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Little Monty

Australia - New Zealand Dec / Jan review

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As background, this was our second Viking ocean cruise after Homelands on Star in 2017. We are relatively new to cruising.

 

My DW decided in April last year to retire in December so this cruise was chosen to coincide with her retirement. We have been to the South Island of NZ many times (skiing) so the itinerary was not critical to us .. rather we were just looking for a couple of weeks of low stress, maximum enjoyment - which we largely achieved.

 

Of course things which delighted us might dismay you, so please always take this into account when reading.

 

Firstly, a couple of things which didn’t go entirely to plan;

 

*we noticed a significant number of lounge chairs around the Wintergarden were ‘reserved’ early each day and many were reserved all day. This was a complete contrast to Homelands where there was never a problem finding a lounge. Perhaps the greater number of sea days had an influence

 

*the NZ Wine and Cheese Tasting on the Aquavit Terrace was a shambles. There was one table set up with the wine and cheese. We arrived 5 minutes after the designated start time - and the participants were lined up across the deck, into the World Cafe, past the gelato bar, and onwards towards the front door. Seriously, there must have been 200 people lined up waiting to receive their wine / cheese from one table. We walked out. Surely this would have been better managed around the pool with maybe 4 tables serving the goodies

 

*we attended the Mars presentation in the planetarium dome. We assumed it would be some sort of documentary about man’s progress towards a Mars landing etc. Unfortunately it was a ‘movie’ (for the want of a better word) with actors pretending to be astronauts pretending to go to Mars. It was terrible. They lock the door when the movie starts .. we assume this is to keep those attending in, rather than late arrivals out

 

*we enjoyed Manfredis and ate there 4 times, but we think it will be a more enjoyable experience next time with some changes to the menu 

 

 

We have been super critical with these above observations only because pretty much everything else was good, great, or superb.

 

 

The ship is beatiful and it is a pleasure just to walk around and / or to find a spot for quiet reflection - or a cold drink. There were a number of occasions we had an area (both the main pool and the infinity pool, the hot tub, the forward area on deck 9 for example) completely to ourselves.

 

The staff are almost uniformly wonderful. Our stateroom attendants were excellent, the bar staff welcoming and quickly remembered our favourite drinks, food service staff helpful and friendly, reception staff who handled bookings, account enquires etc responsive and accommodating ... and on and on. Very impressed.

 

The senior crew were visible and engaging throughout the cruise.

 

The Cruise Director (Bevan) is an Aussie and he did a good job - although some days he seemed so busy he didn’t have time to say hi or even acknowledge us as we walked past. Not the end of the world I know, but ....

 

We were only a few steps away from the secret entry into the Explorers Lounge (ie the door near 7000) and spent time there every day. We loved it. We started with a cup of tea early every morning and often sat looking into the distance, or chatting. The piano player (Tim I think ?) was good, but not as good the fabulous lady who was with us on Homelands. 

 

Equally we found the Area on deck 1 near the Viking Bar to be a good place to mingle or to chill. More often the music there was violinist and cello player, who were also very good.

 

We found the restaurant to be good, but preferred the casual dining of the World Cafe .. and we ate on the Aquavit Terrace as often as we could. The food across all venues was very much to our liking, almost with exception.

 

We only attended one show (ABBA) and it was good.

 

We were gifted the Silver Spirits Package as a booking bonus and highly recommend it if you care for a wine / beer / spirit each day. The package wines are much better than the included offerings (we tried both as an experiment). The package also has medicinal benefits. I had a sore throat for a couple of days but after a number of Whiskey Sour’s spread over those couple of days (a drink full of lime juice and a slice of lemon - lots of Vitamin C) - no more sore throat. 🙂

 

We used the hot tub on deck 1 several times and found it most enjoyable .. but we did not venture inside the snow grotto 🥶 

 

Excursions were as advertised - but we only participated in a few. As mentioned earlier, we were looking to relax rather than actively participate.

