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Welcome Back Cruises 2021 - Malta & Adriatic Cruises and General Discussion


JM0115
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On the Viking  Sea now.  Waiting to enter Dubrovnik.   I must say that I am very disappointed with the level of service on the ship.  Food has been great.  Service not so.  I hope the home office reads those questionnaires.   I hope to write more when home.

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8 minutes ago, MikeyB said:

On the Viking  Sea now.  Waiting to enter Dubrovnik.   I must say that I am very disappointed with the level of service on the ship.  Food has been great.  Service not so.  I hope the home office reads those questionnaires.   I hope to write more when home.

 

Do please expand, I'm due to sail on the Sea's next Adriatic cruise on 19 September, so your comments a bit alarming (especially after reading so many positives regarding service.)

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25 minutes ago, Mitina said:

Anyone on the Valletta post extension?  Do they provide a final Covid test at the hotel for your return flight?

That is sad to hear.  We have not found that ...at least with our stateroom steward & the areas we frequent. Everyone I talk to seem to be glad to get back to work. Now the embarkation was definitely not up to Viking standards...mostly at the Malta airport.

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7 hours ago, MikeyB said:

On the Viking  Sea now.  Waiting to enter Dubrovnik.   I must say that I am very disappointed with the level of service on the ship.  Food has been great.  Service not so.  I hope the home office reads those questionnaires.   I hope to write more when home.

We are on Viking Sea now. Did Malta and Greece 20 to 30 August, now on the Malta and Adriatic cruise. I would rate stateroom service, dining service, bar service, and crew courtesy as outstanding! No complaints at all. 

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14 minutes ago, Eround said:

We are on Viking Sea now. Did Malta and Greece 20 to 30 August, now on the Malta and Adriatic cruise. I would rate stateroom service, dining service, bar service, and crew courtesy as outstanding! No complaints at all. 

Happy you think so.  I don't.  

My stateroom had a half open bottle of tonic in frig.  Hairs  in a bath room  drawer,  dirty carpet and was missing airbugs for  Quitevox.  Perhaps half the crew acknowledge you with a hello.  The security crew always smile.  All the Jupiter  crew in Iceland  last month  did.  Bar service is good not great.  The food at dinner has been excellent. 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise. 

And do you know the real story why we didn't do Montenegro?

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15 minutes ago, MikeyB said:

Happy you think so.  I don't.  

My stateroom had a half open bottle of tonic in frig.  Hairs  in a bath room  drawer,  dirty carpet and was missing airbugs for  Quitevox.  Perhaps half the crew acknowledge you with a hello.  The security crew always smile.  All the Jupiter  crew in Iceland  last month  did.  Bar service is good not great.  The food at dinner has been excellent. 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise. 

And do you know the real story why we didn't do Montenegro?

I probably don’t know your “real” story.

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36 minutes ago, MikeyB said:

Happy you think so.  I don't.  

My stateroom had a half open bottle of tonic in frig.  Hairs  in a bath room  drawer,  dirty carpet and was missing airbugs for  Quitevox.  Perhaps half the crew acknowledge you with a hello.  The security crew always smile.  All the Jupiter  crew in Iceland  last month  did.  Bar service is good not great.  The food at dinner has been excellent. 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise. 

And do you know the real story why we didn't do Montenegro?

Curious to hear how they responded to your complaints.

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51 minutes ago, Azulann said:

Hoping the cruisers from US stuck at Newark Airport last night , got to Malta  and on the Venus today for  their cruise.  Newark got 8 inches of rain  a matter of hours! 

Our friends almost landed in Newark but got rerouted to Chicago for last night.  They got rebooked on a flight to Frankfurt this afternoon and hopefully they and luggage will get there.  Russell is one of the guest lecturers.  He's fantastic.  That charter flight last night must have been empty!

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2 hours ago, MikeyB said:

And do you know the real story why we didn't do Montenegro?

Look back a few pages; this is why:

On 8/26/2021 at 1:54 PM, les37b said:

Not good news.

