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About caviargal

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    10,000+ Club

About Me

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  • Interests
    Travel, Fitness
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    AMA, Uniworld, Oceania
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. It was not for "any reason". It was emergency surgery. A covered reason.
  2. It absolutely did. I never leave home without travel insurance.
  3. The visa is obtained through Viking and included in the fare. Due to a family crisis, we did not take the cruise and cancelled the day prior.
  4. While they may say they "guarantee" one excursion in each port, that is very misleading based on our experience. We were not able to book any, as all were SOLD OUT within 24 hours of when we were able to make our request, with the exception of one walking tour in one port of the two we are stopping in. I emailed and called and was told to check back daily (not happening) or wait til we got on the ship to see if something opened up. There was only one we were interested in, as I am aware that Viking provides the most basic tours possible, and not what I consider to be an excursion. Their pre cruise customer service has been appalling in every aspect. I hope the onboard experience is not as disappointing as everything else has been to date. I expect VO will be a "one and done" for us.
  5. Tauck was actually our 6th cruise for the Christmas markets (we have done 19 river cruises total) and the absolute worst for both excursions and entertainment. We were bored to tears and learned quickly not to rely on Tauck for any local experiences. They had 3 "cruise managers" on board, all from the US, and these three lead all of the tours, day after day. We gave up after 2 and found our own adventures. I was also shocked when they turned the lights on and off in the dining room, asking guests to leave. This happened twice and was the tackiest thing ever. I went to the dining room manager to ask why in the world they would ever do something like that, when the dining room was about 20% full and guests were enjoying a coffee and after dinner drink. His reply was that they worked hard and needed to get ready for breakfast. We won't be traveling with Tauck again after our experience. Generally the lines we sail with offer all of their regular excursions as well as additional options that feature the markets - it is not the time of year. We love the holiday markets and and are headed back on a DIY land trip to Germany and Austria this year. It is our favorite way to spend a portion of the Christmas season. Our preference on the rivers is AmaWaterways and we also enjoy Uniworld. We have never and will never take a Viking river cruise. Their boats are ugly and generic inside and out; they cram far too many people on the boat; there is nothing about the line that appeals to me. And I have heard that their food is mediocre and wine is private labeled for Viking. No, thanks!
  6. That is my understanding as well and we are not expecting a luxury cruise from VO, but hopefully it will be on par overall with a premium experience. We are fans of Oceania, especially the quality of their dining. La Reserve, their Wine Spectator experience, was exceptional! It will be interesting to see how food and service compare on VO. We have our first Crystal cruise coming up soon and are very much looking forward to that experience. Our last ocean cruise was on Ponant and while ship was very nice, non French passengers definitely were treated as second class citizens and they lacked any specialty dining venues.
  7. Our Viking cruise, not factoring in air, was 40% less than our Crystal cruise. I am not thrilled with our stateroom on Crystal but there was basically one left that was not a suite, and we grabbed it. VO's beverage package is cheap by any standards, but then I have read and expect that the wines and liquor brands we will be getting are nothing to get excited about; they are just better than the low end wines they "include" at lunch and dinner. We are bringing a few magnums of our favorites to enjoy with dinner. VO "includes" excursions but those were all fully booked within hours of being open for booking . We opted for private anyway as what they are pretty basic, but it would have been nice to have one or two actually available. We booked private excursions for our Crystal cruise as well. We have always wanted to try Crystal and soon we can decide for ourselves. Thanks, everyone, for your comments.
  8. One of the reviews was totally ridiculous and I dismissed it immediately. And I do take them all with a grain of salt. We don't generally ocean longer cruise than 7 nights. We are not retired and also are not big ocean cruise fans. If we can get away for a longer period, we will chose a land trip first and foremost, as that is our preference. To see the Greek Islands via a cruise (it will be my husband's first time seeing the islands and I have not been since my Regent cruise in 1994 or so, when they were Radisson) just made more sense than hopping around by ferry. For us, a week is enough on an ocean cruise and we are there to enjoy the destination, while also enjoying the ship as our floating hotel.
  9. We are going on our first Crystal cruise in April. It has been months since I have looked at reviews and I am now wishing I had not done so this morning. There are far more negative than positive recent reviews and quite a few of those have the same complaints. The one truly scathing review was so poorly written and sarcastic as to have no credibility IMO, but some of the others are well thought out and carefully written. We were originally booked on Scenic Eclipse to Spain and Portugal and that cruise (and dozens of others) were cancelled due to multiple construction delays. After looking at all of the available options in the luxury cruise category, we booked our Serenity cruise as the timing and itinerary worked best. We are also cruising for the first time with Viking Ocean and leave on Thursday. My expectations are much more moderate for Viking than for our Crystal cruise. It will be interesting to compare as we are paying substantially more for our one week Serenity cruise than our VO cruise and we have a better stateroom on VO, as well as the premium beverage package. We also prepaid our gratuities as they are not included with VO. After taking only one ocean cruise over the past 7 years (Ponant to the Adriatic in 2017, having two planned is definitely not the norm for us. We are avid river cruisers and DIY land trips to Europe are always our first choice. It will be interesting to see how we feel after about ocean cruising after these VO and Crystal cruises. Ponant was a disappointment, mostly due to their disdain of non French passengers. The ship itself was lovely and food was very good, though the ship lacks any alternative dining venues. Our next trips are a private yacht cruise with friends in Croatia late summer , a river cruise in France in fall, and a visit to Germany and Austria for the Christmas markets in mid December. I believe I will stop reading reviews now and will wait to see what we experience first hand.
  10. Michelle is fabulous! We've been up with her twice and you will have a great experience.
  11. A little noro goes a long way but it appears that it is currently under control. It was enough to close gym, hot tubs, common spa areas and quarantine some passengers, as well as control service in whatever the buffet restaurant is called. From live reports now, normalcy has been restored.
  12. I hope everything is open and back to normal Bon Voyage!
  13. I did not mean to come across as snarky - not my intention at all. I just wanted to point out that a perfect score for cleanliness does no guarantee no noro. It is people who ultimately spread it. One would hope that grown ups would take the time to wash their hands well, especially in these situations.
  14. This was posted earlier but does not change the current situation. Noro is carrier based, not cleanliness.
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