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So glad to hear that your cruise has begun. It has been a long time coming... Looking forward to your review when you get back home.

 

Thx. Having a wonderful time. Everything is almost perfect. What a great cruise line. Kotor tomorrow. Dubrovnik tour was tiring but quite good. Just walked the walls and ready for a rest.

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....check the Viking website for the Med Odyssey. Also, you should have gotten a Viking email with a personalised "My Viking Journey" link!

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Thx. Having a wonderful time. Everything is almost perfect. What a great cruise line. Kotor tomorrow. Dubrovnik tour was tiring but quite good. Just walked the walls and ready for a rest.

 

Roothy,

Glad you are having a great time. Enjoy Kotor! Such a scenic port!

 

Becki

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Thanks Becki. Really looking forward to Kotor. Dubrovnik and Venice were so crowded I was craving a smaller port. Pula was great, at least. Ship is so awesome. Love the innovations as well as the quirky little things like the doorbell. Love the ship cams but since we have a balcony we aren't using it much. Had a stray dog jump on the tender boat yesterday...never seen that before in 12 years of cruising! Hope you're having a wonderful cruise too.

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Roothy - after all this time and now you are finally onboard - so glad to hear all is going well for you and that all is what you had hoped for.

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Thankyou, Vineyard View. Yep, waited allmost 2 years and 3 months for this cruise, but it was worth the wait. Today was Kotor, and I LOVED Kotor. We did a tour for 4 hours with Milo Popovic, Tours by Milo, and he was awesome - and so affordable we gave him a big tip. 4 of us went. Then I ate lunch on the Star, walked around Kotor, and went up the city walls until the church. That was exhausting - I'm too old for that stuff. Now we're about to leave Kotor.Becki, hope your're reading this, as I know you loved Kotor.

 

Ha, finally find the little table thingy on top of the nightstand, and used the coffee maker, and got to Mamsens. I've hear the birds chirping in one of the restrooms. I've discovered the port and shopping guides for our Kusadasi and Istanbul stops. rrow is a sea day so I'll be checking out the parts of the ship I haven't yet visited, which is a lot.

 

OK, going to go out soon for the trip through the Bay of Kotor - saw it in the dark at 6 AM but now want to see what I saw in the dark. I've continued to be really impressed with Viking. I know I was called too optimistic and positive in the past, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think Viking has done a lot of things wonderfully well.

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Hi Roothy glad you are enjoying your cruise so much. I too am doing Empires of the Med in March 2016 and was hugely looking forward to the posts coming through for the current sailing - at this stage you are the only one posting! I am a 'serial planner' the way you are and I think the anticipation is all part of the enjoyment.

 

I miss someone writing a blog the way TravelinSubman did - I have every intention of doing so on my trip, but I know that that passengers' days will be full of shore excursions, meals etc and the last thing some folk want is to have to write something in the evenings.

 

We really appreciate what you are able to tell us as you go along, many thanks for this.

 

There is a concern in my mind that the Viking shore excursions, paid and unpaid may be disappointing to my partner and I - we are big walkers and explorers and would like your take on this? It would be a disaster if we tied ourselves to 'panoramic' coach tours and/or 'nana outings' instead of getting the most out of the fantastic ports of call.

 

Elaine (New Zealand)

 

Thankyou, Vineyard View. Yep, waited allmost 2 years and 3 months for this cruise, but it was worth the wait. Today was Kotor, and I LOVED Kotor. We did a tour for 4 hours with Milo Popovic, Tours by Milo, and he was awesome - and so affordable we gave him a big tip. 4 of us went. Then I ate lunch on the Star, walked around Kotor, and went up the city walls until the church. That was exhausting - I'm too old for that stuff. Now we're about to leave Kotor.Becki, hope your're reading this, as I know you loved Kotor.

 

Ha, finally find the little table thingy on top of the nightstand, and used the coffee maker, and got to Mamsens. I've hear the birds chirping in one of the restrooms. I've discovered the port and shopping guides for our Kusadasi and Istanbul stops. rrow is a sea day so I'll be checking out the parts of the ship I haven't yet visited, which is a lot.

 

OK, going to go out soon for the trip through the Bay of Kotor - saw it in the dark at 6 AM but now want to see what I saw in the dark. I've continued to be really impressed with Viking. I know I was called too optimistic and positive in the past, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think Viking has done a lot of things wonderfully well.

