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This is our first Viking and we really like the ship and quickly decided it may be hard to go back to any other line, but this morning we may change our minds!  They have organizational issues which are disappointing. We’ve had 5 sea days so far instead of the two we should have had at this time. They are overnighting us and thus adding more excursions. We were told last night they would open those this morning. We arrived early to find they had actually opened them at midnight and people booked them all night long so many were already closed. Room rank no longer exists when onboard and no notifications are made. Some people received information at their doors others did not so only selected people knew. Some people just camped out to wait during night. 

 

There is a high demand for gym equipment which is logical. One bike has been broken for 3 days. We asked about repair and no one knows. Pool is closed. Starting to go a little crazy as not much to do physically. Can’t walk the track, it’s closed. 

 

Yesterday when they announced we would skip Hobart we heard one of their people going through trying to tell everyone all was well, we wouldn’t have liked Hobart anyway Melbourne would be much better. That did NOT set well! He was curt and seriously had an attitude. We know the places we wanted to go, don’t tell us we didn’t really want to go there. 

 

We were checking on changes in lectures since they announced a change. The assistant director with a horrible attitude said that was not true. We said it had been announced. He said he was the assistant director and would know.....let’s just say In not so nice a way. Well, he was wrong they had made the change. 

 

We love so many things and were so happy initially on our cruise, but the happiness ratings are rapidly falling. We are hearing it everywhere. People are unhappy. Last night  I saw an attempt to do damage control by handing out a lot of wine in the atrium. We were not impressed. 

 

Sadly viking needs to get themselves together before adding the massive amounts of ships they announced last night. They were sadly totally unprepared for this cruise and what happens in this part of the world that is routine. 

 

They said they would compensate us once home. Does anyone have any idea what this means. If it’s an offer on money off of our next Viking cruise I’m going to be very unhappy!!!!

 

 

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Hello Sunflower. I concur with most of your points but I do note there were originally 4 sea days, increased to 5 when we skipped Christchurch.

 

I wrote in a post yesterday (with the benefit of hindsight) 4 sea days is too many for a 14 night cruise in this region and I suggested the addition of Doubtful Sound and an overnight in Hobart would make a much better 16 night itinerary. Of course that is no help to us now and Viking might not agree.

 

When we cruised past Christchurch the seas were fairly calm and the winds light and I told DW someone had stuffed up by making the decision to skip Christchurch too early. I don’t have access to detailed weather reports, tidal charts etc so I have to assume Captain knows best.

 

However I note with interest a Celebrity ship left Hobart this morning shortly before we had been scheduled to arrive. That suggests conditions were not too bad. Again I don’t have detailed reports etc but it does seem odd.

 

No true-blue Australian would ever suggest Melbourne is a better place to visit than Hobart so I am not sure who told you that  .. the areas around Hobart are glorious world heritage listed parks, lakes and nature reserves. Melbourne is a nice place to visit but it is just a big city and I would rather have skipped there and spent more time in Hobart.

 

I feel sad for those who travelled long distances for this cruise. I am not sure if the Captain and crew are being overly cautious or perhaps they just don’t the area well enough yet, but regardless of the reason these decisions have obviously created much disappointment and ill feeling.

 

DW and I are quite happy with on board experience (food, staff, presentation of ship etc) and we have been to NZ and Hobart in the past so the impact on us is somewhat less.

 

We are doing our best to just roll with the flow (pun intended) as these decisions are being made but that is no help to others who have never visited.

 

I do agree the Asst Cruise Director leaves a lot to be desired. The Cruise Director is adequate, but adequate doesn’t cut it these days .. he has to be better than that.

 

In terms of compensation, I would be surprised if it is anything but a credit for future cruise booking. We shall see.

 

In terms of how we as passengers can respond to the situation, I will be putting my thoughts into an email to tellus@vikingcruises rather than hand in paperwork on board. That way I am confident Viking Ocean Head Office becomes aware of my concerns. I would encourage others to do the same. 

 

I know now how disappointed you must feel and I hope the next few days go as well as they possibility can.

 

 

Best regards, Monty 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

It sounds like some training in customer skills is required for some! I’m thinking that really the Director meant that Melbourne overnight opens up many more sightseeing opportunities than a port stop in Hobart. Yes it’s a shame it was missed but probably more because it added an extra sea day. But I’d take an overnight stop in Melbourne any time. Hobart is lovely and we’ve done the port on a cruise and on a land holiday which is much better. If the Markets aren’t open then that reduces the sightseeing even more. Some of the best Tasmanian places just can’t be reached on a port stop. 

