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.
Recently renovated Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa launched its Halona Kai Beer Garden pop-up series, bringing Maui brews to meet Maui views and celebrate the summer season. Sip a cold Maui beer or seltzer while taking in the breathtaking views of the island. The beer garden will be offered three times a week, 5–9 p.m.
Love to laugh and travel? Join Just For Laughs in Cancún presented by Pollen Presents Nov. 3–7. This festival event brings together the relaxing accommodations of a 5-star resort and laugh-out-loud funny comedy sets for a long, unforgettable escape.
A handful of historic towns in Texas Hill Country reinvented themselves as upscale food, wine and culture destinations. Fredericksburg is the shining star among them, transcending its historic German underpinnings to the point where it’s drawing a more cosmopolitan group of visitors, including many from outside Texas.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
In an exclusive partnership, Lufthansa Group teams with Viking Cruises to offer the cruise line’s travelers direct, non-stop flights from the New York City area to Malta (MLA), beginning June 30. Flights will operate three times weekly on Lufthansa’s Airbus A350-900, departing from Newark Liberty International Airport.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Margaritaville announced the launch of a new resort brand, St. Somewhere. The brand will embody the carefree escapism of the Margaritaville brand, with a luxury twist. Slated to debut in fall 2021, the property will be located on Isla Holbox, Mexico, with other locations to open subsequently.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Panama City with us.