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.
This summer, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles began highly-anticipated enhancements. The property celebrates its 10th birthday next year and the renovations are the largest changes the property has ever seen. They impact the hotel lobby, all 123 guestrooms and suites, corridors and Club Lounge.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Seats on new JetBlue flights between New York City (JFK) and Georgetown (GEO), Guyana, are now available for purchase. The route takes off April 2, 2020, on the new Airbus A321neo aircraft. With a flight time of five hours from New York City, the route delivers intrepid travelers to what JetBlue calls “a playground for adventurists and modern-day explorers.” The route also serves the largest Guyanese American community in the United States, located in New York City.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
An industry-first update to the award-winning Four Seasons app allows guests to plan travel more seamlessly. The app, completely overhauled, now includes a new trip planning itinerary feature that allows guests to easily customize their stay.