 

Im hoping Orion lifts it game for our Alaska cruise next May. It sounds like there is much work to be done. I’d also post something on the Viking Official FB page to get wider attention. 

 

We would totally rely on the gym equipment for sea days so that is really disappointing. I’m betting people might be going a bit stir crazy. 

Edited by Pushka

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Oh boy. We are on Orion Feb 22 to March 26 or so...Auckland to Bali. I hope everything gets together by then! Is Beven your CD? He is relatively new but gets good reviews.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Pushka, hi stretchcruz

 

I’m not sure there is an answer to this question .. but if the Captain had come over the radio a couple of days ago and said he could make Hobart on time if he kept up boat speed - but this speed would likely make most of us seasick - I wonder what the majority of people would have said ?

 

It is about 1100 miles / 1800 kilometres from Dunedin to Hobart and our schedule only had us in Hobart for 7 hours. Hindsight is wonderful, but travelling that far across a big nasty ocean for such a short stay is probably not ideal.

 

Too many things could go wrong, and did.

 

On reflection I’m not sure the experts who worked out the itinerary got that part right.

 

With regard to Christchurch, apparently it is a challenging harbour at the best of times. So again, did the experts who worked out the itinerary consider how many cruise ships were unable to berth in Christchurch (the port is actually Lyttelton) last year  / last 5 years ? Does anyone keep the stats ? Should Christchurch even be on the itinerary if the harbour is that bad ?

 

From my perspective, on board is wonderful. Staff, food, drinks, cleaning, overall presentation are all wonderful. We don’t need to be entertained at night, but the couple of shows we have seen have been very good.

 

However, DW and I have spoken to several couples (not including Sunflower) who are very upset about how things have played out over the past couple of days and very upset about the way things have been communicated.

 

I am not judging others and I can of course only speak for myself and my DW. Our primary goal was to spend a couple of weeks in a stress free environment getting pampered. We have achieved that.

 

And yes, Cruise Director is an Aussie named Bevan. As I said earlier he is getting the job done, but we don’t feel he is engaging with passengers as well as we would expect.

 

I am sorry this post is so long but I thought it might be better to explain how we see things. I do feel dreadful for our fellow passengers who have come from the other side of the world who now feel they have been short changed.

 

I will be providing feedback to Viking after we get home - not just about these matters but also about the wine and cheese night which did not go to plan, and the dome where they play the mars movie (a complete waste of time, IMHO).

 

Please dont stress too much about your upcoming adventures .. it seems Viking learns quickly and they have a reputation for responding positively to balanced, well considered feedback.

 

I hope your cruises are all you wish them to be, and more.

 

Regards

Edited by Little Monty
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Thankyou Little Monty. I appreciate your explanation. As an Aussie the issue is perhaps less of a disappointment. But I’m thinking if a similar thing happened on the cruise we have in Alaska, and which is a brand new itinerary for Viking, and a bucket list one we won’t be repeating, then I would be extremely disappointed. Missing two ports on a cruise where there are four sea days anyway, would make for a frustrating time on your cruise. I do feel much sympathy for the International travellers. I’m thinking Viking ships aren’t really designed for multiple days at sea. 

 

Christchurch does seem rather problematical. I’m surprised about Hobart though but it has been a little windy in Southern Australia and guess that’s what is happening here. 

 

I dont get seasick so the waves would have been fine and I’d actually enjoy them. 

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Hobart wasn’t specifically the problem, the heavy seas after Dunedin meant Captain had to slow our speed to reduce discomfort on board. So slow to the point we would not arrive in Hobart in reasonable time.

 

So he stayed slow, skipped Hobert, and plotted a course for Melbourne. 

 

Had as he kept speed up we would have arrived on time in Hobart but the ride would have been very rough (seasick alert !!)

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Monty & others aboard the Orion - Dealing with weather issues and the unfortunate impact on ports is never fun, as we experienced similar issues on our last 2 cruises, with other companies. Hopefully Viking will get organised and the remainder of the cruise gets back to Viking's usual standards.

 

I can provide some insight into what turmoil the Captain is currently experiencing. While this itinerary is new to Viking, other companies have sailed this route for many years. I recall our son sailing this with Princess for a couple of months, the Tasman was never smooth, but it sounds like you have experienced some major storms.

 

The Captain is continuously receiving detailed meteorological reports - weather forecast & synopsis, wind forecasts, wave forecasts and weather routing recommendations. If Christchurch was cancelled due to weather, this will have been based on the forecasts received. I can assure you, Captains do not take this decision lightly, but safety is the primary consideration.

