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16 hours ago, SargassoPirate said:

A world cruise itinerary, with a nice mix of port days and sea days is important to me.  The Princess world cruise has several port days in a row, which can be tiring, but if I've been there before there's no law that says you must get off the ship.

Absolutely agree!

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@travelwell Another great post with lots of info. We will definitely keep Regent in consideration.  I looked at itineraries for the possible world cruises, and came up with a multi-year plan to “test cruise” four lines on itineraries visiting ports that aren’t typically covered in a World Cruise.  First up: Viking in search of northern lights. Thanks to all of you!  I will be sure to keep monitoring this board.

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58 minutes ago, SWATeam said:

@travelwell Another great post with lots of info. We will definitely keep Regent in consideration.  I looked at itineraries for the possible world cruises, and came up with a multi-year plan to “test cruise” four lines on itineraries visiting ports that aren’t typically covered in a World Cruise.  First up: Viking in search of northern lights. Thanks to all of you!  I will be sure to keep monitoring this board.

 

When taking shorter test itineraries, you will get a great feel which cruise lines are a good fit for you, but please be aware that the inclusiveness on some cruise lines short cruises are different to those on their World Cruises.

 

The Viking shorter cruises are significantly less inclusive than the World Cruises. Shorter cruises don't include visas, gratuities, luggage shipping, beverage package, etc. On the shorter cruises beer, wine & soft drinks are only complimentary at lunch and dinner. Whereas the more luxury lines are more inclusive even on shorter cruises.

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21 hours ago, SWATeam said:

I looked at itineraries for the possible world cruises, and came up with a multi-year plan to “test cruise” four lines on itineraries visiting ports that aren’t typically covered in a World Cruise

 

20 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

When taking shorter test itineraries, you will get a great feel which cruise lines are a good fit for you, but please be aware that the inclusiveness on some cruise lines short cruises are different to those on their World Cruises.

 

SWATeam, also remember that the passenger mix on shorter cruises may be different than those on longer cruises.  

 

 

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17 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

 

SWATeam, also remember that the passenger mix on shorter cruises may be different than those on longer cruises.  

 

 

Totally agree, if trying a cruise line I would pick no shorter then a two week cruise and not a back to back cruise. I also would have at least a few seas days. Taking a world cruise is a huge expense, you want to fine the one that matches the best for you. Use a travel agent who has booked world cruises on a variety of different types of cruise lines, mainstream to luxury and who knows the culture of the line. Classic example is Cunard, this line has a class system on board and the higher levels very formal. You might end up on a cruise you are very happy on or miserable. They also know which cruises have more financial concerns then others eg Crystal. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/14/2021 at 7:17 PM, Heidi13 said:

In current times, HAL & Princess are mass market lines that are both owned by Carnival Group. While they are still distinct Lines and have separate offices, they are both managed by the Holland America Group. The 4 cruise lines in the Group share many managers/directors.

 

Oceania is considered one of the luxury brands and it was purchased by NCL 5 or 6 years ago. 

 

I spent 40 years working for and cruising for P&O/Princess. Starting in 1975 with P&O and then moving to Princess in 1979, I am well aware of the pre-Carnival standards. We continued cruising with them until the 2015 WC out of Sydney, which will be our last ever cruise with Princess. Since they were purchased by Carnival in 2003, in our experience, the standards have continued dropping.

 

We spent a couple of years of research, starting with developing a statement of requirements. Basically - what did we want from a new cruise line, some of which included:

  • Number of pax - our preference was 750 to 1,250. Less restricts the entertainment options and more is too busy
  • Space ratio (GT/pax) - we wanted a less crowded ship, which pushed us towards luxury/premium brands
  • Segments - depending on how managed by the cruise line, segments can make a WC more of B2B2B...... Our preference was no segments, or less segments
  • Inclusive - tired of mega ship nickle and diming, we wanted a more inclusive experience
  • Meals - quality meals, with preference for no additional fees for alternative restaurants
  • Rig of the Day - preference was a cruise line that enforces their dress code. While we enjoy formal nights, we are tired of the increasing non-compliance, so wanted to try a more relaxed smart casual standard every night.
  • Kids - not interested. While WC's have few kids, we did have some on segments with Princess. Also the kid's zones are wasted space.
  • Casino - not interested, so again preference is not to have one. If not provided, it is more space available
  • Photogs. art auctions, bulk shoppies - definitely NO
  • Lectures - quality and varied lectures
  • Entertainment - not interested in tacky pool games, marriage games, etc. Looking for quality shows and guest entertainers.
  • Number of port days & time in port - the more and longer the better
  • Number of ports with 2 or 3 days - more the better
  • Wifi - prefer quality bandwidth and included in price

Although we did consider HAL & Celebrity, they were quickly eliminated. We then did a review of Crystal, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, Viking, Oceania and Azamara. We short-listed to Viking and Oceania, eventually selecting Viking.