Edited by pukekolive

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Hi Roothy, What time did you arrange to start your 4 hour tour with Milo? I have seen lost of great reviews for him on Cruise Critic and want to get him locked in for my trip next March but not sure what time you were able to get onshore? Thanks in anticipation ...

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Roothy,

So glad Kotor was a hit for you.

Yes, we are having a great time on our Paris/ Normandy river cruise. Seeing Versailles tomorrow.

 

Becki

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We did the whole day with Milo and his friend Diko - there were 7 of us Viking passengers in two cars. We had a fantastic time and saw LOTS of Montenegro. I would highly recommend either of them. Diko's website was Monttravelers.com if you don't get to book Milo in time. We loved it! One of our favorite ports!

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It's our only full sea day so I have some time. Internet access hasn't been a problem, but having time and inclination to post HAS been. However, I'll try to answer questions. First, I heard the folks with Diko yesterday had a great time on their 5 hour tour. Milo didn't book up terribly early for our day yesterday, so I imagine you can easily book him (or Diko) for March. There aren't a lot of cruise ships visiting Kotor, which helps things, plus there aren't all that many people doing independent tours on Star, which also helps. We were lucky in that there was only one river ship in Kotor yesterday, but if a big Costa or Norwegian ship comes the same day (at anchor) you will want to book ahead for Milo (pronounced "meel-o" by the way). He was perfect, plus with the 4 hour tour there was time to explore Kotor on your own. We arrived in Kotor a bit before our 7 AM scheduled arrival (not unusual on ocean cruise ships) and I would say the clearance by Montenegro came about 7:30. We planned our trip for 8, but mostly just because we weren't doing an all day trip, plus the other couple preferred a not-too-early start. Of course, the earlier you start, the fewer tourists you'll run into. Weather was perfect. A little cool and windy up top on the ship at 7:30, but warmed up quickly. Don't miss sailaway for at least an hour after departure - Bay of Kotor was wonderful, and the red mountains about around sunset time were incredible to see. There was narration by an expert in Explorer's Lounge, but I went back to the tables on 2 aft, as that's sheltered from wind, few people, and a great spot for photographers. The wraparound deck provides views from each side, which I like. It's now my go to spot for photography.

 

Whew! Sorry, I get carried away when I start typing, but I suppose too much rather than too little is OK. As for excursions, we've only done the included ones and no paid ones. We ARE doing one in Athens (Cape Sounion) so I'll try to report on that, even though it's not a popular one, I would guess. We have been to Athens and wanted something different, plus not into history much, so it sounded best for us.

 

As for the included excursions, my opinion is that it would be extremely hard to give 930 people a comprehensive tour of a big city like Athens or Rome or whatever. Just getting enough buses, tour guides, etc. would be difficult. So if you really want to see a lot, I would recommend a private tour. However, the included walking tours we've taken so far (Dubrovnik and Pula) were quite good. There were maybe 30 people walking together with a guide, using the Quiet Vox boxes. Guides were excellent, people on our tours kept up (not too fast, not too slow), and nobody lagged or came back too late or was a problem. Feedback from a couple others on another group in both Pula and Dubrovnik was that the guides were great. No fiddling with the boxes, told us info in Dub about how to get back to port if we missed shuttle or buses, etc. Perfect, although it WAS very crowded in Dub, which was less than ideal. Damn tourists!!!! Going in March or October might be better. The only thing I didn't like about the Dub tour was that there was a full tour of the Dominican monastery with its artwork. Just too much walking for us, and stuffy in those old, small rooms. If you want, just sit outside and the group will come back out. Plenty of places to sit there. It was warm, and with all that walking, we got a little warm and tired.

 

In Pula, it was great to be in the amphitheater with only maybe 15 other people walking around - easy to get great pictures. The only problem with Pula is that you have to do a long tender, as I've mentioned somewhere else. Don't expect to anchor and get there a half hour later, even if you're on the first tour. It takes time - but I loved Pula, so it was worth it. Nice place, not too overrun with tourists, unusual place (only one other cruise ship went there this summer).

 

No panoramic tours yet - that comes in Athens, though, and yes, it's pretty much a bus tour, from what I've heard.

 

As for paid excursions, I haven't talked to too many people who took them, so can't help much there. Someone went on the olive oil tour from Kotor and liked it, but that was as far as I got with the discussion, as the discussion was about bees rather than the tour. (There are a lot more of them in ports around here - got bothered while trying to eat lunch the other day.)

