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


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Arriving in Bay of Islands NZ this morning, so we have completed our jaunt across the Pacific. Due to the Cat 3 cyclone, it has been a fairly rough sea days, with a short swell.

 

Suva was only a brief stay of 07:00 to 14:00. We did the Navua River tour, which was brilliant. Hurtling up the river and rapids at high speed on a longboat. We were thoroughly soaked to the skin, but still enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately, some others didn't appreciate getting damp.

 

Bean bag tossing - bragging rights remain with the passengers, as the officers choked on the last sea day. Rumour has it that some officers may have been bribed to throw the match. A few pax returned to their cabin to find bed frames missing. All good fun!!!

 

Jim - guess they didn't listen about stocking up on hopped beverages. We drank the ship dry of IPA last week and then last night they ran out of Porter. OMG - at this rate they will only have that horrible yellow stuff left.

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Andy, Viking is just not set up for a beer aficionado like you.  🍺  They were always pretty good at getting bottles or tins of local beers so NZ and Aussie beer just around the corner.  Thanks for the Coronavirus update.  I know they are keeping up with the situation.  Lots of moving parts.  And now they have a case in Orange County, California.  And we are due to go to an event in OC week after next.  If it is in California, only a matter of time before it gets to Arizona.  Hope the med folks get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later.  I am sure you are right at home by now and enjoying all the great things on Viking Sun.  🍺

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Thanks Jim - expecting lots of victuals in Auckland tomorrow. Also have numerous crew heading out on leave. Stopped by the Duke of Marlborough for a pint this afternoon, when over in Russell.

 

This ship is brilliant, this is almost like what cruising was back in the 70's & 80's.

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Taking a timeout from cruising (especially for any sports fans) for a second to remember the greatness that defined Kobe Bryant. One of the best ever to play the game. Drafted into the NBA right out of High School...truly amazing. Condolences to the family. What a terrible tragedy. 

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11 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

Taking a timeout from cruising (especially for any sports fans) for a second to remember the greatness that defined Kobe Bryant. One of the best ever to play the game. Drafted into the NBA right out of High School...truly amazing. Condolences to the family. What a terrible tragedy. 

I stand with you, 100%. 
KB was truly remarkable, and will be sorely missed.  
My heart goes out to his surviving family-Jeannette

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Costa Smerelda, with 6,000 passengers, is now quarantined at Civitivecchia due to two active coronavirus cases onboard.  Chinese from Macau reportedly.  Add crew and nearly 10,000 or so people quarantined on a ship.  I am sure this is getting Viking's full attention.  

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29 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

Costa Smerelda, with 6,000 passengers, is now quarantined at Civitivecchia due to two active coronavirus cases onboard.  Chinese from Macau reportedly.  Add crew and nearly 10,000 or so people quarantined on a ship.  I am sure this is getting Viking's full attention.  

Correction, only 1,000 crew for a total of 7,000 on board.  Reportedly includes 750 Chinese nationals.  

Edited by Jim Avery
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44 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

Correction, only 1,000 crew for a total of 7,000 on board.  Reportedly includes 750 Chinese nationals.  

So sad and so true. 

I wonder, if things get worse, will The Sun not drop anchor in China (Or Rome if need be).  
will this prevent  The Sun from getting into the Guinness Book?
I don’t recall the criteria.
I do know that no matter what, Viking will make the right decision-Jeannette🤭

 

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26 minutes ago, Jukebo1x said:

So sad and so true. 

I wonder, if things get worse, will The Sun not drop anchor in China (Or Rome if need be).  
will this prevent  The Sun from getting into the Guinness Book?
I don’t recall the criteria.
I do know that no matter what, Viking will make the right decision-Jeannette🤭


This will hit the news and scare the heck out of people I’m sure.

 

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2 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

Costa Smerelda, with 6,000 passengers, is now quarantined at Civitivecchia due to two active coronavirus cases onboard.  Chinese from Macau reportedly.  Add crew and nearly 10,000 or so people quarantined on a ship.  I am sure this is getting Viking's full attention.  

