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Little Monty

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  1. I assume there are some aspects of the new T&C's you are not happy with. Which ones ? On what date did you apply the FCC to the 2021 cruise? What is the date of introduction of the 'new' T&C's ?
  2. The Australian T&C's (specifically para 5.3 - Cancellation, delays etc) are word for word the same as post 3 above by Scottjeanne. Just FYI .. Australia's largest airline (Qantas) has cancelled all international flights up to late October 2020 (except a couple to New Zealand). The Australian government has said (a couple of days ago) they don't expect international tourism into / out of Australia to recommence till 2021. A number of local travel companies are fighting tooth and nail to refuse refunds for cancelled trips / flights / hotel bookings etc - and our Competition Commission has said future credits are ok in most situations (without defining what is ok and what is not). Scenic are well known, long standing company in Australia but I don't know anything about the current financial situation inside the company. They have lost a couple of fairly significant court cases over the past few years, but they have invariably appealed those cases with some success. We are booked on April 2021 Europe river cruise with an early payment bonus if we paid in full by 31 May 2020. We chose not to pay early. We won't make a decision till the last minute (final payment now due in December). I'm guessing, but I think the 'force majeure' reference above is the company saying it's not our fault and that overrides the 'cancel for any reason' reference in the original T&C's. Likely the only way to challenge this would be through a legal process. Best wishes to all who are impacted. LM
  3. Below is from Australian website .. updated yesterday. After I post this I will go and read the 'original' Terms and Conditions (I have the 2020 printed booklet) and will report what I find. .......................................................................... 18 June 2020 Scenic Group Travel Policy and Advisory Update: COVID-19 Our Reservation Centre is currently experiencing unprecedented high call volumes resulting in unusually long wait times. We appreciate you require updated information to finalise your future travel plans and we are working as quickly as possible to be able to provide the relevant details. OPERATIONAL UPDATES We hope that you and your families are all well and starting to adapt your plans as the Australian and New Zealand Governments slowly start to ease the recent health and safety restrictions. However, due to the continued Government travel restrictions and international border closures, it continues to be impossible for us to operate our schedules for guests with bookings departing from Australia and New Zealand. This has required the temporary suspension of Scenic Group (including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Emerald Waterways and Evergreen Cruises & Tours) departures for all river and ocean cruises, and for land tours (excluding domestic Australia tours) departing up to 31 October 2020. The suspension to 31 October 2020 applies only to international departures for guests from Australia and New Zealand. However, as a global business, we are also continuing to review, departures for guests with bookings that reside outside of Australia and New Zealand. This situation is totally out of our control and the COVID-19 pandemic is a force majeure event as defined within the Scenic Group terms and conditions. However, to support your future travel plans, Scenic Group will be providing a Future Travel Credit for affected departures. If you choose not to take up the option of the Future Travel Credit (FTC), you can opt to cancel your booking under our standard terms and conditions, and then consult with your travel insurance company to enquire if you can lodge a claim. If required, we can provide a letter to assist you in making your claim. Our flexible policy for guests with River Cruise, Ocean Cruise and international Land Tour bookings departing from 1 September to 31 October 2020: To ensure your future travel plans will be protected, if you hold a: River or ocean cruise reservation during this period, Scenic Group will provide a 110% Future Travel Credit (FTC) Voucher for the amount paid, to re-book and travel by 30 June 2023 Land tour (including Egypt & Canada cruise tours) reservation during this period, Scenic Group will provide a 100% FTC Voucher for the amount paid, to re-book and travel by 30 June 2023 The flexible conditions for your FTC Voucher are as follows: Valid for travel commenced through to 30 June 2023 The value of your FTC voucher is based on the amount paid for your reservation to date The FTC Voucher can be applied to any booking within the Scenic Group (Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises (including Emerald Waterways and Emerald Yacht Cruises) and Evergreen Cruises & Tours) The FTC Voucher can be applied to any existing booking or when