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Everything posted by sleepybobo

  1. Nice to know the air portion of the fare can be fully refunded. This way I can pretty much lock in the price of airfare. I booked our 2021 cruise onboard, may be that’s why final payment is due 6 months prior without me even asking.
  2. I also found Viking’s final payment policy all over the place. For my first VO cruise in 2017, final payment was due six months prior to departure. For my second one this year, it was due a year prior. For the next one in 2021, it’s back to 6 months prior. For my last two cruises, pricing change worked to my favor. Prices went up after I booked both times. So I felt comfortable to commit early. With the next one, I’m not so sure. It seems demand has gone down on even the more popular itineraries. Will watch more closely. I really hope Viking can have some sort of lowest-price guarantee with a reasonable adjustment fee for people who book a year or two in advance. Wishful thinking I know. A question on Viking Air, is there any cancellation fee if we decide to book our own? For my 2021 Alaska cruise, the airfare from east coast is $599 which is lower than what I can find from my quick research even with the $100 deviation fee. But if I end up finding a better deal, can I cancel without paying any cancellation fee?
  3. I booked my May 2021 Alaska sailing while onboard this spring. I called Viking to ask about the anniversary sale out of curiosity. The discount is $250 pp for V1 category. If I cancel and rebook, I would lose the onboard discount. So it isn’t worth the effort for me to cancel and rebook now. I have to say I was not impressed by the snarky tone from the Viking agent over the phone once he learnt that I have a booking and was just calling to inquire about the anniversary sale. I guess I’ll monitor pricing on Viking website more closely. As the economic news are getting crazier and gloomier, who knows if Viking will cut pricing due to lower than expected demand?
  4. Xiang is Hunan cuisine, which is close to Sichuan cuisine. Think mapo tofu and hot beef stew. It’s spicy, but not necessary hot. More tingling numbing sensation on the tongue than fire in your mouth.
  5. @cocopico Absolutely amazing pictures. Really enjoy your website. Thanks for sharing.
  6. Both Into the Midnight Sun and Iceland’s Majestic Landscapes are on my wish list. I also like Trade Routes and Greek Odyssey. I’ve done two VO cruises - Venice, the Adriatic Sea & Greece and Russia & the Baltic Sea. Both were wonderful. The Adriatic Sea was more memorable because we were blessed with nearly perfect weather and it was our first Viking cruise.
  7. @Pushka - I’ve been following your reviews with great interest as I booked a cruise to Alaska with VO. I sailed with Viking twice before and enjoyed both times. I understand your frustration on the delay in embarkation and tendering process. We pay a premium price to Viking so we naturally want Viking to meet our expectations. I sound like a broken record. But what you experienced on Orion was not a typical Viking journey. Instead of cancelling and losing $1k, may be you can consider switching to a tried and proven itinerary, such as Norway, Baltic or the Mediterranean? If Europe doesn’t strike your fancy, a different ship may be? Your comments are very specific to Vancouver, Alaska ports and Orion. So you may have a totally different experience with another Viking ship to a different destination.
  8. @hofrances I had a similar experience. I booked a future cruise onboard and transferred the booking to my TA after coming back from the cruise. I asked my TA to change the date of sailing. At first my TA told me the onboard discount would be forfeited if I changed the date. I stressed to her that we were told by the cruise consultant to book any sailing onboard to secure the discount. In fact, I knew people booked a river cruise with the intention to change to a future ocean cruise. My TA talked to her Viking liaison again and was able to change the date of my booking and keep the onboard discount.
  9. I understand Viking has a steep learning curve on new markets, such as Alaska and Cuba. Viking still needs to fine tune onshore excursion arrangements. But why would dinning staff service on Orion be subpar? I’m quite puzzled. Orion is no longer a brand new ship. So the staff on the ship should already have plenty of experience working on the ship together. I was on the Sun’s maiden voyage in 2017 and came back from Jupiter in May. Both ships had fewer sailings than Orion now has when I cruised on them. I experienced no service issue. In general, Orion seems to have more average/negative reviews than her sister ships. I noted Orion tends to sail in “newer” markets, such as Asia and Alaska. Hopefully all the issues noted will get sorted out as Viking gets more experience in those markets.
