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Steve Q

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  1. Steve Q

    Buyer Beware

    If you were specifically told that you would be entitled to any future price reduction, there would appear to be a problem. We recently experienced witnessing a price reduction for our next cruise. Truthfully, I never expected to receive any reduction as we booked our cabin while onboard our 6/2018 cruise. We accepted their offer and were satisfied at that time. Several weeks ago Viking offered not only a lower fare but also free airfare for new bookings on our June 2019 cruise to The Midnight Sun. I was shocked as their website had been showing most of the cabins as being “sold out” up until that time. On the the day of the new offering there were suddenly cabins available in almost every category. We inquired about receiving the new fare, but were politely refused. We can live with that. One thing I did learn, however, is to disregard much of the talk about most Viking sailings being sold out. We have been getting weekly emails from our travel agent with many deals on cruises within the next six months.
  2. Our “Trade Routes” cruise on The Star ended in Bergen last June. We had to depart around 5 AM for our trip to the airport. We reside in the DFW area but it still required 3 flights to return home. This June we are doing ”The Midnight Sun” cruise. We purposely chose to depart from Bergen and return from London. We just received our flights and are very pleased. While it will still require 3 flights to get to Bergen, we are not departing DFW until 11 AM and we arrive in Bergen at 10 AM the next day. Our return flight from London is a non-stop to DFW. It is perfect. Next year we are planning a 14 day cruise to The British Isles and Ireland. Our plans are to sail with Crystal in July 2020 as the voyage begins and ends in London. While Viking offers a similar cruise, once again it ends in Bergen. We have no desire to visit Bergen for a third time or spend an overnight there. It is just not a convenient airport. Honestly, I wish Viking would change some of their northern itineraries so that Bergen is not so frequently visited. Just my opinion. We love sailing on Viking and will continue to use them in the future (we will have to see what Crystal is like), but just not itineraries that feature Bergen.
  3. Don’t forget the Pool Grill. It will also be open for lunch.
  4. We sailed on the Star this past June and on the Riviera in 2017. While we enjoyed both, I think our preference is for Viking. In fact, did book the Midnight Sun for this June while we were onboard. That said, the Riviera is a very nice ship. We found the main dining room on Viking to be superior to the Riviera. Service and food in the main dining room on Oceania were several notches below Viking. The specialty restaurants ( four of them) on the Riviera were far superior to Viking’s offerings. Wine and beer at meals are extra on Oceania. Shore excursions (if you purchase those offered by the cruise line) are very very expensive on Oceania. We are looking at the 14 day British Isles cruise on Crystal in July of 2020. The itinerary seems better than Viking’s and the cost is not that much different.
  5. We sailed for the first time on Viking this past June for 14 days. Honestly, we loved the cruise and booked another while onboard. That said, there is no question that, at times, we were able to hear the TV in the cabin next to us.
  6. We were on our first Viking cruise in June 2018. While onboard we booked a June 2019 sailing of In the Midnight Sun. Our final payment is due this December. I cannot imagine paying in full one year in advance. We loved our first Viking cruise, but paying $16,000 a year in advance is something we will not accept.
  7. We are back. Good news.
  8. I can’t imagine that a relocation is imminent. The new office has only been in existence for two months. It would not surprise me, however, if over the next few years the administrative offices migrate to the new facilities. This would be a major operation and would require a lot of initial disruption, but the end payoff could be substantial. Time will tell.
  9. I had mentioned in an earlier post that Viking has opened a new facility in Tempe, Az. I believe it just opened two months ago. Perhaps this is playing into the seeming reduction in service. I am assuming that they must be in the process of hiring for this location. In addition, you have to assume that eventually there will be either a reduction or closing in at least one of their other two locations. The new location is within minutes of the Phoenix airport and probably will be considerably less expensive to operate.
  10. We sailed on our first Viking cruise in June. We were very pleased. While on board we booked a second cruise for next June. When we returned home, we encouraged another couple to consider Viking for their first cruise. They did book an Asian cruise for 2019. We then were notified that we would be receiving a credit reward for the referral. Recently, Viking notified us that the credit was now in our account and available to us. We called a Viking rep and requested that the credit be applied to our recent booking. We went round and round on the phone and finally gave up. When our travel agents’ returned from their vacation, we contacted them and they were successful in applying the credit. It was our first time calling Viking directly and we were not impressed.
  11. That really is very sad that the classical group has been reduced from 3 to 2 musicians. We loved the trio on the Star in June. At that time we were told by someone that Viking was going to be using a new talent agency with plans to make the cut back in the size of the group. Not a dealbreaker, but it is a disappointment.
