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roothy123

Tips for New Viking Ocean Cruisers

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Also, your pictures of the minibar menu shows prices for soft drinks - I thought that soft drinks are included?

 

One mini-bar menu serves all. If you are DV or higher, soft drinks will be replenished for free once a day--if you drink three cans, they will replace them--but you will never have more than 6 cans replaced gratis. If you want Viking to restock your fridge with more than 6 cans per day, you pay for the additional cans. V cabins pay for any restocking; once you drink what is in your bar, it will not be restocked unless you request it and pay for it. Same goes for alcohol in the mini-bar; if you want more than the allotment for your cabin type, you pay for it.

 

 

 

soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner not all the time

deec, you are right. I wasn't very clear. You can grab a couple of extra cans of soda at lunch or dinner.

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Read the tour descriptions. They are accurate to a fault. If it says you will see, you will see, not tour or visit.

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Thank you all.

We are in PV cabin so the minibar should be replenished daily (with 6 drinks max?)

I only drink sparkling water - will it be club soda or do they offer Perrier/San Pelegrino?

TIA

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Is there a place to see sample menus from Manfredi's?

It would be kind of difficult to pre-book Chef's Table unless you know which menu they offer on the day you want to book - am I missing something?

 

Viking does not post the menus for the specialty restaurants on line. Maybe some day someone will take a pictures of the Manfredi's menu and post it where we can all see it.

 

As far as the Chef's Table goes, just pick a night and make a reservation. Once you get on board, you can then review the menus that will be offered while you are on board and make any changes -- and additional reservations. There is a reservation desk for the specialty restaurants at the entrance to the World Cafe, port side. They have the menus for you to look at before you book. NOTE: Chef's Table menus are on a three day rotation and Day 1 of the cruise isn't always day 1 of the rotation.

 

 

There are substitutions permitted in the Chef's Table (especially for those with dietary issues).

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Thank you all.

We are in PV cabin so the minibar should be replenished daily (with 6 drinks max?)

I only drink sparkling water - will it be club soda or do they offer Perrier/San Pelegrino?

TIA

 

My preferred tipple is also fizzy water and I drank the sparkling filtered water provided. I don't know what is available in the way of bottled sparkling waters, other than what is shown on the bar menu, and I don't know if club soda is available by the can for the mini-bars.. Carafes of filtered water are in your cabin and they are refreshed twice daily. Still is normally provided without asking; sparkling water is on request--and you can have one of each. This same filtered water, still or sparkling, is served in all of the dining venues.

 

PV cabins will have 6 cans of soda and two bottles of tonic in the fridge plus the alcoholic beverages (but I don't know what that supply is). I'm not a soda drinker so I really did not pay attention to what was in the cans. Daily replenishment will restock what you have consumed. If you drink one soda; they will replace that one can. If you drink three bottle of alcohol, they will replace them. BTW, you start with a selection of spirits but if you only want one kind, you just have to ask to have your fridge stocked with just that one type. So for instance, it it is 6 nip bottles in a variety of liquors and all you want is vodka, they will give you your full complement of bottles all vodka.

Edited by Peregrina651

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Thank you roothy - very helpful.

Is there a place to see sample menus from Manfredi's?

It would be kind of difficult to pre-book Chef's Table unless you know which menu they offer on the day you want to book - am I missing something?

Also, your pictures of the minibar menu shows prices for soft drinks - I thought that soft drinks are included?

 

 

Here is a link to menus for MDR, Manfredis, Pool Grill and Mansens

 

http://www.beyondships2.com/viking-star-menus.html

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Passports ashore? Consider the scenario: your private excursion to some foreign must-see has been held up by whatever, or there was a long queue at the hospital emergency department, and you arrive at the dock late, to see Viking waving bye-bye a hundred yards out to sea. With your passport. And your money. And the next port of call is in yet another country. Another foreign country with a border force which might not speak your language too well and might not appreciate the extra work you are about to generate. How are you going to cross borders legally without a passport in these days of increased security, nastiness and twitchy scrutiny? In Europe, non-European people without passports or official ID can be asylum seekers, illegal immigrants or even not-very-nice-people.

 

If you do not want to carry your passport (why ever not?), do take a colour photocopy of the important pages, or a picture of them on your phone, or at least your passport number for the man from the embassy or consulate.. And the phone number of Viking's shore agent, and Viking's home office number to use in extremis. Better still, don't miss the boat! It won't wait,you know. (If it's not too far away, the pilot may give you a lift if you speak nicely!!!)

