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Which Boeing Polaris (business) seats are best for couples?


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4 minutes ago, BSinPNS said:

Good idea to book your seats now, but airline equipment may change by February as the August schedules are just now firming up.  Check back often.  

 

That is excellent advice. In "normal" times, I have found American will change flights "several" times, especially if I book way in advance as I am prone to do for big vacations. I lost track of how many changes American made to our flight reservations for our April 2020 Grand European Tour river cruise. It turned out not to matter, of course, since the cruise was cancelled.

 

My wife is highly amused by the frequency with which I check our reservations, but really it is only every week or ten days. Part of the reason for that is when they make a change to operating times or equipment, the computer - bless its little silicon heart - will automatically adjust your schedule, and often it does crazy things! So when I see something like that, I do a little research, then call Viking Air (or sometimes the airline) to request a change. Since the change originates with the airline and I have a reservation, there are often more preferable flight options available (not limited to what Viking has contracted for - that's why I do my research).

 

So, yes, check back often.

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I've been keeping tabs on the flight itineraries I like. Weird how sometimes expedia will say stuff like "only 4 seats left" which turns out to be totally false. Then, of course, the prices jump all over the place. I've always been amazed how sometimes they'll jack the prices way up for just a few days (trying to sucker people in I suppose who think they'd better grab it for fear of going even HIGHER) and then a few days later, back lower than it was even before. It's a crap shoot as to when is the 'best' time to buy although I know there are general recommendations on how many months out for both domestic and international flights is the most cost effective time. I'm just more concerned about this since I'm talking about business - which has so fewer seats than other classes. I'd just like to get it done and then see what happens. 

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OTJ, I am no expert with Viking - still trying to embark on our first cruise - but my experience with Viking Air Plus has been that the prices for Business are attractive, and the flight and seat selection have been satisfactory. Aside - I do recognize that Viking does not have unrestricted access to all flights on a carrier's schedule, due to contractual limitations, but I have been able to choose pretty much whatever I want; the only hitch I found was in making a connection at LAX (I wanted it to be a longer connection time), but airline schedule changes resolved that issue neatly (see previous post). The restrictions I have found relate to connecting flights as well as availability: Viking has access to a limited number of seats on any flight.

 

The other thing I have found is that availability changes, and sometimes it is beneficial to the traveler. For instance, for our January cruise, Viking Air Plus could not get us a satisfactory connection via LAX so I accepted a routing via ORD (NOT my favorite airport). A few weeks later I called back and the connection via LAX was available so Viking was able to make the change at no charge. Once I get exactly what I want (and am confident of our choice) I request Viking to ticket our flights. That should lock in flight and seat assignments ("should" implies that the airline may still make a change, but refer to previous post about changes). If the airline makes significant schedule changes after that, you can probably request alternate flights without having to pay the Viking change fee (I have done this).

 

One final point - my flight decisions are driven mainly by a preference for convenience. So, I avoid early morning departures, do stopovers on some routes (stopping overnight at LHR before going on to Barcelona, for instance), and I like the seamless concept of having Viking responsible for all aspects of our vacation. Each of those criteria have value to us; your results may vary.

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I must say that my experience with prices thus far is totally different. There is no comparison with Viking's business class cost with what I can do on my own - almost $2000 higher. Then, if you thew in the deviation fees yet it makes it even a bit more. I'm still really torn on all this and am tempted to just book flights on my own and take our chances. 

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44 minutes ago, What was that? said:

my experience with Viking Air Plus has been that the prices for Business are attractive

 

I'm finding the exact opposite. I can get the flights and seats I want for about $2000 less than what Viking is quoting, which is why I'm so torn on all this. It totally goes against me to pay that much more and, if it weren't for this virus situation, I would probably not even consider booking the flights through any cruise line unless the price was more competitive. I've hardly ever booked flights through a travel-related company. If I can't at least book the seats I'm looking at right away, I'm not content. It there was no provision for transferring canceled flight money into the risk-free guarantee total, then I'd definitely do it on my own. That provision is the only thing steering me towards doing it through Viking. 

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50 minutes ago, What was that? said:

 Viking has access to a limited number of seats on any flight.

