Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. ... Read More
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. The first part of the cruise was very rough and bumpy but calmed down as we headed toward west.
My husband and I flew on Delta Air’s red-eye flight from New York to Lisbon, arriving on the morning of our cruise. At the airport, the Viking reps couldn’t find our names on their rosters, but it was quickly sorted out and we were able to get on the shuttle bus along with our fellow passengers. We arrived at the Jardim Do Tabaco Pier where the Viking Sun was docked. After a quick check-in, we unload our carry-on bags in our stateroom and headed out to the city.
The ship was not scheduled to leave until 11 PM, so we took Uber to Cervejaria Ramiro to have seafood lunch, and then to Manteigaria to pick up half a dozen of Lisbon’s famous pastel de nata. These delicate pastries costs only 6 euros and was very well packaged for take-out. We got back to the ship at 5:15 PM as that’s when the emergency drill was being held and everyone was required to attend. We had some of the pastries as our late night snacks and kept the rest in the mini fridge for later consumption. It was delicious cold as it was warm.
Sun is Viking’s 4th ocean liner. Each ship is small, with only 930 passengers. All have the same layout, so you’ll only get lost once. As with everything Viking does, their customer service is TOP KNOTCH! Food on this ship was one of the best we ever had on any of our previous cruises – everything was delicious and fresh! We ate at all the restaurants (including the specialty restaurants) and our favorite was the World Cafe for their variety, choices, and attentive wait staff.
Our room was the Penthouse Veranda on the 6th deck. It was very roomy and comfortable and had everything we needed, including his & hers slippers and robes. Bathroom also was roomy, but the shower temperature tends to change by itself. (I suppose we should’ve reported this to the Customer Service but didn’t.) There were plenty of storage spaces in the room, with safe and mini fridge that was refilled daily with drinks and snacks. We had two wonderful housekeepers, Ganang and Nestor, who always kept our room tidy and clean.
Our room was in the front of the ship. We quickly realized our mistake in choosing this location when the ship encountered rough Atlantic Ocean! On rough sea days (for which there were more days than I cared to remember), staying in our room was like riding on a roller coaster! We should’ve chosen our room in the middle or in the back of the ship, as that’s where the stabilizers are located. To everyone’s relief, the ocean calmed down as we headed toward Bermuda.
There’s self-service laundry room on every deck. Both the washers and dryers are large sizes. The detergent dispenser boxes are located in back of the appliances. You need to press the number that corresponds to your washing machine to inject the detergent into your washer. You need to bring your own dryer sheets and remember to remove the lint when you’ve finished. Nothing beats having clean clothes when I’m packing on the last day!
Entertainment – scattered around the ship are the talented resident pianist (who’s also a composer!), a guitarist, and string duo. Beautiful music can be heard everywhere on the ship.
There were also many enrichment programs given throughout the day offering many interesting topics, including a presentation of simulated Boeing 757 cockpit by a retired airline pilot, Lou Thieblemont. It was absolutely FASCINATING! Very rarely do I remember anything from these lectures, however, but on this occasion, one speaker stood out for me. His name is Mick Dawson and he ROWED across not just the Atlantic Ocean but also the Pacific Ocean! His lectures were all very inspirational. I used the gym’s rowing machine for only 10 minutes and I had enough. I can’t imagine rowing for grueling 189 days straight in the Pacific Ocean (a Guinness World Record!) Meeting such an AMAZING individual was worth taking this cruise! I bought his pre-signed book at the ship’s boutique – a Christmas present for myself.
Nightly show was at 9:15 PM. Seats are limited, so you need to arrive early. Sometimes we caught the show, sometimes not. Viking Sun’s singers and band are all very talented -- as well as the guest magician, Stephen Williams. We thought we’ve seen all the magic tricks in the book, but he surprised everyone! Don’t miss his show if you see his name on the program.
Heading the entertainment dept is Viking Sun’s mezzo-soprano cruise director, Heather Clancy, who looks like a school headmaster until she started singing Carmen. Her assistant is Brian Rodriguez, a tenor, who we had the pleasure of hearing him sing Beatles last year when we were on Viking Sky.
LivNordic Spa – there’s no extra charge for using the ship’s thermal spa. Space is very limited, but we always found a place to soak or to sweat. We were disappointed that none of their four hot benches were hot. Each bench was lukewarm at best. (This was also true on Viking Sky.)
I booked the spa’s Deep Tissue Massage for both of us before leaving home. My masseuse was Ingrid and she was very good. She removed all the tightness from my body and my muscles felt relaxed afterwards. My husband on the other hand did not cared for his masseur, who not only had garlicky breath, but also did not have enough strength. I tried to book another DTM with Ingrid for us, but she was all booked.
Gym – had plenty of exercise machines and equipments. We found that going there early in the morning was the best time to use the treadmills. There is a separate room for stretching and for weight lifting.
Food/Drinks – the executive chef on this ship is Thomas Noack, a very capable young chef. He was always walking around the World Café, making sure that everything was properly prepared. Food was very good no matter where we ate. One afternoon, they served lobster salad in the pool area. We liked it so much we got a second plate!
I highly recommend Viking Burger at the Pool Grill and Mamsen’s waffle at the Explorers’ Lounge. We did not care for Manfredi’s rib eye. The steak was very fatty so we cut most of it off. Looking at other people’s plates, we could see that others also felt the same way. The second night at Manfredi’s, I ordered their seafood special, which turned out to be king crab legs. It was very meaty and very buttery -- VERY good! I wished I had order that the first time.
As with other Viking cruises (from their river to ocean cruises), majority of their passengers belong to the older demographic. We are empty nesters but not yet at the retirement age. We enjoyed talking to many of the passengers and found conversations interesting and entertaining. We only had a problem with one particular couple, possibly the oldest couple on the ship (the husband was a few days shy of his 89th birthday), whom we found annoying. They acted like the ship was their private vessel!
One incident happened on the morning we docked in Bermuda. My husband and I were having breakfast at the World Café and admiring the beautiful view outside, when we heard this elderly fellow making a lot of noises behind us. There were plenty of empty tables nearby, so we didn’t’ know what the problem was. Apparently, where we were sitting, had the best view of Hamilton, and that’s where this couple wanted to sit! The guy was huffing and puffing with all his might that I finally offered to give up our seats to them. A wait staff quickly stepped in and usher this couple to a nearby empty table by the window, even as the guy continued to complain that our seats had a better view. (Personally, I don’t think there’s any bad view in Bermuda, but go figure!) They were the only rude people we met on this cruise. Majority of the other passengers were polite and gracious and we enjoyed their company.
Overall, we had a wonderful time on Viking Sun! From beginning to end, everything was well organized and stress-free. Viking is our favorite cruise line and we look forward to be onboard again! Read Less