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lackcreativity

Seek Out New Ports or Return to Old Favorites?

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When we made our first trip to Europe ( a Best of Italy tour)  on a land tour back in 2011, we were hooked. I could not have predicted that we would be so fortunate, but we have now completed our ninth trip (land based, river cruise, and ocean cruises), with three more trips booked with Viking. At first, we always tried to select itineraries full of new places to see, with an occasional return to places like Rome, Venice, and Barcelona as starting or ending points. There are only a few specific places still on my bucket list: Valletta, Rhodes, Istanbul, and the Douro River. To be honest, we have loved almost every single place we have visited. Some of our favorites were places we never even knew about before they appeared on a travel itinerary we had selected. (Thinking of you, Orvieto, and Tallinn, and Malaga.)

 

So far, our health and travel budget are holding out, but it is becoming harder to find itineraries that don't repeat numerous places we have been previously. How do others make these decisions? I suppose we could return to ports already visited and select different shore excursions, or try entirely new areas like the Caribbean ( not really beach lovers) or Alaska (both of us hate cold weather) or China (can't imagine being on a plane that long!) I even suppose that we could try another cruise line, but Viking really suits us perfectly.

 

Any advice from those of you who have been at this much longer than we have?

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Been to many of the World's ports, so it is challenging to find cruises with all new ports. Look for ports that I may not have visited since the 70's, seeing out how they have changed. For more recent repeats we either take a different tour, or just wander around using local transit.

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We love Europe, and have been to many places in Europe more than once (Prague is our favorite). That being said, we did Viking Orion from Auckland to Bali in March and really enjoyed it. The only thing I didn't like was the heat in Australia and Bail (and I'm from Tucson, but it was the humidity). NZ is gorgeous. The folks in both NZ and Australia were so friendly. We loved it. After the cruise we stayed in Bali on our own for 4 days at a resort right next door to Viking's post cruise resort...for about $100/night, and hired a private guide/driver for $50/day (we gave him more). Our flights were through Viking (we paid for AP) and they routed us from Bali to Hong Kong and put us up in Hong Kong for free overnight, so we had an accidental 24 hours in Hong Kong. It was a LONG flight to LA, then to Tucson, but our time back from Prague was 29 hours when you add in layovers. Can't get to Tucson from anywhere. You might consider NZ/Australia.

That being said, our next cruise is from Rome to Miami Oct 2020! Many places we've been before, but some we haven't. We are going to try to explore and see some new things. On a cruise, with only a day or two, you don't really have time to explore and see things. Private guides and tours can help you explore new things that you haven't seen before.

Whenever I'm going on a trip, I try to go for as long as possible (I'm still working). So we book long cruises or back to backs. Technically, we've only been on 2 Viking Ocean, but 8 weeks onboard. We've been on well over 50 mainstream cruises, and 3 river (Avalon), but when we discovered Viking Ocean we were hooked on their ocean product so we sacrifice a trip to do Viking Ocean.

Edited by stretchcruz

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We try to do a mix of new and old favorites. 
 

Our last Viking Ocean was Canada and NE and though we have done several of those ports before, we have never started in Montreal. We had new ports - Montreal Quebec City, Saguenay and Gaspe, and old favorites - Portland, ME (the standard itinerary is Halifax, but we went to Portland), Boston and we finished up in NYC, which is our home port. It’s a fabulous itinerary for the fall. It’s cool, but not cold. The leaves are beginning to turn and it was a nice mix of port and sea days. It was really a wonderful cruise all around!

 

 We do like the Caribbean in the spring. I like doing it in the winter, but our last one ended up with a blizzard being predicted for home. Nice not to be there, but we had some anxious moments regarding snow removal and my cat/house sitter, who is not exactly spry!

 

 We don’t do beaches, but we do like boats 😁. We generally look for Catamarans and sailing excursions. Quite often Viking does some nice cultural excursions as well. We had a catamaran sail to the Pitons in St Lucia that also took us to a plantation that grows coconuts and cacao. And we had a lovely Creole lunch. 
 

We did a photo tour in Barbados that took us off the beaten path. No need for only beach days in the Caribbean. 
 

We are doing one this spring - not Viking - shussh. It’s Celebrity. We have never sailed with them before, never booked a suite before, never sailed out of Fort Lauderdale before and all of the ports/islands are new. 
 

We have Trade Routes of the Middle Ages coming up next fall for the great mix of countries and ports. Amsterdam is always a favorite.  Other ports/countries are new (Oslo, Bergen, Le Havre, Falmouth, Porto and all the Spanish ports). We have been to Amsterdam and Portsmouth. We are also looking forward to the train rides at both ends!  We are train buffs as well!

