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molymoo

Southern Mediterranean Discovery ... a Review

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We ae finally home and the laundry is done and other than tackling the army of dust bunnies that have taken over the house we are getting settled into our regular routines. 

We were on the Sky for the Southern Mediterranean Discovery itinerary and as is usually the case with our Viking trips, we had a great time.  The Sky was familiar as we did the British Isles last summer but I have to admit that it did seem like a different ship. There were a lot of crew changes and things ran in the usual sharp and efficient way we have come to expect from Viking.  There were some “misses” on our trip in the summer and although they were nothing of any great significance, they were notable.  It was nice to see the improvements this time around!

The ship is beautiful; elegant and understated.  Our PV stateroom felt like home as this was our third cruise on the 5th level port side!  There was ample room for storing our things and plenty of room under the bed for the suitcases.  Our stewards were a great team; efficient and worked very hard to insure that we had everything we needed throughout the cruise.

We ate at both of the specialty restaurants and enjoyed them both but would love to see some updates to the menu at Manfredis .. after four ocean cruises we have pretty much tried most of the menu items and would love to see something different next time!  We did ask to have the steak (yes the famous steak!) cut in half one night … they were very obliging and the two halves came to the table done perfectly and both of the plates were dressed as though they were original.  It was nice to be able to enjoy the steak without the guilt of leaving so much on the plate uneaten …. It is a very large steak!

We missed our stop in Sicily because of weather concerns and that was disappointing, but the extra day in Naples afforded us the opportunity to visit the archeological museum courtesy of Viking.  They planned the outing everyone seemed to enjoy it immensely.

We planned a mix of included and optional excursions.  The included ones were as expected but we did notice that some of the optional ones were a bit less than expected.  Our experience with Viking excursions has generally been positive; the busses are comfortable and they never seemed to fill up the busses to capacity making for a more comfortable experience when the rides are long.  This time it seemed as though every bus was filled to capacity which of course meant that the tours were much more crowded as well. We have also noticed that the descriptions and discussions of the excursions during the port talks included information and details that were not part of the descriptions in MVJ.  Things like “there are no bathroom stops on this excursion”, or “there are more than 50 stairs to be navigated inside the house”.  Some of this information would have made it easier for passengers to select appropriate excursions prior to sailing.  The day before it is too late to change or cancel without penalty.  This was especially so in the case of our stop in Algiers!  Our “stroll” through the Casbah was much more rugged than the written description would indicate.  The port talk was far more detailed in the description but there were some on board for the excursion that apparently missed the port talk and frankly had no business participating.  Sure enough, one woman fell along the walk and was taken by ambulance back to the ship for the doctor there to assess whether or not she needed hospitalization (Imagine ending up in a hospital in Algeria! :classic_ohmy: ).  Never heard  what ultimately was decided.

 Time onboard was lovely, as usual.  We participated in a wine tasting in Manfredi’s one afternoon and another we enjoyed a matinee in the Star Theater … Bohemian Rhapsody … which I had been wanting to see!  It was well attended and enjoyed … a matinee would be a great idea for a sea day!  We enjoyed time in both the Explorer’s Lounge and the Living Room Bar (I had my first lemon drop martini!) and of course we had a few waffles at Mamsen’s!

All in all we enjoyed our cruise immensely and are looking forward to “Into the Midnight Sun” this coming summer … on the Jupiter!

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Molymoo, it was a pleasure to finally meet you in person. Hope our paths cross again in the future.

 

Agreed, all too often the description of the tours make it impossible to determine if the tours is actually appropriate for your level of mobility/fitness--and just marking a tour demanding, moderate, etc. is not sufficient.  Case in point is the tour we took to the very ancient ruins near Barumini. The description said nothing about the very narrow passages with low ceilings and stairs of natural rock where you would need to be able to raise and lower your body weight up and down the steps that were sometimes knee high.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the tour and would go again in a heart beat but in retrospect, with a better description of what I was getting into, there are parts of the tour that I would have skipped.

 

 

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Thank you Molymoo, excellent review.

I was going to do one but really no need as I agree with everything you say.

