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.
Situated deep within the Scottish Highlands, just steps from many lakes and mountains, lies 57 Nord. This collection of two design-led boutique hideaways blends the region’s Norse-Gael heritage by incorporating Scottish craftsmanship, modern Scandinavian design and panoramic views into both structures.
Whether you prefer a villa on the beach or an ultra-luxe suite downtown, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Los Cabos.
Oslo’s Art Deco connections just grew stronger with the opening of Sommerro, housed within a historic building in the city’s West End neighborhood of Frogner. The structure itself was once the location of the city’s original electrical company, Oslo Lysverker. The conversion to urban, luxury lodging features 231 guestrooms, 56 residences, seven restaurant and bar options, and meeting and event spaces for up to 150 people. There’s also a 100-seat gilded theater and expansive wellness space, including a full-service gym and Oslo’s first, year-round rooftop pool, sauna and terrace.
Key West International Airport recently held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of its $100 million expansion. Roman Gastesi, administrator, Monroe County; Richard Strickland, director of airports; and others attended the ceremony and outlined details of the Concourse A terminal expansion project.
Much of the global business travel industry has already made sustainable business travel a priority with a focus on reducing emissions and their environmental footprint. But the industry, as well as external stakeholders, such as policymakers, recognize more needs to be done.
Adventure tour operator Explore Worldwide recently conducted a study to find the most underrated travel experiences around the world. The operator analyzed more than 350 lesser-known destinations and experiences across more than 130 countries, ranking them based on how high its Trip Advisor score fared against how many people actually reviewed the activity and how many Google searches the experience received.
Lodging and hospitality company Angama announced the November 2023 opening of Angama Amboseli, an intimate, 10-suite lodge set in Kenya’s private, 5,700-acre Kimana Sanctuary, against the iconic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, located just across the border in Tanzania.
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There is nothing better than the gift of travel. Instead of giving your loved ones material items, give them an experience they will never forget. This year, Emerald Cruises offers excellent Black Friday deals on Europe and Southeast Asia river cruises, as well as on the latest collection of luxury ocean yacht sailings on Emerald Azzurra and Emerald Sakara.