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rjscott

Live from the Viking Star

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Our party of four boarded yesterday around 3:30 pm after a whirlwind day in Istanbul. Boarding was quick & painless. Passports will be held untill the end of the cruise; we were given a passport receipt. My husband & I have a V2 cabin on deck 3, our friends have a DV cabin forward of us on deck 3. The cabin is nicely appointed. For those who have previously cruised on Viking rivers, there are no outlets at the bedside. I do miss that. However, the minifridge was prestocked with some goodies; a few sodas and a couple of candy bars. I imagine it will be restocked according to what is missing each day or what you request from your room steward.

Drawer space is somewhat limited, but there are a couple of good sized shelves, so we were good with the space. The bathroom is large, with a very nice shower. Heated floor, deep sink, pull out laundry cord in the shower. Robes provided are a nice waffle weave, and a generous size.

The launderette does not have posted hours, so I assume it is open 24/7. 3 washers & dryers. 2. Irons & boards. There was a wash in progress when I went into the room, but I couldn't hear it from the hall.

We did do some exploring before our Muster drill at 5 pm. Lots of great public spaces to just relax, read or meet up with fellow passengers or have a drink. We took a tour of the spa and fit ness center. Gorgeous!

As our friends were a catergory higher than us, they were able to prebook specialty dining and we were not. It was no problem at all for us to go to the maitre d' station at each restaurant and add us to our friends' reservation. In fact, we had dinner the first night at the Chef's TabLe. It was an Asian theme and it was fantastic! Beautifully presented, and flavors to savor. Each paired wine was described in detail before pouring.

I am an early riser, so I hope to be able to continue to live post daily. If you have questions, ask away, and I'll try to answer.

Becki

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Thanks so much for your first post on board the Star, Becki

How is the coffee? Another poster said you have coffee maker in your cabin.

Having watched the great video posted on another thread, saw the mediveal picture at the landing of the main staircase. Is this really a screen that can project or change its images?

And finally, when is your sailaway?

Here in CDT in the US it is 10:30 pm on April 11...:-)

Good night, good morning and look forward to your posts. Thanks so much for sharing your experience while on this maiden cruise.

Edited by Azulann

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In our DV cabin on deck 4 there are plugs on each side of the bed. One US and One European.

Kathy

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I stand corrected on the bedside outlets. Thank you, Kathy! They were lower on the wall and somewhat obscured by the mattress, so neither I nor my husband found them at first.

 

We do not have a coffee maker i n our V2 cabin, but perhaps our friends in a DV do. I can che ck. I don't drink coffee, so it isn't something I miss. :)

Yes, the " picture on the main wall does change and it is very striking.

Sailaway is today at 2:30. We have an included tour this morning that includes a smaller mosque and a Bosphorus cruise.

 

Becki

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I can tackle the coffee question (and thanks so much for hosting this thread, Becki!): It's from a Finland-based company called K-fee. My husband, who is from Finland, was quite excited about that and he's pretty picky when it comes to coffee so I hope that's good (I don't drink the stuff).

 

Carolyn

 

Thanks so much for your first post on board the Star, Becki

How is the coffee? Another poster said you have coffee maker in your cabin.

Having watched the great video posted on another thread, saw the mediveal picture at the landing of the main staircase. Is this really a screen that can project or change its images?

And finally, when is your sailaway?

Here in CDT in the US it is 10:30 pm on April 11...:-)

Good night, good morning and look forward to your posts. Thanks so much for sharing your experience while on this maiden cruise.

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I can tackle the coffee question (and thanks so much for hosting this thread, Becki!): It's from a Finland-based company called K-fee. My husband, who is from Finland, was quite excited about that and he's pretty picky when it comes to coffee so I hope that's good (I don't drink the stuff).

 

Carolyn

 

So glad to hear the coffee passes the taste test for us coffee geeks. :D

 

Scandinavians do love their coffee as my Danish mother taught me.

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I am an early riser, so I hope to be able to continue to live post daily. If you have questions, ask away, and I'll try to answer.

Becki

 

Great post Becki. I look forward to your daily report!