 

And for the purpose of train rides, we are doing Swiss Alps to Paris with the Glacier Express pre cruise. It’s the only way I’m getting my husband to Paris!

 

On our wish list are the Med (Venice to Barcelona), Into the Midnight Sun and I would love to do Alaska and anything that includes NZ!

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I know we are talking cruises BUT  consider an African Safari!  Truly an amazing experience.   As soon as Viking is ready with the new ship or with another line we did Celebrity’s Expedition,  the Galapagos are a great trip too.  Easily combined with Machu Pichu.

 

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6 hours ago, Cyber Kat said:

We try to do a mix of new and old favorites. 
 

Our last Viking Ocean was Canada and NE and though we have done several of those ports before, we have never started in Montreal. We had new ports - Montreal Quebec City, Saguenay and Gaspe, and old favorites - Portland, ME (the standard itinerary is Halifax, but we went to Portland), Boston and we finished up in NYC, which is our home port. It’s a fabulous itinerary for the fall. It’s cool, but not cold. The leaves are beginning to turn and it was a nice mix of port and sea days. It was really a wonderful cruise all around!

 

 We do like the Caribbean in the spring. I like doing it in the winter, but our last one ended up with a blizzard being predicted for home. Nice not to be there, but we had some anxious moments regarding snow removal and my cat/house sitter, who is not exactly spry!

 

 We don’t do beaches, but we do like boats 😁. We generally look for Catamarans and sailing excursions. Quite often Viking does some nice cultural excursions as well. We had a catamaran sail to the Pitons in St Lucia that also took us to a plantation that grows coconuts and cacao. And we had a lovely Creole lunch. 
 

We did a photo tour in Barbados that took us off the beaten path. No need for only beach days in the Caribbean. 
 

We are doing one this spring - not Viking - shussh. It’s Celebrity. We have never sailed with them before, never booked a suite before, never sailed out of Fort Lauderdale before and all of the ports/islands are new. 
 

We have Trade Routes of the Middle Ages coming up next fall for the great mix of countries and ports. Amsterdam is always a favorite.  Other ports/countries are new (Oslo, Bergen, Le Havre, Falmouth, Porto and all the Spanish ports). We have been to Amsterdam and Portsmouth. We are also looking forward to the train rides at both ends!  We are train buffs as well!

 

And for the purpose of train rides, we are doing Swiss Alps to Paris with the Glacier Express pre cruise. It’s the only way I’m getting my husband to Paris!

 

On our wish list are the Med (Venice to Barcelona), Into the Midnight Sun and I would love to do Alaska and anything that includes NZ!

 

If you enjoy trains, Alaska might be worth the trip for the Alaskan railway alone! Add to that the spectacular Whitepass-Yukon railway out of Skagway. We just took the highly touted Oslo to Bergen and Flam trains in Norway this past summer and while they were extremely nice, they did not compare to Alaska ( in our humble option).

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9 hours ago, Cyber Kat said:

We have Trade Routes of the Middle Ages coming up next fall for the great mix of countries and ports. Amsterdam is always a favorite.  Other ports/countries are new (Oslo, Bergen, Le Havre, Falmouth, Porto and all the Spanish ports). We have been to Amsterdam and Portsmouth. We are also looking forward to the train rides at both ends!  We are train buffs as well!

 

And for the purpose of train rides, we are doing Swiss Alps to Paris with the Glacier Express pre cruise. It’s the only way I’m getting my husband to Paris!

 

On our wish list are the Med (Venice to Barcelona), Into the Midnight Sun and I would love to do Alaska and anything that includes NZ!

Cyber Kat, 

I seems we have similar taste, as we just did Trade Routes last fall, and we are doing Paris to the Swiss Alps this spring. Maybe the Caribbean is not just for beach goers, and all of the ports would be new for us. The extra bonus for a cruise out of San Juan would be the nonstop flight of 3.5 hours from our local airport. Thanks for the advice.

 

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8 minutes ago, Baron Barracuda said:

When visiting old familiar ports try to sail on new (at least to you) ships or cruise lines.  

That would work if we could try a new cruise line. We have sailed on three different Viking ships so far, but as they are nearly identical ( in a very good way ), that doesn't provide much in the way of variety. As for the new cruise line, I might be willing to give one a try, but my husband is totally brand loyal and I'm not sure it's worth the effort needed to persuade him!

