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Pushka

Vancouver embarkation - Not impressed Viking.

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It’s 4.05pm and we are waiting in a large hall before we can start immigration. Orion is tendered still waiting for other ships to leave. A nice snack was provided at a nice Hotel. We are supposed to depart at 9pm so not sure when they plan to have dinner sorted given we have to do the safety drill once we finally get onboard. 

 

 

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Saw that Noordam departed about 16:30 and Celebrity about 17:00, so hopefully Orion will go alongside shortly.

 

Hope you have a great cruise.

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13 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Saw that Noordam departed about 16:30 and Celebrity about 17:00, so hopefully Orion will go alongside shortly.

 

Hope you have a great cruise.

 

Yes, as soon as Celebrity left at 17.00 then Orion moved to the Berth. We were able to board around 6.30pm and everyone onboard around an hour later. Being so few non Americans our queue for US immigration was short - just as well as only 2 booths for us. Fingerprinted and photographed. Some angry with all the delay and others just glad to get onboard after the two hour sit on hard seats after immigration. A great cheer went up and clapping when the ship first appeared. And also when the Celebrity ship left  

 

FlyOverCanada was excellent. 

 

Stunning sail away. 

 

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Edited by Pushka

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Noted that you cleared Seymour Narrows just before 07:00, so you get the added benefit of getting Johnson Channel in daylight. The other 3 ships are already at Pine Island, dropping their pilots, so they did the scenic cruising at night.

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Beautiful!  Looks like you had a fantastic weather day in Vancouver - and leaving!   Not always that way - especially this year.  Makes us want to visit Vancouver again....

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Saturday wasn't a great day, as we had heavy rain, but Sunday was a great day. Although it did cloud over in the evening. Today is another great day for cruising up the coast - 80F forecast inland and probably low 70's on the coast.

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It is indeed glorious. 

 

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Edited by Pushka

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Great photos.

 

At 16:20 I noted you are just south of Namu, which is a small fishing port/cannery. In about an hour, you alter course to port, entering Lama Pass, then pass the villages of Bella Bella & Shearwater.

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6 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

Great photos.

 

At 16:20 I noted you are just south of Namu, which is a small fishing port/cannery. In about an hour, you alter course to port, entering Lama Pass, then pass the villages of Bella Bella & Shearwater.

Yes - I think at 5pm it was announced we were passing some villages. 

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If AIS is correct you are passing Namu shortly (stbd side) then at 18 kts Bella Bella was about 90 mins. We only slowed down passing Bella Bella, but the pilots may slow down for some of the turns.

 

Best guess is passing Bella Bella about 18:15, based on current AIS position.

 

You can get some good photographs in Lama Pass.

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10 minutes ago, Marykatesmom said:

So the Vancouver embarkation went better than expected?  Most importantly did you get a decent dinner?😄

 

We were onboard at 6.30pm. Safety Drill was not done until next day that surprised me. We were able therefore to get food in the buffet. Surprisingly there were suite passengers who were allocated the wrong queue and did not board until 7pm. They were not impressed with Viking as regular Viking passengers for most of the trip. Their pre tour was also changed around to ensure they didn’t arrive early but the guide wasn’t happy with what Viking wanted her to do so switched it up. This couple were interviewed by guest services who suggested they had a large volume of complaints. Our luggage didn’t arrive until 10pm. Others gave up and just went to bed without their luggage as they’d left very early that morning for flights. The mood wasn’t great especially when tenders were running 75 minutes late for excursions on the next port which was Ketchikan. Early tours were cut short as a result while people missed private excursions that they’d booked. 

Edited by Pushka

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On 5/28/2019 at 11:35 AM, Pushka said:

Yes - I think at 5pm it was announced we were passing some villages. 

In excess of 8000 posts...Glory be, rest easy and simply enjoy your cruise, the pages of anxiety were all to no avail in the end...!

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1 hour ago, travel09 said:

In excess of 8000 posts...Glory be, rest easy and simply enjoy your cruise, the pages of anxiety were all to no avail in the end...!

