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About retiredman

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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    Southern New Jersey
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    theater, music, dining, travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    like picking a favorite child
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Skagway, Alaska

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  1. Funny this topic just came up. Just last night I requested that the Venus be added to the roll call list. We are booked on the April 19th "British Isles Explorer" cruise.
  2. There is one difference in some DV1 cabin locations. If you prefer an aft location, which we wanted on our "Icelands Majestic Landscapes" cruise, your choice is a DV1 cabin or the very expensive ES2 cabins. We just enjoy the views from the stern while sailing the fjords.
  3. I believe it is a muster station?
  4. Like others have said, do not be afraid to ask for something not on the drink menu. The barmaid at the Viking bar made me an excellent espresso martini.
  5. I found this on Cruisemapper for the Venus: 7 day Inaugural Cruise (maiden voyage/relocation) from the Mediterranean to UK (from $2000 pp) Date / Time Port 26 Jan Departing from Barcelona, Spain 27 Jan Cartagena, Spain 28 Jan Malaga, Spain 30 Jan Vigo, Spain 01 Feb Portsmouth UK, England 02 Feb Arriving in Tilbury-London, England
  6. We just booked British Isles Explorer for April 19 2021. The brand new Venus! Originally priced a DV5 for the May 31st sailing, found I could get a PV1 for less money (and cheaper airfare) for the April sailing.
  7. Has anyone done the British Isles Explorer? We are considering booking that and would appreciate any comments.
  8. Generally 4 and or 6:30pm. Mostly 6:30, which can interfere with dinner at times. You can always catch up on the room television. On sea days, there were 9 and 10 am lectures, all well attended. Dr. Michael Fuller, the resident historian, is really entertaining. I found his lectures most enjoyable.
  9. I can't say I recall anyone discussing other tours in the Faroe Islands. Viking Tours were kind of limited, one reason why I booked the M&M Golden Circle Tour. It was pretty comprehensive and covered a good bit of the fjords. It lasted much longer than any of the offered ship tours. Whether or not you get the same guide as we had may be a chance you have to take. Its a shame because he really knew his subject, he just could not help the political talk.
  10. We also stayed at the Thon Terminus while in Oslo. It is convenient to the Central Station, has a terrific breakfast buffet, dinner buffet offerings are a bit sparse. We just missed the 90 degree days. I could not imagine sweating that out with no AC.
  11. OK, sadly I am not a note taker, and I will try to recall details from my frazzled brain as best as possible. Wife and I did our own two day pre cruise stop in Oslo. Oslo is a very cosmopolitan city in every sense of the word. It is said to be very walkable, but we found the street layouts confusing. Once we found our way to the Opera House (who knew it was only a couple of blocks from our Hotel) and enjoyed the beautiful views from the roof, we picked up the hop on hop off bus which stopped alongside the building. We found this to be the best option. We decided that the Viking Museum was a must see, and were not disappointed. The Viking ships and artifacts on display are in amazing condition considering they are over 1000 yrs old. From there we walked (could have waited for the hop on bus) the mile or so up the road to the Kon Tiki Museum. We found that to be really interesting as well.We enjoyed the bus ride through the city and got many picture taking opportunities. Had dinner in town and retired to the Hotel for an early morning wake up. Took the Oslo to Bergen train which left sometime after 8am. Buy your tickets ahead of time! It sells out! The trip lasts about 6.5 hrs but seems to fly once the scenery begins. At the Bergen station, we grabbed a taxi which got us to the ship way before the Viking busloads of fellow train travelers. Embarkation was quick and easy. The Ship is spotless and amazing! Crew is outstanding. We explored the ship for the rest of the day and relaxed form our journey. Day two in Bergen we opted for the included "Panoramic Bergen Shore Excursion". We were pleasantly surprised with the tour and happy with it. It left us time to explore Bergen on our own though the lines for the Funicular were WAY too long, it being a beautiful clear day (unusual for Bergen). In Flam, we took the "Full Day Railroad Journey to Voss " excursion. We liked that very much. Beautiful scenery, and a nice lunch at the Hotel Stalheim, which has the most unbelievable view! The bus descent down the mountain is an adventure in itself. 