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Restarting Cruise operations in Europe


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4 hours ago, Ragnar Danneskjold said:


Duquephart, stick your wing tips in your ears for this...  A couple of years ago we took the Tattoo package where you have champagne and hors d’oeuvres on the ramparts of Edinburgh castle, followed by dinner in the castle gatehouse.  Best roast duck I’ve ever had!

 

Package included seats in the royal box, and a great cocktail party with the invited “dignitaries”  afterwards.  Met a bunch of interesting folk.  Open bar!
 

Package was pretty pricey, but worth every penny.

 

(Note - Suit and tie required for the royal box...)

 

So true Ragnar, the Tattoo packages are amazing and best seats in the house. When going to the Tattoo, we now try for the final performance, which is the 2nd show on the last night, with seats just below the Royal Box.

 

When in UK, we also book a day at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow for us and my dad, in one of the hospitality suites. Great football, great grub and open bar. Similar to the Tattoo, suit and tie are mandatory.

 

We also had an amazing Michelin Star restaurant a few miles outside St. Andrews - the Peat Inn. It is well known by foodies throughout UK, with reservations highly sought after. Still remember when it opened with the original owners/chef back in the early to mid 70's. Over the years, we had many a great meal up there, probably a couple times a month. In the early days we were often the only customers. I was only about 16 when it opened and I wasn't into fancy food, so Chef David always had a Porterhouse handy. Located in a tiny village that has grown to possibly 20 houses, it is only about 7 miles from St Andrews, but you have to know where to look.

 

Lots of great food available in Scotland and the rest of UK, from Michelin Stars, to pub food, chippies and even curries, you just have to know where to look. 

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4 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Can only assume you haven't spent much time in Scotland.

 

Only a couple of weeks in Edinburgh and The Highlands. Never thought of the food as "great grub" although much of it was quite good. When I think of "great grub" Italy and France come much more quickly to mind. 

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11 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care, 
And dish them out their bill o' fare, 
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware 
That jaups in luggies; 
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer 
Gie her a haggis!

 

 

Will never forget our welcome dinner on a Tauck England/Scotland/Wales tour - they had a bag piper and some guy that same the "Ode to the Haggis".....lol.....quite memorable 😁

 

Many years ago the Burns Society of New York ordered in a great many cases of Haggis for one of it's gatherings. Customs officials refused to allow the shipment off the docks on the grounds that it's contents were "unfit for human consumption."

 

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Our seafood is so good sadly most of it is usually exported to Spain and is what is served to you and you think is the fabulous Spanish food.  We were in a Michelin star restaurant in Spain and the chef, hearing Scots were in the house, came out to greet us and showed us the boxes the fish had travelled in from a place we knew well. 
Not good for many but a wee bonus for us, we can currently buy that beautiful seafood at great prices just now because the export trade isn’t happening. 

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5 hours ago, uktog said:

Our seafood is so good sadly most of it is usually exported to Spain and is what is served to you and you think is the fabulous Spanish food.  We were in a Michelin star restaurant in Spain and the chef, hearing Scots were in the house, came out to greet us and showed us the boxes the fish had travelled in from a place we knew well. 
Not good for many but a wee bonus for us, we can currently buy that beautiful seafood at great prices just now because the export trade isn’t happening. 

 

That's one thing I enjoy when going back.

 

My dad has the fish lady arrive at the house in her van by 09:30 every Thursday. She purchases her fish from that night's catch that was landed in Pittenweem. The fish we purchase is < 12 hrs old.

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6 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

That's one thing I enjoy when going back.

 

My dad has the fish lady arrive at the house in her van by 09:30 every Thursday. She purchases her fish from that night's catch that was landed in Pittenweem. The fish we purchase is < 12 hrs old.

And here we still get our fish from a van from Pittenweem 🙂 Some traditions continue to this day

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3 minutes ago, uktog said:

And here we still get our fish from a van from Pittenweem 🙂 Some traditions continue to this day

 

Most definitely, as they have had the same weekly delivery since they moved to a village a few miles from St Andrews back in 1973.

