We had not cruised the north atlantic, Great Britain, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the Northeast states before, so we were looking for new lands to discover. We found Viking Sun in the same place that we left her 18 months before, moored in the Thames at the Cutty Sark: all spiffed up and ready for a new group of explorers and energetic crew and staff. Like coming home again. Various crewmembers from our previous voyage easily remembered us and called us by name. Being the shoulder season (Sept) in the north Atlantic, we were taunting Mother Nature, and well, you know how that goes. But the captain and crew were ready and proactively scrutinized the weather at every opportunity. While we had to skip a few ports on this 41 day cruise due to weather, we still enjoyed the heart of the experience among this very ruggged and sometimes harsh neighborhood. We thoroughly enjoyed the Scottish Highlands, and the vast Canadian wilderness, not to mention all the friendly port calls in cities large and small. Kudos to Vicki, our Cruise Director, and Sudjith our General Manager for outstanding support.
All cabins on all Viking ships have verandah,. Size was fine even for the longest cruises. Well appointed and holding up well. Extremely well maintained.
Weather prevented a call at Holyhead, so instead we ported at Glasgow. The back staff did a great job pulling together some excursions at the last minute, and we had a great time visiting Glasgow Cathedral then George Square, Glasgow University and the River Clyde.
After driving to the Standing Stones of Stenness, three tall stones from the Neolithic period, we walked around the neolithic Ring of Brodgar, Not as impressive as Stonehenge, but older. If the rain had let up some, it would have been more fun.
Later we had some time in the coastal village of Stromness which was very exposed to the sea but had grown and established itself as a port city for many folk transiting the Atlantic. The more sheltered Kirkwall to the south later became the preferred stopping place.
In town, the hidden gem is St Magnus Cathedral. A beautiful 1137 structure, it is built from sandstone and is one of Orkney's most significant landmarks. Nearby beyond the cemetery, what looked to be two very old castles, we found the Bishop's Palace, a 12th Century townhouse and early 17th century palace. And across the street stood the Earl's Palace, one of the finest examples of French Renaissance architecture in Scotland. Entrance fee to go inside, but free to wander around the grounds.
Today our excursion took us 35 miles away to the fishing village of Perce on the coast, famous for a windowed sandstone rock formation in the bay. Nearby is the bird sanctuary of Bonaventure Island (Ile-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park). Here the Gannet population numbers in the thousands. The boat ride to the island brought us up close and personal with these highlights.
This 41 day cruise was really three two-week segments, end to end, with changeover days in Bergen and Montreal, so more time to explore. This would be true for the rest of the Suns voyage around the world, and would not impact the seasoned traveler. But novices might have to pre-plan their time better in those changeover ports to maximize their experience as organized excursions would be limited.