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Just now, OnTheJourney said:

Amen to that, Jim. As you said, this will indeed be interesting. I should not dwell on this thread too much since that Bermuda DOES call to me a bit simply for the number of days spent there. As I mentioned, never been...

It is a lovely place we certainly would love to visit again.   Between us we have had three knee replacements and an arthroscopic "clean up" in the last year so still working back up to speed.  Really would love to see Bermuda again.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

but the flexibility and pricing is SO much cheaper on your own.  Now Viking AIr is saying no upgrades allowed of any kind on their contract in June/July.  Have to think about this one, and fast.

This is what puts me off over using a cruise or land tour company to do air for any trip. I wrangled over this for months relative to the Jan. '20 chairman's cruise - and decided to go with Viking air but upgraded to business class....all for naught of course. I just like doing my own thing. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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3 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

These two new offerings are Viking's "test cruises" if you will.  They are a very controlled attempt to re start.  I really appreciate all who are booking and Viking for trying their best to get going.  I would not expect these to be anything like the Viking we all know and love but it is a start.  "Normal" won't happen until we collectively treat covid like any other serious disease and treat the afflicted, including removal and repatriation home but get on with it for the rest of the world.  There will be a day when covid no longer means "the sky is falling"......

Well stated Jim!

We personally felt the strong need now to get out and have this trip to Bermuda, and certainly have the expectation that it will be different than the Viking cruises we have come to know in the past.   Yes - very controlled attempt - but thankfully it is a start.   You might say all of us passengers will be "test cases" as well!  We'll be sure to report our experiences to all.  Can't wait!

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1 minute ago, OnTheJourney said:

Wishing both of you the most successful and fastest recovery....😉 

Thanks so much.  All that running and other stuff sure was fun!🍸

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3 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

We personally felt the strong need now to get out and have this trip to Bermuda,

I get it...totally!  I think many of us are going through some sort of 'withdrawal' symptoms from so long away from travel. I know I am. I look back on the time that is simply...gone...can't get it back. Of course, my choice, to some extent, to have not traveled. 

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1 minute ago, Jim Avery said:

All that running and other stuff sure was fun!

LOL...I must have went through more novels the past year or so than I have over the past 5 years. I found that when the pandemic first really kicked into high gear, reading was a great diversion from the stress and worry over some of this. "Take me away"...as the song goes...

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2 hours ago, chromatographer said:

We managed to get a V2 for the 17-Jul sailing of the Iceland trip. Maybe see some of you there. If anyone is booking airfare on their own, Denver, NYC, and Boston are all fairly cheap to fly. We locked in $500 round trip per person out of Denver on United. Iceland Air is putting downward pressure on fares for US cities they serve, but note that cheap fares are basic economy and do not include checked bags. If you can work the system, some US airlines are matching the Iceland Air fares in their own basic economy fares, but you can get a free bag through the co-branded airline credit card instead of the $140 per bag each way on Iceland Air. Viking quoted us $1199 for Viking Air, so booking on our own was a no brainer. 

 

That's a good price but Icelandair economy seating is notoriously tight.

 

Using my vouchers from last summer's cancellation, I just booked on Icelandair. After our last, most unendurable flight in economy (not Icelandair) with the guy next to me trying to take up half of my seat and DH's knees jammed against the seat in front, my husband declared, "never again."  This time, we booked business class.  (Yes, extra legroom seats are available for a fee, but it was hard to figure out if there were any front of the cabin seats available for us.)  There is just more to flying than choosing the cheapest ticket.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

I get it...totally!  I think many of us are going through some sort of 'withdrawal' symptoms from so long away from travel. I know I am. I look back on the time that is simply...gone...can't get it back. Of course, my choice, to some extent, to have not traveled. 

Yes - withdrawal!  I hear you completely! 

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5 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

That's a good price but Icelandair economy seating is notoriously tight.

