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


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6 hours ago, ColW55 said:

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?

Thanks - we were considering changing the Blue Mntns due to the fires, but will now look for something other than Hunter Valley

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Don't get me wrong I love the Blue Mountains and we regularly visit wineries in the Hunter Valley but I would not recommend either if you only have two days in Sydney. We do the Hunter Valley as an overnight or two night short break. I just think it is too much driving for a one day trip. Spend some time enjoying Sydney on your own as it is a very safe and easy to explore city. It is a bit like Vancouver but Vancouver has a better harbour district around Granville Island and Sydney has better beaches. (We don't have anything like Hastings Street but that is another story) Get the Viking shuttle from White Bay to Circular Quay, catch the ferry to Manly if you have not been there recently and then spend some time exploring the Sydney CBD before catching the shuttle back to the Viking Sun. You will find Sydney has changed a great deal in recent years - some good progress and some less so.

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11 hours 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

Wow Collin!  I wish I knew all this in 2014, when we visited your Beautiful city. 
I totally agree with the Wonderful dairy products, photos of the Opera House & the Bridge. 
We enjoyed another cleaver activity (if it’s still available). It was lunch on a little train, in downtown Sydney. It was a hoot.-Jeannette😌

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Good Morning Viking Sun. Sorry the Orion missed you this morning, at least you are in port, we

are sitting out here waiting to get into Lyttelton just north of your port because someone left 3 hours late. Waiting to hear from Viking. Have a fun day

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we DOCKED downtown one our nights in Sydney....it was fantastic.  We walked the bridge but did not do the climb!  The opera house is amazing make sure to take an inside tour!

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On 1/30/2020 at 8:37 AM, 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.  

While it was determined the person did not have the Corona Virus, I thought I’d share a Viking posting shared on the Viking FB page:

EBC9A3CD-BC29-45D3-92EF-5B5F2C781FCF.jpeg

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12 hours ago, kchand said:

Good Morning Viking Sun. Sorry the Orion missed you this morning, at least you are in port, we

are sitting out here waiting to get into Lyttelton just north of your port because someone left 3 hours late. Waiting to hear from Viking. Have a fun day

We arrived in Akaroa, but it is a 55 mile drive to Christchurch, on some really tough roads. Buses took from 1 hr 35 mins to 2 hrs each way.

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9 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

We arrived in Akaroa, but it is a 55 mile drive to Christchurch, on some really tough roads. Buses took from 1 hr 35 mins to 2 hrs each way.

Sorry Lyttleton was busy.  But then that is a bit of a drive as well.  Dunedin is coming up right?  Easy walk to a nice pub...🍺😎

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10 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

Sorry Lyttleton was busy.  But then that is a bit of a drive as well.  Dunedin is coming up right?  Easy walk to a nice pub...🍺😎

Docked in Port Chalmers and spent the entire day on a tour with Back to Nature tours. Departed at 08:30 and returned 15 mins before all aboard, so unfortunately no time to stop by a pub for a libation.

 

Will have a few IPA's aboard this evening.

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11 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Docked in Port Chalmers and spent the entire day on a tour with Back to Nature tours. Departed at 08:30 and returned 15 mins before all aboard, so unfortunately no time to stop by a pub for a libation.

 

Will have a🍺few IPA's aboard this evening.

Haha, I always thought of pubs as "back to nature" tours.  The Duke of Wellington in Port Chalmers is a nice old place but then you have the Fortune of War and others coming up on your list.  🍺🍺

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Andy / Other World Cruisers

 

I hope your Tasman Crossing is going well, and (tomorrow, or the next day?) welcome to Australia. You have no doubt read about the significant bushfires, high temperatures, and drought across many areas of Australia, but I am pleased to report temps have fallen and widespread rain is now expected (see below).

 

Hopefully the rain will clear for your arrival in Melbourne, Sydney etc. 

 

Again, welcome - and have a great time.

 

https://www.9news.com.au/national/queensland-weather-forecast-sunshine-coast-to-be-hit-with-200m-of-rain-nsw-thunderstorm/863cfea3-a70f-49b3-84d2-d82c9b5966cc

Edited by Cleopatra99
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5 hours ago, Cleopatra99 said:

Andy / Other World Cruisers

 

I hope your Tasman Crossing is going well, and (tomorrow, or the next day?) welcome to Australia. You have no doubt read about the significant bushfires, high temperatures, and drought across many areas of Australia, but I am pleased to report temps have fallen and widespread rain is now expected (see below).

 

Hopefully the rain will clear for your arrival in Melbourne, Sydney etc. 

 

Again, welcome - and have a great time.

 

https://www.9news.com.au/national/queensland-weather-forecast-sunshine-coast-to-be-hit-with-200m-of-rain-nsw-thunderstorm/863cfea3-a70f-49b3-84d2-d82c9b5966cc

Thanks for the welcome - now about 1/2 way across the Tasman and it has been a tad lumpy. Started off about 45 kts close to the front, then it has eased to about 25 to 30 kts, but with a good swell still running. Have taken the occasional pounding, with the ship shuddering as it works through the seas. Doesn't bother me, but Judi ain't so happy.