re-booking your future travel Is fully transferrable to another guest, and; Upon the expiry of the FTC Voucher on 30 June 2023, guests who are unable to travel may request a cash refund equal to the amount paid If you choose not to take up the option of the FTC Voucher, you can opt to cancel your booking under our standard terms and conditions. Our flexible booking and cancellation policy for guests with bookings departing from 1 November to 31 December 2020: All guests with a booking to depart from 1 November 2020 and guests considering a booking after that date, have the option to transfer their booking to an alternate date without a Scenic Group fee up to 31 December 2021 (or 31 December 2022 for Scenic Eclipse), up to 30 days prior to departure. Scenic will waive all cancellation fees with the value of the booking applied as a Future Travel Credit and we will review the timing for the full payment when re-booking. Please note, if you choose to cancel or transfer there may be third party fees applicable, which will be at the guests own expense. This allows guests more time to make decisions about their future travel plans. This policy will apply to all brands within the Scenic Group: Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Scenic Eclipse, Emerald Cruises (including Emerald Waterways and Emerald Yacht Cruises) and Evergreen Cruises & Tours. Most governments have implemented strict travel restrictions and border controls that limit the arrival of people who have travelled, visited or transited through other countries, beyond those currently within the Scenic Group policy as outlined above. We will continue to monitor the changing global situation and remain committed to doing our best to assist with your concerns and adjusting travel plans. On behalf of the Scenic Group team, we are here to support you during this challenging time and we look forward to exploring our precious world with you again very soon.
  4. Yes on Orion .. they served freshly made pasta (with a choice of toppings / sauces etc) which was an excellent choice for lunch. I think Orion was the first but I am looking forward to trying it again on Jupiter in November in South America (I think I read somewhere the area is also on Jupiter ?) ... although I am not confident, very sadly, that the November cruise will go ahead.
  5. The first sailing of this itinerary is scheduled for April 2021. The itinerary for the first half of your cruise (Venice - Athens) is similar to the much loved 'Empires of the Med' cruise. We did Empires of the Med last year in June and it was excellent. Great weather, interesting ports, fabulous on-board experience. Unfortunately we haven't been to the ports in the second half of the itinerary - but they do also look very interesting. As I understand Viking is returning to Istanbul after several years away (similar to many cruise lines, who have been concerned about public disorder and other threats) so you may not pick up many 'Viking' specific tips here - although the CC Ports of Call section may be helpful in your planning. https://www.cruisecritic.com.au/ports/ Best wishes for your cruise. LM
  6. ha ha Andy .. that is gold. So good I had to log in to say hello and wish you safe travels. Please continue to post - and please ignore the cranky-pants members who think they know better. And Jim .. hello again, and I also hope you get to return soon. Your posts are always welcome, and valued. Best regards, LM
  7. hello uktog I don't judge, and obviously you have a routine which you feel is more than adequate for hygiene purposes in your day-to-day life. However, when I am on the ship and I leave the cabin I hold the door knob, I press the lift-call button, if the lift is slow I walk up or down the stairs sliding my hand on the rail, I open at least two doors before I arrive at the World Cafe, Restaurant, whatever. If I am lucky, I am greeted by one of the many staff who I know and say hello to, and I shake their hand. Even if I am sterile when I leave the cabin, there is a chance I may have picked up an undesirable bug on the way. For that reason I sanitise or wash my hands in the basin when I arrive. Of course you may be able to open the door, avoid the lift, avoid the hand rail and avoid all the other potential hazards on your journey, but nobody else will know that. All they will see if a person entering the food service area without doing what everyone else does. Nobody will know what you have done before you arrived in the food service area. You could wear a sign around your neck notifying everyone what your policy is, or you could have room service deliver food 3 or 4 times a day so you don't have to eat in the food service areas. But seriously .. if you want to engage with fellow passengers, if you want to eat in the food service areas with a whole bunch of other travellers, and if you want to - dare I say - not rock the boat, you will need to sanitise and / or wash your hands with soap in the basin provided. If those options are counter to your lifestyle / hygiene choices, it is likely you will encounter some negative feedback from fellow passengers. Including me. I wish you well and I admire your honesty, but I don't think it matters which cruise line you choose - especially in the current Coronavirus era - I think refusal to sanitise or wash hands as you arrive in food service area may be inviting trouble. I love Viking Ocean and I hope you give them a try, but I encourage you think about how you would react if the role was reversed and you were watching me walk into a food service area without using the sanitizer / hand basin. Cheers from me, LM