 

But for what it is worth .. we did the Waiheke Wines tour in Auckland. It was a really good day with a nice drive around the island, morning tea, wine tasting etc. The only criticism.. there were 41 of us trying to squeeze into small wine tasting rooms. They should have split us into 2 groups of about 20.

 

We did our own thing in Tauranga. It was New Years Day and we didn’t know if we would be up for a more intensive activity. Tauranga is a lovely spot we would never have known about without its inclusion on the itinerary. We loved just walking along the beach and through the parks, then into downtown for some shopping and a coffee. 

 

In Napier we did the Clearview Estate and Abbey Cellars tour. Well worthwhile as it included a nice drive around the best Art Deco areas of the city. Both wineries were good, Clearview was better (in terms of the wine, the presentation, and the location).

 

We did the included in Wellington. Enjoyable and worthwhile.

 

We missed Christchurch due to high winds. 

 

In Dunedin, DW did the Wildlife Cruise which she enjoyed. I did the included which I also enjoyed. After DW returned from her tour we caught the shuttle into town (20 minutes) and enjoyed the great fish and chips at the ‘Best Cafe’ (across the road from the train station).

 

We missed Hobart due to heavy seas.

 

We have been to Melbourne several times and just did our own thing in the city and nearby. If you have a spare couple of hours we can recommend taking a taxi from the ship to the St Kilda lighthouse and then walking back to the ship along the foreshore (about 6ks or 3.5 miles).

 

We previously lived in Sydney and did our own thing there as well. 

 

The sail into Sydney harbour was magnificent. A beautiful blue sky day, light winds, warm temps. Just fabulous.

 

So in terms of an overall score .. our enjoyment factor was 8.5 out of 10. Mostly great with a couple of minor hiccups.

 

To close - I just want to add a  couple of personal comments about the itinerary .. and of course these are just personal observations.

 

If I was travelling from Europe / USA / Canada etc I would find 4 sea days on this 14 day itinerary to be too many. Not because I don’t like sea days .. simply it is so far to come and there is so much to see there may be more port focussed itineraries which would better show you around this part of the world.

 

Maybe 4 sea days would be ok on a longer cruise in the region .. just sayin.

 

 

The trip from Dunedin to Hobart is about 1800 kilometres (just over 1100 miles) .. out of Dunedin at 6pm, then 2 full seas days, then into Hobart at 11am (that was the schedule).

 

Unfortunately we encountered rough seas (some very rough !) and the Captain was forced to proceed quite slowly and therefore our travel time from Dunedin to Hobart was much increased. It became clear to the Captain more than 24 hours before our scheduled arrival that we would not make Hobart in time - so we headed directly for Melbourne where we had an unscheduled overnight stay.

 

Our scheduled time in Hobart was from 11am till 6pm - just 7 hours. It didn’t occur to me until we left Dunedin .. but that is a very long way to go for just 7 hours. The Tasman Sea does apparently have quiet a reputation so I am guessing future cruises might sometimes encounter similar seas.  There were some very disappointed passengers on board who were really looking forward to Hobart.

 

The Captain explained what he was doing and why - and no one is questioning his judgement or his desire to keep us safe and as comfortable as possible.

 

But again, if you are travelling a long distance and have your heart set on seeing Hobart you might be better suited to an itinerary which includes an overnight stay (in case your arrival is delayed).

 

Just my opinion of course.

 

And FYI .. we have been told we will be offered compensation for missing 2 ports (but no contact received as yet).

 

Apologies for the length of this review. I decided to post in this forum as several very kind CC members exchanged messages with us over recent weeks and I though they might appreciate seeing it here rather than having to go looking in the Review section later.

 

We are booked on Viking Sky in May (Iceland) and Star in June (Empires of the Med) and will no doubt be seeking your advice and guidance in this Forum ahead of those adventures.

 

Best regards ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Too late to edit my original post .. but just add - please extend your stay in Sydney. We spoke to a number of passengers on the final evening who were leaving the next morning - all who greatly regretted not staying on. You don’t need to extend with Viking but please do stay a while. Anywhere or anything on or around the harbour is wonderful. 🙂

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A great review Little Monty. I love long reviews as it fully explains how you found things. 

