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lovestx

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About lovestx

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Boston area
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Santorini

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  1. Got an email from our travel agent last night saying he had heard from Viking that they are extending cruise cancellations to August 31, 2020. We will now cancel and rebook under the Risk Free Guarantee.
  2. I wonder if Viking is waiting until the Risk Free Guarantee May 31, 2020 deadline passes before cancelling the cruises. I am considering starting a new booking for July 2021 before the deadline so that I will still have that protection and then take my refund for the 2020 cruise when they finally cancel it.
  3. Our son and his fiance are booked on a Viking Ocean cruise on July 12 from London to Bergen. I am just now reading that Norway has extended its border closings for international travel until mid-August. We have been expecting Viking to cancel this cruise and would prefer to wait until they cancel so that we can get our money back. I know no one has a crystal ball, but would you think that Viking will cancel cruises whose itinerary includes multiple Norwegian ports? Or will they simply re route elsewhere?
  4. Just saw this this morning. I’m guessing most ships will skip PR now to avoid the paperwork hassle. https://edition.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-03-09-20-intl-hnk/h_6d1bcaf7b584dba2e9726076b7acf625
  5. Thanks Peregrina. But I fear what Heidi suggests and Heathrow is huge. Think I'll book together
  6. Peregrina, I am working on booking the Midnight Sun cruise for our son and his fiance as a wedding gift. They will fly out of Boston. AA is our preferred carrier and I can get good fares RT on AA in Premium Economy to LHR. But I'm afraid to book the Bergen to LHR flight separately thinking that it will cause them to have to go through security again in LHR to check their bags. Am I wrong on that?
  7. lovestx

    Port Times

    Thanks, all, for the very helpful information! I have passed it along to the happy couple.
  8. lovestx

    Port Times

    I have told then that but, Homosassa, are Norwegian fjord ports often missed?
  9. lovestx

    Port Times

    Thanks for the helpful info. Glad to know I didn’t find the port times because they aren’t on the website! i sense from all of you who responded that I shouldn’t worry that the port times will be inconvenient or too short. My future daughter in law is most excited about the stop in Lofoten so hope that’s a well planned stop.
  10. lovestx

    Port Times

    Thanks Frenchberet! Glad you enjoyed the cruise. But I'd like to know the port times BEFORE we book. Is there a way to see that online?
  11. lovestx