 

Using my vouchers from last summer's cancellation, I just booked on Icelandair. After our last, most unendurable flight in economy (not Icelandair) with the guy next to me trying to take up half of my seat and DH's knees jammed against the seat in front, my husband declared, "never again."  This time, we booked business class.  (Yes, extra legroom seats are available for a fee, but it was hard to figure out if there were any front of the cabin seats available for us.)  There is just more to flying than choosing the cheapest ticket.

 

 

I will ask Viking Air again.  Was told (at least to Bermuda) that we could not upgrade from coach, even for a fee.  Seemed strange - had not heard that one before.  Will have to do a HUCA , maybe a couple times.

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19 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

And I just confirmed with a viking agent on the phone that they will provide it. 
 

Additionally he confirmed that Viking will not be offering any excursions on embarkation day 😢.   So we are probably going to decline Viking air.  I have an email into the Blue Lagoon to see if they can arrange an airport pickup and a cruise dropoff.  They have airport or downtown transportation for $53 rt on their website so hopefully cruise port can fall under the downtown and they will be willing to do it🤞

If you don't hear back right away from the Blue Lagoon, give these folks a jingle.  I think they're the ones that pick you up at the airport and wait outside of the Blue Lagoon (with your luggage) for two hours and then drive you to your hotel.  I can't imagine a trip to the port wouldn't be on their drop off list as well.  If they're not who I'm thinking of, there are a number of services I think that do this:

 

Airport Direct

 

When Celebrity opened bookings for their cruises out of St. Martin or wherever, and people were booking, I thought, "I hope it goes well, and I'll be paying attention."  I kind of thought people were crazy to try to cruise so soon, or at least less risk averse than I am, and then here comes Viking.  As soon as I read that each cabin has its own a/c unit drawing its own air from the outside?  Here I come!  That's the thing that has had me kind of freaked out about cruises and lots of hotel rooms.  All that shared recycled air.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

Good job Clay!

We are still torn about doing our own air versus Viking Air (to Bermuda).  Risks involved in own air, but the flexibility and pricing is SO much cheaper on your own.  Now Viking AIr is saying no upgrades allowed of any kind on their contract in June/July.  Have to think about this one, and fast.

Yes we have air on our booking (or will presuming our TA gets through to Viking before the hold disappears🤞) but are likely to DIY it mostly because I don’t want to enter Viking’s bubble at 10am on embarkation day.  Final payment isn’t due until Friday so have until then to remove it. 
 

As much as I’m looking forward to being back aboard Sky, I want to do the Golden Circle AND the Blue Lagoon which Viking didn’t offer on previous cruises.  So I have an email into the Blue Lagoon to see if rather than using their roundtrip airport or roundtrip downtown option we could have them pick us up at the airport and drop us off downtown.  Figure we could spend the morning in the warm water getting rid of aches from economy air and then head to the ship.  If so, the price will be about the less than Viking’s excursion there and figure we can do the Golden Circle with them on Day 2.  

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For people taking an all-day Golden Circle tour in Iceland (whether through Viking or on your own), see if you can have lunch at the famed Fridheimar restaurant near Gullfoss and Geysir. You have to love tomato soup and all things tomato. But then again, you're eating in a tomato greenhouse! Well worth it. Make bookings far in advance. https://www.fridheimar.is/en

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19 minutes ago, amyr said:

If you don't hear back right away from the Blue Lagoon, give these folks a jingle.  I think they're the ones that pick you up at the airport and wait outside of the Blue Lagoon (with your luggage) for two hours and then drive you to your hotel.  I can't imagine a trip to the port wouldn't be on their drop off list as well.  If they're not who I'm thinking of, there are a number of services I think that do this:

 

Airport Direct

 

When Celebrity opened bookings for their cruises out of St. Martin or wherever, and people were booking, I thought, "I hope it goes well, and I'll be paying attention."  I kind of thought people were crazy to try to cruise so soon, or at least less risk averse than I am, and then here comes Viking.  As soon as I read that each cabin has its own a/c unit drawing its own air from the outside?  Here I come!  That's the thing that has had me kind of freaked out about cruises and lots of hotel rooms.  All that shared recycled air.

