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Tips for New Viking Ocean Cruisers


roothy123
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As requested -- have uploaded the spreadsheet with VO's cruise schedule from 2017 thru 2019 to DropBox here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3vtbn2rt3jpm8q5/Viking%20Ocean%20Cruises.xlsm?dl=0. Note that the cruise schedule for 2019 is a little spotty for everything but their newest ships Spirit and Sun. I will update this spreadsheet when new information becomes available.

 

Please be aware that this spreadsheet contains Excel macros. I assure you, I keep my machine very clean. I apply all the Win7 security updates religiously and in a timely manner (as soon as my employer sends out a "critical update" message concerning my company laptop, I check for and apply them here.). Also, I use both AVGFree and MalwareBytes and have them set to scan my machine on a regular basis.

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Thanks CharTrav. The only problem with your spreadsheet is that it doesn't include any newer itineraries (either dates into 2019 or exotic places) than Viking has announced! I expect that as they add more ships, they will add more and more itineraries [including the hope that one or two ships will be freed from the rinse-and-repeat cycles and do A-to-B-to-C-to-D sequences like Azamara does]

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Thanks CharTrav. The only problem with your spreadsheet is that it doesn't include any newer itineraries (either dates into 2019 or exotic places) than Viking has announced! I expect that as they add more ships, they will add more and more itineraries [including the hope that one or two ships will be freed from the rinse-and-repeat cycles and do A-to-B-to-C-to-D sequences like Azamara does]

 

It includes everything I could get from the VO site. Double checked it yesterday so am sure as of yesterday, it's the latest. As I explained in an earlier post (and in the ReadMe tab) the authoritative source for the info in the sheet is the VO web site; I don't have access to anything more. Also - my intent was not to replace the VO web site but only to complement it; to provide an easier way to view the cruise schedule.

 

The sheet does show cruises out thru 2019 for those ships that have been scheduled. Not all have. Am almost wondering if Star is scheduled for a refit during 2019. Also I may have mistakenly uploaded a copy of the file where the 2019 columns are hidden. Have just uploaded a newer copy with all columns shown and with improved helps in the ReadMe tab.

 

If Viking has announced some even newer cruises today, then I clearly need to update the sheet to include them. And will do so. Just not today. [emoji1]

 

 

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Edited by CharTrav
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I wasn't complaining about what you did -- it was clearly a lot of work and very helpful. My complaint is that Viking hasn't announced stuff to entice my long-term wish list!

 

OK. I'll realign my nose. [emoji6]

 

 

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Find a Cruise function works fine for me, using desktop with windows 8.

 

I'm looking forward to taking a look at what Char Trav has done. There's a chance we might switch from the Cuba/Caribbean cruise we booked to another, given possible issues with that cruise. Therefore, I want to see ALL cruises Viking offers. It kind of makes me wish I had saved that booklet.....sometimes paper is easier than computer.

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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?

Sorry, just saw this, and may not have answered it earlier. We departed 7:30 pm, so that explains why our excursions were in the afternoon. Tide varies quite a bit on the Thames, I think, so departure times won't be the same for all cruises.

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Thanks CharTrav. The only problem with your spreadsheet is that it doesn't include any newer itineraries (either dates into 2019 or exotic places) than Viking has announced! I expect that as they add more ships, they will add more and more itineraries [including the hope that one or two ships will be freed from the rinse-and-repeat cycles and do A-to-B-to-C-to-D sequences like Azamara does]

What's best way to see the newest? Have you signed up for emails, follow their Facebook page or what? Thanks.

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What's best way to see the newest? Have you signed up for emails, follow their Facebook page or what? Thanks.

 

No magic. Just the tedious method of visiting their main pages. I'm not on any kind of mail list. And their Facebook page, which I follow, doesn't announce things like new cruises as far as I can tell. Just checked their FB page to confirm. They clearly have Spirit's schedule laid out in detail thru most of but not all of 2019. The 2018 schedule is still incomplete. Loose ends for sure. For ex, Star travels to NY in Oct 2018 and....then??? Doesn't say. I don't envy whoever is laying out these schedules. Trying to make plans for future not yet built ships? Gad!

 

 

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I desperately wish for a Canada sailing in the summer! I would love to visit Quebec City and Montreal in the warmer months!

 

 

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Last year we sailed from Montreal and up farther north starting September 30. The weather was great, and we seldom needed anything more than a light jacket. October is probably even a little better because more leaves are likely to be changing then - and I don't think it's cold then.

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Find a Cruise function works fine for me, using desktop with windows 8.

 

I'm looking forward to taking a look at what Char Trav has done. There's a chance we might switch from the Cuba/Caribbean cruise we booked to another, given possible issues with that cruise. Therefore, I want to see ALL cruises Viking offers. It kind of makes me wish I had saved that booklet.....sometimes paper is easier than computer.