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My wife and I were on this cruise as well.  Thanks LM for writing your review.  

 

We flew back to Melbourne after the cruise and have been attending the AO this week.  I will write a separate review when we return next week.

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Watching the tennis now on TV at home .. 

 

Enjoy 👍

Edited by Little Monty
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LM, 

As a brief preview, I can say you and I are in agreement on many points about this cruise.

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That is good to know 👍

 

One last thought.

 

DW had a massage and a facial and thought both were very good. But by Aussie standards they were expensive (and that was even before they add on the compulsory tip !)

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4 hours ago, Little Monty said:

That is good to know 👍

 

One last thought.

 

DW had a massage and a facial and thought both were very good. But by Aussie standards they were expensive (and that was even before they add on the compulsory tip !)

 

I thought that the gratuity was included in the pricing, just like in the bars.

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Monty - thanks for the excellent and very balanced review of your cruise, including the shore excursions. Will consider your feedback when we review the NZ excursions on our cruise next year.

 

From memory, I recall we are considering the same tour for day 2 in Auckland.

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4 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

I thought that the gratuity was included in the pricing, just like in the bars.

 

hello Peregrina651 ... you might be correct, but it is confusing.

 

Let me explain.

 

Many of you would know we Aussies don't quite understand the whole tipping thing - not that we are stingy (well, most of us) but the concept is approached in a completely different way by the US and many other countries.

 

To compensate, Viking Australia sell their product as follows;

 

In their brochures (quote) "No nasty surprises. All onboard gratuities, port charges and government taxes are included".

 

On the invoice we receive when booking (page 3, below the Itinerary under 'Promotional Amenities') (quote) "Pre-paid Onboard Gratuities".

 

Of course we realise all they do is build the gratuities into the up-front price we pay rather than charging onboard.

 

As an aside, DW and I do recognise bus drivers, tour guides etc who do a good job (ie 'off board' activities) are entitled to be rewarded and we make a point of leaving something extra for our stateroom stewards, favourite barmen etc.

 

Back to the point ... Viking sells their product on the clear understanding all onboard gratuities are covered.

 

DW attended the spa twice - a massage and a facial (I think it was the 80 Minute Hydrafacial). I can't remember the quoted cost of the massage (around $200) but I do know the quoted price for the facial was $230 (US dollars of course).

 

In fact I double checked this price on the TV onboard before she attended (on the front screen of the TV scroll across My Account, Entertainment, Dining, Spa and go down the spa listings).

 

Sometime after DW had completed her spa treatment I thought I should check our account on screen -- well, well, Facial $273.

 

What ?

 

Obviously a mistake so I went to guest services and pointed out the error. The very nice lady at Guest Services said ... oh no sir, your included gratuities do not cover the spa. They cover all onboard services except the spa.

 

What ?

 

She went on the explain the spa people are not employees of Viking Cruises but are essentially independent contractors and therefore not covered by the 'all onboard gratuities' rule.

 

It was early morning and I wasn't thinking straight and there were others waiting to be served - so I thanked her and left.

 

I went upstairs and questioned my wife about the gratuities. She said after the service the bill was presented to her for signature and there was the charge plus a 'add gratuities' section. My wife essentially asked what she should add and was told 15 - 18%. So I guess this made it a voluntary add on of her own doing rather than something which was forced upon her.

 

She followed the same process for the massage.

 

The issue of whether the 15 - 18 % add on was voluntary or not aside  ... Guest Services advised me the spa is not covered by the included gratuities rule for Aussies.

 

But all the advertising indicates all onboard gratuities (for Aussies) are covered.

 

 

So without wanting to make a mountain out of a molehill, I am going to take the issue up with Viking Australia and will report back once I have an answer.

