One of the joys of watching the National Geographic Channel presentation of Genius: Picasso was seeing the commercials. That may sound strange because I always mute commercials when they come on and ignore them as much as possible.
But these commercials were special. They were about Viking Cruises.
Certainly made me sit up and pay attention. How heavenly, I thought, it would be to cruise on one of the new Viking ocean ships. I’ve cruised on a Viking river vessel so I know the luxurious experience that Viking offers.
I was very happy when I heard that Viking planned to expand into ocean ships. I knew the company would bring the same standard of excellence to its ocean ships that it has to its river cruises.
My first glimpses of Viking Ocean Cruises showed a fleet of new, all-veranda, state-of- the-art ocean ships. Featuring understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design, each ocean ship carries only 930 guests and is small enough to allow direct access into most ports.
First came the Viking Star built in 2015, followed by Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Sun and Viking Orion. As soon as they were launched, the ships began generating positive buzz among devoted cruisers.
Quickly-expanding, Viking plans to add seven new river vessels to its fleet in 2019, including six award-winning Viking Longships and one additional vessel inspired by the Viking Longships and specifically designed for Portugal’s Douro River. Viking also is targeting February 2019 to welcome its sixth ocean ship, Viking Jupiter.
Fellow travelers have told me about the ocean ships’ beautiful décor, spacious staterooms, on-board amenities, delicious cuisine, friendly crew, entertainment, guest speakers, spa and fascinating itineraries.
Now I am going to get to experience all this firsthand.
I am booked on the glorious Viking Sky for a 15-day cruise from London, England, to Bergen, Norway. Titled “Into the Midnight Sun,” the cruise will stop in Edinburgh, Kirkwall and Lerwick in Scotland; then on to Lofoten, Honningsvag, Tromso, Molde, Geiranger and Bergen in Norway.
The trip is described as cruising the deep-cut fjords along the fabled Norwegian coast and sailing across the Arctic Circle where the midnight sun shines 24 hours a day. Our cruise will follow the path of Vikings from the remote windswept Shetland and Orkney Islands of Scotland with a visit to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.
Viking Sky offers many complimentary features
Launched in 2017, Viking Sky features many complimentary pluses – internet, self-service laundry, room service, dining in any restaurant – except for The Kitchen Table, which combines a shore excursion with an upscale dining experience – and access to the ship’s incredible thermal suite. Passengers also can enjoy unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner.
Cruise fares on Viking Sky include at least one shore excursion in every port. Optional excursions are available for an additional fee, most of which cost $100 or less. Large comfortable buses are used for the tours.
Through the wonders of the Internet, I have already signed up for my shore excursions and those choices were not easy to make. Every shore excursion seemed to offer exciting possibilities. I’m sure that I could have gone on any of them and been quite happy.
The ones I chose are Classic Monuments of London, DaVinci Code’s Rosslyn Chapel & Glenkinchie Distillery, Highlights of Historic Orkney, Shetland Panoramic & Ponies, Panoramic Lofoten, North Cape Shore Drive, Svensby Home Visit, Highlights of Molde, Eagle’s Bend Overlook & and Panoramic Drive, and Panoramic Bergen.
That recurring word “panoramic” seems to hint at some beautiful photographic sites. Many of these are places I have only read about so I am really curious to see what they really look like.
We will also spend three days at sea and since all the Viking Sky’s staterooms have verandas, I know where I will be on those cruising days – sitting on my veranda watching the ocean roll.
Hope you’ll come along for the trip to see what we’ll discover. Having cruised with Viking on its river ships, I know this will be a very memorable experience.