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Everything posted by Gnoelj

  1. Agree with you. Besides, from what Oceania usually charges for airport-port transfers, you'd probably save money by taking a cab. Of course, if you wish to save a little more, you could take the airport bus from Barcelona Airport to Plaza Espana in Barcelona, and grab a taxi from there to the port. It will be just a reasonably short ride in taxi. I am not sure how much the airport bus ticket is, but I guess you MIGHT save some money. For me, for convenience, I would just take the taxi, as the distance from the airport to the port is not as far as in some cities. Just make sure you have a metered cab though.
  2. Just wondering if you might realise that there are two ports for Marseille - La Joiliette which is close to the city , and the Marseille-Provence Cruise Terminal (MPCT) , which quite a distance away (about 5-7 kilometeres) from Marseille St Charles Station . The latter is where the Marina is docked. (according to https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/marseille-port-68 ) . Looking at the date of the schedules, I realise my message is too late for anyone wishing to find their way to the Oceania Marina for the cruise from Marseille (at the MPCT) . In any case, I hope there were not many people who opted to take the train to Marseille as they might have found that the cost of the taxi from Marseille St. Charles railway station to the MPCT was quite expensive. It would have been better to either take the coach provided at Nice airport, or in Monte Carlo.
  3. Just checked and realised our last Caribbean cruise was on the Viking Sea not Viking Sky.
  4. ....think her name is Jenna Hope someone will tell her to pull up her socks as Viking Ocean customers deserve better entertainment than just lectures.
  5. We were on the Viking Star on the Meds cruise and then the Viking Sky (we think) this year to the Caribbean and both the entertainment on board especially the theatre shows were quite poor and on some evenings there were no theatre programs at all. The similarity between the two cruises was the cruise director was someone called Gemma ( or someone who sounded something similar). We will still cruise with Viking because of its other great qualities but the next time we would try to avoid one when she is the cruise director. Hope on your cruise you will have a better cruise director than we had and who will organise a great program.
  6. Sorry to hear you did not "enjoy" the desserts on Princess. Once in a while, when their pistachio bavarois come out in their buffet restaurant, it is quite nice, but I would agree with you the quality of the desserts are nothing compared to Oceania. If desserts and pastries are important to you, apart from Oceania, Viking Ocean Cruises do sometimes have good quality desserts and pastries. They have a eatery called Mamsens, their : Suksessterte (success cake) Fyrstekake (prince's cake) and waffles, are quite amazing....dare I say , the quality is comparable to those yummy things you find for afternoon tea on Oceania. For me, Oceania especially on the Riviera and Marina , they have the best specialty restaurants. The cuisine in the speciality restaurants on Viking Ocean, in our view, were not as enjoyable as those on Oceania.
  7. When I said that, I was referring to keithm rather than JPR. Apologies .
  8. We have been on Oceania several times, and Princess once. Sure, the cuisine on Oceania may be somewhat better, but our Princess cruise was not so bad. We remembered, the quality of the food improved towards the end of the cruise. That was quite curious. In the buffet, the cruise ship buffet had mountain-loads of smoked salmon (dare we say, it was better than in Oceania, where the smoked salmon sometimes looked as if they had been in the fridge/freezer for too long and looked a bit "discoloured" and did not taste that fresh - we had to ask them to be changed) and huge amounts of Super-Duper KIng sized prawns The only thing which we found strange on Princess (Regal Princess) was the poor quality of their pastry - both for savoury and sweet dishes - they tasted like cardboard! The cakes, pastries and desserts on Oceania were definitely superior, but then, we did not pile on so many calories on Princess as we did on Oceania !!! Dare we say, we found the shows on our Princess cruise was actually BETTER than on any of our Oceania cruises. So, there are many things which Oceania does better , or very well, but Princess is not that bad. You will enjoy the cruise. Besides, your hubby will be happy because the $$$$ money he would have saved on a Princess cruise!!! PS: We have been on 8 cruise lines/companies. On almost every cruise with different cruise lines, they were of varying degrees of quality, but we never actually starved or felt the food wanting. The only exception perhaps was on the P&O Ventura, when one of us actually LOST WEIGHT after the cruise because the food was that poor. (These days, whenever we read on the CruiseCritics.com board under P&O and someone described themselves as "foodies", it made us grinned !!!)
  9. If we remember correctly, that Captain is Norwegian, right? So who said that Norwegians are staid and do not have a sense of humour? Good for him !!!
  10. Not sure about having friends on board for lunch. However, on the Viking Sea (am still on board the ship) in Dominica a couple of days ago, and saw about a dozen tour guides in uniforms helping themselves to the buffet at lunch-time in the World Cafe.