 

Later today I might do a "tips" post for things on the ship. A lot of what was reported early on appear to be operator error. For example, I had trouble with the coffee maker in the room, but of course, it was (my) operator error! Only things non-ship that pop into my head right now are: if you're not used to ocean cruises, don't wear a hat when tendering, on the ship outside, etc. unless it's attached to your head. Might want to bring a headband (women). I have short hair and even I carry one. For sheltered photography, go to deck 2 behind The Restaurant. Do the wraparound walk and you'll see inside the ship (ropes, where anchors are stored, etc.) More later....biggest tip is that you need to forget how things were on Viking Freya, Epic, Zuiderdam, Insignia, etc. - all new and different, and different is OK!!!!! Doesn't mean it's bad.....just different. We are loving it...

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Roothy, great to have your comments re tours & your tips as well. You always give a very fair & balanced point of view. Thanks for the time & effort you put into contributing to CC at a time when most would be just "putting their feet up" on holiday.

May I make an observation re the Wi-Fi - that there don't seem to be the problems described by earlier CC contributors as far as access & slowness? Has this been your experience - that it is much improved?

Am looking forward to reading more of your excursion experience as your cruise progresses. Again, thanks for your input:D

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It's our only full sea day so I have some time. Internet access hasn't been a problem, but having time and inclination to post HAS been. However, I'll try to answer questions. First, I heard the folks with Diko yesterday had a great time on their 5 hour tour. Milo didn't book up terribly early for our day yesterday, so I imagine you can easily book him (or Diko) for March. There aren't a lot of cruise ships visiting Kotor, which helps things, plus there aren't all that many people doing independent tours on Star, which also helps. We were lucky in that there was only one river ship in Kotor yesterday, but if a big Costa or Norwegian ship comes the same day (at anchor) you will want to book ahead for Milo (pronounced "meel-o" by the way). He was perfect, plus with the 4 hour tour there was time to explore Kotor on your own. We arrived in Kotor a bit before our 7 AM scheduled arrival (not unusual on ocean cruise ships) and I would say the clearance by Montenegro came about 7:30. We planned our trip for 8, but mostly just because we weren't doing an all day trip, plus the other couple preferred a not-too-early start. Of course, the earlier you start, the fewer tourists you'll run into. Weather was perfect. A little cool and windy up top on the ship at 7:30, but warmed up quickly. Don't miss sailaway for at least an hour after departure - Bay of Kotor was wonderful, and the red mountains about around sunset time were incredible to see. There was narration by an expert in Explorer's Lounge, but I went back to the tables on 2 aft, as that's sheltered from wind, few people, and a great spot for photographers. The wraparound deck provides views from each side, which I like. It's now my go to spot for photography.

 

Whew! Sorry, I get carried away when I start typing, but I suppose too much rather than too little is OK. As for excursions, we've only done the included ones and no paid ones. We ARE doing one in Athens (Cape Sounion) so I'll try to report on that, even though it's not a popular one, I would guess. We have been to Athens and wanted something different, plus not into history much, so it sounded best for us.

 

As for the included excursions, my opinion is that it would be extremely hard to give 930 people a comprehensive tour of a big city like Athens or Rome or whatever. Just getting enough buses, tour guides, etc. would be difficult. So if you really want to see a lot, I would recommend a private tour. However, the included walking tours we've taken so far (Dubrovnik and Pula) were quite good. There were maybe 30 people walking together with a guide, using the Quiet Vox boxes. Guides were excellent, people on our tours kept up (not too fast, not too slow), and nobody lagged or came back too late or was a problem. Feedback from a couple others on another group in both Pula and Dubrovnik was that the guides were great. No fiddling with the boxes, told us info in Dub about how to get back to port if we missed shuttle or buses, etc. Perfect, although it WAS very crowded in Dub, which was less than ideal. Damn tourists!!!! Going in March or October might be better. The only thing I didn't like about the Dub tour was that there was a full tour of the Dominican monastery with its artwork. Just too much walking for us, and stuffy in those old, small rooms. If you want, just sit outside and the group will come back out. Plenty of places to sit there. It was warm, and with all that walking, we got a little warm and tired.

 

In Pula, it was great to be in the amphitheater with only maybe 15 other people walking around - easy to get great pictures. The only problem with Pula is that you have to do a long tender, as I've mentioned somewhere else. Don't expect to anchor and get there a half hour later, even if you're on the first tour. It takes time - but I loved Pula, so it was worth it. Nice place, not too overrun with tourists, unusual place (only one other cruise ship went there this summer).

 

No panoramic tours yet - that comes in Athens, though, and yes, it's pretty much a bus tour, from what I've heard.