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We just had a wonderful Meet & Greet in the Explorer's Lounge. Viking did a really nice job! Several Viking Execs were there, and spoke to us. It lasted about an hour and a half - everyone was having such a great time meeting each other in person, although we have to ask each other what our CC handles are, as that's how we know one another. It was great to finally put faces to handles so to speak.

 

We did make one very important decision - we are going to post our experiences on one thread, and we're (arbitrarily) choosing "On Board the Star" on the regular "Cruise Lines" forum --> "Cruise Lines P to Z" sub forum --> and then "Viking Oceans" forum. Under there is the thread "on Board the Star" so that's where those of us onboard will be posting from now on, so check there for updates! We won't be using the thread under Roll Calls.

 

Thanks everyone!

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Elizabeth,

I am not trying to "go rogue" here, but my thread is my personal account of my cruise and I have posted live accts of each of my Viking river cruises in the same manner. So, that is the reason for my thread, not to go off in a separate direction from the roll call group.

If the details of my experiences help those future cruisers, that's a bonus. :)

 

Becki

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Day 2

Our tour meets at 8 am in the theater, so we opt for breakfast in the World Café, the buffet. This is, at least this first morning, very chaotic. No glasses for juice or water, only a handful of coffee cups available. I am astounded. We find a table available, but it has not been cleared. We wait a few minutes and begin moving the uncleared plates and glasses to another table, when a waiter comes rushing up, apologizing profusely and clearing and wiping our table. The food here is good, with a wide range of choices. Eggs made to order, lots of fruit, yogurt, several meat choices, waffles and pancakes, many pastries and bread choices. There is a coffee machine that dispenses cappucinio, latte, etc. It also dispenses hot water for tea. There is a chest with many choices of teas.

 

For the tour, we meet in the theater, and are given a number of a group. If you are traveling in a group, make sure you all go to the theater at the same time so that you get passes for the same bus/ group. We went first to the mosque known for its beautiful tiles. It was quite lovely to see. Our guide was quite good and explained a great deal about the mosque and the significance of the tile designs. From the mosque, we had a stop at the Spice Bazaar. This was a nice treat, as it was somewhere we'd not gotten to during our free time in Istanbul. This Bazaar is very colorful, with all the spices on display, but there are many other products for sale here. We had about 1/2 hr to shop, before reboarding the bus for our Bosphorus cruise. The cruise was very enjoyable. We cruised right past the Viking Star , so had a great photo op, and great views of Istanbul as we cruised. The guide gave us some narration along the way. A very pleasant morning.

 

We decided to eat lunch in The Restaurant, and this was a huge mistake. Something went terribly wrong in The Restaurant at lunchtime, and there were many very upset diners. For us, it took us 10 minutes to even get menus and then another 20 to get bread and water. And, that was only becase my friend flagged down a resaurant supervisor. We finally got our order taken, but our food did not come and we never saw our waiter again. Who we did see was the maitred' from the Chefs Table, so we flagged him down, told him our tale of woe and he got our order put back in. The restaurant supervisor we'd seen before came over and apologized profusely for the problem, and our food came quickly then. But, this was happening all around us. People were waiting for their food for over 40 mïnutes or leaving . This was, sadly, an epic fail for lunch.

We went to the Meet & Greet this afternoon. It was nice, with a good turnout. We met Paul, the cruise director, and the Captain. And, it was nice to put a few faces with some names of those I'd been chatting with or getting information from. :). It was also very nice of Viking to provide goodies for the maiden voyage M&G. Thank you, Viking!

 

Dinner was, I'm happy to report , in a much improved Restaurant. The servers were bustling and had smiles on their faces, orders were quickly taken and food was brought to the table in short order. The menu choices were good: beef wellington, lobster, duck or sea bass. The chocolate souffle for dessert was a huge hit.

 

Our friend is a huge golf nut, and badly wanted to watch the Master's tournament on TV, but was unable to, as we are still experiencing technology issues and they don't know when they'll be resolved. So, for now, no TV to watch for news or the in-room movies or sporting events.

 

Becki

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Becki,

Enjoying your thread of your trip on the Viking Star.

Was the Istanbul tour you took one of the "included" tours or did you have to pay extra for it. Have they had any lectures yet about the destinations, history etc?

