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cocopico

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  1. Viking has officially announced what everyone suspected -- all cruises for the remainder of this year have been cancelled. Fortunately, they are continuing the 125% voucher if you choose to leave your money with them. I suspect, though, that future cruises are going to get harder and harder to book as a lot of folks scramble to move their 2020 cruises into 2021 and beyond. https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/my-trip/current-sailings/index.html
  2. Plenty of seating right now . . .
  3. Thanks for the kind comments, Jack, and for the advice about trans-Atlantic crossings!
  4. We did the South America and Chilean Fjords Cruise aboard the Viking Jupiter in January, sailing from Buenos Aires to Santiago. This was our sixth Viking Ocean cruise and the ship and crew were great. Unfortunately, the weather was not as welcoming. We had the expected hot days in Buenos Aires, mild days right next door in Montevideo, and returned to the heat in Puerto Madryn. The sail to the Falklands was nice, but by the time we arrived in the morning, the winds had kicked up and the Captain made the call not to tender anyone ashore. He thought we could probably make it on shore, but the expected 50-60 mph winds would prevent him from getting us back to the ship in the afternoon. This was a major disappointment for us, but the captain clearly made the right call. The weather conditions began to deteriorate rapidly. So, we turned around and headed for Cape Horn and Ushuaia, where we would get an unplanned night in port. (As it turned out, that was one of my favorite nights of the whole cruise!) The two-day passage to Ushuaia was rough — very rough! Lots of passengers were seasick, despite the ubiquitous patches people were wearing behind their ears. Viking put out candied ginger as an additional remedy, and of course freely distributed seasick pills to guests who hadn’t thought to bring their own. Again, rough seas in that part of the world are not unexpected. Despite high winds and rough seas, we did manage to round Cape Horn, which was great. Our trip up the Chilean Fjords was hampered by strong winds, low dark clouds and, at times, thick fog. Nevertheless, the landscapes were beautiful, especially if you were on the starboard side of the ship, where you could watch the mountains and glaciers roll by from the comfort of your cabin or balcony. We also got very close to the Amalia Glacier, which was beautiful despite the terrible weather. Amazingly, we had the place to ourselves and the captain took full advantage to give us a lot of time there. The weather in Punta Arenas was sunny, but again high winds played havoc with our plans. Having missed the excursion to see the King Penguins on the Falklands, we were looking forward to our visit to a penguin colony in the Straits of Magellan, but alas high winds caused that excursion to be cancelled too. We went from thinking we had booked too many penguin excursions to seeing very few penguins at all. Instead, I walked from the ship to the amazing Punta Arenas cemetery - definitely worth a visit! The stop in Puerto Montt was largely forgettable. We did get some great views of the Osorno Volcano and had a nice ride on Emerald Lake, but many of the stops were very crowded and it was very hot. We ended the trip in Valparaiso, but the situation at the port made it difficult to get around on your own. The current “unrest” in Chili also was more noticeable in the big port city (and in Santiago). We never felt unsafe or anything, but there was graffiti everywhere as a reminder of the current political climate. The transfers to Santiago were perhaps the most frustrating part of the trip. We made our own air arrangements but paid for the Viking transfers to the airport, both arriving and departing. Most of the international flights depart Santiago late at night, starting at around 10:00 p.m. Of course, disembarkation from the ship is typically before 9:00 a.m. For those of us with Viking transfers, we were going to be transported to the airport right away, meaning we would get to the airport approximately 12 hours before our flight! If you booked your air through Viking, though, you would be transported to a hotel in Santiago, where you could wander around the new part of the city or hang out in the hotel ballroom for the day, where they provided drinks and snacks, until you were transported to the airport at a more reasonable time. For those of us with transfers only, we could take advantage of this hotel stop for an additional charge. Viking also offered a tour of Santiago on the way to the hotel for yet another additional charge. I think we paid something like $49/person for the tour and hotel option, which was on top of the $49/person we had originally paid for the transfer to airport. I didn’t mind paying extra for the tour, but I think anyone paying for a transfer to the airport should have been included in the hotel holding area option for no additional charge. Viking had to know that no one in their right mind who pre-paid for a transfer would want to spend 12 hours at the airport. All in all, it was an interesting trip and most of the “negatives” were beyond Viking’s control. We ended up spending 9 of our 18 cruise days at sea, which cured us of earlier thoughts of doing an ocean crossing! We love the ships, but like to spend more time ashore than this cruise offered. (Again, we knew what we were getting into so can’t complain — just making an observation.) If you are fortunate to get favorable weather, I think the cruise would be amazing. I’ve included a link to some photos from the cruise below, and would be happy to respond to any questions anyone might have about this itinerary. https://milsteen.smugmug.com/Travel/Viking-South-America-Chilean-Fiords/
  5. Chocolate? Did someone say chocolate? In addition to the usual chocolate offerings, we had this chocolate extravaganza on our Cities of Antiquity and Holy Land cruise aboard Viking Jupiter last March/April!