 

      

 

Exactly...another thing that has me really concerned. We'll probably all wind up not even going on this trip anyway, at least not as scheduled. First the US has to get its act together on the social distancing and masking so that our numbers start to go down and, in turn, so that other countries might consider us worthy to visit them. So far we're not doing so good. 

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35 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

 

I'm finding the exact opposite.

My experience has been that Viking prices are far better than American Airlines offers on their website. "List price" for round-trip business-class travel from Reno to European destinations is in the $6,000-$7,500 range, and our cost via Viking has been $2,000 (VR Grand European) and $4,000 (VO Iberian Explorer B2B Northern Lights). I did not look at other airlines due to my preference for American, so I cannot speak for them. Those are all per person fares, and the Viking cost is the increment above what Viking includes in the cruise fare.

 

As I said before, your results may vary. I would also add: they probably will.

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2 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

 

Exactly...another thing that has me really concerned. We'll probably all wind up not even going on this trip anyway, at least not as scheduled. First the US has to get its act together on the social distancing and masking so that our numbers start to go down and, in turn, so that other countries might consider us worthy to visit them. So far we're not doing so good. 

Let me know, please, when the US gets its act together (lol)

Right now we can't go to Europe. January may seem possible but if there is another spike, we're done.

The silver lining is if Viking cancels the cruise and they offer 125% voucher, the 25% above cost should cover the bump up to business class seating. Our cruise was cancelled and we're using the 25% to pay for Viking economy air, and bumping up with points. 

Hopefully, this is all speculative and we'll all be cruising as planned. 

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2 minutes ago, travelnn said:

Hopefully, this is all speculative and we'll all be cruising as planned. 

That's the spirit. Plan as if it will all occur as scheduled. Just recognize that a postponement is possible.

My glass is half full - I just celebrated completing my ninth year of retirement and refuse to let minor issues - like not being able to cruise - reduce my enjoyment of life.

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28 minutes ago, What was that? said:

 Plan as if it will all occur as scheduled.

 

Except that the planning is a bit different - I've never in my life planned for a trip from the perspective of NOT going (other than protecting oneself for the possibility of sickness, etc. and that's easy to do with trip cancellation insurance.) But you can't insure and get a refund for 'not feeling comfortable enough to travel'. "Cancel for any reason" works - at least for 75% back IF it is done before final payment. I'm too late for that. So the next best thing is, as travelnn indicates, to have the money go into a voucher so at least it's not lost. All these types of issues - especially this thing with the flights (which is driving me absolutely crazy) requires a different approach - again - from the perspective of trying to have the least possible financial exposure. Under "normal" circumstances, I'd not be concerned at all - would book the flights and done.

 

Sometimes I think it'd be far less worry to just cancel / reschedule everything at this point well into next year or even beyond, then just sit back and wait for the dust to settle and all the cobwebs to get cleared out with regards to whatever the new procedures and policies will be put in place.

 

As things are going with the virus - plus the issue of the Venus maybe not even being ready to sail, my prediction is that this January trip has a 50/50 chance of going on schedule at best - it at all even. If it goes as planned, I also unfortunately rate our chances of feeling comfortable enough to go - in the likely scenario of no vaccine or treatment for general public yet - as probably 25% at most. So may well be agonizing over these flights for nothing. I can't quite see us - after having done NO travel whatsoever since December and hardly even venturing out in public since March - making this huge quantum leap from being very cautious and not going hardly anywhere to all of a sudden spending 3 weeks in Europe with lots of sightseeing and all the public exposure that goes with it. 3 weeks of travel, in and of itself, is long for us - let alone something this extensive. So...yeah...I'm quite honestly probably just hoping against hope and not being very realistic. Maybe better not to book ANY flights until fall (though I worry about what seats might be left) and see how things are going - perhaps even hear something further from Viking by then - then make a decision. That way I will have saved the extra $6-8k that I'm thinking about spending for B-class flights. ARGGHHH!!! This is maddening....and yet I'm one that is typically very optimistic and enthusiastic over any trip. But all these uncertainties and unknown variables is like a constant weight hanging over me. Some of my trepidation may well be associated with my having been a teacher. I was pretty obsessed (sort of had to be) with planning, planning, planning - not just for a few days ahead but for weeks and months a lot of the time. I needed to know where I was headed next in order to know what I wanted my kids to accomplish. Oh well, enough. 