 

Montenegro has turned red for the UK, which means if it stays that way and Viking don't makes changes, UK cruisers won't be able to sail because if the advisory that is now in place.

 

I know when I originally booked this, I did ask what might happen if Montenegro turned red, the reply was "we won't sail to red countries" so I'm guessing we will get a sea day or maybe another Croatia stop.

 

Fair chance this may be red for the US too ?

 

On 8/26/2021 at 1:56 PM, les37b said:

 

Worse than that, your insurance won't be valid if we do call there.

 

I truly think the port will get pulled and we will sail with it removed. This is likely to affect everyone.

 

 

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14 hours ago, Liz Masterson said:

My Friends Gail and Phil decided to stay aboard the Sea after their Greece tour and are with you on board! I am exceedingly jealous. Enjoy!

 

We are on the Sea now. There are 125 Brits ...so if we had stopped in Montenegro they would probably have cancelled. Actually having 2 days here in Dubrovnik has been awesome. Shuttles are every hour into town & people wander around alone or choose an excursion. A few new ones were added to choose from also. There are 52 or so passengers who decided to stay on for this Adriatic portion (we are on for 21 days). Some passengers who boarded on 8/30 as we did are offered to stay on for Greece portion also. Why not if its convenient & good price. So we have 500 ish on board...very nice! No complaints here, our 6th Viking cruise.

 

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Very interesting that they are helping us Brits out this way. Does anyone know if they are skipping Kusadasi on the Greece cruise as Turkey is also red for Brits. We didn’t book for it (yet) because of the Turkey problem…

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4 hours ago, gma1 said:

We are on the Sea now. There are 125 Brits ...so if we had stopped in Montenegro they would probably have cancelled. Actually having 2 days here in Dubrovnik has been awesome. Shuttles are every hour into town & people wander around alone or choose an excursion. A few new ones were added to choose from also. There are 52 or so passengers who decided to stay on for this Adriatic portion (we are on for 21 days). Some passengers who boarded on 8/30 as we did are offered to stay on for Greece portion also. Why not if its convenient & good price. So we have 500 ish on board...very nice! No complaints here, our 6th Viking cruise.

 

Curious what Viking charged the 52 people for staying on for the next cruise?  That might be something I would do!

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3 hours ago, claranda said:

Very interesting that they are helping us Brits out this way. Does anyone know if they are skipping Kusadasi on the Greece cruise as Turkey is also red for Brits. We didn’t book for it (yet) because of the Turkey problem…

 

Montegro is red. So arriving in Croatia and then back in Malta may have have quarantine implications from coming from there and arriving in those countries. I think Malta may actually still be ok with Montenegro, but unsure about Croatia. Both may not have caught up with the latest stats, so that could well change and if it did, everyone would be knackered.

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1 hour ago, bbtondo said:

Curious what Viking charged the 52 people for staying on for the next cruise?  That might be something I would do!

 

Me too...... but don't tell the wife! She has to get back - I don't. haha

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On 8/24/2021 at 11:58 AM, gma1 said:

Decided to do Walgreen on Thursday and CVS on Friday...to cover the confusing MVJ discrepancy departing flight & arrival in Malta...as we are via Vienna, Austria & think we will be checked here at IAD. That is what another cruiser said she did & got both back...& she was checked in Orlando by United. Just trying to cover our basis with a test!  Certainly not required by anywhere we will be! We called Viking yesterday & they said they are trying to rectify it on MVJ & info.

We found a place near IAD OFF old Ox Road will do nasal swab test Sunday and have results next day.  I don’t trust CVS  or Walgreens to have results in time. We are  IAD TO FRA - Malta on 9/7 arrive 9/8.

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5 hours ago, MickyTT said:

We found a place near IAD OFF old Ox Road will do nasal swab test Sunday and have results next day.  I don’t trust CVS  or Walgreens to have results in time. We are  IAD TO FRA - Malta on 9/7 arrive 9/8.

