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About gretschwhtfalcon

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    traveling, plants, music, swimming, walking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, Tauck - and hopefully Viking by next year!
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    No preference

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  1. JD....interesting...thanks! I was familiar with the Ocean Response, but not the Vivax. Those who routinely ply the waters around Norway are so used to adverse conditions, but, still, to place themselves in harm's way for so many hours....can't say enough about those crews. You folks who stayed on the ship had a very different, but certainly equally interesting, experience than we did. Lucky to be here...all of us. I think it very possible that there may not have been much of a ship to rescue had we gone into the rocky lee shore.
  2. Sounds reasonable....19th to the 26th or similar....
  3. Actually, JD, I'm not familiar with the Vivax. Was that one of the tugboats? 3 months ago today.....
  4. Absolutely....I tend not to think of those vessels as much since we were among some of the first to get off the ship. I know in the AIS animation of the Viking's path there were several ships near us.
  5. The one thing we didn't anticipate was what notamermaid refers to regarding the ship sailing to the next destination while the passengers are busy with a day in port or, as you mentioned, an evening activity. It worked out ok, but just didn't expect it. The one disadvantage is that, by the time the bus takes you to where the ship sailed to (during the day), it's already well into late afternoon and so it sort of felt rushed to get to dinner and also sometimes the meeting for the next day's schedule - especially if there were excursion choices to be made that they had to know about. What must have been really nice, though, for people who decided not to go along out for the day is that they had the ship to themselves! They still got fed, and yet sort of like being on this luxury yacht just cruising along with not many people onboard. We also expected a bit more time to just enjoy cruising...there were a few days of that but not all that much. It sort of felt like a typically busy land tour where your accommodations were on a boat instead of moving between hotels. Then again, other cruises can seem that way as well if they are "port intensive" without many sea days, etc. All that said, Tauck was amazing and we'd go on another...they plan some extra things that they don't tell you about until it happens - lots of little surprises along the way. Plus, having less than 60 guests was great. Our three tour guides were all terrific - all from Eastern Europe - was most impressed with how they were fluent in like 3-4 languages. The one gave a slide presentation about what it was like for her growing up behind the Iron Curtain - it was truly riveting...much moreso than just reading about it.
  6. Ahh...ok....have to check that out again...for awhile we were getting so many mailings from Fed Ex that included various reimbursement checks...so when that letter came it just sort of got filed away for now. I recall reading it but didn't focus on contact info. Thanks...
  7. We haven't made any plans yet, but I was figuring also on just shooting the works....get the most expensive cabin that the voucher will accommodate - or add pre/post days, etc. "Use it or lose it" as the saying goes!
  8. You mean with regards to the compensation cruise I assume...we're not sure what to do there. We like the idea of a riverboat cruise - the Eastern Europe one sounds good, and I also really like the Undiscovered China. There are lots of nice itineraries to choose from.
  9. Just what is this "Viking Sky Survivors Hotline"? And how is it contacted?
  10. There is a "Viking Survivors Hotline"? Seriously? Gotta look that one up!!
  11. Hanoj.....wow....such kind words....much appreciated. I never really thought of myself as the 'undaunted adventurous' type compared to some folks, and right up until the moment when I was pulled inside the helicopter door quite honestly I was petrified! I'd be happy to be with you as well on the Venus or any other voyage 🙂 As to whether or not I and the other Sky guests are indeed 'heroes', either way we can just surely be thankful that things turned out the way they did. The real heroes, in my book, are the crew of the Sky, CHC helicopter pilots and officials that coordinated and conducted the rescue efforts, and all the volunteers, Red Cross, police, etc. whose attentiveness and graciousness in handling the 400+ people in such an emergency was beyond reproach.
  12. LOL..good point. Reason I laugh is that I went around with this 'drawers in the closet or not' issue with one of the Viking agents before the trip. She had said the Sky had them, others here (including you I believe) suspected otherwise....
  13. Thanks...like I said...I was very pleased that I was able to get pictures with just the iPhone...would not have expected that going into the trip.