 

WWT - we must have both retired in '11, so I too just had my 9th year as of last month. Agreed that we need to not let these travel issues upset the whole apple cart although I've found some of this pretty hard to deal with and probably am on some sort of borderline depression regarding the prospect of future travel. I'm actually more heartbroken over probably having to can a fly / drive trip that I spent well over a year planning for that is scheduled for October. While we truly enjoy cruising, those driving DIY types of trips are what we enjoy doing the most. I love pouring over the maps, planning routes, picking out and booking hotels along the way, etc. Part of the reason we DID retire early (with penalties) IS so that we could travel - and have done a fair amount since '13 (when my wife retired), but now - it may well come about that some of what we most enjoyed about cruising may never be the same again. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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41 minutes ago, travelnn said:

 

Right now we can't go to Europe. January may seem possible but if there is another spike, we're done.

 

 Agree completely. The January trip still falls during flu season - NOone has even the remotest idea what to expect with a possible resurgence of COVID along with the flu. We haven't been down that road yet. Like I said in my rather long epistle...50/50 chance at best. And, if the US keeps spiking on and on - countries (that are doing better) won't want us. I'd absolutely hate to wind up being quarantined either on land or (worse) on a ship. Gosh..I better quit or I'll wind up talking myself into canceling this trip by tomorrow!!! 

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19 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

WWT - we must have both retired in '11, so I too just had my 9th year as of last month.

Well, Damn! I mis-spoke - it was my TENTH anniversary, having retired 30 June 2010. We moved to Reno in 2011, so that was clouding my judgement. Maybe there is such a thing as a "brain cloud" (c.f. "Joe Versus the Volcano").

And congrats to you and your DW - you're living the life!

 

It sounds like you are on the brink of a decision - choose the path that gives you the greatest peace, brother.

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37 minutes ago, What was that? said:

refuse to let minor issues - like not being able to cruise - reduce my enjoyment of life.

 

This is a good thought. I lump cruising, however, under the larger umbrella of 'traveling' in general - which, to me, has never been a minor issue. I'm pretty obsessed with it, thinking about how many more years, realistically, do I have to do it - at least at the level and scope that I have in mind, i.e. a long bucket list! 

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1 minute ago, What was that? said:

Well, Damn! I mis-spoke - it was my TENTH anniversary, having retired 30 June 2010. We moved to Reno in 2011, so that was clouding my judgement. Maybe there is such a thing as a "brain cloud" (c.f. "Joe Versus the Volcano").

And congrats to you and your DW - you're living the life!

 

It sounds like you are on the brink of a decision - choose the path that gives you the greatest peace, brother.

 

LOL...congrats on your 10th!!!  Retirement is great indeed. ALL of us are so fortunate to be able to indulge in the types of trips talked about here on CC.  No decision yet...I'm going to hang in and see how things go - will probably wind up booking flights and take it from there. YOLO, ya know???

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1 minute ago, OnTheJourney said:

 

This is a good thought. I lump cruising, however, under the larger umbrella of 'traveling' in general - which, to me, has never been a minor issue. I'm pretty obsessed with it, thinking about how many more years, realistically, do I have to do it - at least at the level and scope that I have in mind, i.e. a long bucket list! 

My cruising friend John (Maryland Eastern Shore) bought a boat to while away the time. His wish will be granted! (I don't recommend it, but each to his own...)

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1 minute ago, OnTheJourney said:

 

LOL...congrats on your 10th!!!  Retirement is great indeed. ALL of us are so fortunate to be able to indulge in the types of trips talked about here on CC.  No decision yet...I'm going to hang in and see how things go - will probably wind up booking flights and take it from there. YOLO, ya know???

 

Well, it is not just a community and county in California, you know...

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34 minutes ago, What was that? said:

My cruising friend John (Maryland Eastern Shore) bought a boat to while away the time. His wish will be granted! (I don't recommend it, but each to his own...)

