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Everything posted by WisRiver

  1. In October, 2022 we took the Viking River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. We chose to fly into Paris, spend a week in an AirBNB, and then took a nonstop train from Paris to Basel. We took a 25 Euro taxi from the train station to the Hotel Basel (which we highly recommend). We spent three nights in Basel before boarding the ship. Basel is a great city. Interesting museums, good food and great walking. The week in Paris allowed us to recover from jet lag.
  2. We have sailed twice with a family group of ten. We had anytime dining. In 2015 we were on the Noordam and 2019 the Eurodam. On both ships there were tables for ten. Look at HALfacts for sketches of the dining rooms. We had a Neptune suite, so the concierge was able to book one of tables for ten at 8 PM. I think it is easier if you book a later time. I had all the cabin numbers for our group. We. had the same table for the entire trip.
  3. Yes, there are scary stories about car rentals in Iceland. On the other hand we rented a car from Enterprise for 20 days in August, 2021 and Cars Iceland/Blue Rental for two days in June, 2022. While expensive (especially the two day rental) we had no issues with our experience or problems with damage to the car. We did not drive on F roads, but several roads in the West Fjords and North Iceland were gravel. We avoided the dirt tracks, and felt we missed nothing. We picked up and dropped the cars in the city of Reykjavik did not have to return the cars at the airport. We did stop to wash the cars before returning the vehicles at an outdoor car wash next to the gas station where we did the final fill-up.
  4. Sea conditions were not bad. On the day we missed Grimsey Island, the strong winds were from the south and east, so the waves were not high. Our veranda cabin was on the starboard side. At night (?) the sun did not shine in.
  5. Our experience is with repositioning cruises. We were on the Rotterdam in October, 2021. There was an ACBL director on board who offered lessons in the morning and duplicate in the afternoon on sea days. On pte-Covid cruises without a lot of sea days, there was “party” bridge in one of the small meeting rooms. HAL would provide cards, cookies and coffee. There were similar arrangements for American style mah jongg players. There were several mah jongg sets on board.
  6. Three years ago we did a Hurtigruten Antarctic cruise. We flew in and out of Ushuaia. The flights used the domestic airport near the city center, Jorge Newbery, which was a considerable distance from the international airport. We decided to spend two nights in Buenos Aires which were a lot of fun. We ate good food, took in a tango show, and saw the sights.
  7. We visited Sky Lagoon last week. I think taking the bus would be difficult and time consuming. We took a taxi from our downtown hotel at a cost of about $30 for four persons. When we were done, the staff at Sky Lagoon called a cab for us, and we had about a ten minute wait. If you are traveling with another person do the full couples package. The snack with a beer after a couple of hours in the spa is a perfect end to a great visit.
  8. We have traveled with Viking several times. We book our own travel and usually arrive several days early to spend time in and around the departure city. It is not hard to make your own transfer arrangements often at considerable savings. While we speak some foreign languages, most transfer services in major cities can book in English. For example we had a departure from Athens. We made arrangements for a six day tour to islands where the Viking Ocean was not going to stop. At the end of the tour we made our way to the hotel where the Viking Cruise started.
  9. We were on the Zuiderdam for the 2019 Voyage of the Vikings and did an overnight stop in Reykjavik. We did a private Golden Circle tour that included a stop at the Fontana Geothermal Spa at Laugervatn. On Day 2 we started with the Hop on Hop off bus tour. However, once we got into the center of the city, there was so much to see, we caught a taxi back to the ship. My suggestion would be to take a taxi into the center of the city, stroll, shop and eat and take a taxi back to ship. Hopefully, you will have nice weather.
  10. We made the following stops: 1) Stykkishólmur 2) Patreksfjördor 3) Akureyri 4) We were supposed to stop on Grimsey Island, but bad weather prevented a stop. We stopped in Husavik instead. 5) Bakkagerdi 6) Heimaey We used the Old Harbor in the center of the city near the Harpa.
  11. We just returned home from an 8 day Hurtigruten Expedition circumnavigation of Iceland on the Fridtjof Nansen. We started and finished in Reykjavik and made 6 stops. We were on the first cruise on the Nansen since late 2019. The ship had been in dry dock since its last cruise. As a result the ship was sparkling clean, and interiors appeared to be freshly refurbished. The crew, especially the dining room staff were still working out the kinks. We were in an Expedition Suite on the 8th deck. There are three restaurants Aune (the buffet), Lindstøm (upscale dining for suite guests and Fredheim (a sit-down restaurant with varied menu). We ate most of our meals in the Lindstøm since we had an 8th deck cabin/suite. The food was fairly good. The buffet had good variety, but I liked the service of the Lindstøm. Dinner hours were from 6 PM to 9 PM and The menus were changed every two days, with a choice of meat, fish and plant based. If you had the halibut on Tuesday, you could have lamb on Wednesday. If you liked the lamb you could have it two nights in a row. Our cabin was excellent, one of the best cabins we have been in. We are 4* Holland American Mariners, and the cabin was comparable to a HAL signature suite. We had a large balcony, nice bathroom with a heated floor, and lots of storage space. Our cabin attendant was excellent. She provided twice daily room service. The crew is divided into four groups. The officers are Norwegian, the hotel and food service management was European, the expedition staff was multinational, but primarily Northern European and the support staff (waiters, room attendants, deck crew and cooks were Filipino. The cruise was multilingual, all announcements were in English, German and French. I would estimate of the 400 passenger on board, 1/3 of the guests were Anglophones (US and UK), ¼ German and ¼ French and the remainder Northern Europeans. The excursions are the reasons to sail with Hurtigruten. We made six stops in our eight days, and there were no "sea days". All of stops had a "free" excursion, usually a walk into the port town although one excursion was a zodiac (small boat) tour in a fjord. There were also paid excursions in each port. You could also take hikes with expedition staff that were usually described as strenuous or demanding, or difficult. The Germans were most of the hikers. We have sailed with Hurtigruten before, and given the right itinerary (e.g. Galapagos) we would sail with them again.
  12. We are on a Holland America cruise from San Diego to Sydney in October, 2022. We have stops in French Polynesia, Tonga and the Cook Islands. I understand that French Polynesia is allowing cruise ships to dock, but I find little information about Tonga or the Cook Islands. Holland America says nothing about this itinerary.
  13. We are booked on the MS Fridtjof Nansen departing from Reykjavik on June 1. There appear to be two docks that the Nansen could dock. Miðbakki is in the old harbor near the center of Reykjavik. According to the Scarfabakki Harbor is the new cruise terminal about 3 km from the center of the city. In 2019 when we were on a Holland America cruise, our ship docked at Scargabakki. According to the Icelandic port calendar, the Nansen is shown as docking at Miðbakki. However, I remember hearing that Miðbakki is no longer used. Any insights or information on where the Nansen would dock. It would be helpful to know, since it may effect our choice of rental cars for our pre cruise touring.
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