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loriva

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Everything posted by loriva

  1. A lovely ESB from Timothy Taylor. If they sold Boltmaker onboard a VO ship, I'd never get DH out of the lounge and off the ship!
  2. Wow, these prices are very reasonable for a ship! (And very different from Viking River--I remember each t-shirt was $4 and trousers $10.) Has me rethinking my DIY laundry strategy!
  3. Is Viking still giving galley tours post-COVID? @oskidunker would love to hear if you learn anything on this. We're on a different ship (all identical on physical plant, I know) and itinerary on our first cruise with VO in May, but would be interested in this option, if available. I presume it's something you sign up for at Guest Services?
  4. Someone on CC.com recommended the website "Euronews" as a good source for information on travel strikes. https://www.euronews.com/travel/travel-news is devoted to all travel news. You can also do a web search for "Euronews" and the country of interest for news specific to that location. A search for "Germany" picks up a couple of articles about the planned strike: https://www.euronews.com/news/europe/germany
  5. https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1468 Cruise Critic defines as "Contemporary Luxury and the Upscale Cruise Lines" Major Players: Azamara, Oceania Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises Why They Are Luxurious: The cruise industry can't agree on a collective name for these lines that skirt the edges of luxury. They might be referred to as "contemporary luxury," "upscale," "ultra-premium" or "luxury-lite." The lines themselves are quite different from each other, too, but we group them together because they offer a mix of mainstream cruise hallmarks (more a la carte pricing and smaller cabins) and luxurious attractions, such as destination-intensive itineraries with plenty of overnights, intimate and adult-oriented ships and top-notch dining. Typically, pricing is somewhere in between the premium lines, such as Holland America or Celebrity Cruises, and the traditional luxury lines, such as Regent or Silversea (though this varies based on cabin class and itinerary).
  6. Transfers everywhere are potentially crazy these days. Hope things will start settling down as we move farther away from the COVID shutdown. We went through Frankfurt (outbound and return) in June 2022 and it was a nightmare--missed both of our connecting flights. (We booked independently so cannot answer your question on what help Viking Air would provide.) We did it again in December and it was a breeze. So, your mileage may definitely vary. What may be a bigger factor is the timeliness record of your inbound flight to Frankfurt. You can sign up for a free account on FlightAware and see the records on reliability (average delay) on your flights. You can also sign up for notifications that will keep you advised on the day of your flight (when the pilot files a flight plan, any delays or gate changes, etc.) If your flight has a bad track record of delays, you might want to ask Viking Air to put you on a later connecting flight. (Of course, the connecting flight could also be consistently delayed.) Finally, if you do find yourself with a considerable connecting time in Frankfurt, you can consider going to sign up for the German EasyPASS Registered Traveler Program. This will allow U.S. (and other non-EU citizens with an e-Passport) to use the EU e-Gates in Frankfurt (and other German airports) rather than the non-EU lanes. You'll need to exit the secure area of the terminal and make your way to the German Customs Service at Terminal 1, Hall B, Level 3, at the entrance to the Skyline. The service office opening hours: Monday to Sunday 0630 - 2130 hours. We did this in December when we had a long layover and the time from our arrival gate, getting to the office, and back to the departure lounge was about 45 minutes. If it saves us time on future trips though FRA (we have one in October), it will have been time well spent!
  7. Thank you for your review. I really enjoyed reading your views and those of others new and old to Viking Ocean as we prepare for our first cruise with VO in May. Like others, we are in search of a new cruise line to replace our loyalty to Princess. We enjoyed Princess to the Elite level and then the ships kept getting too big (our favorite was the old Pacific, one of the former Renaissance ships) and onboard experience declined. We've tried Regent and Oceania with VO up next. We've always been itinerary driven (something Princess has been very good at) in choosing a cruise so may continue to try different lines. We traveled with Viking River for the first time in December 2022 on a "Christmas on the Elbe" sailing. Other than the smaller cabin, we thought Viking was the equal on food, excursions, and other experiences as our previous (all post COVID shutdown) river cruises with Crystal and Scenic. Looking forward to sailing with VO. We're on their "Viking Homelands" itinerary, so thinking that should give the line a chance to really shine. Thanks again to all for many interesting posts--I've learned a lot!
  8. Thanks for the interesting and helpful tips! We will be on the Viking extension from Bergen to Oslo after our "Viking Homelands" cruise in early May. Viking notified us about a month ago that we will not be staying at the Thon Opera Hotel. Instead, Viking's included hotel will be the Radisson Blu Plaza. According to Google Maps, it is on the north side of the Central Train Station instead of the south like the Thon. They are only about 1/2 mile (750 meters) distant from each other, so not a great change in distance. Might miss out on view from the Thon Opera over the harbor.
  9. Where did you dock? It looks like sometimes it is Eidfjord and sometimes Flåm. According to Google maps the two are 71 miles (114km) apart. Would not want someone docking in Eidfjord expecting to find a ticket booth for the Flåm railway very close to the dock if that is not the case. Please clarify.