What? You have no idea. 

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In the interest of a balanced thread:

 

I have a good friend down the street from me who also was on this cruise.  As you can imagine, I was interested in talking to her about the horrors of the cruise.

 

She is an experienced cruiser and traveler who knows that part of travel is the planned and unplanned experiences. She was in a DV cabin.

 

Embarkation: She knew well in advance that embarkation was going to be delayed , and while disappointed, she also knows that it does happen. When I asked about the arrangements made by Viking, she got a big smile on her face and literally gushed about the arrangements.  Viking had arranged for a huge ballroom at one of the best hotels in Vancouver. After dropping their luggage at the port, they took the provided shuttle to the hotel. The ballroom was set up with tables and chairs as for a high end dinner. A full buffet (soup to nuts, including a carving station with a choice of meats and a fish) was provided. There was also wine and beer included at no cost.

 

Viking had also engaged a live band to provide music and some people were enjoying dancing.

 

After eating, there was a secure area to leave carry on items and a list of excursions for which Viking was providing vouchers.  My friend and her party did select an excursion and had an enjoyable afternoon.  After the excursion, they elected to return to the hotel as they had carry on items they wished to  carry themselves. As some of the party was feeling peckish, another trip to the buffet was in order.

 

Around 5:30, they took a provided shuttle back to the pier, cleared immigration in short order, and were on the ship at 6:30 PM. Their luggage was waiting in their cabin.

 

While food was available on the ship, they didn't need anything as they had eaten at the buffet in the hitel. They did get something later in the evening.

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The horrors of tendering: I asked her about the tendering. She said she knew when she booked the cruise 18 months earlier, that there could be a chance of tendering as she had researched the itinerary before booking.

 

As far as delays, her first reaction was a look of puzzlement and the statement "There are only 900 passengers on the ship." While there was only one tender  platform at the ship, several tenders were in the water and whenever she wanted to leave the ship, she just went down and boarded  the tender that was boarding at that time.  She had no problems making either the ship's excursions or the private excursions they had booked.

 

I asked about the problem of finding the area where the tenders returned to the ship.  Again a look of confusion and said the tender locations were clearly marked at the pier.

 

One of the things she loved was the fact that as she boarded the shop, she was handed  her choice of a hot or cold beverage. "One of the days, it was the captain that handed me my drink."

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Crew and service: Loved the crew and found them to be very responsive to any requests.

 

While she had originally had made only one reservation at Manfredi's, her group loved the food and the service and actually ate there a total of four times.

 

So there you have it. Same cruise that generated four (?) threads of complaints by a fellow cruiser and my friend loved every minute of it and had nothing but praise for Viking Ocean.

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Well, this is about to get interesting!  Your neighbor’s advantage is that she is an experienced cruiser who does her homework and has a tolerant attitude. ( I’m about to travel with a group that includes both types - some that prepare and some that not only don’t but won’t in spite of my encouragement to do so.  Argh!)

 

I do wonder, however, about the two entirely different venues where pax were sent to await embarkation.

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3 hours ago, Geosez said:

 

 

I do wonder, however, about the two entirely different venues where pax were sent to await embarkation.

I don't believe there were two different venues to await embarkation. 

 

The difference seems to be that my friend enjoyed the alternate arrangements and made full use of them.  They did not rush to the pier to be first in line to board (and end up waiting in a hall for immigration, lining up for immigration and then sitting on narrow benches for two hours waiting to board), but instead enjoyed their afternoon and arrived at the pier around 6 PM  when the bench sitters' stampede was over and had a minimal time spent in immigration and waiting to board. 

Edited by Homosassa

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On 6/23/2019 at 10:12 AM, Homosassa said:

The horrors of tendering: I asked her about the tendering. She said she knew when she booked the cruise 18 months earlier, that there could be a chance of tendering as she had researched the itinerary before booking.

