Everything posted by Etexvrc
We've been on 5 VOC. Would have to agree with Richard2 in that Homelands was great (our first), but our most recent Iceland trip was outstanding. In order of our enjoyment, 1) Homelands, 2&3 (Tie) Iceland & Australia/NZ, 4) Kiel Canal 5)West Indies. I think that the Homelands give the most 'experience' for the money. In other words, you visit several different countries in a whirlwind two week trip. It was our first experience in Norway and fell in love with the country (have been back several times, both with & without Viking). Estonia was a stop that we may have never enjoyed had it not been for the Homelands cruise. Iceland is simply incredible! We have traveled all over and have never seen natural scenery/beauty like that! We will return. Like many others here, we are scheduled to cruise South America in December (Santiago -> BA) so this list/order may change.
We've cruised on the Star, Sun, Sky and (most recent) Orion. Starting their first year (2015). We've seen 'improvements' along the way. Some for the better, some not so favorably. But all are minor changes that we enjoy noticing. Little things like..... On the Star, their first ship, the drains for the showers in the spa dressing room wasn't designed with enough capacity so they tended to 'overflow'. But nothing a few towels couldn't take care of, and has been improved on other newer ships. On the Sun (I believe) they had installed automatic, powered curtain closers/openers. IMO more of a problem than a convenience. Only one ship we have been on had this feature. Probably a short-lived experiment. On the Orion the addition of the planetarium was a big plus, although a couple of the scheduled shows could be improved. One in particular 'Mission to Mars' I believe was the title, was more geared to something that would be enjoyed by a teenager than the typical Viking cruiser. Sometimes the Wintergarden on deck 7 is not as cold temperature-wise than other ships. We enjoyed the chocolate fest on the Orion (our last cruise in Dec 2018) and hope it's incorporated into all ships! As a photographer, the photos used during the port talks were distracting bad. Color saturation is WAY off. Beautiful photographs ruined by color manipulation. (I nit pick, I know) The menu at Manfretti's changed ever so slightly. Still very good (my favorite specialty restaurant), but our first couple of cruises was better. Hope they return to that original menu. We LOVE Viking Ocean cruising, and none of the above diminishes that love. It just gives each Viking ship it's own unique personality. We are excited about boarding the Sky in about 4 days to see what changes are on that ship.
Need to vent just a bit.... Six months ago (Jan 2018) I booked our 5th & 6th Ocean cruise with Viking. Iceland's Majestic & South American cruises. Bought trip insurance (1st time to purchase it) on both trips. The South American cruise is Dec, 2019, currently a year and a half from when I write this. After thinking about and discussing with wife we considered canceling the S.A. trip. (We got a child starting college....) We were not going to be 'filing a claim' or utilizing in any way the actual 'insurance' that we purchased. This was strictly a voluntary trip cancellation. Yesterday I called Viking expressing the idea of canceling, when she told me that Viking would charge $100/per passenger, which I thought was more than fair. Then she told me our entire insurance premium of $1,838 is non-refundable. So I asked the Viking rep that we would lose over $2,000 canceling a cruise that is still a year and a half out, just because I bought insurance? Her answer was "That's correct". I will be the first to say this is all out of my area of expertise, and maybe I'm looking at this in a completely wrong way. But in my simple mind here is how I see an analogy. If I purchase a home and at the same time I also purchase insurance on this home. And the insurance I buy is a 24 month policy that I pay in one lump sum on day 1. Six months later I sell this home. Would I not be entitled to a return of principle (or a refund) on the remaining, unused 18 months of insurance considering that I'm no longer the owner of this asset? This morning I've talked with 'TripMate' (the insurance company Viking uses for this) and the rep (who really didn't know the answer and had to put me on hold to 'ask a supervisor') and said that that is the case. I would lose the entire premium ($1,838) paid up front. It is not prorated. We are still booked on the cruise and will not cancel because I'm not going to forfeit over $2,000 just for having a cruise booked for six months (and is still 18 months away)! Just trying to wrap my head around all this. Thanks for letting me 'vent'. We still LOVE Viking........BUT.........IMO, DON'T BUY TRIP INSURANCE THROUGH VIKING.