  10. The one @janetcbl mentioned is also an option from Eidfjord on our upcoming "Homelands" itinerary. Both are $259/pp. We do not have the option of "Full-Day Railway Journey to Voss," in the quoted post, as the Viking Jupiter does not call at Flåm on our "Homelands" sailing. Here's the description of the "Voss, Geilo, & Bergen Railway" from MVJ: "Scenic Drive and Rail Journey Through Norway’s Stunning Landscape. Begin your journey by deluxe motor coach, crossing over Norway’s longest suspension bridge and the Hardangerfjord. Pass through the idyllic village of Ulvik, known for its fruit cultivation and agricultural school. Zigzag through mountainside orchards along hairpin roads on a lakeside drive to Skjervsfossen Waterfall. Stop to admire the scenery before descending into Voss, where you will board a train and continue your journey on the famous Bergen Railway. Admire the views as you climb the mountain pass to Geilo, where you will be served a delicious lunch. Continue by coach through the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, and begin your descent through the dramatic Måbødalen valley. Stop at the Fossli Hotel to admire the spectacular scenery of this valley shaped by glaciers and rivers. Head through the tunnels to Upper Eidfjord, past the blue-green lake and toward the head of the Hardangerfjord to your awaiting ship." Unlike the Flåm excursion, this one is not showing as sold out for our 01 May sailing--which is now open for booking by all cabin categories. So, it could be an option for you. Or as @Peregrina651 noted, you can keep checking to see if anything opens up on MVJ or when you board. (We booked ours when excursions opened up for the PV category last month.)
  11. This is the description of the excursion--from Eidfjord as @janetcbl mentioned--from MVJ: "The Scenic Flåm Railroad -- Through Fjords and Over Mountains by Road and Rail Marvel at Norway’s stunning beauty during a full-day excursion to Flåm, one of its most-scenic coastal villages. You will find the countryside as breathtaking as your destination while riding by motor coach from the shores of Hardangerfjord to Sognefjord, crossing scenic mountain passes and driving through manmade tunnels en route. Travel through picturesque woodland to the Tvinde Waterfall cascading down the steep cliffside. After a short stroll close to the waterfall, continue to Flåm. Then, board the Flåm Railway for a thrilling ride as you climb nearly 3,000 feet through 20 tunnels and over numerous bridges. Change trains at Myrdal and continue through more spectacular vistas, alighting in Voss, settled among snowcapped mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers. Stop for a delicious lunch at its famous hotel before returning to your ship, seeing more beautiful scenery via motor coach." It is sold out for our Viking Homelands voyage starting 01 May. I'm not sure, however, if it sold out during the period when PVs were allowed to book or once DVs could do so. I believe shorex bookings are now open to all categories on our sailing.
  12. Interesting that Regent only provides the Bulgari to the top suites. Its little sister, Oceania, provides it as the standard product in all staterooms. Maybe "Green Tea" is a lesser line for Bulgari? And the shampoo and body wash is a combined product--so shampoo/body wash, conditioner, and body lotion (three) provided instead of four.
  13. @clelbonv-- There is a roll call for our sailing here This is typically where those on the same sailing discuss excursions and plan private ones. The latter is less likely on Regent due to the included excursions and on all lines post-COVID. Come on over and join us!
  14. DH has never been to Stockholm before, so we're opting to do the "Old Town by Foot" tour on Day Two. The Vasa Museum tour through Viking is $229/pp versus the $18 admission fee. We can take the public ferry from the island where the museum is located back to the hotel area to include the "by boat" part of the Viking optional tour and have a couple hundred per person left over. (Which has not stopped others--the tour on our 01 May departure is sold out. We've always been DIY people.) The three couples in our group are in different cabin categories. The one in the highest category tried to invite the four of us in lower categories via our booking numbers, but MVJ would not let them do so. They called Viking but it was also a no-go. We were told to book shared tables for the same date/times and then the reservations could be combined onboard. Which is why boarding late has me nervous, especially as there do not appear to be a lot of six-tops in the alternative restaurants per other posters on the boards. Oh, well.
  15. A question for those who have done the Viking Homelands itinerary. We board the Viking Jupiter in Stockholm. We are flying in (independent air) the day before. What is the earliest time we can expect to board? (Not access our cabin, just arrive at the cruise terminal for boarding.) To explain my query--because our flight into Stockholm arrives in the late afternoon, our only time to visit the Vasa Museum is the day we board the ship. Trying to figure out which is the better plan--leave our luggage at the hotel (Hilton Slussen) when we check out and then retrieve it en route to the terminal after the museum?OR head to the cruise terminal early, drop our luggage, check in, and then go out to the museum? If we do the latter, is there any place on the ship to leave carry-on luggage (roller boards)? (We've been on some ships that provide this service in the theater or other venue when accessing cabins is later in the day.) Leaving the bags at the hotel seems like an easier plan to me, but I've read so much on the VO boards about needing to board as early as possible to book restaurants, cooking classes, etc. that I'm a little nervous about not boarding until mid-afternoon if we do the museum first (does not open until 1000 hours.) We have booked our alternative restaurants, but the on-line reservation system would not let us combine our reservations with the other two couples in our sailing party (despite the "Invite" button.) Obviously, no worries about missing the ship as it remains overnight.
