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roothy123

Tips for New Viking Ocean Cruisers

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My daughter and I will be traveling to Rome in December. We are coming in 2 days early and do have Viking transfers.

I understand the first day they will pick us up to bring us to the ship. We would like to be going to Florence that day. Is it possible for us to send our bags and make our own way to the ship? We are in port over night, does it matter what time we arrive to check in?

 

Contact Viking directly at this e-mail to discuss your plans just to make sure you get the correct information. tellus@vikingcruises.com. Include your name and booking number and a phone number if you wish them to call you. Do not use the phone number given on the website; you will get better and more accurate information from the folks at "TellUs."

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My daughter and I will be traveling to Rome in December. We are coming in 2 days early and do have Viking transfers.

I understand the first day they will pick us up to bring us to the ship. We would like to be going to Florence that day. Is it possible for us to send our bags and make our own way to the ship? We are in port over night, does it matter what time we arrive to check in?

 

We were on the inaugural cruise of the Star, Barcelona to Bergen. When we arrived at BCN, we asked the Viking leader to take our large bags straight to the ship since we had a private tour picking us up. He has no problem doing this for the four of us and made sure our bags had the Viking tags on them. This was in may 2015. I had not called ahead but it is a good idea.

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We were on the inaugural cruise of the Star, Barcelona to Bergen. When we arrived at BCN, we asked the Viking leader to take our large bags straight to the ship since we had a private tour picking us up. He has no problem doing this for the four of us and made sure our bags had the Viking tags on them. This was in may 2015. I had not called ahead but it is a good idea.

 

Yes, but your situation was different. The ship will not be in port when newcruiser1956 lands and Viking will not be greeting passengers at the airport because they are arriving two days early.

 

Newcruiser1956 really does need to talk directly with Viking to get a better understanding of the situation and what their options are upon arrival.

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Yes, we did the West Indies Explorer and had a great time. We thought the food was pretty good, but the evening meals in The Restaurant as well as Chef’s Table and the Italian restaurant took a long time (2.5+ hours). Maybe it was because we were part of a party of 8 traveling together. I enjoyed the World Café for breakfast and lunch. I liked how the food always seemed to be freshly-prepared in fairly small batches. The items they would cook-to-order were a nice touch as well. The Pool Grill was also good.

 

The Chef’s table was okay (we did 2 different menus – a West Indies-themed menu and one called Asian Panorama), but we didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the Chef’s Table experiences on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Manfredi's was tasty, but took a long time.

 

The northern ports, of course, showed more damage - but the port areas were mostly fit and ready for business. The damage showed more inland, I think. St. Croix was substituted for Tortola and we didn’t do much there but walk around town on our own. The excursion we had planned in St. Maarten (America’s Cup 12-Meter Regatta) was cancelled since their boats were put out of commission by the storms. We had done this about 24 years ago and really wanted to experience it again. Maybe another time. We did a couple of the included excursions (Guadeloupe & Barbados) and sail/snorkel type excursions at many of the other ports. The Nevis Sail Away Excursion on St. Kitts and the Catamaran Cruise & Lobster Lunch on Antigua were well done and a lot of fun.

 

I hope you enjoy your cruise.

 

We don't mind 2 hours for dinner as long as the food is good :) We have heard good things about the World Cafe so we want to give that a try as well.

 

I was disappointed about Tortola - we were going to Jost Van Dyck because the Soggy Dollar is open and I've heard White Bay is gorgeous. We looked at that America's Cup excursion. I wondered if it would be cancelled. It was listed for ours, but I haven't heard anything more about their boats. I'm looking forward to the St Kitts Railway and the Barbados Photo excursion.

 

Thanks for the info!

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We tried the Chefs table on the Sea last night, did the Asian panorama. Unfortunately, our main course was terrible. We specifically booked this because of the Pekin Duck - what we received was 3 small slices of overcooked dried duck with what tasted like store bought hoisin sauce poured on top. It came with a shredded duck mini egg roll, that was ok, but also dry. Maybe because we ate at 8:30, the duck had just sat on a warmer too long. We had just the opposite experience, we felt rushed. We had the wine pairing, and didn’t get through a glass, and they’d already bring out the next course. I think we were finished in about 45 minutes.

 

 

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We tried the Chefs table on the Sea last night, did the Asian panorama.... I think we were finished in about 45 minutes.

 

 

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I am glad to hear you mention the time frame. I gave it about that long but OP said it was a much longer experience. We did 5 menus on our cruise and liked them all, for what they were. Not our usual style of dining or cuisine so we don't have a lot to compare it to but I'm looking forward to going again in about 2 months.

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About the Chef's Table--the wine is paired to the course and if you would like another pour of any of the wines, just ask. Some of the waiters balk at this but be polite and firm and tell them you'd like some more. Same thing with the courses. If you want seconds, tell them. We've dined there a few times now and it's been a mixed bag with the waiters. We've had one or two who follow the "script" religiously and tell you, one pour, one course. I think they believe it's dinner theatre and that you can't deviate. Nonsense. In all the other dining venues on board, if we want seconds they are graciously brought to the table. I don't buy into the idea that Chef's Table is any different.

