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roothy123

Tips for New Viking Ocean Cruisers

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A few months ago, the local Vancouver BC news reported a dispute about the cruise ship business.  The current cruise ship terminal is not configured to accommodate the size and number of today's cruise ships.  So, some ships anchor and tender.

 

The longer range solutions of a huge expansion for the current terminal, or a brand new terminal out past the Lions Gate have become ensnared in local politics and regional economic issues.

 

The authority is encouraging more ship lines to select other than weekend days for departures, but has had limited success, from what I understand. 

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9 hours ago, Relaxing Rita said:

CLOTHES LINE ... question... is there a pull out line in the bathroom to hang out our wet socks etc??? Would be hand if there is. Thank you

 

We have been on the SKY and the SEA recently in different cabin classes, and can confirm that there is indeed a pull out line in the shower to dry things.  It stretches diagonally.  Very handy.   The heated floor is also helpful!  (A note on the heated floor - on our last trip on the Sea, it was not on the first night so we told the steward.  He said he would check the master panel to verify if that was the issue and it was - presto - the floor was on the rest of the trip)

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48 minutes ago, Cienfuegos said:

A few months ago, the local Vancouver BC news reported a dispute about the cruise ship business.  The current cruise ship terminal is not configured to accommodate the size and number of today's cruise ships.  So, some ships anchor and tender.

 

The longer range solutions of a huge expansion for the current terminal, or a brand new terminal out past the Lions Gate have become ensnared in local politics and regional economic issues.

 

The authority is encouraging more ship lines to select other than weekend days for departures, but has had limited success, from what I understand. 

Thank you. I've never seen a split docking schedule on a port schedule before - very strange.  Is Orion expected to disembark all her passengers by 6 AM, and go out and tender in the port until the Seven Seas ship has departed?   Or is Orion tendering the whole day?   (This is May 26, assume same day a couple others are talking about.)    That is a very strange situation.  I wish ports wouldn't accept cruise visits they can't handle, but I guess the lure of the money it brings is too strong. 

Edited by roothy123

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7 hours ago, Relaxing Rita said:

Indeed! A real mess up and I just can't book a ferry to Victoria Island not knowing what time we will be on land and with all our luggage. There are 3 other ships finishing their cruises that day and all passengers needing to clear customs etc! Hopefully by the time we get our documents 2 weeks prior Viking will have sorted it out!?

Our first Viking cruise is not off to a good start....

For pax arriving into Vancouver, my best guess is they will discharge baggage before vacating the berth for the other 3 ships. You may also have the option to disembark prior to departing the berth.

 

Even with 3 ships at Canada Place we rarely experience any delay at customs/immigration.

 

When going to Victoria on Vancouver Island, are you hiring a car and driving onto the ferry, or walking on to the ferry. Walk-ons do not require reservations and provided you are at the ticket booth at least 15 mins before departure, you will make the ferry. I believe you also arrive Vancouver on a Sunday, which has less ferry traffic going to the Island, so less likelihood of delays. Depending on time of day, probably won't require a reservation.

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2 hours ago, Cienfuegos said:

A few months ago, the local Vancouver BC news reported a dispute about the cruise ship business.  The current cruise ship terminal is not configured to accommodate the size and number of today's cruise ships.  So, some ships anchor and tender.

 

The longer range solutions of a huge expansion for the current terminal, or a brand new terminal out past the Lions Gate have become ensnared in local politics and regional economic issues.

 

The authority is encouraging more ship lines to select other than weekend days for departures, but has had limited success, from what I understand. 

When the current terminal was originally built to replace the original CP berths, it was designed to handle 5 ships of the original 500 ft "Love Boat" size ships with about 700 pax each ship. Two ships on each side and one at the end.

 

As ship sizes increased the capacity reduced to 2 ships, but an extension increased capacity to 3 ships and possibly 4 ships, if they are smaller. We did have an alternate cargo berth, that was used for cruise ships in the summer, but the Port Authority closed it about 5 years ago, effectively handing even more business to Seattle.

 

An additional berth outside 1st Narrows has been discussed for many years, but we have nowhere that is protected from wind/tide and has sufficient depth and shore-side transportation links. Robert's Bank, by the Ferry Terminal, has been discussed, as was the Fraser River, but having spent many years taking large ferries both places, I would not want to take shallow draught mega cruise ships into either, when the wind blows.

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The updating of Vancouver cruise ship facilities would be a complicated situation in any case. Tides, access, hotels, cab rights, who pays, etc.   With differences in the community about what is needed, I doubt there will be any solution in the near future.

 

Cruise ships are likely to get bigger, so the problem isn't going away.

 

(It took decades to gain agreement on Roberts' Bank coal export facility, and that was after long coal trains choked many highway crossings, etc.  This likely won't be any faster. )

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4 hours ago, roothy123 said:

Not to take this thread even more off-topic than it already,  but I have to ask:  Is Vancouver doing major construction in their port, or what?  Just curious. 