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  • 3 months later...
14 minutes ago, Nippy Sweetie said:

You need to visit the Real Scotland. Haggis is mostly for tourists. Lots of Michelin starred and Bib Gourmand places. 

Ha. My Mother is English.  I have been North of Hadrian's Wall many times...🥃

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22 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

Ha. My Mother is English.  I have been North of Hadrian's Wall many times...🥃

 

Here's hoping we can get back to north of Hadrian's Wall fairly soon, as I am trying to get a house ready to sell. Not an easy task when separated by a country and an ocean.

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20 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Here's hoping we can get back to north of Hadrian's Wall fairly soon, as I am trying to get a house ready to sell. Not an easy task when separated by a country and an ocean.

We are in St Andrews and visited Pittenweem on Thursday to buy some fish. Last March we were on the Sky when in the middle of the Atlantic it was ordered to turnaround and head back to Florida. Although we live in a lovely part of the world, we are eager to go cruising again. Our Homelands cruise in June has not been cancelled yet but I think it is only a matter of time. We will have had both doses of the vaccine by then but the ports of call may not be open to cruise ships. Personally I would be happy to sail around mid-Atlantic for two weeks with no ports of call.

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1 hour ago, friendlyfifer said:

I would be happy to sail around mid-Atlantic for two weeks with no ports of call.

 

As much as I'd love to get back out there, I don't think this would interest me a whole lot, although this "cruise to nowhere" idea might well be the best way to restart the industry. We were on the Sky the March before you were and wound up rather unpredictably leaving her by helicopter 😳 Sorry your trip got cut short...sorry mine did too for that matter. 

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6 hours ago, friendlyfifer said:

We are in St Andrews and visited Pittenweem on Thursday to buy some fish. Last March we were on the Sky when in the middle of the Atlantic it was ordered to turnaround and head back to Florida. Although we live in a lovely part of the world, we are eager to go cruising again. Our Homelands cruise in June has not been cancelled yet but I think it is only a matter of time. We will have had both doses of the vaccine by then but the ports of call may not be open to cruise ships. Personally I would be happy to sail around mid-Atlantic for two weeks with no ports of call.

 

I lived at Mt Melville up by Craigtoun Park then Strathkinness, did my last 3 yrs at South Street, so still know the area rather well. Moved to Canada in 1980. Once the lockdown is over, we hope to get our Strathkinness house on the market, but are not planning on a visit until probably Spring 22. Which part of St. Andrews?

 

We were also at sea in March 20, having joined Viking Sun in early January. Spent 40 + days at sea after Bali, until we finally disembarked in Gibraltar. We were 2 of the final 8 pax to disembark an ocean ship. We don't sail again until Jan 23 and while we enjoy sea-days, I am hoping for less than 40 sea-day in a row.😁

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12 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

I am hoping for less than 40 sea-day in a row.😁

lol (even though parts of the experience are surely not humorous!)  You guys really had your own unique adventure. I was astounded how it came down to just the 8 of your remaining on board. What a tale to tell. 

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2 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

lol (even though parts of the experience are surely not humorous!)  You guys really had your own unique adventure. I was astounded how it came down to just the 8 of your remaining on board. What a tale to tell. 

 

So true, and I believe it is a testement to how the Viking crews adapt the experience for the circumstances. Can't remember how many times we were told that even though we are only 8, we are still pax and will receive the regular Viking standard of service.

 

Personally, what we received was well above the standard service, starting with each couple receiving a Suite and "Honourary Crew" name tags, which we all wore proudly. Where possible they changed the cabin steward assignments, so we kept our same stewards. We had the best of both worlds, being invited every evening to head up to the pool deck for the crew party/dance, sharing the pool/gym with the crew, sitting in the Theatre with crew members watching the shows, etc. 

 

For dinner, most evenings we had multiple officers join us and on a number of lunches/dinners we invited our favourite crew members to join us. Great times.

