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roothy123

Dining and Shore Excursion Choices

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Now that it's finally time for some cruisers to be able to book their specialty dining reservations and shore excursions, I was wondering how that is going IF you're in a deluxe veranda or regular veranda. Did you go online and book pretty much as soon as your reservation window opened? Did you get good days and times for the specialty restaurants? How about the times for the included excursions?

 

We're in a deluxe veranda. Based on my previous experience with another cruise line in an inside cabin, I'm not too worried about finding decent times and days to eat. However, I WOULD like to get a sense of whether people like to eat early or late (especially for the Chef's Table, since you must choose between 6 and 8:30 PM) and whether the early bookers snap up the times around 7 PM, which is our optimal eating time most days. I'd also like to get an idea of how fast the spaces for each time for the included tours book up, and if there's any particular time that's more likely to be unavailable than the others (for example, first tour of the day, or last). Also, when you book the included (or other) excursions, is any information given on what to do if you can't go, or what time you need to be available for the excursion?

 

Has anyone in a lower cabin category booked yet?

Edited by roothy123

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We are PV3 and we didn't have trouble with any of our excursion times or dining window of time. Like you, we like to eat earlier, and the earliest Manifreds dining slots were 7-7:15. During previous cruises we have found that there are a lot of people who enjoy eating later.....so hopefully it all balances out and you are able to book your first choices in dining and excursions.

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Thank you. That's good to know, although I think we're in a lower cabin category, so we'll be booking a little later than you did. I guess it's only one night for Manfredi's though, so it won't be a big deal as long as we can get something in the 6:30 to 8 range that night.

 

Did you get your choice for the Chef's Table (6:00 or 8:30)?

 

For the other nights, we'll just eat whenever we want, and if we have to wait 10-15 minutes to do that, it's no big deal.

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Booking was really easy. We got most of our dining choices though sea days were pretty much booked up for the specialty restaurants. Had to work around our tours - included, private and Viking optional. We like to eat around 7-7:15, so many dining times were either too early or too late for our taste. But we managed. Wonder how this will work with any evening activities?

 

Still, our 2 segments of this cruise are very port intensive with only 2 sea days, many of our private tours return to the ship late afternoon/early evening and our days in Rome and Florence don't return until 7 or 7:30 pm. I did not book for those days, but hoping we can make changes once on board if necessary.

 

Re: included excursions, I was very surprised to see that we are confirmed with fairly early departures. I guess I just assumed that we would be shut out of the first buses and given later departure times.

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i agree, it really was easy. It was the first thing that I did in the morning because I was worried about openings, but even when I changed one of the reservations later it was still not an issue

 

Ruthy123 - we were able to book the early seating at Chefs table.

 

It is my understanding that once we are on board we can make additional reservations if there are openings? I am thinking if this is true, that there are a number of port days where we leave late evening - and if you Decide to eat on board I would be surprised if there weren't openings in the specialty restaurants.

I may be wrong - just a guess.

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We are PV3 and we didn't have trouble with any of our excursion times or dining window of time. Like you, we like to eat earlier, and the earliest Manifreds dining slots were 7-7:15. During previous cruises we have found that there are a lot of people who enjoy eating later.....so hopefully it all balances out and you are able to book your first choices in dining and excursions.

PV3 also and we got everything we wanted and I went in and changed some afterwards.

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Re: included excursions, I was very surprised to see that we are confirmed with fairly early departures. I guess I just assumed that we would be shut out of the first buses and given later departure times.

 

I'm not surprised about people booking later excursions. I think there are a good number of ocean cruisers who wish that cruise line excursions left at 10 or 11 rather than what seems to be quite common (half hour after arrival in port - often 8, 8:30 or at the latest, 9). At least those times mean you're back for lunch, or have time for lunch in the city you're visiting AND do some exploring on your own, but I've heard some mild complaints and questions asking why things are scheduled so early! I'm an early bird, so early is fine with me, but I guess other people are taking their vacation more seriously and want to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, and THEN go out!