 

As for paid excursions, I haven't talked to too many people who took them, so can't help much there. Someone went on the olive oil tour from Kotor and liked it, but that was as far as I got with the discussion, as the discussion was about bees rather than the tour. (There are a lot more of them in ports around here - got bothered while trying to eat lunch the other day.)

 

Later today I might do a "tips" post for things on the ship. A lot of what was reported early on appear to be operator error. For example, I had trouble with the coffee maker in the room, but of course, it was (my) operator error! Only things non-ship that pop into my head right now are: if you're not used to ocean cruises, don't wear a hat when tendering, on the ship outside, etc. unless it's attached to your head. Might want to bring a headband (women). I have short hair and even I carry one. For sheltered photography, go to deck 2 behind The Restaurant. Do the wraparound walk and you'll see inside the ship (ropes, where anchors are stored, etc.) More later....biggest tip is that you need to forget how things were on Viking Freya, Epic, Zuiderdam, Insignia, etc. - all new and different, and different is OK!!!!! Doesn't mean it's bad.....just different. We are loving it...

 

Thank you, roothy. Much appreciated!!

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INTERNET...excellent until yesterday at sea when had major problem. More later. Must get organized for day in Santorini...love that group of islands

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Great information Roothy, it sounds like Milo is a 'must do'on the cruise! Glad to hear that the included tours are acceptable - one thing I've promised myself I must do is walk the wall at Dubrovnik but I imagine there is enough free time to do that?

 

The other thing I have been looking at is Athens as many on CC say that it is best to get up the hill reasonably early in the morning and with a smaller group - let me know what you think?

 

We are also taking our time about what we will do on Santorini. Our cruise in March will start wiht 3 1/2 days in Venice on our own and finish the same way with 2 days in Istanbul after we disembark.

 

We will be busy as my partner's daughter gets married 2 days after we get back to New Zealand!

 

 

It's our only full sea day so I have some time. Internet access hasn't been a problem, but having time and inclination to post HAS been. However, I'll try to answer questions. First, I heard the folks with Diko yesterday had a great time on their 5 hour tour. Milo didn't book up terribly early for our day yesterday, so I imagine you can easily book him (or Diko) for March. There aren't a lot of cruise ships visiting Kotor, which helps things, plus there aren't all that many people doing independent tours on Star, which also helps. We were lucky in that there was only one river ship in Kotor yesterday, but if a big Costa or Norwegian ship comes the same day (at anchor) you will want to book ahead for Milo (pronounced "meel-o" by the way). He was perfect, plus with the 4 hour tour there was time to explore Kotor on your own. We arrived in Kotor a bit before our 7 AM scheduled arrival (not unusual on ocean cruise ships) and I would say the clearance by Montenegro came about 7:30. We planned our trip for 8, but mostly just because we weren't doing an all day trip, plus the other couple preferred a not-too-early start. Of course, the earlier you start, the fewer tourists you'll run into. Weather was perfect. A little cool and windy up top on the ship at 7:30, but warmed up quickly. Don't miss sailaway for at least an hour after departure - Bay of Kotor was wonderful, and the red mountains about around sunset time were incredible to see. There was narration by an expert in Explorer's Lounge, but I went back to the tables on 2 aft, as that's sheltered from wind, few people, and a great spot for photographers. The wraparound deck provides views from each side, which I like. It's now my go to spot for photography.

 

Whew! Sorry, I get carried away when I start typing, but I suppose too much rather than too little is OK. As for excursions, we've only done the included ones and no paid ones. We ARE doing one in Athens (Cape Sounion) so I'll try to report on that, even though it's not a popular one, I would guess. We have been to Athens and wanted something different, plus not into history much, so it sounded best for us.

 

As for the included excursions, my opinion is that it would be extremely hard to give 930 people a comprehensive tour of a big city like Athens or Rome or whatever. Just getting enough buses, tour guides, etc. would be difficult. So if you really want to see a lot, I would recommend a private tour. However, the included walking tours we've taken so far (Dubrovnik and Pula) were quite good. There were maybe 30 people walking together with a guide, using the Quiet Vox boxes. Guides were excellent, people on our tours kept up (not too fast, not too slow), and nobody lagged or came back too late or was a problem. Feedback from a couple others on another group in both Pula and Dubrovnik was that the guides were great. No fiddling with the boxes, told us info in Dub about how to get back to port if we missed shuttle or buses, etc. Perfect, although it WAS very crowded in Dub, which was less than ideal. Damn tourists!!!! Going in March or October might be better. The only thing I didn't like about the Dub tour was that there was a full tour of the Dominican monastery with its artwork. Just too much walking for us, and stuffy in those old, small rooms. If you want, just sit outside and the group will come back out. Plenty of places to sit there. It was warm, and with all that walking, we got a little warm and tired.

