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About lackcreativity

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  1. We were also on the Russian and the Baltic Seas cruise (May 2019 - great cruise). Even with the three day stay and many excursions to choose from, Viking does not offer a comprehensive three day tour of St. Petersburg, just a two day option. Their Ultimate Saint Petersburg covers a lot, but still not as much as we saw with Alla, and at a reduced price. This is the only non-Viking excursion we have taken so far (three cruises) and we selected it for all the reasons you listed. It was top notch, but as you mentioned, we have enjoyed our Viking excursions as well.
  2. Obviously I am not certain, but I bet that was a typo and the poster meant there should not be worries about that. At least that is my experience.
  3. Thanks, as always, for your detailed information about pricing for excursions and comparisons with private tours. It supports my instincts that Viking's are usually moderately priced, in my opinion. We also used Alla tours in St. Petersburg (great experience) for a variety of reasons, but mostly because we wanted to see as much as possible in what would likely be our only visit to St. Petersburg. We were not sure we could accomplish that with the individual Viking tours on offer, and the Viking full two day tour was considerably more expensive. Alla was a group that was very highly recommended here in this forum, and we were glad we made that choice. We do not have the extensive travel experience that some of you do, but we have been to Europe ten times, by land and by sea. Some parts of that has been independent outings, and we are not nervous of heading off on our own. However, as we are in our late sixites and still working, we want our vacations to be as easy as possible. Using ships excursions allows us to find something that suits our wishes with minimal effort. With one exception, those choices have all been most satisfactory. I did not want to imply that I was encouraging the original poster to choose Viking excursions. However, since there is one excursion per port included in the cruise fare, it might at least be worth considering if some of those might be of interest.
  4. You have been offered excellent advice from some of our most helpful posters here on the Viking forum. That is another thing I love about Viking. While the crew is stellar, I also find the other passengers to be a generally interesting and pleasant group. I`m not sure I noticed a few things covered so far. If you find you like Viking as much as we do, once you have one cruise booked, you can book another one with a final payment date just six months prior to sailing.You can also get that option when you book a cruise on board. We always have at least one cruise booked, and often times two. Someone mentioned earlier that they take the included excursions and then stay afterwards for time on their own. Since Viking often provides a free shuttle service, we do the same. We usually include a mix of included and optional excursions, and the optional ones are moderately priced, in my opinion. We have always sailed in the lowest cost Veranda cabins, yet have never felt like second class citizens ! We may not always have gotten our first choice time slot for an included excursion and a time or two were not able to initially book an optional one we wanted, but Viking often adds more spaces if a popular excursion fills up. We have never been disappointed. Here`s hoping you can try a Viking cruise before too long, and enjoy it as much as we do!
  5. I am happy that your refund experience was so prompt. Ours took considerably longer, but my expectations were that it would take time and I was patient, so I was not disappointed. We too are great Viking fans of Viking, and truly wish them the best as we all navigate these complicated times. I hope others reading of your experience will understand that your experience is not the norm right now. Having reasonable expectations can make waiting for a refund easier to handle. Looking forward to our next Viking cruise, hopefully end of April next year. It really must be true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, because I would be really fonder of a Viking cruise right now!
  6. Our international travel experience began in our mid 50's on a bus, with a guide. Yes, we were rather timid travelers back then, and we liked having someone hold our hands. We did have great times and met nice people on those trips. A cruise was the farthest thing from our minds. My siblings described their Caribbean cruises on huge ships in such a way that I began to wonder if I wasn't switched at birth. As we got a little older and grew tired of moving to a new hotel almost daily, we saw the famous (or is it infamous?) Viking river cruise commercials on Downton Abbey. That led us down the path that so many other Viking cruisers have taken. We loved the first river cruise, and on board our trip down the Danube we learned about the new ocean ships Viking was building. The expectation that the experience of an ocean cruise with Viking would feel similar to their river cruise convinced us to give it a try. We have not been without a Viking cruise on the books since that time! We missed out on our April cruise from this year, and moved our October one to April of 2021, so we are definitely missing all the things we love about Viking.
  7. We are in our late 60's, and relatively healthy. I had always thought that when we could not keep up with our normal level of activity, we would graciously "retire" from cruising. However, the current unexpected moratorium from travel has me reconsidering. While I wouldn't want to hold back the pace of other travelers, I can envision still wanting to go on trips even if we would not be able to participate at the same level that we used to do. We are just missing out on valuable travel time right now, and don't know when we will get to go again. There are still so many places I want to see, or see again, that even if I have to walk slower or avoid some steps and miss some sights, I can see perhaps a "new normal".