 

 

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Our gratuities are also included for Alaska and as you say, our fare has been bumped up accordingly to cover that. I guess it’s like the same as the SS package, we pay extra for that and the price includes gratuities. I avoid the spas etc as their prices are eye watering and it doesn’t surprise me there was an expectation of the tip on top. One thing John Howard did right (well he did a few things)  was to make sure the prices shown on items always included the GST so no nasty surprises. It’s a shame that isn’t a worldwide thing. 

 

Hopefully the massage was good!

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Agree, JH did the right thing. The country could do with his leadership right now.

 

And yes, apparently the massage and the facial were both good.

 

I have contacted Viking and await their reply. If what Peregrina indicated is correct, the full price should have been as advertised.

 

If for some reason the spa does expect a gratuity on top of the advertised price, the gratuity should be covered by our prepaid arrangement.

 

I'm confused - but hopefully Viking will clarify.

 

 

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Monty - without knowing specifically how Viking works, I can try to explain how everything probably works.

 

Many of the "Hotel" staff are included in a tip pool, which supplements the base salary the crew receive. Exactly who is included in the tip pool is often a closely guarded secret. As Senior 2nd Officer with a different company, our son was not privy to this information - exactly who was included and the percentage received.

 

However, the Spa employees are definitely not included, as they are employed by a separate company. Don't know who Viking uses, but the biggest suppliers of Spa staff are Steiners. Our DIL worked for them and during their 10 months aboard ship they paid room and board to the cruise line (Princess). I can't figure this out, as it contravenes all shipping regs I know. She received a small percentage of the revenue she generated, but basically lived on tips to cover the R&B, plus wages.

 

Agree that Viking should have provided a better description for the scope of included gratuities.

 

On the North American based cruise line, where pax pre-pay the gratuities, it would not include the Spa staff.

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Thank you Heidi13 / Andy. 

 

It is a most mysterious process and in the scheme of things only a few dollars for each of us - but obviously important to those working on board.

 

In any case hopefully I will get something worthwhile from Viking which I will share.

 

FYI - in Auckland we docked at Princes Wharf (which is right next to Queens Wharf - and I understand these to be the main two docking stations). For the wine tour we walked from the ship to the ferry terminal (a few hundred yards) and caught the ferry to the island (and return later that afternoon). A very pleasant ride on the harbour on a very pleasant day.

 

 

Edited by Little Monty
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Dear @Little Monty,

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with the cruising community and for this opportunity to welcome you home.

 

It’s a delight to see that, overall, you enjoyed your voyage through Australia & New Zealand! We appreciate your understanding of the precautions taken to ensure the safety of all those aboard, though we, too, wish the program had gone on as originally planned.

 

Your constructive feedback and suggestions regarding the onboard and onshore operations are much appreciated, and have been recorded for further review. Nevertheless, it would be a pleasure to chat with you directly so that we might learn about what could have made this cruise a 10 out of 10. Additionally, if you haven’t received follow-up communication from us since your initial message, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at TellUs@vikingcruises.com.

 

We hope to sail with you again soon, Little Monty, and thank you for your review!

 

Warm regards,
Viking Cruises
 

17 hours ago, Little Monty said:

As background, this was our second Viking ocean cruise after Homelands on Star in 2017. We are relatively new to cruising.

 

My DW decided in April last year to retire in December so this cruise was chosen to coincide with her retirement. We have been to the South Island of NZ many times (skiing) so the itinerary was not critical to us .. rather we were just looking for a couple of weeks of low stress, maximum enjoyment - which we largely achieved.

 

Of course things which delighted us might dismay you, so please always take this into account when reading.

