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kathy9

On board The Star

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Yes the lack of management in the Restaurant is incredible to me. We were told after waiting an hour and a half at lunch yesterday that my DH's roast beef sandwich was not available. I had to ask to speak to the Restaurant Manager.

Last night at dinner the guest sitting next to us stated her fish was missing the sauce, the waiter brought over the menu as if to show her she was wrong!

Incredible! They had to ask to speak with a senior staff member.

This morning our iPhones have the wrong time ( one hour behind) with no TV I thought that was the correct time. Went to the World Cafe at 915, which was really 1015, all closed. Tried to order room service, no breakfast after 1000 am!

So much for 24 hour room service!!!!

They are supposedly bring us a muffin.

Kathy

Edited by kathy9
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Update on breakfast.... We got our full order from room service omelet, pancakes etc! Thanks Viking room service supervisor! Wish I knew you name.

Kathy

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Today breakfast closed at 9:30 with the exception of Mamsen's that stopped serving breakfast at 10. I went there at 9:45 and asked for oatmeal, raisins and cinnamon. The server (it's one person behind the glass display case) looked at me like I was crazy. I repeated my order and then he finally said that he only had oatmeal and not raisins or cinnamon. An issue I have run into at all of the dining places is that they just don't understand the "common" condiments that people use. For instance, I had to ask for lemons for my tea the first 1.5 days until they finally put a little bowl of lemon slices by the beverage station at the buffet. Same thing with balsamic vinegar for my lunch salad. And trying to order just a part of a dinner entree from The Restaurant (like fresh pickled cucumbers from the everyday salmon entree) is almost impossible -- I was served a bowl of dill pickle slices that go on hamburgers. Several of the crew (wait staff, servers) seem to struggle with English and this is a major part of the communication problem. Asking for a spoon for my Mamsen's oatmeal was a challenge in and of itself. Hopefully their English will improve during the course of 50 days!

 

It is also a shame that the World Cafe (the buffet) isn't open longer. Breakfast today was 7-9:30. Lunch was from 11-1:30. Dinner is from 6-9. During the "closed" hours you have to kind of fend for yourself (or eat Norwegian food from Mamsen's) although room service is open 24 hours but getting them to answer the phone is tricky and having them deliver what was ordered is even trickier. (Housekeeping NEVER answers the phone, either.)

 

I like to eat salad for lunch and the salad bar at World Cafe contains 9 small bowls of "toppings" (shredded carrots which I usually end up taking all of since the serving bowl is so tiny, shredded cheese, mixed green and red pepper slices, sunflower seeds, black olives -- pretty much the same each day) to go with the mesclun greens and romaine lettuce. There are 4 or 5 prepared salad dressings. You are not allowed to serve your own greens but are allowed to serve your own toppings. I find that very strange and it really slows down the line to have to wait for a cook to show up to dish out the salad greens, but that's how they are doing it.

 

At World Cafe there is no posted lunch menu and most food items also do not have names displayed. I asked the maitre 'd if there was a menu and was told "no" and when I asked if all of the food was going to be labeled, he also said "no" and told me to stand in line and ask what each dish was called... (I did and found out that what I thought was green bean salad was actually cactus salad.) Hopefully he was just having an off day and tomorrow they will either post a menu OR label the food OR both!

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While I am sure that the salad bar line - or buffet line may take longer, if the serving utensils are handled by the crew, it is a HUGE health benefit for all passengers. It has been proven that the handles of the serving pieces, when used by passengers, is one of the very insanely large receptacles for bacteria on a cruise ship. So I think it is a good decision by Viking to implement this routine wherever possible.

 

Last October on HAL my IPhone was messing up by an hour in several different geographical areas, including Turkey and Egypt......so I am thinking that maybe it is a satellite issue? I don't know, but does seem to be a strange coincidence...