    Port Times

    I am trying to help my son and his fiance book their honeymoon on Viking with the Into the MidnightSun itinerary. I am new to VO and can't seem to figure out how to find the specific times they are in each port. Can someone educate/coach me? Also would be interested in any firsthand experience with this cruise. The 'kids' know that the crowd will be much older than they (mid20s) but they are o.k. with this. They are not big drinkers and are really interested in doing a cruise that would be unique. Thanks in advance!
  12. In case it's helpful, here's what we did on our port day in Hobart off Celebrity Solstice last April (great day!). We took an Uber to Bonorong Animal Sanctuary where we spent time with kangaroos, Tasmanian devil, koala. Great experience. Were relieved to get an Uber back to Hobart where we grabbed some lunch in one of the renovated pubs in the Salamanca Market area. Then we walked uphill to the Cascade Female Factory and took a tour. I had read "The Tin Ticket" before our trip to Australia as I wanted to understand the country's penal history better. Much of the book took place in Hobart and in the Cascades so it was a very interesting tour to take though there isn't much left of the factory itself (which I knew in advance). We enjoyed the walk (2 miles maybe?) as it gave us a chance to see everyday life in Hobart. Took a cab back to the wharf area and then walked back to the ship. I wish we had made time for a walk around Battery Point which others said was lovely.
  13. We were fortunate enough to be able to book a trip on M/S Paul Gauguin for the Society Islands and Tuamotus (10 days) from October 2 to 16, 2019. I think we booked the last available cabin about three months beforehand so I scrambled to get information here on CC. My thanks to all who have contributed information and answered my questions. Now it's my turn to try to Pay It Forward. I won't give you a trip report as I'm not great at posting pictures and much has been covered before. I will try to offer thoughts on things that I debated before our trip with the hope of helping others. For background, 'we' are me (60YO) and my hubby (58YO). We've been retired for five years and have done some amazing travel since (and before) then. I am the travel planner in the family and I obsess over details. Often we make our own arrangements (flights, transfers, tours, hotels), especially if we are travelling in an English speaking country. That was the case on this trip. Booking - I booked through a travel agent that I found using the website I don't think I can name here. You post your desired cruise and travel agents 'compete' for your business. By doing so, I got $300 in additional OBC from the TA (Rob Durkee at seamyworld.com). It worked great and Rod was very responsive and thorough. Would do again. Pre and Post Cruise - we did not book these arrangements with PGCruises. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to picking flights and seats (the devil is in the details). I might have saved a bit of money but mostly I had control of our flights as well as our transfer times which I prefer. We spent two nights at IC Tahiti (which we thought was a great resort) and four nights at the Hilton Moorea (which we really enjoyed). Flights - We booked through American Airlines as we have Platinum status on them. AA from BOS to LAX and then ATN from LAX to PPT. Daytime flights. Couldn't get Premium Economy on ATN due to late booking and the timing with the cruise (flight was quite full). ATN Economy has poor leg room and I thought the movie selection was not great at all. But it was fine. Then returned ATN PPT to LAX and AA from LAX to BOS. This time we were in Premium Economy on ATN for the midnight flight, My seat didn't recline much at all and my husband felt his seat wasn't comfortable. But being in Economy, I'm sure we wouldn't have slept at all! If I didn't have AA loyalty, I think I would have flown through SFO on United as that flight left at a more reasonable hour at night. M/S Paul Gauguin - our first time on a luxury ship (we usually cruise on Celebrity but only began cruising in 2012) and we enjoyed the experience. Loved the all inclusive feel and the friendliness and professionalism of the staff is as noteworthy as everyone says. I thought that the ship could use a freshening up....the decor is a bit old fashioned. Loved the meals in L'Etoile and really loved the al fresco dining in Le Grill while moored overnight in Bora Bora. A highlight. The staff talent show is not to missed! And the small band (why can't I remember the name?!?) was excellent with a relatively new vocalist who is AMAZING. We followed them around 🙂 Fellow Guests - We met lots of nice people with most from the States and Canada. Many French on the ship as well but the language difference did cause the ship to split up a bit. We found, due to the cost of the cruise, that most people we met were as well-traveled as we if not more so. This wasn't off putting. Just an observation. I would also so that the demographic of the ship was very homogeneous--almost everyone was White and 50 years old or older. But it was an energetic and active group so that made it fun. There were a few 'characters' onboard that kept things interesting, too! Excursions - we usually stay away from ship excursions and book our own private tours. We had so much OBC on this trip that we did do quite a few ship tours and they were great. We loved that the small size of the ship and the high level of service made tendering a breeze and not the usual 'scrum'. And the excursion staff was incredibly nimble and helpful and even helped us book something with Avis on Bora Bora that was an independent booking. And when we had trouble returning the electric 'car' to Avis (they were on lunch break), the excursion staff sitting at the tender dock helped us figure out what to do (there was a slot to leave the key) and said they would follow up with Avis to make sure all would be fine. That's service!! Laundry - this is often debated here so I will add my own two cents. We bit the bullet and paid the $189 for the laundry service for 10 days and LOVED it. With two days pre and four days post cruise, we needed to get some laundry done. I was so glad not to have to do hand wash in the sink or shower and live with clothes hanging around the cabin. We made full use of the daily drop offs and found the service of high level. I did take a picture of the order form each time I placed it but never had a problem. And it was great to have fresh clothes for our Moorea extension. Dress - I like to be appropriately dressed wherever we travel and found the help on this board great for that. For evening, I took some nice dresses and some casual dresses and wore them all (most of them twice to cut down on luggage space). I wore flat sandals and never felt out of place. My husband wore Dockers and short sleeved polo and button down shirts. I was glad someone told me to bring something floral to wear to the Polynesian night. Many ladies wore pareos that night or floral dresses and it was a great evening. I brought a black pashmina in case the dining rooms and venues were cold but think I only wore it once. Didn't need sweaters or jackets as the ship isn't super-chilled. If you are on the fence about what to pack, I'd say casual dresses were more the norm. During the day, people wore shorts, hiking pants, and bathing suits with cover ups. We used our water shoes only once (Moorea) but did make use of our rash guards. Internet - various boards led me astray on this. I read recommendations to use our Verizon Wireless $10 a day international plan to connect to the internet as the PG internet was notoriously slow. This was a mistake. When you are out in the Tuamotus or at sea, there is no cell signal. We ended up buying some internet days ($29/day) towards the end of the trip just to get connected. And we thought the PG signal wasn't bad. There may be better options but Verizon isn't it. Transfer days - I debated a bit about all of this in advance so will share our experience. On embarkation day, we wanted to get on the ship at 3 p.m. so that we could get some dinner reservations we really wanted (Le Grill for the al fresco night) and to get the cruise going. With check out at 11 a.m. from the IC and embarkation at 3 p.m. with no place to put luggage in the interim, we decided to check out and leave our bags at the IC. We then took their shuttle into Papeete for a look around and lunch. Then back to the IC and and taxi to the ship. It all worked fine but, honestly, Papeete did nothing for us and I actually think I got food poisoning from our lunch stop. If I do it again, I'd just stay at the IC and enjoy that lovely resort. On disembarkation, we simply walked off the ship around 10 a.m. and then walked 5 minutes to the Aremiti ferry dock for Moorea. Our last day of the trip was a bit of a schlep but our plan worked as well as any other would have. We got a 12 noon check out from the Hilton Moorea (we are HHonors Gold), left our bags with the porters, drove our rental car to Les Tipaniers for lunch, went back to the Hilton for about an hour and read by the pool. Then we got our bags, took the rental car back to Avis and boarded the last ferry to Tahiti. In Papeete, we took a cab to the IC Tahiti (again!), left our bags with the porters and asked them to reserve a 9:15 p.m. taxi to the airport, went to Happy Hour and then Le Lotus for dinner. After a nice dinner, we changed into our plane clothes in the IC rest rooms, got our bags, grab our waiting cab and went to the airport. Much better than hanging out at the airport for hours! I am happy to answer any questions. I could write a lot more but hope this at least helps. If you'd like excursion info, let me know. I can always be reached at ccrosner@aol.com if I'm not responding.
  14. In the last week, we did Three Coconuts as a PG excursion with a great guide and Magic Mountain on our own. Three Coconuts was strenuous and a bit tricky. Close to 5 miles round trip. Also not great if you have an aversion to heights due to switchbacks and the need to use a rope at one point. Magic Mountain you could walk to from tender point. Steep hike but on concrete road. Took 35 minutes up and 20 or so down
  15. Last week we had CD Carlos from Brazil and Capt.Ljutic. Some told us that Captain Ljutic said he would be leaving the ship at the end of his contract in April or May due to new owners, Penang. He was very friendly.
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