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IWantToLiveOverTheSea

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  1. I know this is a 2019 post, but just wanted to point out that Funchal is not part of the Canary Islands, Spain. It is a lovely city on Madeira Island, Portugal.
  2. First, a couple comments on your itinerary on the ship when it's in Iceland: Seydisfjordur is a wonderful, small town if you like small towns. We had a great time just wandering around, and the ship was there until 11 PM, so there was plenty of time to do that. I also did a ship's excursion called "Footsteps of the Elves" which was mostly (in my mind, anyway) a trip to see puffins close up at a harbor. My photos, which I'll include a link to, gives the name of this harbor and nearby town. But I don't know when the puffins come, so May might be too soon for those to be something you'd like to do. And of course, if you don't have any interest in puffins, it would certainly not be all that worthwhile. Djupigvogur is also small (and is a tender port, although Silverseas might possibly be able to dock; not sure). The biggest reason to go there, in my mind, is to see either Fjallsarlon glacier or Jokulsarlon glacier. Our ship offered the first, which is smaller, but still quite worthwhile in my opinion. You walk down (and up) a gravel path and board a zodiac - not difficult, scary, cold or uncomfortable. It was a great experience. Since your ship stops in Djupivogur, if you see one of the glaciers from there, going as far south (southeast?) as Jokulsarlon wouldn't be needed. Of course, the glaciers are not really all that close to Djupivogur, so if you don't like long coach rides, you may not want to take an excursion to go there. But there's not a whole lot in Djupivogur to do -- though that kind of place has never stopped me from finding enough to keep me happy! Heimaey is quite a worthwhile stop but some some ships don't make it because of a need to tender (at least for larger ships) and the weather. You may want to keep that in mind for your two days after Reykjavik -- if you miss that port you could probably drive there on your own and have better luck. From what I've read, many people either do the Golden Circle OR head south on days before/after a cruise. If you haven't done the Golden Circle, I would certainly consider that. Yes, many people do it, but I feel it makes for a wonderful day trip. Or if you want to see somewhat similar scenery closer to the airport, I feel that the thermal area on the Reykjanes Peninsula that we were taken to by a photographer/guide was worthwhile as well. He offered a ship's excursion to Viking which turned out to be pretty good, and he does private excursions. Reykjanes Peninsula is where the airport is. While many people think the Blue Lagoon is a "must do" keep in mind there are a few other options like it that are less touristy. But if you're in that area (perhaps on the way to the airport), when we were in Iceland 5 or 6 years ago, we found that there was a place just outside the lagoon where you could at least see part of the lagoon without actually spending time there, making reservations, spending a lot of money, etc. And while close to Reykjavik we found that the Grotta Lighthouse was a worthwhile destination. On our cruise, we loved our stop at Akureyri, but it's up north, so may not be possible to visit on a two day visit to Reykjavik. Certainly save a little time for Reykjavik, unless you've been there before. I found even the area around the port was fun, but I'm easy to please. My Iceland photos from this past August are here, in a number of "galleries" on this photo site: www.pbase.com/roothy123. Iceland galleries are first galleries. I can't recommend a hotel, but you've got some recommendations for that. On our first trip we stayed at a cute, artsy but modest AirBnB place by the big Hallgrimskirkja (church) that now looks to be non-operational. But the location was quite good, so perfect for us. The airport code for the international airport is KEF. Icelandair isn't a bad airline if it flies anywhere close to you. We found it had the only nonstops to/from Iceland from where we live (mid Atlantic). And their "almost business class" section isn't bad. We bought economy seats but were then offered a chance to "bid" for an upgrade, got it, and found it fairly comfortable. And since we traveled in August, when delta variant of Covid was around, we didn't want to fly economy. Enjoy Iceland next year. It's amazing.
  3. Viking Sky is currently to the right of that green "ifw" marker. Tophane Tramvay is a little to the left and above.
  4. Here's Viking Sky in Istanbul. I'll attach a city map excerpt showing where tram is (Tophane, I think) in reference to where cruise ships have been docking.
