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About lackcreativity

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    Nottingham, MD
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  1. I cannot image a situation where I would choose such a restrictive diet as a whole food, plant based, no oil diet, nor do I wish to be persuaded of the benefits of doing so. However, for my own education, can someone describe to me one of their favorite meals that meets those requirements? Thanks for sharing.
  2. We were just there a week ago Sunday, and were fortunate to miss that. There was a bit of a crowd, and even a few selfies, but no sprawling on the steps, thank goodness!
  3. Or the on board experience, which makes any pre-cruise frustrations worth the aggravation.
  4. I will not dispute that Viking has more than its fair share of "technical issues". However, a part of the problem with the Alhambra is the limited number of tickets available across all tour groups. It is one more place that is plagued by the popularity of the location (and it is indeed spectacular). Viking has to compete with all the other cruise ships, land based tours, and independent travelers for a portion of the available tickets. It would be a small consolation for someone who has never seen the Alhambra, but there is a wonderful 11th century Moorish palace/fort called the Alcazaba in Malaga that is worth a visit. It is a huge complex, and the palace is much smaller that the Alhambra, but similar in style. It is a bit of a hike to the top, but I think there is an elevator as well. There is a wonderful view of the city from the top, and a Roman amphitheater right at the base. Malaga was a delightful surprise on our Trade Routes of the Middle Ages cruise. I would be happy to get back there.
  5. I realize that opinions regarding food are subjective, but my husband and I do not share your opinion. Nor, do I image, do the majority of the tens of thousands of repeat Viking river cruisers. In response to the original poster, there is a difference between an ocean and a river cruise in terms of the schedule of food availability. Our river cruise experience tends to be early to bed and early to rise, as excursions often require you to get an early start to the day. After a day of touring and a nice leisurely dinner with new friends, things wrap up early. We never went hungry!
  6. We have completed three ocean cruises, all in the Veranda cabins, and have been very satisfied with our ability to get the excursions we wanted. We usually are flexible in our choices, and have been closed out of a few, but some of those we were able to sign up for after spots opened up later. Times for the included excursions may not always be your first choice, but you are guaranteed a spot on those. If there is a particular excursion that is a "must see" for you , then there are usually private tours available. We did book an independent group tour for our three days in St. Petersburg, as I didn't want to risk being shut out there. Other than that, we have always used Viking's tours and have not been disappointed with our mix of some included and some optional excursions. For us, it would not be worth booking a more expensive cabin just for that reason.
  7. Our first Viking cruise, Empires of the Mediterranean, was originally scheduled to begin in Istanbul. After a series of incidents there, the itinerary was changed. Our cruise was still some distance out, but there were earlier sailings that would have been impacted as well. In our case, Viking was very helpful in adjusting our plans. I remember reading at the time that Viking worked with people who already had air booked, and even those who were arriving early on their own. Most seemed satisfied with the alternate plans and any reimbursements that were required. I was certainly disappointed to miss Istanbul, but things happen and adaptations have to be made. Wishing the people of Hong Kong and all who wish to travel there a reasonable resolution to the troubles there.
  8. We are heading to Boston this weekend to visit our son, who has just moved to Brookline from Cambridge. So much to choose from, I'm not sure yet what we will do, but hope to get back to the Gardner this time. Would also like to make a return visit to see the restored version of the Ware Exhibit of glass flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. We have to pass the time until our next Viking cruise in April!
  9. A personal favorite in Boston is the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum. The building itself is a real treat, built in the style of a Venetian palazzo. It is accessible by the T, but there is a walk from the nearest stop. It is also only a 5-10 minute walk from the Museum of Fine Arts, so if art is your thing, you can make a day of it!
  10. I also expect that Viking uses this policy to finance the expansion of their fleet of ships. Our difference of opinion is that I do not object to the small loss of interest I would earn on that payment for 9 months. While Viking may have plenty of river ships, they still have only a small number of ocean ships and manage to keep them pretty full. No one can predict how many more years of travel are in their future, so the faster they can build them the better for me. I wish to visit ports not regularly visited by Viking, and I hope they will offer new itineraries with these additional ships. I know there are plenty of other good cruise lines out there, but Viking suits us perfectly and I don't wish to gamble my one annual vacation with another line I may not like as much. Fortunately, most of us here are lucky enough to select the line that works for us. I am not sure why this debate regarding the payment requirements of Viking continues to crop up.
  11. I am thrilled to see the clarification regarding curling irons. I am not usually a rule breaker, so I won't admit whether my curling iron accompanied me on past cruises (saved for my most desperate hair days, of course), but I am glad to know that I can be guilt-free on future cruises!
  12. We don't get any restaurant reservation options until we are on board, and it still works well for us. We like to coordinate our dining plans with what is taking place on the ship as far as enrichment lectures and shows. We have always been able to get several specialty restaurant reservations once onboard. Trying to match our schedule with the menu in Chef's Table gets complicated (loved Sweet & Salty, the Mexican, and want to try Lotus), but we have mostly liked all our meals there anyway. If you want to make additional reservations after embarkation, work on that early in the cruise, as things do tend to book up towards the end. On the other hand, people change reservations throughout, so you can always check for last minute spots too. Enjoy!
  13. I agree with your entire post, but these parts especially. We always book a Veranda cabin, wishing to spread our travel dollars to cover more cruises, not more expensive cabins. We love the feeling that once we walk out our cabin door, we enjoy the same experience as everyone else. We accept the potential problems with booking excursions, and have never had a problem finding an enjoyable meal once on the ship. I know that some optional excursions may not be open to us, and we will either choose something else, or make outside arrangements. The issue under discussion at the start of this thread focused on a new and different problem, where the actual booking system is not functioning properly. Guests in all cabin levels expect reasonable access to excursion booking when their time comes, and I expect that Viking will get this issue sorted out quickly. At least, I hope so!
  14. TravelingT, That is certainly a disappointing response from Viking. I hope you can find a cruise to Egypt that will suit you. I'm honestly not sure I would choose Viking if I had your experience.
  15. https://www.venetoinside.com/attraction-tickets-in-veneto/tickets/st-marks-bell-tower-skip-the-line-entry/ We have been to Venice three times, all on escorted land tours. Most sites in Venice we visited as part of these tours. On the last trip, we broke off from the group when they were visiting places we had seen previously. That's when we went to the top of the Campanile. It has been several years since then, but I think the website above looks very familiar. I even remember their warnings about nonrefundable tickets, and not to be late etc. The cost is only 13 euros each, so it's not a big investment. The elevator is a real plus, as we usually are unable/unwilling to climb a ridiculous number of steps to reach these special views.
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