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Ultimate World Cruise 245 days and all the parts. Ongoing review, questions, opinion


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Guess what?  A boisterous sea day with another coming tomorrow before arriving in Montevideo.  This segment is a sea day lovers delight...😎  But we had Rio.  The sail in was beautiful coming in right by Sugar Loaf with the Christ the Redeemer statue in the distance behind.  Narrated by one of the onboard lecturers it was informative as well as beautiful.  Crew passed out Mimosas on deck for a nice added touch.  We docked right in the town but not a lot in walking distance.  Unfortunately the weather began to turn crummy in the night and the full day in Rio got worse as the day progressed.  Rain then rain/fog/low clouds.  The Christ statue tends to disappear easily into the low clouds.  As we left the ship there was a large group of the crew taking a crew only excursion to Sugar Loaf.  They all seemed excited and look so young in their street clothes.  A great bunch onboard and we like that Viking gives them opportunities to get off the ship and see some of the world they sail to.  We had a small group (7) tour that included a helicopter ride.  It was less than ok.  It started out well with the 7 of us in a comfortable van with a driver and a guide.  We had about an hour ride around central Rio with a stop at the Samba Dromo, the place where all the Samba teams pass by the viewing stands and the judges during Carnivale.  Interesting but basically just an empty stadium.  They had a few costumes on display and they are most colorful.  Driving around central Rio is sort of sad.  Lots of run down buildings and graffiti along with trash seemingly everywhere.  A shame that this Sinatra, etc. Jet Set location is becoming a dirty crime ridden place like so many others.  Once on the other side where Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are is much nicer.  The traffic is also pretty bad and caused the ship to be delayed nearly three hours for delayed tours.  But back to our tour.  After leaving the Samba Dromo we went for our helicopter ride.  It was advertised as a short ride but that we would see all the important sites.  Even the pictures showed the copters right by the Christ statue.  What we got was a lift off and very short run over the beach and right back to the heliport.  We unanimously agreed that this was not worth a fraction of the $379 p/p the tour cost.   We all filed negative feedback to the Excursions desk and by this morning Viking gave us all a full refund.  Thanks Viking!  We hope you get your money back (or don't pay) this rip off Helisight helicopter company.  Steven said Viking had contracted for the flight that included Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf as well as the beaches and city fly by.  So it appears Viking was misled by this company.  Again thanks Viking for making it right for all of us.  So on to Uruguay after two sea days.  The weather is noticeably cooler and the sea temp is much lower as well.  A low pressure system out to sea is causing the wind and swells.  But then, where we are heading is known as the "Roaring 40s"  famous for wind and rough seas.  As the Captain says in his noon report "the weather, well it is what it is".  Go to sea in ships and sooner or later you will have some "boisterous" seas.  😎

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Thank you for the wonderful report, Jim!    We are anxiously going to be following you as you head to Montevideo, Argentina, and then Chile.   We are doing the Jupiter Chile to Argentina cruise in a few weeks, so will be looking for your reports on how the tough situation (riots, protests) in Chile is going when you go through.

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8 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