 

As far as delays, her first reaction was a look of puzzlement and the statement "There are only 900 passengers on the ship." While there was only one tender  platform at the ship, several tenders were in the water and whenever she wanted to leave the ship, she just went down and boarded  the tender that was boarding at that time.  She had no problems making either the ship's excursions or the private excursions they had booked.

 

I asked about the problem of finding the area where the tenders returned to the ship.  Again a look of confusion and said the tender locations were clearly marked at the pier.

 

One of the things she loved was the fact that as she boarded the shop, she was handed  her choice of a hot or cold beverage. "One of the days, it was the captain that handed me my drink."

 

Interesting and different experience. We were never offered any vouchers for excursions. I’m curious as to exactly who offered them as they certainly weren’t busy when we checked in and so they had plenty of time to offer them. I didn’t hear anyone else talking about them either but obviously those who did the pre Vancouver add-on had an excursion that was already included. We did end up booking Fly Over Canada at our cost but that ended at 3pm. There was no shuttle to the hotel room as it was walkable. Perhaps your friend didn’t need to get off the ship as early as we did as excursion times vary and I can positively say there were no references on Juneau deck in particular as to where the tenders where “down below” and the port official we asked said that she was surprised there were no signs “up top”. And there was only one tender operating first up in Ketchikan until around 11am. 

 

As a bucket list my intention was to see Alaska and as much of it as I could so I wanted to get into port as soon as possible to see everything possible. Others might simply enjoy being on the ship, maybe as second timers for instance, and not need to get onto land as early. But coming from Australia it’s a once off for me to go to Alaska. 

 

Everyone had to vacate the ballroom by 3.45pm and it was after that we ended up in the Immigration hall until we boarded at 6.30pm. 

Edited by Pushka

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Thanks, Homosassa, for adifferent perspective on this particular cruise.

 

Has there been any explanation why Vancouver, given the apparent overcrowding of their cruise port for this date, even allowed Viking to schedule this cruise ? I am not a very experienced cruiser, so I am not sure I understand who bears the ultimate responsibility for the delayed embarkation?

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4 hours ago, lackcreativity said:

Thanks, Homosassa, for adifferent perspective on this particular cruise.

 

Has there been any explanation why Vancouver, given the apparent overcrowding of their cruise port for this date, even allowed Viking to schedule this cruise ? I am not a very experienced cruiser, so I am not sure I understand who bears the ultimate responsibility for the delayed embarkation?

Since Metro Port Vancouver eliminated the alternate cruise berth about 2014, we only have 3 berths. when 4 ships reserve space, 1 has to anchor.

 

Since Viking handle this on TAR in Greenwich, they probably thought no problem. However, Vancouver has the issue of clearing US Immigration and having to board the ship directly, so no ability to tender to the ship at anchor.

 

Ultimate responsibility would rest with Metro Port Vancouver for not providing adequate dock space.

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9 hours ago, Geosez said:

Well, this is about to get interesting!  Your neighbor’s advantage is that she is an experienced cruiser who does her homework and has a tolerant attitude. ( I’m about to travel with a group that includes both types - some that prepare and some that not only don’t but won’t in spite of my encouragement to do so.  Argh!)

 

I do wonder, however, about the two entirely different venues where pax were sent to await embarkation.

I’ve been on several cruises with several different lines. I did my research and knew after booking that there would be tender issues but Viking would not confirm this until less than 2 weeks out. And they only confirmed Vancouver. 

 

I was very well prepared Thankyou very much but extracting confirmation of my research from Viking was like extracting teeth. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Since Metro Port Vancouver eliminated the alternate cruise berth about 2014, we only have 3 berths. when 4 ships reserve space, 1 has to anchor.

 

Since Viking handle this on TAR in Greenwich, they probably thought no problem. However, Vancouver has the issue of clearing US Immigration and having to board the ship directly, so no ability to tender to the ship at anchor.

 

Ultimate responsibility would rest with Metro Port Vancouver for not providing adequate dock space.

Thanks, Heidi13, for your always helpful explanations!

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