Love the pictures on other thread of Kusadasi, and looks like you have a beautiful day.It is one of my favorite ports.

Sound like an adventure on this maiden trip with lunch, no TV working as of yet and various other hiccups...

But the menu for dinner sounds delicious.

 

Thanks for taking time out of your trip to post.

Edited by Azulann

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Day 3

This morning we are docking in Kusadasi for Ephesus. Our tour does not meet until 12:30, so we have a relaxing morning. The sun peeking around the drapes wakes me up, and I have to check it out. It is a lovely day; the sun is a bright ball over the ocean!

We meet our friends in The Restaurant for breakfast. Things have improved here since yesterday as well. There are ample coffee cups and juice glasses, and all tables are cleared.

I decide to have the eggs benedict. I like Viking's version of this, as it is a single portion. However, this Viking Star version has salmon(lox) rather than Canadian bacon for the meat. I didn't mind that at all; in fact, I found it rather tasty. But I wonder how many others would?

Our friend sure didn't! He found it an unpleasant surprise.

My friend and I spent part of the morning checking out the onboard shops. There is a small shop selling OTC meds like aspirin, etc. , candy , and misc items like camera batteries. There is a jewelry and watch shop, a handbag and wallet shop, and a clothing boutique.

Soon it was nearing the noon hour and we thought we'd better get some lunch before heading out on our tour. So, we decided on the Pool Grill. The food here is good, quick and just what you'd expect from pool food. Good burgers and hot dogs. My hubby and I both had the coney dogs. Yummy!

Then it was time to board the bus for Ephesus. We were doing the 'Ancient Wonders' tour. Our guide gave us good history of Ephesus and the excavation and reconstruction of the site. It was a very good tour for us. I would have liked to have seen the Terrace Houses as well, but our friends weren't comfortable going with a private tour, so this was the next best choice and we were all happy.

Dinner tonight at Manfredi's.

 

Becki

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Ann,

Yes, the tour of the mosque and Bosphorus cruise was our included tour, and a very nice tour it was. All the guidebooks recommend the Bosphorous cruises, so it was nice not having to worry about trying to fit that in prior to the cruise. :D

They are indeed having some lectures on the ports. My hubby went to one this a.m. on Ephesus. I had done a lot of reading on it prior, so didn't go, but he liked it.

Yes, as you say, a few hiccups, but we aren't going hungry or sleeping out on deck by any means. Lol! We are really enjoying this beautiful ship and it does seem that all of the staff is so happy to be here as well. They are so eager to please.

Thanks for your kind words.

 

Becki

Edited by rjscott

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Thanks so much for posting these organized, chronological, unhurried and comments, which focus on the good as well as the bad! I'm following the other thread but it, so far, has a lot about the ship and staterooms and glitches and not much about the ports. I'm a ports kind of person, and sense you are, too. Glad to hear the Pool Grill is good, and breakfast sounds wonderful, although we will probably just eat at World Cafe for breakfast except on our at sea day. Guess your friend heard by now that Masters was won by J. Spieth! Sounded pretty exciting according to my husband.

 

For the person who asked about the included tour in Istanbul, I think that was the Rustem Pasa mosque - hard to find and lesser known than the Blue one, but sounds more my speed and just as beautiful.

 

I forgot to find out in advance what your departure and arrival times are. One thing that's important to me is getting a sense of whether Viking is planning (as best as you can plan those things - sometimes difficult) to get to the port right at the itinerary time, or before. I've taken cruises where the itinerary time turns out to be much earlier (or sometimes later) and I've missed a lighthouse or sight along the way because I had no clue the ship would get in early. I know times and timing will change for us, and definitely change because we're doing your cruise in reverse, but I'm still hoping to get a sense of how this cruise goes. SO - if you don't mind, do you mind telling me when you're scheduled (per itinerary, or daily cruise line newspaper - if they have one, if time is revised) for Athens, Santorini and Kotor? I'm particularly interested in Kotor, as that cruise through the quarter mile long Verige Strait and near the two little islands when the ship comes out of the strait particularly has my interest. I think most ships take 45-60 minutes from when they leave the straight to get to the dock or anchor point in Kotor, but if Captain S. gets in early, I may miss it, as I think we're supposed to get into Kotor at 6 or 7. We approach Kotor from Dubrovnik, which isn't that far away.

