Ports of Call: Viking Sun visited Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Gdańsk, Poland; Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany; Copenhagen and Ålborg, Denmark; and Stavanger, Eidfjord and Bergen, Norway.
Embarkation/Disembarkation: Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, was our cruise rendezvous point. Everyone arrived a day early to acclimatize and explore.
Viking has great staff waiting to welcome everyone at the beginning of the cruise and each day as we returned from excursions. We were able to check in several hours earlier than many passengers since we booked a junior suite. The process was smooth and painless.
Staff members are always at their posts as tours leave the ship, distributing bottles of water to keep you hydrated and to send you off with enthusiastic wishes for your scheduled tours. For example, returning from our long day in Berlin, the staff lined up, cheering and handing out moist towels.
Stateroom: We booked a Penthouse Junior Suite. Our housekeeping staff had an attitude of service and did a great job keeping our suite spotless. It was stocked with L’Occitane bath and body products. With many early morning tours, we ordered breakfast via room service and felt pampered. The food was excellent.
Viking does a great job communicating with daily print publications such as the Viking Daily. It provides detailed schedules, history, background, local facts and maps of ports, delivered to your stateroom every evening.
Services/Amenities: I enjoyed Viking’s daily lectures. For the passengers’ convenience, port talks and lectures are recorded and available two hours after the talk concludes and can be viewed in your stateroom. My favorite lecturer was Michael Chesire, the resident historian, who served in the Royal Navy for 35 years, although all were superb.
We visited the Explorer’s Lounge (Marnsen’s), had many meals in the Restaurant and the World Café as well as the Pool Grill. Special bookings were required for Manfredi’s and the chef ’s table. My favorite restaurant was Manfredi’s, serving primarily Italian.
Our band of six opted for the unlimited drinks package and was not disappointed. Our nightly ritual was to meet at a bar and have pre-dinner cocktails while reviewing everyone’s day. I believe we frequented all lounges and bars on our trip, including Aquavit Bar, Explorer’s Lounge, Viking Bar, Pool Bar, Torshavn and the Wintergarden. The bartenders were pleasant, efficient and ready to fill our requests. The six of us also opted for the $10 per-day charge for travel pass phone service. It was nice to have but seldom needed.
◆ Be sure to book shore excursions prior to the trip. The popular ones book rapidly.
◆ Excursions not included as part of the cruise price tend to be less crowded and of a high quality.
◆ Also, book specialty restaurant reservations prior to sailing.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
United Airlines teamed with Timeshifter, a sleep help app, to assist travelers battling jet lag. Timeshifter outlines the best times to see and avoid light, sleep and either enjoy or pass on caffeine to best avoid jet lag when traveling through time zones. The app is specifically targeted to those traveling across three or more time zones and customizes advice for each passenger based on his or her own sleep preferences and normal sleep pattern, as well as their particular flight.
Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Make sure you catch the new pop-up cocktail lounge at Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara in Carlsbad before it’s gone. Starry Nights, located on the Seasons Restaurant veranda, is open through Jan. 31, 2020.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.