  10. We were in V1 (forward, portside) on Deck 3 twice before. We did hear engine noise once and noise from the theatre every night. Nothing from Torshavn. The shows usually ended by 10:30, which was before our bedtime. So we were not too bothered. If you go to bed early, V1 on deck 3 may be problematic.
  11. I was on the Sun’s maiden voyage. I did have concern about “new ship smell” or the staff not being ready when I booked the cruise. I’m glad to say the Sun was ready for her maiden voyage. Everything was pristine. We actually would like to do another maiden voyage shall an opportunity comes up. P.S. There’s no new ship smell. Lol
  12. Following. I took VO twice. Enjoyed both times. I book a cruise to Alaska in May 2031 with Viking. So far, the reviews on the Alaska itinerary have not been great. I’d love to hear your comparison.
  13. If you are not happy with the alternative that Viking comes up with and decide to cancel. Wouldn’t travel insurance cover unexpected event like this?
  14. I understand your frustration. Viking’s Alaska sailings are priced at premium, even after consideration of included excursions and drinks during meal time. It’s a premium that I’m willing to pay because I like the ship, food and service. Tendering in 3 out of 6 ports is not ideal. It’s puzzling why Orion is having such trouble in managing the tendering process given how it was handled efficiently in the past. Tendering process and delay in embarkation aside, how do you like the cruise thus far? Is local specialty, such as salmon, crabs, served?
  15. I cruised the Alaska Inside Passage with Celebrity in 2010. The ship docked at all ports, including Ketchikan and Juneau. So I didn’t thought of tendering when I booked an Alaska cruise in 2021 with Viking. Hopefully the tendering process in this sailing will improve as Viking gains more experience in Alaska.
  16. We were on Deck 3 forward twice - 7-night Adriatic Sea and 10-night Baltic Sea. We were awaken by loud thumping noise around sunrise when the ship docked only once. That probably was just an isolated incident. We experienced noise from the theatre. Fortunately, evening shows always ended by 10:30, which was before our bedtime. So we were not bothered. We tendered in Kotor two years ago. It was an efficient process with more than one tender boats being utilized.
  17. Thanks for the clarification. My TA offered me $100 OBC per person for my next 11-day VO cruise. We booked V1 category. So I’m wondering if I can do better than that when I saw your post saying OBC has jumped.
  18. The Hermitage is definitely worth re-visiting. Ideally, I’d love to go independently at my own pace. But given the size of the place and crowd, it’s challenging not to join a tour unless extended research and planning was done ahead of the trip. Agree with you that Viking could cut one stop from the included Bornholm tour so that people have more time exploring the town. The two stops are very similar anyway. Tip: As mentioned by the OP, the sail away/in from/to Stockholm is not to be missed. For this itinerary from Copenhagen to Stockholm, the ship starts to slow down at around 2pm the day she sails to Stockholm, Explorers Lounge is the place to be to soak in the scenic views of the Archipelago.
  19. Could you post the link stating max of $1000 OBC? I only managed to get $400 ($200 past guest discount and $200 onboard discount) off my next Viking cruise.