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I notice the sample dinner menu specifies "Poulet de Bresse." Does anyone know if this is literally true? [Real Bresse chicken is so much better than anything we have had that was raised somewhere else]

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Hi Roothy123, Thank you so much for all the time you put into this post. It was very informative! My husband and I will be going on our first Viking Ocean cruise in October/2017 on the Viking Sun for Venice, the Adriatic and Greece. Some of the places we're stopping at were in your pictures!! We're staying in the veranda V2 so we'll be picking our excursions later. I wondered if all the included excursions fill up for the earlier times first. I noticed that the meeting location for the included excursions is on the boat. So does that mean you have to stay on the boat until your included excursion leaves? I'm the type of person who likes to get off the boat first thing with my feet running to discover the new location and spend every minute on land :) Any thoughts on how you work around the later included excursions? Thanks again, Pat

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Hi Roothy123, Thank you so much for all the time you put into this post. It was very informative! My husband and I will be going on our first Viking Ocean cruise in October/2017 on the Viking Sun for Venice, the Adriatic and Greece. Some of the places we're stopping at were in your pictures!! We're staying in the veranda V2 so we'll be picking our excursions later. I wondered if all the included excursions fill up for the earlier times first. I noticed that the meeting location for the included excursions is on the boat. So does that mean you have to stay on the boat until your included excursion leaves? I'm the type of person who likes to get off the boat first thing with my feet running to discover the new location and spend every minute on land :) Any thoughts on how you work around the later included excursions? Thanks again, Pat

 

The earliest time slot probably fills up quickly but, depending on the port, there may be some strategic advantage to taking the last tour of the day.

 

 

Sometimes the included tours meet on the pier while the optional line up in the theater and are led to the buses from there. In any case, if you are traveling with a group, you should all arrive at the rallying point together so that you will be assigned the same bus.

 

 

As long as you are at the meeting point at the appointed time, you may do what you want before the tour.

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Hi Roothy123 I wondered if all the included excursions fill up for the earlier times first. I noticed that the meeting location for the included excursions is on the boat. So does that mean you have to stay on the boat until your included excursion leaves? I'm the type of person who likes to get off the boat first thing with my feet running to discover the new location and spend every minute on land :) Any thoughts on how you work around the later included excursions? Thanks again, Pat

You can usually exit ship whenever you please, excursion or not. We had a later(afternoon) excursion but went to town early and returned to ship for excursion. You can always check with excursion desk to see if an earlier spot has opened once y ou board. In one of the ports we were told it was a long pier and we might want to keep that in mind to make our way to the bus. Turns out, it wasn't 'that' long and we arrived early. They informed us of that but they did let us on that bus as all that were scheduled had not shown. So that could be another option.

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First, sorry if I'm repeating stuff mentioned before. I didn't read the new entries after I received my email that you had questions, and am rushing to turn off the pc. I think others have clarified some points I was unsure of. Here's what I typed before glancing at the responses:

 

I'm like you - off the ship as much as possible. You don't have to stay on the ship if your excursion is later, but of course, it depends upon the particular port and how easy it is to get back to the ship. For example, if you're going to Santorini, it's tricky for independent cruisers. It involves tendering and then getting up top to the town via cable car or donkey. That takes time and you probably wouldn't want to go back to the ship. I'd book the first included excursion available in that case. (If you're on an excursion, you'll likely be tendered to a place down at the bottom of the island where the tour buses are parked - but just about everyone else goes up by cable car or donkey, unless you can arrange a cab to pick you up and take you up top.) We just bagged the included excursion (didn't sound as good as touring on our own, which we had done before and loved) and took the first slots available on a tender. There was one early one, announced as we were eating breakfast, and one maybe a half hour early. In 2015, Viking merged independent cruisers with the excursion groups. Some cruise lines make the indy folks wait until all the excursion folks are off, though. I assume Viking's still handling tricky Santorini the same way now as they did in 2015, but be aware that's it's a port with challenges! It is, however, our favorite place we've ever been!!!! Might want to rent a three wheeler if you're adventuresome. I saw places few cruisers get to see.

 

I think the afternoon excursions might meet ashore (at least for cities where there's no tendering, which is majority), but I'm not positive. Maybe someone can confirm, or I can find out soon, as we're cruising soon. If so, that at least means you can explore the city, around the port, or whatever in the morning and not have to go back on the ship, which is fast but still involves a little bit of time in case there's a line, plus shuttle to port terminal (Athens) and x-rays.