 

Thanks again for posting. Oh, and I assume you don't mind us folks at home posting, right? If so, I'll be glad to stop, but so far you're providing the best overall description of what is going on, so I'm really enjoying it. Let me know if my questions are taking up too much time for you! I can at least get an idea of times on your itinerary by looking at Marine Traffic and port websites, but sometimes that info is a little "off" or out of date.

Edited by roothy123

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Becki,

Enjoying your thread of your trip on the Viking Star.

Was the Istanbul tour you took one of the "included" tours or did you have to pay extra for it. Have they had any lectures yet about the destinations, history etc?

Love the pictures on other thread of Kusadasi, and looks like you have a beautiful day.It is one of my favorite ports.

Sound like an adventure on this maiden trip with lunch, no TV working as of yet and various other hiccups...

But the menu for dinner sounds delicious.

 

Thanks for taking time out of your trip to post.

 

Hi Azulann. Think I've missed something. Where did you find pictures from Ephesus? Is it on the Roll Call thread, in the ports section, or what?

 

As to the lunch hiccups, it sounds like they expected more people to eat in the World Cafe and Pool Grill. It has always been our experience that everyone wants to eat in the main dining room for the first few days, but then they discover there is good food elsewhere and the pendulum swings! That raises another question: In the World Cafe, if you (Becki) have been there yet (nobody seems to mention it), do they serve you the food or do they just have spoons/serving utensils out there for you to use to serve yourself? (Becki, if you haven't been, you can just wait until you go, and maybe I'll get my answer then! Please do/see what you want to do/see without worrying about me!)

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Hi Azulann. Think I've missed something. Where did you find pictures from Ephesus? Is it on the Roll Call thread, in the ports section, or what?

 

As to the lunch hiccups, it sounds like they expected more people to eat in the World Cafe and Pool Grill. It has always been our experience that everyone wants to eat in the main dining room for the first few days, but then they discover there is good food elsewhere and the pendulum swings! That raises another question: In the World Cafe, if you (Becki) have been there yet (nobody seems to mention it), do they serve you the food or do they just have spoons/serving utensils out there for you to use to serve yourself? (Becki, if you haven't been, you can just wait until you go, and maybe I'll get my answer then! Please do/see what you want to do/see without worrying about me!)

 

roothy,

The picture was on "Cruise Critic live " that Carolyn is doing on the Sticky at the top of the forum. it is a picture of the ship as they approach Kusadasi , not of Ephesus.

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Fine with me whatever you want to do - just trying to make it easier for the folks who are following along to not have to check so many different threads. But I've stopped on the Roll Call side of things and will try to only post in one place.

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Roothy,

I don't mind your questions at all. As you assumed, I too am an info gatherer. ;). The World Café is where we have had each of our breakfasts so far. It is a mix of serve yourself and be served. For example; there is sliced fruit available for self-serve, but for the mixed fruit, it must be served from behind the line. Dry cereal is self-serve, but oatmeal is served from behind the line. There are scrambled and boiled eggs on the self-serve line or you can order eggs made to order behind the line.

We are in Athens tomorrow. The daily paper shows our arrival time as 8am and departure time as 10pm. Earliest tour is scheduled for 8:30.

Does that help?

 

Becki

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First of all, thank you, for all the wonderful information. How large are the groups for the included excursions? Do they stagger the times? Thanks.

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Roothy,

I don't mind your questions at all. As you assumed, I too am an info gatherer. ;). The World Café is where we have had each of our breakfasts so far. It is a mix of serve yourself and be served. For example; there is sliced fruit available for self-serve, but for the mixed fruit, it must be served from behind the line. Dry cereal is self-serve, but oatmeal is served from behind the line. There are scrambled and boiled eggs on the self-serve line or you can order eggs made to order behind the line.

We are in Athens tomorrow. The daily paper shows our arrival time as 8am and departure time as 10pm. Earliest tour is scheduled for 8:30.

