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


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Ellie - luck was a factor, but there’s a lot more to Viking’s outcome than luck. Based on my one Princess cruise vs. 2 Viking ocean:

- 4 times as many guests on Princess.

- crowds everywhere often lost. Worse than a New York subway at rush hour.

- crowded tenders with people who refuse to split their group.

- kid’s running rampant with little supervision from their inebriated parents.

- no monitoring of hygiene at restaurants.

 

Anyone have more to add?

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3 hours ago, ellie1145 said:

 


In reality, no matter how good the hygiene is onboard a ship nothing can stop this vicious virus if someone onboard has got it. It is rather naive to think that Viking, alone, foiled the virus. They didn’t.

Surely, rather than it being Viking’s wonderful hygiene, you were just downright lucky that nobody onboard had contracted the virus earlier in the cruise.

Hygiene on most cruise ships is superb, but ships like Diamond Princess just got unlucky. Despite all their hygiene efforts a passenger on a previous cruise had unknowingly contracted the virus and spread it around before anyone realised the severity of the outbreak. Then the Japanese authorities made the most calamitous decision to keep passengers onboard instead of letting them go home immediately and be quarantined there. It could just as easily have been the Viking ship that ended up being a floating Petri dish.

Thinking that you are safe on any ship because of their wonderful hygiene is a worrying concept. Whatever hygiene methods are put in place it only takes ONE asymptomatic passenger, or one passenger who is incubating the virus unknowingly, for it to spread like wildfire throughout the ship, good hygiene or not.

As for saying that all other cruise ships are floating Petri dishes but Viking ships aren’t, that is naive in the extreme. If one of the passengers had contracted the virus at the first few stops then I am 100% sure that Viking ships would have been just as much of a Petri dish as the others. You simply can’t beat this virulent virus.

Unless of course Viking have found a way to ensure the virus does not get onto their ships, or they have some magical way of destroying it before it can infect anyone onboard, or they could ensure 100% of passengers or crew did not have it before they embarked, then the concept of Viking ships being the only ones never to get Covid-19 is pie in the sky, and very dangerous too. It gives a false sense of security.

Viking got lucky. And so did all onboard.

I wish you well, glad you are home safe, and feel sorry that you didn’t complete the world cruise. But you should forever thank your lucky stars that you had a very lucky escape, and one which might have been very different if Lady Luck had not been on your side.


Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

 

Having just disembarked Viking Sun, where we enjoyed many days in a virus-free bubble, I will agree that in addition to hygiene standards and Viking policies, we also got lucky, especially at the initial onset. However "Luck" wasn't the determining factor that kept us safe.

 

Having worked on cruise ships and cruised extensively for 40 years, I question your statement that hygiene on most cruise ships is superb. Yes, many cruise lines would like you to believe that, but in practice how clean is the ship, especially behind the scenes. I can provide a couple of Princess & Viking examples:

  • Cabin Stewards - on our last Princess Cruise our cabin steward had 22 cabins to complete on his own. They had a minimum number, but could bid for more. How well were they cleaned, by a crew member working 7 days a week for 9 months? With Viking our cabin steward had 14 cabins and also had an assistant, who cleaned the toilets. With similar size cabins, those on Viking were cleaned to a much higher standard
  • Ventilation systems - how often and how thoroughly are they cleaned? On previous Princess World Cruise, DW had to change filters on her breathing machine every couple of weeks, on Viking she changed it once. We were aboard the Viking ship only 1 week less than the Princess ship. On the Viking Sun, we had significantly less cruise ship crud than on Princess 
  • Crew conditions - Companies can have great policies, but they are only as good as the crew, and that is impacted by their terms & conditions. The Viking crew have vastly superior hours of work, length of contracts and salary than Princess and it certainly shows in the quality of their work
  • General cleanliness - having spent almost 4 months on Viking Sun it was spotless. Having a little experience doing ship inspections, I routinely do spot checks around the ship, looking in unusual places. On Sea Princess, on our last WC, the normal places were clean, but they missed lots of spots. 

While hygiene won't guarantee containing a virus, it is a critical component, as lack of hygiene certainly contributes to the spread.

 

One of the key factors in the Viking Sun remaining virus free, was decisions made by Viking Corporate, some of which were tough decisions. By the end of January we were already receiving amendments to the itinerary and before arrival in Sydney we had a 2nd major itinerary change that cancelled the entire SE Asia portion of the cruise. How many other ships were still operating in SE Asia?

