We’re beginning a new series of travel based upon another first for us: an ocean cruise on Viking Sky! We were delighted when Viking’s “Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land” worked into our schedule, and, as ancient history lovers (well, we took a course or two in college, if that counts), we were off to see sites in Greece, Israel, and Italy.
In the past, we’ve taken river cruises and loved them — fewer passengers to get to know, active sessions on the deck each morning (yoga, anyone?), and nightly gatherings to hear what the chef has prepared for supper. So, would we like a 745-foot ship holding 930 passengers cruising the ocean?
YES. And a resounding YES at that!
Booking the cruise (November to December 4, 2019) was the first step. But from Day One after boarding Viking Sky, we quickly discovered that the ship itself would be as important a part of this adventure as the ancient lands we would tour.
Relaxing. First, our stateroom: a Deluxe Veranda with balcony. It offered comfort, creative use of space, and luxury accommodations making us look forward to Days at Sea. From comfy king bed to heated floors in the well-appointed bathroom, we thought life couldn’t get better. But when we met our steward Angelo, we knew it could. He not only tidied up daily, but saw to it that our wishes really were his commands.
Gathering. Outside our stateroom, public areas awaited.
From the main lobby arranged with seating areas for talking, game areas for playing, and the pleasant, airy Wintergarden room for afternoon tea, we found plenty of spaces where we could have the privacy we longed for or places to mingle and make new friends.
Entertaining. Nightly shows in the Star Theater featured Vegas-level performers of music familiar to our ears — from a tribute to the Beatles to Hollywood show tunes. And in the smaller venue, Torshavn, guests danced to the music of the Viking Band.
Decking. Outside, we walked the decks — like the jogging track that measured our steps and the upper deck – great for viewing the ocean vastness. When we didn’t want to walk, we joined the friendly chefs for cook-to-order breakfast omelettes, seafood buffets, and make-it-yourself tacos. “Decking out” took on a whole new meaning!
Learning. Resident professors coupled their vast knowledge with witty dialogues and brilliant slides for an entertaining way for us to learn more about a variety of topics such as “The Holy Land in Art” or the “High Renaissance in Rome” or “The Ottoman Empire.” We sat in the comfortable Star Theater for learning and then later for entertainment.
When there wasn’t a presentation, we toured the collection of viking artifacts, watched a video on the Bayeux Tapestry (recreated as wall art in the stairwells) or took a cooking class with Chef Andreas in the Star Theater.
Relaxing. Nothing impressed us more than a place we never anticipated (but now will return to again and again): the LivNordic Spa. It didn’t take long for us to experience the lilting waters of the wave pool, to try the Nordic Bathing Ritual (hot shower, cold time in the snowball room, then back to hot shower – I kid you not!), and to relax with massages by pros, all accompanied by fluffy towels and a locker room filled with amenities. It took cruising to a new level.
Eating. It’s a cruise ship, right? So how could we not mention food, glorious food? Serve-it-yourself bars featured a selected meat each day, carved to your liking (rare or well-done). Add fresh fruits and vegetables, breads of all kinds, made-in-house gelato, and fancy, schmancy petite delights — well, you get the picture of what we look forward to when cruising. If we wanted to dress up and be served in high style, The Restaurant, Manfredi’s, or the Chef’s Table treated us to luxury dining with pleasant waiters.
Scheduling happy times. With Viking Daily, a color-printed brochure left on our bed each night, we stayed on top of events, our personally scheduled excursions (with top-notch local guides), and exciting entertainment. And one special day, the crew and staff greeted us with open arms as they sang and danced under red umbrellas welcoming us back to . . . Viking Sky.
If you’re thinking of cruising, why not give Viking Sky a try? With luxury amenities and the opportunity to stay to yourself or get out and meet others, we think it’s an option worth exploring. We know one thing: we’re already looking at brochures to find our next big ship trip.
Rusha and Bert
FYI: We received no compensation from Viking or any travel agency for this post. We’re just sharing what we love doing.
Update: As we become aware of the spread of the coronavirus, we certainly understand that many people are re-considering travel by any and all means, including cruise travel. And rightfully so. Please check travel.state.gov for the latest information and travel advisories for your destination.