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About Etexvrc

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    NE Texas
  • Interests
    Travel, Falconry
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking Ocean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. We too enjoyed Jeremy Paterson's lectures. I believe he was on our Majestic Iceland cruise. But I've a question for you philw1776, you seemed to have a source for lecturers for upcoming cruises. Did you 'just ask' Viking? Or is it available publicly somewhere? I'd be interested in this information for upcoming cruise in South America coming up in late Dec. Wondering who the lecturers will be. Thanks in advance.
  2. We've been on 5 VOC. Would have to agree with Richard2 in that Homelands was great (our first), but our most recent Iceland trip was outstanding. In order of our enjoyment, 1) Homelands, 2&3 (Tie) Iceland & Australia/NZ, 4) Kiel Canal 5)West Indies. I think that the Homelands give the most 'experience' for the money. In other words, you visit several different countries in a whirlwind two week trip. It was our first experience in Norway and fell in love with the country (have been back several times, both with & without Viking). Estonia was a stop that we may have never enjoyed had it not been for the Homelands cruise. Iceland is simply incredible! We have traveled all over and have never seen natural scenery/beauty like that! We will return. Like many others here, we are scheduled to cruise South America in December (Santiago -> BA) so this list/order may change.
  3. We've cruised on the Star, Sun, Sky and (most recent) Orion. Starting their first year (2015). We've seen 'improvements' along the way. Some for the better, some not so favorably. But all are minor changes that we enjoy noticing. Little things like..... On the Star, their first ship, the drains for the showers in the spa dressing room wasn't designed with enough capacity so they tended to 'overflow'. But nothing a few towels couldn't take care of, and has been improved on other newer ships. On the Sun (I believe) they had installed automatic, powered curtain closers/openers. IMO more of a problem than a convenience. Only one ship we have been on had this feature. Probably a short-lived experiment. On the Orion the addition of the planetarium was a big plus, although a couple of the scheduled shows could be improved. One in particular 'Mission to Mars' I believe was the title, was more geared to something that would be enjoyed by a teenager than the typical Viking cruiser. Sometimes the Wintergarden on deck 7 is not as cold temperature-wise than other ships. We enjoyed the chocolate fest on the Orion (our last cruise in Dec 2018) and hope it's incorporated into all ships! As a photographer, the photos used during the port talks were distracting bad. Color saturation is WAY off. Beautiful photographs ruined by color manipulation. (I nit pick, I know) The menu at Manfretti's changed ever so slightly. Still very good (my favorite specialty restaurant), but our first couple of cruises was better. Hope they return to that original menu. We LOVE Viking Ocean cruising, and none of the above diminishes that love. It just gives each Viking ship it's own unique personality. We are excited about boarding the Sky in about 4 days to see what changes are on that ship.
  4. Need to vent just a bit.... Six months ago (Jan 2018) I booked our 5th & 6th Ocean cruise with Viking. Iceland's Majestic & South American cruises. Bought trip insurance (1st time to purchase it) on both trips. The South American cruise is Dec, 2019, currently a year and a half from when I write this. After thinking about and discussing with wife we considered canceling the S.A. trip. (We got a child starting college....) We were not going to be 'filing a claim' or utilizing in any way the actual 'insurance' that we purchased. This was strictly a voluntary trip cancellation. Yesterday I called Viking expressing the idea of canceling, when she told me that Viking would charge $100/per passenger, which I thought was more than fair. Then she told me our entire insurance premium of $1,838 is non-refundable. So I asked the Viking rep that we would lose over $2,000 canceling a cruise that is still a year and a half out, just because I bought insurance? Her answer was "That's correct". I will be the first to say this is all out of my area of expertise, and maybe I'm looking at this in a completely wrong way. But in my simple mind here is how I see an analogy. If I purchase a home and at the same time I also purchase insurance on this home. And the insurance I buy is a 24 month policy that I pay in one lump sum on day 1. Six months later I sell this home. Would I not be entitled to a return of principle (or a refund) on the remaining, unused 18 months of insurance considering that I'm no longer the owner of this asset? This morning I've talked with 'TripMate' (the insurance company Viking uses for this) and the rep (who really didn't know the answer and had to put me on hold to 'ask a supervisor') and said that that is the case. I would lose the entire premium ($1,838) paid up front. It is not prorated. We are still booked on the cruise and will not cancel because I'm not going to forfeit over $2,000 just for having a cruise booked for six months (and is still 18 months away)! Just trying to wrap my head around all this. Thanks for letting me 'vent'. We still LOVE Viking........BUT.........IMO, DON'T BUY TRIP INSURANCE THROUGH VIKING.
  5. We've been on three Viking cruises on three different ships, and I (who happens to LOVE the spa area) have witnessed a reoccurring issue of some fellow travelers not fully closing the snow grotto's door completely. With the warm humid air rushing in for an extended period of time you result in more 'ice' than 'snow'. To a lesser extent you run into the same thing with the steam room door being left open, but there you only need a quick 5 minute charge and you are back to temp. In the snow grotto a layer of ice has formed that is not going away anytime soon. Don't be surprised to occasionally find a 'closed' sign on the grotto's door, but that's usually short-lived. To cool off, the 'bucket' has always been my favorite, but this last trip (last week) I learned to (grit my teeth) and use the cold pool in the locker room. When cooling down using the grotto I usually just stood there trying not to slip on the ice.
  6. Thanks Raison. I know my wife & I are really looking forward to it. Hopefully the first of many trips that direction!
  7. Sunflower, we've only stayed in the Penthouse Jr. Suite so I really can't answer your question. I realize it's a bit of a 'splurge' by spending more $ on a bigger room, but we love it. That said, I did mention to my wife on our ~8 day West Indies cruise that for that period of time we could have comfortably 'downgraded' to a smaller room. IMO, as I've stated on another post somewhere, for a cruise of < 8 days the Penthouse Verandah would be fine. For > than 8 days the Penthouse Jr. Suite (bigger) is worth it. Call me a creature of habit, but I always book the same room (7008). We love staying on that level.
  8. I like this! Will be interesting to see how they incorporated it into the explorers lounge area. We will see it in Dec.
  9. I was also disappointed to see that Viking doesn't cruise into Milford Sound and other scenic areas. But I'm hoping this will be the first, but not the last time we are in that part of the world, so we will save it for 'next time'. Texastraveler, we usually fly out of Houston, but this trip we are going out of DFW. It was easier finding non-stops between DFW-SFO. After we depart the ship in Auckland, we are flying back to Sydney to stay a few more days (and see New Years on the harbor!). From Sydney we are flying China Southern Air (a partner with Delta) connecting through China. This was the first time I've used a 'service' to book using frequent flyer miles. What we ended up with wasn't the route I would have preferred, but considering the two of us flying business class for a combined ~$1,000 (taxes & fees), overall I'm happy.
  10. Etexvrc