 

Last I heard they were being tested but the virus had not been confirmed.  Maybe this has changed by now.

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I talked to Viking this morning since we are supposed to depart the Sun on March 9 out of Hong Kong. United has cancelled flights to and from Hong Kong until mid Feb. We are booked on United. They don't know what will happen with this virus but assured me we will get home one way or another from somewhere. Somewhat reassuring I guess. 

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21 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

Viking Sun currently steaming off Napier, as due to high winds we are unable to enter safely. Not unexpected, as being a tough arrival, this is another port I predicted we would miss.

As did we.  As we passed the entry to the port in windy conditions, I was glad he didn't ask me to dock the ship.  Again, a good call.  Sorry you missed Napier though, I wanted to hear about it.🍺

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53 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

As did we.  As we passed the entry to the port in windy conditions, I was glad he didn't ask me to dock the ship.  Again, a good call.  Sorry you missed Napier though, I wanted to hear about it.🍺

Jim - it was 30-35 kts first thing this morning, so I mentioned to Judi that most likely we will have a sea day. Winds looked like they hit 40 kts, with stronger gusts. Haven't been in Napier since 1975, so it was another one I was looking forward to seeing the changes.

 

Windy Wellington tomorrow.

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41 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

Jim - it was 30-35 kts first thing this morning, so I mentioned to Judi that most likely we will have a sea day. Winds looked like they hit 40 kts, with stronger gusts. Haven't been in Napier since 1975, so it was another one I was looking forward to seeing the changes.

 

Windy Wellington tomorrow.

That one you should make.  Great McDonalds there.  Saw a bunch of crew.  Nice city too.  😎

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1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Windy Wellington tomorrow.

 

Yes, hopefully no more missed ports.

 

Assuming you make it safely into Dunedin next week - and if you are in the city around lunch time - 'Best Cafe' (across the road from the main railway station) does really excellent fish and chips.

 

Enjoy NZ

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8 hours ago, Cleopatra99 said:

 

Yes, hopefully no more missed ports.

 

Assuming you make it safely into Dunedin next week - and if you are in the city around lunch time - 'Best Cafe' (across the road from the main railway station) does really excellent fish and chips.

 

Enjoy NZ

Thanks - unfortunately we are on a private all day tour, departing shortly after arrival and getting back 1/2 hr before all aboard. It will be a quick drive through Dunedin and then around the Peninsula. I spent a week in Dunedin on my first trip to sea, oh so many years ago. Looking forward to seeing the changes.

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8 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

That one you should make.  Great McDonalds there.  Saw a bunch of crew.  Nice city too.  😎

We are doing the included tour then wandering around the city, catching the shuttle back to the ship. Since I don't visit the arches at home, will probably check out a pub or two.😊🍻

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Hi Andy and Judi, I checked https://www.portauthoritynsw.com.au/cruise/cruise-schedule/ and the Viking Sun will be arriving in Sydney on Tuesday February 11 at 7:00am. Make sure you are up early as it will be very spectacular sailing into the harbour if the weather is fine. The sun will be behind you and you should be able to take photos with the Sun's bow, Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the one frame. Hopefully the captain will have time to do a 360 degree pirouette between the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. The Orion did that when it visited Sydney in 2019. You are visiting Sydney at the end of summer and it can be quite hot away from the coast and sea breezes so try to spend your time around the harbour and beaches as you only have two days in Sydney. I did not check if Viking is offering an Opera House tour for your cruise but I'd recommend it if they are. The Opera House is architecturally unique and in a stunning location. The other interesting looking excursion for the Orion cruise was the Sydney Culinary Tour. Sydney has a great mix of Asian and European foods and this tour looks like it hits a few of our famous food spots. Personally I don't like Lebanese coffee and prefer the traditional Italian style coffee (latte or piccolo latte). Our coffee culture is pretty special and you will see lots of small dedicated coffee shops scattered through the city. Look for a coffee shop with a queue of office workers and you should be okay. It is virtually impossible to buy Dunkin Donuts style coffee. The other treat to try in Sydney, Melbourne or other Australian cities is a milkshake. I searched through Europe and the US and I was never able to buy a milkshake made with fresh milk, proper icecream (not soft serve slush) and flavour. Australia has a very strong fresh milk and dairy culture and milk is always cold and fresh in Sydney.

