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timbloom

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Everything posted by timbloom

  1. Will do after we leave Istanbul on the 2nd day 18th Oct.
  2. I hope there is not a problem either way. We fly on Oct 17 to Istanbul from the UK to join Viking Sky. This ship calls at 2 stops in Turkey and then Athens and Rhodes, I think, before turning back to a stop in Turkey, and after a couple of other stops goes back into the Med to go to Sicily, Naples & finishing in Rome. Viking are even now sending us stuff we have to do before flying and arriving at the ship, so if there was still a problem I would have thought they would have told us by now.
  3. I did email a list of questions to Viking chap who seemed to be contacting all the UK customers on the Oct 3 cruise, requesting that someone senior who was involved in the decision to return to Kotor, reply to me. I very quickly received a lengthy reply from him which seemingly had been discussed at a higher level, and I do applaud Viking for doing that. I have agreed to differ with Viking as their explanation still seemed to be for "operational " reasons, and I still don't really understand the reason and why they can't be more explicit. Although I said initially we wouldn't use Viking again, we have a cruise already booked with them next June, and having tried a non viking cruise 2 years ago I am not sure anything can match the Viking experience. So like a relationship break up, I hope we can emerge from the non acceptance, then anger stage, to a point where we can agree to meet up again and even rekindle our feeloings and let bygones be bygones. My email to and reply from Viking are too long to re-produce here [or more truthfully I don't have the necessary IT skills to do so] but I would be happy to email them to anyone interested. I don't know the etiquette of disclosing email addresses on here. If it is within the rules I will gladly list mine for those who want to to email me with theirs.
  4. Yes I have seen the other posts Mancunian and I will post whatever responses I get .I will be going to a national travel writer such as Simon Calder if I don't get a response or a satisfactory one. I really don't think the Kotor decision was because of a desire not to upset the majority of their clients i.e. Americans. I really don't believe there would have been much of a fuss over missing Kotor, which is hardly one of the big draws of this cruise. It seems to me far more likely it was to cover up some problem they don't want to admit to such as an inability to get flights or whatever. Still fuming.
  5. I am going to put a series of questions to Viking about this fiasco as far as we and I think all other UK customers want to know. If not fully answered by someone in authority who took the decision to stop at Kotor I may take this situation to some of the UK travel writers to publicise. Amongst my questions will be 1. Why stop at Kotor etc etc. 2. Montenegro went red on Aug 30. Why only tell us on 20 Sept. 3. I am confident we couldn't get travel insurance cover for Montenegro. Viking's policies are we must have full travel insurance inc Covid cover and repatriation. They said one option was to still cruise but quarantine on return to UK. Surely that means they were telling us we could break their conditions. 4. Are they warning UK residents this problem for all future cruises, whether already booked or making a new booking Les37b you may well be right and it had occurred to me this may have something to do with flights. If so they have been uneconomical with the truth. But if 10% of the passengers were from UK and 50% went for a refund [suspect most will in fact] that is nearly £250,000 lost revenue, unless, of course, they are confident they can fill with more non UK passengers.
  6. We are particularly upset as we booked this in 2019 with two other couples who were at our wedding to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary on Oct 10 onboard. We started jumping around Thursday when Turkey came off red, so it was devastating to us to get this phone call today. I just cannot understand why Viking are doing this when on previous cruises from Malta they just avoided Kotor and spent another day in Dubrovnik. Spread the word as Viking need to know the damage this will do to their reputation in UK. Like you Mancunian we have taken the refund, and although we have another cruise booked with them next June, we will not trust Viking ever again after that.
  7. We were on the Oct 3 Venice to Istanbul Viking Sky with a stop at Kotor. We have just been told that this remains on the cruise and that UK Passengers would have to quarantine on arrival back in the UK in a Gov hotel at our own cost, even if we stay on the ship at that port. They have offered us a refund or the other usual options. I believe that passengers from across the water are not affected by this. I cannot believe Viking have not taken the pragmatic decision to avoid Kotor and either stop somewhere else for an extra day, or just throw in a sea day, which we would have actually welcomed. I did ask why they didn't do this, particularly as they have already done this on some recent cruises, but I didn't get a real explanation. I am afraid this smacks of not caring about the UK passengers who are in a minority, and I hope they know what they are doing, as it will trash their excellent reputation here.
  8. If you want the best afternoon tea in the UK if not the world, go to the Ritz. Very expensive but an experience you will never forget.
