First, we, like many others on the ship, did not realize that the itinerary could be extended to 14 days and we disembarked at Civitavecchia. The embarkation in Barcelona was somehow affected by the local taxi strike, causing us to sit on ... Read More
First, we, like many others on the ship, did not realize that the itinerary could be extended to 14 days and we disembarked at Civitavecchia. The embarkation in Barcelona was somehow affected by the local taxi strike, causing us to sit on a bus (thankfully, air-conditioned) in the port for an hour rather than a lounge at the World Trade Center. Because the Viking Gaudi tour was already sold out, we booked a tour from Viatours, which we had to meet at Park Guell. Since the taxis still were not running, we were forced to use the metro & walk uphill to the park in the 90+ temperatures. However, Sagrada Familia was worth it!
The other shore excursions were a mix of the free ones included by Viking & ones we purchased from Viking prior to the trip. In looking at similar tours offered by Norwegian, we noted that the Viking was significantly cheaper for the same excursion. Having taken the Norwegian cruise in the Hawaiian Islands last year, we noticed how many things for which Norwegian charged and Viking did not. As a person who drinks a lot of water, I was happy to find this was free; Norwegian charged $40 for a case of water on that cruise! We did not buy the upgraded drink package but were quite happy with the quality of the wines with lunch & dinner which followed the countries where we docked. Refills were offered in the dining venues. Drinks in the bar areas were an additional, but not unreasonable, charge.
I was surprised that another reviewer criticized the food. I never encountered anything that I felt was over-salted, & I tend to under-salt our food at home as my husband has blood pressure issues. While getting into the 2 premium (but free) venues was not easy, we dined once in both. The Chef's Table was particularly elegant, with wine pairings for each course from the standard pours. One night when we could not get into The Chef's Table, we had to settle for Beef Wellington at the World Cafe! There was an additional buffet on the open deck area of the World Cafe/Aquavit Bar where local specialties were grilled to order. In all, we felt the quality and variety food was outstanding.
Service was above average, and we certainly did not encounter anyone with an attitude. Having a free launderette on each cabin deck was an added perk. Soap was automatically supplied at the push of a button. Our biggest regret is that we did not make an appointment for one of the planetarium shows. We enjoyed the deck party and movies in the pool area. Regarding the pools, the depth was not graduated & more than 5' deep in the main pool, more than I prefer. However, we had plenty of other things to do since there were no days when we were not in a port. Read Less