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16 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

I lived at Mt Melville up by Craigtoun Park then Strathkinness, did my last 3 yrs at South Street, so still know the area rather well. Moved to Canada in 1980. Once the lockdown is over, we hope to get our Strathkinness house on the market, but are not planning on a visit until probably Spring 22. Which part of St. Andrews?

 

We were also at sea in March 20, having joined Viking Sun in early January. Spent 40 + days at sea after Bali, until we finally disembarked in Gibraltar. We were 2 of the final 8 pax to disembark an ocean ship. We don't sail again until Jan 23 and while we enjoy sea-days, I am hoping for less than 40 sea-day in a row.😁

We live by the harbour and the East Sands in St Andrews. We also have good friends in Strathinness. I think we all need a change of scene even although we live in a lovely part of the world.

 

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8 minutes ago, friendlyfifer said:

We live by the harbour and the East Sands in St Andrews. We also have good friends in Strathinness. I think we all need a change of scene even although we live in a lovely part of the world.

 

 

One of my favourite walks is around the harbour, along the East Sands and up Kinkell Braes, then along the coast to the new golf courses. Must admit the Kinkell Braes hill is way steeper than when I was younger.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Great times.

You guys were treated like royalty. I must say that Viking did the best they could for the "survivors" of the Sky, except for the rebooking of airline flights, which sort of turned into a train wreck. I wound up doing my own. There were aLOT of frustrated passengers during that rebooking process. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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2 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

You guys were treated like royalty. I must say that Viking did the best they could for the "survivors" of the Sky, except for the rebooking of airline flights, which sort of turned into a train wreck. I wound up doing my own. There were aLOT of frustrated passengers during that rebooking process. 

 

Yet again on the WC, Viking stepped up to the plate, so they must have reviewed and learned from your experiences. Regardless if pax had Viking Air, or not, Viking booked and I believe paid for the flights.

 

In Dubai, we were restricted to departing the country on Emirates, so when they shut down operations, Viking booked a charter from Dubai to Newark, via Madrid. Not the most comfortable flight, but it got our US friends home safely.

 

Compare that to HAL, who cancelled their cruise in Freemantle. Pax without HAL flights were disembarked and had to make the own arrangements.

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1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Yet again on the WC, Viking stepped up to the plate, so they must have reviewed and learned from your experiences. Regardless if pax had Viking Air, or not, Viking booked and I believe paid for the flights.

 

Same for those of us on the half transatlantic. We were getting ready to book our return air from Miami when the Captain announced that Viking would make and pay for flights for anyone who wished-whether or not they had Viking Air. 
 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

Viking booked and I believe paid for the flights.

Here's the thing....it seemed like the personnel onboard at Molde who were working out flights for people had no final say in the specific schedules chosen until it was all approved by headquarters in LA. At least that's what we were told. So it was a long, tedious process with much confusion. I didn't like the options they came up with for us, and so took my wife's cell phone and went off to a quiet place on the ship and booked it  myself in like 20 minutes with the same airline (SAS) that we used going over to Oslo. Viking, however, paid for all of it as part of our very generous compensation package - which surprised me in our case being that they were not flights that Viking booked. Same for our outbound flights before the trip - we did all that on our own. Can't say enough about all that they did for us - way above and beyond.

 

The worst part of those last few days - while a nice idea - was when they got us up a few hours after going to bed at the hotel and said that they'd bus us over to the ship to pack up our rooms and then catch a morning flight to Oslo. Sounded good, so we hustled out of the room, got over to the Sky really early, and busted our butts trying to pack everything (NOTHING had been done since the room was exactly how we left it during the evacuation). We worked like elephants and then it became apparent that there would have been no way we'd ever catch the flight. There simply was not enough time. So then, as it turned out, we had basically most of the day on the ship and could have packed at our leisure. If it happened to us, I'm sure it happened to others so, yeah, there were a good number of disgruntled folks at times. Understandable since it was such a totally unprecedented situation that resulted in them facing a massive transportation task for the 900+ guests. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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