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New Viking Ocean Cruiser - Advice?


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I just booked one of the Bermuda trips and it's our first Viking Ocean experience. (We're veteran cruisers with 40 cruises behind us, primarily on Cunard, Princess, and HAL.) What advice do you have for us to make the most of our trip?

Some questions

- Can I book the airport transfers online? (We booked our own air because I really didn't want to deal with coach on a red-eye for our departure from SF) Although Bermuda is small, I figure that by doing the transfer, we should be able to take advantage of Viking's COVID procedures. 

- Do specialty restaurant reservations fill up fast? Should we reserve in advance? What are your favorite dining alternatives (including Chef's Table)?

- Is the afternoon tea worthwhile?

- Anything else?


 

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19 minutes ago, MarkBearSF said:

I just booked one of the Bermuda trips and it's our first Viking Ocean experience. (We're veteran cruisers with 40 cruises behind us, primarily on Cunard, Princess, and HAL.) What advice do you have for us to make the most of our trip?

Some questions

- Can I book the airport transfers online? (We booked our own air because I really didn't want to deal with coach on a red-eye for our departure from SF) Although Bermuda is small, I figure that by doing the transfer, we should be able to take advantage of Viking's COVID procedures. 

- Do specialty restaurant reservations fill up fast? Should we reserve in advance? What are your favorite dining alternatives (including Chef's Table)?

- Is the afternoon tea worthwhile?

- Anything else?


 

In My Viking Journey on line under Airfare you will find a form to complete to arrange airport transfers.  Yes the specialty restaurants in the past did  fill up fast especially if you wanted to be seated before 8 or 8:30 pm.  With the Covid seating for 2 restriction now, they may fill faster for prime dining times.  We must also choose a time for dining in The Restaurant now whereas that was previously not the case.  The afternoon tea was always very nice.  The Wintergarden venue is gorgeous, the sconces are delicious and the towering mini sandwich tray is very nice.  Live music is also provided.  I believe the Jupiter is sailing Bermuda and it was a planetarium.  If you wish to see any shows, sign up at guest services as soon as you board.  They are not live astronomy star gazing but nice 45 minute astronomy related shows projected on the dome ceiling. At least we enjoyed those shown on our South America trip.  If you choose to dine at The World Cafe, check out both sides as there are different offerings.  Waffles in Mamsens are better then those in the World Cafe.  If you like fresh ground made to order coffee, go to the Living Room bar in the morning.  These are my two cents.

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Just now, TayanaLorna said:

In My Viking Journey on line under Airfare you will find a form to complete to arrange airport transfers.  Yes the specialty restaurants in the past did  fill up fast especially if you wanted to be seated before 8 or 8:30 pm.  With the Covid seating for 2 restriction now, they may fill faster for prime dining times.  We must also choose a time for dining in The Restaurant now whereas that was previously not the case.  The afternoon tea was always very nice.  The Wintergarden venue is gorgeous, the sconces are delicious and the towering mini sandwich tray is very nice.  Live music is also provided.  I believe the Jupiter is sailing Bermuda and it was a planetarium.  If you wish to see any shows, sign up at guest services as soon as you board.  They are not live astronomy star gazing but nice 45 minute astronomy related shows projected on the dome ceiling. At least we enjoyed those shown on our South America trip.  If you choose to dine at The World Cafe, check out both sides as there are different offerings.  Waffles in Mamsens are better then those in the World Cafe.  If you like fresh ground made to order coffee, go to the Living Room bar in the morning.  These are my two cents.

oh that is HAS a planetarium

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It is Orion going to Bermuda as we are going June 29.  Orion also has a planetarium.  We didn’t care for it - took out great 2nd floor of Explorers lounge.  But does have the great noodle bar aft!!!

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1 hour ago, JeriGail said:

Check out this forum:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2416372-tips-for-new-viking-ocean-cruisers/page/45/

At 45 pages, it's very long, but it has tons of useful information.