 

Oceania had reportedly the best food, but we felt Viking provided the best overall package.

 

We completed the curtailed 2020 WC on Viking Sun and the day it was published booked the 2023 WC on the new Viking Neptune. Note - the Viking base fare in 2020 was almost double the 2015 Princess cabin, for a comparible balcony. However, once all costs were added, the gross daily cost on Viking was fractionally cheaper than Princess.

 

While Viking works for us, it does not meet the needs of everyone, hence the reason I suggest determing you needs for spending 4 - 6 months on a ship.

 

Good luck and enjoy the research.

 

 

You have had some great information, and I have enjoyed your information.  So I talked with my TA who has been strictly a cruise TA for decades.  She is very watchful of Viking right now, they were quite unkind to the TA community over the last year.  With so many cancelations over the last year the TAs had a lot of work moving people off of cruises, getting cruise credits or refunds, work they were not getting paid for and while the mass market cruise lines took care of the TAs for all their work, Viking did not.  The world has changed, I can't help but wonder that everything we knew about cruising might be different after this is over.

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8 hours ago, West Coast Gal said:

You have had some great information, and I have enjoyed your information.  So I talked with my TA who has been strictly a cruise TA for decades.  She is very watchful of Viking right now, they were quite unkind to the TA community over the last year.  With so many cancelations over the last year the TAs had a lot of work moving people off of cruises, getting cruise credits or refunds, work they were not getting paid for and while the mass market cruise lines took care of the TAs for all their work, Viking did not.  The world has changed, I can't help but wonder that everything we knew about cruising might be different after this is over.

 

 

Interesting insider info on Viking.  She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have enjoyed one Viking cruise so far and liked all of the things that they don't have, such as  no casino, no formal nights, no kids.  As nice as Viking is, I have a hard time justifying the cost of their cruises when compared to other lines.  Another turnoff is how far in advance they want final payment.  I recently tossed one of their river cruise brochures when I read the fine print and for a mid-2023 river cruise, final payment was due in December 2021.  That being said, I would still cruise on Viking for the right price and the right itinerary.

 

There's a berth for everybody somewhere.

 

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13 hours ago, West Coast Gal said:

You have had some great information, and I have enjoyed your information.  So I talked with my TA who has been strictly a cruise TA for decades.  She is very watchful of Viking right now, they were quite unkind to the TA community over the last year.  With so many cancelations over the last year the TAs had a lot of work moving people off of cruises, getting cruise credits or refunds, work they were not getting paid for and while the mass market cruise lines took care of the TAs for all their work, Viking did not.  The world has changed, I can't help but wonder that everything we knew about cruising might be different after this is over.

 

Yes, totally agree that Viking have a different relationship with T/A's, probably stemming from the fact that Viking are not members of the Cruise Line Association (CLIA) and consequently do not follow the industry norms in many ways.

 

Their relationships with TA's is one of them, as they have a TA policy that limits the marketing initiatives they can provide (OBC, refunds, etc) and prevents them from selling at lower than Viking's website price. Many of the TA's don't appreciate these restrictions and prefer to work with the mass market mega lines that are more dependent on TA business.

 

At present, all cruise lines are hurting and each of them will decide on their priorities, with limited funds. Viking's priorities are again different from the mass market lines, as I believe Viking places TA's as a lower priority. Many components make up a great cruise, with TA's being more important for some and optional for others. Personally, we only use the TA to confirm our bookings and receive the small OBC that Viking permits. So for us, Viking's TA policy works well. Although the T/A's are not complimentary, I'll suggest the Viking crews, which are a ship's greatest asset, are more complimentary than mass market crews.

 

We were 8 of the final pax aboard Viking Sun on the 2020 WC, remaining onboard for 3 weeks after cruising shut down. We reviewed news stories of crew members on mass market ships protesting being held captive on board and not receiving any wages. Viking crews were receiving 50% payment, including crews at home who were due to return to the ship. Once their joining day arrived they started receiving partial payment of wages at home. Many mass market ships were kept in US/Caribbean waters, waiting for permission to disembark crew, which took many, many months. Viking quickly sailed across the Atlantic to UK, which readily accepted disembarking crew for repatriation. In contrast to the protests on mass market ships, the Viking Sun crew filmed a thank you film to the Chairman and Senior Management. These decisions are why Viking has about a 94% hotel crew retention rate. 

 

Totally agree with the changes to the World and we are watching closely and are in active discussions with Viking regarding mandatory vaccinations.