 

No passengers or crew were permitted to board in Sydney, if they came from, or had travelled through SE Asia. Temperature checks were initiated on everyone coming aboard the vessel. In Brisbane, the local entertainers were unable to board as one of them had a temperature. Again, temperature checks aren't infallible, but they are another layer of protection in preventing the "Swiss Cheese Model" where the holes align.

 

By 1st week in March, Viking cancelled all persons boarding the Viking Sun in Bali. Unfortunately, some passengers had already arrived in Bali and were refused boarding. On board the ship the crew attended mandatory twice daily temperature checks and passengers once per day. In Bali, we received 50 new crew, but they were quarantined ashore before boarding and they were further quarantined on board, before commencing their duties. After Suez Canal, the Captain and all Bridge Team in contact with the pilot were quarantined on board, with the Staff captain and others running the ship.

 

So yes, we did have some luck that nobody boarded in Auckland in January, before the scope of the pandemic was fully known, but after that Viking took all reasonable measures to keep the ship virus free.

 

How did Princess match - having the Diamond incident in January, I would have thought the Corporate response would have gone into over-drive, but sadly not. They appeared to have continued normal operations well into March, so it is probably little wonder their ships were impacted, while Viking wasn't. BTW - the probability of 6 ships remaining virus free requires more than being "Lucky"

 

While my experience was only on Viking Sun, hopefully others can discuss their experiences on other ships.

 

 

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Obviously you have considerable experience and of course your points are very valid.

 

By the sound of it, Viking certainly made some good decisions early on, which aided their coronavirus free status. I’m delighted that they, at least, took action early on. Pity some governments took a different stance.

 

My only point is that with the best will in the world, IF someone HAD boarded the ship displaying no symptoms but highly infectious, there is nothing in the world which would have entirely stopped others catching it. You might have stood beside this person in the Embarkation lounge, or sat next to them in the theatre, or they could have been on the table beside you in the dining room.  You would have been completely unaware that they were infectious, as they would have been. No amount of cleaning or hand washing would stop you breathing in the virus, unless you were to walk around in medically approved PPE.

 

But of course their high standards of hygiene etc might have prevented ship wide spread, and perhaps enabled them to keep an outbreak under some sort of control. 

 

This is such vicious and highly contagious virus  that it only takes one person.

 

 

Edited by ellie1145
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Totally agree that luck was involved, in addition to the other measures, especially early on.

 

In Auckland, we did have a number of new pax board. I believe they were all from Australia or NZ, where I don't believe the virus had hit by then. At that time we were not privy to any steps being taken, so although it was low risk, I agree we were lucky nobody boarded with the virus.

 

By late January, other ships (Diamond) operating in SE Asia had already received infected pax, but many of them kept on operating for many more weeks.

 

We are definitely happy we ceased sailing with Princess and opted for Viking, as they are a vastly superior company and we will gladly cruise with them again.

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8 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

We are definitely happy we ceased sailing with Princess and opted for Viking, as they are a vastly superior company and we will gladly cruise with them again.


Amen. I had no cruising experience prior to my Viking river in 2015. Next year was Princess as part of a group of 3 couples. Once with Princess was enough.

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19 minutes ago, Squawkman said:


Amen. I had no cruising experience prior to my Viking river in 2015. Next year was Princess as part of a group of 3 couples. Once with Princess was enough.

Sadly, I'm a slow learner, as it took me almost 40 years to see the light of day and I even worked for them and so did our son.😁

 

At least my excuse is when I worked for P&O/Princess, they were a great company with top notch benefits. However, that changed when son worked for them. Most likely they haven't improved since he quit back in 2013.

Edited by Heidi13
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Facebook is being mean to me.  Right now they are posting "memories" from our 3 week cruise 3 years ago, Barcelona to Stockholm.  It was our first Viking and after over 50 cruises on other cruise lines (including being Elite on Princess and Diamond on RCI) we were hooked. Last month, when the quarantine hit, they were posting my "memories" from last year's Auckland to Bali 5 week trip. Our next is Rome to Miami in Oct. We'll see. But totally agree with Andy. The Viking service and cleanliness is unsurpassed. We will only cruise Viking Ocean from now on, and we decided that 3 years ago! On Princess we found wallets under our bed (with money, we returned it), clothes in a couple of drawers, shaving cream and razor in a medicine cabinet. And those were on different cruises. It's Viking from now on.

Edited by stretchcruz
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Dobie---that Barcelona to Stockholm was a fantastic cruise and our introduction to Viking Ocean!!!