 

On that same HAL cruise, in the part of the world you all are in, my husband was told in advance that distilled water would quite possibly be an issue for his CPAP (we were in a Neptune Suite), so he left that attachment to the machine behind - and while more drying, it worked okay and did the job it needed to do. Just thinking of possible options for you.....

 

Hope you all are enjoying yourselves today and that any concerns smooth out soon over these first few days.

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Did you have to go through the TSA style baggage check before boarding? Also, like Viking River Cruises, can alcohol be brought on board for use in your stateroom?

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At every port when you reboard the ship you walk through a metal detector that isn't too "strong". I've had my cell phone in my pocket and everything was fine and you don't have to take off shoes like TSA makes you do in the US. So, no, it's not like TSA. To me the reboarding process is just like any other ocean cruise.

 

Alcohol is allowed to be brought on and there is no corkage fee if you ask Viking to serve it to you at dinner or wherever.

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Last night dinner at the Restaurant was much improved. We choose anytime dining and when we arrived at 715 pm there was a long line but it moved quickly. We sat with a nice group at a 6 top. The head waiter for that section was very present getting bread, pouring wine etc. our waiter , who had worked for RCI , was very professional and friendly. The food was very good.

On the way out we spoke with another head waiter who said there are only 4 of them for the whole Restaurant and that they need more help in the kitchen but they are working on it!

Tv worked briefly last night and then froze up again.

We received a 100 pp onboard ship credit for all the TV issues. Kathy

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PS the weather yesterday was amazing 70 and sunny! Today the forecast is the same.....

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Waffle at the World Cafe today..... Only syrup was Smuckers sugar free pancake syrup! Really......more like Motel 6 than a luxury cruise!

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It's not that we aren't AWARE of some issues (Penny and I) but we knew there would be issues two years ago (it was to be expected) and took the plunge anyway. We're delighted with the ship; she's an absolute jewel. The food has been excellent. Restaurant staff is just now getting into the flow of things, so it's key to just relax and let it happen. They DO keep the wine flowing, and it's decent plonk to boot :-)

 

We definitely made the right choice grabbing one of the four DV1s on Deck 8. There's a sense of being on your own ship up here, only 10 cabins on our corridor. The weather deck is fantastic for shooting from, and we're just a deck away from the World Cafe, the Pool Bar, the Wintergarden, and so forth.

 

We just got into Piraeus (Athens) with the rising sun. Looking forward to our privately organized photo tour today :-)

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I know I'm a little behind here, but this is my impression of the included Viking tour for the half day in Istanbul. Rjscott has already reviewed this on her thread, but our tour was a bit different. Our bus drove around the "old city walls" of the Byzantine Era for about 20 minutes first before we went to the Rustem Pasha Mosque. While these walls were interesting, make sure you sit on the left hand side. We were on the right and really couldn't see much. Unfortunately, we did not do a photo op stop, so were unable to get any pics. The windows of the bus were pretty grimy, so I doubt the pics taken by those on the left turned out very good. The rest of the trip was just as Rjscott posted.

 

While we really enjoyed this relaxing tour, if you've never been to Istanbul before, and are not getting in early, I would not recommend this particular tour as representing the highlights of Istanbul. We got in a day and a half early and had a private guide who took us on a thorough tour of Hagia Sofia and the Topkapi Palace, including the Harem section, which to us was the best part. The afternoon after boarding we saw (on our own using the convenient tram system) the Grand Bazaar, the Underground Cisterns, and the Blue Mosque. To us, these are the important, not-to-be-missed sights in Istanbul. Having seen those sights though, this tour was a great relaxing way to end our time here.

 

I cannot confirm this personally, because we didn't do it, but I've heard from a few people that the optional Grand Edifices of Istanbul Viking tour was pretty rushed through the major sights only to spend an hour to an hour and a half in a rug shop / factory.

 

I can highly recommend our private guide that I got through Ephesus Shuttle. His name was Volkan and he was fabulous!

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[quote=kathy9;46257531...

Tv worked briefly last night and then froze up again.