    Viking Spa

    And I for one LOVE Viking's spa area, especially the steam room! Very rarely crowded. Very nice layout. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
  11. I'm a big guy and on the two ocean cruises with Viking we've been on, the robes have always fit very well. Maybe I was lucky with the size that was already in the room, I don't know. But by all means, if it doesn't fit, ask for a larger size. And while on the subject, the robes found in the room were a 10 out of 10 in my book. I joked with my wife while packing to disembark from our last cruise that one of these robes might 'accidentally' end up in my suitcase ;-) The robes in the spa area are not the same. They are thicker and have a different cut. They are fine, but IMO not the caliber of the robes in the cabins.
  12. I agree 100% with Molymoo. I've told many that I'm glad we took the Stockholm to Bergen route because of ending with Norway. Although the departing out of Stockholm through the archipelago was incredible too. The Homelands cruise was our first with Viking and will always be special for us.
  13. I tend to agree with Mpc524, We have taken two Ocean and one river cruise with Viking and though we greatly enjoyed all, our favorite is Ocean. Currently have four ocean cruises booked, the next in less than 60 days!
  14. I agree completely. Having the spa almost to yourself is bliss.
  15. Realizing everyone is different as to what they enjoy and/or feel comfortable with, here is my $.02 IMO an orientation is not essential. Not just on VO but every time I've had an 'orientation' of a spa or gym it has made me uncomfortable. Guide: "Over there is the pool" Me: "You mean that big hole in the floor with the water in it?" Guide:"And over there is the steam room" Me: "You mean that door that lets out a Mt Vesuvius quantity of steam every time it's opened?" Of course I don't SAY that, but I think it! I'm polite and courteous, they have a job to do and I'm not going to trivialize it. We too have been on two prior VO cruises with our third coming up in ~60 days (as I write this!). I personally have found the massages okay, not great, but good and relaxing considering cruising/excursions can be physically demanding. I always request a 'Deep Tissue' massage whenever I get a massage, and Viking's are more of a 'Relaxation' massage (which is fine). Personally I enjoy a good, long, relaxing steam. And Viking has done well! Plenty of room and temperature is always 'spot-on' for me. The sauna (found in the dressing room) looks wonderful, but I'm not a dry heat kind of guy. I have learned to enjoy the cold water bucket cool down after visiting the steam room. My advice would be to gather up the nerve and try it once (or twice), you may learn to enjoy it! After that I usually wrap up in the great robes they have and relax in a lounger. Then, depending on time, I start over and do it again. The pool itself I enjoy, but it's not a big draw for me. SOmetimes if not wanting the cold water bucket, I might step into the snow grotto. I could take it or leave it, the snow grotto is a little 'gimmicky'. Don't, in any way, let it 'intimidate' you, enjoy the spa area for all it's worth.
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