 

Thank you for beating me to the punch on this one-- saved me the trouble of having to track it down. 😊

 

My only caveat is that this is how it was before Covid-19 struck. How it will be when operations resume is hard to predict and some of our best tips may no longer be useful.

 

Also, there is a lot of repeated information, so while it is long, if you give up part of the way through, you might not miss anything. But is is a very helpful thread and well worth the effort to read even part of it.

 

6 hours ago, TayanaLorna said:

I believe the Jupiter is sailing Bermuda and it was a planetarium.  If you wish to see any shows, sign up at guest services as soon as you board.

 

I just read on another thread that the planetariums no longer appear on the deck plans, with the assumption that they have been removed. And given that World Cafe will no longer be a self-service venue, that may also be the fate of the noodle bar.

 

6 hours ago, TayanaLorna said:

Yes the specialty restaurants in the past did  fill up fast

 

And even more so on a one week cruise, where there are fewer chances for the same number of people to be seated. 

 

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6 hours ago, MarkBearSF said:

I just booked one of the Bermuda trips and it's our first Viking Ocean experience. (We're veteran cruisers with 40 cruises behind us, primarily on Cunard, Princess, and HAL.) What advice do you have for us to make the most of our trip?

 

I have been chatting with the cruise director from one of our previous cruises (it appears she will be on yours) and her biggest advice to me for our upcoming Iceland cruise has been patience and going with the flow.  She has pointed out that things are not going to be the same. 

Be sure and set aside some time to enjoy the spa (complimentary). 
 

Don’t forget the forward relaxation spots up on the top deck.  Nice place to be on a nice day. 
 

Leave your Cunard black tie outfits at home. 
 

If you like sushi and/or seafood, don’t miss the daily selections at the World Cafe.We usually grab a  plate and then head to the stern to the Aquavit for pre-dinner cocktails. Picture of the cold seafood is below. 
 

Try to have a taste of the goodies at Mamsen’s (great for a light lunch) and The Living Room (don’t miss the pistachio raisin bun-pictured below (just to the left of my breakfast plate). 
 

Breakfast in the Restaurant is very civilized-our favorite there are the grilled lamb chops. Picture below. 
 

Download the Viking App before leaving home and log on as soon as you’re aboard.  With it, you can see menus for all restaurants for everyday of your cruise and make or modify reservations.  One can also do this at the World Cafe host station (port side) during lunch hours but the line is usually line on embarkation day. 

Menu at Chef’s Table rotates every three days-our favs are Lotus ans English. 
 

We think The Restaurant’s best dishes are the seafood ones-especially the Chilean Sea Bass (they have another one on the menu that’s just ok-it won’t say Chilean)
 

The bartenders are happy to make you something that isn’t on the bar menu. 
 

If you aren’t in a DV or above category, your inroom fridge won’t be refilled but all the bars gladly will hand you an unopened can of soda/mixer so you can refill it yourself. 

Some questions

- Can I book the airport transfers online? (We booked our own air because I really didn't want to deal with coach on a red-eye for our departure from SF) Although Bermuda is small, I figure that by doing the transfer, we should be able to take advantage of Viking's COVID procedures. 

Someone else has answered this already.  Given all the various information on what quarantine procedures are going to be, we have elected to arrange our own transfer (with a sightseeing stop) so we won’t be joining the Viking bubble until later in the day.  Keep in mind that it is expected that you will only be able to leave the ship as part of a Viking excursion under their current Covid procedures. 

- Do specialty restaurant reservations fill up fast? Manfredi’s more than Chef’s Table-but yes. Should we reserve in advance? I intend to, but will likely change once on board and we can see the menu. What are your favorite dining alternatives (including Chef's Table)?  All are good. We like Chef’s Table better than Manfredi’s but enjoy dining there also. FYI, the pool grill seared tuna is great -we usually order it, run inside and make a salad and then have it placed atop for lunch. The onion rings there are also good. Many dishes (especially starters) served in The Restaurant will also be available at The World Cafe. There will be a plate or three on display at The World Cafe. If you want one of these one of the chef’s will make it à la minute for you. 