13 switchbacks within a mile! I believe it was a bit more than 30% grade. The rear of the bus was 7 foot higher than the front. Be for warned: if you have a deathly fear of heights, this trip may be a bad idea. Many of the tours are on small mountain switchback roads, hugging the sides of cliffs with no barriers. In Alesund, we took the Viator "Fjords to Trolls" tour. It is the same tour Viking offers but maybe $100 less per person. Better yet, you are in a small group van with the personal guide leaving the big full size Viking buses behind. This is true with all the private tours. Generally you can beat the crowds or the driver can change the itinerary around to avoid them. Way better option. In Geiranger, we took the included "Eagles Bend Overlook & Panoramic Drive" The clouds were low in the Fjord that morning and sadly we could not see much from the overlook. But we ascended up the mountain to a glacier spot that was most interesting. On the way back down (switchbacks!) we did manage to get some great photo ops of the Ship in the Fjord.Sailing out that evening, Captain Willassen, probably feeling sorry for the morning fog, performed a slow 360 degree turn in the fjord alongside two beautiful waterfalls! What a nice gesture! I believe I have already commented on the Faroe Islands M&M Tours "Golden Circle". Loved the tour but the political commentary was way over the top. Seydisfjordur. We added the Viking "Skalanes Nature & Heritage Center" excursion at the last minute and were glad we did. We did not see as much wildlife as we hoped but it was beautiful, and a bit of an adventure. A wonderful tour guide who works at the center was just delightful. Akureyri, we took the Saga tours 'Lake Myvatn. These ports in Iceland are all about the scenery and this did not disappoint. We saw a Game of Thrones shooting location! Just spectacular scenery and Saga Geo Iceland does a fantastic job! Do not hesitate to use them, you will not be disappointed. Isafjordur, we took the Wild Westfjords "Dynjandi Waterfall & The Westfjords" Again, these are small group excursions that you can do for a fraction of the cost of Viking. Our driver and guide immediately determined the amount of people headed to the falls that morning. We (maybe 15 people) got there before anyone else. We had the falls to ourselves and they are beautiful. It is much easier to hike up towards the top of the falls if there are fewer people. By the time we were ready to leave, numerous buses had arrived and the place was a mob scene. We went on to more beautiful scenery. Reykjavik, we had booked Saga GeoIceland "Golden Circle" tour. Sadly the two weeks had caught up with us. My wife had developed a "Cruise Cough" and the thought of spending 8 hours in a tour van seemed kind of selfish to other travelers. We knew we had to pack up that day, it was cold and windy outside, so we elected not to go. I guess we will have to check out Reykjavik another time. Although after experiencing that airport, maybe the worst I have been to (more of a shopping mall than an airport), I may pass. Hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did ours.
  12. Well we disembark tomorrow. So sad to be leaving this outstanding Ship. We have kept a pretty hectic pace, and when I get home and have time I will comment more in detail about our tours. Let me just say we have been more than pleased with our choices. This has been a wonderful itinary with just out of this world scenery. We have also been blessed with overall good weather, but be warned, Iceland can get COLD!
  13. I have to "grade with a curve", I realize they are cooking for 900 people. I would be astonished if it was better than what I have had at any smaller seafood eatery. It just would not be fair to compare it to some of our Jersey Shore favorites.
  14. Yesterday in Torshavn, Faroe Islands we did the Golden Circle tour by M&M Tours. There was a minor mix up at the Port when the Viking personnel directed us to a shuttle bus to take us to the bus depot at the entrance of the port. We ended up having to take the shuttle back to the Ship where the M&M Tour bus was boarding . A minor inconvenience. As far as I can tell, Viking does not offer a tour as extensive. We travelled to a number of small villages situated in incredible scenic but harsh locations. Sheep and goats EVERYWHERE! The weather can change at the drop of a dime. Come prepared! We stopped at a village of maybe 30 people at the foot of an inlet, the temp my have been 42* f, wind whipping, fine, cold rain blowing, and some local is in a Speedo swimming! Picture moment for sure. As far as the tour, scenery was spectacular, but the tour guide (who had been a politician and talk show host), would ramble on about politics, conservative viewpoints, and every kind of hot plate topic you can think of. Now, I may have agreed with a lot of his positions, but I am not on vacation to listen to his ramblings. Even after someone finally protested, he just could not help himself and would drift back to politically incorrect topics! It made for a long day. It's a shame because he really knows the islands and their history. If only be would stick to that topic. So book at your own risk. The bus was beautiful, A nice lunch was provided, but you may get Rush Limbaugh as a tour guide!
  15. I hate to disappoint people but.... Last night was Lobster night in The Restaurant. We found it disappointing. Granted, it is very hard to cook lobster for hundreds of people. What they do is remove the claws and boil, split the body and broil. Crack the claws and place on the plate with the broiled, split body. Our claws were mushy and over cooked, the tails were small and overcooked. Sorry but this is the one thing we thought Viking fell below grade with on this cruise. It is not a game changer, but just a bit disappointing. It would be much easier (and more expensive for them) to just have nice size TAILS, broiled with drawn butter. Results in my opinion, would be greatly improved and appreciated.
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