  8. Peregrina, Thanks for posting this. I'd like to think I would already know better than to give out my information this way, but if I was still waiting for my refund (already received, thank you Viking) who knows. There is so much on everyone's mind right now that mistakes could be made. It is distressing that there are people who will prey on others this way. Right now, it seems like every time I decide my opinion of the human race cannot go any lower, I am proved wrong. I guess it's too much time at home, too much news watching, not enough social interaction, and the concern that I might never get to cruise again.
  9. This does not sound appealing to me, and yet the longer we have to go without a river/ocean cruise, the more my opinion may change. The set dining idea really seems futile to me. During the rest of the time you will mingle with other guests, and when you leave the ship you may come in contact with many people, so it seems rather pointless to restrict the normal mix of people in the dining room.
  10. When we took this cruise in 2018, in Portsmouth the included excursion was to the Naval Dockyards. We really enjoyed the chance to go on board Admiral Nelson's flagship from the Battle of Trafalgar. Quite amazing to see what conditions were for those sailors! The current excursions are somewhat different from the ones available on our cruise.
  11. We did this cruise in October of 2018, and while the weather was not co-operative, we did love the itinerary. We usually do a mix of included excursions and some optional ones, and we did so on this trip as well. I can offer a few suggestions based on what appealed to us. Of course, you might make other choices based on your preferences and travel history. We strongly recommend that you choose one of the optional excursions from Zeebrugge to get to Bruges, a charming city that is very walkable. From Le Havre, we chose another optional excursion. We went to Honfleur, a nearby fishing town that we really enjoyed. There were several other interesting options too. We might have taken the included all day trip to Paris if we had never been there before, but it is a long day with a good bit of travel time and not as much as you might wish in Paris. Still, it is Paris! From Malaga, one of our travel highlights of all times is the Alhambra in Granada. However, the Alhambra limits admission and only so many tickets are available to Viking, and the excursion frequently sells out. Some guests schedule visits with outside vendors. We chose to remain in Malaga, as we had visited the Alhambra on a land based tour previously. Malaga was a real delight. We used the included walking tour as a start, and remained behind to continue our visit before using the free Viking shuttle back to the ship. We climbed to the top of the hill to visit the Alcazaba, an 11th century Moorish palace/fort. (There is elevator if the hike is intimidating.) It actually reminded me of the Alhambra, but smaller. Bergen is charming, and the ship docks right within walking distance. We loved Porto, and would have remained after our included excursion and used the shuttle back if it hadn't been pouring down rain. We missed Falmouth because of weather, and Barcelona is one of our favorite cities in the world. We could spend days there! I do hope you get to go in April 2021, as that might mean our schedule trip from Istanbul to Athens for the same time will be a go also!
  12. We just recently transferred a deposit from a cruise for this October to a different one for April of 2021 (fingers crossed). The process was seemless, and we only owed a small additional balance because the insurance was more since the trip was longer and more expensive. The final payment due date will depend. We already have another cruise booked for fall of 2021, and for customers who have a second cruise on the books, Viking will allow a six month before departure final payment date.That is what we were given, though I think I had to mention that to the agent. If this does not apply to you, you would very likely be looking at a year in advance payment.
  13. I think the point was the you can't predict how long it will take to develop a vaccine. If the search does drag on for years, I believe we will find ways to live an altered life in the time of corona. I can't picture what exactly it will be, and I am all for the current stay at home measures, but I honestly can't see spending the rest of my life in semi-quarantine.
  14. Thanks for the update. We were patiently waiting for a refund by check for an April 11 river cruise which we requested March 12. I suspected that refunds for echeck payments may take longer. However, I was watching for an actual check to arrive in the mail, and just as I was typing this, it occurred to me that they may do a direct deposit to our account. Lo and behold, they refunded our full amount on April 15! I second your opinion that my contacts with Viking have been both pleasant and efficient during this process, as they have always been when booking cruises. My actual intent in responding to your post was to tell you that I really hope you get to take the Empires of the Mediterranean cruise one day. It was our first and favorite out of all our great Viking vacations. Looking forward to better days ahead!
  15. Optimal temperature is an individual choice. For me, I would rather be a little chilly than too hot. I wilt in higher temperatures. Your options of mid April and early May would likely be similar in temperature if weather is in normal ranges. April would likely have increased chances of rain, and May increases the chance of unexpectedly warmer than usual temperatures. I think either one is an excellent choice, and it is just depends on which scenario suites you best. It's good to look forward to such choices again!
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