 

Jim Avery...I think I remember you did not have glowing accounts of the South America parts of your second WC.  Would you recommend against investing  time and money in the Buenos Aries to Santiago itinerary.  We have seen a lot of Peru and did the Carribean/Amazon Trip.  Were there landscapes and nature or really mostly  large run city after city?

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47 minutes ago, stretchcruz said:

Facebook is being mean to me.  Right now they are posting "memories" from our 3 week cruise 3 years ago, Barcelona to Stockholm.  It was our first Viking and after over 50 cruises on other cruise lines (including being Elite on Princess and Diamond on RCI) we were hooked. Last month, when the quarantine hit, they were posting my "memories" from last year's Auckland to Bali 5 week trip. Our next is Rome to Miami in Oct. We'll see. But totally agree with Andy. The Viking service and cleanliness is unsurpassed. We will only cruise Viking Ocean from now on, and we decided that 3 years ago! On Princess we found wallets under our bed (with money, we returned it), clothes in a couple of drawers, shaving cream and razor in a medicine cabinet. And those were on different cruises. It's Viking from now on.

We have only done one Princess, “Inside  Passage” Alaskan Cruise, and among lots of crowds, with kids everywhere, not the cleanest Jr. Suite (or whatever size room it was) and communal restaurant,  lots of mediocre food (except for the private restaurants),  people hawking artwork, noisy casino,  etc., we decided there has to be something better out there. 
Our Princess “cleanliness experience“ never came close to what Viking does.

In October, when we were on the Sun, the crew  were sanitizing our patio, washing windows, our steward left us with clean mirrors, when walking the promenade, you could smell fresh paint, hand railings were always being cleaned, etc. 
We discovered Viking Ocean, and we too “drank the Kool-Aid“ 😌
While we have booked four previous VO cruises, We have only taken two. (Two cruises cancelled by Viking to Cuba & our May02 Cruise). 
Each Viking Cruise  we did  take was magnificent. 
The ships are extraordinarily  clean, their crew is remarkable in what they do, and their everyday friendly demeanor, it’s an adults-only atmosphere, we never felt crowded, the food was more than nice, and as a company, Viking is a wonderful organization. 
Sorry I’m biased and have to say, Princess is no where  Close to being in the same league as Viking😌
 

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54 minutes ago, deec said:

Dobie---that Barcelona to Stockholm was a fantastic cruise and our introduction to Viking Ocean!!!

 

 

Dee, it sure was!!! Even crossing the Bay of Biscay was fun! And the CD, Aaron, was incredible. That cruise sold us. We had a future cruise booked on either RCI or Princess, don't remember which, and contacted our TA while onboard to cancel it. Booked Auckland to Bali at that time. 

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On 4/15/2020 at 6:12 PM, Ragnar Danneskjold said:


Hi Larry1365,

 

We are doing long range planing on a WC.  We have sailed on Regent before, but not on Viking.  Could you please do a very short compare and contrast between Viking and Regent for WCs?  Assume same level of cabin.  We are considering both for a WC.

 

Thanks in advance from a fellow SoCal’er (San Clemente)!

 

Ragnar “World Bound” D.

Ragnar --

 

I am sorry, I was writing a detailed reply to your request for my opinions and comparative observations regarding our Regent World Cruises (in 2007 and 2010) and the Viking 2018 Inaugural World Cruise. I was in the midst of writing a detailed response, but was not smart enough to compose in Word instead of directly on the Board before posting. I lost that text.

 

In conclusion, all three were great fun. We found that shipboard life is almost as big a factor as the memorable places you visit. We were blessed with wonderful crews. They were led by the beloved Capt. Dag (and his serendipitous events) on both Regent WCs, with Jamie (CD) and Dana Logan. On the Viking WC, Capt. Atle Knudsen and Lara became good friends and Heather Clancy (CD) added so much to the trip in various ways – operatic concerts, atrium concerts, formation and performances of a passenger choir, and leading church services.

 

In 2018, I personally thought Regent had priced itself out of consideration and Viking added a number of incentives to join its inaugural cruise -- ending up being cheaper than either of the Regent cruises.

 

We are not ready for a full WC again; but, all being the same, I’d travel on either ship or line again. But all is not going to be the same. It’s going to take time to figure out what the "new normal" is going to be and our confidence level as travelers.

Stay safe and healthy.

 

Larry

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We where on the 29 run in Dec doing Santiago to LA. We have also done a previous  24 day run in the Caribbean with Viking...…..Totally sold.

Background is we have done 105 cruise on ALL the major lines. Diamond plus...Elite Plus and every other category you can think. 

We have also done about 6 Crystal and Regent cruises and the bottom line is "bang for buck" no one can beat Viking for service , quality and amenities.

