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UK Only Viking Venus Cruise


NeilP57
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37 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

Shucks.  Then non members can’t see them. 

I asked to join - nothing about it being a UK only group.

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9 minutes ago, pcolmer said:

 

I guess that makes sense. It allows Viking to make sure that the ship & crew have bedded in and that their health protocols are working.

 

Speaking of health protocols, the captain has just announced a delayed departure from Portsmouth because they are still carrying out the PCR tests... It will be interesting to see how frequently Viking ask us to get tested.

 

Hope they get their act together for the follow up cruises. Delays due to testing of 260 passengers rings alarm bells when the complement jumps to 450. Still they've got a good deal of slack built into the itinerary that a modest delay doesn't mean a great deal.

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Some thoughts/comments from embarkation this morning. I doubt I've included everything and I know from other posts that there are other cruisers on this particular cruise so shout out if you have questions ...

 

We had opted for CPS parking which, as previously commented, was changed from "valet parking" to self-parking. This actually worked really well. We drove towards the cruise terminal as sign-posted and were stopped by a CPS representative who checked our car registration number. He then directed us towards the multi-storey car park. Please note that I do *not* know if this is the same car park used by people who had booked to park directly.

 

Upon entering the multi-storey car park, we were asked to stop briefly while they off-loaded our suitcases for delivery to the ship and they took photos of the car. We were then directed around the corner where we parked the car, got out and walked off to the ship, which was a very short walk indeed.

 

Processing at the port terminal was well organised but didn't take advantage of things that we'd already done like the Comfort Check-in. By that, I mean that in addition to having our temperatures taken, we answered the same questions as we had answered on the health questionnaire and then, after waiting in a seated area to prevent crowding in the queue, we were checked-in but that process involved taking our photos all over again (something that Comfort Check-in had dealt with).

 

The check-in staff handed us our room cards and individual contact tracing devices. These are small white discs on red Viking lanyards. I think that these are essentially self-contained versions of what the NHS Covid App does - ping out an ID reference and keep track of any heard IDs so that, should you test positive for Covid at some point, the crew can determine who you've been in contact with and when. Viking make it clear that no personal information or GPS location data is collected.

 

The next steps involved another temperature check (this time by thermal camera) then X-ray scans of carry-on items then a bus to the ship. Seats on the bus (and in the pre-queue waiting area) were clearly marked to ensure social distancing, as are all of the seating areas around the ship.

 

At the ship, hand sanitisers before boarding, room card scanning upon boarding then we were taken to one of the two emergency muster stations - the theatre or the restaurant - for a brief demonstration of how to put on the life jackets. Apparently these are a new design. They certainly looked smaller than ones I've seen on other cruise lines but I don't know if they are new to Viking.

 

After that, straight to our cabins where we had to watch the emergency information video, provide a 2ml saliva sample for PCR testing and fill out an anonymous form about when we'd had our vaccinations. I ended up having to watch the emergency information video twice because the first time we watched it, the system didn't display a prompt at the end to confirm we'd watched it. This was the first of many tiny IT glitches 🙂

 

With that done, I went down to Guest Services to book the non-included excursions we wanted to do while my wife unpacked the suitcases which had already been delivered to our room. Unfortunately, I couldn't book the excursions on the TV or via the Viking app because of ... those tiny IT glitches 🙂

 

That's it for now. From then on, it was what I feel was standard fare for being on a Viking ship but I'm happy to answer any questions.

 

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5 minutes ago, arlowood said:

Hope they get their act together for the follow up cruises. Delays due to testing of 260 passengers rings alarm bells when the complement jumps to 450. Still they've got a good deal of slack built into the itinerary that a modest delay doesn't mean a great deal.

 

Absolutely. The captain made it very clear that this will not impact on our arrival at Liverpool.

 

Again, I suspect that this is one of the reasons why this first cruise is a small set of passengers. When we checked in at the port terminal, it was clear that staff were being trained on how to register the contact tracing devices, etc, and I suspect that there are other areas of the ship, including the PCR lab, where crew are finding the optimal way to do things.

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Getting chills reading the posts of those who are headed out!  And seeing the webcam.  Especially since we were fortunate to be in Portsmouth 2 years ago with the Viking Jupiter and I remember the port layout pretty well.  Lovely city!

