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  1. We are long-time cruisers with P&O (Caribbean loyalty level) and new P&O before the Carnival takeover. A few years ago, we tried Viking. And again. And again. How to describe the difference? "Chalk and cheese" comes to mind. Viking have beautiful modern ships (only 930 pax), all cabins have balconies, and which P&O ships have heated bathroom floors? Included are wifi, specialist restaurants, real coffee/tea, drinks with lunch and dinner, free excursions, etc, and excluded are photographers, casino, children, junk tables and black ties. We tried P&O again last year but were really not impressed (especially with the free addition of norovirus). On the subject of virus, no Viking Ocean ships suffered from/with coronavirus. So, in my mind, there is no comparison, especially as the comparative final cost delta is relatively small. For a special occasion, try Premium. And they do do river cruises too, to the same quality. A drawback is that your lady will not allow you to return to P&O in future. Mine doesn't.
  2. Mr Raab's Foreign Office has said that over-70's should not set foot on a cruise ship. In the same "advisory", having one or more of a specific but wide-ranging list of (elderly's?) ailments also forbids embarking on a cruise ship. These one-size-fits-all dictats have no end-date, but one could assume that in the fullness of time, they might just be lifted. Insurance companies must be mighty pleased at this governmental reduction in risk / opportunity to charge much higher premiums, but in the current climate of cancellations and FCCs, a number of questions come to mind. From those who have been booking, rebooking or applying vouchers for future(?) cruises, I would like to know A) Is the ban on over-70s being directly applied by British cruise companies themselves (P&O, Fred, SAGA, etc), European (Hurtigruten, Hapag-Lloyd etc) and the American biggies (X, RCI et al), in other words are they turning down bookings by over-70s? B) Is the ban being applied indirectly due to problems with travel insurance and insurance companies? Are the insurance companies turning down cruise cover for over-70s, and the infirm for whom the list of ailments applies? C) Are the travel insurance companies being more picky about past medical histories (eg heart bypass many years ago or minor stroke, from which there has been complete recovery) D) Has the list of "acceptable" ailments been trimmed/slashed? I apologise if this has already been addressed, but I have not been keeping up-to-date recently.
  3. Just to remind you, and Heidi13 on his very FIRST Viking cruise, that Viking is NOT an American cruise line, is not governed by US law and regulations (except when in the US) and we trust Viking itself to decide whether to board certain guests, and not slavishly follow some trumped up regulation which is not binding on it. A "one-size-fits-all" edict seldom works satisfactorily.
  4. Princess suspends all operations with 18 ships until 10 May. Who's next? Ponta Delgado now closing to cruise ships.
  5. How about a circumnavigation of Rockall, or St Kilda?
  6. 11 March 2020 Bergen’s city council bans cruise ship passengers from leaving ships docked in the city. Cruise ships arriving in Bergen can dock and take on supplies, but passengers must remain on board. The ban comes into force immediately. Bergen had been the only Norwegian port to announce such measures, but Stavanger quickly followed with their own announcement as the number of COVID-19 cases in Norway starts to rise rapidly. (From David Nikel, forbes.com)
  7. "I think perhaps Viking offers more obc to non-US based passengers than they do us that live in the states." Wrong. I read with wonder and amazement the amounts of OBC y'all seem able to garner from sources which we, on the east side of the pond, know nothing about. Our travel agents seldom pass on any credits. The only OBC we get is from an occasional promotion, or from shareholdings. But we tend not to whine about it.
  8. Don't just consider, best be safe and take a goodly stock of Cadbury's to keep in the fridge. The four-bar packet for £1 and one bar per day is handy. Chocolate in the ship's shop needs a prior visit to the bank manager, and our supermarkets are doing good deals just now, to say nothing of the pound shops. Also, a wee bit of real chocolate is so much appreciated by the stewards and crew. Don't spoil the cruise for a ha'porth of chocolate. Better another bag of buttons than an extra pair of socks. The chocolate fountain stuff on your ice cream is . . . ~~OK, plentiful but not like the real thing. Beware the Toblerone in the Duty Free -- the bank manager would need to phone Head Office for that! They don't have chocolate digestives on board either, although you could get digestives from the cheese board and go to the ice cream counter fountain and make your own if you were desperate. Perhaps a prior phone call to the ship regarding your easily-accommodated but essential dietary requirements (choc digs) would work?
