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Aussie Cruise Nuts

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  1. We had a similar experience for our first Viking cruise. Booked 2 years ahead for Hong Kong to Vanvouver April 2019. Then waited and watched as Viking Orion was built, sea trialled and she finally started cruising. As Dauntless said, it allowed plenty of time for port research and preparation. We enjoyed Viking so much we rebooked on board for Rome to Istanbul on Sky in June 2021. Now in a waiting game to see what Covid and Cruising will allow 😢😩😖 Have cancelled 2 earlier cruises on Seabourn and Azamara as the cruise world ground to a halt. Rod
  2. Get in line Clay. I have had my name down for the Food Taster Job on Viking Ocean for 3 years. Still waiting to be called up 😂😂 Rod
  3. Our invitation popped into our inbox this morning. Along with a neat little teaser video from Chairman Hagen. We are interested in Antarctica but prefer VIKING after they have had several seasons to new port itineraries. This observation based on our experience earlier this year for our 36 night cruise Hong Kong, Asia, Far East Russia, Bering Sea, Alaska and down into Vancouver. On board experience excellent, shore excursions, Port scheduling, and particularly communication from Shoreside left a lot to be desired. I would be more confident when Viking Ocean has a season or two in new territory under their belt. Just my view. We have Rome to Istanbul booked on Sky to look forward to and feel they better know and understand the Med and Homelands far more than their first up itineraries. Perhaps a result of their very fast expansion of Ocean. Rod
  4. Thanks LM. Seems this issue has been resolved. The Future Cruise Consultant has different terms and conditions sheets for each country. The Australian specific T&C’s fully cover the 120 day window to kick the can down the road should we desire. Whilst his verbal advice was “unlimited” number of can kicks/cruise changes can be made, our Aus T&C sheet was missing this important detail. The very good Future Cruise Consultant is providing my request in writing to me covering the no limitation/expiry date on number of times we can change a cruise and retain all Future Cruise benefits - subject of course to making any change PRIOR to the 120 day mark. He confirmed the booking is under Viking Australia conditions. Furthermore, Viking are linking my booking to my Australian Travel Agent, and confirming the booking details and attached benefits direct to them. All bookings, pricing etc was straight off the Viking Australia website and we received the current Aussie promo of $1,000 discount in addition to the Future Cruise and Past Guest discount. I am confident I have covered all my bases and today paid the AUD$1,000. I do appreciate your concern and advices. CC contributors are helpful and look out for each other. Now LM, I need you to work on the Dutch Harbour weather. The forecast of clearing showers started as drizzle, then to pouring rain. It has just eased off as I write this, so we will shuttle bus into town to explore and find the Bald Eagles. Rod
  5. LM. As you know we are currently onboard Orion - Sea day 3 of a millpond smooth crossing of Bering Sea to Dutch Harbour. I have been pondering the onboard booking benefits of a future cruise and investigated your news. We are going to lock in the 21 night Rome to Istanbul departing 6 June 2021. Not a bargain in Aussie shekels, but it includes a bucket list gap of ports in our long cruising history - Venice and the Adriatic ports - 2 nights, 2 1/2 days in Venice. WOW. We have been to some of the ports previously, but quite a nice list of maiden ports for us. Onboard booking benefits are pretty good and I like the “Peace of Mind” flexibility which allows the booking to be rolled forward or backward with no penalty (provided within the 4 month final payment period). It was interesting to compare the different offers between USA, UK and Aussie pax. I thought we compared favourably. Cruise going very well and looking forward to our last 11 days of the cruise and 7 Alaskan ports plus a few days scenic cruising. Glad we tried Viking. Rod
  6. Thanks again Heidi13 for bringing local knowledge to play. As independent travellers, this hotel will work fine for our disembarkation and transfer to the Wedgewood Hotel for our post cruise stay in Vancouver. Looks a quite short taxi drive. Cheers. Rod.
  7. Thanks Little Monty. I feel your ovservations are correct as the great majority onboard we meet and talk to agree with your sentiments. But there are always those who find fault and can’t move past it. More pity them as we are here to enjoy the cruise and all it offers, not find fault with the few things that go astray (hello, it’s called life). Having a blast and will continue to do so. Rod.