 

jbrown40, I agree about the Asian menu. Weirdest "Peking duck" we've ever seen or tasted. A letdown. We much preferred the Scandinavian menu.

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Well, on other ocean cruise lines I've used, people generally didn't tip after taking ship excursions. I guess when you're paying more for a ship excursion that costs less if arranged by yourself, you assume the tip is included in the ship's excursion price. It's definitely different when you take a third party excursion (i.e., private or shared excursion not arranged by the cruise line). I've never been with anybody on one of those who didn't tip.

Actually, I feel differently about this.

People who give private tours usually work for themselves and set the price for the tour. The money they receive is theirs and do not have to share it with the “company owner” (usually). That said, I still tip them.

The ship tours, OTOH, are usually given by tour companies and who knows how much of the money they receive they actually pay to the guide. Thus, IMO, these guides depend upon and deserve the tips more than a private tour guide working for him/herself.

Let’s face it - these guides, often in third world countries, surely need those few bucks more than we who can afford to cruise.

JMO.

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1518630348034.thumb.jpg.ed068c576bd74214ddb19a1547144b74.jpg

 

Today in Livorno the crew put up scaffolding and started to fix the rear section of the Star that was hit by the ferry a few weeks ago.

 

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[ATTACH]414463[/ATTACH]

 

Today in Livorno the crew put up scaffolding and started to fix the rear section of the Star that was hit by the ferry a few weeks ago.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Forums mobile app

 

 

 

Sadness. But I guess these things happen. Unfortunately. When we did the grand European Tour in 2014 (we were on the Viking Atla), I observed the Viking Freya that was docked with us had a pretty sizable dent in it. When I asked our cruise director about it, I was told that some other river boat had collided with it.

 

 

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Great information and just what I was looking for when I found your post. Thanks a bunch! We've been on Viking river cruises several times but this year is our first on their ocean line. I was wondering what the embarkation differences were and you answered most questions.

 

It sounds like you've done the cruise out of Venice? If so, we're arriving in Venice a day early and were curious about how much we should worry about getting to the ship "on time" since it doesn't depart until the next day. Also, we wondered if they did a walking tour from the boat the first day?

 

We are so looking forward to both the ports and the ship/Viking experience and have to wait until November!! :-)

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Great information and just what I was looking for when I found your post. Thanks a bunch! We've been on Viking river cruises several times but this year is our first on their ocean line. I was wondering what the embarkation differences were and you answered most questions.

 

It sounds like you've done the cruise out of Venice? If so, we're arriving in Venice a day early and were curious about how much we should worry about getting to the ship "on time" since it doesn't depart until the next day. Also, we wondered if they did a walking tour from the boat the first day?

 

We are so looking forward to both the ports and the ship/Viking experience and have to wait until November!! :-)

We went to Venice 2 days early. I don't think our itinerary called for the ship to overnight there, but I may be remembering that wrong! Personally, I would be inclined to enjoy Venice until mid-afternoon and then board the ship. However, you may want to call Viking to see if there's a particular time they're expecting everyone to be on board. Generally on embarkation day, cruisers on all cruise lines are required to be on board 2 or 3 hours before the ship sails. However, when the ship stays overnight and sails the next day, I'm not sure what the rule is, or what Viking wants. I'm also not sure when they'll hold the required safety drill, so it's best to not run up at the last minute. One caution, though - it's easy to get lost in Venice, so if you explore, allow plenty of time to get back to where you need to be. Also make sure you know when the "People Mover" train from Piazalle Roma to the dock stops running.

 

I could write a book about Venice; loved that place, but DID find it a bit confusing, and hard to navigate. You can probably find some helpful threads by me and others in the "Ports of Call" section of Cruise Critic (how to get from airport to hotels, to dock, around the city, etc.) If you want, check out my photos here: http://www.pbase.com/roothy123/venice&page=all

 

As for a walking tour, as you may know, Viking offers a free included tour in each city, but for cities in which you'll embarkation (board ship first time) and disembark (leave ship) there won't be a tour unless the ship overnights. So Viking may have an included excursion in Venice on your second day. They'll also likely offer some optional, paid tours. But our itinerary didn't call for an overnight in Venice, so I really don't know for sure - plus it was two years ago now, and things may have changed.

 

You can see a lot by simply taking one of the vaporetto water buses around the island. November should be a good time to be in Venice. It's very crowded in the summer from what I hear.

 

tomsportguides.com is a good site to visit for more info on Venice; so is Venice for Visitors.

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As for a walking tour, as you may know, Viking offers a free included tour in each city, but for cities in which you'll embarkation (board ship first time) and disembark (leave ship) there won't be a tour unless the ship overnights. So Viking may have an included excursion in Venice on your second day. They'll also likely offer some optional, paid tours. But our itinerary didn't call for an overnight in Venice, so I really don't know for sure - plus it was two years ago now, and things may have changed.

