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About MarkTapley

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Chicago, IL Suburb
  • Interests
    Grandchildren! Travel. Charles Dickens books.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking (River and Ocean)

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  1. As far as I recall, we berthed at the New Port, which is 3 km west of the Old Town. I’m pretty sure VO ran a shuttle to Old Town periodically. Depending on your timing, you can probably get a taxi from the ship to the restaurant. Or just walk; we were there on Orion last August and it was very hot and humid, which may make the walk a bit of a challenge. When we were there, almost all the excursions were ending up with a guided stroll thru the Old Town, so it was super easy to hop on any of the VO busses to get back to the ship.
  2. Check the CC Roll Call thread for your cruise, to see if there are others interested in private excursions. Also, go thru Roll Call threads for previous cruises on this itinerary to see what companies others recommend. Then you can find lots of ideas on sites like Trip Advisor. We mostly did private excursions last fall on Orion from Venice to Hong Kong. Worked out great! Usually cheaper than the VO excursions and we were able to visit places not offered by VO (notably Taj Mahal in India and Siem Reap in Cambodia).
  3. After travelling in Europe (mostly on our own) for 40 years, this past fall we spent two months on Viking Orion going through the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. We absolutely loved it! So much so, that we’re going on Undiscovered China with VR in April 2020, then getting back on Orion to sail from Hong Kong to Vancouver. So, I completely understand your concern about the extra stress in Asia travel. And after your experience on Sky, you’ve had more traveling stress than most of us will ever have to endure. But I think you’ll too be amazed at the experience of traveling in Asia. There are many people on this board with much more experience than we’ve had, that I’m sure would encourage you as well. MT
  4. Yes, this is true. However, I believe it is a common problem on the Viking “longships”, which dominate the popular Viking Europe cruises. Several years ago, when the longship design had just been rolled out by VR, we had drinks in an Explorer Suite with acquaintances from the cruise and the people who had booked the suite were very vocal about the noise from the engines directly below the suite. So it’s been an issue for quite a while.
  5. On Orion last year, we went from Venice (early August) to Hong Kong (early October). The entire trip was very hot (daily in the low 90s, higher in the Middle East). By the time we were to Mumbai, we were somewhat used to the heat. With that being said, it was extremely hot and humid in Siem Reap, Cambodia; had safari clothes/hats and drank lots of water, which helped us cope. Trip was amazing! As Hockeyump pointed out, some ports are very far from the ship (particularly Bangkok at 2-3 hours). We booked lots of private excursions to cut down on the bus time. MT
  6. And make sure you watch the interview video embedded in the Forbes article.
  7. Last fall, we were on three segments back to back on Orion. I’m pretty sure they posted our gratuity charges to our credit card at the end of each segment.
  8. Jack, Yes, your plan will work fine. You will be able to walk from the ship to the people mover train, which runs to the Piazzale Roma where you are able to catch a vaporetto to reach anywhere you’d like to go in Venice. After dropping your bags and having lunch on the ship, you are allowed to go off the ship (after scanning your ship card). This is exactly what we did when we joined Orion this past August. MT
  9. Bruce B, On our cruise in August, on embarkation day, VO ran a shuttle to central Athens, with the first bus leaving the ship at 1 PM. They stopped on the street adjacent to Hadrian’s gate. MT
  10. Another recommendation for Michael’s Amazing Tours.
  11. Yes, bridge and galley tours are booked with guest services, once on board. We did both on VR and VO.
  12. We did KT in Muscat, Oman. There were 6 or 7 of us. Went to the market with the Executive Chef and one of the Sous Chefs. They had no idea what they would find to cook. Ended up with a blue fin tuna, that had been caught a few hours before. Then back to the ship for dinner, similar to that described by Jim. It was a bit pricey at $249 pp. But we had a great time! Just to add to Peregrina’s post. The availability of KT seems to be somewhat dependent on Chef’s schedule and suitability of the local markets. Also dependent on some minimum number of participants. The KT on our cruise wasn’t posted in the excursions ahead of the cruise. We found out about it by asking at the service desks. We also did the sea day cooking classes a couple times. Only an hour or two in the KT, at much less cost pp. They each had a theme (French, Italian, etc.).
  13. Same with us. In Venice we had to show our booklets at the port security gate. Once we were through this gate, it was no longer needed.
  14. We used Michael’s Amazing Tours one of our days in Athens. They are very good!
  15. Yes, if you use something like WhatsApp. This will allow you to send and receive texts and calls via WiFi, not your cell service.
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