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roothy123

Dining and Shore Excursion Choices

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We have also spoken with our neighbours who are going on a similar Baltic cruise on the Star in 2016....They are a group of 6 and are quite concerned they might never be able to eat together in the dining room since they won't be able to make any bookings in advance - something they, too, were unaware of and which was never mentioned by their agent (one of the largest vacation companies in the US). Hopefully if Viking is aware of these issues they might be able to address them in advance rather than waiting for things to happen.....

 

I would think that if 6 people showed up in the dining room together, they would likely get their own table, although they might have to wait a little while. I'm assuming (but obviously don't know) that Viking will serve everyone together and therefore most or all of the people at a table will be leaving at once. This means the tables generally will turn over as a whole, and then there is a new table to start filling up. If there's a group of 6 looking to be seated, they will likely be seated together. If just a few people show up instead, I'm assuming that the people will be seated, and they'l get to look at the menu as they wait for others to be seated with them. Then maybe a few more people may come, and they'll peruse the menu, introduce themselves to the others, etc. until the table is full and all orders are taken. Therefore, people may have to wait, but it's more likely to be waiting, seated, at a table, rather than waiting in a line outside the dining room. At least that's what I've experienced, although obviously Viking may have their own way of doing things, given their particular staffing, table space, etc. (At least their staffing looks good from what I've seen - I think it was listed as 465 employees, although that obviously includes all employees, not just the most visible ones. Personally, I am hoping to never, ever see the doctor and nurse!)

Edited by roothy123

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It is understandable for some guests to have fear of the unknown. And a new ship launching not just herself, but the business of ocean travel for her company, creates more unknowns than most are comfortable with. And fear about how we will eat is one of our most basic needs, so some healthy debate when anyone doesn't feel it is working for their needs is expected.

 

For me this discussion goes off the rails when it is thought to be personal. I don't think Viking has any issue with the Veranda Class passengers. They didn't sit around a table and try to work out a way to alienate anyone, quite the opposite I'm sure. Viking created the amenity packages they did through thorough market analysis and understanding their customer base. If you think it isn't working during or after this cruise, let them know. They may adjust it in the future, they may not. Then you decide with your vacation dollars if you agree or not with how they are making decisions. But there was no hidden agenda on what came with each class of cabin, just the unknown of how it will all work out.

 

From my experience on the river cruise with Viking, everyone was fed dinner. And I'm pretty confident we all will be fed on the Star as well. For all we know they only took reservations for 2/3rds of the MDR and left room for those who queue up when the open. And there are several other options for dinner that will relieve the pressure on the MDR.

 

I can understand if you wish to eat with the same large group every night how that may be difficult, unless you are willing to wait until later in the evening. This may be even more difficult if your group is spread of different classes of cabins. Just because one couple is in a suite doesn't guarantee your whole party the amenities of their class. Perhaps the answer is to spend more money to guarantee the service you desire and not to leave it up to chance.

 

My belief is the dining will work out for almost all the guests. Some people won't be happy no matter what happens and some will be happy just the same. It's a vacation and I for one will be happy regardless of waiting in line, dining in our cabin, or one of the other dinner venues. We chose open seating because of the desire to meet different people and move around each night. Hopefully that freed up two spaces for another couple that finds it more important to have a fixed time, table, and wait staff.

 

Now, when do we move onto the discussion of the breakfast issues? Full English versus Continental versus American Buffet. Talk amongst yourselves and report your all time favorite breakfast items back here.

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Well stated PopsA......Viking did not change their rules of engagement on the dining rules by cabin classification after people paid. It was out there from the start. For the maiden voyage, as well as future voyages.

 

I think if I were a year out, traveling with a group of people, and this was a major concern, I would either upgrade, or take the $100 per person cancellation and sign on with one of the many other cruise line and ship options. No offense meant - we all have our priorities - and they are not all the same. So if that was truly a top priority to me, I would address it in some manner now so that I wouldn't be stressing over it for a year.

 

And as you said Roothy, Viking isn't going to let people go without dinner - if we find we are required to wait for a little while at one venue, and choose not to, there are several options to choose from.

 

This has been a great forum to express frustration as well as excitement. We have aquired a lot of knowledge by interacting with one another over the months, well now years. Some hasn't worked out as well as we had hoped. I am sincerely sorry that this dining option is causing such angst for you as to feel personal.....even though I honestly do not believe that it is - at all. I also believe it will all work out......

 

Breakfast.....for us, just like with dinner....look at all the options!!! We want to explore the many choices.....and it will depend on the schedule for that particular day.....MDR, room service, cafe.....I think we will all be very well fed throughout our days on the Star!

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That's easy - smoked salmon with capers (something I never eat at home); fluffy, flakey croissants with butter and jam; WAFFLES; crispy bacon; peeled kiwi fruit; hot Earl Grey tea; blueberry muffins; bagels and cream cheese. My mouth is salivating already!

