We boarded the Viking Sea at Montreal on a Friday morning and oh mon dieu, such first impressions. Lined up at the quay, with its prow facing the old port, the ship projected a sleek profile, befitting a vessel built for only 930 passengers. The sense of elegance and style was reinforced in a stroll around the public spaces: clean, straight-lined Nordic design and decor with windows shooting light on the soft blue hues of the carpeting and the grains in the flooring. Nothing dark, red or tufted.
Lunch in the World Cafe on deck 7 and another impression. What was that across the river? It was an intriguing cluster of gigantic concrete blocks, that looked like they had been layered, squeezed together and discarded by a giant who had been playing with his Legos. In fact, it turned out to be the creation of an architectural student who had indeed used Lego pieces to work out his groundbreaking concept for a complex of 150-odd apartments. It was to be called Habitat 67 and it was built for Expo '67. His project was in keeping with the brutalist style of architecture that apparently did not catch on, yet there it was piled 12 stories high, commanding the embankment.
Montreal clearly had a lot to offer. The next day's guided, complimentary tour proved the point: insights into the influences of French, English and Scottish cultures, cobbled streets, lined with boutiques and flower boxes at every corner, and, most rewarding, the embracing spirituality of the Basilica of Notre Dame. We took a short bus ride to Mont Real and there we took in the fall colors of the maples..
Beautifully furnished, with lovely countertop and chrome fixtures in the bathroom. Heated floors were a bonus. The cabin was a bit tight. Not sure about the cabin # It was almost midships. Definitely on deck 5. The cabin was a one-level upgrade from a straight verandah.