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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. @Peregrina651: Super helpful. Thanks! I was talking to the Viking rep about rebooking our previous itinerary in 2022. What was confusing is that the cancellation terms he told me verbally was table A, but what was printed on the provisional invoice was table B. The Far East Horizons and North Pacific Passage itineraries for April 2022 are both available for booking now, but Undiscovered China is not yet posted for 2022; if the China river cruise isn’t going to be available in 2022, I wanted the flexibility to cancel the ocean cruises and get our money back. Thanks again, Jerry
  2. @Peregrina651: Would you be able to share a link where this policy is stated by Viking? Our 2020 and 2021 Undiscovered China (along with our linked Far East and Alaska ocean cruises) were cancelled. I spoke with Viking yesterday and the agent told me about this policy, but the Risk-Free Guarantee pdf he sent me does not include the refund prior to 120 day language. Thanks, Jerry
  3. Yes, that’s about what Viking told our TA this afternoon. Our tour starts on April 7, so it’s the fourth week of the season.
  4. We’re on Viking’ Undiscovered China starting on April 7 and then joining Orion in Hong Kong on May 1. I have been looking at the CDC website and noticed they escalated their warning level yesterday, as Clay pointed out above. We’re currently within the 35% penalty period for a Viking cancellation. Also, I read our travel insurance policy (from AIG) yesterday, and there doesn’t seem to be coverage for an epidemic. And there’s only 50% coverage for “canceling for any reason.” So, at this point, we’re not sure what we will do. Our TA is talking to Viking, but it seems like they’re not ready to decide yet. BTW, I read the Wikipedia article on the SARS epidemic. It was first identified in November 2002 and it took until July 2003 for the WHO to declare it over. That’s an indication of how long this could take to be resolved. Jerry
  5. Easy: private tour. We did the VR Paris to Normandy a few years ago and were disappointed in their battlefield tour. We went to France this past March and did a private tour with Dale Booth Tours. Went to Utah Beach among all the major sites. It was an amazing experience. He may already fully booked for this summer, but contact him anyway. But there are lots of other options. Just look on Trip Advisor and you’ll find lots of options. Good luck!
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. And make sure you watch the interview video embedded in the Forbes article.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Another recommendation for Michael’s Amazing Tours.
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