 

There are some things in ocean cruising that can't be expected, especially when schedules are made up at least a year or two in advance. So my tip would be:  Just try to roll with the punches.  Occasionally weather, equipment problems, dock strikes, construction, illness/accidents, etc. will change plans. 

 

Viking will do what they can to mitigate things that get thrown their way.   Enjoy Alaska, and Ketchikan - which in my opinion can be explored in a shorter day than some Alaskan cities. And of course, Alaska is as much about scenery as it is sightseeing, so you'll always have that!

Great advice. All sorts of unexpected issues can pop up when cruising. And Vancouver port issues are not Viking’s fault. Though I’ve never experienced them, these boards are full of complaints arising from delays caused by the port. The only way to avoid them is to avoid sailing out of Vancouver.

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1 hour ago, BarbarianPaul said:

Great advice. All sorts of unexpected issues can pop up when cruising. And Vancouver port issues are not Viking’s fault. Though I’ve never experienced them, these boards are full of complaints arising from delays caused by the port. The only way to avoid them is to avoid sailing out of Vancouver.

 

Vikings complete itinerary in Alaska this season is based in and out of Vancouver. To be honest this is Vikings issue not the Port of Vancouver as Viking is the one who designed the itinerary out of Vancouver knowing that the Port facilities were already booked by other ships. Adjusting the itinerary by one day, ie departing on the Monday would have meant that the situation of over berthing would not have occurred. 

 

Im a new Viking cruiser so my tip that I’ve learnt is that doing the first itinerary is not a good thing even for a company like Viking. And I think similar excursion issues have been reflected for Orion’s first venture into Australia. 

 

And my tip for Viking cruisers? Always do your own research. Viking sent an email advising me that excursions were open for me today and gave the time in Australia that this would occur. However the time was out by an hour, it was an hour later. I’d already contacted them about this and was told I was wrong and they were right. I still didn’t agree. Sure enough at the earlier time this morning I logged in and within a minute the excursions opened up to book. Had I waited the time that Viking told me it was an hour too late. 

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2 hours ago, Pushka said:

And my tip for Viking cruisers? Always do your own research. Viking sent an email advising me that excursions were open for me today and gave the time in Australia that this would occur. However the time was out by an hour, it was an hour later. I’d already contacted them about this and was told I was wrong and they were right. I still didn’t agree. Sure enough at the earlier time this morning I logged in and within a minute the excursions opened up to book. Had I waited the time that Viking told me it was an hour too late. 

Times zones confuse the heck out of me. I've been looking at ships visiting various ports in Australia and New Zealand and trying to convert their time to my time.  Just when I got things figured out, the U.S. went on daylight savings time (or maybe went off it?) and that messed up my calculations.  Maybe something like that happened with Viking. 

 

For New Zealand, I finally just bookmarked a webcam which shows local time, and I use that to tell me what time it is in New Zealand.  Of course it's not as easy in Australia because of the multiple time zones, including the one that's a half hour behind or ahead of a nearby area.  (I think the ports we visit, in January,  are Adelaide & Melbourne, but I could be wrong.)

 

In case anyone like me has trouble converting time, here are two websites that might help, although I'm not positive they take into account when a country or state goes onto or off of a special time zone like daylight savings: 

 

timeanddate.com

timebie.com

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6 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

For pax arriving into Vancouver, my best guess is they will discharge baggage before vacating the berth for the other 3 ships. You may also have the option to disembark prior to departing the berth.

 

Even with 3 ships at Canada Place we rarely experience any delay at customs/immigration.

 

When going to Victoria on Vancouver Island, are you hiring a car and driving onto the ferry, or walking on to the ferry. Walk-ons do not require reservations and provided you are at the ticket booth at least 15 mins before departure, you will make the ferry. I believe you also arrive Vancouver on a Sunday, which has less ferry traffic going to the Island, so less likelihood of delays. Depending on time of day, probably won't require a reservation.

 

Thank you very much for this information Heidi... that makes me feel a lot easier if we don't have to book the Ferry. We are going to go with the flow on disembarkation day as we are in no particular hurry to get to Victoria too early.

Pushka... yes indeed we are going to the Viking Info Session this Friday morning...maybe see you there?

Thank you all for your input re Vancouver... the Cruise Critic Family is fabulous!

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11 minutes ago, roothy123 said:

Times zones confuse the heck out of me. I've been looking at ships visiting various ports in Australia and New Zealand and trying to convert their time to my time.  Just when I got things figured out, the U.S. went on daylight savings time (or maybe went off it?) and that messed up my calculations.  Maybe something like that happened with Viking. 