  8. well hello to you too ! I had some family dramas which took up any spare time I had towards the end of the Iceland cruise (sending / responding to emails etc) and those dramas took a while to resolve. DW and I did 'Empires of the Med' a couple of weeks after Iceland (it was fabulous, as was the 4-day Greece extension) and I never posted once - again all my time dealing with other issues. I have only posted in CC once in about 8 months. However, those dramas are long forgotten and I am avidly reading the Viking Ocean Forum again and will chip in with comments occasionally. Our next booking is for South America in late November 2020. I will be following your live posts from your upcoming cruise with great interest. Kind regards, LM
  9. Thanks for remembering me Peregrina651 .. unfortunately I had to go offline for the last few days of the cruise and also the Reykjavik extension and didn't get to finish what I started. I should just add - we did the 2 day extension with Viking and it was well worthwhile. We stayed at the Grand rather than the Hilton and despite my hesitations (some poor reviews etc) it was fine. The Blue Lagoon was a fabulous experience - but Viking did not offer the Golden Circle excursion and we booked it direct with a local company - Arctic Adventures. It was a very good day and again well worthwhile. We enjoyed Reykjavik and I trust you will as well. I don't normally do restaurant recommendations ... but if you want to try real 'local' food try 'Matur og Drykkur' – the Halibut soup was a fantastic Appertizer and our mains were wonderful (I think I had lamb ?). The cruise was outstanding and I hope all who are on-board this year have a great time. Regards, LM
  10. That is good to know. And yes, our crossing was an adventure. Thanks for remembering- I haven’t posted anything for 8 months or so but still read the Forum and have been following the WC. I just wanted to come back and say hello. DW and I love your Blog. Best wishes.
  11. I just wanted to say how disappointed I am for you and all pax on board about the weather you are experiencing whilst in Australia. I know you left Sydney a few hours ago, where the weather was so-so at best - after missing Melbourne altogether. As well as the torrential rain awaiting you in northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland you now have to deal with a cyclone which has developed west of Fiji. This is not what you would have been hoping for, not expecting. I hope things improve and I hope you enjoy Brisbane, despite the forecasts. Interestingly North Queensland is predicted to have very hot temperatures when you arrive there in a few days time. Cheers from us at Cooloongatta on the Gold Coast of Queensland, and best wishes to all for an enjoyable time whilst you are in our part of the world.
  12. Of course I missed the point about ‘no smoking’ in the advertising. I assume there is something in the fine print to clarify no smoking in cabins, public areas etc .. except the designated smoking area. In any case, we have never been negatively effected and we are not concerned that some passengers do smoke on Deck 8 in the designated area. The issue certainly wouldn’t stop us booking future cruises (we have 2 booked).
  13. I have seen the small designated smoking areas on Star, Orion and Sky - all in the same location on Deck 8 (outside). I haven’t been on Jupiter and that area may be larger .. but I am on Sky now and in the past 12 days I have walked past the smoking area a few times and I have seen zero people smoking. I’m sure the area on Sky gets used, but it has no impact on me and I suspect it will have none on you, regardless of which ship you are on.
  14. A lovely day in Isafjordur today .. blue sky and very light breeze. What we have been hoping for all week. We did the included excursion this morning and it was ok .. 58 people on a bus is too many for my liking and this dimmed my enthusiasm. The excursion itself is nevertheless worthwhile and we had a great guide. He was a young guy (Jake) who has degrees in Geology and Environment Management who is doing his Masters here. He was really good. The town is lovely - especially in the bright sunshine - and there is a real sense of shared community. It it is of course a small town in a remote location so don’t expect high street shopping. There is a very nice bakery behind the Hotel Isafjordur if you want to try a local speciality. From the ship, a 15 min walk to the bakery. Reykjavik tomorrow.
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