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eylarson

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About eylarson

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Northern Virginia
  • Interests
    Reading, Restaurants, Theater, Gym
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking River and Ocean; Royal Carribean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe

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  1. On WC 2019 the conversion of the pool deck to buffet started the night before with the moving all the chairs and loungers to deck 8. The kitchen and wait staff placed all the tables early in the morning and loaded them with wonderful food after the breakfast rush subsided. Even the special event meals on the aft pool deck took an extraordinary amount of logistical planning for food displays, cooking stations, et al. I'm sure they have a checklist, but that doesn't mitigate the effort and planning required for perfect execution.
  2. Strange, we missed Recife in January on the 2019 WC also. Same reason, the ship was traveling too slowly, different cause, the Sun had some kind of mechanical problem. If I recall the problem was ID'd by many as a blown turbo charger on one of the engines that reduced power available.
  3. A first for us, arriving in country on the same day as cast-off for a cruise. It worked out well because we had a direct flight from Dulles to Amsterdam, can rest well while in flight and cast-off wasn’t until 11PM. We arrived at 735AM so there was a pretty large buffer. Our flight over was on a UA 767, with 2-3-2 seating. We had economy plus seats and sat side be side on the 2 side. Flight was uneventful, meal was unmemorable, the movie Yesterday was surprisingly good. Arrival at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport was thirty minutes early, but any time gained and then some was lost going through immigration. There we had six agents for non-European passports and they were very inquisitive. “Why are you here? How long will you stay? Where are you staying?” After that we were met by the Viking representative, who had just dispatched a bus t the ship, so we had another 45-minute delay before we loaded bags on a coach and headed for the Viking Longship Sigrun The crew at the ship took charge from there and invited us to go to the Aquavit Lounge for a buffet spread. After eating we were given our room key cards and could drop off any carry-on luggage. Our bags were in the room already. The ship was docked near the central train station. The ship did offer a mini-tour to the train station, ATMs etc, but we declined since we have been to Amsterdam before. Instead we set off for the Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic Museum) and The Oude Church. The first is a Catholic Church built across the top floors of three row houses. If you go be sure to watch the video that shows haw the pulpit is folded away into the altar. The Oude Church is the oldest building in the city and host various art displays throughout the year. Unfortunately, nothing special on display when we visited, but the side rooms provide insights into the history of the building. Both locations proved an includes audio tour with admission. A note of caution or enticement, The Oude Church, is on the border of the Red-Light District. There were several ladies on display. By now were beginning to feel a little tired so we headed back to the ship for a catch-up nap ahead of the evening’s meal and program. Angela, our enthusiastic cruise director, did the usual introductions of the staff. She provided a run-down of the next days tours and encouraged us to return to the lounge for the evening’s entertainment after dinner. All the meals were outstanding. At times some members of the wait staff seemed curt. Twice when ordering dessert, we were told we should have done that we placed our main order. Advice we opted not to follow, and we never went without dessert when we wanted it. Like all the Longships and even on the Restaurant Dining Room on the Ocean ships the dining room gets very noisy, very fast. The room has low ceilings, hard surfaces and is serving nearly all the passengers at one seating. We did all the included tours. The only one that disappointed was the Black Forest Tour. Guide was good with lots of info about legends and wildlife, but you didn’t need to be seated in a bus for a couple of hours to hear it all. The destination was a set of shops selling blown glass works and another selling cuckoo clocks. Not sure what there was to do or se in Breisach, Germany, but it had to be better than this tour. We also did optional tours Dine in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Mercedes-Benz Factory, and Colmar in World War II tours. The dinner was a lot of fun with unlimited food and drink, although we cannot recommend the red wine. We should have known better since this is white wine country and that’s what we stuck with. We found the Mercedes-Benz tour fascinating, robots and humans turning out 1200 cars a day. The Colmar tour was moving. On a cold damp day, we had just a hint of the challenges soldiers on both sides faced. We would highly recommend these three. Unfortunately for those who did the Taste of Alsace Tour in Strasbourg, it was on the same night as the German dinner on board. The German meal was outstanding and served in a buffet though the kitchen. How they fix all those meals in such a small space is hard to fathom. We extended on our own with two nights in Basel. We stayed at The Passage Hotel just on the edge of the town center. Our room was large by US standards, for Europe it was gigantic. We signed up for the included continental breakfast. Light fare for sure, but enough to start the day. The Basel Historical Museum is spread across three buildings and admission to one gets you admission to all. In one all the signage is in German, so they provided an iPad that gives English descriptions at no additional charge. We dined at Walliser Kanne, Hotel Stadthof, and Brasserie Café Spitz. I confess we also had lunch ad a chain Ramen shop. Do try the Swiss wines, you can’t easily get them anywhere else. Do be prepared for high prices, but also for excellent food and great service. Our flight home was on a 777 with 3-4-3 seating after short flight Basel to Frankfort. Not nearly as comfortable as the flight over. Arrival a Dulles saw only three Customs and Border Protection Agents for the whole flight. Even the Global Entry folks had a considerable wait. Ours was 1 hour and 45 minutes. Looking their Facebook page this is not an unusual occurrence.
  4. On the 2019 World Cruise there were often surprise menus on the Aquavit Terrace Surprise to us at least. They may have been posted as you left the World Cafe, but if we skipped lunch there we got a surprise at dinner.
  5. Create an account at STEP.state.gov and provide the details of your specific trip, including dates of arrival and departure for the countries you choose. US State Department will email you new Travel Advisories and Alerts as soon as issued them, so be sure to provide an email address that you can access during your trip.
  6. Another factor is living near an international flight hub. We do, so Viking usually provides a direct flight from home and back. However, the route from Stockholm to Dulles International did take us through Toronto. This made for a pretty long day.
  7. It was on our last river trip and I expect same on the next.
  8. Stairways have LED lights along the baseboards. As stated above selected individual overhead fixtures have back-up battery power.
  9. Were on in October flying out of Basel with a plane change in Frankfort to IAD.
  10. A little. On the 2019 World Cruise my wife and I got quite talented at doing a little shuffle step between the bed, closet, and end-of-the bed. She kept her folded clothes in the closet drawers (Viking Sun) and I, mine in the hall drawers. It worked for us.
  11. On Ocean, once you are "in the system" after talking to Guest Relations and/or a Restaurant Manager, info about you available in all dining venues, except Pool Grill. Reminders to waiters in Restaurant, Chef's Table, and Manfreti's to make sure. World Cafe IDs gluten free items and has options for pasta and some breads.
  12. We've stayed in 7014 and 7012 with no noise from people going or coming from the Explorer Lounge. After a Star Theater show most people that are staying up head to Torhaven or the Living Room bar. Even if going to Explorer Lounge most would go on deck 7 where the bar is. The second level on deck 6 doesn't have a bar. BTW- The room service elevator exit is on this hallway for this and all decks. Never heard them either. Given the Viking demographic, I doubt you'll hear much of "pounding feet," maybe some brisk walking.
  13. Buy your own stopper. Cilio 18/10 Stainless Steel Champagne Sealer or other brand. Cheap, small, and good for memories at home.
  14. Talk to the person taking reservations at the World Cafe an the port/left entrance. He/she can make the change and has lots of flexibility. The alternative is to use the app or the room TV once on board. Not as much flexibility, but if what you want is there, you'll have it right away.
  15. Furthermore, the wine steward on our last cruise was pleased to offer alternatives if a wine did not delight us with no limits on refills. It was the World Cruise and after he served us several times in all four restaurant venues his alternatives were always delicious and delightful. We did have the SBB.
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