Heads up,world; watch out! Mom and I are traveling together again–this time on Viking’s new ocean-level ship, the Viking Star.
We fly out tomorrow, arriving in Stockholm hours (and hours, and hours, and hours…) later. We’ll get on that new cruise ship on Saturday afternoon after a day of exploring Stockholm on our own.
You can count on more “real world” reporting on everything from excursions to cabin features, food and the cruise experience. Lots of pictures, too, if I can get solid wifi on the Star.
Here’s the link to my newest blog. http://oceancruisenewbie.com
If you want email updates for the new blog, you’ll have to sign up over there for them; your “subscription” to this one can’t be transferred…sorry! As always, I look forward to your comments, tips and ideas. I’ve never done this ocean cruising thing before…
Won’t you travel along with us as we cruise the Baltic and explore some of Norway’s fjords?
I’ve just finished scanning (I know, finally, huh?) all four sheets of each day’s “Viking Daily” news sheets for our Amsterdam to Budapest itinerary on Viking River Cruises ion August 2014. Go here to see them.
I saved them as PDFs so you can read and even download ’em easier–but WordPress won’t let me put an “image” with each so on the page it just looks like a whole bunch of text links. It’s also out of order…grrrr…
You can click on each individually, I assure you, and see the day’s events and notes. These includes arrival and departure times in each port as well as other features of the port as well as shipboard activities.
I wish I’d had a copy of these before our cruise, even though I know things can change slightly each season and each cruise; it would have given this river cruise newbie more to look at, plan for and understand.
Choosing a river cruise company isn’t for the faint of heart. While it’s absurdly simple to get your name on email and physical mailing lists for a wide variety of cruise lines (and then watch out!), it’s not so easy to discern which company might work best for you if you’ve never tried any of them.
Mom and I asked friends who’d taken European river cruises and each one offered a different name. And each also offered to give me their customer number to get us a discount on our cruise and a referral credit for themselves. [Side note: I’d be happy to talk with you via email about our experience with Viking and offer you my ideas–and a referral number–so you can save $100/person off each of your fares if you’ve never cruised with Viking before. Then I can go on another Viking cruise–and I promise I’ll blog it with oodles of details]
We narrowed it down to two companies based on itineraries and each company’s reviews (thank you, CruiseCritic.com!). Our final choice of Viking River Cruises seemed just right for us with its “pretty much everything is included” pricing as well as the ship’s aesthetics (we prefer Scandinavian simplicity over red-velvet elegant). When we discovered that we could purchase the tickets through Costco with a significant discount (shipboard credit as well as a pretty hefty Costco gift card upon the trip’s completion), we figured we’d made the right decision.
We still feel that way and, in fact, I’m just a few weeks’ away from leaving on a Baltic cruise with Mom on Viking’s new sister company, Viking Oceans. We definitely wouldn’t spend more money with Viking if we hadn’t felt they’d earned our business.
But that doesn’t mean everything was hunky-dory. In this post I’ll detail those areas where Viking earned a less-than-stellar grade from us–and in the next post I’ll provide some personal insight about the good things Viking did.
Let’s start with the bad…
Pre-trip communication with Viking’s customer service department stunk. Seriously. Continue reading