  5. Curious if anyone knows if the tram machines accept credit cards now. A few years ago they didn't. If they don't, is there a way to purchase a card of some sort (Istanbulkart?) with a cell phone, assuming I have service in Istanbul (!?) Yes, currently there's a ship in Istanbul. She's docked toward the far north end of the original dock area.
  6. I'm very independent and would like to figure out how best to get to the main bus area (Malta Public Transport) from where cruise ships dock. I understand that most ships dock at the Valletta waterfront, and that to get up to the city you walk down the waterfront and take the Upper Barrakka Gardens lift (elevator). But there also looks to be another way, using a bit of climbing, which is probably NOT my first choice, even though it appears to be more direct. If anyone has done this, preferably using the lift and then walking to the bus station, was it difficult? With city walls, a moat, and a large bus area with major streets nearby, it looks a little daunting!
  7. Lots of great info here. I'm going in May and probably spending a day pre-cruise in Istanbul (Allilass Hotel). I'm not sure what we'll do, other than take a little boat out to Kiz Kulesi, a small islet with tower -- and a story! When we were there before (spouse and I) we visited the Cistern, did a Bosphorus cruise, went into Rustem Pasa Mosque, walked a little around the water around Eminonu area at dusk (awesome), and walked around the Blue Mosque & Topkapi but didn't go in. We didn't go to the Grand Bazaar; may have to go there for my spouse this time. I walked up by myself early morning from the Allilass to see a lighthouse; otherwise was with my spouse. Hawkers were extremely persistent in tourist areas but I didn't feel uneasy around them. We also went to (I think) Taksim, or whatever the popular tourist area on the Asian side is. We took the tram around from the hotel for everything other than the airport and port. Took a taxi for those. Tram was crowded in places, but I was quickly offered a seat on one tram, which was appreciated. I believe you still need Turkish lira for a tram token ("jeton"), though, which makes things a bit challenging for tourists on a day trip or cruise. But maybe there's an app or ATM or Istanbulkart ticket on line that could help. I haven't figured that out yet. Make sure all your desired spots are open on the weekend. Most tourist attractions close at least once a week, though they apparently rotate so that a lot is closed on any day. I have pictures on my photo site. If you'd like to look at them, I can post a link.
  8. Thanks. I see Sky is in Istanbul now, docked at same port as always (Salipazari in Karakoy), although I guess eventually the terminal will be underground - interesting! Anyway, I assume you're on board now. I hear the port or the city gave the ship a warm welcome when the ship came in (previous cruise from yours, I think) -- balloons and welcome from the dock, etc. Can you see the little Kiz Kulesi tower and islet from the ship, over toward the Asian shore? Hope you are able to come on here, or on the Facebook Viking Friends group I look at, to let us know what you think and how things are going.
  9. Ouch. I would rather start out in Istanbul than Athens, and I suppose you would too. I see today (Oct. 5) that a Viking Ocean ship is on its way to Turkey (Kusadasi) after being in Greece. So I guess Greece is OK with ships going from Greek ports to Turkish ports, but perhaps not the reverse. I don't know where the ship is headed after Kusadasi -- maybe Troy/Canakkale and then Istanbul?
  10. I know that Viking Sky, a ship about the physical size of Marina and the other larger O ships, very recently docked at the Fusina Terminal, which is on the mainland a bit south of Venice island. They were not allowed to tour on their own (per Italian authorities) so everyone took shore excursions arranged by the ship. According to what two people posted on a Facebook site, they were bussed from Fusina to the old Venice port, met a tour guide there, and took a boat to where their tour started. The type of boat wasn't stated - Alilaguna? vaporetto? water taxi? One person reported the bus ride was about a half hour; the other person implied more. There were no details as to how long the boat trip was, or where they were dropped off in Venice. I don't know if docking at Fusina is going to be continued next year or if something else is planned. I also don't know if Viking had any choice in the matter. It did, of course, make things difficult for Viking, and apparently some of their tours ran late because of the newness of the requirement to dock outside of the city. I did find it interesting that according to a web site about the Fusina terminal, there's a boat that can be taken from the terminal to the island, although I couldn't figure out where on Venice it went. There was, however, a mention that a person could park there at the terminal, take their boat over, and walk 15 minutes to get to St. Mark's Square.