We received a 100 pp onboard ship credit for all the TV issues. Kathy

 

Our TV was working correctly also when we returned from Ephesus and has continued to work. We actually watched a movie last night (The Help) which I am regretting today because it kept us up too late. Our TV is still working but "my calendar" still does not have our tours or reservations showing on it.

 

Manfredi's left us a voicemail yesterday reminding us of our 7:00 PM dinner reservation which was nice since the "My Schedule" part of the TV system is not populated yet.

 

We also received the $100 pp onboard ship credit in a letter addressed to us.

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At every port when you reboard the ship you walk through a metal detector that isn't too "strong". I've had my cell phone in my pocket and everything was fine and you don't have to take off shoes like TSA makes you do in the US. So, no, it's not like TSA. To me the reboarding process is just like any other ocean cruise.

 

Alcohol is allowed to be brought on and there is no corkage fee if you ask Viking to serve it to you at dinner or wherever.

 

Not all alcohol!

Coming aboard in Ephesus they were using the X-ray machine to scan bags on the ship. The operator stopped me and told me there was a bottle in the bag that he had to take from me and that I would get it back "later". I resisted and asked what the rules were as I pulled out a bottle of Turkish wine I had bought. He had pulled out a roll of scotch tape and was asking me room number. I insisted he give me a receipt for the bottle while I kept asking what the rule was on alcohol. The line was backing up to get on board because he was the only person operating the X-ray machine. Then he showed the bottle to the two security people scanning passes and they said it was okay. I asked again what the rule was and they said "16" and then some unintelligible word. Just then a manager came into the security area so I asked him what the rule was and he explained it was 16% or greater alcohol content which would be taken from us and given to us at the "end of the cruise."

So my wine (at 14.8%) was okay.

I told him that this "rule" should be disseminated. Further, I told him they need to provide tags or receipts. Finally I asked him how they would handle those of us on for the full 50 days. He was stumped with that one because he had actually said "at the end of your cruise in Venice."

 

Anyways, what I will now do if a buy somer liquor or alcohol greater than 16% is keep it in a jacket or in a big pocket as I go on the ship because the humans are not going through a metal detector again (like they have in the port buildings). It is just the bags that are going through the metal detectors. So you can definitely sneak those >16% things on board.

 

But I found the whole experience very annoying. The rule should be disseminated so you know before you buy something. Most Ports will exceed the 16% threshold for instance, but I would not want a Port I bought sitting around in some hot stuffy space for 40 days etc.

Edited by CrusinSubMan

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.... An issue I have run into at all of the dining places is that they just don't understand the "common" condiments that people use. ....

 

I have noticed that as well. They also do not really have an understanding of what most of their guests are likely to want. For instance, most of the American's that ask for coffee have to then answer a second question that goes something like:

"Would you like an expresso?"

or

"A cappuccino or latte or expresso"

Where upon the American says "No just a coffee"

I watched this play out this yesterday in the Explorer's lounge where one lady said "Coffee" three times.

But that is probably something the crew will gradually learn, but its indicative of a lack of really gearing their product and service on their primary target market: "the American".

But the crew has been very flexible and helpful. I wanted a coffee to go the first day in the explorer lounge and they did not have cups. But they sent one young lad to rush up to the other end and get "take out" cups. I waited only about 7 minutes and enjoyed a coffee in the nice china they have there while I waited.

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My DH had his Swiss Army knife confiscated by the Turkish "TSA" guys yesterday at the terminal building. We did have to walk through a metal detector at the Turkish port authority - that's how they found his knife. They said they take all confiscated items to the ship when all passengers are onboardthey just before the ship leaves. We did get a "receipt" of sorts. When we got to the ship's security stop (which is where it sounds like you had your problem) we asked where we should go to retrieve said knife. They told us it would be returned to us to our cabin the day before we end our cruise - WHAT!! That would mean Stockholm! My DH will go crazy without his favorite tool before then! They security lady looked at us like we had two heads. She told us to go to the Explorer's desk. I've tried the Explorer's desk for several other problems and found them to be completely overwhelmed, and the line to get to the two agents is a long one. I personally think it's gone forever and we will soon be shopping for another Swiss Army knife...