Keep the posts coming for all of us to live vicariously!

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58 minutes ago, pcolmer said:

 

I guess that makes sense. It allows Viking to make sure that the ship & crew have bedded in and that their health protocols are working.

 

Speaking of health protocols, the captain has just announced a delayed departure from Portsmouth because they are still carrying out the PCR tests... It will be interesting to see how frequently Viking ask us to get tested.

 

Wow, with only 260 on board?  Wonder what future fuller cruises will bring?

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1 hour ago, pcolmer said:

 

Absolutely. The captain made it very clear that this will not impact on our arrival at Liverpool.

 

Again, I suspect that this is one of the reasons why this first cruise is a small set of passengers. When we checked in at the port terminal, it was clear that staff were being trained on how to register the contact tracing devices, etc, and I suspect that there are other areas of the ship, including the PCR lab, where crew are finding the optimal way to do things.

Is there a Roll Call for this cruise?

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4 hours ago, sugarside said:

There is some cross over membership with the US Facebook group so some photos might surface on there.

Any suggestions for those of us who don't use Facebook?  Would SO love to see these pics!

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38 minutes ago, aungrl said:

Any suggestions for those of us who don't use Facebook?  Would SO love to see these pics!

I copied a couple of the photos - Atrium.thumb.jpg.37744f4601f22910d2ce616cef8182d4.jpgExplorerLounge.thumb.jpg.80a9f73b154bdd4f4dad4bab2b493513.jpgInfinity.jpg.c3869742919095459e58d24f3744df38.jpg

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21 minutes ago, JeriGail said:

I copied a couple of the photos - Atrium.thumb.jpg.37744f4601f22910d2ce616cef8182d4.jpgExplorerLounge.thumb.jpg.80a9f73b154bdd4f4dad4bab2b493513.jpgInfinity.jpg.c3869742919095459e58d24f3744df38.jpg

Looks like the Aquavit hot tub is closed off—ouch! And the pool has social distancing markers at the end!

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12 minutes ago, aungrl said:

This just brought tears to my eyes!  Thank you, JeriGail!

Me too!  So happy to see Viking cruising again!

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Here in Liverpool on Viking Venus. I see someone has already posted on the embarkation process and we found it very easy. It is wonderful be back with Viking's wonderful crew, ship and food. So good we have already booked a cruise next June to the midnight sun. And we already have one booked from 2 years ago this Oct from Athens to Istanbul. I do hope all the guests from USA and all round the world can be back with us all here from the UK.

The only thing not working well is some of the IT with reservations. When we embarked we found none of the dining reservations we had made existed. The Viking App needs a lot of work and apart from completing the very small health check every morning [rather than a paper one which you would have to deliver to Guest Services] I wouldn't use it much apart from seeing your booked excursions. So I would recommend go early to Guest Services to check or make excursion and dining bookings, and keep your own record. Spa & Gym reservations in the early morning tend to go quite quickly, as numbers are restricted for obvious reasons, so again book soon if you want them.

None of these are criticisms as with a new ship and cruising just resuming after so long. The Viking experience is just as wonderful - and no I don't work for them or get paid to say these things!

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Sounds fantastic. I have printed out my calendar of booked excursions and restaurants reservations to take onboard just in case there are any queries. 
thanks for mentioning that. 
How is the social distancing working in the dining venues for breakfast and lunch? Do you have to make timed reservations like the evening dining?

Also how is the entertainment in the theatre working? Good entertainers and speakers onboard?

Have a wonderful cruise. Can’t wait for ours on June 5th. 

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Another newbie question here: When does the Comfort Check-In open?  We’re on the 26th June voyage, and when I check on line it says that that I have 33 days to go until the voyage, and 33 days, 10 hours before Comfort Check-In opens!  I’m guessing it will actually open a bit closer to sailing day, but I won’t have to wait until the very last second. Will I need to check it every day, or will they notify me when it’s open?

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24 minutes ago, lisiamc said:

Another newbie question here: When does the Comfort Check-In open?  We’re on the 26th June voyage, and when I check on line it says that that I have 33 days to go until the voyage, and 33 days, 10 hours before Comfort Check-In opens!  I’m guessing it will actually open a bit closer to sailing day, but I won’t have to wait until the very last second. Will I need to check it every day, or will they notify me when it’s open?