  11. Your life sounds perfectly adequate to me - I'm jealous! But there's at least one sold out (well, waitlisted) 2022 cruise - May 6 to 20, Sirena, Istanbul to Barcelona. I got the very last available room - an OV. Will you be on Sirena before me?
  12. OK, here are some comments on your itinerary. I'm a very independent soul, so they may not be all that useful. But here goes: You may already know this, but you won't see much of embarkation and disembarkation ports unless you go early to the ports or stay late. Visby: You can just walk around in Visby, soaking up a nice island ambiance and wandering through the ruins of 7 churches, partial city walls, moat, etc. Lovely stop, but does require tendering, as it's an island, with no cruise port. Riga: If you want to see gorgeous art nouveau buildings, Riga has some exceptional ones. (See photo gallery link above.) But they're a little hard to find, though within easy walking distance of the port. Really, I'm not sure I'd recommend any tour in Riga, as actual tourist sights are somewhat limited. We took a HoHo from near the port, but mostly it was just driving around with little to see. SP: At the time, Alla offered two tours, a "comfort" tour and a more jam-packed tour. The comfort tour took in PLENTY and was tiring enough for us. I may have mentioned this before, but get up early the first day in SP if you take a non-ship excursion (or maybe even if you take a ship excursion). The whole ship empties out that day, and it takes a while to get through Russian clearance (individually, documents in hand). And don't buy a visa; not necessary. On our Stockholm day, I got up 1 or 2 hours early to see us meander through the archipelago. It was nice, with lots of islands and houses and marinas scattered about. But if you're not an early bird, you may want to give it a pass. I've been to Amsterdam, but on a river cruise, so can't really comment on Amsterdam, and where the cruise port, etc. is. In Gdansk and Berlin, there's some time needed to get to the cities from where ships have to dock. We rented a car in Berlin and drove to outside the city, then took the subway (or commuter train? I forget) to see 3 or 4 sights (see pbase gallery). Some people stayed in Warnemunde, which is a nice resorty area. Some people took the nearby train to Berlin. Lots of people probably took excursions to the city, both ship and private. For Gdansk, the drive is not as long as for Berlin. It's probably a good place to take an excursion. But there ARE taxis in Gdynia, the port, plus money exchange if you think you'll need Polish money. (Or have they gone on the euro? Not sure. Although mostly I only needed local money because I did a lot of indy things, where I wasn't sure if credit cards would be taken). And Gdansk was a great stop - beautiful Old Town, historic shipyard, little boat trips on the river, etc. Helsinki had a few sights that most people went to, but overall I wouldn't say Helsinki was a favorite of mine. In Tallinn, I did the usual explorations of their old town. There was a shuttle to pretty close to there from the ship. For Copenhagen, you may dock within easy walking distance of the Little Mermaid. There was also a water taxi station close by, which was useful for people who wanted to take a cheap fun boat ride around the harbor, or get to some tourist sites. I don't remember going outside in the countryside in any place in the Baltic, and other than the Alla tour in SP, I don't remember if I took any ship's excursions or not. Most of the ports were generally very easy to get around, and the public transportation, being European, was very good. And I'm a cheapskate when it comes to tours, and very independent, so I didn't try too hard to find excursions. But I did do a lot of research, went with maps, etc., and focused on things I was interested in. So it's hard to tell others what they might like. Normally I mix excursions with wanderings, but the Baltic lent itself easily to wandering, so I did more than usual of it on that trip. The Baltic area is a wonderful cruise location. You'll love it. Here's a Visby shot.
  13. I tried to reply to your post about excursions/sights on your cruise. Cruise Critic wouldn't let me. If this post goes through, I'll just reply here. So this is a test.....
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