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Everything posted by arlowood

  1. Could be due to the fact the when the initial problem arose back in 2020 - ocean cruises were almost exclusively singled out by the media when outbreaks were discovered. Following that both the UK government and the CDC issued specific directives banning people from taking ocean cruises. I don't think river cruising was ever identified specifically as a problem area. It could be that Viking are aware that the spotlight will be on these Welcome Back ocean cruises and have implemented the contact tracing as a "Belt and Braces" exercise to try to cover all the possible bases in their safety protocols.
  2. Yes - totally agree. We were on the Venus in June and have just come off the Star last Saturday. On both occasions we lobbied strongly for Viking to consider basing at least one ship at a UK port with itineraries featuring perhaps British Isles, Fjords, Baltic, Iceland and possibly also the Mediterranean. On the Venus the future cruise consultant claimed that Viking had its ships and itineraries planned for several years ahead and he was pretty sure that a UK based ship was not on the horizon. However things could change. We wait in hope
  3. OK - update when you know more. We certainly ate La Route des Indes menu on Thursday evening. Maybe it was a one-off
  4. Slight correction to your comments. We've just disembarked Viking Star and they have a new menu in the rotation called "La Route des Indes" which features the warm spices associated with the original spice route from the East Indes. We dined on Thursday 19th and that was the first night of that rotation. So that menu would be available 19th, 20th and 21st (tonight). Not sure if they are going to retain that menu with the Best of British and Asian or whether that change signaled a new departure into other features. Perhaps those currently on board will be able to confirm or refute. Edit:- Just found La Route des Indes mentioned in a post back in 2019 so it is a standard one for Viking:-
  5. Just checked the Tradewinds website and it appears that the Golden Horizon is calling at St Mary's on 10th August. https://www.tradewindvoyages.com/voyage/english-south-coast-and-islands/ So theoretically a call at Tresco might have been feasible for Viking. Only issue would have been the tender provision which appears to be restricted to local island ferries rather than ships' tenders (probably due to the access to slipways/harbours). I'm guessing Tradewinds have bagged all the local ferries for their passengers Oops - just noticed that Tresco is also an optional tour for the Golden Horizon passengers so all the above should be ignored . Apologies for the geriatric blooper
  6. Yes - opinion seems divided about how visible they should be. I'm sure I read somewhere that some passengers who put them in pockets/bags etc were challenged by crew members to prove they were being carried. It is a requirement of the Viking procedures that you wear them at all times outside your stateroom so if they are not visible then you risk being asked to prove you have it with you. On our June UK Shores cruise my wife and I just stuck with the lanyard to avoid any undue hassle. BTW we were not warned in advance that they would flash different colours at random times so we queried it with guest services. We were told that the blue and green flashing was when the device was communicating with the central data gathering system. Red flashing indicated that the devices battery was getting low. Not sure if that was correct or just an inspired off-the-cuff response.
  7. Yes I'd heard mention of a possible clash with a Saga cruise. However I've just checked the Saga website and their Scilly Isles cruise doesn't leave Tilbury until 10th August which is the date that the Viking Star was due to be in Tresco.
  8. That raises a bit of a conundrum. Having checked the cruise schedule for Portsmouth, the Viking Star looks to be departing on 28th August after the last UK Shores cruise but intriguingly it returns again on 3rd September before departing again on the 4th but no evidence of any arrival on the 9th September https://www.portsmouth-port.co.uk/cruises/cruise_schedule So possibly Viking are sneaking another UK cruise into the programme but have not yet announced it. Also maybe they haven't decided on what length it is going to be (7 night or 12 night) hence the disconnect between the port schedule and the parking
  9. Thanks for that. It would have been helpful for Viking to add a footnote in their email that the VeriFLY system was not really aimed at the UK staycation cruises. I've just spent at least an hour going through the palaver of setting up the app and trying to get the "Ready to Travel" authorisation for our 14th August cruise. I'm now successfully authorized through the VerFLY system but I'm just a tad miffed that an hour of my life has been wasted on a pointless exercise.
  10. Yep. I just received the same email. On our June cruise Viking were happy with our vaccine status being confirmed with the NHS app or the little cards issued by the vaccine centres when you were jabbed. I'm sure my phone will probably handle the VeriFLY app but I just think it is another level of faff and hassle that I could do without. I'm going to give it a go over the next couple of days to see if I hit any problems.
  11. Have no fear. On the 5th June sailing of Viking Venus which was exclusively British guests there was no evidence that anyone was trying to inflict a stricter dress code that they might have been accustomed to on Saga, Cunard or P&O for example. Evening dining was "elegant" casual as Viking describes it. Trousers with a short or long sleeved collared shirt for the men and a dress, skirt or slacks with a sweater or blouse for the ladies. Some men did wear jackets but they were in the minority. Jeans and sportswear are not acceptable in the Main Restaurant or Manfredi's and The Chef's Table. I think they would be allowed in the World Café which is a buffet restaurant with a more casual vibe. However I may be wrong on that. Some others might correct me accordingly.
  12. Yes - we reckon we'll be looking at Saga once we pass the 80 milestone. We've done a Nile cruise with Saga quite a few years ago and that was fabulous. However we've never done any sea cruises with Saga so next June we're on the Spirit of Adventure doing a round Britain cruise just to get a feel for how they compare with Viking.
  13. We're on 14th August sailing and received our luggage tags at the beginning of this week. In theory you should have had them but I've seen news of postal delays in some areas due to the "pingdemic" so I would not worry too much. To answer your second post, I had heard that Viking were planning to run these cruises closer to full capacity than those on Viking Venus in June. However they are still promoting them regularly on that other platform and when you check the 7th and 14th sailings they still have plenty of availability in the V and DV cabins. Less in the PV and suites. So my guess is that we will probably not sail at full capacity. The 21st sailing is not showing up on the link they give so I don't know the status of that one.