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Yet again, Viking surpasses my expectations with respect to customer service.

 

In Akaroa, we booked a 6.5 hr tour to Christchurch, which would have been about 3 hrs on a bus and about 3.5 hrs in the city. Not a terrific ratio, but one we were prepared to accept, to see Christchurch, so we booked the Punting on River Avon Tour. I had noted that the tour was due back after the ship sailed, which wasn't a concern, as this was a ship' tour.

 

Evening before, on return to the cabin, in the Viking Daily, the tour was listed as only 5 hrs, departing at Noon & returning at 17:00. Was somewhat concerned that we weren't notified of the change, but too late to cancel, so we participated in the tour.

 

Yesterday, I stopped by the tour desk to chat with the young lady regarding the change and our experience on the tour. Just gave her the facts, not asking for any money back or other resolution. She thanked me for my feedback, advising they will follow up when they receive a report from the tour operator.

 

Received a phone call this morning, apologising for the experience and advising they have provided a full refund to our account, which is already posted. This is way above what I expected, as I thought a refund for the differential in tour length was reasonable.

 

Yet again, Viking goes the extra mile in providing exceptional customer service.

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On 2/4/2020 at 3:29 AM, Jim Avery said:

Haha, I always thought of pubs as "back to nature" tours.  The Duke of Wellington in Port Chalmers is a nice old place but then you have the Fortune of War and others coming up on your list.  🍺🍺

Our “Back to nature tour was awesome! Having had a discussion today with others from the ships tour, we saw way more wildlife than they did and way closer! Our guide Ben was so knowledgeable about almost everything! He wasn’t great at naming all the plants but knew where to take us to see the most wildlife. If you get to Dunedin definitely try to book with Back to nature tours. The were more than the ship tours but much, much better.

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Expecting the usual Noon announcement from the Captain regarding position, distance steamed, ave speed, distance to go, wind, etc. we got a shock.

 

Still 18 hrs out of Hobart, we got a shock, as he announced that Melbourne is cancelled and on departure Hobart, we steam directly to Sydney, arriving a day early. Just received a letter that shows the current weather in SE Australia and it doesn't look too good.

 

Based on the weather, if we went to Melbourne, it all probability we would be late into Sydney, impacting return flights for many getting off. Great decision by the Captain, who is hosting a discussion in the Theatre at 15:00.

 

No doubt he will get comments from the armchair navigators, similar to Napier, when I heard numerous comments of, "Doesn't look too bad". They obviously can't read wind speed from looking at the waves, as it was 35 to 40 kts at the time.

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29 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

Expecting the usual Noon announcement from the Captain regarding position, distance steamed, ave speed, distance to go, wind, etc. we got a shock.

 

Still 18 hrs out of Hobart, we got a shock, as he announced that Melbourne is cancelled and on departure Hobart, we steam directly to Sydney, arriving a day early. Just received a letter that shows the current weather in SE Australia and it doesn't look too good.

 

Based on the weather, if we went to Melbourne, it all probability we would be late into Sydney, impacting return flights for many getting off. Great decision by the Captain, who is hosting a discussion in the Theatre at 15:00.

 

No doubt he will get comments from the armchair navigators, similar to Napier, when I heard numerous comments of, "Doesn't look too bad". They obviously can't read wind speed from looking at the waves, as it was 35 to 40 kts at the time.

Andy you are spot on.  The armchair navigators have no concept of what it takes to maneuver a ship.  And just because you manage to get into a port does not mean you can leave easily.  When at sea, weather is the major issue.  And yes, it changes often.  In two world cruises I have never second guessed any of the Captains.  And I would, as DW says I complain.....🍺

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46 minutes ago, Kathryn Ham said:

Does anyone have the list showing all the segments of the World Cruise. I saw it very early on, but can’t find it now.

Thank you.

Kathryn

Can't comment on the 1st half, but 2nd half we have:

  • L/A to Sydney
  • Sydney to London
  • Auckland to Sydney
  • Sydney to Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong to Bombay
  • Bombay to London
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1 hour ago, Jim Avery said:

In the first half (London to LA) we had:

London/Bergen

Bergen/Montreal

Montreal/NYC

NYC/ San Juan, PR

San Juan/ Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires/ Valparaiso

Valparaiso/LA

Thank you so much. Although we are only "hopping on" in Mumbai, I've followed your comments since August. Thanks so much. Really given us something to look forward to.

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14 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Can't comment on the 1st half, but 2nd half we have:

  • L/A to Sydney
  • Sydney to London
  • Auckland to Sydney
  • Sydney to Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong to Bombay
  • Bombay to London

Thank you very much. We are only "hopping on" in Mumbai (Bombay) but looking forward to meeting you. Have enjoyed reading about your trip so far.

 

Edited by Kathryn Ham
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