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Everything posted by CurlerRob

  1. At the risk of propagating this clever exchange, I'm onside with Pluto - and for that matter, Charon. (although the mythology is likely a bit dark for a cruise ship 😈) 🍺🥌
  2. Similar to a couple of other posters, we were on the 2016 TP from Seattle, around Oz, then the Kiwi leg. It still ranks as a top contender for our best ever cruise. Every port was graced with extraordinarily helpful locals, great public transit if you wanted to explore on your own and always great usage of the oceanfront by each city. I have nothing to critique about the trip, other than it was not really feasible to see anything in the Australian interior (without missing great stuff on the coasts) unless you stopped in Sydney post-cruise and took on some land travel. Especially if you have not visited Australia, it's a wonderful way to get a flavour for such a vast country. We are very hopeful that the area will reopen in 2023. 🍺🥌
  3. From watching these boards for some time, it is difficult to get a firm answer to your questions, as it depends not only on Viking protocols, but also those of the various countries you may be in - and those tend to change rapidly. The baseline - this is from the Viking Health and Safety FAQ: What happens if a guest tests positive for COVID-19 while on their Viking cruise? Guests with a positive COVID-19 test will be isolated on board and then disembarked at the first opportunity for quarantine at an appropriate facility ashore. A second test will be performed to validate the first test. If the second test confirms COVID-19, we will arrange for the guest to recover ashore before returning home once their recovery is complete. Upon their return home, Viking Customer Relations will contact the guest and their travel advisor directly regarding any necessary refunding or rescheduling. Their policy is silent on how long one would need to quarantine/recover - that strikes me as reasonable, as it likely varies by jurisdiction. While they may assist with flights, etc., I would not depend on that, as a person's medical situation may vary. Good travel interruption insurance is critical in my view. Viking's contact tracing policy is shown as: What happens if I am confirmed to be a close contact with a guest who tests positive? Viking’s policy is that close contacts who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine. This policy is in line with current CDC guidelines. However, a different approach may be required when in a destination, depending on the local situation at the time. Note the "local situation" language. While Viking is what I'd call fairly relaxed about close contacts (assuming you test negative on the daily shipboard tests), local jurisdictions can be VERY different. The unpleasant poster child for this was an experience in Iceland some time ago, when numerous pax on a bus tour were deemed by Iceland to be close contacts of an infected passenger on the same bus, and were forced to decide between quarantine on the ship for the duration of the cruise (all in Iceland), or immediate return to their homes. My net - if you choose to cruise right now, be sure you're ready for the unexpected, and back yourself up with good travel insurance. Others with more direct experience may be able to offer more ... 🍺🥌
  4. I have a small case for my point and shoot that has a strong loop on the back that I pass my belt through when I'm out. Easy to unzip the case and pull the camera, hard for someone to swipe the whole thing. Not bulletproof, but I've never experienced a problem. 🍺🥌
  5. I'll offer my thoughts, with the caveat that I'm not an expert, and others on the board have addressed these at other times ... 1) Risk Free Guarantees - these have morphed over time, so the answer (and how much you get back) depends on when the RFG was issued. Currently, if you exercise the RFG, you receive a voucher for 100% of monies paid - there is no cash refund under the RFG. 2) This one is interesting - the RFG references the option to exercise the Standard Cancellation schedule. Viking's T's & C's around cancellation speak to the penalties and what is considered a 'cancellation', but are silent on what the term "refund" means (whether it could be cash or voucher). My personal expectation is that I could not ever get any cash back, even under the standard approach, only a new voucher that may be discounted for penalties. I'd love to hear otherwise! 3) My expectation would be that if I initiated a reschedule, this could be under the RFG (if in time), or could also fall under the standard cancelation terms. Viking base terms are very clear - "Cancellation fees also will apply to changes to departure date; substitutions of itinerary; substitution of another person for original booked passenger(s); and changes to a promotional fare." 4) The history has been that when Viking has cancelled, pax have been offered either 100% cash back, or a voucher of varying amounts. I subscribe to the "once a voucher, always a voucher" belief, and would not expect a cash option for other than cash paid for a cruise that Viking cancels. 5) I'm uncertain - others have discussed at times, and it's complex. I approach Tripmate as "once paid, never to be seen again", but I believe there are exceptions. 6) Tripmate - my version is clear that if I use the CFAR approach, I receive a voucher, period. If I paid in cash, I can only get reimbursement in cash if I cancel for a covered reason, such as illness. (The cash option remains available under standard cancellation, albeit with penalties. Hope that helps a bit, and that I'm not horribly wrong in some areas ... 🍻🥌