We're on the 5th June sailing of the UK Shores itinerary and I was able to complete the Comfort Check-In on May 15th ie 3 weeks ahead of our departure date. I'm not sure if it was available for completion before that date as I was only alerted to its existence the day before by a post on this thread.

I would keep checking in MyVikingJourney. It's in the Guest Information section as a separate tab.

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3 hours ago, timbloom said:

Here in Liverpool on Viking Venus. I see someone has already posted on the embarkation process and we found it very easy. It is wonderful be back with Viking's wonderful crew, ship and food. So good we have already booked a cruise next June to the midnight sun. And we already have one booked from 2 years ago this Oct from Athens to Istanbul. I do hope all the guests from USA and all round the world can be back with us all here from the UK.

The only thing not working well is some of the IT with reservations. When we embarked we found none of the dining reservations we had made existed. The Viking App needs a lot of work and apart from completing the very small health check every morning [rather than a paper one which you would have to deliver to Guest Services] I wouldn't use it much apart from seeing your booked excursions. So I would recommend go early to Guest Services to check or make excursion and dining bookings, and keep your own record. Spa & Gym reservations in the early morning tend to go quite quickly, as numbers are restricted for obvious reasons, so again book soon if you want them.

None of these are criticisms as with a new ship and cruising just resuming after so long. The Viking experience is just as wonderful - and no I don't work for them or get paid to say these things!

Thanks for the heads-up about the IT glitches. I've made my excursion bookings and dining reservations through MYVikingJourney so hopefully that should be registered somewhere. As a back-up I will take a print-out of my Calendar summery just in case.

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3 hours ago, timbloom said:

. Spa & Gym reservations in the early morning tend to go quite quickly, as numbers are restricted for obvious reasons, so again book soon if you want them.

 

Thanks so much for all the helpful information!  Where do you make the spa reservations?  I am imagining a long line somewhere so here’s hoping they get the app fixed. It always worked perfectly for us on past cruises. 

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1 hour ago, arlowood said:

We're on the 5th June sailing of the UK Shores itinerary and I was able to complete the Comfort Check-In on May 15th ie 3 weeks ahead of our departure date. I'm not sure if it was available for completion before that date as I was only alerted to its existence the day before by a post on this thread.

I would keep checking in MyVikingJourney. It's in the Guest Information section as a separate tab.

Thank you.  I’ll give it another fortnight and then check again. I have been able to book shore excursion times and dinner times, so I seem to be on their radar, anyway!

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1 hour ago, Clay Clayton said:

Thanks so much for all the helpful information!  Where do you make the spa reservations?  I am imagining a long line somewhere so here’s hoping they get the app fixed. It always worked perfectly for us on past cruises. 

I am hoping that the IT glitch with the on board app is a Venus specific issue being that it is a brand new ship.

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welcome from the pretty stormy seas approaching Scilly Isles. 

A couple of other points - If your cruise is at same capacity as this one you won't actually need reservations for the Restaurant. Social distancing is not a problem, possibly apart from the Spa and Gym which have much reduced capacity. 

People asked about comfort check in. Is that just the online check in procedure? We did that and printed off the boarding cards and had them saved on my phone. No one was remotely interested in seeing them at any stage.

If anyone is worried about the all the health checks, don't be. You do your saliva deposit first thing in your cabin [before cleaning your teeth they tell you] and you get your temp taken only once a day by photo recognition at one of the screens around the ship, and do a very simple health questionnaire once a day - 4 simple questions such as have you got any flu like symptoms etc.

Lastly I really would recommend doing an excursion in Liverpool, particularly the one we did. I wasn't keen on getting off as I did some business there in the 80's and remembered a pretty tatty and dirty centre. I was pleasantly surprised. We did the Maritime history of Liverpool with Debby, who was terrific - funny, engaging, informative and irreverent at times. there were only 4 of us, as many didn't seem to want to tour at all. At the end she and we wanted to do a group hug but we didn't of course. I Really would do this tour which took about nearly 3 hours gentle walking around the centre and sea front. 

Leaving Liverpool was quite emotional as they played " sailing" by Rod Stewrat from the quayside with lots of waving. I think they were so delighted to see the first cruise ship back.

Will look every day and happy to answer any more questions if I can.

 

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