 

Firstly, a couple of things which didn’t go entirely to plan;

 

*we noticed a significant number of lounge chairs around the Wintergarden were ‘reserved’ early each day and many were reserved all day. This was a complete contrast to Homelands where there was never a problem finding a lounge. Perhaps the greater number of sea days had an influence

 

*the NZ Wine and Cheese Tasting on the Aquavit Terrace was a shambles. There was one table set up with the wine and cheese. We arrived 5 minutes after the designated start time - and the participants were lined up across the deck, into the World Cafe, past the gelato bar, and onwards towards the front door. Seriously, there must have been 200 people lined up waiting to receive their wine / cheese from one table. We walked out. Surely this would have been better managed around the pool with maybe 4 tables serving the goodies

 

*we attended the Mars presentation in the planetarium dome. We assumed it would be some sort of documentary about man’s progress towards a Mars landing etc. Unfortunately it was a ‘movie’ (for the want of a better word) with actors pretending to be astronauts pretending to go to Mars. It was terrible. They lock the door when the movie starts .. we assume this is to keep those attending in, rather than late arrivals out

 

*we enjoyed Manfredis and ate there 4 times, but we think it will be a more enjoyable experience next time with some changes to the menu 

 

 

We have been super critical with these above observations only because pretty much everything else was good, great, or superb.

 

 

The ship is beatiful and it is a pleasure just to walk around and / or to find a spot for quiet reflection - or a cold drink. There were a number of occasions we had an area (both the main pool and the infinity pool, the hot tub, the forward area on deck 9 for example) completely to ourselves.

 

The staff are almost uniformly wonderful. Our stateroom attendants were excellent, the bar staff welcoming and quickly remembered our favourite drinks, food service staff helpful and friendly, reception staff who handled bookings, account enquires etc responsive and accommodating ... and on and on. Very impressed.

 

The senior crew were visible and engaging throughout the cruise.

 

The Cruise Director (Bevan) is an Aussie and he did a good job - although some days he seemed so busy he didn’t have time to say hi or even acknowledge us as we walked past. Not the end of the world I know, but ....

 

We were only a few steps away from the secret entry into the Explorers Lounge (ie the door near 7000) and spent time there every day. We loved it. We started with a cup of tea early every morning and often sat looking into the distance, or chatting. The piano player (Tim I think ?) was good, but not as good the fabulous lady who was with us on Homelands. 

 

Equally we found the Area on deck 1 near the Viking Bar to be a good place to mingle or to chill. More often the music there was violinist and cello player, who were also very good.

 

We found the restaurant to be good, but preferred the casual dining of the World Cafe .. and we ate on the Aquavit Terrace as often as we could. The food across all venues was very much to our liking, almost with exception.

 

We only attended one show (ABBA) and it was good.

 

We were gifted the Silver Spirits Package as a booking bonus and highly recommend it if you care for a wine / beer / spirit each day. The package wines are much better than the included offerings (we tried both as an experiment). The package also has medicinal benefits. I had a sore throat for a couple of days but after a number of Whiskey Sour’s spread over those couple of days (a drink full of lime juice and a slice of lemon - lots of Vitamin C) - no more sore throat. 🙂

 

We used the hot tub on deck 1 several times and found it most enjoyable .. but we did not venture inside the snow grotto 🥶 

 

Excursions were as advertised - but we only participated in a few. As mentioned earlier, we were looking to relax rather than actively participate.

 

But for what it is worth .. we did the Waiheke Wines tour in Auckland. It was a really good day with a nice drive around the island, morning tea, wine tasting etc. The only criticism.. there were 41 of us trying to squeeze into small wine tasting rooms. They should have split us into 2 groups of about 20.

 

We did our own thing in Tauranga. It was New Years Day and we didn’t know if we would be up for a more intensive activity. Tauranga is a lovely spot we would never have known about without its inclusion on the itinerary. We loved just walking along the beach and through the parks, then into downtown for some shopping and a coffee. 

 

In Napier we did the Clearview Estate and Abbey Cellars tour. Well worthwhile as it included a nice drive around the best Art Deco areas of the city. Both wineries were good, Clearview was better (in terms of the wine, the presentation, and the location).

 

We did the included in Wellington. Enjoyable and worthwhile.

 

We missed Christchurch due to high winds. 

 

In Dunedin, DW did the Wildlife Cruise which she enjoyed. I did the included which I also enjoyed. After DW returned from her tour we caught the shuttle into town (20 minutes) and enjoyed the great fish and chips at the ‘Best Cafe’ (across the road from the train station).