  9. "but in practice Scottish notes are very reluctantly accepted in many areas of England" -- Jammy Bun Never EVER found this. In any area of England. It is probably a mischievous myth trotted out for and by tourists. Never met an Englishman who would not accept money of whatever stripe. The comment about the paper £50 note is relevant however. Best to stick with £5 (blue) and £10 (brown) plastic notes, and the larger coins. You may find reluctance to accept credit cards for very small transactions, especially in smaller shops and cafes in smaller ports of call. I cannot agree with Arlowood's comments about use and acceptance of Scottish notes. Where does he/she get this perception? However, after your holiday, foreign (non-UK) banks will almost always refuse Scottish notes (but will often accept BoE ones), so it would be probably wise to use them or change them before leaving the country.
  10. There's no need for classes. You can warm up in the gym with fifteen minutes on the bike, then use the various pieces of equipment -- treadmill, synchro, chest press, shoulder press, rowing and so on. Weights too. I found that there was more than ample to fully exercise . . . or not. And there's the top deck equipment outside too. And stairs to go up, and get the lifts down. You need not weary for calorie-burning opportunities. Or go for smaller portions.
  11. Most UK travel insurance policies have cancellation and reimbursement clauses triggered by a Foreign and Commonwealth Office advisory notice advising either against all travel or all but essential travel, or the FCO are advising British citizens to leave the area. Insurance apart, the FCO thinks that it is not safe to travel for the reasons stated in detail in their advisory, and they probably have better sources of information from whom to draw their advice than we do. So such advisories are normally obeyed, as to ignore them would be crass stupidity. We hear in our national news that it is almost impossible to get into China, it is increasingly difficult to get out, and medical services there are overwhelmed. So, not a good idea to travel. Try
  12. If you google "Rail.Ninja" for 10 June from Flam, the cost per person for the round trip is £65 which will be about 85 to 90 USD. $239 would appear grossly excessive for a train journey of 13km there and 13km back lasting an hour or so.
  13. From a guide crossing the Rocky Mountains, on a Sunday, in the coach.
  14. The Rocky Mountaineer goes through the valleys, so you are always looking upwards and are surrounded by geology. The coach goes over the passes, so you are looking down and around, and can stop easily wherever or for whatever. You could even see the sunshine. The hotels we had on the coach trip were 5*, except Kamloops. I'd go for the coach every time.
  15. Consider this scenario. Two Viking passengers are on a private (non-Viking) excursion, and , for whatever reason, they miss the boat. Miss it by such a long time that the boat is long gone. If they have not got their passports, or photocopies of their passports, or some other official photo ID, how do they get to the next port which of course is in another country? Think StP to Germany (or vice versa), or Greece to Turkey, or Israel to an Arab country. Think of helpful immigration officials, or the people you have to buy your tickets from, and their rules and regulations. How stuck are the late passengers? Or if they become involved with The Authorities, or traffic accidents, or hospitals, or any situation requiring identification to someone who doesn't speak your language? We always carry a good photocopy, on glossy photo paper, of our passports wherever we go off ship, whether we have to carry our passports or not. A photo of your passport can be put on your phone, but we prefer the paper version. Even have a spare in the cabin safe. Weighs nothing, simples. On the Far East cruise last year, Viking photocopied our passports, and these photocopies were stamped by Chinese officials at a person-to-official eye-ball session, which we then used in all other Chinese ports, and in Japan. Evidently losing the stamped copy could cause terrible difficulties.
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