 

I don't know if the time you book is the actual meeting time or if Viking wants you to get to the meeting place (on ship or not) 15 minutes earlier or something like that. I'd recommend not trying to book things too closely - sometimes excursions run a little late (on all cruise lines, not just on Viking). Not sure if you'll want to do two excursions in one day, but I think Viking's system will stop you from booking excursions that are truly too close together, so at least you don't have to worry about that.

 

With that said, some people have reported that the included excursions tended to fill up before they booked, but when we booked maybe a month ago for our upcoming cruise, that was not the case. We were in a DV and I booked a couple hours after I got up on the first day we could book. I don't remember the specifics, but when I booked, almost all time slots appeared to be open, including many first thing in the morning. If I wanted to explore early in a port where it's easy to tour on your own (example, Geiranger for my cruise; Kotor if you go there in your case) I booked an after lunch included excursion; also did that in 2015 when I booked an AM optional excursion but also wanted to take the included one in Athens. In Pula (doubt you go there; people didn't like the long tender ride) I booked an early included excursion, told the guide I was staying in Pula, and toured a bit on my own (great city, in my opinion - worth the time to tender, but some may disagree), then got back to the tender pier on my own. It just depends on the situation, but I think you'll likely find plenty of slots that work. I would, however, book the excursions on the day your window opens, fairly early, just to be sure you see the best options that exist. I would NOT, however, stress over it. I made notes on which times I wanted and second choices, but in the end the whole process was very easy and fast, with no issues.

 

October in Greece, Venice, etc. should be great - not too hot or crowded, not too cool! Enjoy.

Edited by roothy123

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As a P.S., since I still have the time slots Viking offered (before my window opened up for booking) on our upcoming Midnight Sun cruise, here's a bit more info. Obviously, your times (and frequency of tours) may vary. Also, I suppose Viking may make some changes to actual times and/or ask some people if they could move to a different time slot if enough people don't sign up for any given time slot.

 

London, departure (2nd) day: 4 hour tour offered 8, 8:45, 1 & 2

Edinburgh (in port 8 - 6): 4 hour tour 8:45, 9, 1:15, 1:30

Kirkwall (8 - 6): 2.5 hour tour: 8:45, 9:30, 12 & 12:45

Lerwick (8 - 5): 8 total, spread out from 8:45 to 1:45

Leknes/Lofoten (8 to 1; but other itineraries have longer): 2 hour tour, 4 slots, first 8:30, last 10:30

Honningsvag (12 - 6): 3.5 hour tour, first one 12:15

Tromso (8 - 6): 2.5 hour tour, first at 8:45, last 3:30, 8 slots

Molde (8 to 6): 2.5 hour tour at 9, 11, 1, 3

Geiranger (8 - 6): 3 hour tour at 9, 10:30, 1:30

Bergen (arrive 8 AM & overnight): 2 hour tour, 8 slots, first one 9, last one 4

 

In most cases, lunch time is avoided. Another thought: While a lot of people tend to like the early slots for various reasons, I try to keep in mind that early on in the cruise, I'm likely to be suffering from jetlag, and getting up early to eat breakfast and go on an excursion may not be as great as it sounds! Of course, if you go to Europe or that part of the world at least several days early, this may not be a consideration.

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As a P.S., since I still have the time slots Viking offered (before my window opened up for booking) on our upcoming Midnight Sun cruise, here's a bit more info. Obviously, your times (and frequency of tours) may vary. Also, I suppose Viking may make some changes to actual times and/or ask some people if they could move to a different time slot if enough people don't sign up for any given time slot.

 

London, departure (2nd) day: 4 hour tour offered 8, 8:45, 1 & 2

Edinburgh (in port 8 - 6): 4 hour tour 8:45, 9, 1:15, 1:30

Kirkwall (8 - 6): 2.5 hour tour: 8:45, 9:30, 12 & 12:45

Lerwick (8 - 5): 8 total, spread out from 8:45 to 1:45

Leknes/Lofoten (8 to 1; but other itineraries have longer): 2 hour tour, 4 slots, first 8:30, last 10:30

Honningsvag (12 - 6): 3.5 hour tour, first one 12:15

Tromso (8 - 6): 2.5 hour tour, first at 8:45, last 3:30, 8 slots

Molde (8 to 6): 2.5 hour tour at 9, 11, 1, 3

Geiranger (8 - 6): 3 hour tour at 9, 10:30, 1:30

Bergen (arrive 8 AM & overnight): 2 hour tour, 8 slots, first one 9, last one 4

 

In most cases, lunch time is avoided. Another thought: While a lot of people tend to like the early slots for various reasons, I try to keep in mind that early on in the cruise, I'm likely to be suffering from jetlag, and getting up early to eat breakfast and go on an excursion may not be as great as it sounds! Of course, if you go to Europe or that part of the world at least several days early, this may not be a consideration.

