2020-01-23-Viking Sea-southern Caribbean · Key Blogs

Viking Ocean Cruise – St. Kitts

A stunning day awaited us in quaint St. Kitts and neighboring island Nevis. We got off early and took a cab to the last operating sugar mill train to catch a ride. Alas, every seat was sold out so we couldn’t partake in the 3-hour journey.

Tip: book aboard your cruise ship for this experience.

What to do then? Walk through town and marvel at this island nation – independent from British rule since 9/29/1983. It was a journey through time – from slave trading to sugar cane barons to modern day. Fantastic!

In order from top to bottom:

Church of immaculate conception, independence square, Berkeley clock and British phone booth with former slave quarters on each corner.

Rounding out our tour – this portion courtesy of Viking cruises included daily excursions- we toured the former plantation home of Fairview. Dating back to colonial times, this masterpiece of a traditional house is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the stunning ocean vistas.

Last call of the day done, with pina colada in hand, it is time to wrap up this weeks work. More adventures to come tomorrow. Stay tuned.

2020-01-23-Viking Sea-southern Caribbean · Key Blogs

Viking Ocean Cruise – the ship

Our home-away-from-home for the week is the Viking Sea – 2nd ship in Vikings fleet of ocean ships – with just under 1000 guests aboard. A delightfully simple layout with tons of cozy seating options abounds aboard. Definitely different from its rivals in this space.

My deluxe veranda cabin category DV2 is located mid-ship on deck 6. First impressions were of comfort and quality. The cabin is spacious (even with two individual beds) and features “the best bathroom” design ever. Pluses are the countless electrical outlets and USB ports as well as the bath amenities one can read without glasses (shampoo, conditioner, lotion etc.) – see above. I wish hotels did this too – its been too many times that I had lotion in my hair instead of conditioner with the traditionally tiny print on bottles and tubes.

Viking’s Scandinavian efficiency and style is omnipresent. Spacious walk-in shower and double vanity with tons of storage in clear wood colors are a treat.

I have seen many a bathroom on my many cruise adventures of late and this one clearly sets the standard for traditional cabin categories. (If I can sneak a peek into a suite, I will report back on that later)

The modern, yet cozy feel permeates the entire ship. From the bar in the main dining room to the tables in cozy groupings, each with comfy chairs and plush pillows, makes me feel right at home.

Meals are excellent and varied. Just as guests experience on a river ship, dining is on an open seating basis from 6 to 9pm. No queues, no buzzzers, no early or late – just go and eat – amazing!

From the top, the fabulous salmon and dill eggs benedict, seafood buffet at World Cafe (offered daily), and the tasty beef Wellington are just a few samples of our tasty meals so far. Note also that wine and beer are covered at meal times – I call it the bottomless glass – which is a big plus.

More to come as we discover the public spaces of this vessel.

2020-01-23-Viking Sea-southern Caribbean · Key Blogs

Viking Ocean Cruise – Puerto Rico

One of the benefits of Viking’s itinerary is the overnight in San Juan which allowed us a full day of exploring.

After breakfast on board, we walked over to the Sheraton Old Town and picked up our wheels for the day. I won’t hold it against Hertz but it’s been 10 years since I had one of these Chrysler model 300. Even though the outside looks still good on this 2018 version, the interior feels like it was designed 20 year’s ago – no USB outlets, no screens and the dashboard plastics were hard as a rock with graining mimicking 1980s textures. It flattering!

once settled in, We drove out of town to the National Forrest of El Yunque which is a stunningly lush rainforest draped over mountain peaks. It’s funny what rain does – greenery in every shade light up the hillsides and the canopy provides shade from the hot sun or rain – we had both.

We hiked on one of the many trails toget a glimpse into the thick greenery. Rewarded with stunning flowers and o dose of rain, the short 45-min walk felt refreshing after the long flight.

From the rainforest, we made our way across the countryside to the Hacienda Minos where Arabica coffee beans are farmed. A delicious lunch of traditional Puerto Rican rice dishes awaited us.

It was yummy and the coffee beer was a uniquely flavored brew that worked very well with our dishes. It is made from unroasted fermented coffee beans and yeast. Very creative!

Stay tuned for more adventures as the days unfold.

2020-01-23-Viking Sea-southern Caribbean · Key Blogs

Viking Ocean Cruise – Caribbean calling

Red-eye behind us, my travel companion Jerry and I connected for the second leg from Philadelphia to San Juan, PR aboard American Airlines flight 1496.

It was nip & tuck as I had to sprint from gate c5 to a20 across what is a maze at PHL airport. AND wouldn’t you know it – a mechanical has us still sitting on the plane at the gate.

On arrival in San Juan, we caught an Uber (note tha Lyft is not operational here) and made it to old town to board our ship for the week- the Viking Sea.

(See picture above – courtesy of Jerry’s window seat. Viking Sea is the smallest ship on the left).

Stay tuned for more on the ship and experience over the coming days. With our red-eye flights, we called it an early night.