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.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.