  6. We’re on Jupiter now and they televised the playoffs this weekend and last. The games were showed on the cabin TV’s and on the big screen by the pool. The Pool Grill stayed open extra hours during the games as well.
  7. Thanks for the disembarkation information for folks on late flights. I'm surprised they made you get off the ship so early -- I would have thought you would be among the last off. One question - were you able to take carry-on luggage with you on the tour bus and to the hotel, or did you have to check it as well? I like to keep mine with me if possible. Thanks again for this and all your earlier information. We board on the 7th!
  8. We did this cruise in March/April of 2019 and had a great time. We never made it to Ashdod -- high winds caused the captain to stay in Haifa for an extra night -- but I have every confidence that Viking takes security very seriously and would not dock in a dangerous port. Setting that aside, though, Israel has one of the best security operations in the world and I wouldn't hesitate to visit. I posted a review of our trip here:
  9. We had this problem as well. The on-board future cruise consultants on two different cruises gave us a different website address to type into the web browser to bypass the English site. It worked fine both times.
  10. We did this cruise on Viking Jupiter in March/April and thoroughly enjoyed it. I posted a review and a link to photos taken on the cruise here if you are interested:
  11. I gather a day room is just a private hotel room that you have for the day. A hospitality room is a large, common room (maybe a big conference room, a ballroom or the like, where you and your fellow passengers can hang out, store your luggage, have some refreshments, etc.
  12. Thanks for your clarification (and for reading CC posts and responding!). The notification did not include any reference to day rooms or distinguish in any way between day rooms and a hospitality room, so I think that is where the confusion started. The information provided here clears that up. Again, thanks for the additional information!
  13. My understanding from the notification from Viking is that the hotel is in Santiago, not Valparaiso, so only an hour away from the airport. I also note below that Viking has responded in this thread and clarified the situation, making clear that folks with transfers will be accommodated in the hospitality room and given a later transfer from there to the airport at the appropriate time.
  14. We are on Jupiter for the January 7, 2020, South American and Chilean Fjords Cruise. Apparently, many of the flights out of Santiago after disembarkation depart late in the evening. Our flight, which was arranged independently (not through Viking Air), departs at 9:50 p.m. on disembarkation day. We did, however, purchase Viking transfers to the airport. There have been some messages on CC suggesting that under similar circumstances Viking will often transfer passengers to a hotel hospitality room for the day, and then later take them to the airport nearer in time to their late-night departure. Yesterday, we received an email from Viking saying that they would indeed provide such a room, including city tours, and later transfers to the airport FOR PASSENGERS WITH FLIGHTS DEPARTING AFTER 11:15 p.m. Thinking this must be a typo, I called Viking and was told that in fact the 11:15 p.m. reference was correct. Of course, my reaction was that surely Viking did not intend to transfer us to the airport after disembarking at 9:00 a.m. for a 9:50 p.m. flight. Basically, I was told to talk to the folks on board the ship, and that it was likely they would agree to transfer us to the hospitality room and then transfer us to the airport from there later in the evening. Just thought I would pass this along. I don’t understand for the life of me why Viking would draw the line at 11:15 p.m., unless every other passenger leaving on Viking Air-procured flights that night depart after 11:15 p.m. (Our flight is a non-stop to Atlanta and I’m pretty confident other cruisers will be on that flight too.) I would understand treating folks differently if they were traveling on their own, but once a passenger has been allowed to purchase a Viking transfer, they ought to be treated like all the other passengers who are using Viking transfers. I’m hopeful, and even fairly confident, that Viking will take care of us and include us in the use of the hospitality room and later transfer to the airport, but I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just say so up front and not introduce unnecessary uncertainty into the process.
  15. We've stayed in 8017, which is essentially the same cabin on the starboard side. We found it to be extremely quiet. There is very little traffic in the hallways on the eighth deck. The layout on the website is not exactly correct. 8016 and 8017 are really right at the elevator lobby, rather than forward of the lobby as shown on the diagram. We never heard any elevator noise, though, and truthfully there are so few cabins on deck eight that the elevator rarely goes to that floor. Also, the exits from the upper deck of the Explorer's Lounge into hallway are rarely used (at least that was our experience). The cabin you are looking at is also located aft of most of the activity areas of the sports deck. (And frankly, on all of our cruises, the sports deck has been very underutilized.) So, at least in our experience, the PS cabins on deck eight were extremely quiet.
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