 

We missed Hobart due to heavy seas.

 

We have been to Melbourne several times and just did our own thing in the city and nearby. If you have a spare couple of hours we can recommend taking a taxi from the ship to the St Kilda lighthouse and then walking back to the ship along the foreshore (about 6ks or 3.5 miles).

 

We previously lived in Sydney and did our own thing there as well. 

 

The sail into Sydney harbour was magnificent. A beautiful blue sky day, light winds, warm temps. Just fabulous.

 

So in terms of an overall score .. our enjoyment factor was 8.5 out of 10. Mostly great with a couple of minor hiccups.

 

To close - I just want to add a  couple of personal comments about the itinerary .. and of course these are just personal observations.

 

If I was travelling from Europe / USA / Canada etc I would find 4 sea days on this 14 day itinerary to be too many. Not because I don’t like sea days .. simply it is so far to come and there is so much to see there may be more port focussed itineraries which would better show you around this part of the world.

 

Maybe 4 sea days would be ok on a longer cruise in the region .. just sayin.

 

 

The trip from Dunedin to Hobart is about 1800 kilometres (just over 1100 miles) .. out of Dunedin at 6pm, then 2 full seas days, then into Hobart at 11am (that was the schedule).

 

Unfortunately we encountered rough seas (some very rough !) and the Captain was forced to proceed quite slowly and therefore our travel time from Dunedin to Hobart was much increased. It became clear to the Captain more than 24 hours before our scheduled arrival that we would not make Hobart in time - so we headed directly for Melbourne where we had an unscheduled overnight stay.

 

Our scheduled time in Hobart was from 11am till 6pm - just 7 hours. It didn’t occur to me until we left Dunedin .. but that is a very long way to go for just 7 hours. The Tasman Sea does apparently have quiet a reputation so I am guessing future cruises might sometimes encounter similar seas.  There were some very disappointed passengers on board who were really looking forward to Hobart.

 

The Captain explained what he was doing and why - and no one is questioning his judgement or his desire to keep us safe and as comfortable as possible.

 

But again, if you are travelling a long distance and have your heart set on seeing Hobart you might be better suited to an itinerary which includes an overnight stay (in case your arrival is delayed).

 

Just my opinion of course.

 

And FYI .. we have been told we will be offered compensation for missing 2 ports (but no contact received as yet).

 

Apologies for the length of this review. I decided to post in this forum as several very kind CC members exchanged messages with us over recent weeks and I though they might appreciate seeing it here rather than having to go looking in the Review section later.

 

We are booked on Viking Sky in May (Iceland) and Star in June (Empires of the Med) and will no doubt be seeking your advice and guidance in this Forum ahead of those adventures.

 

Best regards ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you Viking Cruises ... I have emailed your Sydney office this morning with a couple of enquiries and await their reply.

 

I will contact TellUs@vikingcruise.com and / or update this post once these matters are sorted (or if I need further assistance).

 

I am happy to have a chat in due course.

 

Kind regards, LM

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Little Monty,

 

Thank you so much for your detailed and balanced review of your cruise.  We will be on from Auckland to Bali in Feb/March so hopefully Viking Orion crew will have learned from this recent cruise.  Your onboard posts were so informative  and I really appreciate you taking the time.  We are very excited about visiting New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia and I feel better prepared after reading your experiences.  

 

Regards

 

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6 hours ago, SM77 said:

Little Monty,

 

Thank you so much for your detailed and balanced review of your cruise.  We will be on from Auckland to Bali in Feb/March so hopefully Viking Orion crew will have learned from this recent cruise.  Your onboard posts were so informative  and I really appreciate you taking the time.  We are very excited about visiting New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia and I feel better prepared after reading your experiences.  

 

Regards

 

 

My pleasure SM77 .. if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

 

I hope you have a wonderful time and look forward to any updates you post.

