When we booked our 3rd World Cruise on 9th December 2020, it showed we had about 760 days to go before boarding. That felt like an eternity, especially with the current lack of travel, due to COVID. We had a little cheer when it hit 500 days to go and again at 400, well today that number hit 365. Yeah, only 1-year to go, not a big enough milestone to break out the Moet & Chandon, but nice to know that a year from now we will be in sunny SoCal, and then back to sea.
Prior to our previous World Cruise, we headed to L/A a couple of days early, using the excuse that while it rarely snows in Vancouver, if it does, a mere 1″ to 2″ can shut down the entire city, and seriously disrupt airport operations. Well, this winter is one of those rare events, as that horrible white stuff arrived Christmas Eve and really hasn’t gone since, with even more falling this morning. For our departure next year, this is good news, as the chance of us getting snow 2 years in a row, is rather low.
As the ultimate planner, whether it be a world cruise, or RV excursion, I have been busy this past year, so here is a summary of my planning and developments relating to the cruise:
- Viking Neptune – This amazing small ship is the 9th ocean ship for Viking Ocean and it will only commence operations about 6 weeks before we board in L/A. It is being built in Anacona, Italy. Although no press release was issued when the first block was lowered into the building dock, I have it on good authority that construction has started, and is well advanced. Once Neptune completes in the building dock, she will be towed over to the fitting-out berth for finishing, while Viking Saturn (# 10) will start in the building dock. She should be handed over to the owners in November.
- Itinerary – A multitude of world events normally cause periodic changes to World Cruise itineraries. For the 2020 WC, at 1-year to go, we had already received 3 changes. However, for this cruise – zero. It is still the original itinary, which can be seen on my initial blog post, or Viking’s website. This is not a testement to a lack of world events, more that the Viking planners have been busy with changes to the current cruises, especially the 2021/22 WC, which departed Christmas Eve.
- Flights – flight bookings are normally available about 330 days in advance, with Air Canada schedules currently published to the end of Dec 2022. Therefore, we can probably book the outbound flight next week, but will wait until the Copenhagen to Vancouver flights are posted sometime in July, before requesting our TA to book the flights.
- Planning, Planning, Planning – during the past year I have completed my research on each of the ports, creating a separate file for each of them. Here is a sample for our 1st port in New Zealand. For those that are interested in how I complete the planning, I will endeavour to complete a post dedicated to this subject, in the next couple of months.
- Fellow Passengers – on the 22/23 WC, we have many repeat pax from previous cruises, hailing from Canada, USA , Australia and Sweden. We have a very active roll call group on Cruise Critic, where we have also been joined by a number new pax. All in all, this is shaping up to be an exceptional cruise.
- Tasks to do – starting shortly, I will start some detailed research and booking of private tours. In each port we base the ship/private tour decision based on a risk assessment. I anticipate receiving the Visa package in August/September, so will complete the forms and send them and passports off to GenVisa to acquire all required Visas. The ships tours will hopefully be available for review by August and hopefully we can start booking them in Sept/Oct?. Luggage shipping details should be received in November, with the bags picked up mid-December.
- Additional cruises – if you have read our previous posts, you are no doubt aware we have also booked a prequel and a sequel to the World Cruise.
My husband Jon Paul and myself (Cathy) will be onboard Jan. 2024 from LA to London. This will be our first world cruise. We like Viking very much. We also booked Silversea World Cruise for 2025 – as the places they go will be different. They start in Tokoyo – do Japan, China – then end up in Scandanavia and British Columbia then onto Boston and ending in NYC. Looking forward to both adventures. PS – By the way, Silversea allows us to book our excursions ahead; while we know there will be changes, it’s still good to have so much time to book.
Andy, We are two couples going to Australia and NZ on 14 night Viking Mars, Feb. 2023 timeframe. If you have been, any suggestions on any excursions not to miss? All thoughts, opinions welcome! We are avid travelers both land and sea, have done most cruise lines, miss Crystal the most I would say, this is our first Viking. Thanks for any input….. Don from Virgina
Here are some suggestions:
– Sydney – Blue Mountains Tour, Hunter Valley Tour, The Rocks Tour, spending a day cruising the bay on the local ferries
– Melbourne – Kangaroo & Koalas, The included tour provides a great overview of the city, Train, Wildlife & Wine. If docked at station pier, you can also catch the local rail at the adjacent station. This takes you to the CBD, where the trams are free.