  8. We are onboard Orion now - been on since Hong Kong on 21 April. First Viking Cruise (of 16 Ocean Cruises and 2 River Cruises) and in our experience this is the fastest and most consistent wi-fi we have experienced at sea - and it’s unlimited and fully included in the price. Ok, it’s not as fast as home, but fully operational for a cruise, and naturally at its slowest (but still works) when most pax are using. We have successfully FaceTimed our family several times, easily dowloaded our home daily newspaper digital edition each day (something not easily achieved on Seabourn, our most cruised line - the record was 35 minutes on one Seabourn cruise and that’s minutes I was paying for !!!!). I’ll take Vikings wifi policy any day. Agree that speed can be a a little faster in the public spaces vs suites, but we are very happy with the wifi (and our Suite, food, drinks and the excellent ever friendly smiling crew) on our first Viking Ocean Cruise. Yes, noticed the “errors” on the Viking App and had a laugh at the Kiel Canal and Petra, Jordan itinerary diversions, but not a big deal in our view. Guess we may be Glass half full people. Rod
  9. I did not really want to involve myself with this particular thread because everyone is different, and have experienced varying issues with food, virus, illness etc. Whilst we are very attentive to sanitation issues (on a cruise or in life generally), we don’t overly stress out over these things. We take appropriate precautions and then “it will be what it will be” - on a cruise, long haul flight, restaurant or packed fairground etc. As I have been following this thread since post #1, I thought perhaps I could add my up to date perceptions of the issue on Viking Orion. We are now in day 5 of our 36 night cruise Hong Kong to Vancouver. Whilst I likely may not have paid a lot a attention to this issue when onboard, the thread piqued my interest. Day 1 in World Cafe was certainly a mix with some fresh tables having glasses face down, some face up. Place mats were generally wiped, some not. Over the next few days a change seems to have materialised. Glasses are now face up, place mats are removed and replaced as tables are vacated. Perhaps Viking have addressed the concerns outlined in earlier posts. To my overall observation, Viking (our first cruise with them) seem to take sanitation seriously and on a par or better than our previous 16 cruises. Just my observations. Rod
  10. Heidi13, Now in day 5 (sea day) of the long cruise to Vancouver. We are very happy with the early days and nights of our first Viking Ocean Cruise. Obviously a few things are different to our previous 16 cruises (mainly Seabourn), but we are not ones to continually compare and discuss these little differences. Suffice to say the suite is excellent, the food so far is a high standard and the daily pour drinks are certainly acceptable. The highlight is the crew - all friendly, smiling and so eager to serve, engage and talk with us. A couple of regular servers have asked our names and now welcome us by name when they see us. Something the smaller Seabourn cruise ships (450 pax) do more easily. We did not really expect this personal name recognition on Viking which is twice the number of pax. It may be because we take the time to chat with our servers (when they are not busy) that encourages them to learn our names. Manfredi’s tonight (second visit) and can’t wait. First visit my steak was superb, although I will be asking for the half size next time. A perfect medium rare and melt in your mouth. The beef carpaccio has disappeared from the menu (a favourite for both of us) and replaced with octopus carpaccio which my wife rated highly. Our first visit to Chefs Table was also outstanding (Xiang menu) and can’t wait for our next visits there. We thought we were only entitled to 3 pre bookings at each of the speciality restaurants, but when prebooking opened, we were offered 6 bookings at each. Eagerly accepted and booked !!!! Whilst our cruise is sold as one cruise, it really is 2 separate cruise legs, and I assume this is why we got lucky with 12 pre bookings. Another Viking plus Cheers. Rod.
  11. We have just departed Keelung Port (for Taipei) and I am pleased to report Viking Orion clearly flew the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan) - as she should. Rod.