 

Only a week away! :D

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Vineyard View - I just want to make a final point (for me) and move on. I would like to reiterate that the dining arrangements were not known when we booked.... at the time the first brochure was issued it was not made clear to anyone whether the seating would be fixed or flexible....that was NEVER stated. So although there is tiny print in the brochure - no reservations for veranda class - this has to be seen in the context of there being no general information at all about fixed or flexible so no one had any idea what that would involve. Hence the confusion.

As a lawyer I can tell you that such exclusion should have been worded much more clearly for it to be effective.

All that having been said we are very hopeful it will all work out. We just wanted to give Viking a heads-up about the issue so that they are aware of it in advance.

End of story.

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I sincerely hope it all,works out for everyone. And not by having to eat at 8:30 either. Yes the sea days will be busy, but even with all the available advance reservations I'm sure even those aren't fully covered for the early seatings. I know it isn't fun to board a new ship and run to the phone to make reservations but that is the system for now so it will be a priority for many. So best wishes on getting everything you hope for.

 

Now for me I love the continental. I was stationed in Germany for 8 years and grew quite fond of brotchen with ham, cheese, butter, and jelly. Add fresh fruit, cream top yogurt, juice, strong European coffee, and a soft boiled egg and I'm in heaven. Wendy still doesn't understand my obsession with the "breakfast sandwich". We found the Aquavit Terrace on the river boat to be the provider of this great way to start the day. Oh, and a bowl of Coco Krispies is a welcome addition, if available, it is vacation after all.

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That's easy - smoked salmon with capers (something I never eat at home); fluffy, flakey croissants with butter and jam; WAFFLES; crispy bacon; peeled kiwi fruit; hot Earl Grey tea; blueberry muffins; bagels and cream cheese. My mouth is salivating already!

 

Oooh, and do you think they'll have some of that yogurt with the homemade jam in the little glass jars like they have on the river cruises? And a nice guy to make your omelette *just* the way you like it and with *just* the stuff you want in it. I'm drooling, too! And I have a lot longer to wait ;)

 

P.S. Anyone doing a "pool" on the average weight gain on a Viking Ocean cruise? I guess it'd depend upon the length of the cruise...we walked our tails off, though, on the port-intensive river cruise and I'm guessing the same will hold true with our "Viking Homelands" cruise. And there *is* a gym...isn't there? (Ha, like I'd take precious time from the afternoon tea or waffle hour to use it...)

Edited by Ukalady

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Ukalady,

 

You reminded me of the amazing fruit topped yogurt on our Viking Cultural Delights tour.

Other breakfast delights are pastries (including croissants) and eggs cooked to order. Also looking forward to tea time.

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That's easy - smoked salmon with capers (something I never eat at home); fluffy, flakey croissants with butter and jam; :D

 

Nutella:)

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Cassandra, it is entirely possible that we were made well aware from the start because we asked what additional was provided to us by paying more than the base price, because the base price sold out so quickly. It is also possible that if we had been able to purchase the base cabin and chose that direction, that the difference in advantages were not pointed out. I meant no personal offense.

 

 

Elizabeth, your breakfast list sounds amazing.....and repeating the entire list sounds even more amazing.......

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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...

 

When does the reservations system open up? Is it Norwegian time, EST, or Pacific? Thanks. Also, were your excursions open the same time as the dining?

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The system allows you access starting at midnight Pacific Standard Time.

 

Excursions are available 1 week prior to restaurant and spa reservations.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The system allows you access starting at midnight Pacific Standard Time.

 

Excursions are available 1 week prior to restaurant and spa reservations.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Thanks. I am confused about the dining. When we originally booked we were told that it was flexible dining. Must we select an early or late reservation slot for the Restaurant? What if we do that and just want to show up when we feel like it? I truly do not understand the fixed and flexible dining aspect. We have only sailed Oceania and Azamara which are flexible.

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You can sign up for fixed seating or stay at flexible. If you sign up for fixed, say 6:30, and you are not there by 6:45, then your seat is up for grabs by any waiting in line.

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Thanks. I am confused about the dining. When we originally booked we were told that it was flexible dining. Must we select an early or late reservation slot for the Restaurant? What if we do that and just want to show up when we feel like it? I truly do not understand the fixed and flexible dining aspect. We have only sailed Oceania and Azamara which are flexible.

 

We are also used to the Oceania system and like flexible dining -- especially on days that we will not get back to the ship until 7-7:30 (Rome and Florence). So when our dining window opened we selected flexible dining. We can show up in the Restaurant at any time but would have to wait on line to be seated. Like Oceania, the only time we had to choose a specific time was for the specialty restaurants.

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While Oceania is exclusivlely flexible in the main dining room on Viking the default is fixed..those are accommodated first and flexible will be slotted in as spots open up. If u are interested u can check my post above...we were told by our agent it would be flexible.

Having aired our concerns we are happy to now leave this in the hands of Viking Oceans.

Since several people have contacted them they know there are concerns and hopefully it will all work out.

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...Where I had trouble was when I wanted to sign up for one shore excursion and my husband another. You can do this but on one day's shore excursions I had to get Viking Customer service involved. Our shore excursions overlapped, and the website wouldn't let me book mine without cancelling his, and visa-versa. It kept saying there was a scheduling conflict….