  9. We were in Liverpool in May on Viking Venus and the first cruise ship to visit in 18 months and boy, did they make us feel welcome. I didn't have great expectations as I last visited on business back in the 80's and thought the place was run down and dirty. The city centre and waterfront have been transformed. We took the Viking organised tour "Maritime History of Liverpool" and the local guide was truly fantastic. Should have been 2 hours I think but lasted more like 3 as she and we were having such fun. I see on Trip Advisor [which we use to book private excursions whenever we can] that there is a "Liverpool Maritime History" trip advertised and probably the one Viking set up. Well worth it. I echo what others have said. Conway castle amongst the best in the UK IMO. If you go and you get a guide [ seem to recall they use volunteers who don't charge] and they don't tell you, ask them why with the 8 towers, 7 are clockwise and 1 anti clockwise. There are some really good heritage steam train lines around N Wales but assume that you wouldn't have time for these. Enjoy.
  10. As someone who has visited this area vin Italy many times I would highly recommend visiting both Pompeii and Herculaneum - both not to be missed. As others have said you can easily get to both by the Naples to Sorrento train. I would also suggest you do not take on any guides that hang around outside the entrances. They are not official and I have heard many mixed reports on them. Instead go for an official guide you can find where you buy your tickets. they are not cheap, but often they will team you up with other couple/s to reduce cost. My experiences on these guides has been universally good. If you want to experience the best pizza in Naples, try Michele which claims to have invented the Margharita.
  11. I have had similar problems trying to book excursions on our Oct 3 Venice to Istanbul. Even where it showed availability it said on-line booking not possible. So rung Guest Services here in UK and Viking Rep booked some for us and also explained - Viking only allow about 50% pre-booking of the included tours as people change mind etc. We are guaranteed the included tour - If there is clearly demand for an optional excursion they will usually lay on more. So as someone has said as soon as you can after embarkation go to Guest Services and you will probably be able to get most of what you want. My chat with Viking did remind me that was our experience on 2 previous cruises with them. Incidentally I am sure I have seen that Croatia and Viking have agreed we can now do our own thing there - for us that would be Split and Dubrovnik. We often find great trips and guides from Trip Advisor.
  12. Can't answer that question but a bit of interesting info. I have heard that Viking and Croatia have agreed we no longer have to go ashore in a bubble i.e. we can do our own thing. Hope so as we are on Oct 3 cruise Venice to Istanbul We found on past cruises that often using something like Trip Advisor we found better and cheaper excursions than offered by Viking. Our cruise stops in two places in Croatia - Split and Dubrovnik. Yours may be different of course.
  13. If you dock at 11pm as we did last night ensure you are up and on starboard side. Dramatic views of harbour, Spinnaker Tower and aircraft carrier. Lovely cruise & lucky if you still have yours to come.
  14. Sorry should have said Debby not Derby.
  15. Try the Maritime History tour. About 3 hours easy walking around centre and sea front with Derby- she is excellent.
  16. From Lizard village past Lighthouse & then Coastguards & Hotel,before turning inland through a very muddy farm. Would suggest it will take some time to dry out, so consider taking walking shoes you can keep in a separate bag Nice but fairly easy walk if you are an ecperienced hiker. No criticism or Viking as sure they have to cater for all levels.
  17. On the first Venus UK cruise and have booked on board for next year. Received extra £150 pp discount on top of usual £100 loyalty reduction, plus £100 pp credit on this cruise.
  18. DGHOC - You are allowed to peruse the buffet in the World Cafe but rather than help yourself the staff put the food on the plate and hand it to you. I agree with you about the Roseland - it is one of our favourite spots in the world. For years we have booked a large house with 7/8 others called Trencreek [ nr Tregony] from Rural Retreats and will be back there next year. If we had been able to go about on our own I had planned to take the ferry to St Mawes, have coffee overlooking the harbour and then take the foot ferry across and walk around St Anthony's Head. Or walk from St Mawes, via St Just, up to the King Harry Ferry, cross over to Trelissik Garden and then take the ferry back to Falmouth. But we did next best thing today and had a lovely walk around a part of the Lizard and actually got quite hot at one stage. Nothing very hard for any casual walker. I think others have covered the other questions so well nothing to add, apart from I so pleased the newcomers to Viking are finding out like we did 3 years ago, how great the company, ship and staff are.