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1 hour ago, Jukebo1x said:

We have only done one Princess, “Inside  Passage” Alaskan Cruise, and among lots of crowds, with kids everywhere, not the cleanest Jr. Suite (or whatever size room it was) and communal restaurant,  lots of mediocre food (except for the private restaurants),  people hawking artwork, noisy casino,  etc., we decided there has to be something better out there. 
Our Princess “cleanliness experience“ never came close to what Viking does.

In October, when we were on the Sun, the crew  were sanitizing our patio, washing windows, our steward left us with clean mirrors, when walking the promenade, you could smell fresh paint, hand railings were always being cleaned, etc. 
We discovered Viking Ocean, and we too “drank the Kool-Aid“ 😌
While we have booked four previous VO cruises, We have only taken two. (Two cruises cancelled by Viking to Cuba & our May02 Cruise). 
Each Viking Cruise  we did  take was magnificent. 
The ships are extraordinarily  clean, their crew is remarkable in what they do, and their everyday friendly demeanor, it’s an adults-only atmosphere, we never felt crowded, the food was more than nice, and as a company, Viking is a wonderful organization. 
Sorry I’m biased and have to say, Princess is no where  Close to being in the same league as Viking😌
 

P.s. we have scheduled two more VO cruises for 2021😌

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@Heidi13 thanks for sharing all the details of how Viking managed things starting in Sydney. I've spent time guessing what Viking did vis-a-vis new passengers etc. Was able to glean bits and pieces but not the whole. Thank you for being the voice of real experience. 

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On 4/19/2020 at 1:39 PM, deec said:

Dobie---that Barcelona to Stockholm was a fantastic cruise and our introduction to Viking Ocean!!!

 

Jim Avery...I think I remember you did not have glowing accounts of the South America parts of your second WC.  Would you recommend against investing  time and money in the Buenos Aries to Santiago itinerary.  We have seen a lot of Peru and did the Carribean/Amazon Trip.  Were there landscapes and nature or really mostly  large run city after city?

Hi Dee,

Hope y'all are doing well and staying safe.  Travel seems far, far away at the moment.  You are asking if we would recommend investing the time, effort, and money to go back to many of the areas we recently visited on the London/LA portion of the world cruise so here goes.  I had to think about this a bit as a number of people on this board have posted that the South America voyages were their "best trip ever".  I  am sure they were.  In no way am I intending to demean or in any other way disagree or take away from another's experience.  It is your opinion just as mine is simply that.  My opinion.  Yes, my original posts during the voyage were less than "wow".  Overall we found everywhere we went in South America rather disappointing.  Mainly I am amazed how their governments/regimes can take a huge continent, full of beautiful spaces and rich with resources and turn it into third world cities.  Time after time guides took us to the evil Colonial Era buildings for photo ops.  We realized those were mostly the only interesting buildings in most towns.  Lots of slums, garbage, graffiti and crime.  After a seagoing career and lots of personal travel including two Viking WCs, I have been to over two thirds of the countries out there.  Possibly I have just been exposed to too many third world dumps full of garbage, slums, graffiti, and crime.  We have come to the decision that going to a few more third world places simply because they are on the list of places yet seen is no longer for us.  When this crazy is over we are intending to spend our travel funds going to places we know are nice, returning to enjoyable, beautiful, fun places.  Again, just our opinion but to answer your original question no we would not go to the effort, time, and cost to return to any of the places we visited on the recent WC.  The Inaugural world cruise we shared with y'all was fantastic.  Yes we went to some dumps but we also had some of the world's most spectacular places on our visit list too.  One of our fellow passengers was also on the 245 day cruise with us.  You will remember her, tall slim, long dark hair and she and her husband ate lunch most days at a table in the Aquavit Bar.  Anyway, we were chatting one day prior to arriving in NYC and they told us they were disembarking in NYC and re embarking in LA.  When we asked why, she responded: " everyone should see South America.......Once". We understand fully what she meant.  Hope this helps and again, not trying to insult anyone else's great experiences.  Hope to sail with y'all again some day...🍸

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Thanks, Jim....maybe we will do this "once!"   I have vouchers burning a hole in my imagination and dreaming of WHEN!  Pat wants to go to Antarctica.  I hate being COLD! 

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35 minutes ago, deec said:

Thanks, Jim....maybe we will do this "once!"   I have vouchers burning a hole in my imagination and dreaming of WHEN!  Pat wants to go to Antarctica.  I hate being COLD! 