Our Viking Sky New Year cruise was fabulous.  We were lucky with the weather, sunshine all the way.  The New Year's Eve party was even better than last year and the New Years Day Brunch was just fabulous.   The Viking Band, especially Christine, was so good and we also enjoyed Torshaven, with a very lively crowd, each night.  We missed a few of the shows in the Theatre because we found such charming dinner companions so forgot about the 9.30 start.  We had a table for 6 and it certainly does take longer to get through the courses in that configuration.

My only slight complaint would be that the silver package offerings are excellent, but especially at lunchtime in the Pool Bar it does take extra time to get our wine of choice, so in the end I just went with whatever was the wine of the day.

In regard to the excursions - all included ones - since our one paid excursion was to be in Sicily and we did not sail there due to weather.

Rome:  Excellent coach tour, where we reacquainted ourselves with places we had visited many times before.  We had about an hour and a half in St Peter's Square.  Lovely in the sunshine, but very crowded.

Naples - Panaramic - the only tour available as it was New Years Day - OK but not nearly enough free time.  Lovely weather and lovely to see the locals enjoying the sunshine.

Naples instead of Sicily.  Great organisation by Viking to get us all to the Archeological Museum which is an absolute gem and somewhere I have always wanted to go since I had already visited Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Cagliari:  excellent tour by bus, plus a walking tour and free time.  Lovely place.

Algiers:  Another excellent included tour.  Very enthusiastic young woman guide, whose day job was working in the Martyrs Museum.  Lots of police presence, but we joined local families enjoying the views.  Really interesting to see the French architecture.  Very enjoyable.  Coach windows were dirty but no big deal.  It was extremely interesting and I learnt a lot.

Valencia - wonderful city that I first visited with Azamara in June.  We enjoyed the included tour but stayed on to have a tapas lunch and visit the Silk Exchange.  Returned to ship on Viking shuttle.

 

I did meet the lady who fell in the Casbah in Algeria.  Frankly she had done no research and in my opinion should never have taken any walking tour.  She was the one person I met who was unhappy with everything.  She was upset that Pompeii was closed on New Years Day although why that was Viking's fault I have no idea.  It is completely unreasonable to take a holiday cruise and then be amazed that the locals are also on holiday.  She also didn't like any of the food.   

Her leg was badly cut but she was treated onboard ship and did not end up in hospital.

 

Would love to cruise Viking over next New Year but frankly the itinerary is not appealing and the departure on 27th December is too near Christmas.  

 

Hopefully we will cruise with Viking again in the not too distant future.

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Thank you Peregrina for sharing your beautiful pictures!  My daughter has been working on a Shutterfly book for our trip but having to go back to work has slowed the process considerably.  She promises to have it done before our next cruise (summer)! 

 

It was so nice meeting you and Mrs. Miggins at the M&M onboard.  It is fun to have faces and real names to go with the screen names I have come to "know" so well. 

 

Mrs. Miggins, I too met the women who fell in the Casbah and agree that she had no business on the tour.  She and her husband sat behind us on the bus and made several derogatory comments about the city, the bus, and our guide ... within a minute of being seated.  When we realized that she was the one who fell my daughter made a comment about Karma being a ***** ... can't say I disagreed but am glad she didn't end up in a hospital. 

 

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2 hours ago, molymoo said:

She and her husband sat behind us on the bus and made several derogatory comments about the city, the bus, and our guide

 

 

I was not thrilled with the call in Algiers either, other than the fact that I notched up another continent, but it had more to do with the visa requirements and the inability to explore on our own than it had to do with the city itself. I would have liked to have wandered around a bit looking in shop windows, watching the people around me.  I think that Viking did the best they could considering the circumstances and the restrictions -- and they did give us Algiers.

 

That said, while our bus was border- line acceptable, I thought our guide did a good job and that the tour itself was deigned to give us a quick ride around the city to kind of give us the lay of the land and let the optional tours delve into more depth.

Edited by Peregrina651

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3 hours ago, molymoo said:

Thank you Peregrina for sharing your beautiful pictures!  My daughter has been working on a Shutterfly book for our trip but having to go back to work has slowed the process considerably.  She promises to have it done before our next cruise (summer)! 