 

Thanks for the information, but I have a question about the London hours.

When you say 1 and 2, do you mean 2pm? For my London departure 7/9, Viking shows ship departure at 2 so we just have the morning options.

Is your sail time different?

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Thanks for the information, but I have a question about the London hours.

When you say 1 and 2, do you mean 2pm? For my London departure 7/9, Viking shows ship departure at 2 so we just have the morning options.

Is your sail time different?

Yes, we (Midnight Sun) get on the ship in London (Greenwich) one day and depart the next at 7:30 PM. Next day is a sea day on the way to Edinburgh (Rosyth). You aren't getting on the ship in another location besides Greenwich, are you - like Southampton, which is farther south?

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Yes, we (Midnight Sun) get on the ship in London (Greenwich) one day and depart the next at 7:30 PM. Next day is a sea day on the way to Edinburgh (Rosyth). You aren't getting on the ship in another location besides Greenwich, are you - like Southampton, which is farther south?

 

I'm on Midnight Sun , board Greenwich on 7/9 sail 7/10 @2:15, next day sea day enroute to Edinburgh.

I like your hours better, I wonder why the difference?

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Hi Everyone, Those are all such great tips. I'll have to wait and see whats available and plan from there. I think of areas such as Dubrovnik, Kotor and Split and wonder if I should be looking into scheduling my own excursions. We have a lot of time at these locations especially Dubrovnik and I'd love to go off and do a longer excursion and really get to see the area. I'd like to also take advantage of the included excursions as well. I'll just wait and see:) So excited !!!

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Passports ashore? Consider the scenario: your private excursion to some foreign must-see has been held up by whatever, or there was a long queue at the hospital emergency department, and you arrive at the dock late, to see Viking waving bye-bye a hundred yards out to sea. With your passport. And your money. And the next port of call is in yet another country. Another foreign country with a border force which might not speak your language too well and might not appreciate the extra work you are about to generate. How are you going to cross borders legally without a passport in these days of increased security, nastiness and twitchy scrutiny? In Europe, non-European people without passports or official ID can be asylum seekers, illegal immigrants or even not-very-nice-people.

 

If you do not want to carry your passport (why ever not?), do take a colour photocopy of the important pages, or a picture of them on your phone, or at least your passport number for the man from the embassy or consulate.. And the phone number of Viking's shore agent, and Viking's home office number to use in extremis. Better still, don't miss the boat! It won't wait,you know. (If it's not too far away, the pilot may give you a lift if you speak nicely!!!)

 

I've read, though don't know if it's true, that often cruise line employees go to the room of anyone about to be left and look in the safe to see if there are passports in there. If so, they give them to the ship's agent in that port so that at least the people aren't completely grounded for a few days or more. I would love to know if that's true, but I'm not willing to test it myself!

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Hi Everyone, Those are all such great tips. I'll have to wait and see whats available and plan from there. I think of areas such as Dubrovnik, Kotor and Split and wonder if I should be looking into scheduling my own excursions. We have a lot of time at these locations especially Dubrovnik and I'd love to go off and do a longer excursion and really get to see the area. I'd like to also take advantage of the included excursions as well. I'll just wait and see:) So excited !!!

 

tubeamps, that's interesting about your departure time from Greenwich. I like ours better too! I can't really think of why there would be a difference, but perhaps there's a tide issue involved for the Thames, or possibly there's another ship scheduled to take over the floating pier in Greenwich or something to do with traffic on the Thames and at the Greenwich Pier? Not sure! I guess if you wanted to extend your time in London, you could take one of the Thames Clippers from the Greenwich Pier (same pier we go to for boarding the ship) to central London the evening you're there.