 

 

I'm a packrat altho we do try to cull to make sure we still have the latest (our catalog shelf is only so high). In any case, I only transferred some of the data from the VO catalog to my computer; which means it doesn't get anywhere near our trashcan. Until the next big catalog arrives in the mail. [emoji16]

 

 

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Viking Ocean virgin here (lost my Viking cherry on a river cruise in April 2016). Just booked our first TA aboard Viking Sky in March 2018 so thanks to all who have already posted and subscribing for any future tips.

 

A couple of questions

On other lines, where I have the drinks package, we typically tip a buck or two when we get drinks (usually a fiver for the first time). Should we plan to do the same on Viking?

 

We are in a V1 so we don't get to pre-reserve dinner reservations. Do I need to plan on being at the pier in San Juan waving to the ship when it ports at 5 am so I can be the first aboard and then make a mad dash to the reservations table (World Cafe right) to be assured of getting to have a meal or three at The Chef's Table and/or Manfredi's? We don't need them for a particular night (the whole cruise is a celebration of retirement) or a particular time but do want to be able to fully experience the ship.

 

When we traveled on the river cruise, we were with another couple so except at breakfast we tended to eat just us four...even though sometimes we sat at a larger table hoping to meet other guests. Since we will just be two (and perhaps the only male couple aboard - at least as guests;)) I am a little concerned that we will always be eating at a table for two. Any suggestions on how to meet other folks to share dinner conversation?

 

Thanks in advance!

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We also weren't able to pre-reserve dinner reservations on our recent cruise. After having lunch, I went to the reservations table in world cafe, waited for 1 other couple to complete their reservations, then made ours. It was very simple, stress-free and we were far from the first on board!! We booked 2 nights in Manfredi's. Later in the cruise, we tried to add another night at Manfredi's, but at that point they were all full. We were able to add a night at the chef's table later in the cruise.

 

If you are eating in the main dining room, they will ask you each time they seat you if you want a table for 2. If you'd like to join others, tell them that. We primarily ate at tables for 2, but the way the tables are set up, you are very close to other tables. We ended up talking to other couples almost every meal!

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Viking Ocean virgin here (lost my Viking cherry on a river cruise in April 2016). Just booked our first TA aboard Viking Sky in March 2018 so thanks to all who have already posted and subscribing for any future tips.

 

A couple of questions

1.On other lines, where I have the drinks package, we typically tip a buck or two when we get drinks (usually a fiver for the first time). Should we plan to do the same on Viking?

 

2. We are in a V1 so we don't get to pre-reserve dinner reservations. Do I need to plan on being at the pier in San Juan waving to the ship when it ports at 5 am so I can be the first aboard and then make a mad dash to the reservations table (World Cafe right) to be assured of getting to have a meal or three at The Chef's Table and/or Manfredi's? We don't need them for a particular night (the whole cruise is a celebration of retirement) or a particular time but do want to be able to fully experience the ship.

 

3. When we traveled on the river cruise, we were with another couple so except at breakfast we tended to eat just us four...even though sometimes we sat at a larger table hoping to meet other guests. Since we will just be two (and perhaps the only male couple aboard - at least as guests;)) I am a little concerned that we will always be eating at a table for two. Any suggestions on how to meet other folks to share dinner conversation?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

1. The package price includes 15% gratuities so there is no need to tip at all. You will get the same gracious and attentive service regardless. For those who are just tuning in, Viking bar prices include a 15% gratuity. Same for services in the spa; a 15% gratuity is already included in the price--and it may not be a line item on your bill.

 

2. TGBoss already answered this one. So, no, you don't have to be the first one on the ship to get reservations.

 

3. Well, I wouldn't put money on it; you really never know what the demographics of any give cruise will be. As TGBoss said, in the MDR, just let them know that you are happy to share a table. Then again, don't save those conversations for dinner time; with so many days at sea, there will be plenty of time to meet and greet and strike up friendly conversations--and even find some enjoyable dinner companions.

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Viking Ocean virgin here (lost my Viking cherry on a river cruise in April 2016). Just booked our first TA aboard Viking Sky in March 2018 so thanks to all who have already posted and subscribing for any future tips.

 

A couple of questions

On other lines, where I have the drinks package, we typically tip a buck or two when we get drinks (usually a fiver for the first time). Should we plan to do the same on Viking?

 

We are in a V1 so we don't get to pre-reserve dinner reservations. Do I need to plan on being at the pier in San Juan waving to the ship when it ports at 5 am so I can be the first aboard and then make a mad dash to the reservations table (World Cafe right) to be assured of getting to have a meal or three at The Chef's Table and/or Manfredi's? We don't need them for a particular night (the whole cruise is a celebration of retirement) or a particular time but do want to be able to fully experience the ship.