 

For New Zealand, I finally just bookmarked a webcam which shows local time, and I use that to tell me what time it is in New Zealand.  Of course it's not as easy in Australia because of the multiple time zones, including the one that's a half hour behind or ahead of a nearby area.  (I think the ports we visit, in January,  are Adelaide & Melbourne, but I could be wrong.)

 

In case anyone like me has trouble converting time, here are two websites that might help, although I'm not positive they take into account when a country or state goes onto or off of a special time zone like daylight savings: 

 

timeanddate.com

timebie.com

 

Yes it is a pain.

 

Wait till 8 April 2019 when Daylight Saving ends in Australia and we will all be back to 'normal' (whatever that is !).

 

From 8 April onwards;

Auckland will be 2 hours ahead of Sydney

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart will all be the same

Darwin and Adelaide will be 30 minutes behind Sydney

Perth will be 2 hours behind Sydney

 

As I type this it is 9am Thursday in Brisbane (10am in Sydney) and 4pm Wednesday on the West Coast of US (so we - Brisbane - are 17 hours ahead and Sydney are 18 hours ahead of LA).

 

Good luck with the planning. LM

 

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15 minutes ago, Little Monty said:

 

Yes it is a pain.

 

Wait till 8 April 2019 when Daylight Saving ends in Australia and we will all be back to 'normal' (whatever that is !).

 

From 8 April onwards;

Auckland will be 2 hours ahead of Sydney

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart will all be the same

Darwin and Adelaide will be 30 minutes behind Sydney

Perth will be 2 hours behind Sydney

 

As I type this it is 9am Thursday in Brisbane (10am in Sydney) and 4pm Wednesday on the West Coast of US (so we - Brisbane - are 17 hours ahead and Sydney are 18 hours ahead of LA).

 

Good luck with the planning. LM

 

 

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I find just going to Google and typing e.g.,  "time now in London England", "time now in Paris France" is very useful.

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22 minutes ago, Little Monty said:

 

Yes it is a pain.

 

Wait till 8 April 2019 when Daylight Saving ends in Australia and we will all be back to 'normal' (whatever that is !).

 

From 8 April onwards;

Auckland will be 2 hours ahead of Sydney

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart will all be the same

Darwin and Adelaide will be 30 minutes behind Sydney

Perth will be 2 hours behind Sydney

 

As I type this it is 9am Thursday in Brisbane (10am in Sydney) and 4pm Wednesday on the West Coast of US (so we - Brisbane - are 17 hours ahead and Sydney are 18 hours ahead of LA).

 

Good luck with the planning. LM

 

My head is spinning!   I'm glad cruise ships have clocks, and cruise ships tell you when to advance/set back watches!   

 

BC Eddie - didn't know you could just google the time like that!  I'm going to try it now.  Thanks!

Edited by roothy123

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7 minutes ago, BC Eddie said:

I find just going to Google and typing e.g.,  "time now in London England", "time now in Paris France" is very useful.

 

Yes I agree - that's how I found out what time is is in LA.

 

Conceptually I just wanted to explain during winter months we have 3 time zones (east / central / west) but from Oct - April the times are all over the place as some areas have daylight saving and some don't. Cheers, LM

 

 

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14 minutes ago, roothy123 said:

My head is spinning!   I'm glad cruise ships have clocks, and cruise ships tell you when to advance/set back watches!   

 

BC Eddie - didn't know you could just google the time like that!  I'm going to try it now.  Thanks!

If you have an Apple device, you can just ask Siri and it’s even easier!

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3 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

If you have an Apple device, you can just ask Siri and it’s even easier!

Yes! Seri says it 12:45 in Wellington NZ

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2 hours ago, Relaxing Rita said:

 

Thank you very much for this information Heidi... that makes me feel a lot easier if we don't have to book the Ferry. We are going to go with the flow on disembarkation day as we are in no particular hurry to get to Victoria too early.

Pushka... yes indeed we are going to the Viking Info Session this Friday morning...maybe see you there?

Thank you all for your input re Vancouver... the Cruise Critic Family is fabulous!

 

Yes indeed! 

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On 3/20/2019 at 12:34 PM, Pushka said:

 

Vikings complete itinerary in Alaska this season is based in and out of Vancouver. To be honest this is Vikings issue not the Port of Vancouver as Viking is the one who designed the itinerary out of Vancouver knowing that the Port facilities were already booked by other ships. Adjusting the itinerary by one day, ie departing on the Monday would have meant that the situation of over berthing would not have occurred. 

 

Im a new Viking cruiser so my tip that I’ve learnt is that doing the first itinerary is not a good thing even for a company like Viking. And I think similar excursion issues have been reflected for Orion’s first venture into Australia. 

 

And my tip for Viking cruisers? Always do your own research. Viking sent an email advising me that excursions were open for me today and gave the time in Australia that this would occur. However the time was out by an hour, it was an hour later. I’d already contacted them about this and was told I was wrong and they were right. I still didn’t agree. Sure enough at the earlier time this morning I logged in and within a minute the excursions opened up to book. Had I waited the time that Viking told me it was an hour too late. 

