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About lackcreativity

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Nottingham, MD
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  1. lackcreativity

    Viking Star - Current Mechanical Issues

    I really don't understand why people skip the sanitizer/hand washing. Even if you just washed your hands before you left your cabin on the way to your meal, you likely handled the railings and the buttons in the elevator on the way down. Even if I didn't care about other passengers, I surely don't want to spend any part of my vacation being sick!
  2. lackcreativity

    Viking Jupiter crash

    Sometimes it is difficult to sit at home and make sense of all the bits and pieces that we hear about an incident like this. Happy to learn that your early experience is good (as ours have been), and wishing you a very pleasant voyage.
  3. lackcreativity

    No more flexibility on final payment dates?

    Generally, I have not objected to the early final payment issues, but as we have started to look at booking multiple cruises, it does become more of a challenge. We only take one cruise a year, but we do book the veranda cabins and they fill up fast. I am looking at one for 2021, but already have one for 2020 that is due in April. If we can book the 2021 cruise while on board this spring with a six month final payment, then maybe we can go ahead with that. Who knew that having fun could be so complicated!
  4. lackcreativity

    Any tips for our first private tour - with Alla in St. Petersburg?

    Thank you all for the details of your experience. It does sound like we will have to get up pretty early to meet the tour group before 8:30, but I honestly expected that, and think it will be worth it. At least we have a day mostly at sea the next day to rest up before Stockholm!
  5. lackcreativity

    Any tips for our first private tour - with Alla in St. Petersburg?

    The group tour with Alla includes lunch every day, so that is already set. Plus, with the pace of this itinerary, I'll be looking forward to a chance to sit down for a bit! Do you recall what time you left the ship to arrive at the meeting place an hour early? Our meeting time is 8:30 am each day. How involved was the process to go through immigration?
  6. All of our previous tours have been with Viking, as we really like the convenience and have been satisfied with the tours. Combining their excursions with the free shuttles back to the ship has allowed us to do everything we wanted. For our visit to St. Petersburg beginning on May 1, we have booked Alla's Three Day Grand Tour. I think the tours begin at 8:30 each morning, so how early do we need to leave the ship to get through immigration? Any other advice that I might need would be appreciated.
  7. lackcreativity

    Purchasing Optional Excursions

    Also, if one of the optionals you want is sold out, select your second choice, but continue checking My Viking Journey regularly as sometimes spots open up as Viking adds a bus or people change their plans. Edit: I see you have already had this suggested to you in another thread. Good luck with your booking.
  8. lackcreativity

    Information Packs

    I didn't realize that GPS works in airplane mode. Thanks for the tip, it could come in handy in an emergency. The phone is so much easier to carry that it would be my preference, but the small screen is a struggle for me when using a map. I will usually carry the tablet around if we are planning to DIY, but when on an excursion we don't wander too far off the beaten path and my husband has an excellent memory for retracing our steps. (Except for that one time in Orvieto....)
  9. lackcreativity

    Viking Ocean Cruise Automatic Gratuity

    Just to be clear to others, the $180 quoted above was specific to your cruise, based on the number of days. The amount is different on My Viking Journey for our upcoming trip.
  10. lackcreativity

    How do we to book excursions?

    SoccerMom#3 : Yes, most would agree that you should book and pay for your optional excursions first, as you are guaranteed a spot on each included excursion, even though you are not guaranteed a particular time slot. Peregrina: You gave an excellent reminder in your first point that your spot on an excursion is not booked until it is paid for, just being in your cart is not enough. I recall a poster some months ago who learned that the hard way, and then kept expecting Viking to fix the problem. No amount of explaining would convince that person that the error was his.
  11. lackcreativity

    How do we to book excursions?

    With only two ocean cruises completed I'm not sure I count as an "old timer", and I don't want to know if I qualify for that title based on age alone! Since Viking does alter things quite frequently, your comments on a very recent experience are helpful, even to someone who has done it previously. The only thing I might add is that if an optional excursion you wanted has sold out and you book a second choice, do keep checking back on My Viking Journey. Viking will sometimes add extra buses or people will change their mind and spots may open up. Several optionals that were sold out at my booking time later had openings appear and I was able to make the change. Hope you enjoy your first Viking cruise as much as we did.
  12. lackcreativity

    Information Packs

    I agree, both high tech and old school have their value. It's not always convenient to pull our your tablet to figure out a direction, so I have sometimes printed maps too.
  13. lackcreativity

    Information Packs

    I like to download the Google city maps for our ports on my tablet so they can be used offline. I locate and star places of interest and possible restaurants if we will be eating there as well. You could do it on your phone, but that screen is too small for me to use a map. Lots of fun for me to pass the time anticipating a cruise, but you have to wait until close to sailing date to do the download as they only stay available for a set period of time before you would need to refresh the download.
  14. lackcreativity

    Little disappointed in Viking

    I'm quite curious, was this a last minute cruise for this year, or for 2020 or later? This would be a change from the stated requirement of 12 month final balance payment that has been in effect for US customers since the fall.
  15. lackcreativity

    St. Petersburg: Alla Tours vs. Viking Tours

    I have heard good things about TJ Travel as well, but I do think we will stick with our initial decision to go with Alla. I think that the ease of logistics for a smaller group will make up for the shorter visits at certain locations compared to the Viking tours. Thanks for taking the time to offer your suggestion.