Guess what?  A boisterous sea day with another coming tomorrow before arriving in Montevideo.  This segment is a sea day lovers delight...😎  But we had Rio.  The sail in was beautiful coming in right by Sugar Loaf with the Christ the Redeemer statue in the distance behind.  Narrated by one of the onboard lecturers it was informative as well as beautiful.  Crew passed out Mimosas on deck for a nice added touch.  We docked right in the town but not a lot in walking distance.  Unfortunately the weather began to turn crummy in the night and the full day in Rio got worse as the day progressed.  Rain then rain/fog/low clouds.  The Christ statue tends to disappear easily into the low clouds.  As we left the ship there was a large group of the crew taking a crew only excursion to Sugar Loaf.  They all seemed excited and look so young in their street clothes.  A great bunch onboard and we like that Viking gives them opportunities to get off the ship and see some of the world they sail to.  We had a small group (7) tour that included a helicopter ride.  It was less than ok.  It started out well with the 7 of us in a comfortable van with a driver and a guide.  We had about an hour ride around central Rio with a stop at the Samba Dromo, the place where all the Samba teams pass by the viewing stands and the judges during Carnivale.  Interesting but basically just an empty stadium.  They had a few costumes on display and they are most colorful.  Driving around central Rio is sort of sad.  Lots of run down buildings and graffiti along with trash seemingly everywhere.  A shame that this Sinatra, etc. Jet Set location is becoming a dirty crime ridden place like so many others.  Once on the other side where Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are is much nicer.  The traffic is also pretty bad and caused the ship to be delayed nearly three hours for delayed tours.  But back to our tour.  After leaving the Samba Dromo we went for our helicopter ride.  It was advertised as a short ride but that we would see all the important sites.  Even the pictures showed the copters right by the Christ statue.  What we got was a lift off and very short run over the beach and right back to the heliport.  We unanimously agreed that this was not worth a fraction of the $379 p/p the tour cost.   We all filed negative feedback to the Excursions desk and by this morning Viking gave us all a full refund.  Thanks Viking!  We hope you get your money back (or don't pay) this rip off Helisight helicopter company.  Steven said Viking had contracted for the flight that included Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf as well as the beaches and city fly by.  So it appears Viking was misled by this company.  Again thanks Viking for making it right for all of us.  So on to Uruguay after two sea days.  The weather is noticeably cooler and the sea temp is much lower as well.  A low pressure system out to sea is causing the wind and swells.  But then, where we are heading is known as the "Roaring 40s"  famous for wind and rough seas.  As the Captain says in his noon report "the weather, well it is what it is".  Go to sea in ships and sooner or later you will have some "boisterous" seas.  😎

You could have had a much nicer experience going to the Copacabana Palace Hotel. Perfect spot to enjoy that "C' drink so popular in Rio and a lovely lunch by the pool. Walk the beach and grab a taxi back to ship. FYI  xo

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On 11/5/2019 at 9:23 AM, Jim Avery said:

Next port is Recife.  I understand another big crew change there.

I have been wondering—since you had to skip Recife, what did they do about the crew change?  Did they all get off in Rio?  Or will they have to stay on to Buenos Aires?  I guess everyone has to change travel plans and routes.  

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Had a fantastic day in Montevideo.  We booked a private tour, just us and a guide/driver.  The weather dawned beautifully sunny and cooler than we have had.  The view from the balcony already showed a much nicer looking city than our Brazil experiences.  At the appointed time our driver met us just outside the gates.  First sign we were on to a good thing was his car, a BMW X1.  We knew we were in for a much more comfortable ride than the previous vans/buses.  Javier was excellent throughout the tour and we got to see a ton of places from the old town, to the fortress overlooking the harbor, to driving the full length of the Ramblas.  Had a walking tour bit in the old town and we will be very at home exploring on our own when we return to Montevideo in three days.  The city is full of beautiful buildings, great green spaces and is very well kept and clean compared to Rio.  The beaches along the Ramblas are open to all and are very inviting.  Capping it off was a stop at a local bar in his home neighborhood.  Bar Arocena was featured on one of Anthony Bourdain's shows and is a great locals place featuring the Uruguayan national sandwich, the chivito.  A protein bomb of grilled beef, ham, bacon, chicken, eggs, cheese, and who knows what else.  Delicious!  Not sure we will be able to eat a thing tonight.  Glad we are returning to Montevideo for another visit but look forward to doing similar tomorrow in Buenos Aires.  