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On 11/10/2019 at 2:01 PM, lackcreativity said:

When we made our first trip to Europe ( a Best of Italy tour)  on a land tour back in 2011, we were hooked. I could not have predicted that we would be so fortunate, but we have now completed our ninth trip (land based, river cruise, and ocean cruises), with three more trips booked with Viking. At first, we always tried to select itineraries full of new places to see, with an occasional return to places like Rome, Venice, and Barcelona as starting or ending points. There are only a few specific places still on my bucket list: Valletta, Rhodes, Istanbul, and the Douro River. To be honest, we have loved almost every single place we have visited. Some of our favorites were places we never even knew about before they appeared on a travel itinerary we had selected. (Thinking of you, Orvieto, and Tallinn, and Malaga.)

 

So far, our health and travel budget are holding out, but it is becoming harder to find itineraries that don't repeat numerous places we have been previously. How do others make these decisions? I suppose we could return to ports already visited and select different shore excursions, or try entirely new areas like the Caribbean ( not really beach lovers) or Alaska (both of us hate cold weather) or China (can't imagine being on a plane that long!) I even suppose that we could try another cruise line, but Viking really suits us perfectly.

 

Any advice from those of you who have been at this much longer than we have?

 

Great topic!  We have faced the same situation - want some variety but still enjoy Viking.

Thus - we now tend to look at some "unique" cruises.  We've taken the Barcelona to Copenhagen cruise on the Jupiter - absolutely fascinating and some great new ports!  We are doing the Jupiter in South America shortly around the Horn - an all new adventure!  And then doing the Midnight Sun to far north Norway in June!  and trying out a Transatlantic from Rome to LIsbon to Miami in October next year. (some port repeats but the experience of a TA and sea days sounded interesting!).

Keep looking and enjoying it all as long as the budget and health hold up!!

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Just a note about Alaska: the high temperature in Juneau from June -September ranges from low to mid-60s.

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7 minutes ago, Krisval said:

Just a note about Alaska: the high temperature in Juneau from June -September ranges from low to mid-60s.

Alaska can really vary.  Flew into Fairbanks a few years ago on 4th of July and it was 95 degrees.  By the time we worked our way down to the coast it was below 60 with a cold wind.  Needed my winter coat.

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Agree, those temps can definitely fluctuate. I found the ones I listed as an average- I’m packing for best and worst scenario!

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I'm with the little bit of both contingent!

 

If we are booking a short junket, it is probably someplace familiar because we are looking for relaxation and getting away more than we are in chalking up "must-sees." Usually Europe,  definitely Viking, usually booked at the last minute and GTY (because we can put up with most anything for a week.

 

Longer trips tend to be bucket list trips, places we have not yet visited but would like to see. Booked well in advance and in the cabin of our choice.

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Thanks for all the opinions offered in response to my question. It is becoming clear to me that my concern about returning to places we have already visited is unnecessary. If we enjoyed a place on a first visit, why wouldn't we enjoy it a second time? We have been to Venice three times, and each time we found something new to see. We have been to Boston a dozen times, and love every visit. ( That might have something to do with the fact that our son moved there for grad school and stayed!) 

 

All of our significant vacations so far have been to Europe, which I just love. But if I decide to branch out and try the Caribbean with Viking, maybe we will love that too. I do wonder about what is a rather expensive gamble, but at the very least, it will still be a Viking cruise, and I know we like those. I'm still not sure about the Alaska trip. I know most who have gone there rave about it, but even if the temperatures are tolerable, I can't imagine going somewhere on purpose that has snow as one of it's main attractions.

 

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Don't really mind at all where the ship goes, now that we've discovered Viking Oceans!  In most ports there are plenty of new things to see and do,  and we will stay onboard at places we've been to in the past which we either didn't particularly like (most Caribbean islands) or which are overrun by cruise ship passengers (Dubrovnik springs to mind).  

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3 hours ago, Jammy Bun said:

Don't really mind at all where the ship goes, now that we've discovered Viking Oceans!  In most ports there are plenty of new things to see and do,  and we will stay onboard at places we've been to in the past which we either didn't particularly like (most Caribbean islands) or which are overrun by cruise ship passengers (Dubrovnik springs to mind).  

I'm glad to know that you love Viking as much as we do, but I hope I never encounter a place I wouldn't want to get off the ship to visit again. The only one that comes close is Katakolon, the port for Olympia. The first visit to Olympia was interesting, but not enough to go see it again. Even so, there was a rather pretty little dockside area we didn't explore on our first visit so I would at least get off the ship to visit that. 

 

As far as the crowds, we travel in early spring or in the fall to try to mitigate that somewhat. Even so, I can't blame other people from wanting to see the same wonderful places we do, so I just try to make the best of it.

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