  12. Pushka, I well understand your frustration with this issue. It’s always the same for Aussies as documents must be printed, sorted (I assume in USA), and then distributed Downunder before the local cruise line office, General Agent or Travel Agent receives them and forwards them onto us “lucky” Aussies. Can be quite a delay for us over North American Cruisers. Whilst this Viking Ocean Cruise is a first with this line for us (yay, we board on Sunday in Hong Kong), we have been cruising for around 20 years and it has always been the same issue with receipt of cruise documents. Always touch and go to receive the docs before we fly out. To compound the problem, a lot of Aussies make the cruise a part of a longer holiday, as we have to fly long distances to board a cruise ship in North America, UK or Europe. Like you, we often fly out of Australia many weeks before the cruise and enjoy a land holiday before the cruise. For this cruise we are doing it the other way - 6 weeks in Canada and USA post cruise. I agree with your sentiments that it is not the same to have a piece of printed paper over the nice cruise booklet, luggage tags and other nice little bits and pieces the cruise line forward to their pax. I am confident you will receive your docs before you leave Aus, as we received ours more than a month before cruise start date. Keep pestering your Travel Agent or Viking Australia Office, depending how you booked. Should they not arrive, print out the face page that opens when you log into MVJ. I have just checked my cruise booklet against our face page in MVJ. It contains the same information any “officious” Port Agent may require to let you enter the terminal - Booking number, Full names, Name and date of cruise, stateroom number etc Page 4 of the cruise booklet has all this vital info (as per MVJ) and the rest of book is “bumf” that no Port Agent would be interested in. I hope it all goes well for you and travel safely. Don’t forget to wave at us as we tender off Orion in Vancouver and you likely tender onto Orion for your cruise. Happy cruising 😀🍾🛳⛴🚢 Rod
  13. Thanks for the report tubeamps. Sounds promising for the shore excursions. I was particularly pleased to read of your 5 stops. My past reading of CC reviews mentions many included shore excursions as “panaromic” meaning a bus trip with limited stops. We will be very happy if our “panaromic excursions” have that many stops. Just won’t be overly keen on a bus tour with limited stops. Re wifi - we are also on deck 6, so sounds like wifi may be problematic in our suite. Enjoy your remaining days on Orion. And safe journey home. Rod.
  14. Tubeamps. Thanks for the prompt response. Sounds promising. I know Orion shore excursions copped a lot of flack for their initial Asian ports of call on their way to Australia/NZ last year - and some not so good reviews of the NZ included shore excursions. Perhaps a lesson has been learnt and/or Viking is listening to the valued feedback from CC posters. Are you staying aboard after Hong Kong for the next leg ? Rod.
  15. We board Orion in Hong Kong in 10 days. It will be our first Viking Ocean Cruise (15 previous cruises on other lines, mainly Seabourn). I would be interested in reading about how you are enjoying Orion. I am confident the ship, suites, food, wifi etc will all be good (based on CC reviews). Not so confident on the included shore excursions which CC reviews have been pretty average for Orion. Apologies for the thread drift from wifi, but keen to contact a current onboard Orion cruiser. Rod.
  16. Sue. Any Brisbane Lions Fan is a friend of mine. Although my first love is Rugby (after my Darling of course). Reds leading the Stormers 21-7 as I write this. Good to see the Lions having a better start to the season. Hope it continues. We are catching up with some Canadian cruise friends (from a 2017 cruise) in Vancouver, likely the first night, but let’s catch up on board and see what works for us. We are staying at the Wedgewood Hotel. Are you on Hong Kong to Vancouver, Tokyo to Vancouver or a longer cruise ? We can hopefully catch up at the Meet and Mingle on board or give us a call in 6024. Rod and Lyn.