 

 

 

Tell her to wait for a 50% sale before buying. They are frequent enough.

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Thanks for the great review Molymoo. We are booked on our first VO cruise (Empires of the Med.) and your review answered a lot of questions about onboard life. Your review also gave me  lot of information on things I didn't know that I didn't know.

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21 minutes ago, Jack E Dawson said:

Thanks for the great review Molymoo. We are booked on our first VO cruise (Empires of the Med.) and your review answered a lot of questions about onboard life. Your review also gave me  lot of information on things I didn't know that I didn't know.

 

As far as 'things you didn't know that you didn't know' goes, check out this thread:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2416372-tips-for-new-viking-ocean-cruisers/

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On the WC last year Algiers was also an "iffy" port but am glad we were able to see it!!!  We went to some "ruins". but had a lovely drive through the countryside.  That country has had more than its share of mishaps!  Our tour guide got sick so we spent too much time waiting for a replacement so did not get to see the "monument"..our stop in Tunis was abandoned! BUT we had an overnight in Malta that was wonderful!!!

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1 hour ago, deec said:

On the WC last year Algiers was also an "iffy" port but am glad we were able to see it!!!  We went to some "ruins". but had a lovely drive through the countryside.  That country has had more than its share of mishaps!  Our tour guide got sick so we spent too much time waiting for a replacement so did not get to see the "monument"..our stop in Tunis was abandoned! BUT we had an overnight in Malta that was wonderful!!!

 

 

Exactly! At least I got to see it.

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Thank you for  your detailed review as an experienced Viking cruiser.

 I hope to  book my second Viking cruise this year.

In the meantime ,I love reading  the Viking forum.

 

 

Edited by Azulann

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1 hour ago, Azulann said:

Thank you for  your detailed review as an experienced Viking cruiser.

 I hope to  book my second Viking cruise this year.

In the meantime ,I love reading  the Viking forum.

 

 

 

Where to this time? Have you decided?

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8 hours ago, Peregrina651 said:

 

Where to this time? Have you decided?

I want to do a cruise that stops in Denmark, but do not want to go to Russia. Trying to figure out a cruise with my sister who is a school teacher so can only cruise in June or July. 

Or try to fit in a cruise in the Carribbean with her during one of her week breaks. It is complicated.

I could  find a friend to cruise  with and go anytime, if all else fails.

Edited by Azulann

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4 hours ago, Azulann said:

I want to do a cruise that stops in Denmark, but do not want to go to Russia. Trying to figure out a cruise with my sister who is a school teacher so can only cruise in June or July. 

Or try to fit in a cruise in the Carribbean with her during one of her week breaks. It is complicated.

I could  find a friend to cruise  with and go anytime, if all else fails.

 

I'm looking at the one that goes from Barcelona to Copenhagen.  I forget the name of it.  I call it the outside of Europe.  Though I've been to Barcelona and Copenhagen, there are still things I would like to see there.

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19 minutes ago, Dauntless said:

 

I'm looking at the one that goes from Barcelona to Copenhagen.  I forget the name of it.  I call it the outside of Europe.  Though I've been to Barcelona and Copenhagen, there are still things I would like to see there.

It is called "Along Europe's Western Coast" but still showing only April 2019, no other cruise listed.

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8 minutes ago, Gigiandbaba said:

It is called "Along Europe's Western Coast" but still showing only April 2019, no other cruise listed.

 

Thanks.  The other cruise like this is Trade routes...I believe.  Instead of Copenhagen.  Still remember our Alla tour in SP.  I guess you're still adding to your Starbucks Cup collection and husband has been able to keep up with his jacket.  As I remember, he had left it at the restaurant the second day but did go back and get it before we pulled away.   Maybe I'm confused with which couple you are but I think that's right.

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On 1/20/2019 at 7:59 AM, molymoo said:

Thank you Peregrina for sharing your beautiful pictures!  My daughter has been working on a Shutterfly book for our trip but having to go back to work has slowed the process considerably.  She promises to have it done before our next cruise (summer)! 

 

 

Shutterfly sale: UNLIMITED free additional pages with code through this Sunday.

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