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My DH had his Swiss Army knife confiscated by the Turkish "TSA" guys yesterday at the terminal building. We did have to walk through a metal detector at the Turkish port authority - that's how they found his knife. They said they take all confiscated items to the ship when all passengers are onboardthey just before the ship leaves. We did get a "receipt" of sorts. When we got to the ship's security stop (which is where it sounds like you had your problem) we asked where we should go to retrieve said knife. They told us it would be returned to us to our cabin the day before we end our cruise - WHAT!! That would mean Stockholm! My DH will go crazy without his favorite tool before then! They security lady looked at us like we had two heads. She told us to go to the Explorer's desk. I've tried the Explorer's desk for several other problems and found them to be completely overwhelmed, and the line to get to the two agents is a long one. I personally think it's gone forever and we will soon be shopping for another Swiss Army knife...

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The door locks are the 'new' kind of key card locks where you just tap your keycard on a pad instead of inserting it in a slot. At least that's how it's supposed to work. Ours doesn't exactly work. You have to try about 10 minutes before you finally hear a click and can open the door. Even the steward card doesn't work well. This has been very frustrating! Heaven forbid you forget something just before your shore excursion and need to go back inside your room. They've come and 'reprogrammed' it to no avail. Apparently, there are no spare locks on board. However, this morning they found a lock on an empty cabin and exchanged the locks. Happy to report that's working well now.

 

Our, A/C however is not working. This we didn't discover until yesterday in Ephesus where it was warmer. Istanbul was so chilly we didn't need A/C. Last night we slept with our veranda door open all night long. No one yet has shown up to fix that.

 

Our TV has sometimes worked and sometimes not. It was just a moment ago so I looked at our shipboard account. All kinds of charges for optional shore excursions that we didn't book and 3 Guest Service Charges" of $16 for our first day. Have no clue. Another trip to the Explorer's Desk! (sigh)

 

But at least at the moment our TV is working, and My Calendar is populated with shore excursions but no dining reservations yet.

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The beds are very comfortable, the linens are crisp but not scratchy. However, somewhere in some brochure or on the website I remember reading that the beds were "true" full sized kings that could be configured as twins. Well they can be configured as twins - that's how we have ours. They are NOT however full sized kings or twins. They are exactly the same as the Viking longships. The twin measures 33" - a standard US twin is 39" and a European twin is 36". So in these twins I feel like every time I move I'm going to roll out of bed.

 

The twin arrangement works fine. One twin is pushed against the wall of the bathroom so at least I know I can't roll out that side. ;) The arrangement doesn't take up any more total space than the king arrangement.

 

The beds are high so our suitcases easily stowed underneath and we had 2 huge checked bags.

 

The duvet is HOT, so I took the feather part out and just use the duvet cover itself as a sheet. I had the steward remove the feather part on my bed. My DH normally likes the duvet, but with no A/C I noticed he's tossed it aside.

 

Towels are nice and big, but you only get 2 with no spare.

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Thanks for the updates and your experiences about the "little" things on your ship both positive and frustating.

Remember you are the first group and as Bear Music said the kinks are being worked on and not much different than being at a newly opened resort the first month.

 

Glad the tv situation is being resolved. Good to know about the Turkish security at their ports. I would not want it any different currently.

A point about asking for coffee outside the US, especially in Europe, ask for Americano. That will taste like our American concept. Americano will be expresso with hot water, no milk or cream. It took me a couple days in Italy to understand what they meant by this label.:)

 

My question: Has anyone tried the herring or aquavit?

 

BTW, I loved the group picture at your meet and greet. I am sure you are making memories that will iast a lifetime.

