Hard to believe it has been 18 long months since my last post, when we booked our 2nd World Cruise with Viking Ocean. Upon booking, it was almost 600 days to embarkation, which at the time seemed like a lifetime. However, on November 15th it was only 50 days until embarkation. Prior to the first World Cruise, I posted updates at 300, 200, 100 and 50 days, but for this cruise, this is the 2nd and most likely the final post before we arrive in San Pedro. Since we haven’t travelled much lately, what have we been doing and what has changed?
With the almost constant turmoil somewhere in the World, we have received a number of changes to the itinerary:
- Tunisia – as expected Tunis was cancelled and we gained a 2nd day in Malta. Bonus, we get an overnight stay in Valletta.
- Brunei – this was a surprise, but Brunei was cancelled and we get an overnight in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Since Brunei was one of the ports we have not visited before, we were a tad disappointed with this change.
- Haikou (China) – Viking advised previous passenger feedback was negative, so they cancelled the call to provide 3 full days in both Hong Kong and Saigon.
- Colombo (Sri Lanka) – with an overnight in port, when it was cancelled we gained 2 new ports – Phuket (Thailand) and Chennai (India)
- With the current troubles in Hong Kong, we may receive more changes.
These can be major work when booking a World Cruise, as multiple Visas may be required. Viking includes acquiring Visas as part of the cruise package. This required sending our passports to Washington DC, for all Visas except China, which we had to acquire in Vancouver. Visas – complete
I provided our preferred flights to our Travel Agent, who called Viking Air and booked exactly what we requested, including reserving seats. Flights – complete
This is another benefit that Viking provides. They provided a link to Luggage Forward, for booking a pick-up date & time. Two cases will be picked up December 18th for shipment to the ship.
This was a major undertaking, comprising research on the ship, ports of call, tour operators, etc. Previously we cruised with Princess, so we knew both the company and had sailed on all classes of ships, but Viking and Viking Sun is new for us.
Ports of Call – with over 50 ports, I visited our local library and borrowed books for each of our ports. Coupled with Google, I developed a file for each port including our potential berth, other ships in port, currency, exchange rate, points of interest, local tour providers, etc.
Tours – based on the research we have arranged activities in every port – these include included ship tours, optional ship tours, private tours and a couple of Ho-Ho buses. The highlight will be the 4-day overland in Egypt, visiting both the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Cairo and the Pyramids/Sphinx at Giza.