Sydney is an easy city to visit as the Viking ferry shuttle will deliver you to a small wharf near the Museum of Contemporary Art at the western edge of Circular Quay. It is very easy to walk east towards the Opera House and then on around the Botanical Gardens foreshore to Mrs Macquarie's Chair for a great view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge (look at the photos on Google). You can also walk from the shuttle wharf to the west around The Rocks area, under the Harbour Bridge and then around the Barangaroo foreshore. The main Sydney shopping area is also very compact and easy to reach by walking. If you do walk up George Street towards the main Pitt Street Mall shopping area make sure you call in and look at the Paspaley Pearls store on the corner of George Street and Martin Place. It is in a stunning building and the store is beautiful. 

My number one recommendation for time in Sydney is to take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. It is important to catch the slow, old ferry from Wharf 3 rather than the fast catamaran. When you get on board sit upstairs or down but make sure you go out to the open deck at the back. The back is the end that is facing the city rather than the harbour. The ferry will go straight out from Circular Quay and go around the Opera House. If you catch a morning ferry the sun will be in the east behind you as you go past the Opera House and you will be able to take photos of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge without sun glare. Once you get to Manly you have a quite a few options. You can walk off the ferry and have a meal at Hugos Restaurant. It is on the left of the wharf (as you walk off) overlooking the harbour and swimming area.  There is a pub style establishment on the right hand side of the wharf. Nice beer but I prefer Hugos for the view, atmosphere and quality of the meal. If you are feeling more adventurous walk 200m from the wharf to the beach and have a swim at Manly Beach and then walk around the promenade to Shelly Beach for lunch at the Boathouse Cafe. Walk back and take the ferry back to Sydney.  If you don't want to walk to Shelly Beach enjoy a swim at Manly Beach (public showers and change rooms at the beach) and then have fish and chips by the beach or visit the Hotel Steyne pub for lunch. The Hotel Steyne is one of the traditional pubs that has not been gentrified too much (the hipsters have not crossed the harbour).

I'd love to join you all and show you around our city but I'll be in Norway as we start our In Search of The Northern Lights cruise on February 15. Regards Colin

Edited by ColW55
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1 hour ago, ColW55 said:

Hi Andy and Judi, I checked https://www.portauthoritynsw.com.au/cruise/cruise-schedule/ and the Viking Sun will be arriving in Sydney on Tuesday February 11 at 7:00am. Make sure you are up early as it will be very spectacular sailing into the harbour if the weather is fine. The sun will be behind you and you should be able to take photos with the Sun's bow, Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the one frame. Hopefully the captain will have time to do a 360 degree pirouette between the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. The Orion did that when it visited Sydney in 2019. You are visiting Sydney at the end of summer and it can be quite hot away from the coast and sea breezes so try to spend your time around the harbour and beaches as you only have two days in Sydney. I did not check if Viking is offering an Opera House tour for your cruise but I'd recommend it if they are. The Opera House is architecturally unique and in a stunning location. The other interesting looking excursion for the Orion cruise was the Sydney Culinary Tour. Sydney has a great mix of Asian and European foods and this tour looks like it hits a few of our famous food spots. Personally I don't like Lebanese coffee and prefer the traditional Italian style coffee (latte or piccolo latte). Our coffee culture is pretty special and you will see lots of small dedicated coffee shops scattered through the city. Look for a coffee shop with a queue of office workers and you should be okay. It is virtually impossible to buy Dunkin Donuts style coffee. The other treat to try in Sydney, Melbourne or other Australian cities is a milkshake. I searched through Europe and the US and I was never able to buy a milkshake made with fresh milk, proper icecream (not soft serve slush) and flavour. Australia has a very strong fresh milk and dairy culture and milk is always cold and fresh in Sydney.