 

Nothing has changed. I had the same problem today--a month later. You'd think they'd want to fix that so people aren't having to phone in and tie up their reps. It took almost half an hour for her to manually book our "conflicting" excursions that don't conflict. I can't complain--the phone was answered quickly, I didn't have to wait to speak to anyone, the young lady who helped me was very nice, and we're good to go now.

 

But. Do they not have IT people? Do any Viking reps communicate website issues to IT? It's like the ice bucket kerfuffle: is anyone actually in charge of fixing problems at their source or are they just running around putting out fires one at a time? I'm really not so much complaining as scratching my head over the lack of organization and communication.

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Nothing has changed. I had the same problem today--a month later. You'd think they'd want to fix that so people aren't having to phone in and tie up their reps. It took almost half an hour for her to manually book our "conflicting" excursions that don't conflict. I can't complain--the phone was answered quickly, I didn't have to wait to speak to anyone, the young lady who helped me was very nice, and we're good to go now.

 

But. Do they not have IT people? Do any Viking reps communicate website issues to IT? It's like the ice bucket kerfuffle: is anyone actually in charge of fixing problems at their source or are they just running around putting out fires one at a time? I'm really not so much complaining as scratching my head over the lack of organization and communication.

 

The key to booking different excursions for the two of you is having TWO DIFFERENT logins for the two individuals. Then you CAN book separately. I cannot book my husband's separate excursions using MY login, but I can book "the two of us" excursions and my OWN. Hope this helps others.

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The key to booking different excursions for the two of you is having TWO DIFFERENT logins for the two individuals. Then you CAN book separately. I cannot book my husband's separate excursions using MY login, but I can book "the two of us" excursions and my OWN. Hope this helps others.

 

Yes, thanks, that's important to know, two logins are required. That's not clearly spelled out but Viking did tell me that in a previous email when I asked about booking different excursions on the same day. We managed to make a mess anyway and I think it had something to do with how we were logged in and out and didn't have to happen,

 

Not that it is any longer relevant for us but maybe for others, do you know if the two accounts can be open on 2 different computers simultaneously if both people are working at the same time? Or does one of you have to log out of their account before the other can log in? I know Viking can't make any modifications to an account if I'm logged in at home--my V rep and I had fun waiting for each other to log in and out as we did things.

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Elizabeth....so that is your actual...what is currently being served.....breakfast list?

Or....is it what you wished they served:confused:

I have not been able to catch up with passenger wishes and the actuality of it all!

My reality is not until January 2016.....could you all get them together before my voyage....I'm giving you 9 months:p

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The smoked salmon and capers are here and good. The waffles are not the traditional Belgium waffles but thinner Norwegian style - tried them once and they're OK but I've passed since then as all they had to go on them was Smukker's diet syrup (seriously!). Have not tried bagels and cream cheese as there are other delicacies to tempt me. The croissants are good, better than they are on the river cruises, but I've opted for the scones, clotted cream and jam at tea time instead.

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Yummo Elizabeth!

I guess they have no grocery stores in any of their stops....no regular aunt jemima or log cabin?! REALLY?! NOW I AM HORRIFIED! IF any of the staff has worked river cruises and or other cruise lines...they should know this is a common breakfast condiment.

Please do not tell me that they do carry vegemite paste!

On one cruise I thought it was jam and slathered it on toast....it was so salty my blood pressure felt that one!

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They have had nutella.

 

 

You had me at Nutella. I would never indulge at home, very rarely at a Delta Sky club. But on vacation, I may have to partake. Sometimes it's the simple things that make me happy.

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Yes, thanks, that's important to know, two logins are required. That's not clearly spelled out but Viking did tell me that in a previous email when I asked about booking different excursions on the same day. We managed to make a mess anyway and I think it had something to do with how we were logged in and out and didn't have to happen,

 

Not that it is any longer relevant for us but maybe for others, do you know if the two accounts can be open on 2 different computers simultaneously if both people are working at the same time? Or does one of you have to log out of their account before the other can log in? I know Viking can't make any modifications to an account if I'm logged in at home--my V rep and I had fun waiting for each other to log in and out as we did things.

 

For anyone working in booking excursions using the online system-- if you want to book separate things on the same day:

1. Have TWO LOGINS, once for each of you.

2. If you have two computers, you can both log in at the same time.

3. Have person A do all the "joint" bookings on that computer. The freebies will instantly show on person B's calendar, as will anything that is actually booked and paid for using the shopping cart.

4. Have person A book any individual excursions that are for him/her alone.

5. Have person B book ONLY the excursions that are individual to /her. Yes, you have to re-enter credit card info as this is an entirely separate purchase from what person A is doing.

5. If you make a mistake on either login, simply remove it from your cart or cancel the freebie excursion from your calendar (for both of you) and start over. It is easier than trying to "fix" something.

 

We did it all at the same time: two people, two laptops, two different logins for same booking number, same wifi network sitting on the same couch.

 

Hope this helps.

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