 

Thanks for the info to date! Sounds pretty easy to make a reservation, but just a question or two on mechanics: Do you choose the restaurant first, and then choose a day to see what's available, or how does that work? With Oceania's booking system, it's a little cumbersome on the bigger ships (4 specialty restaurants!), as first you choose the restaurant, then shared or non-shared table, and then you get to see the times available. That works great if the choices are wide open, but since we're almost always the last to book, they aren't, and you have to do quite a bit of back and forth maneuvering!

 

My primary interest is eating in the 7 to 7:30 range. Whether we share or not and the day we're there is not as important, so I'm just wondering what the easiest way to get through the choices will be.

Edited by roothy123

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Ruthy, we clicked on the restaurant, chose a date, chose a shared or table for 2, then it populated the open times. It really was an easy process.

 

I am with you - early risers - then we can get the most out of the port time....however, we aren't late night people either. The great thing is that it appears the included excursions - for the most part - have various departure times. That should work for us early birds, and the night owls! And those that can still be night owls as well as early birds!!! :-)

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By having to commit to the type of table first, you can not see if desired time slot is available for the alternate seating. If you don't see a time you like you need to go back to previous page and pick other seating preference.

 

Of course, with the limited complexity in choices, especially for Chef's Table, they could have presented seating type and times as a table rather than as a list. But that would have been too simple.

 

FYI there are entire evenings that are not available at this point and those dates are not in the pull down list of dates.

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We're in DV, and we set the alarm for 3AM our time to be there when our window opened. We got everything we asked for, 4 specialty reservations on the days we wanted and a spa reservation on the first sea day, so we're happy as can be. My sister, on the other hand, waited to her normal wake-up time, and came in 7 hours after us. She was able to get the same specialty restaurant times but was unable to book her spa reservation on the sea day...

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There are always cancellations at the spa, so hopefully something will open up!!

Glad the rest continues to work out for everyone....

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We're in DV, and we set the alarm for 3AM our time to be there when our window opened. We got everything we asked for, 4 specialty reservations on the days we wanted and a spa reservation on the first sea day, so we're happy as can be. My sister, on the other hand, waited to her normal wake-up time, and came in 7 hours after us. She was able to get the same specialty restaurant times but was unable to book her spa reservation on the sea day...

 

Wow, you're even more motivated than me! I'm not planning on setting an alarm, but I'll probably write myself a note when I go to bed and go on the system right after I get up! I'm not much of a spa person, so the popularity of the spa reservations doesn't matter to me.

 

As for the reservation system, thanks for the additional information, algaes. Being in a DV, it sounds like I won't necessarily get to eat at the Chef's Table or Manfredi's on our only sea day, and maybe not even on our short port day (Kusadasi). In the end, however, that's really not a big deal to me. I just don't like having to eat late. (I suppose I'd be an outcast in Europe if I lived there....)

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Roothy123, from your comment I assume you are on Apr 11 cruise Istanbul to Venice. I looked up Kusadasi and the At Sea day. As of now the openings for Kusadasi are 7:15, 9 and 9:15 for Manfredi's and 6 & 8:30 for Chef's Table. For At Sea day, 9:15 for Manfredi's and 8:30 for Chef's Table.

 

Of course, things will change but at least there are some early specialty times still on the board.

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Roothy123, from your comment I assume you are on Apr 11 cruise Istanbul to Venice. I looked up Kusadasi and the At Sea day. As of now the openings for Kusadasi are 7:15, 9 and 9:15 for Manfredi's and 6 & 8:30 for Chef's Table. For At Sea day, 9:15 for Manfredi's and 8:30 for Chef's Table.

 

Of course, things will change but at least there are some early specialty times still on the board.

Thanks for looking that up. I'm actually on the Venice to Istanbul cruise in late September, so I can't make reservations any time soon. However, what you found for the April date at least gives me an idea of how things will likely go in September! It's good to see that with only five or whatever weeks to go before April 11 (and well past the opening day for DV folks to book) there are slots open for 7:15 Manfredi's and both times open for the Table when we're in Kusadasi. However, for that cruise, does the ship leave at 2 PM or thereabouts? We do, but we're going the opposite way, so I guess the schedule might be different for you. I figure a lot of people might want to do one of the specialty restaurants on that day as we depart early, but who knows? I always juggle a lot of things when picking out dates - sea days, spacing out reservations, avoiding long days/nights in port, avoiding days I might want to eat outside (for example, when we leave Kotor, as I hear it's quite pretty), etc.