We got all ours back in time to leave Sunday from Walgreen & CVS but it being a holiday weekend don't think I would chance it either. We also had a lab in Centreville to get results back in 1 day but was $289 up front & get insurance reimbursement ourselves. .

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7 hours ago, les37b said:

 

Me too...... but don't tell the wife! She has to get back - I don't. haha

I haven't heard any $ as yet...except it was fair. Couple I spoke To said they would if they could keep their same room.

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I’m curious as to why you are getting Covid test.  Germany is not requiring for entry if you have proof of vaccination, neither is Malta.  I presume you are vaccination as Viking requires it.  Further puzzled why airline is requiring.  What airline are you flying?  Thanks for filling me in.😃

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3 minutes ago, mauicruiser said:

I’m curious as to why you are getting Covid test.  Germany is not requiring for entry if you have proof of vaccination, neither is Malta.  I presume you are vaccination as Viking requires it.  Further puzzled why airline is requiring.  What airline are you flying?  Thanks for filling me in.😃

This is the biggest mystery.  Viking strongly recommended that we get the test as a backup in case any country requirements changed.  The requirements have not changed.  Unfortunately, I am seeing stories of people being denied boarding in the US for not having a PCR test, even though there is no reason/requirement for them to have it to enter the country (Germany, Malta, etc)

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7 hours ago, rizello said:

This is the biggest mystery.  Viking strongly recommended that we get the test as a backup in case any country requirements changed.  The requirements have not changed.  Unfortunately, I am seeing stories of people being denied boarding in the US for not having a PCR test, even though there is no reason/requirement for them to have it to enter the country (Germany, Malta, etc)

We are on the Venus now.  Checked in at LAX and needed our vaccination card, as well as Malta, but no one has asked for our negative test results.  We got our test results about 1 1/2 days after taking it a CVS. 

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Back in South Carolina after a fabulous 8/23 Malta vacation aboard the beautiful Viking Venus-about 430 passengers-felt empty.

 

This is a lengthy post as I found the information on this Board helped me dramatically to ease the tensions before cruising during a Pandemic. By the way, most of our friends thought we were insane for booking this cruise. Feel free to read on or if not interested about details, just delete.....

 

Luckily, everything went as planned, after hours of fret and preparation time. My husband Jim and I (Char) are first time cruisers with Viking...but have cruised the waters since 1980 with some 8 different companies from Silver Sea to Royal Caribbean. We explicitly chose Viking for its superior Covid 19 protocols, felt safer on the ship then here in SC.

 

 Some added info for future Malta cruisers: (written at 4 in the morning-yes, jet lag)