  14. Hi les37b Thanks for the heads up. FYI and for others who may be interested, the bank in question is Barclays - if you hadn't already guessed. We have been customers for many years and switched to their Travel Pack Plus policy a couple of years back when my travel insurance company indicated that my annual policy would not be renewed since I had reached the age of 75. The Barclays policy will give my wife and I annual cover until we are 80. Thereafter I think we will be on single trip policies if we can find any at a reasonable price.
  15. It might not be particularly helpful to those UK based passengers who are currently in a form of "limbo" due to the existing FCO advice against International Cruises. There is at least one potential route to get insurance cover and that is via the Travel Pack product offered by one of the major UK banks. (I have left the name out of my post as I'm not sure if the rules permit me to disclose the name of the bank). As this is only available to customers of this bank it could have limited value to others. However if you are prepared to switch banks or take out a separate account then this travel insurance would be available for your cruises. In some recent guidance to policy holders the bank has stated that you would be covered if you wanted to cancel a holiday due to FCO advising against travel. Also if you cannot rearrange travel and still wish to travel, you will have the benefit of your insurance so long as you comply with the advice and the local authorities in the areas you are staying. However if you do travel against FCO advice you will not be covered if you choose to return early. It's not obviously a belt and braces cover but at least it would appear to some protection. I believe also from reading elsewhere that one of the other major banks also offers a similar product.
  16. On our June 5th sailing on Venus we just rolled up at the Main Restaurant whenever we felt like it - no need to book then. However I believe the numbers on board will be greater on the August cruises so we have booked some slots just in case. I don't expect there will be a problem tho.
  17. Yes I can't imagine they would have changed the protocol to take the PCR test in the terminal and have passengers wait there for the result before allowing them to board. From my experience of the 5th June sailing on Venus the Portsmouth terminal is quite small and I can't see them being able to cope with what could be several hundred passengers hanging around for a few hours. On the 5th June sailing we took the test on board and even then, with only 400 or so passengers it took them until late evening to process all the tests - we did not sail until about 10.45pm. Also I'm not sure what eating facilities are available at the terminal
  18. I've seen several comments suggesting that the optional tours will only be available to book once you are on board. That may explain why only the included tours are showing up on MVJ at the moment. Another explanation may be related to what grade your stateroom is because they release the optional shore excursions progressively from the highest grade cabins downwards. So if you are in a V1, V2 or DV cabin you may not be able to access the excursions just yet. I would hold fire for a bit and se what develops. I think it unlikely that VIking would eschew offering those optional tours where they can generate a bit of additional revenue.
  19. That's interesting because Viking are currently promoting 3 UK based itineraries on Viking Star based out of Portsmouth UK. The first is scheduled for the 7th August followed by sailings on the 14th and 21st. Have you got documentary confirmation that you are defijnitely sailing on Viking Star on the 21st. If so Viking have a few questions to answer from a host of UK passengers who have booked on the Star in August.
  20. If what you are suggesting is true then Viking are going to be disappointing quite a few UK cruisers if they cancel the 3 sailings planned on Viking Star during August in favour of sending a 3rd ship to pick up demand for the Icelandic cruise schedule. Not impossible I grant you but I have booked on the 14th August sailing on Viking Star out of Portsmouth UK and my luggage labels were delivered yesterday. Will keep a watching brief
  21. Yep - seems to be due in Seydisfjordur on 21st. Can't imagine they would be trying to squeeze in an Icelandic cruise before the first of the UK sailings on 7th August. Might just be a glitch or an error. The Venus was logged as going to Portsmouth, Virginia USA in stead of UK back at the beginning of June
  22. We were on Deck 8 on board Venus on one of the UK "Welcome Back" cruises in early June. We had fog during the day and through the night on several occasions. My hearing is not the best but I can definitely attest to being disturbed on a couple of nights at least with the sound of the fog horn. We might just have been unlucky but I would certainly think twice about a Deck 8 cabin in the future.
  23. Avoid any of the Deck 8 cabins. If you happen to run into fog you will certainly know it. The ship's fog horn can be heard very clearly in these cabins. Cabins in the mid ships and forward area of Deck 3 are prone to noise from the Star Theatre and also the Torshavn night club. I would go for just aft of midships on Deck 3 but I'm sure if you want a higher grade cabin then others will comment on the Deck 4 5 and 6 options
  24. We booked with CPS when we were on the 5th June sailing of the Viking Venus. We have used CPS many times for P&O cruises out of Southampton and like the valet parking element at that port. About 10 days before our cruise in June we had an email from Viking stating that CPS would not be offering the valet service at Portsmouth. This was slightly worrying but as it turned out I was worrying unduly. When we arrived on the departure day we were guided to the car park by a CPS rep and inside the car park there were several other attendants who directed you to where you were to leave your car. The luggage was taken away immediately and transferred to the ship. The car park was a short (5 min) walk from the Terminal where you did the check-in. After going through security, you were bussed to the ship. I'm sure if you have mobility issues, Viking will sort out the best way to get you aboard without you having to struggle. You could have your husband drop you at the Terminal and he could then park the car but as said above there will probably be a shuttle to help people get to the Terminal if they have any issues. BTW - we kept our car keys after parking.
  25. Just been informed that the discounted parking rates are now available for the August cruises on Viking Star. The website of the cruise terminal parking company is in the link below https://portsmouth.apcoa.co.uk/ Viking have negotiated a deal of £60 for the week - a considerable saving over the £91 without the deal.
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