Does that help?

 

Becki

 

Oh, I forgot all about Athens. How bad of me. I've been to Athens, so I'm not as excited about it as many people might be, I guess. I like the smaller, less busy cities.

 

Yes, the info definitely helps - both for the breakfast/World Cafe and the Athens in port times. I appreciate the info! Everything sounds good to me. I also found the slightly-hidden blog that Carolyn, CC is doing. There's lots of good info there, too.

 

Enjoy Piraeus (busy, crazy place!) and Athens!

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Terrier,

The size of the groups varieS, depening on the interest in the tour, and which bus you get assigned to. We have been on buses that weren't full, so had a smaller group of say 30, and have also had a larger group of 40. They do stagger the departure times. Your tour ticket will have a code on it and then the daily paper will list the times for each tour, according to code, to report to the theater. That is where you will pick up your bus pass and bottled water for the tour.

 

Becki

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Becki,

Hello. Did you say you are in a V2 on deck 3? If so, did you say you have a mini fridge? I am reading contradictory info on that. We have booked a V2 on deck 3 for 2016, and the FAQ says all staterooms have mini fridge but the descriptions on the webpage with price and dates does not. Thanks in advance and hope your trip is fantastic.

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I'm not Becki, so you'll have to wait for her to have some time and answer your question. However, I'm pretty sure that a posting by Cruise Critic's Carolyn Brown mentions that all Deluxe Verandas have a mini-fridge but that regular verandas don't.

 

If there's no fridge, there's always room service, I suppose. Also, I read that they send off the tours with bottled water, which is nice, especially for those of us cruising later in the season. I hate cruise lines that make you pay for a bottle of water.

Edited by roothy123

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Yes, all cabins have minifridges and will be initially stocked with your choice of soft drinks. After that, there will be a charge. At least in the veranda level cabins. It isn't very clear as to all the benefits between levels of cabins. But, you can certainly bring your own beverages onboard from port and store them in the minifridge, which is what I will be doing today at Santorini.;)

Backing up to Day 4. I had made a post, but had a wi- fi issue and it is out there is cyberspace, so I will try to reconstruct.

We did have di ner at Manfredi's the evening of Day 3. Reviews were mixed. The menu offeres many choices of appetizers and entrees. We all enjoyed our entrees with the exception of my husband. He ordered the fried calamari, which he has enjoyed resembleming onion rings. This dish came in a bowl and the calamari looked broiled raher than fried. He did try it, but really did not care for the texture or flavor. He did, howere enjoy his steak dinner. I enjoyed my caprese salad and my breem ( fish) entree, with tiramisu for dessert. Our friend did not care for his lasagna too much, but I think it was because the sauce was more of a creamy tomato rather than a zesty marinara. She had a steak, and liked it very much. Delivery of the appetizers was very prompt; wait time after for our entrees was rather long.

Our tour in Athens was 'A Walk Backward in Time' which took us to the Acropolis. We had a great guide, Maria. It was a glorious day as well; sunny and warm. We first made a stop for a photo op at the first Olympic Stadium. We couldn't enter but could take photos. Then onto the Acropolis. Our tour was rather strenuous with lots of uphill climbing and / or steps. But so rewarding. Incredible vistas and the Parthenon and other ancient buildings at the top. The restoration is ongoing but that doesn't make seeing it now any less thrilling, at least to me. We had a bit of free time towander and take photos before rejoining our guide at the entrance to reboard the bus for a short drive to the Plaka. This was an area of shops and tavernas where we had some free time to enjoy a snack or buying souvenirs before returning to the bus and the ship.

At the ship,we had a late lunch at The restaurant. There were some inventive items on the menu. I had the duck burger. It was yummy! I enjoy trying new things.

After our day in the sun, and well- fed, we all retired to our cabins for a well- earned nap.

Dinner was again in The Restaurant. Paella, lamb, and mahi- mahi were on the menu tonight.

Soon it was time for our 10 pm departure, so we went up on deck to watch sailaway. It was interesting, as Piraeus is a fairly small port and so it seemed a bit tricky getting the Star out to sea.

And so, on to Santorini.

 

Becki

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