  19. Can't answer any questions about Scilly as they have just cancelled the stop there - high winds & seas make tender transfers dangerous. No one has shown any interest in our Insurance details. Not sure of the need for this anyway on a UK cruise,apart from cancellation cover. Yes excursions are pricey as I think we have to be installing bubbles. But given how economic these cruises are I want to try and support the people who depend on them for a living.
  20. welcome from the pretty stormy seas approaching Scilly Isles. A couple of other points - If your cruise is at same capacity as this one you won't actually need reservations for the Restaurant. Social distancing is not a problem, possibly apart from the Spa and Gym which have much reduced capacity. People asked about comfort check in. Is that just the online check in procedure? We did that and printed off the boarding cards and had them saved on my phone. No one was remotely interested in seeing them at any stage. If anyone is worried about the all the health checks, don't be. You do your saliva deposit first thing in your cabin [before cleaning your teeth they tell you] and you get your temp taken only once a day by photo recognition at one of the screens around the ship, and do a very simple health questionnaire once a day - 4 simple questions such as have you got any flu like symptoms etc. Lastly I really would recommend doing an excursion in Liverpool, particularly the one we did. I wasn't keen on getting off as I did some business there in the 80's and remembered a pretty tatty and dirty centre. I was pleasantly surprised. We did the Maritime history of Liverpool with Debby, who was terrific - funny, engaging, informative and irreverent at times. there were only 4 of us, as many didn't seem to want to tour at all. At the end she and we wanted to do a group hug but we didn't of course. I Really would do this tour which took about nearly 3 hours gentle walking around the centre and sea front. Leaving Liverpool was quite emotional as they played " sailing" by Rod Stewrat from the quayside with lots of waving. I think they were so delighted to see the first cruise ship back. Will look every day and happy to answer any more questions if I can.
  21. Here in Liverpool on Viking Venus. I see someone has already posted on the embarkation process and we found it very easy. It is wonderful be back with Viking's wonderful crew, ship and food. So good we have already booked a cruise next June to the midnight sun. And we already have one booked from 2 years ago this Oct from Athens to Istanbul. I do hope all the guests from USA and all round the world can be back with us all here from the UK. The only thing not working well is some of the IT with reservations. When we embarked we found none of the dining reservations we had made existed. The Viking App needs a lot of work and apart from completing the very small health check every morning [rather than a paper one which you would have to deliver to Guest Services] I wouldn't use it much apart from seeing your booked excursions. So I would recommend go early to Guest Services to check or make excursion and dining bookings, and keep your own record. Spa & Gym reservations in the early morning tend to go quite quickly, as numbers are restricted for obvious reasons, so again book soon if you want them. None of these are criticisms as with a new ship and cruising just resuming after so long. The Viking experience is just as wonderful - and no I don't work for them or get paid to say these things!
  22. On a couple of points raised in previous posts we went on the Homelands cruise in 2018 and the trip to Berlin was by train. We wouldn't recommend that. It was still a long journey on an old non air conditioned train [temps were 32c +] . If we did that cruise again we would go to somewhere like Rostock instead. Someone mentioned gratuities not being included. In the previous and tomorrow's UK cruise they are, as they are on the cruise we have booked in Oct from Venice to Istanbul. We have only cruised with one other company, P & O, and we found it quite stuffy and would probably not now cruise with anyone other than Viking. Another description I would give the ships and experiences would be Nordic Cool. And the passengers tend to be mainly American, which as a Brit I find enjoyable and interesting.
  23. Our friends got home today after 3 nights on the shake down cruise. They have a professional relationship with the owner and company, hence they get a few days on most shake down inaugural cruises of new ships. They had no negative comments about the experience but I think even fewer people on board than the 50% we are all sailing with. Watch this space.
  24. We are on the first of these Viking Venus UK cruises tomorrow so happy to report back or even during the cruise on some of these issues. Friends have just had 3 days on-board on the naming and proving voyage so may get some feedback today. Initially I couldn't really understand why we had to only go on-shore in a Viking excursion. However I have come to accept that they are being ultra cautious keeping us in bubbles as if there is one case of Covid on board and it spreads the cruising business will be set back months. Any who haven't cruised with Viking before you are in for a treat. 3 years ago we had first ever cruise and that was with Viking. Getting quite emotional at the thought of returning to them.
  25. Another vote for Alla. Cheaper than any ship organised comparable excursion and 1st class. Confirm what others say about the Visa
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