 

Yeah, my brother used to be big into bareboating on the Chesapeake. That's one thing I like about cruising out of Baltimore - the sail through the Bay. Plus, for us there is no flying - so I have ready access to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cruises within a 2+ hour drive. We've done a good part of our cruising out of either Baltimore or Bayonne. We love the Inner Harbor at Baltimore too, so usually spend a few days there before a cruise - would have done that back in March....😟

 

So...Nevada, huh?? Any idea how things are at Hoover Dam?  Last time we were there a few years ago was a pretty pathetic sight. Almost seems like the dam is hardly holding much water back. I think the one official we talked to said there was under a 100 feet of water left before the intakes would start sucking mud. Sad. I have pictures from a trip we did out there in the mid-80s and the water was nearly up to the top. Amazing to look at the shoreline and see the discoloration on the rocks and how far down the water truly is. The other thing that surprised us is the 'urban sprawl' in the desert as we were driving around. 

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31 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

We love the Inner Harbor at Baltimore too, so usually spend a few days there before a cruise - would have done that back in March....😟

 

So...Nevada, huh?? Any idea how things are at Hoover Dam?  Last time we were there a few years ago was a pretty pathetic sight. Almost see

 

We'll be in Baltimore next month - correction - we'll be at the airport (after we visit John and admire his boat). Always our last stop (and often our first stop...) on our mid-Atlantic visits is dinner at G & M Restaurant in Linthicum Heights, near the airport. Eight-ounce jumbo lump crab cakes for dinner. Better than Phillips, that's for sure - no waterfront ambience, though.

 

I agree with the convenience concept for sailing out of Baltimore. We used to live in the Dallas, TX, area and felt the same about flying out of DFW. We used to say we could "fly anywhere in the world non-stop" and it was almost true - it was true for us, as we only wanted to go where AA would fly. Reno airport is not DFW...

 

And speaking of Reno, we are in Northern Nevada, and so information about Lake Mead and Vegas urban sprawl seldom make our local news so we are in the dark about that generally. I vaguely know that Lake Mead is low, and Vegas has sprawl. I had to learn a lot of Nevada geography in a hurry when we got to Reno in 2011. We are about 350 miles from Vegas (as the crow flies, so it is a lot longer to drive), and over 175 miles to the Oregon border. We are about 300 yards from the California border, but we rarely go there.

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2 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

 Agree completely. The January trip still falls during flu season - NOone has even the remotest idea what to expect with a possible resurgence of COVID along with the flu. We haven't been down that road yet. Like I said in my rather long epistle...50/50 chance at best. And, if the US keeps spiking on and on - countries (that are doing better) won't want us. I'd absolutely hate to wind up being quarantined either on land or (worse) on a ship. Gosh..I better quit or I'll wind up talking myself into canceling this trip by tomorrow!!! 

My inclination is to wait, month by month, to see what Viking does. Our experience was great getting the voucher, although my DH thinks MAY not be a possibility! Viking is a good company and doing well in spite of what's going on. 

DH hated the amount of time I put into planning the PERFECT private excursions - that all had to be cancelleld. It was really easy to contact the vendors and re-book. And, if necessary, repeat! Gotta be positive.There's too much difficulty surrounding our world at the moment. Enjoy your retirement and hope for the best - glass half full!

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2 hours ago, What was that? said:

 

We'll be in Baltimore next month - correction - we'll be at the airport (after we visit John and admire his boat). Always our last stop (and often our first stop...) on our mid-Atlantic visits is dinner at G & M Restaurant in Linthicum Heights, near the airport. Eight-ounce jumbo lump crab cakes for dinner. Better than Phillips, that's for sure - no waterfront ambience, though.

 

I agree with the convenience concept for sailing out of Baltimore. We used to live in the Dallas, TX, area and felt the same about flying out of DFW. We used to say we could "fly anywhere in the world non-stop" and it was almost true - it was true for us, as we only wanted to go where AA would fly. Reno airport is not DFW...