  11. Between Dec 2018 and Feb 2019 the CDC reported some outbreak "incidents"and that included twice on the Viking Star (1st time: Causative agent was "rotavirus" and 2nd time Causative agent was "unknown") and once on Viking Sea (causative agent: "norovirus")? See https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/gilist.htm#2019 We realise this problem can and has happened to many other cruise lines, so Viking is not alone in this. However, compared to other cruise lines, do you think Viking Ocean has been as stringent enough in trying to minimise any more of these incidents occuring on board? Or are they too concerned that this might annoy their customers if they remind them to wash their hands regularly, etc, that they may lose their business? Should Viking Management be doing more - if so, what can they do? Should passengers be more considerate towards others and be more careful about their own hygiene? This issue was discussed in another thread ("Viking Star - Current Mechanical Issues") but it went "off thread" and this issue was discussed. Someone suggested maybe we should start a new thread to discuss this very important issue. If you have any opinion, observations, experience etc about this issue, especially related to Viking Ocean it would be good to hear from you.
  12. Didn't the CDC reported some outbreak "incidents" between Dec 2018 and Feb 2019 and that included twice on the Viking Star (1st time causative agent was rotavirus and 2nd time causative agent was unknown) and once on Viking Sea (causative agent: norovirus)? See https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/gilist.htm#2019 Guess everyone has to be more careful and hope Viking will be more stringeant with passengers washing and cleaning/drying hands, and constantly reminding them to do so, etc., even if it annoys some people who are not so understanding nor patient. On one cruise line (I think it was Azamara), the officers including the Captain, did not even shake hands when they met with the passengers to reduce passing on anything unwelcome. Sorry to deviate from the original thread of mechanical issues but thought discussion about health and wellbeing on ships are just as important. Yes, perhaps we should start a new thread on this!
  13. I do not think the other member is trying to taint all Americans with just one brush. It is equally unrealistic to think that just because someone is "American", somehow, he or she is so "perfect" that he/she is beyond criticism. Like others around the world, Americans are humans and "mere mortals" too, they are not God, and they are no better or worse than anyone else. There are good and bad people - and many in between - in each nationality and race. I too have found that Viking seems to be too laxed in encouraging passengers to use the sanitisers, compared to other cruise lines. Some cruise lines are so strict that they will have a sanitiser gun or dispenser at the entry to the restaurant and if your hands are not "squirted" with it, you are not allowed to enter. If they missed you, they would chase after you with that sanitizer gun! It may be a bit inconvenient, but in the long run, when you are having to deal with hundreds and thousands of different people with different degrees of hygiene standards, this has to be done to reduce any cross infection. Perhaps if enough concerned Viking passengers were to write to tellus@vikingcruises.com , the cruise line may start to do something about being more stringent in using sanitizers. Do you not agree?
  14. Did you get the Bulgari shampoo and conditioner from Celebrity? I thought that brand was only used on Oceania Cruises (even the bottles looked exactly the same as the ones from that cruise line). If Bulgari toiletries are offered in bathrooms on Celebrity ships, that would be a bonus. It has been a couple of years since our last Celebrity Cruise but we are going on one some time this year.
  15. Nobody is forcing you to do it. If you don't want it , don't do it. However, there are others who like it.
  16. For more information about the Port of Leith/ Leith Edinburgh Cruise Terminal, and how to get there from the City of Edinburgh, etc, go to: https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/leith-edinburgh-port-116 . There is a map which shows you how close it is to downtown Edinburgh (the "West End"). Actually www.cruisemapper.com has lots of information of practically any cruise port around the world. It would be a good place to start to find out information about any future ports you may be visiting for your cruises.
  17. If you are going to the Old Carlton Burying Ground, it would be worth your effort to walk UP Carlton Hill, almost next to it. Once on the hill, you will be rewarded with a PANORAMIC VIEW of the City of Edinburgh including the Edinburgh Castle, it is the favorite spot of many travel photographers.
  18. Just re-read your original message and realised you are taking the train to Edinburgh, and you wished to know how to get from Edinburgh to your ship in Leith. The information I have given you will be the same, except that the bus services will be going in the opposite direction (from Edinburgh/Princess Street to Leith, rather than from Leith to Edinburgh/Princess Street). Oh, if you have a mobile/cell phone, you could even download an App for Edinburgh buses to get the correct times "live". The City of Edinburgh also have free Wifi service. As you like to see the "Old" and "New" towns of Edinburgh (the "New" Town was built between 1760-1830, so you can imagine how old the Old Town could be!) , if you remember during your last visit, some of the streets are still cobbled and some can be quite hilly, so walking long distances can be a wee bit of a challenge. If you are tired, you can still take a bus back. You can get a free bus map from the Lothian Bus Travel Shop https://www.lothianbuses.com/travelshops/ Another "spot" which most tourists do not know (but the locals do) , is to take an idyllic walk along the Waterway of Leith. It splits the Old Town and the New Town. Certain parts of the walk may be closed at the moment due to landslip, but updated details may be found at http://www.waterofleith.org.uk/walkway/ and https://www.edinburghguide.com/parks/waterofleith . It may be repaired by the time you visit the city this summer, please check it out first. You could actually get onto the Waterway from Old Town Edinburgh, and get back up at Roseburn. From Roseburn, you can take one of the many buses back to town, just 5mins ride . Once you get down onto this walkway, with running water and luscious trees, you could be forgiven to think that you are in the country, many miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. On a nice day, it is absolutely beautiful. Enjoy your time in Edinburgh.