 

 

Thanks so much. I’ve just emailed them also!

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2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

You certainly have a fair savings, but by booking independent air, you are assuming all the risks that Viking carry when you use Viking Air.

 

Unless the cruise includes flights, I normally book our our own flights, with air miles, but in these times, with the uncertainty of start up cruises, I think I would happily use Viking Air. If the cruise is cancelled or curtailed in any way, with Viking Air, they are responsible for changes at no cost to the pax. If the cruise is cancelled, Viking provide a FCV or refund for everything in a timely manner. However, I know lots of people that got nothing from the airlines for cancelled flights.

 

At least for the first few months of the return to cruising, personally I would consider the Viking Air premium as an insurance premium to mitigate our risks.

 

Hopefully it all works out and the flights/cruise go as planned.

Our plan in the event of a Viking cancellation is probably just to still go to Iceland on our own. We also booked tickets that can be changed (as voucher) on United instead of Iceland Air. I agree that Viking Air does offer a bit of insurance against cancellation, but in our experience they are not helpful when there’s flight issues en route. I do not consider paying an extra $700 per person to be worth it for marginal protection, especially when the worst case scenario is having to find another trip to use our flight vouchers on. It really depends on individual preferences, but I figure if someone is ok with self booking, the info above would be helpful. 

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51 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

Yes we have air on our booking (or will presuming our TA gets through to Viking before the hold disappears🤞) but are likely to DIY it mostly because I don’t want to enter Viking’s bubble at 10am on embarkation day.  Final payment isn’t due until Friday so have until then to remove it. 
 

As much as I’m looking forward to being back aboard Sky, I want to do the Golden Circle AND the Blue Lagoon which Viking didn’t offer on previous cruises.  So I have an email into the Blue Lagoon to see if rather than using their roundtrip airport or roundtrip downtown option we could have them pick us up at the airport and drop us off downtown.  Figure we could spend the morning in the warm water getting rid of aches from economy air and then head to the ship.  If so, the price will be about the less than Viking’s excursion there and figure we can do the Golden Circle with them on Day 2.  

There use to be regular services that could be booked: airport pick up on  arrival, Blue Lagoon for x number of hours, hotel delivery. Highly recommend stopping at the Blue Lagoon on the way in-great way to get rid of jet lag! It works!

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1 hour ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

That's a good price but Icelandair economy seating is notoriously tight.

 

Using my vouchers from last summer's cancellation, I just booked on Icelandair. After our last, most unendurable flight in economy (not Icelandair) with the guy next to me trying to take up half of my seat and DH's knees jammed against the seat in front, my husband declared, "never again."  This time, we booked business class.  (Yes, extra legroom seats are available for a fee, but it was hard to figure out if there were any front of the cabin seats available for us.)  There is just more to flying than choosing the cheapest ticket.

 

 

Agreed. As described above, the best bet is to find an airport where United or Delta meet or nearly meet the Iceland Air prices. Air Canada also competes on US-Iceland flights. For other readers, it should be mentioned that business class on flights to Iceland for most carriers is closer to US Domestic First rather than international business. So a bigger chair with more recline, but generally no lie flat seats like you’d have on US-Asia business class. I believe United is the only carrier offering lie flats US-Iceland, but they are quite pricey. 

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5 minutes ago, chromatographer said:

Agreed. As described above, the best bet is to find an airport where United or Delta meet or nearly meet the Iceland Air prices. Air Canada also competes on US-Iceland flights. For other readers, it should be mentioned that business class on flights to Iceland for most carriers is closer to US Domestic First rather than international business. So a bigger chair with more recline, but generally no lie flat seats like you’d have on US-Asia business class. I believe United is the only carrier offering lie flats US-Iceland, but they are quite pricey. 

Delta has one flight on a 757 out of JFK with lie flats but is REALLY expensive.  The same flight out of Boston has recliner seats as you state and it’s half as much

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1 hour ago, CCWineLover said:

Good job Clay!