  16. loriva

    Pool

    Add pool water temperature to the long list of things that are subjective. Living in Florida, we don't consider getting in the water unless it's at least 85 degrees F (about 30 C)!
  17. We had the same experience as @Woofaon our Riviera cruise 20 February to 02 March. The grill at the Terrace Cafe was closed for two nights for a Mexican-themed buffet. Instead, they used that area to offer churros. We did eat in the TC on other nights when the grill was open and enjoyed the lobster tails. They are not actually advertised on the grill menu, so thanks CC.com contributors for letting us know aouut that option. We also enjoyed the new pizza in Waves Grill after 1800 hours. We watched the chef cut the tomatoes and assemble the caprese--very fresh and delicious. Jacques (which had restocked escargots, although they were not on the printed menu) was the most successful of the specialty restaurants. Red Ginger a close second. Toscana was mixed. My lobster fra diavlo had mushy lobster and was missing any spice in the sauce. DH had a swordfish dish (a special, I think) and it was excellent. Polo Grill was the least successful--DH's NY strip was thin and overcooked. (We brought a bottle of wine to match each specialty restaurant onboard--a malbec for Polo, for example--and paid the corkage, so cannot comment on wine offerings.) One tip: if you like to play the evening trivia (2030 hours on our sailing), you need to book a table for two at 1830 hours in the specialties. And let the staff know you want to be finished by a certain time. One thing that really surprised us. We went to the Odyssey dinner in La Reserve. A lovely talk by the executive chef describing the menu, and the food was excellent. There was not, however, a real sommelier present to describe and serve the wine. Instead, it was a head waiter/supervisor from the Terrace Cafe. He was unable to answer some of the questions about the wine from a guest at our table. Given the tie-in with Wine Spectator, I'd have expected the presence of a true sommelier.
  18. Is there a prohibition against using OBC from booking onboard to pay for the SSBP or gratuities? We're taking our first VO in May and I had planned to book onboard and then use the OBC toward these charges.
  19. No Veuve Clicquot included in our Christmas on the Elbe Viking cruise in December. I would have had a lot more Champagne on the cruise if so...
  20. I think @millybessmay have answered my question on this but will ask anyway. We have only sailed with Viking River, not VO--but will do our first cruise with the latter in May. On VR we had the SSBP and they presented us with a list of bottles of wine every night. We selected the one we wanted (I believe the price limit was up to $75) and they opened it and poured us glasses. Never a charge that I'm aware of. Is this a difference between Viking River and Ocean? Or could it be the size of our group? We were six at a table, so finished off each new bottle at the meal.
  21. Looking at another post, it looks like $500 is a standard book onboard discount. Plus we'd receive some additional OBC for our upcoming VO cruise plus for the new one. So, looks like waiting until we are onboard is the better deal.
  22. That offer results in a $500/pp discount (plus $200 past passenger discount that would apply to any new Viking booking). How does that compare to the "book on board" discount? We're sailing with VO in May and trying to decide if we should book this offer or wait until on board.
  23. I'd definitely second Taste of Prague. We did it in October 2021. We also sent friends who were visiting Prague in October 2022 on the tour and they loved it as well. The company also sends you restaurant and other recommendations for Prague, which we used on our repeat visit to Prague last December.
  24. We did this prior to a cruise in October 2021. Easy to book on the website provided. I'll second the word of warning on luggage. They do not post the platform for the train until about 10-15 minutes prior to departure. Then you have to get yourself from the central waiting hall to the platform. As far as we could tell, there were only stairs from the hall running to all the platforms--about two flights' worth--no elevators. It was a challenge to get the bags up--one person had to go up with one big bag while the other waited with the rest and then repeated the process until we had it all up. We ended up cutting it close to be on board the train before departure. The station in Budapest did have an elevator. Given the length of the journey, we opted to book First Class. It was not that expensive as I recall. The Eurojet train was not that fancy, but the seats were two-by-two instead of three-by-three in Second Class. No food or drink included, but a trolley did come along selling Czech beers (of course) and snacks. The train ride itself had lovely scenery, including a long stretch along the Danube.
  25. In Prague, we have stayed at the Alcron (wonderful service, restaurant, and bar) and the Marriott (used by Viking--plus very close to public transportation at Republic Square and the Municipal House for performances). In Budapest we stayed at the Ritz Carlton. It was used by Crystal Cruises, but we booked independently with Bonvoy points.
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