Viking Sea Review

5.0 / 5.0
1,571 reviews

Great overview of history and accomplishments in this part of Mediterranean Sea.

Review for the Eastern Mediterranean Cruise on Viking Sea
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Capn nemo
10+ Cruises • Age 80s

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Sail Date: Oct 2022
Cabin: Deluxe Veranda Stateroom

We chose this cruise because the itinerary was 100% Greek history and archaeology at locations not focused on beaches. Also wanted to try the Viking Ocean cruises, as we have been very satisfied with the Viking River cruises. Both objectives were delivered way above expectations.

The Viking experience was as good as expected with the added benefit of a smaller ship. The dining and entertainment was excellent, food was varied and delicious. Nightlife varied from singers, to cozy nightclubs, great bartenders and wait staff, and quiet areas for chilling out.

The crew was very attentive and always tried to respond to requests.

Cabin Review

Deluxe Veranda Stateroom

Port Reviews

Athens (Piraeus)

Off again on a trip first scheduled for 2020, Greece. The cruise is aboard the Viking Sea, a step up from the Princess cruises we usually take.

After a sleepless night on the plane we arrived in Athens to a beautiful day. It took an hour to reach the ship. It was early afternoon and our room would be ready by 2 so we had lunch.

Took the day to unpack and unwind. Definitely liked the ship, staff and food.

Oh, of course we bought the drink package as soon as we checked in.

That night after dinner we checked out the nightclub where the band was playing music from the 50s through 80s.

The next day we took the included tour of Athens. That went through the older part of the city around the Acropolis.

We saw a marble stadium built for the 2004 Olympics, went to the National Archeological Museum and took a quick look at the Plaka district.

As we took the post cruise extension, we knew there would be more time to explore Athens when we returned. And we did. From the acropolis to Plaka. Athens is really a great city with a rich history.

Volos

Today we explored Volos. A city with a name not connected to anything. This is an area that seems not to be on the major tourist itineraries but it is interesting from the perspective of showing what a normal Greek area looks like without the onslaught of tourism.

Traveling down the main city streets we saw regular stores used by the populace: clothing, drugstores, food stores, fresh markets, and lots of small plate restaurants and coffee shops with outside seating for social interaction.

For me the fascination of this land is the ability to interact with the roots of civilization where you can walk the land and see the works of our ancestors who moved from the prehistoric era into the Neolithic times . Seeing artifacts from 6000 BC when man entered the historic era makes you think how far we have come in such a short time.

Thessaloniki

Today we’re docked in Thessaloniki, a city bombed by the Germans who used it as a command base. It is a hub of commerce that was rebuilt and it’s still vibrant and active. It was also an important city from its insert in the prehistoric area.

As such, there are many shops, cafes, parks, public works and ancient to modern tourist attractions. The docks are next to the downtown area so it’s easy to walk to the best attractions in it beginning with a store-lined street and promenade along the shoreline.

This is a city you could visit for several days and not run out of things to do or just kick back at a cafe and watch the world go round. Is the second largest city in Greece after Athens.

We stopped at the archeological museum where a fantastic display of items was well displayed. The contrast between this city and Volos is remarkable.

Our second stop, 75 minutes away are the Tombs of Verginia. One of these tombs is believed to be that of Alexander the Great’s father King Philip II.

Kusadasi

Today we’re docked in Kusadasi which means Island of birds. It is also the port to see the ancient city of Ephesus, of Greco-Roman descent. Founded in 1050 BC, it really prospered from 100-1000 AD at the end of which a period of heavy rains buried the city in sandy debris washed from the surrounding hills to depths of 40-60 feet and also filled in the harbor. However, when times were good it was the second largest city after Rome. 250,000 people!

The burial preserved most of the city which is slowly being excavated.

Rhodes

After the challenging excursion yesterday we needed a day of recovery so stayed local and explored the medieval part of Rhodes. It is likely most well known for the Colossus of Rhodes, a towering statue erected at the harbor entrance around 300 BC. It was really a statue erected to the god Helios.

However, Rhodes has always been an important region throughout history and has changed hands many times. In 395 it became a center of Christianity in the Byzantine period. But this weakened over the centuries and the Crusaders took over in 1310 only to be conquered by Sulemin the Magnificent in 1522 and became a part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries.

The old city lies behind the walls built by the crusaders. It is a nest of well-maintained streets and alleyways that cater to the needs of tourists and locals. Shops and restaurants abound along with many historic areas.

Santorini

Iconic Santorini! Poster for the Greek Isles. Tranquility, beauty, international cachet. Ahhh, who would have believed it is all that and more, but could it be less?

No! Walk to the heights of the caldera and let the beautiful landscape pull all stress out of your body. Let the cool breezes pull the heat from you. Sit at a table perched on the side of the remnants of an ancient volcano and let the fresh and tasty food take you to another place.

Or walk uphill 575 steps from the harbor or your bus to the top of the escarpment.

Oia, the place to be, the icon of the Greek Isles. Once there, walk against a tide of people, in any direction, going everywhere and nowhere.

Look at the beautiful clothing and jewelry shops….

Walk another 575 steps to get back to your bus to drive to the next scenic destination. All of this under a hot sun. Who would think it’s almost November! What is it like during the summer tourist season when it’s in the 90’s and 10 times more people are there?

But seriously, how can you not be here? Beautiful, idyllic, iconic.

Definitely one of a kind.

Crete (Heraklion)

October 27, 2022. Docked in Crete at the Bay of Souda. Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Crete is known for its landmark beaches (and some of the most important cultural sites in Europe (particularly the Minoan settlements, and the old towns of Chania, Heraklion and Rethymno). Crete is also known for its food (it is considered the home of the Mediterranean diet) and slow way of life, particularly in the villages.

But for us the lure of the ancient Minoan civilization drew us to the Palace of Knossos where many myths were born and mysteries reside.

The area was first settled in 7000 BC, 9000 years ago! Do you get it? That was the prehistoric era!

However, Knossos, sung of by Homer in his Odyssey: “Among their cities is the great city of Cnosus, where Minos reigned when nine years old, he that held converse with great Zeus”, was established well before 2000 BCE and was destroyed around 1700 BCE. Knossos has been identified with Plato's mythical Atlantis, and is also known in myth most famously through the story of Theseus and the Minotaur.

Had a great time exploring the 1600-room palace and experiencing the countryside.

Nafplion

The port is Nafplio, which is 85 miles southwest of Athens. Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834.

According to mythology, the town was founded by Nafplios, the son of god Poseidon and the daughter of Danaus (Danaida) Anymone. The town’s history traces back to the prehistoric era when soldiers from here participated in the Trojan War. The town declined during the Roman times and flourished again during the Byzantine times. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their mark in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the centuries. You can see ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues. Ottoman fountains and Venetian buildings have unique architecture and beauty.

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