 

There was a cruise ship in Istanbul today (Norwegian Jade). It took a LONG time to get from open sea to Istanbul, so now I completely understand why we need to leave Kusadasi so early. What's crazy is that the next stop the ship is making is Naples, which has to be at least a two day cruise. However, the bigger, more mainstream (and usually less expensive) cruise lines seem to have more sea days than the smaller, more expensive, less mainstream lines, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I like the cruise lines that make more stops, even if it's a place I've never heard of. Actually, looking back, some of my favorite ports have been ones I've never heard of....

 

Anyway, thanks for looking up this information. Since you do the Istanbul to Venice itinerary, I'm hoping you and others will come back and let us know what you thought of the various ports, the included tours, the entertainment (which sounds like it might be a little more than originally planned) - plus the ship, of course! I'll also be curious to see what the weather is like on the outside deck in mid-April - too cold to eat outside? That's one thing we love to do. I'm hoping that the World Cafe isn't bad. I'm generally not too crazy about buffet, but I do love having a more casual meal outside when I can.

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We'll be traveling with another couple and would love to know - are there tables for 4? When we sign up for dining, is there an option to request a table together? (We have their cruise number.)

I'm a little confused - we either choose a specific dining time or come to the dining room when we're ready and wait for the next available table? We would also choose a time for a night in the specialty restaurants?

Thanks for any insight!

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From the ship diagram for the main dining room, it looks like Viking is planning to have mostly tables for 6, but that, of course, is just from an artist's rendering, so they could set things up differently. If this helps, this is how it works on one cruise line that Viking definitely looked at when deciding what kind of ship they would have: Main dining room had a few tables for 2 or 4, but mostly for 6 (and perhaps a few for 8, I forget). For open seating, if 4 people came, the Maitre 'D would USUALLY take them to a table that either already had a few people waiting, or a new table, and more people would be seated at the table in a little while when others came. If they had a table for 4, they would be given that, but on Oceania, those tables were usually full - at least at dinner around 7 or 7:30, when it's most crowded in the main dining room. (Lunch and breakfast were a little different, as lots of people ate at the buffet or pool grill, and things were less busy in the dining room.) Anyway, there was no wait to be seated, but a little bit (5-10 minutes) before the table was full at the waiter/waitress came over. In the meantime, we were given menus, and if other folks were already seated, we'd introduce ourselves. (This was on ships that carry either around 700 or 1200 passengers.)

 

We did 2 cruises on Celebrity and they had a similar scheme for their optional open seating. We never dined as a foursome, only a two-some, but they generally seated the two of us at a private table. I suppose for 4, they may have seated the other 2 people at a table next to us. On Celebrity, the tables were really close together. We found it a bit awkward at first - didn't know whether to introduce ourselves to the nearby table or not. But Celebrity is, in my opinion anyway, far below what Viking aspires to be when it comes to their dining arrangements, so I'm guessing that Viking will do something more like Oceania. I personally love anytime dining, and certainly don't mind sharing a table (even though I'm a bit shy in person!) as you get to meet a lot of interesting people. I personally like the open seating concept, as you can adjust your dinner time to your stomach, energy level after playing tourist, and times when you might be interested in staying out in a port, or watching the sailaway, or in my case, passing a lighthouse on the way out to sea!

 

Since we never made reservations for more than ourselves at Oceania's specialty restaurants, I don't know how what you had to do to request that two people with different booking numbers had to do to eat as a foursome there. I think you did need the other people's booking number, though, and have one person make the reservation for the whole group. Maybe someone else can tell you how that works on Viking.