 

For missing Hobart, I believe you mentioned in the previous thread that the reason was not weather in Hobart, but the reduced ship's speed meant you could not reach Hobart on time. This is standard practice in heavy seas. Speed is reduced, not just for passenger comfort, but to prevent damage to the ship. In worst cases the ship will reduce speed to maintain minimum steerage.

 

Again, the Captain has not taken these decisions lightly, but getting the ship safely through the storm is his/her prime consideration. Another point to consider, you will meet many old Captains, some bold Captains, but not any old & bold Captains.

 

Enjoy the remainder of the cruise.

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Thanks Andy .. I sent another update at the same time as you.

 

Thank you for your expert insights - most appreciated.

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Affirmative, guess we were typing at the same time. Saw your post after I hit send.

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I am with LM and am making the best of it.  We have never been to this area of the world and may not come back, so would like to have seen more, but also understand Viking’s decisions.

Beven seems good, but just had my first talk with him today.

Am still really enjoying Daniel the guitarist.  Big shows don’t do much for us; he is a gem and really fun to talk with.

Love the ship, especially Aquavit bar/deck.

Cabin is really noisy in the roughy seas at night.

More later...

 

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Oh, and we use the gym every day anywhere between 9a and 11a and have had no issues getting a treadmill or elliptical.

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I think the larger gyms from SKY onward have been great.  We were on the SEA last month and the small gym was crowded and busy!!!  Good job Viking redesigning the space by making salon smaller.

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14 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Monty & others aboard the Orion - Dealing with weather issues and the unfortunate impact on ports is never fun, as we experienced similar issues on our last 2 cruises, with other companies. Hopefully Viking will get organised and the remainder of the cruise gets back to Viking's usual standards.

 

I can provide some insight into what turmoil the Captain is currently experiencing. While this itinerary is new to Viking, other companies have sailed this route for many years. I recall our son sailing this with Princess for a couple of months, the Tasman was never smooth, but it sounds like you have experienced some major storms.

 

The Captain is continuously receiving detailed meteorological reports - weather forecast & synopsis, wind forecasts, wave forecasts and weather routing recommendations. If Christchurch was cancelled due to weather, this will have been based on the forecasts received. I can assure you, Captains do not take this decision lightly, but safety is the primary consideration.

 

For missing Hobart, I believe you mentioned in the previous thread that the reason was not weather in Hobart, but the reduced ship's speed meant you could not reach Hobart on time. This is standard practice in heavy seas. Speed is reduced, not just for passenger comfort, but to prevent damage to the ship. In worst cases the ship will reduce speed to maintain minimum steerage.

 

Again, the Captain has not taken these decisions lightly, but getting the ship safely through the storm is his/her prime consideration. Another point to consider, you will meet many old Captains, some bold Captains, but not any old & bold Captains.

 

Enjoy the remainder of the cruise.

Haha, love the "old/bold" comment.  As fellow mariners I agree with all you have said.  I would add that the discomfort and pounding noise mentioned by some is due to modern cruise ship design decisions.  Back when ships were transportation  they had to maintain schedule in all sorts of sea conditions.  I have been in 65' seas on QE2 with no pounding and maintaining 15 knots, about normal daily speed on our WC.  Since ships have transitioned to entertainment, design decisions have been made to maximize interior hull space (revenue producing space) at the expense of hull shape and thickness only used for the occasional bad weather.  Just search for pictures of the QE2 or other older liners and study the bows.  Sharp entry, long and tapered.  They don't typically achieve full beam width until about 1/3 of the length overall.  Now look at the bows of Viking Sun (or any modern cruise ship) and they achieve full beam width very quickly.  This produces a "fat" look when viewed bow on and this presents flat surfaces to the oncoming swells.  Hence the slamming and accompanying boom and shake. Simply put, just a business decision to fit more space into the hull at the expense of the long, tapered, far less roomy bow sections that provide better sea keeping.  Not saying modern ships are unsafe, just not as capable in a seaway which they are trying their very best to avoid anyway.  Now if you really want to talk about "fat bows" I have some sea stories from my days on tankers.........😳

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First, Jim et al, it’s always enlightening when you experts chime in with reliable information. Thanks for that. It really annoys me when landlubbers second guess a captain’s decision. Speaking of bow shape, what’s your take on the bow of the new Celebrity Edge?  

Finally, sorry about the game.  Better to lose to someone like Dabo than some others out there.  I’m not an alum, just a resident of the state but we always pull for the in-state teams — until they play each other.  Then it gets tricky! 😉

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30 minutes ago, Geosez said:

First, Jim et al, it’s always enlightening when you experts chime in with reliable information. Thanks for that. It really annoys me when landlubbers second guess a captain’s decision. Speaking of bow shape, what’s your take on the bow of the new Celebrity Edge?  