- Is the afternoon tea worthwhile?

YES. Just don’t eat a big lunch or plan a big dinner. Be sure and ask for proper clotted cream if they try to pawn off whipped cream on you. 

- Anything else?

Launderette on each floor is complimentary including detergent. 
 

If you’re in a DV or above and aren’t a big coffee drinker and need more storage-just ask your room steward to remove the Nespresso machine. Gives you one more space. 
 

Of you’re big drinkers the Silver Spirts package is a good deal but keep in mind that Viking’s drink costs are much lower than most cruise lines.  $7-8 for a gin & tonic. So we have found that we don’t really need the package. This is especially true if we tote on a bottle of gin and of vodka-legal under Viking’s rules. 
 

When we are in a V or DV, we rearrange the chairs and coffee table in V and DVs to make the room feel more spacious.  We put the table in the corner and one of the chairs against the balcony wall. See pictures below. The first one is how the room will be when you board. 


 

Welcome to Viking! I’ve provided some of my answers in your quote above. Please keep in mind that all this advice is what I knew BEFORE Covid.  At this point no one knows how it is really going to be when sailing resumes. 

If you booked directly or of your Travel Agent isn’t providing you with $150 pp obc, then you might want to find one who does. This is the max rebate that Viking allows for an 8 day cruise. 
 

I suggest watching (if you haven’t already) watching some YouTube ship and cruise reviews.  
 

Holler if you have any questions. 

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10 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

 

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I have been wondering if the Sushi/raw bar will be open in the World Cafe when sailing resumes.  We like to stop here for a light appetizer and then head to the MDR for a late dinner (but not too late because DH likes the shows in the Theater).

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Welcome to the beautiful Viking Ships.  A lot of thought was put into the layout and design of the cabins.from reading lights for the beds, phone charger plugs, etc.  The Baths have a lot of storage.  We bring some easily removable Command Hooks to place hats & Jackets. There is really no place to put items in the shower, therefore we pack a net bag to place in the shower to hold  shampoo, conditioner, etc.  My husband likes a bar of soap, so we always pack bath soap The only place in the shower is a small ledge.

We place a note in the small refrig for our preferred replacement items and may request that some items be removed.

Great room service menu. The cheese & fresh fruit platter is enough for 2 days for us.  We always carry ziplock type bags  to place the extra cheese and fruit.  Room service has always been on time and quick. Hot items arrive hot and cold items are cold,

The Living Room Cafe has both regular and decaf fresh ground coffee or your favorite coffee beverage all day.

Enjoy your cruise!

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8 minutes ago, MSEm said:

The Living Room Cafe has both regular and decaf fresh ground coffee or your favorite coffee beverage all day.

 

And is the best coffee on the ship!

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14 hours ago, CCWineLover said:

It is Orion going to Bermuda as we are going June 29.  Orion also has a planetarium.  We didn’t care for it - took out great 2nd floor of Explorers lounge.  But does have the great noodle bar aft!!!

I definitely agree in prefering the complete two level Explorers Lounge and am glad our next two cruises are on Sky and Sea.  We did, however, enjoy the two shows we attended.  Our 18 day itinerary had 7 sea days so it was a different thing to do.

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1 hour ago, rbslos18 said:

How is the included wine served at lunch and dinner?  Does the brand served rotate?

Thanks

 

Yes, there is a certain amount of rotation of what is being served over the course of the cruise. It doesn't change every night and wines served early in a cruise may return later in a cruise.

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Everyone has different tastes, likes and dislikes when it comes to wine.  It is a very personal thing.  I would suggest you try it yourself and see.  IMHO some were good some not so good but usually could fine something.  Yes they rotated occasionally and even some differences from cruise to cruise and year to year.   Who knows what contracts Viking may have in 21/22?  It appeared the majority were part of a contract Viking had, but often there was some room for outliers.