I hate to jump in uninvited, but we did last year’s 2019 WC, which went part way around South America, and I have a few other observations to share (and since you and Jim Avery provided so much info for our WC on your inaugural WC I almost feel I know you). I will say that I really did not like Brazil—none of it.  Rio was very disappointing.  Like Jim, we found the big cities in SA dirty, unsafe, and boring (after living for 40 years in Los Angeles, big cities don’t hold a lot of allure for us).  That being said, we didn’t spend a lot of time in them.  But we just loved Uruguay.  We walked through Montevideo on our own, which we enjoyed, and then went into the country to a winery, which we enjoyed.  We LOVED Punta del Este, and went out to see seals there, but I don’t think future cruises go there.  It is just beautiful!! We enjoyed Port Stanley, which was cut from two days to one because of high winds, which meant we missed the Penguins.  But that gave us two days in Ushuaia which was wonderful (and will almost get you to Antarctica). Going around Cape Horn was interesting, as was cruising the Beagle Channel.  We did see penguins in the Magdelana Islands on a spectacular day trip.  But the Chilean fiords were a highlight of the trip.  I’d go again just to see them again.  We went as far as Valparaiso, which I hated, and we didn’t go into Santiago, which perhaps we should have done.  So I would vote for the BA to Santiago trip at least once!  Next year we are doing the Galapagos expedition, so on to Peru and Ecuador.  But I must agree with Jim, going back to see beautiful old favorites seems like a lovely plan.  We were just talking last night about renting a house and bicycles in Copenhagen for a couple of weeks some time!

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thanks for your insights too!  We were hoping for maybe the transatlantic from Barcelona in November and then the SA but I think it will have to be 2021!  I just read read that ( did not verify yet). that Spain will be closed to tourism until Christmas. 

Maybe we will have to wait for the vaccine!

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34 minutes ago, deec said:

thanks for your insights too!  We were hoping for maybe the transatlantic from Barcelona in November and then the SA but I think it will have to be 2021!  I just read read that ( did not verify yet). that Spain will be closed to tourism until Christmas. 

Maybe we will have to wait for the vaccine!

 Yes, we were supposed to fly to Barcelona tomorrow.  I was really looking forward to that trip.  And I’m sure our August Alaska trip is off, where I was FINALLY going to get to go To Denali. But the Orion is still sitting off the coast of Australia, as it has been for days.  Hoping for Greek Odyssey in February!

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1 hour ago, deec said:

Thanks, Jim....maybe we will do this "once!"   I have vouchers burning a hole in my imagination and dreaming of WHEN!  Pat wants to go to Antarctica.  I hate being COLD! 

 

To each his or her own!  So let me offer a different take on South America.

 

I first have to confess my bias.  Before this year, I'd made four land trips to the continent, from Ecuador in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south.  I've been to 17,200 feet on Cotopaxi volcano, sweated in the upper Amazon jungle, trekked through Torres Del Paine Nat'l Park in Patagonia, boated on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, soaked under the Iguazu Falls, and climbed around Machu Picchu in Peru.  I love South America!

 

I enjoyed the cities, too, with the notable exception of Lima.  Quito, La Paz, Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Rio -- all memorable places to visit.

 

Last month, my wife and I cruised with Viking from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires.  I saw some old haunts (Valpo, Puerto Varas, Punta Arenas, and Buenos Aires) and went to places I hadn't seen before (Ushuaia, Cape Horn, Port Stanley, and Montevideo).  Great trip!  We were lucky to sail when we did -- we barely made it out of Buenos Aires before Argentina closed the airport.  What an experience. 

 

I haven't been to the Galapagos yet -- that will be my sixth trip to South America!    

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3 hours ago, deec said:

Thanks, Jim....maybe we will do this "once!"   I have vouchers burning a hole in my imagination and dreaming of WHEN!  Pat wants to go to Antarctica.  I hate being COLD! 

 

You should go. We only did Antarctica as a "drive-by" but really enjoyed it. Pretty amazing. Ushuaia is certainly on the list of the most picturesque places I've been to. Loved it there. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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We've done Rio back when it was a lovely place to visit, and up the coast back to Miami.  We've done Miami through the canal down to Lima (loved Peru including Lima, by the way, but we had private guides to help us.)  I'd love to do Lima or Santiago to Buenos Aires at some point, not sure about actual Antartica.  Then again, we're not into cold weather, so that might be a sticking point.

 

South America is just so much easier to get to, for a North American.  No jet lag to deal with.  We spent time in Ecuador separately, and we really enjoyed that country.

 

I would go back to Lima in a flash, at the right time of year.

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