 

And speaking of Reno, we are in Northern Nevada, and so information about Lake Mead and Vegas urban sprawl seldom make our local news so we are in the dark about that generally. I vaguely know that Lake Mead is low, and Vegas has sprawl. I had to learn a lot of Nevada geography in a hurry when we got to Reno in 2011. We are about 350 miles from Vegas (as the crow flies, so it is a lot longer to drive), and over 175 miles to the Oregon border. We are about 300 yards from the California border, but we rarely go there.

 

I do hope we get to meet on the Iberian Explorer. Worst part of the whole thing could be wearing a mask non-stop for the 8+ hour long-haul flight. 

 

I had forgotten how far north Reno is. I was there once. My wife and I took a trip with my parents - who exchanged their timeshare in the Pocono Mts. for one in Lake Tahoe area - place was called "The Inn at Squaw Valley" (was an Olympic site - forget the year). So we took about 2 weeks to work our way across the country via a southerly route, stayed at Tahoe for a week, then about another 2 weeks to drive back to PA via a northerly route. I love that stuff. 

 

So what sort of boat does John have??

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49 minutes ago, travelnn said:

My inclination is to wait, month by month, to see what Viking does. Our experience was great getting the voucher, although my DH thinks MAY not be a possibility! Viking is a good company and doing well in spite of what's going on. 

DH hated the amount of time I put into planning the PERFECT private excursions - that all had to be cancelleld. It was really easy to contact the vendors and re-book. And, if necessary, repeat! Gotta be positive.There's too much difficulty surrounding our world at the moment. Enjoy your retirement and hope for the best - glass half full!

 

It's a waiting game for sure. What will interest me is - if the Venus isn't ready to sail by January 19 and they don't substitute another ship to do the Inaugural and/or the Iberian in order to get to London in time to start the Northern Lights cruises, they will have some juggling to do. With the inaugural being a non-public 'shakedown' cruise, they really could do whatever they want with that. Other than disappointing the Sky guests who are signed on to do it (wonder how many there are?) if it doesn't play out as planned, it's not really a critical part of the schedule except for having the ship arrive in Barcelona by the 26th. My read on those shakedown cruises is that, other than a 'test run' for the crew and all,  it's also a great time to bring on some big shots (like us.....lol) to show off the new ship. The actual "inaugural" sailing probably would be considered the one that gets it to Rome. It WOULD be cool to see Karine (or some other member of the Hagen family) smash a champagne bottle over the front of the bow. 

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45 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

So what sort of boat does John have??

 

It is a Camano Troll, similar to these. He just had an adventure bringing it up to his home port at Grasonville, MD (on Chesapeake Bay opposite Annapolis) from West Palm Beach. He had rain, wind, waves - on the Intracoastal! He had to lay over two days  in Alligator River, NC - off Pamlico Sound - en route. Sounded like fun to me - wish he had asked me to crew.

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38 minutes ago, What was that? said:

 

It is a Camano Troll, similar to these

 

Interesting design - has sort of a retro look to it (?) Wow! Indeed an adventure. I take it he's an experienced boater. It does sound like it would have been a blast to be along!

 

I pretty much grew up with boating. My dad sold West Bend outboard motors as a sideline to his auto repair shop and had a Glastron for years. So boating vacations was what we did. (Easy to understand how I came to love cruising). Eventually he moved up to a 21' Bayliner bow-rider. Nice boat. Didn't use it all that often - just the 2-weeks every summer at the timeshare on Lake Wallenpaupack and an occasional outing at a lake near us. Funny...some guy once asked him at the lake - "How do you keep your boat looking so nice?"  My Dad answered...."Easy, I hardly ever use it"   LOL   

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John is not really a seasoned blue water sailor, so the trip earned him a bunch of new gray hairs. Sounded like there were some voids in his seamanship “training.” Dad had my brother and I take the Power Squadron “Piloting, Seamanship, and Small Boat Handling” course so we understood something about sailing on Cape Cod. I feel like I could have helped. Besides, he was buying the beer!

 

”Retro?” It immediately made me think “tugboat”. Built in the Seattle area, how it got to Florida I don’t know. By land to the Missouri River, then down to the Gulf?

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