 

 

In general, there are no tours offered on embarkation day. I know that there are some exceptions to this rule. One is in Barcelona where they an evening tour on the embarkation night. Another is on the B2B itinerary in the western Med where they are now offering tours on embarkation day for continuing guests (but not for those embarking or disembarking that day).

 

If your ship does not depart until day two, then there will be a full compliment of tours offered on Day 2. You can check out what might be offered on the Viking website on the itinerary page for your cruise: just scroll down until you see Day 2 Venice and click on that band.

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Anyone here fly into San Juan? We are facing that next February from a snowy destination, so anything can happen.

 

Any advice? The Viking Sea is overnight in San Juan but there have been some who didnt make it in even on the second day.

 

Our air is included.

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Can you pay for deviation and go in one day early?

We did that and are flying in two night early to San Juan this month.

I live in MN and always need to make a connection to get to my cruise.

I would never fly in the day of cruise no matter what time of year or what a deal I could get.

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the ship is in San Juan overnight...so we do have 2 days to get there...really dont want to stay in hotel in San Juan...in fact I dont want to be in San Juan at all....but that is where we start from...

 

what hotel do you stay at?

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the ship is in San Juan overnight...so we do have 2 days to get there...really dont want to stay in hotel in San Juan...in fact I dont want to be in San Juan at all....but that is where we start from...

 

what hotel do you stay at?

We are staying at the El Convento. I have never been to PR or San Juan. Looking forward to exploring old San Juan historical sights. I am very interested in Spanish and colonial history of the Americas. Contuing the days (19) unitl I am sitting on a lounger on the hotel's roof top bar sipping a mojito on a hot sunny day. We have 6 inches of snow on the ground today.UGH.

Oh, if the ship is there for two days then you have a very good chance of making the ship even if the snows or weather delays intervene.

We did that once flying into Istanbul. It was late October. Our ship was there over night. I was still a nervous wreck and got to the pier on the first day around 6pm.

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We have been to San Juan several times over the years. It has progressively gotten worse to the point of being a slum. Now after the hurricane, I cant even imagine what it may be like.

 

Yes I hear you about flying on the day of the cruise, even if the ship is in port overnight. There is someone here who said a snow storm prevented them from getting on the ship even the second day.

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This may have been stated before and I just missed it, be sure and download the Viking Voyager app before you head for your cruise and once aboard and using your ships WiFi, you can make dinner reservations. I had forgotten about the app until a fellow CruiseCritic reminded me while I was in the reservation line on embarkation day. They were only letting you make one reservation manually with them, but I was able to make all I wanted on the app. Technology Wins!

 

 

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Left San Juan on Sky a few days back. We stayed two nights In the Old San Juan Sheraton. Had a wonderful time wandering streets of Old SJ. Food was great. A nice break. We did not wander away from there so I will not state how other areas are we would return if the right opportunity comes along.

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Left San Juan on Sky a few days back. We stayed two nights In the Old San Juan Sheraton. Had a wonderful time wandering streets of Old SJ. Food was great. A nice break. We did not wander away from there so I will not state how other areas are we would return if the right opportunity comes along.

 

We were in Old San Juan a couple of weeks ago, and it seemed much like it always has. We had dinner on our friends' recommendation at a place called 311 Trois Cent Onze and can't say enough about it, it was fabulous. Very close to the ship. Our friends had been on a previous visit and remembered the owner. She said it's been tough since the hurricane and that they're hanging on by a thread.

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g147320-d1046309-Reviews-Trois_Cent_Onze-San_Juan_Puerto_Rico.html

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Hello all! First time cruisers here, going with my mother (aged 70 at time of cruise). We have not booked yet, but plan to book the Oct 18th Italian Sojourn on Viking Sun - sounds like we get a shiny new ship?!

 

We both come with our varieties of special needs. She wears at least one hearing aid. Are the QuietVox machines able to be used with hearing aids? She has a pair that have blue-tooth to connect directly to devices (so cool!!).

 

I also have a defibrillator / pacemaker, so I am unable to go through regular metal detectors. It sounds like there might be some of that when leaving / come back on the ship? What do I need to do in this case?

 

And we would love the cabin to be set up into two bed. Do we let them know when we arrive, during booking, during the steward introduction?

 

My husband has a defibrillator, we'll be on our third VO In May. Easier than the airport: get in the line, tell staff you have a defibrillator, they wand, he usually gets through before I do. We ever come back at the last minute, btw, and have never taken longer than 5 min to get through security on the ship!

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Hello all! First time cruisers here, going with my mother (aged 70 at time of cruise). We have not booked yet, but plan to book the Oct 18th Italian Sojourn on Viking Sun - sounds like we get a shiny new ship?!

 

Hope you're not unduly dismayed by this but the Sun will not be shiny new for you. It is even now embarked on a 140 day World Wide cruise and per a very active thread elsewhere in this Forum is now in Shanghai. I'll let others answer your other questions, who can advise based on experience.

 

 

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