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Homerody

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About Homerody

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  1. Thank you @ SarniaLo for confirming my predisposition for planning it on my own. The current plan in progress is explore Oslo pre cruise and Bergen post cruise, and train ride from Oslo to Bergen.
  2. @hallasm, thank you for reply. Planning my 1st Hurtigruten coastal RT is very exciting. At the same time, I have soooo many newbie questions. I hope that the more I know, the more informed decisions I can make. (not necessarily better ones! 😀)
  3. A few questions to the helpful experienced Hurtigruten coastal cruisers here: 1. In booking and expedition suite for the coastal round trip, I did not see an option to upgrade to the "platinum" fare option. Did I miss it during the booking process? I'm assuming (based on the listing of inclusions) that the expedition suites books into the "select" fare - any anecdotal experiences with the platinum package and how much of a cost premium was it? 2. On the the benefits of the platinum package is the a la carte dining. If one does not get Platinum package, on the website, they say the a la carte option is only bookable on board. Any experiences with a la cart dining and incremental cost? 3. Elsewhere in forum, a discussion about excursions noted that on board pricing for excursions (not sold out) may be discounted. What has been a typical reduction in your previous sailings? 4. Hurtigruten offers excursion packages with an OBC (not bookable on line). Anyone recommends these? Any experiences? 5. Hurtigruten site offers rail info Norwegian National Railroad (Vy) from Oslo (and others) " as part of the arrival or departure packages..." I'm assuming that we are talking about pre or post extension? Is it worth considering or DYI is a better option? Lots of newbie questions. I appreciate the sage advise and first hand experience everybody has to offer and share. Much appreciated.
  4. Cancel and rebook is definitely a viable strategy - especially if outside the 180 day window $200 penalty window. One would have to do the math, for other cases. My point is - why does it have to be so? In my experience, most other cruise lines work with customers for repricing and everyone gets a bit - not everything - of what they want, and everyone is a bit happy.. (And mostly it is a moot point, because I don't have to pay a million days in advance....) So why can't VO say the fee to get a reprice is say 230$ - or whatever - (200 comparable to a cancellation fee, and 30 for an administrative change fee - I vaguely recall seeing that on website somewhere...) And the reprice would be to the price available at the time of repricing not to some nonexistent price that was in effect months or a year ago. I think the airline model would be a good start. Say I bought a highly restricted economy ticket for 300$ with a change/cancellation penalty of $200. The first class ticket price when I booked is 2000$. If I see a first class sale and the ticket for $1000 on the flight I am booked on - I can change my booking and upgrade for the $200 fee/penalty, and the price difference - but I would be charged the current price of $1000 not 2000 and I would apply (any) residual original funds to the new ticket. Or, initially, I could buy a more expensive unrestricted ticked and change it as often as needed to. We don't have such an option with VO. Rather, we have cancel and rebook, or if this is not a viable alternative - play the roulette wheel of VO customer service mercy and maybe get a crumb or two. I can't change VO policy, but I can change who I spend my money with.
  5. So I've confirmed that Viking's policy (thus TA's also) is that they will not honor any repricing for price drops - either a promotional price reduction (the * price) or any additional sales such as the Anniversary Sale. One could upgrade - but the price would be NOT the current price difference, but the price difference that existed at time of booking. Seems like once final payment is made - they have the customer over a barrel. And not being too customer friendly about it with intransigent policies. A stark difference to my experience with other comparable cruise lines. The funny thing is that I was recently reading their mailed River cruise brochure and the prices for a cruise comparable to the one we took last year was 2000$ per cabin lower. I know there is a difference between VO and Viking River, but maybe demand is softening. So perhaps the strategy of holding off on booking pays off. Unfortunately, that strategy will not work for my current booking. So for current bookings, it seems as if they (implicitly) are encouraging cancellations (with the small penalty 180 days out) if the hassle factor is worth it. But for future cruising needs - there will be other fish in the ocean to consider as first choice.
  6. notamermaid: I am enjoying your very informative posts (as I did last year tracking conditions for another cruise). Any chance dear MIL is responsible for temperature control when you are not home? 😉😯
  7. Oh well, I am actively considering cancelling and going with another cruise line. I don't have much of a stomach for all of this.
  8. Well, since it is unlikely that I will be able to get anywhere with my booking and the Anniversary sale and an upgrade I am willing to pay for my VO and replacing the cruise I am on with another line's. For those interested in a related thread about pricing and anniversary sale see the CC thread - "Cruise price Drop with Viking Anniversary Sale"
  9. I think part of the month of Sundays with me is getting caught in between a lazy TA who will not really do anything to help (its after final payment after all) and Viking who - quite understandably - says hey you have an agent that must be your point of contact with Viking. Agent says rules are rules, Viking is strict and so on... I don't need a lot of hand holding, and generally book travel direct and with my own planning. But for cruises, I've found better deals using TA's. Admittedly, Viking cruises using a TA yielded a very tiny price benefit - but I thought a good TA would leverage or help out in cases such as requesting moving final payment date or when prices drop (the latter based on my experience with other cruises and TA's). Alas, no such help. And mind you - I'm not looking for freebie upgrades or a $1000 refund due Anniversary sale promotional price drop. I would be happy to upgrade to next category DV to PV for a reasonable fee and current price difference between what I paid and current cost for PV. (This has been my experience with my last two Transatlantic and Mediterranean cruises - using a different TA than my current Viking booking.) So Viking and TA may win the battle. But it will be a Pyrrhic victory as I will certainly not return to TA and Viking will be a much steeper climb for me.
  10. I've been following this thread with utmost of interest. And have been thinking of the airline model, too. If I buy any refundable ticket (in any class/fare bucket) and the price drops - the airline - i have to initiate the request - will reissue at the lower price and refund difference or refund me the fare . If I buy a non refundable or highly restricted fare - my options are more limited if I see a cheaper fare. Most likely, I would have a sizable penalty to pay if I wanted to reprice and get lower fare. But I could do the math and decide if it is a worthwhile proposition - based on published rules and fees. So whether I buy my airline ticket 330 days out or 1 week before - essentially making my "final payment" - if there is a price drop - I know what the rules and penalties are to reprice. While there are differences in inventories, pricing models etc... between airlines and cruise lines - I think what probably would work to keep most customers happy is downside price protection. A policy that says - if the price drops after final payment a customer my request a reprice but it will cost xyz money. I suspect that most of us on CC would work with such policies. Behavioral economists probably could make some sort of prediction on a percentage of customers that would jump through hoops to get a reprice. But given the Viking business model (final payments, etc...) and their popularity, there is little incentive to change the way they do business. The squeaky wheel indeed may get some Viking grease - but after a month of Sundays of emails with them and TA - even for the most intrepid and frugal traveler - that simply may be too much.
  11. Amen! But it seems that one has to find the "right" TA or Viking rep and play the customer service roulette to get a scrap (mind you - not even the whole bone) to customers who pre paid a year ahead of time. Ugggg....
  12. I guess there could be 2 extremes on an inaugural cruise - lots of growing pains or best staff, food etc to make a lasting and favorable impression on media and on board vip types Maybe I'm thinking inaugural cruising is like a top tier airline inaugurating a flagship route. In any event, I would try an inaugural cruise.
  13. I found the discussion about Havila Kystruten intriguing. So much so that I visited the website. Seems they have lots of work ahead of them (including staffing). It'll be interesting to see what market forces will bear on the pricing of the coastal sailings. Or maybe it will end up being cartel pricing. Who knows? But options are good. Will follow the company's plans and progress to see what happens and how their coastal plans develop. b
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