– Tasmania – any of the longer full day tour may be of interest, depending on your preferences
– Dunedin – Back to Nature Tours (https://backtonaturetours.co.nz/) Royal Peninsula Tour (https://backtonaturetours.co.nz/tour/royal-peninsula/)
– Christchurch – Dramatic Coastlines Along the Banks Peninsula, Punting on the river
– Wellington – Ho/Ho Bus, taking shuttle into town and wandering
– Napier – port has a tight approach and is often windy. Cruise ships often cannot dock, so stick to a ship’s tour
– Tauanga – my favourite vendor is out of business, so I was considering Back to Nature Tours again in this port – either visit to Rotorua or a visit to multiple small towns
– Auckland – we enjoyed the sheep shearing demo tour
Wow Andy, your detailed research is most impressive. We are booked on the ‘24 ‘Neptune’ WC so will closely follow your blogs & research. Am also lurking on the current ‘Star’ & forthcoming ‘Neptune’ WC cruise critic boards for any useful nuggets.
Hi Warren – thanks for stopping bye and leaving a comment. Feel free to ask any questions.
Hi again Andy. We enjoy exploring destinations independently or in small groups so I will be most interested to learn in due course which shore excursion operators you choose, and where, and how you go about getting other cruisers to join your excursions.
I have completed most of my research on the attractions and private tour options of interest, but I haven’t yet started booking any. Since a number of countries still require a shore bubble, I am holding-off waiting to see how this COVID thing eases off.
Andy, Some good news for you from Stuff.co.nz today
“The Government will on Wednesday announce tourists will be able to visit New Zealand in just a few weeks, starting with Australians.” Warren ________________________________
Thanks Warren – that’s very encouraging, as a couple of days ago, I got a note back from a tour vendor that was all doom & gloom. They mentioned that Omnicon had taken off and there was no possibility of cruise ships returning until at least October. Did find it surprising, as our news has always reported that the NZ Prime Minister had done a great job in controlling the virus.
Hi Andy, I continue to follow your comments on the Neptune 22-23 WC with interest & wonder about the early days of your sea going career. We’re you by chance an “Otaio” cadet & if so did you sail on other NZS/FSN ships? My entire business life was ashore in the shipping industry beginning with NZS Co in New Plymouth in 1965, retiring from Hamburg Süd in Hamburg in 2013. My wife & I look forward to being on the Neptune 23-23 WC Kind regards, Warren Eversfield ________________________________
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Affirmative, I am one of many P&O Cadets that started on the venerable training ship Otaio, joining her 19th August 1975 in London and leaving on 24th December in Liverpool. Spent 2 months on the NZ coast loading lamb.
During our time on the coast, we spent 2 great weeks in New Plymouth, which would have been October 75.
The Otaio was my only NZS ship, as other than cruise ships, I sailed on a couple of Hain-Nourse (Strathteviot & Strathnairn) and a Lauritzen Peninsula Reefer (Wild Auk)
We are on the 2022-23 Neptune World Cruise. After following the directions to get connected to the roll call on Cruise Critic, I still can’t seem to get on. I cleared my cookies, and rebooted and still can’t seem to fine the link. Any suggestions?
Can you please send me an email to cardinalpoints dot marine at shaw dot ca
Let me introduce myself, my name is Ernie and I am traveling with my wife Helene. We are booked on the 12/23/2023 Viking World Cruise. This is our second world cruise and our first with Viking.
We have been very excited about our upcoming cruise
I have been preparing by following most of the cruise news on YouTube. I have also been getting weekly reports about the ports we will be visiting by setting up Google News alerts on our computer on each of these ports.
There are constant updates on which cruises have been cancelled and which ports are not allowing cruise ships in because of fear of covid.
This flow of information has done little other than raise my anxiety.
That is why your post on the internet has been a breath of fresh air. No handwringing: will our cruise be cancelled? How many ports will turn us away etc.
What you reported was: “we had a little cheer when it hit 500 days to go and again at 400, well today that number hit 365. Yeah, only 1 year to go……nice to know that a year from now we will be in sunny SoCal, and then back to sea.”
I just have to remember we have only 713 days to go until our cruise and your blog is a good model for me. It is helping me stay focused on the excitement of the upcoming cruise and moving away from dreading the impact that Covid could have on our plans.
We are looking forward to more from your blog.
Thanks, Ernie and Helene.
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Very excited for you!
Thanks for sharing. We can’t wait to board the ship and sail into this adventure
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I once spent most of a day at the Hundertwasser museum in Vienna, so I would definitely be interested in his public toilets! If you decide on that tour I would opt for the glow worm caves (although the ones I saw were in Waitomo).
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Unfortunately, Judi doesn’t do caves, so we try to skip those types of tours.