  14. Interesting about the residual, if any, remaining once the voucher is used. Had not thought about that. The one agent I spoke with, however, seemed to indicate a "use it or lose it" approach, so I didn't expect that anything remaining would be usable towards yet another cruise. The "maiden voyage" 1/26 cruise may have nothing to do with our invitation. There are always pre-public sailings that can involve various types of special, (non-public) invited groups. I suspect our sailing will be one of those. I'm hoping for a Venice to Barcelona, but just being an 'armchair captain' here :0) I can't imagine that this invited cruise would also already be open to the public, since how would they possibly coordinate (as many as plan to go) Sky guests along with public booking? Lots of details to work out with it I suppose...will be interesting. Mid-January, however, seems likely. Has to be prior to that 1/26 sailing.
  15. WWT.....Prior to going on the trip, I never would have believed it if someone had showed me photos of the lights that they got with just their iPhone, but when it became apparent that my point-and-shoot Canon did not allow for all the aperture / shutter settings suggested for NL photography, I looked into some of the (cheap) apps and bought one while onboard. For only having spent $1.99, I got fairly decent pictures - certainly not what one could get with the 'right' equipment and tripod, etc. but I was pleased. I would definitely suggest getting a mount / tripod to stabilize the iPhone because what happens is that when you press the shutter release, you see a message that says "hold camera steady". Then, about 5 seconds later, it takes the picture. I'm not really 'into' photography and so much of this stuff they talked about during the cruise (they give you plenty of info on the suggested camera settings plus the onboard lecturers go over it as well) is unfamiliar to me. The app I used is "Northern Lights Photo Taker" - worked great. Also I highly suggest another app - "My Aurora Forecast" - which is fantastic for getting the KP values and seeing exactly where the lights are taking place in real time. I highly suggest getting both of these before you go. I'm sure they'll mention the Aurora app on the cruise, but might as well get it ahead of time. With any luck maybe Michael DiSpezio will be on board as the science lecturer - fantastic guy, extremely knowledgeable, and puts on great programs. He's really big on downloading the free "Celestron Sky Portal" app....I did, and really like it. That app is amazing for viewing the night sky and researching lots of different celestial objects. There is so much stuff in there - quite interesting. Here are two pics I got right from the ship on the evening before we arrived in Narvik - and this was just with holding the phone as steady as I could by leaning it against a railing or whatever was handy. If you want to delve into expensive cameras, bodies, and lenses, that's fine. I'm just not into it, so will be content with what I got. I know some people with good cameras were disappointed with their results. I had high hopes for my Sony video cam but that did nothing with the NL. What's nice is that the crew is on a 24-hour watch, and so they will put an announcement on your room tv during the late evening / early morning hours BUT, of course, you have to have your tv on. I found that, unfortunately, doing so casts a bit more light into the room than I cared for, and so dug out extra sheets, etc. from the closet, covered the tv, and turned the sound partway up. This sighting en route to Narvik occurred during dinner time - so they made the announcement and then it seemed sort of funny to see people get up mid-meal or dessert and leave to get out on deck! Same sort of thing happened when we were in Antarctica during lunch - the onboard park ranger came in to the dining room all excited talking about some big albatross that was visible from the stern. Such a cool contrast to a Caribbean cruise where nothing of the sort ever happens. These types of trips have much more of an expeditionary feel to them. Wishing you the BEST of LUCK with seeing the lights!!! Also....passing along advice that we got here on CC...take along magnetic hooks and clips to hang up extra outer wear on the wall rather than filling up your room closet. We would have never thought of this, but they worked great. Also used them to hang up our excursion schedule, etc. near the desk for easy access. As to the room decision - we had a DV2 and found it really had ample room in the closet, BUT, it's a bit weak on drawer storage space. If I could do it again, think I'd consider going with the next category up - whatever that is..can't quite recall at the moment. What worked well is that there is 18" of clearance under the bed, and so a larger suitcase (we had our biggest one) fit under with no problem. Otherwise, as I said, the room is just not that big to wind up having a huge suitcase parked along the wall somewhere. You can also have them remove the coffee maker so as to add another smaller storage area (in the DV2 room).
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