug tug" and SS Oriana - my first 2 pax vessels.
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