 

When we traveled on the river cruise, we were with another couple so except at breakfast we tended to eat just us four...even though sometimes we sat at a larger table hoping to meet other guests. Since we will just be two (and perhaps the only male couple aboard - at least as guests;)) I am a little concerned that we will always be eating at a table for two. Any suggestions on how to meet other folks to share dinner conversation?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Another Texan! I think you are going to like this ship but I have no experience with another line, just seen it on YouTube. There is a sophisticated, calm elegance on the Star and all the ships are the same so I imagine you will have the same experience. I give it that boutique hotel feel. No pretentious attitude from most and you probably will like the more relaxed attitude without feeling like you're hanging out with the guys at the car wash! My experience was the Viking Homelands cruise last September and doing Mediterranean Odyssey in April of next year. You mentioned you finish in Barcelona, that's where we start and I saw a question about Gondolas so I assume you're going to Venice as well, which is where we finish the cruise. Since you are arriving a month before we arrive, please leave breadcrumbs so we can shadow your adventures.

 

Now for the ship. With a smaller ship there are no big crowds to get lost in and you won't have trouble meeting people. We were in a V1 cabin on last cruise and doing a V2 this time. Don't worry about dinner reservations before you board. We were able to eat in Specialty restaurants 7 of the 14 nights. The rotation of Chef's Table caused more repeat dining. We are basically drive thru people but loved this experience. Give it a try early to see what you think. The menus will be available with a theme but you may not know all the dishes so go with an open mind and you may find yourself there more than once.

 

In the restaurants, the tables are close, without being intrusive so even eating at a table for 2, it is easy to interact with others. We liked doing our breakfast in the Aquavit bar area, just inside the terrace. It gave us a chance to go over our plans for the day. Though we didn't have the coffee maker in the room, we ordered room service to deliver a pick me up first thing in the morning while we got ready. It sure beat the extra cost and usually a $2 tip, but the product is included.

 

Tipping is a personal thing. You will be billed $15 a day for this to cover the basics. This can be adjusted and/or for those special people you might do individual tipping at your discretion. remember beer and wine are included at lunch and dinner and since there is no assigned seating, you won't always have the same waiter so you may or may not build a personal bond.. The mentioned the Silver Spirits package so you know how you plan to put that to best use. The bartenders staff will know you surprisingly fast, even if you don't tip extra, but again that's your call.

 

Your experience will be a lot different than ours. We only had 1 sea day and 5 of our ports were national capitals so it should be but still enjoyable. You might want to take in some of the spa services. The entertainment is not big Broadway shows and there is not constantly something going on to try and dazzle you but it is very relaxing on board.

 

Hope you enjoy the cruise and who knows, maybe we'll see you in Europe when get there.

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What you saw was a suggestion I made to someone who was asking about gondolas. I can't recommend enough that rather than a gondola ride that you instead take a gondolier lesson. Price is about half of the ride price and so much more memorable!

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What you saw was a suggestion I made to someone who was asking about gondolas. I can't recommend enough that rather than a gondola ride that you instead take a gondolier lesson. Price is about half of the ride price and so much more memorable!

 

And thank you for that clarification.

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We are in a V1 so we don't get to pre-reserve dinner reservations. Do I need to plan on being at the pier in San Juan waving to the ship when it ports at 5 am so I can be the first aboard and then make a mad dash to the reservations table (World Cafe right) to be assured of getting to have a meal or three at The Chef's Table and/or Manfredi's?

 

You can also book on your interactive TV in your cabin. We had better luck there than at the desk.

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Thanks to all for your responses...have relieved my mind that I won't have to start the official first day of retirement getting up at some crazy hour just to be sure I get to have some caprese salad!

 

I am sure I ask some more questions as the time draws closer!

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Congrats on your impending retirement, Clay!! This is my first cruise ever and I'm one of those extremely (annoying) detailed people who asks a TON of questions.

 

Isn't it nice to know that you aren't the only one? Here, you are home with your own.

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Isn't it nice to know that you aren't the only one? Here, you are home with your own.

 

:hearteyes: You guys are super amazing!

 

I DID hear back from Viking about a few of my questions, so hopefully this will help someone in the future.

 

  1. As long as I have my mother's payment information, I can book/pay for excursions for both of us [we are sharing a room], using her $.
  2. The excursion prices are listed in the currency used when booking the cruise. They do NOT charge taxes on excursions, but you have to pay via credit card - e-check /direct debit is not available.
  3. "Extra" On-board items (shops, spa, drinks, tips, etc) are in USD.

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Viking let us know each day in the Daily and port talk if we were required to take passports ashore.

Hi deec. Just saw this and was curious. Viking Daily let us know if any ID was necessary on our Med and Norway/UK cruises, but never mentioned our passports. I imagine that was because no country we visited required that we travel with our passports. With past cruise lines and cruises in different parts of the world, it has been very rare when the cruise line has stated that passports were required. We had to take them off the ship in St. Petersburg, since we all lined up to go through immigration in the port terminal rather than having immigration officials performing a check on the ship without us being present. Therefore, I'm curious if Viking RECOMMENDS taking a passport ashore. Whether that's a good idea or bad one has been debated a bit on Cruise Critic, and while I have my own opinion, I've never really heard what's considered best. SO - do you know if anyone specifically asked about whether to take a passport ashore or not and if so, what was the answer?

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