  • Air Going: 8/22 flew from Greenville, SC on United to Dulles and Newark, then on the direct Lufthansa chartered flight to Malta. No problems. At Greenville, United asked if we knew the country requirements and we offered to show them all the documentation (72 hour PCR test, vaccine cards, Malta dPLF form) and they said not needed. Dulles asked for nothing. However, I had previously uploaded information on both the United and Lufthansa websites.
  • Newark charter to Malta went as planned, we find it much easier flying late at night west to east then the afternoon return east to west. 
  • Malta Port: Malta asked for vaccination cards and scanned the dPLF form, which we had on our phones. We also had printed a couple copies, just in case. Fast, easy, peasy.
  • Viking was on the spot with numerous people leading the way to the ship, never have I seen a Cruise lIne more organized and helpful. I am now sold on Viking.
  • At the Malta port, we did a socially distanced health seminar where they checked everything , took our temps, and issued tracking devices. On to the ship, where we did a short personalized safety drill and then on to our stateroom where our room steward explained (1) daily saliva tests which they knocked on the door to receive between 8 and 9 AM, no sleeping in on this cruise, (2) the online health questionnaire-be careful clicking on responses, one day I mistakingly said my husband had no taste and smell and within hours they called;  (3) the mask requirements (adhered to strictly) while walking inside the ship, even when ordering food at the World Cafe-you can take it off when eating or drinking, not needed outside the ship, but required on buses and during" bubble" excursions; and (3) Facial recognition temps taken daily early morning on the way into the World Cafe, temps also taken returning to ship from ports. 
  • Dining: had made numerous reservations but found out quickly you could pretty much eat wherever and whenever you wanted, that includes the specialty restaurants. Mainly got online reservations at 8:00 PM or 8:30 PM reservations but was able to grab earlier times without any problem throughout the entire cruise. Excellent food and the service was spectacular. The Seafood Buffet shrimp and crab legs were to die for. Seems like they change the buffet date on cruises so just check the online menus daily or the kiosks all over the ship. My favorite thing to eat and drink was outside on the back of the ship by the Infinity Pool. Be aware that Drink Package forces you to drink more than normal and those calories catch up with you upon your return-but well worth it, with a LemonDrop Martini my favorite sail away drink in the Explorer'e Lounge. I love the side tables with the unobstructed floor to ceiling windows listening to a fabulous guitarist. Most people socially distanced and rarely ever saw a group larger than 4.  
  • Entertainment-certainly not comparable to the mega ships we have sailed on but satisfactory and very low keyed. Cruise Director Verity Brown was the highlight of entertainment and has moved on to the Viking Orion and Bermuda as of this week.
  • Excursions-This was probably my biggest fear- being thrown onto a crowded bus as usually we prefer to book private tours at ports. I was really worried about contract tracing in this regard but no problems. Not to worry, the most passengers ever on our 60 passenger first class buses (even the included excursions was about 18) socially distanced strictly adhered to with Viking signs on prohibited seats. Local tour guides were thrilled to be working again and very, very  knowledgeable. We found it easy to tip these hard working guides and bus drivers. Be aware that several of the walking tours are quite long and up and down stairs. I suggested that they include in descriptions the length of miles walked. Most of the people in the cities did NOT wear masks, especially in Dubrovnik, so we were most careful to social distance.
  • SPA-easy to get reservations for 45 min at a time, massage was super, incredible facial, and my favorite part absolutely NO hard sell on products. Did not see any same day sales as in our previous cruises . I suggest you book reservations before you go online, especially for the limited sea days. 
  • Flight Back:-for some reason, several days before our flight back we got a Viking letter asking if we would like to take the charter flight back to Newark and if so they would pay for a hotel and then connect us on to Greenville the next day. We declined, as a day in a Newark hotel was not really desired. So glad we did not take it, as we left passengers in the Malta airport who already had a 4 hour delay on that flight. Who knows when they got there. Our flights were easy and very well organized, got to the Malta airport (8 passenger on the bus) about 2 hours before our schedule flight back to Greenville via Frankfurt and Dulles. Be aware that the Frankfurt airport  had few restaurants open, was lucky to find a bakery with good pretzels and a cold German beer to go. Frankfurt was not interested in vaccine cards only the 72 hour PCR test. They put a sticker on your boarding pass. However, the Dulles airport was a mess with all the Newark and New England cancellations due to Hurricane Ida and on top of that the  hundred, if not thousands, of Afghanistan refugees. It broke my heart witnessing petrified Afghan families with children fleeing their country, some sleeping in cots, and I could not help but think about the numerous young men who perhaps were not vetted within those crowds. Praying for the families of the 13 American Service Men killed, the remaining Americans, and Afghan and foreign allies left behind the enemy lines. Politics aside (if possible) only time and history will tell the true picture of this horrendous tragedy. Americans have a huge debt to service men and women who risk their lives daily for our freedoms.
  • Interesting Note: The Viking Owner Tors Hagen jumped on board the last couple days to Valleta. His biggest concern was asking passengers if they felt safe on board. Class act for sure.
  • Pandemic Cruising: was it worth the hassle? Absolutely, would we do it again? Absolutely (only on Viking) in fact we have booked the sold out November Viking Sea transatlantic from Barcelona to San Juan. My fears have almost been eliminated, just wondering if the TA will actually be a go and if it is really sold out (930 passengers?) 
  • PS-check requirements daily.....everything is ALWAYS subject to change. Char
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