Finally, sorry about the game.  Better to lose to someone like Dabo than some others out there.  I’m not an alum, just a resident of the state but we always pull for the in-state teams — until they play each other.  Then it gets tricky! 😉

Thanks for the sympathy, I am still in mourning...  Yes, Dabo is "one of us" so better him than God forbid Notre Dame.😳  Just wait till next year!  You asked about Celebrity Edge.  That is actually "Back to the Future".  If you search The Great White Fleet of our battleships from a hundred years ago you will see the reverse bow shape.  Some call this an "axe bow".  It is the transition from sharp stem to full beam that really counts but Celebrity Edge bow will probably work as well as any other at modern cruise ships slow speeds.  This bow shape does not have as much of what Naval Architects call reserve bouyancy as a flared bow such as on Viking Oceans but that is probably picking nits.

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Similar to Jim, the first thought is "Reserve Boyancy", which is required after the bow disappears under a wave. Second thought was - OMG, didn't think they could make cruise ships even uglier.🙂

 

I'm with Jim regarding the lines of the real steam liners from the 50's to 80's. Did 2 drydocks on SS Oriana, 2 on SS Uganda and 1 or SS Canberra - those were real ships, with fine lines.

 

We left Vancouver on SS Oriana in December 1977, bound for Hawaii. Clearing Juan de Fuca we experienced a Pacific storm with long fetch and winds of 55+ kts. Maintained about 20 kts, with a little banging. Modern cruise ships would probably be down around 10 kts

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Posted (edited)

Thank you Jim, thank you Andy for your professional insights and for taking the time to share.

 

Hi Geosez  .. Thank you also for participating in the conversation. Nobody was seriously questioning the Captain - but disappointed people express their disappointment in a range of ways as they are free to do.

 

I think one issue was the information which was being provided was in direct contrast to what passengers could see and feel as we stood on the deck in light winds and reasonably calm seas watching Christchurch disappear into the distance.

 

Actually we were miles out to sea and couldn’t see much at all.

 

Such is life.

 

We are now in Melbourne port awaiting Customs / Immigration clearance. Every passenger / crew member / staff member must complete a ‘face to passport’ check with Customs officer (actually called ‘Australian Border Force’ these days) inside a terminal on the wharf before proceeding ashore onto Australian soil.

 

And the weather looks pretty good. 

 

Regards to all

 

 

Edited by Little Monty
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Monty - glad you survived the Tasman Sea. Hope the ship provides an appropriate certificate. 🙂

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Would like to know what menus were offered in Chef's Table since we will be sailing on this ship.

What was the best way to make reservations once on the ship?

Thank you.

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There are several ways to make a reservation on the ship. Before you go download the Viking Explorers App to your phone. As soon as you get on board log in to the system and make extra reservations over those you have already! Next you can make them on the television system in your room.  It is also possible to make reservations by telephone to guest services, at the restaurants themselves, and each day at breakfast time at the entry to the World Cafe on the right side of the ship someone is standing by to make and change reservations! We usually manage to get 2 extra in each when we get on board, and then if we wish to go again , especially if there are menus we haven't tried at the chef's table we speak to the Head Waiter who sorts things out! We have always been able to get as many reservations as we have wanted. Sometimes you may need to be flexible on time and some days they get lots of cancellations ( not sea days!) when people are tired from a full day of activities or lobster is on the menu in the main restaurant!  We have found after we have got 4 reservations in each speciality restaurant the system will not let us have others electronically (we are usually in a PV cabin with automatic access to two). The only way to overcome that is through the head waiters in the restaurants themselves until late in the cruise when the "system" seems to open up again.

 

When we were on board in September  there were 5 menus ( Chinese, Asian, Scandinavian, Venetian and Tastes of the World)  over the 14 days - each was on for two days - that meant that the first menu (Scandinavian) came round twice. There are other menus so I think it impossible to predict what is coming until you can log on and book. We are on Orion in April and our reservation dates for  the restaurant are in 10 days time so we will know then! When you go to book on line the menu for the day is shown to you so you can decide if you are happy. They will make changes for dietary and allergy reasons but basically it is fine dining and no choice. We like it very much but we recognise it is not for everyone.  We were told last time that the formula of rapid menu change had meant increased covers in the Chef's Table. People seem to either love it or don't! The fans like us try every menu and are very happy!! I am always willing to try something new and although the portions can be on the small side you will never go hungry on a Viking ship!   I hope that helps. 

Edited by robinhood1

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