  6. We (unfortunately) have only a single Viking Ocean cruise to report on, but our history is somewhat similar to yours - north of 300 days on HAL, mostly longer hauls as well. We tried Viking after a thoroughly dissatisfying experience with HAL on the back 2/3 of the 2019 Grand Voyage (Sydney to Ft. Lauderdale). Our single Viking trip was a short leg of the 2019 Viking World Cruise - Bergen to Montreal. I can only offer that we were incredibly impressed with Viking, and immediately signed up for additional trips (none of which have occurred, of course). I've noted a number of the things we loved below, but for a comprehensive look at Viking, I'd recommend the blog of a strong contributor on these boards, Heidi13 - Andy and Judi's blog does an in-depth review of Viking from that same 2019 World cruise. More importantly, Andy is a retired professional mariner (P&O), and had sailed extensively as a passenger with Princess. I found that many of his observations re Princess paralleled mine with HAL. Heidi13's blog: Viking World Wonders – 2020 | Andy & Judi's Worldwide Travels (andyandjudi.com) Regarding our thoughts: Smaller ships, ala Prinsendam, which we much prefer. Zero evidence of crowding on a full ship - there actually appears to be more common space on Viking, and it's very well planned out. Storage is a bit less in the Viking DV rooms vs the HAL Vista rooms - but still quite manageable with a bit of planning. New ships, clean, functional, less significant need for repairs obvious during our trip. We love the Scandinavian décor - open and bright. NO casinos or photographers - relatively small issues, but nice. A somewhat younger demographic than HAL, no evidence of lack of adventurousness that we saw. Far less 'nickel and diming' than HAL - for example, you can bring wine onboard without charge after any shore ex, and have it served anywhere on the ship. Extremely reasonable per drink charge outside of the included beer/wine at meals. Internet that actually works, and is not throttled (included)! We found the staff and crew service very similar between the lines - both really excellent. Food - perhaps a bit more choice on Viking, but generally similar. The exception would be Viking's specialty restaurants - either of them are vastly superior to the HAL equivalents (Canaletto or Pinnacle) in our view. We have no experience with the other specialties on the larger HAL ships. Dining - we had always used the set dining on HAL, so the open seating took a bit of adaptation on our part. Never waited more than 15 minutes at prime times, and that was because we prefer a table for 2. Viking Explorer lounge - wonderful (in essence, the old Crow's Nest on HAL, before it was de-emphasized on the newer ships). Our favourite spot, and the Mamsen's food is very special. How any line can move away from a forward-facing lounge escapes us ... Pricing and terms - we found the costs similar for comparable cabins, once everything was factored in. Viking's payment schedule is onerous, but is what it is - in part, a testament to the demand for their product. Hope that's a bit of help - do check out Andy's information, it's way more detailed. We are really looking forward to future Viking cruises, hopefully next year. 🍻🥌
  7. I'd agree, Jim. While the cities on the Canadian west coast have valid concerns about the tourism impact, full repeal would not prohibit the lines from stops in Victoria or Vancouver on the Alaska runs, just remove the obsolete requirement. I'd suspect that the Canadian cities would still be attractive ports for the lines and remain on the itineraries whenever possible. As you say, it opens a number of interesting other possibilities elsewhere (and I too can do without Ensenada every Hawaii circuit). 🍻🥌
  8. Fantastic pictures, thanks for posting them - I envy you the clear weather, even with the lumps! (Our one try at the Horn failed - a small matter of 75 knots and 45 foot seas. Best line was from the First Officer - "the ship would be fine, the pax not so much"). Perhaps in the future ... 🍺🥌
  9. You will find that a fabulous trip. Here's a small teaser - Bora Bora from south of the island, close on sunset. 🍺🥌
  10. @wanderlust123 - as mentioned, this is a new voyage for Viking. We have had two previous trips to Hawaii on another line, and greatly enjoyed them both. We found the longer passages to/from the islands very relaxing (we love sea days), and the 4 days in the various ports allowed just the right amount of shore intensity in-between. Our 2 cents worth of suggestions for excursions should they be available: Hilo - if there's a tour to the top of Mauna Kea, it's well worth the bus ride; Kilauea and Volcanoes Nat. Park is a possible second choice, although not as good in our view. Honolulu - Pearl Harbour is a must for first-time visitors, and a tour usually includes a number of the other sites of interest nearby. Kauai - if your budget will support it, any helicopter tour that takes you through the canyon and to the north shore is money well spent. Maui - we've always anchored off Lahina, and found the town a great one to explore on foot - not much help on Kahului. Enjoy the trip! 🍺🥌
  11. Second the recommendation for The Serras - very modern inside, fabulous food and service. Not inexpensive - EUR 330 for one night in 2018. 🍺🥌
  12. The attached wine list is old (2018) and surely out of date for both vintages and prices, but may give you a point of reference. Cheers ... 🥌🍺🍷 Viking-Ocean-Cruises-Wine-List 2018.pdf
  13. As Clay pointed out by posting his contract, this is not a rumour - what happens to you should you contract Covid during the cruise is ultimately at Viking's discretion. There is confirmation in the Viking Health and Safety FAQs below. At least they indicate that they will assist with arrangements. To all pax and prospective ones - if you haven't already done so, I strongly suggest reading the info on the Viking site, and/or your contract - it will better inform your decisions. Safe sailing! 🥌🍻 What happens if a guest tests positive for COVID-19 while on their Viking cruise? Guests with a positive COVID-19 test will be isolated on board and then disembarked at the first opportunity for quarantine at an appropriate facility ashore. A second test will be performed to validate the first test. If the second test confirms COVID-19, we will arrange for the guest to recover ashore before returning home once their recovery is complete. Upon their return home, Viking Customer Relations will contact the guest and their travel advisor directly regarding any necessary refunding or rescheduling.