 

In Pula, it was great to be in the amphitheater with only maybe 15 other people walking around - easy to get great pictures. The only problem with Pula is that you have to do a long tender, as I've mentioned somewhere else. Don't expect to anchor and get there a half hour later, even if you're on the first tour. It takes time - but I loved Pula, so it was worth it. Nice place, not too overrun with tourists, unusual place (only one other cruise ship went there this summer).

 

No panoramic tours yet - that comes in Athens, though, and yes, it's pretty much a bus tour, from what I've heard.

 

As for paid excursions, I haven't talked to too many people who took them, so can't help much there. Someone went on the olive oil tour from Kotor and liked it, but that was as far as I got with the discussion, as the discussion was about bees rather than the tour. (There are a lot more of them in ports around here - got bothered while trying to eat lunch the other day.)

 

Later today I might do a "tips" post for things on the ship. A lot of what was reported early on appear to be operator error. For example, I had trouble with the coffee maker in the room, but of course, it was (my) operator error! Only things non-ship that pop into my head right now are: if you're not used to ocean cruises, don't wear a hat when tendering, on the ship outside, etc. unless it's attached to your head. Might want to bring a headband (women). I have short hair and even I carry one. For sheltered photography, go to deck 2 behind The Restaurant. Do the wraparound walk and you'll see inside the ship (ropes, where anchors are stored, etc.) More later....biggest tip is that you need to forget how things were on Viking Freya, Epic, Zuiderdam, Insignia, etc. - all new and different, and different is OK!!!!! Doesn't mean it's bad.....just different. We are loving it...

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....can you tell me if there is a magnifying/make-up type mirror on the Viling Star? Thanks...

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Sorry, no internet yesterday at sea and wasn't about to turn on my phone and risk marine charges. Too busy to reply today. May be able to do something in meantime....if nothing else maybe in istanbul airport or frankfurt.

 

No mag mirror but desk has lighted mirror that's great. Took pic of desk but havent had time to see if i can attch it. I love the desk...funny the things a person likes

 

I did walk wall after included tour, trip back to ship for lunch, and back out.

 

Ate at chef's table gonight..Asian food and awesome. Tomorrow is Indian. Neither of us like Indian much so glad we got to eat tonight. Husband was in heaven.

 

In Santorini they got us ashore on an independent tender around 8:45, also had some seats available at 8. Easy but choppy tender, only 10 minutes. Lucky to be only ship here today. Tomorrow there are 5.

 

Cable car up to 10 euros roundtrip now. If on excursion car is included.

 

Passports collected this evening at request of Turkey. Will get them back later.

 

Bring euro coins for restrooms in Santorini and other places.

 

Weather has been great. Hot in Greece today. We rented four wheeler today and tooled around.

 

One pax we know used a tour guide in Santorini. I'll see if i can get feedback.

 

We're taking a paid excursion tomorrow.

 

Regarding room, ony thing i would like is a large clock. Can look on phone and maybe TV but i brought a travel alarm.

 

Widodo and ayu keep the room in great shape.

 

Sorry, not much of a spa or pool person, plus light drinker, so can't comment ln those things. Same with lectures, activities and entertainment. For me it's all about the destinations.

 

Ship rolled and pitched quite a bit last night and some people had trouble sleeping but generally has been extremely stable compared

to what I'm used to. Did laundry today, Manfredi's last night. Great. Infinity pool has been popular.

 

More later.

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Wall walk was in Dubrovnik, but I also did kotor one. Someone on our Roll Call has a great video of Bay of Kotor departure.

 

Chef's table menu changes every 3 days now. If you dont like food they will get you something from The Restaurant.

 

Cruie director is lowkeyed and dignified. Not terribly visible but that's fine with me. Sometimes CDs are too peppy for my taste.

 

Ive heard the small shows they do in torshavn are great....rat pack tribute, for example.

Must get free tickets, though...no walk ins due to small space.

Edited by roothy123

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The insect repellent is Permethrin. I bought it at a travel shop, but I think you could also get it at a sporting goods store. The box says for clothing, gear and tents. Odorless and does not stain clothing. Worked well for me.

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