Saturday, May 19, 2018

Time for an Overview

So I figured out that I've been off-line for quite a while with no real explanation and I ought to do something about that.  So, here goes.  

Late last March my wife and I flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  We spent a couple days in the city before boarding a cruise on the Viking Sea.  The ship was making it's repositioning cruise.  It cruises the West Indies in the winter and the Baltic in the summer.  This cruise was to Barcelona, Spain via Sint Maarten in the Virgin Islands, Madiera, Tangiers and various ports in Spain.  We decided to also spend three weeks wandering around in Spain after the cruise.

We started, as I said, in San Juan.  We stayed in the old city never venturing into the new parts.  The old parts are in fair condition though there are some blue tarps covering damage from the hurricane but things are gradually being brought back to life.  The forts survived just fine.

The cruise is sort of a bucket-list thing.  For much of my life I wanted to buy a boat capable of ocean travel.  That never happened.  The next best thing is a cruise and it was pretty amazing.  Viking has positioned themselves as the cruise line for older folks and (aside from the crew) there might have been one person under 40 on this ship containing 900 plus vacationers.  The ship itself is only a couple years old and is nicely set up.  We chose a Deluxe Veranda stateroom.  It was 270 sq. ft. including the bath.  For rv'ers that's plenty of space.  All cabins have a balcony and there are two wrap-around decks for walking.  Of course there is also a gym and spa for those wanting them.  There is NOT a casino; NOT a Captain's night; and NOT big name shows.

The weather was close to perfect the entire cruise.  Mostly there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  Walking was definitely a shorts and shirt kind of thing.  There is a pool with a cover.  It was covered in the evenings and one or two days when we got close to Europe.  It was only then we all realized it was only April!
Not the 'bikini contest' sort of pool area!  There was also a small 'infinity' pool with hot tub on the aft deck by the bar. 
Check out the lady walking the deck.  Did I mention the age of the cruisers?  Probably only about 5% of us were using assistance meaning canes, walkers or wheelchairs but that is still 50 people.  Four laps of the ship equals one mile in case you are wondering.

There is a buffet restaurant that we used for breakfast and lunch most days.  Dinner was at a more normal restaurant with waiters and all.  There are two 'specialty' restaurants and while we tried both I couldn't honestly say the food was any better.  A little more pretentious but that's about it.  There are a a couple of things Viking is doing right.  One is that they offer free beer and wine with your meals.  I'm sure it means nothing to many people but my wife and I like a glass of wine with our meals.  Another thing is that there is a free laundromat on each floor of the ship.  I've seen people with three or four huge suitcases but since my wife and I are carry-on folks we really appreciate being able to clean our clothes rather than pay the horrendous fees most ship laundries charge.

After a few idylic days at sea we came to tie up in Funchal on the island of Madiera.  It was rather strange coming upon this piece of land after so many days at sea.  But it was a beautiful green island.
After we landed we took an 'included' tour of the island.  It was rather disappointing since it was mostly a bus ride.  We did get to stop at this huge cliff that overlooks the sea. 
Then we got dropped off to shop in the downtown area.  No thanks.  We simply walked back to the ship. 

I'll get us on towards Barcelona next time.  For now, thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Croft said...

Great little getaway! Remember though, every time you check something off the bucket list you have to add something back on. You never want to get to the bottom! :)