  14. We've not stayed at the Radisson, but have stayed at the Opus XVI - which is further south, about twice as far from the dock. We've walked from the ship to downtown numerous times. The Radisson is about a 10 minute walk. As you've been to Bergen, you understand the weather. Unless you have very minimal luggage, I'd avoid the hike. While it's not stressful, the sidewalk is narrow in places and you have to navigate a bit of the port area - not the simplest if you have large luggage, or if the weather is poor. We simply looked at the weather in the morning (raining as normal) and requested a taxi just before we checked out - there was no delay in it's arrival, and from the Opus it was about 10 minutes to the ship. I can't recall the cost, but it was minimal - perhaps $20 CDN (~12 GBP). Enjoy! 🥌🍻
  15. After 30 years in the technology business, I can confirm that you have a perfectly valid approach to troubleshooting - although I recommend water substitutes! 🍺🍷🥌
  16. Here’s hoping you have better luck in 2023! 🍺🥌
  17. What - your routes didn't include shrimp tacos for additional sustenance at the Glenmore roof?? Never mind - FoW is always well stocked with Toohey's, and has the "New" if your timing is right. 🍻🥌
  18. While the natural focus right now is on Viking's protocols regarding vaccinated passengers, I continue to watch their stance on what happens if a passenger tests positive during the voyage (short version - you are put ashore for recovery / quarantine). The current data continues to suggest that even vaccinated individuals may carry or acquire the virus (and hence test positive), but they are highly unlikely to experience severe symptoms, and may be completely asymptomatic. When we cruise, we all accept the possibility of having to be hospitalized somewhere in the world due to an unforeseen severe illness. At least for me, accepting that I may have to leave the trip when still feeling fine adds another issue to the calculus. It'll be interesting to see how the protocols unfold - hopefully the early UK trips will go, and provide additional information. 🥌🍺
  19. This was from the Health & Safety FAQ section ... the emphases are mine. "Guests with a positive COVID-19 test will be isolated on board and then disembarked at the first opportunity for quarantine at an appropriate facility ashore. A second test will be performed to validate the first test. If the second test confirms COVID-19, we will arrange for the guest to recover ashore before returning home once their recovery is complete. Upon their return home, Viking Customer Relations will contact the guest and their travel advisor directly regarding any necessary refunding or rescheduling." To me, the impact of onboard cases is the biggest issue for prospective pax to evaluate, at least in the shorter term. Think about testing positive and being "beached" a long way from home - especially if you are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms. Who defines "appropriate facility" and what might that mean? Are the insurance implications similar to those of having a health emergency in normal times? We've all seen places that we'd love to be "marooned", and others, not so much! In addition, we've all likely experienced schedule changes needed in order to get someone who is ill to proper care. How frequent or impactful might that be when anyone testing positive has to be removed from the ship? Finally, Viking's ability to get stricken pax to an "appropriate facility" may be hampered by local country authorities who are unwilling to accept sick pax - remember the circuses from the spring! As far as I'm concerned, these potential issues dwarf shore excursion and masking issues. In my opinion, Viking's protocols have been well thought out, but they are designed for a world where the virus is still prevalent, and infections are expected to continue. The question each of us needs to deal with is if we are comfortable sailing in that kind of world. On a cheerier side, here's hoping the vaccines play out well, and perhaps the 2022 situation will render much of this moot. Certainly, that's our hope! 🍻🥌
  20. I'd happily settle for the ability to sail Viking again (although given the jumps in Carnival and NCL stocks right after the Pfizer comments, that would likely mean the Cdn gov't would have made a fortune on their investment as well!) 🍺🥌
  21. Perhaps Andy can help with Vancouver, he’s nearer to the scene 😎 Good news is the influx of capital to help weather the storm. A positive sign for Viking’s survival.
  22. Some of my tax dollars at work 🍺🥌 https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/viking-cruises-announces-additional-investment-from-tpg-and-cpp-investments-824079584.html
  23. RV Sun morphed into HAL Prinsendam. Here’s a bit from a HAL blog: Prinsendam was built in 1988 as Royal Viking Sun for Royal Viking Line. The ship was operated by Cunard Line from 1994 through 1998 and then transferred to Seabourn Cruise Line, where it became Seabourn Sun in 1999. In 2002 the ship joined the Holland America Line fleet and was renamed Prinsendam. Much to the anger of her many loyal pax, she was sold in 2019 to Phoenix Reisen , a Germany-based travel agency that also operates a fleet of cruise ships. We had a number of great trips on her - at just over 800 pax, a similar vibe to VO, albeit much older and creakier 😬 Pic below from 2015 in Ísafjörður. 🍺🥌
  24. Yep, and the book provides one of the most detailed and horrifying descriptions of drowning that I have ever read. I still cringe when I think about it! The movie was fun, but the book is outstanding.
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