We are still torn about doing our own air versus Viking Air (to Bermuda).  Risks involved in own air, but the flexibility and pricing is SO much cheaper on your own.  Now Viking AIr is saying no upgrades allowed of any kind on their contract in June/July.  Have to think about this one, and fast.

 

If you are booking with an airline that you fly on frequently enough that you would be able to use a credit (if you can get one if you cancel your flight) on a future flight AND considering that you are flying coast to coast and upgrade is important, maybe this tips the scales to booking your own.

 

While I agree with what Andy says about letting Viking carry the risk, it is not a hard and fast rule. We just booked our own air for Iceland. We were stuck with a voucher for Icelandair from last summer and wanted to spend it. Each case is different.

 

 

1 hour ago, OnTheJourney said:

I'm suspecting they'll sell out. People are chomping at the bit to get back out on the water. 

 

Iceland is sold out already.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Clay Clayton said:

but are likely to DIY it mostly because I don’t want to enter Viking’s bubble at 10am on embarkation day.

Don't blame you, but this is exactly what I'm referring to relative to the lack of control that Viking has over how people arrive and what they do prior to embarkation. See how it all plays out. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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20 hours ago, Sailor Sam 407 said:

The only down side is that the 125% FCV must be used for cruises in either 2021 or 2022. Doesn't offer a whole lot of flexibility.

My 2022 Egypt cruise was cancelled by Viking yesterday. I rebooked for 2023 and the Viking agent applied the 125% FCC to the new booking.

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Posted (edited)

If anyone is doing their own land tour of Iceland, I can recommend Fosshotel near the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon (a must-see on the southern coast). Lovely place, decent food. 
 

Also, when we were there (September), the weather was ABYSMAL. High winds and pouring. It didn’t just rain; it sheeted water sideways. Umbrellas were useless. (Nobody carried them. We also didn’t see any in stores, which tells you something.) People told us ahead of time to bring rain pants. Whoever heard of rain pants, we said, and laughed it off. Bunch of wusses, we thought.
 

When we walked out of the airport into the Nordic equivalent of a monsoon, soaking us to the bone in the 60 seconds it took to get from the door to the taxi, the light bulb went off. 
 

I don’t know what the weather is like in the summer — I hear it’s better. But just in case, I would bring a good raincoat, rain hat (that ties on), and a waterproof case for your camera. And rain pants.
 

Edited by Twitchly
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38 minutes ago, Twitchly said:

If anyone is doing their own land tour of Iceland, I can recommend Fosshotel near the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon (a must-see on the southern coast). Lovely place, decent food. 
 

Also, when we were there (September), the weather was ABYSMAL. High winds and pouring. It didn’t just rain; it sheeted water sideways. Umbrellas were useless. (Nobody carried them. We also didn’t see any in stores, which tells you something.) People told us ahead of time to bring rain pants. Whoever heard of rain pants, we said, and laughed it off. Bunch of wusses, we thought.
 

When we walked out of the airport into the Nordic equivalent of a monsoon, soaking us to the bone in the 60 seconds it took to get from the door to the taxi, the light bulb went off. 
 

I don’t know what the weather is like in the summer — I hear it’s better. But just in case, I would bring a good raincoat, rain hat (that ties on), and a waterproof case for your camera. And rain pants.
 

The glacier lagoon is indeed spectacular. I was driving through the area in 2011 and didn't spend the night. (I went straight through to Skogar.) For our upcoming June trip, my wife and I plan to spend two nights at a hotel near the lagoon (probably the Hali Country Hotel).

 

The Iceland weather was gorgeous in 2011, but lousy on my second trip in 2019. Lots and lots of rain when we visited the Golden Circle on an excursion.  So the weather gods smiled once and frowned another time. It all averages out.

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I see our June 26 Iceland cruise is sold out.  Did someone say here somewhere yesterday that these new cruises were operating at 50%, or will there really be 930 pax?

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