Late port departures happen virtually all the time, as well as changes to the port arrival and departure times. It’s just part of cruising. And giving you the wrong time in Australia doesn’t strike me as a capitol crime!

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2 hours ago, BarbarianPaul said:

Late port departures happen virtually all the time, as well as changes to the port arrival and departure times. It’s just part of cruising. And giving you the wrong time in Australia doesn’t strike me as a capitol crime!

I guess you wouldn’t be concerned given you don’t live here and werent trying to book excursions that were selling out rapidly. As the hour provided was an hour after excursions opened then it could well have been significant. 

 

My concern with late departure is tides and bridges in this port. Otherwise it’s not an issue. I have done quite a few cruises where departure is often delayed but other factors didn’t  come into play. 

Edited by Pushka

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The Vancouver Sun newspaper has covered the growing issue with cruise ships and economic development for several years.  The cruise business is a significant contributor to the local economy, but has to jostle for pier space with the grain export business, containers, and others.  The port authority converted the Ballantyne Street pier to cargo only when it expanded Canada Place a few years ago.  Ballantyne had been used for overflow cruise ship space.

 

There's also an issue as suggestions that Delta (an outer suburb) become a cruise ship port conflict with hotly debated plans by some to make Delta a crude oil and liquid natural gas export facility.

 

Lots going on...

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9 hours ago, Pushka said:

I guess you wouldn’t be concerned given you don’t live here and werent trying to book excursions that were selling out rapidly. As the hour provided was an hour after excursions opened then it could well have been significant. 

 

My concern with late departure is tides and bridges in this port. Otherwise it’s not an issue. I have done quite a few cruises where departure is often delayed but other factors didn’t  come into play. 

I do understand, and I know it’s annoying, and once on Viking I did try to book an excursion that I discovered was sold out, and it didn’t make me happy! I called them and they basically told me I was out of luck.

 

That said, am sure you’ll love the ship as well as the cruise. Also, one thing about the Alaska ports. Especially in Ketchikan and Juneau, there are all sorts of independent excursion opportunities available right when you get off the ship, as well as online. They’re far cheaper and pretty much identical. They’re worth investigating. 

 

And one last random piece of advice. If the excursion you wanted to book in Ketchikan was a rainforest nature walk, don’t do it! My wife and I booked this last year and it was a total snooze. Vancouver, by the way, is fantastic. It’s worth getting there a few days in advance to explore if you have the time.

 

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Ketchikan can be SO rainy, and cold.  But the Trading Post quite close to the pier sells $20 coats that aren't bad looking and offer more protection/warmth if needed.  My husband and I both bought one. 

 

I know most Viking cruisers aren't likely to want DIY tours using public transportation,  but if so, I can give info.  I took public buses to two totem parks, and walked around (in the rain, sigh!) Then I walked up to see the boardwalk area in Ketchikan.

 

If you can't book an excursion, just keep looking online every 4-5 days to see if there's room.  I found one slot open doing that, although, yes, it takes time and persistence!  If no luck, look right before the online booking period closes.  If still no room, go ask about getting on board once you board the ship.  People DO cancel their excursions - at various times and for various reasons.  Also, if lots and lots of people express interest in an excursion, Viking may contact the vendor to see if another bus and tour guide can be added.  As a last resort, if you're on board the ship when the desired excursion is loading up the bus(es), talk to the Viking reps near the buses to see if anyone is a no-show or has canceled.  If there's room, and the tour guide agrees to take a few more people, you might get lucky.  We did once.

 

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10 hours ago, Pushka said:

I guess you wouldn’t be concerned given you don’t live here and werent trying to book excursions that were selling out rapidly. As the hour provided was an hour after excursions opened then it could well have been significant. 

 

My concern with late departure is tides and bridges in this port. Otherwise it’s not an issue. I have done quite a few cruises where departure is often delayed but other factors didn’t  come into play. 

Hi Pushka - you have no worries on bridges, as heading out to sea you only have to pass under 1st Narrows (Lions Gate). It has no tidal restrictions for the Viking ships. Only bridge with any issues is the rail bridge at 2nd Narrows, as you must request a lift, but you will not go under this bridge.

 

Don't see any issues with tides in Vancouver, as I have been in and out in all tidal conditions. The slack water at Seymour is 12:40 then 07:40. Pilots normally go through 1 hr either side of slack water, but the max tides are small (7 kts), so they might push it a few minutes. Takes about 5 to 6 hrs to reach Seymour, closer to 6 hrs, if adhering to harbour speed limits. So the 12:40 slack really isn't possible, but they could leave as late as midnight and still make the 07:40 window, which gives lots of time to reach Ketchikan the next morning.

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