 

Regards 

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Excellent and thoughtful review.  I think the reply from Viking tells us that they are interested in talking to someone who is familiar with the ports visited and perhaps want to learn from a 'local'.

On our 3 cruises we have noted when Viking are new to a port then the excursions and docking locations could often be improved.  However I think that Viking are keen to learn but do need to acquire more local knowledge.  

In general the onboard stuff is similar and can be replicated throughout the fleet.

Our New Year Mediterranean cruise was also excellent.  We missed one port due to weather but there has been no word about any compensation, not that I expected any.  We had some onboard credit, since we booked onboard last year, but I thought the spa prices were huge and I would not spend even that 'free' money in there.  We had prepaid tips but I knew that that did not apply to the spa treatments.  

Interestingly we were interested in booking for next New Year but the sales lady was really not very interested in selling us this cruise and told us that the only benefit in booking onboard was some onboard credit for the cruise we were on, which did not interest us particularly, and a discount of £75 per person.  This was entirely different from the offering we got onboard on our previous New Year cruise.  So we walked away rather sadly.

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2 hours ago, Mrs Miggins said:

Excellent and thoughtful review.  I think the reply from Viking tells us that they are interested in talking to someone who is familiar with the ports visited and perhaps want to learn from a 'local'.

On our 3 cruises we have noted when Viking are new to a port then the excursions and docking locations could often be improved.  However I think that Viking are keen to learn but do need to acquire more local knowledge.  

In general the onboard stuff is similar and can be replicated throughout the fleet.

Our New Year Mediterranean cruise was also excellent.  We missed one port due to weather but there has been no word about any compensation, not that I expected any.  We had some onboard credit, since we booked onboard last year, but I thought the spa prices were huge and I would not spend even that 'free' money in there.  We had prepaid tips but I knew that that did not apply to the spa treatments.  

Interestingly we were interested in booking for next New Year but the sales lady was really not very interested in selling us this cruise and told us that the only benefit in booking onboard was some onboard credit for the cruise we were on, which did not interest us particularly, and a discount of £75 per person.  This was entirely different from the offering we got onboard on our previous New Year cruise.  So we walked away rather sadly.

 

hello again Mrs Miggins

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

 

The whole 'compensation' thing for missing ports and / or why some booking offers are available to some but not to others is quite a mystery.

 

All that aside .. DW and I are glad you enjoyed the Med. We will be there in June and hope Viking arranges great weather and small crowds for us in all ports. :classic_biggrin:

 

We also hope we can share an Earl Grey or a English Breakfast tea with you on board one day.

 

Kind regards ..

 

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Hi Little Monty,

I am sure the weather in the Med in June will be wonderful !  Especially since we will be there too, but on our other favourite, Azamara.  We are 10 days from the 28th May - Rome to Venice, down the wonderful Amalfi coast to Sicily then up to Montenegro and Croatia.

We have cruised the Med with several different cruise lines many times over the past 20 years, and of course we have had land trips as well since we are only a short flight away in the UK.

I am sure we will both have a wonderful cruise.

Kind regards

 

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10 hours ago, Mrs Miggins said:

Hi Little Monty,

I am sure the weather in the Med in June will be wonderful !  Especially since we will be there too, but on our other favourite, Azamara.  We are 10 days from the 28th May - Rome to Venice, down the wonderful Amalfi coast to Sicily then up to Montenegro and Croatia.

We have cruised the Med with several different cruise lines many times over the past 20 years, and of course we have had land trips as well since we are only a short flight away in the UK.

I am sure we will both have a wonderful cruise.

Kind regards

 

Sounds wonderful .. and yes, your proximity to the Med from UK is a real bonus. We are using frequent flyer points to travel to Scandinavia and home from Athens this year and because of (lack of) seat availability and disjointed flight connections it takes us 2 days each way. First world problem I know !  We board in Bergen on 27 May and after Reykjavic have a week in Rome and Venice before Empires of the Med in mid June. If you have any insider tips for Rome, Venice, or any of the Empires ports please feel free to share. Cheers, LM

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