 

Yes, Viking have made life challenging for the TA's, but personally, if funds are limited, as a retired Captain, I prefer looking after ship's crew over TA's. In our experience, we also received all refunds in a timely manner without any issues. Within 2 days of our TA contacting Viking regarding the refund for the unused portion of the cruise, we received a cheque delivered by courier. The significant OBC balance was also received by cheque within the 6 weeks, as promised on board the ship.

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6 hours ago, SargassoPirate said:

 

 

Interesting insider info on Viking.  She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have enjoyed one Viking cruise so far and liked all of the things that they don't have, such as  no casino, no formal nights, no kids.  As nice as Viking is, I have a hard time justifying the cost of their cruises when compared to other lines.  Another turnoff is how far in advance they want final payment.  I recently tossed one of their river cruise brochures when I read the fine print and for a mid-2023 river cruise, final payment was due in December 2021.  That being said, I would still cruise on Viking for the right price and the right itinerary.

 

There's a berth for everybody somewhere.

 

 

Yes, the base fare is more expensive than mass market, but in our experience, by the end of the cruise when compared on a per diem basis the final difference is minimal.

 

The PIF is most definitely a negative, but everything is negotiable. Most pax/TA's should be able to negotiate that to 12 months. If booking onboard, or you have an existing booking, you can negotiate to 6 months.

 

For our 23 WC the PIF is 6 months before, with an option to pay 12 months and receive a $5K discount, which is a 5.5% discount.

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2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Yes, totally agree that Viking have a different relationship with T/A's, probably stemming from the fact that Viking are not members of the Cruise Line Association (CLIA) and consequently do not follow the industry norms in many ways.

 

Their relationships with TA's is one of them, as they have a TA policy that limits the marketing initiatives they can provide (OBC, refunds, etc) and prevents them from selling at lower than Viking's website price. Many of the TA's don't appreciate these restrictions and prefer to work with the mass market mega lines that are more dependent on TA business.

 

I continue to learn.  I was not aware of what you said.  I get so much mail from Viking, maybe their relationship with travel agents is a reason for this.  Keep me well informed of their product and cruises when perhaps my travel agent would not do so?  

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2 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I continue to learn.  I was not aware of what you said.  I get so much mail from Viking, maybe their relationship with travel agents is a reason for this.  Keep me well informed of their product and cruises when perhaps my travel agent would not do so?  

 

Affirmative, don't have any definitive facts, but I believe Viking do way more direct marketing than mass market lines.

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19 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Yes, totally agree that Viking have a different relationship with T/A's, probably stemming from the fact that Viking are not members of the Cruise Line Association (CLIA) and consequently do not follow the industry norms in many ways.

 

Their relationships with TA's is one of them, as they have a TA policy that limits the marketing initiatives they can provide (OBC, refunds, etc) and prevents them from selling at lower than Viking's website price. Many of the TA's don't appreciate these restrictions and prefer to work with the mass market mega lines that are more dependent on TA business.

 

At present, all cruise lines are hurting and each of them will decide on their priorities, with limited funds. Viking's priorities are again different from the mass market lines, as I believe Viking places TA's as a lower priority. Many components make up a great cruise, with TA's being more important for some and optional for others. Personally, we only use the TA to confirm our bookings and receive the small OBC that Viking permits. So for us, Viking's TA policy works well. Although the T/A's are not complimentary, I'll suggest the Viking crews, which are a ship's greatest asset, are more complimentary than mass market crews.

 

We were 8 of the final pax aboard Viking Sun on the 2020 WC, remaining onboard for 3 weeks after cruising shut down. We reviewed news stories of crew members on mass market ships protesting being held captive on board and not receiving any wages. Viking crews were receiving 50% payment, including crews at home who were due to return to the ship. Once their joining day arrived they started receiving partial payment of wages at home. Many mass market ships were kept in US/Caribbean waters, waiting for permission to disembark crew, which took many, many months. Viking quickly sailed across the Atlantic to UK, which readily accepted disembarking crew for repatriation. In contrast to the protests on mass market ships, the Viking Sun crew filmed a thank you film to the Chairman and Senior Management. These decisions are why Viking has about a 94% hotel crew retention rate. 

 

Totally agree with the changes to the World and we are watching closely and are in active discussions with Viking regarding mandatory vaccinations.

 

Yes, Viking have made life challenging for the TA's, but personally, if funds are limited, as a retired Captain, I prefer looking after ship's crew over TA's. In our experience, we also received all refunds in a timely manner without any issues. Within 2 days of our TA contacting Viking regarding the refund for the unused portion of the cruise, we received a cheque delivered by courier. The significant OBC balance was also received by cheque within the 6 weeks, as promised on board the ship.

Thanks for sharing ..

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