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9 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

Had a fantastic day in Montevideo.  We booked a private tour, just us and a guide/driver.  The weather dawned beautifully sunny and cooler than we have had.  The view from the balcony already showed a much nicer looking city than our Brazil experiences.  At the appointed time our driver met us just outside the gates.  First sign we were on to a good thing was his car, a BMW X1.  We knew we were in for a much more comfortable ride than the previous vans/buses.  Javier was excellent throughout the tour and we got to see a ton of places from the old town, to the fortress overlooking the harbor, to driving the full length of the Ramblas.  Had a walking tour bit in the old town and we will be very at home exploring on our own when we return to Montevideo in three days.  The city is full of beautiful buildings, great green spaces and is very well kept and clean compared to Rio.  The beaches along the Ramblas are open to all and are very inviting.  Capping it off was a stop at a local bar in his home neighborhood.  Bar Arocena was featured on one of Anthony Bourdain's shows and is a great locals place featuring the Uruguayan national sandwich, the chivito.  A protein bomb of grilled beef, ham, bacon, chicken, eggs, cheese, and who knows what else.  Delicious!  Not sure we will be able to eat a thing tonight.  Glad we are returning to Montevideo for another visit but look forward to doing similar tomorrow in Buenos Aires.  

 

Wow Jim - what a wonderful day and excursion you had!  Looking at the webcam, it appears it was a great day as well.

We'll be in Montevideo on the Jupiter in 6 weeks - so interested in how you happened to find your driver and how much the day was for you and your group.  (Contact info?)  We would definitely be interested in doing something like this.  I do remember Anthony Bourdain's show on Montevideo!

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2 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

 

Wow Jim - what a wonderful day and excursion you had!  Looking at the webcam, it appears it was a great day as well.

We'll be in Montevideo on the Jupiter in 6 weeks - so interested in how you happened to find your driver and how much the day was for you and your group.  (Contact info?)  We would definitely be interested in doing something like this.  I do remember Anthony Bourdain's show on Montevideo!

Hi CC.  Not sure how much I can say on Cruise Critic but we found Javier on TripAdvisor for Montevideo.  Private tour for the two of us.  I believe he mentions BMW experience in his listing.  Pricing is on there too of course.  I recommend this tour highly.  

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7 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

Hi CC.  Not sure how much I can say on Cruise Critic but we found Javier on TripAdvisor for Montevideo.  Private tour for the two of us.  I believe he mentions BMW experience in his listing.  Pricing is on there too of course.  I recommend this tour highly.  

Thanks for the quick reply!   By about now, you should be ready for a nice evening toast to a good day!

Will be following your South America ports closely (We go Valparaiso Dec 21 to Buenos Aires Jan 7 on the Jupiter).

 

I checked - Sadly, he's already booked in January!  So he must be good.  Perhaps next visit.

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11 hours ago, Islandbc said:

Thanks for your detailed descriptions and photos.  

Just wondering if there was a resolution to the noise issue.

Shhshsss....Don't jinx it.  So far, it seems yes.  We went with the GM down to the catwalk deck by the boats.  There are steel gates with slide bar latches that, if opened carefully, are quiet.  If opened carelessly they clang very loudly.  Right under the cabins.  These are gates crew needs to access valves, boxes, etc. for maintenance and such so getting the message out to open them carefully after hours seems to have done the trick.  😎

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5 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

Shhshsss....Don't jinx it.  So far, it seems yes.  We went with the GM down to the catwalk deck by the boats.  There are steel gates with slide bar latches that, if opened carefully, are quiet.  If opened carelessly they clang very loudly.  Right under the cabins.  These are gates crew needs to access valves, boxes, etc. for maintenance and such so getting the message out to open them carefully after hours seems to have done the trick.  😎

That is very good news!  Happy that you didn't give up on this.  Look forward to meeting you in January.

92F. in Indio for the past week, but lower humidity than you have (6%)

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Wishing all of you calm (or at least not too rough) sailing in those roaring 40s. I dreaded that before and during our Antarctica trip. As it turned out, we had unbelievably smooth seas during both Drake crossings. We got the "lake" instead of the "rake"!  