Sydney is an easy city to visit as the Viking ferry shuttle will deliver you to a small wharf near the Museum of Contemporary Art at the western edge of Circular Quay. It is very easy to walk east towards the Opera House and then on around the Botanical Gardens foreshore to Mrs Macquarie's Chair for a great view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge (look at the photos on Google). You can also walk from the shuttle wharf to the west around The Rocks area, under the Harbour Bridge and then around the Barangaroo foreshore. The main Sydney shopping area is also very compact and easy to reach by walking. If you do walk up George Street towards the main Pitt Street Mall shopping area make sure you call in and look at the Paspaley Pearls store on the corner of George Street and Martin Place. It is in a stunning building and the store is beautiful. 

My number one recommendation for time in Sydney is to take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. It is important to catch the slow, old ferry from Wharf 3 rather than the fast catamaran. When you get on board sit upstairs or down but make sure you go out to the open deck at the back. The back is the end that is facing the city rather than the harbour. The ferry will go straight out from Circular Quay and go around the Opera House. If you catch a morning ferry the sun will be in the east behind you as you go past the Opera House and you will be able to take photos of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge without sun glare. Once you get to Manly you have a quite a few options. You can walk off the ferry and have a meal at Hugos Restaurant. It is on the left of the wharf (as you walk off) overlooking the harbour and swimming area.  There is a pub style establishment on the right hand side of the wharf. Nice beer but I prefer Hugos for the view, atmosphere and quality of the meal. If you are feeling more adventurous walk 200m from the wharf to the beach and have a swim at Manly Beach and then walk around the promenade to Shelly Beach for lunch at the Boathouse Cafe. Walk back and take the ferry back to Sydney.  If you don't want to walk to Shelly Beach enjoy a swim at Manly Beach (public showers and change rooms at the beach) and then have fish and chips by the beach or visit the Hotel Steyne pub for lunch. The Hotel Steyne is one of the traditional pubs that has not been gentrified too much (the hipsters have not crossed the harbour).

I'd love to join you all and show you around our city but I'll be in Norway as we start our In Search of The Northern Lights cruise on February 15. Regards Colin

Thanks Colin,

 

Will definitely be out on deck from about Sydney Heads to the berth. I've done the trip many times, as we used to dock at OPT every 2 weeks on the SS Oriana. Regardless, I'll still be out there with the camera.

 

For day 1 we currently have the Blue Mountains booked, but are considering changing it to the Hunter Valley, neither place we have visited before. When working aboard, we didn't have the time for longer tours.

 

On day 2 we are booked for the Opera House backstage tour, then will wander around the Rocks, visiting a few pubs I recall from my many visits to OPT.

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Hi Andy, We live in the lower Blue Mountains, about an hour west of Sydney. The scenic part of the Blue Mts is another 40 minutes west. Personally I wouldn't recommend this tour unless you have done everything else. It will be a long bus ride and the area is still dry with large areas of burnt bushland once you get to the lookouts. It is normally very pretty , especially in Spring, but definitely not at its best at the moment. Don't do the Hunter Valley winery trip. It is an even longer bus ride (up to 2hrs each way) the scenery is only average. Both trip have a lot or freeway driving. If you want to scenic Australian bush do the Mt Field, Richmond and Bonorong excursion in Hobart. Mt Field is incredible with huge tress, tree ferns and lovely waterfalls (when it has rained). Bonorong is a great place to get up close to cute native animals. Make sure you try a scallop pie when you are in Hobart - delicious!!

If you have visited Sydney and Manly Beach many times consider a trip to Watsons Bay and lunch at Doyles. (I think Hugos at Manly is better). If you have the connections consider a seaplane flight over Sydney and lunch at Berowra Waters Inn. That is a pretty special one off excursion (I haven't done it). Let me know if you want other suggestions. Is the 'Sydney Culinary Tour' on offer for your cruise?

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