  19. Actually Port of Leith, or just "Leith" to the locals, is actually within the Edinburgh metropolitan neighbourhood . It is just between 18-23 mins by bus to Princess Street and the "West End", the downtown Edinburgh tourist area . The iconic Edinburgh Castle is situated within walking distance, and you can see it from Princess Street (it is very hard to miss!) . So docking in Leith is quite good. I think the bus numbers to take is 1, 11, 22, 34, 35, and 36 (yes, there are plenty of buses!) . But for more details and bus times, go to https://www.lothianbuses.com/live-travel-info/journey-planner/ If you take a bus in Edinburgh, the single bus fare is £1.70 . MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE CORRECT MONEY AS NO CHANGE IS GIVEN. A unlimited travel one day ticket is £4.00. Most buses are Lothian bus, so if you buy a day ticket, it is only valid on other Lothian buses. Other bus companies have day tickets too but they do not accept Lothian bus day tickets. The other thing about Edinburgh is the weather can be quite unpredictable. Some people have claimed the weather changes several times a day. So make sure you take your umbrella with you even if it looks sunny when you leave the ship. The other thing to be aware of is the Scottish pound. Although it has the same value as the English pound notes, they look different. You can still use English pound notes (and coins ) in Scotland.
  20. We certainly hope Oceania can survive Viking Ocean. We also hope Viking Ocean can survive Oceania. We like both cruise lines and have enjoyed cruising with both of them. We also happen to think that neither of the two cruise lines are "perfect" , no cruise company ever is, in our opinion. However, both Oceania and Viking Ocean have a lot more "strengths" than "weaknesses"; there are some things which Oceania does better, and some which Viking does better. As to some who are concerned with the advanced full payments required by Viking Ocean, see this discussion on this link, https://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/topic/2556896-is-it-normal-for-viking-ocean-to-require-full-payment-14-months-before-a-cruise/ You will read some Travel Agents can arrange for you to make final payment until up to 7 months before your cruise. We would not like to go through that discussion about the differences between Oceania vs. Viking Ocean, as this topic has been discussed elsewhere. Suffice to say both cruise lines are "comparable" and both have very high standards. So not surprisingly, we would be pleased to cruise with both cruise lines. With Oceania, perhaps we would have preferred their "O" ships rather than the older "R" ships. All 6 Viking Ocean ships are built very similarly to each other and they are relatively "young" vessels. We are certainly not "tribal" and we do not feel we have to "hate" one cruise line and "love" the other. We like both but we do not feel we are obliged to be "stuck" with either. If something better comes along, we will not hesitate to consider trying that too. We were a bit puzzled why some folks seem to think that they have to choose between cruising with one cruise line , or the other, but not both. It was as if you have Chateaubriand one evening for dinner, you cannot have Lobster the following evening. For us, we feel we could have both on different evenings, and we will ! Likewise, we will cruise with Oceania again, and same with Viking Ocean. We look forward to a chance to try Oceania's two new "Allura" class ships in the future, as well as the additional 6 new ships for Viking Ocean (which will to their current fleet of 6 ships ). We like both Oceania and Viking Ocean to survive because we feel that competition is good for the customer. When the two cruise lines compete with each other, they will try to offer more to the customers, or at least we hope they will . If there are too many ships chasing fewer passengers, that would be an advantage to the customers too, as this may lead to better fares and not so high price rises. It would be sad if either Viking Ocean or Ocean not survive the other. That means the "survivor" cruise line could then start taking advantage of its "dominant" position and it would be the customers who would lose. Having said that, both Oceania and Viking Ocean do not just compete with each other, it competes with Azamara and other cruise lines as well.
  21. Thanks . Your information has been very helpful. Where we are staying is not an AirBnB room, but one which we have booked via Booking.com, and it has very good reviews on Tripadvisor. Looks like we will take a taxi or Uber as there has not been any mention of golf carts being available at that accommodation. Thanks again for your help.
  22. Thanks for your information. That puts our mind at rest. As you are a local in San Juan, may we ask you please, we are staying at the Casa Sol in Calle del Sol before the cruise. To get from the B&B to the cruise Pier where Viking docks, is it very far away? Can we take the tram, or a taxi, or is it so close by we can actually walk there?
  23. You know, Celebrity Reflection is doing an overnight in Dublin at the end of its cruise. Hopefully, passengers will not have to go through the rigmarole of going doing all these checks and queues in Ireland.
  24. Thanks for your response. We have since checked our schedule in My Vking Journey, and in the Calender, there was indeed the arrival and departure times of the ship for all the visting ports. We also learnt there may be paid excursions to some of the places which we would like to go to , but not to all the places. Alas, that's life, we suppose, can't have everything, and just be grateful what we have! As for snorkeling, we are not too concerned about not having any as we are more keen on visiting gardens and the views. Guess different people have different tastes, that's only natural. Keeping fingers crossed that Viking will visit all the stops on their schedule and not cancel any of the stops! There is no point reserving all those excursions and find that we are not stopping at those stops after all !!!
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