 

As for dining times for the specialty restaurants on Viking, for Chef's Table you pick 6 or 8:30 (or whatever is available on the day you want to eat there). They are apparently planning to have a feast of some sort, with 2 set seatings. For Manfredi's, there are slots for various times and you pick one that's available. If I don't like the time slots available, I'll just pick another day. I think if you want to choose a preferred dining time for the main dining room, you can also pick a slot, but that doesn't mean you're held to that slot on any given day.

Edited by roothy123

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We'll be traveling with another couple and would love to know - are there tables for 4? When we sign up for dining, is there an option to request a table together? (We have their cruise number.)

I'm a little confused - we either choose a specific dining time or come to the dining room when we're ready and wait for the next available table? We would also choose a time for a night in the specialty restaurants?

Thanks for any insight!

 

We have the same issue. Our friends are in a DV cabin, so were able to sign up a few days ahead of us, so selected a table for 6-8, since we all enjoy meeting others ( the 4 of us met on a Viking river cruise). But there was no way online to link our reservation together. We have asked our TA to have Viking intervene. Otherwise, we will meet with the maitre d' when we board.

 

Becki

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We have the same issue. Our friends are in a DV cabin, so were able to sign up a few days ahead of us, so selected a table for 6-8, since we all enjoy meeting others ( the 4 of us met on a Viking river cruise). But there was no way online to link our reservation together. We have asked our TA to have Viking intervene. Otherwise, we will meet with the maitre d' when we board.

 

Becki

 

Sounds like a good plan.

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We had the same issue, more or less: We're traveling the first leg (Istanbul to Venice) with my sister and BiL. We didn't book as a group (we booked all the way to Barcelona, they're debarking at Venice and doing the Orient Express) but we were coordinating when we booked our reservations in the restaurants. So we got the same time slots for Chef's Table and Manfredis, and the same (late) seating for the Main Dining Room.

 

THEN we contacted our agent at Viking via e-mail to see if they could connect us as a group for these seatings. In the case of the Specialty Restaurants the answer was yes, and they promptly did so; we're now a group of 4 those two nights. For the Main Dining Room the answer was no, the system doesn't "see" reservations for that restaurant the same way.

 

They told us to contact the Maitre d' when we board, and he would take care of hooking us up at the same table for the duration of our cruise.

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We are booked for a later cruise on Viking Star but wondered if anyone on the maiden voyage can tell us whether an additional beverage package is being offered extra to the included drinks at lunch and dinner or is the only option to buy individually from the Bar Menu?

 

If the Bar Menu is available, would you be able to include that in your reply too thanks.

 

I understand that Viking Rivers has a Silver Spirits package and have seen their bar costs.

 

Elaine & Chris

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We are booked for a later cruise on Viking Star but wondered if anyone on the maiden voyage can tell us whether an additional beverage package is being offered extra to the included drinks at lunch and dinner or is the only option to buy individually from the Bar Menu?

 

If the Bar Menu is available, would you be able to include that in your reply too thanks.

 

I understand that Viking Rivers has a Silver Spirits package and have seen their bar costs.

 

Elaine & Chris

 

The FAQs says that the Silver Spirits package is available for purchase. Both parties in a cabin must purchase the package and the cost is dependent upon the number of days of your cruise.

 

Becki

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The FAQs says that the Silver Spirits package is available for purchase. Both parties in a cabin must purchase the package and the cost is dependent upon the number of days of your cruise.

 

Becki

Hi Becki

 

I don't see this in the main FAQs - is it in the 'myjourney' area? We don't yet have our booking number to create an account.

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Yes, I was in the 'help' section of 'my journey', and that's where I found it. I don't yet know how they'll do it on Viking Oceans, but on Viking Rivers they have no objection to passengers bringing their own beverages on board to enjoy in their cabin or on deck or in the lounges. Some passengers would purchase wine in port to have at dinner rather than Viking's complimentary wines, and there was no corkage fee. When we were in Belgium, my husband purchased some beers he wanted to try and kept them in our mini-fridge to have while we were getting ready for dinner.

We will be on Viking Oceans maiden voyage from Istabul to Venice, so I would be happy to report back with the info you need if you don't find it before your cruise.

 

Becki

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