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54 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

Everyone has different tastes, likes and dislikes when it comes to wine.  It is a very personal thing.  I would suggest you try it yourself and see.  IMHO some were good some not so good but usually could fine something.  Yes they rotated occasionally and even some differences from cruise to cruise and year to year.   Who knows what contracts Viking may have in 21/22?  It appeared the majority were part of a contract Viking had, but often there was some room for outliers.

Agree completely.  We have also found that sometimes yesterday’s wine (which we liked) is still available even if they are serving a different one.  So if there is one you particularly like, take note of the name.  Never hurts to ask if you could have it instead. 

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1 hour ago, CCWineLover said:

Everyone has different tastes, likes and dislikes when it comes to wine.  It is a very personal thing.  I would suggest you try it yourself and see.  IMHO some were good some not so good but usually could fine something.  Yes they rotated occasionally and even some differences from cruise to cruise and year to year.   Who knows what contracts Viking may have in 21/22?  It appeared the majority were part of a contract Viking had, but often there was some room for outliers.

Great point

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5 hours ago, rbslos18 said:

How is the included wine served at lunch and dinner?  Does the brand served rotate?

Thanks

Some good, some not so.  However wine can be subjective and even DH and I have disagreed.  The wines do rotate, but I have never found it difficult to find one to my liking.

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If they serve you a wine that you don't like very well, ask if anything else is available.  I have found that the Viking Crew always does anything reasonable to make your experience as good as possible.  Very few reasonable requests ever get turned down.   Of course, how resonable a request is may be different between different folks.

 

Viking Cruise Advice:  We have a "Cruise Kit" that we always take that we keep in a gallon ziplock bag.  It contains about 10 feet of Duck Tape, a couple pads of post-it notes and a pen, a few paper clips, some bobbie pins, a couple of magnetic hooks (for hanging jackets or robes), a few clothes pins, a 5 foot buggy cord (to hang stuff to dry in the shower), a champage stopper, a couple wine stoppers, a TSA approved wine opener and a couple ziplock bags.

 

In the late afternoon we will often order the "Chef's Selection of Premium Cold Cuts" and the "Selection of International & Astisan Cheeses" from room service to enjoy on the deck a glass of wine or a Gin & Tonic.   We also ask for a lime the first day that we use for the G&T.  You can also drop by the World Cafe for some shushi to take back to your deck to enjoy with a evening cocktail.

 

The Coffees in the Living Room Cafe are great.  If you are a Steak Tartare fan which I am, Mamsen's is your spot for a fix - they also have great waffles for breakfast. 

 

Speaking of food.  I also love the Seared Ahi Tuna Sandwich at the Pool Grill.

 

Manfredi's is great and the Chef's Table menus are always fun.  I in fact enjoy all the food on Viking.

 

Bottom line:  Visit each of Vikings Resturant's, Bars, and Cafes and I promise you will find things that will excite and delight.    I can't wait for July - I have really, really missed cruising on Viking!!!!!

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11 minutes ago, Dukefan said:

We have a "Cruise Kit" that we always take

 

While we don't take everything you mention, we do carry a few items that you don't mention:

 

 suction cup hooks (they work best on glass)  and metal skirt hangers -- both for hand laundry and anything that doesn't go in the dryer

Neu Home 3pk Skirt Hangers : Target  image.jpeg.85d4413d81eeeb312a0f4ebcecd2f0e6.jpeg

 

 

for the launderette, we carry a lingerie bag or two, so the little items don't get lost in the washer or stranded beyond my reach at the back of the dryer

 

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Dukefan said:

If they serve you a wine that you don't like very well, ask if anything else is available.  I have found that the Viking Crew always does anything reasonable to make your experience as good as possible.  Very few reasonable requests ever get turned down.   Of course, how resonable a request is may be different between different folks.

 

Viking Cruise Advice:  We have a "Cruise Kit" that we always take that we keep in a gallon ziplock bag.  It contains about 10 feet of Duck Tape, a couple pads of post-it notes and a pen, a few paper clips, some bobbie pins, a couple of magnetic hooks (for hanging jackets or robes), a few clothes pins, a 5 foot buggy cord (to hang stuff to dry in the shower), a champage stopper, a couple wine stoppers, a TSA approved wine opener and a couple ziplock bags.