  17. Pushka. You are right. I have never seen such a bunch of sour looking people as on Aussie passport photos. No smiles allowed. Makes us look a very sour and unhappy lot, when in reality we are quite nice and very friendly 😀😂 I will try to break the scanner when we board in Hong Kong in a couple of weeks. I need some of the luck LM had. Rod
  18. I see you did not receive notification of the change from Yokohama to Harumi - for Tokyo. We received notification of this change in January - actually got it twice - once in an email direct from Viking and again in an email from our Travel Agent who handles our cruise bookings. As we board in Hong Kong the cruise before yours (and stay on to Vancouver), our notification was obviously not as critical as for those pax actually embarking in Tokyo. Ours was a welcome change as Harumi is far more central and convenient for our 3 days aboard in Tokyo. Much more important for those embarking in a Tokyo (hotels, transport to the ship etc). Also, our longer cruise always had the Vancouver disembarkation date correct at 26 May, although others had 27 May on their original docs. Viking Shoreside do need to improve their communications to their pax which is becoming an ongoing frustration for many - eg the Vancouver docking vs tender disembarkation issue. Rod
  19. Not sure if you have been to Xiamen before, but it is a very enjoyable port stop. We visited here on an Azamara Quest Cruise a few years ago. A very modern city with a great waterfront walk which is very scenic. When you leave the waterfront and the modern skyscrapers and walk into the old town the whole scene changes dramatically. So many sights, sounds and smells. We found a pedestrian mall with lots of street vendors and enjoyed a variety of snacks. And no ill effects, although we only ate the food that we watched being cooked. If you get the chance, catch the ferry across to Gulangyu Island, a vehicle free Island with beautiful old colonial villas. We found the locals very helpful and they would find an English speaking official to assist us with transport options etc. A great day out. Rod
  20. OK Heidi13. Now the pressure is on !!!!! I have logged it in my phone diary to ensure I follow through on my offer. It is the very very least I can do for you as I have learnt so much info for our maiden Viking Ocean Cruise from your informative postings. Not to mention how I maintened a regular watching brief for your postings on the recent Viking Sky incident. So, happy to reciprocate in this small way. Rod
  21. That’s an interesting question Zitsky. We will be onboard Orion when she docks in Keelung ((for Taipei) on 24 April. I will keep a sharp lookout for the flag flown and try to remember to post the info for you. Rod
  22. Finally, some well reasoned, experienced, balanced commentary enters this long thread on page 37, nothwithstanding the fine efforts of Heidi13, Seadog and a few other posters. Thanks Chengkp37, Heidi13 and Seadog et al for your valuable contributions. So nice to have your thoughts gained over many long years in the industry, unlike the many keyboard warriors who sit on their PC, laptop, iPad etc espousing their theories, conspiracies and occasional vitriol gained from their “experience” of their many (or few) cruises as passengers. Thanks guys, Much appreciated and keep up the good work. I know the majority of CC readers appreciate your input.
  23. OK, Disembark at Bali. More heat and humidity but an interesting place with friendly people, some good food and very cheap beer. Have a Bintang for me since I can’t buy you a beer in HK. I may be too late to add value to your Komodo visit as I have been totally absorbed all day in following the sad and dramatic events aboard Viking Sky off Norway. We did that trip in June 2013 on Seabourn Sojourn and the sea was a millpond for us. Hard to reconcile the pics I am watching with my memory of this beautiful part of the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with all onoard and the rescue teams. Seems the worst is now past - hopefully. As to Komodo, well worth a visit. We did a private tour with around 10 pax (arranged through our CC roll call) from Seabourn Encore in Nov 2017. It’s dry, hot, humid but some interesting animals to see and photograph. And some interesting tropical plants pointed out by our excellent guide. It was nice to be in a smaller group, away from the larger ship excursion group, and a mere fraction of the price. I recall buying a great little T Shirt for our grandson with dragons on it at the local stall at the end of the tour. Enjoy the remaining days of your cruise - and please keep the entertaining reports on the good ship Orion flowing. Cheers. Rod
  24. Stretchcruz. Many thanks for your regular postings. I am following you religiously and you are certainly whetting our appetite for when we board Orion in Hong Kong soon - Lobster night ( I am happy to have your share !!!), French Dinner (can’t wait), and so good to hear your very favourable reports on the staff. They sound excellent. Not much you can do about the heat and humidity in the Tropics at this time of year. It will likely get worse as you near Komodo Island, Lombok and Bali. It is so draining. You also got the “bonus” of a tropical cyclone on this cruise. Looks like the Captain kept the good ship, pax and crew out of harms way, but sounds like a fair bit of rocking and rolling. Do you think Orion handles heavy seas ok ? Will you still be on board when we join Orion in Honkers ? If so, I would love to buy you a beer and say thanks for the great reporting. Cheers. Rod
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