  20. We completed this cruise about a week ago on Jupiter from Copenhagen to Stockholm. Throughly enjoyed it and found the itinerary worth taking. I agree with the above two posts mostly. I’ll offer my own two cents below. Embarkation: very smooth at the Oceankaj terminal. This terminal is further away from the city center, but it’s still just 30-min driving away from City Hall. Our taxi fare was about $45 USD. Once we got to the terminal, it took no time to get onboard. Copenhagen: love the city. Too bad our time in Copenhagen was cut short due to flight delay. We stayed at the Scandic Palace the night before. Highly recommend this hotel. Convenient location, reasonable rate, comfortable bedding, good breakfast and great coffee. We managed to walk around City Hall and do some shopping at Royal Copenhagen, Illums Bolighus and HAY House before boarding the ship because this hotel is within walking distance to Stroeget. It’s actually a Viking appointed hotel as we see people who did the pre-cruise tour stayed at this hotel. Now to the excursion - we took the included 3-hour walking excursion. Regretfully, this was my least favorite Viking excursion thus far. Jet lag and bad weather probably made it more tiring than it really was. We walked from the Langelinie (the ship moved from Oceankaj to Langelinie overnight) to the Little Mermaid statue, Kastellet, Gafion Fountain, Amelienboug and ended up at Nyhavn. There was no bathroom break until almost the end of the tour. By the time we got to Nyhavn, we were exhausted. And it was raining. So we decided to take the shuttle bus back to the ship instead of staying. If I were to do it again, I would have taken the Viking provided shuttle to the city, do a short stroll around Nyhavn then visit Rosenberg castle or the National Museum. I simply didn’t find the Kastellet or Amelienboug that interesting. Bornholm - a pleasant surprise. I knew nothing about Bornholm before the cruise so I didn’t have any expectation. I thought it’s a rest stop before Tallinn and SPB. We took the included bus tour. We spent more time on the bus than actually in the towns. The ride was pleasant with scenes of beautiful yellow flower blooms along the way. But we were allowed 8 min at the first stop and 24 min at the second stop. I complained to the tour guide and told him we needed more time to explore as these towns are charming. He said Viking limited the tour to 2.5 hours. Visby - a lovely well preserved medieval village. We took the included walking excursion and enjoyed it this time. Our guide was a British expat. He was funny and did a great job explaining the history of the place. Tallinn - for me, it’s a let down. We took the leisurely walking tour, which was one of the included tours. It was freezing in the Upper Town. We had a hard time focusing on the guide because it’s too cold to stay outdoor for too long. It rained by the time we got to the Lower Town, where the famous town hall is. The Lower Town reminded me of the Old Town in Kotor. We were given less than half an hour on our own to explore. We only managed to look at a few souvenir shops before heading back to the ship with the guide. SPB - highly recommend doing independent tour with Alla. We did a 2-day tour as we thought doing a full-day tour three consecutive days would be too exhausting. Taking Alla Tour in SPB turned out to be the best decision I had made on this trip. Alla really had it down to a science. Our tour guide, Yelena, was professional, friendly and knowledgeable. We visited the Hermitage, Church of Spilled Blood, St Issacs Cathedral and Peter and Paul Fortress on Day 1. It’s a tight schedule but Yelena was great at keeping up with the itinerary. The Hermitage and Church of Spilled Blood were impressive. On Day 2, we did the subway ride, canal boat tour, Peterhof Garden and Catherine Palace. Subway ride was just okay. The stations we visited were clean with interesting mosaic and long escalators. But they weren’t as grand and museum-like as my expectations. Canal boat tour was a tad too slow. The highlight of the day was Peterhof Garden. Blessed with glorious weather, we had a great time walking around the beautiful garden. On Day 3 in SPB, I decided to skip the Viking included tour and stayed in the ship. Stockholm - my favorite port in the entire sailing. Stockholm is a beautiful Scandinavian capital. We did the included tour in the morning. It’s an okay bus tour with photo stops at the City Hall and the palace. I visited the Vasa Museum on my own in the afternoon. There was a hop-on-hop-off boat to the museum near the cruise terminal. I happened to miss it by seconds. I watched the boat leaving. Instead of waiting for the next departing boat, I decided to seek alternative way to get to the museum. I asked a local person. He suggested me taking the subway from Slussen. While I found my way to the Slussen subway station, I saw a ferry sign to Djurgården. I thought taking the ferry would be more interesting than subway. So I followed the sign and got to the ferry about 10 min later. The ferry ride round trip was about $5 USD and the museum admission was about $15. Vasa Museum is very interesting. Highly recommend it. Echoing the above two posts. Overall, this was an amazing journey. With Viking, we found a good balance of spending time at interesting destinations, enjoying excellent food and relaxing on the ship. There were some misses with shore excursions but not enough to be a deal breaker. We booked our next cruise with Viking onboard.
  21. Sorry, I haven’t been on the Jupiter yet. I saw from a previous post that the upper level is always full now which was not the case when I sailed with the Sun in 2017.
  22. This is unfortunate. The upper level of the Explorer Lounge was among my favorite public space. Based on the overly negative reviews, Viking should consider getting rid of the planetarium and restore the space to iris original design.
  23. When will the 2021 Alaska itineraries become available? We are going to be on Jupiter in a May. I’m thinking of booking a 2021 sailing onboard.
  24. Thanks. I downloaded the app. But I guess it’s only useful when connected to WiFi onboard.
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