 

In the late afternoon we will often order the "Chef's Selection of Premium Cold Cuts" and the "Selection of International & Astisan Cheeses" from room service to enjoy on the deck a glass of wine or a Gin & Tonic.   We also ask for a lime the first day that we use for the G&T.  You can also drop by the World Cafe for some shushi to take back to your deck to enjoy with a evening cocktail.

 

The Coffees in the Living Room Cafe are great.  If you are a Steak Tartare fan which I am, Mamsen's is your spot for a fix - they also have great waffles for breakfast. 

 

Speaking of food.  I also love the Seared Ahi Tuna Sandwich at the Pool Grill.

 

Manfredi's is great and the Chef's Table menus are always fun.  I in fact enjoy all the food on Viking.

 

Bottom line:  Visit each of Vikings Resturant's, Bars, and Cafes and I promise you will find things that will excite and delight.    I can't wait for July - I have really, really missed cruising on Viking!!!!!

Duke fan - we think alike!!

The ecoutrement bag, the sushi on veranda (with some good Chardonnay for us), and especially the seared ahi at the pool grill!!!  With a Norwegian IPA beer, and I’ll add one to Mamsens - the amazing almond cake!!

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1 hour ago, Dukefan said:

Viking Cruise Advice:  We have a "Cruise Kit" that we always take that we keep in a gallon ziplock bag.  It contains about 10 feet of Duck Tape, a couple pads of post-it notes and a pen, a few paper clips, some bobbie pins, a couple of magnetic hooks (for hanging jackets or robes), a few clothes pins, a 5 foot buggy cord (to hang stuff to dry in the shower), a champage stopper, a couple wine stoppers, a TSA approved wine opener and a couple ziplock bags.


I may regret this, but … what do you do with the Duck tape?

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1 hour ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

While we don't take everything you mention, we do carry a few items that you don't mention:

 

 suction cup hooks (they work best on glass)  and metal skirt hangers -- both for hand laundry and anything that doesn't go in the dryer

Neu Home 3pk Skirt Hangers : Target  image.jpeg.85d4413d81eeeb312a0f4ebcecd2f0e6.jpeg

 

 

for the launderette, we carry a lingerie bag or two, so the little items don't get lost in the washer or stranded beyond my reach at the back of the dryer

 

 

 

 

 I discovered a few cruises ago that the track above the closet will hold a hanger.  We don’t dryer dry our t shirts, so hand them on hangers on the door track.  The shirts dry fast and are out of the way. The wall by the bed in a PV cabin also has a track you can hang clothes on to dry.

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33 minutes ago, Twitchly said:


I may regret this, but … what do you do with the Duck tape?

 

Probably after paint brushes and spanners, "Duck Tape" is the next most tool on a ship.😀😁

 

We also take a roll and even as a pax we invariably find some uses for it. At the end of the last WC, came in handy repairing an old bag that we ended up having to bring home, as the original plan was to leave the relic behind. 

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53 minutes ago, Twitchly said:


I may regret this, but … what do you do with the Duck tape?

I have found with traveling as well as around the home Duck Tape can be used for a large number of fix-it tasks.  I take a flat piece of cardboard and roll several feet of Duck Tape around it - it then is a little less than the size of a standard smart-phone so it takes up almost no space.  Over the years, I have used it to repair suitcases, shoes, wrapping packages to bring home, etc. 

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55 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

Probably after paint brushes and spanners, "Duck Tape" is the next most tool on a ship.😀😁

 

We also take a roll and even as a pax we invariably find some uses for it. At the end of the last WC, came in handy repairing an old bag that we ended up having to bring home, as the original plan was to leave the relic behind. 

Actually the two things I have probably used most in my travels (not only cruising) are duck tape and my swiss army knife. I wouldn't travel anywhere probably without them.

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