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broker1217

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    Viking Ocean

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  1. Okay--to more specifically answer your question. There are sizers at the gate. If the gate agent feels your bag is oversize---they can ask you to put it in the sizer during the boarding process. If it doesn't fit you will have to gate check your bag. They may not ask, but they can. They are checking size more frequently now on AA. The gate agents job is to get the plane loaded quickly and push away from the gate on time. So they will try to catch oversize bags prior to boarding if possible. There is no guarantee of overhead space for your carry-on unless you are First/Business or Main Cabin Extra or Premium Economy. All other overhead space is based on availability and is first-come, first-served based on boarding group. So always, always be prepared for the possibility that your over-head carry on could be gate checked. This is why we take our essentials in a small (under seat) carry-on and check everything else. Not worth the stress and hassle during boarding.
  2. I would not risk it. We fly primarily AA and they are enforcing the size limit more frequently. If you do try taking an over-size bag, please make sure you do not have your valuables, electronics, wallet, meds, etc. in that bag. Take anything you absolutely have to keep with you in your smaller bag that must fit under the seat. Personally, I don't want to be the person at the jetway digging through my undies to get my valuables out because my bag won't fit in the sizer. Or worse, holding up the boarding process because I can't jam my over-size bag in the overhead, then fight my way against all the boarding passengers to the front of the aircraft to gate check. For me, that is not the most relaxing way to start a trip!
  3. You will be able to find heaps of information on this forum! To search the Viking forum ONLY--click on the Search box on the upper right of this page. You will get a drop down that will allow you to click the radio button 'This Forum'. That way you are not wading through all the forums. I would also spend some time perusing the deck plans and photos on the VO website---they will give you a feel for the ship environment and seating. To your questions; 1. Absolutely, purchase from a TA so that you will get generous OBC. 2. Nightly entertainment is more subdued than a mainline cruise line. One main show every night in the theater, plus live musicians (guitarist, trio) in atrium and Explorer's lounge. Torshavn nightclub with live music. Sometimes movies under the stars or a show out by the pool. Look through the forum for people who have posted the dailies for a better idea. 3. There is ample outdoor seating on various decks. Sundeck with chairs and lounges plus outdoor seating by the infinity pool. 4. No real issue with chair hogs at the pool since there is ample seating. 5. Yes--lots of fish available. AM has smoked salmon and gravlax at the buffet. Restaurant and Mamsen's also have fish. I don't eat beef or pork and I was extremely happy with the options. World Cafe has sashimi, sushi rolls, crab legs and shrimp every night.
  4. We did this TA this spring, and also did San Juan to Barcelona last spring. We loved the sea days and will do this cruise again. The weather was lovely and we had warm weather (shorts and short sleeve shirts) the first week and then cooler weather (long pants and long sleeve shirts) the second week. We ate breakfast and lunch outside virtually every day. People were hanging out around the aft pool/hot tub sunbathing and swimming. As far as sea conditions, I am probably not the best judge as these are the only 2 cruises I have done. There was some motion on some days. At night we felt some motion when in bed but it did not bother me. I do not have any motion sickness tendencies though.
  5. I would do my research prior to my cruise and not depend on staff on board. Take the time to review maps of the islands and ports and potential beaches. Look into transport and taxis, etc. Search for info on each port both on Cruise Critic and also perhaps try TripAdvisor forums. There is lots of info there related to port visits for cruisers. Whatever you do, make sure you allow to get back to the ship at least 60 minutes prior to departure. We were in St. Martin last year and even though sail away was 5 PM, at 4:30 they were preparing to depart and waiting on one passenger. HIs wife was frantically yelling at him on the dock from the balcony at 4:45 PM. VO had been calling his cabin as he was the only passenger not yet on board. So my advice would be to not cut it too close, especially as you are not on a VO excursion.
  6. On the Viking Ocean website homepage---click on My Trip and a drop-down will appear. Click the second item 'Updates on current Sailings'. https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/my-trip/current-sailings/index.html
  7. In mid-September the UGT (Ground handlers Union) had called for 8 strikes occurring every Monday from September 30-November 8. I have not seen any news articles dated later than mid-September and a post on FlyerTalk dated October 5th states the strikes were called off. The only travel updates on Iberia's website are related to travel to Ecuador and Chile. I would say you are fine but a quick call to Iberia would confirm that these strikes are not happening.
  8. I would be more concerned with the strikes and transportation issues than the protests. You should be able to avoid the protests if you stay informed, and as Cienfuegos states, violence is a rarity. But a general shut down or reduction of train service would be a big problem if they choose to stay in Madrid. Per Viking website: 'We are working closely with local partners to monitor the current political climate in Spain. At this time, we have not altered any itineraries with scheduled time in Catalonia. The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our top priority. Should we deem any modifications necessary, guests and travel agents will be notified directly."
  9. Additionally---it is a 6 hour drive from Madrid to Barcelona. I would not do that on the day of departure as it is too risky. What if the driver does not show up or has car issues? They can take a high speed train from Madrid to Barcelona in just under 3 hours. I would do that the day before departure and stay at a hotel near the port.
  10. Here is the security alert issued Friday, October 18: https://es.usembassy.gov/security-alert-october-18-2019/ It includes links to many resources for tourists to monitor the situation and asses any risk/inconvenience. I believe the demonstrations are expected to primarily be over this weekend in response to the verdict in the trial of 12 pro-independence Catalan leaders. Absolutely register with the STEP program---very important in this situation.
  11. Thanks for the info and sorry for the thread jack. We will be overnighting in HK after 16.5 hour flight from DFW. I know the hotel is not really a luxury hotel, we chose it for the convenience. I will be sure to book a room with appropriate size bed. We wanted to build in a jet lag recovery day (plus cushion for any delays/cancellations) before flying Cathay to Australia. We will be sure to utilize the Cathay Business Class lounge!
  12. Excellent post Clay--very helpful. I am hoping this is the HK Regal Airport hotel? Would be very interested in your HK airport experience as well!
  13. This thread has some really excellent information: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2615847-viking-air-information/?tab=comments#comment-56383589 Especially interesting, for me, is M2inor's post #84. It gives the particulars about the discounted fare buckets in regards to earning miles for elite status. If you are considering using Viking Air, do your research and figure out what routing/airline you prefer and what the prices are for your preferred class of service. Then work with Viking Air and see if they offer any benefit. We always book our own air in order to utilize miles or earn miles. But that's just us and we are completely comfortable handling our own transfers and hotel arrangements. Some people use Viking Air because they like being picked up at baggage claim and walked up to check-in at the airport.
  14. Vast majority of cocktails are under $15, improved wine selection, discount on wines by the bottle, ability to get wine/beer/cocktail anytime a bar is open (not just while eating lunch or dinner). Some people don't drink wine or beer and prefer cocktails. I know there are a lot of Scotch drinkers out there. Although, the champagne by the glass situation is unfortunate----maybe they could add a Cava. To me that is a much better champagne substitute than Prosecco, plus very inexpensive.
  15. Clay--you are 100% right. Our only 2 VO cruises were both Transatlantic--starting in Caribbean and ending in Spain for both. And khakis and a long sleeved shirt was pretty normal. But jeans and a golf shirt were not the norm in the evening on our cruises (other than in the World Cafe). Perhaps we just had some fancy people! I'm sure it's highly variable.
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