  12. We just disembarked a Viking cruise on June 26. We booked the lowest category and were able to have access to our cabin by 2:00. The reservations desk was open when we boarded before noon.
  13. Below is something I posted on an a different thread. Not sure if this answers your question. “I think there was value to booking a future cruise while onboard. If you book a 14 day or longer cruise, a credit of $400per person was provided. Additionally, you will an immediate $100 credit toward your current cruise. The amount of the credit was a bit less for shorter cruises. You are also not locked into the cruise you choose. Anytime within 4 months of your sailing, you have the option to switch to a different cruise. That said, any future bookings do require a deposit of $500 per person.”
  14. Talk with the Cruise Consultant when you board. If you booked additional cruises, there was an additional credit toward 2nd and 3rd bookings. I cannot recall the amount, but I am positive that additional bookings received more than $400. I would definitely ask for the credit. The Cruise Consultant’s desk is on the 2nd floor near the model of the Viking ship. You just sign his book and choose an appointment time from the times offered. I would visit early in the Cruise as he was a very busy person. He also made an hour long presentation in the theatre on one of the sea days. Honestly, I would love to know how many future cruises he booked. It was literally just one appointment after another.
  15. I think there was value to booking a future cruise while onboard. If you book a 14 day or longer cruise, a credit of $400per person was provided. Additionally, you will an immediate $100 credit toward your current cruise. The amount of the credit was a bit less for shorter cruises. You are also not locked into the cruise you choose. Anytime within 4 months of your sailing, you have the option to switch to a different cruise. That said, any future bookings do require a deposit of $500 per person. I hope that answers your question.
  16. We did complete the questionnaire at the end of the cruise. We stated how pleased we were with our cruise, but also expressed concern about the possibility of reducing the classical group to just two members. It just seems like an unnecessary way to reduce expenses. They did seem anxious for feedback during the cruise so I am confident that our comments will be read.
  17. We just returned from “The Trade Route of the Middle Ages” voyage on the Viking Star. This was our first Viking cruise so I thought I would share some thoughts. Our previous cruise history includes numerous voyages on HAL, Celebrity, and Princess. In 2017 we sailed Oceania on the Riviera. Our particular cruise was recently reviewed by another member, so I thought I would just provide some general impressions, rather than including a discussion about the ports. I must say that, overall, we were very pleased. The Star really is a well designed ship. The service onboard far exceeded any of our prior cruises. The attention to detail was very noticeable. Our favorite venue was the Explorers Lounge which was a great place to listen to music nightly before dinner. In general, the quality of the food was excellent. We ate at Manfredi’s on 3 occasions and enjoyed it very much. I mentioned that the service was excellent. We were surprised when we disembarked that there were at least 10 Viking associates, positioned along the exit path, to guide us as we left the ship. Upon entering the terminal, there were people with signs pointing in the direction of our luggage. When we located our luggage, they were taken by local teenagers, acting as porters, to our awaiting bus. A Viking representative then boarded our bus and accompanied us to the airport to see that we went to the proper lines for check-in. All were noticeably identified by red Viking colors. We were really surprised as on other cruises you were generally on your own when you exited the ship. Another surprise was the level of entertainment. The cruise director, Nolan Dean, really made you feel welcomed. The assistant cruise director, Brian Rodriguez, was an amazing singer and performed in his own show one evening. All three of the in-house musical performers were excellent. We really enjoyed the classical trio as they performed in several venues nightly. Viking will probably be our favored line going forward. We booked another cruise while onboard; something we have never done before. They are expanding rapidly, so I do hope they can maintain the quality. I find the expansion interesting as, to my knowledge, Oceania has no new builds scheduled. Viking is opening a 3rd U. S. location in Tempe, Az this month. It will be only a 10 minute drive from the Phoenix airport. I suspect, this is only my opinion, that sometime in the future one of the other sites (California and Massachusetts) might be consolidated in Tempe as the cost of doing business is less expensive. One last thought concerns the classical trio. A Viking staff member mentioned that the contract with European talent agency used to provide the classical musicians is being discontinued. An American agency will be taking its place. The plans include reducing the group to just two musicians from the current three. That just seems like a totally unnecessary change. The current arrangement seems to work so well, that it just seems like a poor decision to reduce the number of musicians. Another interesting item: Canada’s Discovery channel was onboard filming an episode for The Might Cruises. All were very friendly and unobtrusive.
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