Elizabeth, are you the one wearing sunglasses or the one with the vest on?:)

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While I am sure that the salad bar line - or buffet line may take longer, if the serving utensils are handled by the crew, it is a HUGE health benefit for all passengers. It has been proven that the handles of the serving pieces, when used by passengers, is one of the very insanely large receptacles for bacteria on a cruise ship. So I think it is a good decision by Viking to implement this routine wherever possible.

 

Last October on HAL my IPhone was messing up by an hour in several different geographical areas, including Turkey and Egypt......so I am thinking that maybe it is a satellite issue? I don't know, but does seem to be a strange coincidence...

 

On that same HAL cruise, in the part of the world you all are in, my husband was told in advance that distilled water would quite possibly be an issue for his CPAP (we were in a Neptune Suite), so he left that attachment to the machine behind - and while more drying, it worked okay and did the job it needed to do. Just thinking of possible options for you.....

 

Hope you all are enjoying yourselves today and that any concerns smooth out soon over these first few days.

 

I can tell you that there was NO satellite for a long period of time in the Sea of Mamara some time after leaving Istanbul. I've seen other ships in the same place and when tracked, there is no info for them. It's apparently a dead zone. Also, there's at least one time zone change in that part of the world, as you're going pretty far east to west. Stuff like that can mess up a number of things. I just take an old fashioned watch so I don't have to worry about the time when I'm off ship, chill if the TV or internet goes haywire, and don't sweat the small stuff.

 

Thanks for the info on the duvet. Those big fluffy things that nicer cruise lines use LOOK great, but we find them way too warm, even with a little bit of AC on (although you may not be using AC yet).

 

Time and satellite permitting, I'd love to hear what they have at Mamsens (sp?) (all Norwegian?!) and what kind of hours they have, do they charge, etc. and also if there have been any lectures, shows or activities yet.

 

I'm a big supporter of being served food on buffets. Some people complain about that, especially if they have to wait a few seconds longer to get food, but as you say, it's a plus for keeping germs at bay. I don't want my vacation ruined by norovirus!

Edited by roothy123

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Bear Music,

 

"We just got into Piraeus (Athens) with the rising sun. Looking forward to our privately organized photo tour today :-)"

 

Would love to see some your photos, either here or in a trip review after your cruise.

 

Cruisingsubman, I am so enjoying your travel blog.

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Bear Music,

 

"We just got into Piraeus (Athens) with the rising sun. Looking forward to our privately organized photo tour today :-)"

 

Would love to see some your photos, either here or in a trip review after your cruise.

 

Cruisingsubman, I am so enjoying your travel blog.

 

Photo tour? Now I'm really jealous.

 

Rising sun? There's a nice picture of Star heading into Piraeus with the rising sun (well, a pink sky - even better) on Marine Traffic.

 

Are you photographers on board looking forward to the cruise in at Kotor, if you're up early enough? I'd be curious to see if the cruise through the Verige Strait and the little islands in the middle of the bay are worth it for me to get myself out of bed early (in the fall).

 

A P.S. to my post above re served foods - in the news this morning, passengers sickened with norovirus on a cruise ship (a much bigger ship, with traditional buffet lines). Kudos to Viking for putting people on those buffet lines!

 

Blogs and posts - love 'em. Thanks.

-an armchair traveler in Maryland

Edited by roothy123

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The Viking Star I am on the guests serve themselves in the buffet.

 

We also received the $100. Credit, but don't know what the issue is that prompted the credit.

 

Loving every part of the cruise, the little glitches are part of the experience.

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TV on but keeps freezing. The AC on the other hand is not freezing! Ha .... Go figure! Mini fridge getting stocked with diet cola !!!!

Kathy

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The Viking Star I am on the guests serve themselves in the buffet.

 

We also received the $100. Credit, but don't know what the issue is that prompted the credit.

 

Loving every part of the cruise, the little glitches are part of the experience.

Like your attitude! and from NY :)

Would like to hear more on your off shore adventures.

We'll be onboard in Aug.

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