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After having busy, busy days in two days in Buenos Aires and two visits to Montevideo, I have been a bit remiss on postings but I have not been thrown overboard, just occupied.  Today is the first sea day in a while so I will use it to catch up.   I imagine the rest of the gang will too.  😎

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Out of order but I will start with Captain's announcement this morning.  We are skipping Puerto Madryn, Argentina in order to head directly to the Falklands.  There is a very strong low pressure system developing by the end of the week and if this port is not dropped we might miss the Falklands or worse, not be able to leave the Falklands for several days of bad weather.  This is not unexpected as we are heading into some of the roughest sea areas on the planet.  To make up for this we are extending the stop in Ushuaia.  Whatever works.  One thing for sure is we will inevitably get some rough seas in the next week.  Put the Jack Daniel's on the floor again.😱  Just like the North Atlantic crossing.  Ok, more on this as the conditions develop but no one should be surprised at this development.  Now, after our first stop in Montevideo we next day arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  We had such nice docking position in Montevideo but made up for it with a very industrial port in BA.  As happens we were not allowed to walk on the port so all passengers were required to take a shuttle bus to the terminal.  Not bad, it ran more or less continually and as usual we needed to walk from one end of the terminal to the other to get outside.  We booked a private car and guide the first day and managed to see a great deal of BA.  Tango dancers and all.  BA is very European feeling in architecture with some beautiful areas.  Tom posted pictures of all the spots we saw and does a better job than you get from me.  Day two in BA we took the Parana Delta River tour by boat.  Sort of a misnomer as the boat ride was a little over an hour and the other nearly 4 hours was a panoramic bus ride.  Still, it was interesting to see something different than the city.  One thing I can say is I have never seen so many abandoned ships, boats, houses anywhere else.  It seems when something needs serious repair one just walks away and lets it rot.  Different strokes and all that.  As far as Buenos Aires, our guide, in addition to history and information about where we were, really stressed not walking about at night, especially from the port.  She said one of the worst crime areas in BA was near the port.  She also advised not to take the cabs at the port but call a cab and have it come specifically for you.  Just relating what a local guide stressed to us, not that we had any issues with crime but then we were onboard both nights.  Street crime seems to be a recurring theme in South America with the notable exception of Uruguay.   Two sea days (counting today) and then Stanley in the Falkland Islands.  All tours have been cancelled and they are re booking so we don't exactly know what we are doing or when yet.  We have a small plane flight booked but if the weather is deteriorating that will be cancelled I bet.  Time will tell.  As I and numerous others have mentioned in the past, If a rigid schedule is a must, don't get on ships for extended voyages.  As much as it might be an irritation, I fully trust this Captain to make the right choices.  I also have access to maritime weather info and I saw the forecast for this very strong low pressure system yesterday.  Sort of goes with the territory.  🍸

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Briefly, I have spoken to the hard work, friendliness, and helpful attitude of the crew on many occasions.  I want to make special mention of Arneka Tuki, the ship's Financial Officer.  She has been so good and so helpful with some issues and has resolved all to our satisfaction.  The Officers and crew onboard always make us feel like we are in the right place.  Thanks again Arneka.

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Thanks, for the update, Jim.  Sitting here watching it snow heavily, I envy you, even the rough seas.  We had similar problems in January on that WC.  We had to skip a day in the Falklands because the tender boats were struggling mightily against the wind.  We headed on down for an extra day in Ushuaia, which was actually wonderful.  We were very calm going around the Cape, though.  I bet you are back to Captain Olav,  who likes to look ahead for bad weather.  He had us skip Casablanca in order to beat a bad storm in the notorious Bay of Biscay.  That was a wise, but very unpopular decision, especially among the British passengers, who weren’t thrilled with a day in Portsmouth instead.  But, as you say, on a WC, you’ve got to make lemonade of any lemons thrown your way!

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Jim - So true, anytime you go to sea it is an adventure.

 

Having moved the mattress onto the deck way too many times, as it was too dangerous to sleep in the bunk, bypassing the worst of the weather is worth skipping ports.🙂

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