 

As for excursions: The pull of free, included excursions was strong for me. However, if you really want to do more, I would look into private/shared tours for at least a few cities. Kotor's a nice city, but unless you're planning to hike up to the fortress you can see the basics easily in a half day. That's one place where I think going out of the city might be a great idea. We arranged a half day tour with Milo (Tours by Milo) and really enjoyed it. There's room for two more people in his car (although not the largest, most comfy car you'll find), and the price is right, or at least in 2015 it was. He was a good driver/tour guide, and he let me plan what I wanted to do. Book him early, though, or look for the other tour guide that many cruisers have used in Kotor. (Sorry, the name escapes me - but Milo or someone else will probably tell you!) Be up on deck or on your balcony for departure - beautiful.

 

Dubrovnik is actually a really interesting, nice, and visually pleasing city. I just did the included tour there (pretty good and comprehensive; mostly walking) and stayed in town to wander on my own - very nice day.

 

Haven't been to Split!

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Hi Roothy123, I've heard of Milo before and I think I will book an excursion with him. Do you remember which one of his tours you did? I looked at his website and he has quite a few. Kotor sounds so beautiful and I'd like to see as much as I can. I agree on the free included excursions as well and I'd like to participate in all of them. We're in Dubrovnik from 8am-10pm so plenty of time to do things there. It also sounds beautiful!

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Regarding Milo, we did a four hour tour, which didn't go way up the mountain to the park (Louvcen maybe?), which I've read is worthwhile. However, we were there something like 8 to 6 rather than your long day, so my options were more limited. I decided I wanted to see at least a little of Kotor, and hike partway up the mountain at the back of the town to get views, so I decided on a four hour tour. I guess it was pretty much as described on Milo's website, but we did customize a little. My priority was to see Perast and go over to the church out in the water. We spent a little time in other places, pretty much as chronicled in my gallery -http://www.pbase.com/roothy123/kotor_montenegro__sept_30_2015. We didn't spend a lot of time in the beach town (Budva) but I'm the type of person who can tour pretty quickly and be satisfied. Other people are not. Budva appeared to be a lot like Kotor, so it worked. I loved the view of Sveti Stefan, and some people take an excursion there to go inside the (restricted) resort, but we were content to just look at it from above. In Kotor, unless something happens to require you to tender, you'll be docked a minute's walk from the walled town, making it easy to do some sightseeing, return to the ship, and then do something else. It was really easy to find two people on my Roll Call to share the cost. Milo was great - didn't provide tons of endless talk like some guides do, which suited us fine. He also seemed very flexible, and not too worried if we went over the four hour time mark a little!

 

With all that time in Kotor, you could probably do quite a bit of sightseeing. I'm not sure how much is open at night, but since nights in the ocean cruising world are somewhat limited, I'd suggest at least walking around the town a little at night, or having dessert at a local restaurant!

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Hi Roothy123, Thanks for all this information. I enjoyed your slide show and commentary on-http://www.pbase.com/roothy123/kotor_montenegro__sept_30_2015

That was very ambitious of you to walk up all those steps. The pictures were great. Was anyone swimming at those beautiful beaches? I'd love to go swimming if the water temperature is good.

I sent an email to Milo last night and I hope he's available. I'm going to try for the 6 hour tour. It's great to know that the dock is right off the ship so I can run into town if there is time. We'll be in Kotor from 7-5. We're in Dubrovnik from 8-10pm so we have plenty of time there as well. I'm thinking I'll wait and see what I get for included times before I finalize times with Milo. Thanks for all your insight! It's much appreciated. Pat

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As I start getting ready for my cruise, I'm thinking of more tips which might help others:

 

-Most people leave their cell phones in airplane mode or turned off while on the ship, including when the ship is sitting idle in a port. I haven't really heard anything specific about Viking ships, but I know there have have been some nasty surprises due to cruisers making phone calls while on a cruise ship. That's because sometimes the calls are routed through the ship, and I believe this might apply even if you are making the call using WiFi. If I want to make a call, I go out into the port terminal - or wait until I can go ashore!

 

-Viiking does not exchange money. If you need foreign money, use an ATM or get money before you leave home.

 

-The excursion descriptions on My Viking Journey include information on mobility issues - cobblestone, steps, amount of walking, etc. - but it's a little hidden. Put your cursor over the "Easy" or "Difficult" button that is displayed for each excursion and it will give you more specific information. I didn't realize this information was there until last night.

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-The excursion descriptions on My Viking Journey include information on mobility issues - cobblestone, steps, amount of walking, etc. - but it's a little hidden. Put your cursor over the "Easy" or "Difficult" button that is displayed for each excursion and it will give you more specific information. I didn't realize this information was there until last night.

 

Wow, thank you for the tip roothy123! I didn't know this :|

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