I recently had the amazing opportunity to travel with Viking Cruises on a Mediterranean adventure. It was called Journey to Antiquities! It explored the ancient civilizations of the western world, visiting Italy, Sicily, Greece and Turkey. Here was our itinerary!
It was mid-December, but other than windy conditions at the beginning of the cruise in Rome the weather throughout the cruise offered temperatures in the high 60’s and seas that were smooth like glass. I have cruised with Viking before so boarding the beautiful Viking Star was a bit like coming home. In fact, that is always the feeling I always get when I am on board a Viking ship!
The Viking ocean ships all have a similar look and feel with a beautifully simple and elegant Nordic style. Over the 8-day cruise, I learned all about Hygge, the Scandinavian art of easy living. It permeated every inch of the Viking Star. The ship was cozy and warm, with simple evocative design elements. Every deck of the ship had its own magical charm. There is a strong and evocative sense of adventure and luxury at the same time.
I love the Viking ocean ships. From top to bottom they are a visual and sensory delight. The Explorer’s Lounge on Deck 8 is filled with books on adventure travel and features wonderful artifacts and maps that created the perfect exploration environment. The Wintergarden and the World Café were located on Deck 7. Wall to floor windows were spectacular! Inside or outside seating and wonderful food choices were available almost non-stop! High Tea every afternoon at 4 pm in the Wintergarden was one of my favorite luxuries!
The beautiful Atrium on Decks 1 and 2 are connected by a stunning staircase. On our cruise, a gorgeous Gingerbread House and Christmas trees celebrated the season.
The huge screen at the top of the staircase shone with images of art to match the mood of the day!
For me half the excitement of a cruise is arriving at the port, staying overnight in a local hotel and then venturing out to the dock, boarding the ship and exploring my room and the ship itself. Here is the video of my first day onboard.
There is always one of these women on every cruise. I love people watching! This trip, I was traveling solo so always looking for other women to connect with. So over 8 lovely days at sea, I had the time to watch people around me with new eyes. I was not judging at all. Just totally fascinated by 6 types of women I noticed onboard and how on the Viking Ocean cruise had a special place for each of them to express their unique style and personality.
I considered myself to be in several of the categories too! There were, of course, lots of couples but because I was a solo traveler, I noticed other women who were either completely on their own like me or traveling with a small group.
This woman always caught my eye. Regardless of the time of day or night, she was dressed impeccably. Her outfits were stylish and put together! Soft textures were matched with a beautiful scarf, unique and understated jewelry, elegant earrings. Makeup in place, matching shoes – she always looked amazing!
She often spent her time in the Explorer’s Lounge on Deck 8. She always had a glass of juice or a cup of tea beside her, reading a hardcover book that featured a beautiful floral bookmark. Yes, this woman caught my eye because she pulled this off with no pretense. She just simply knew her personal style and how to express it. She was in total alignment with her authentic self. I enjoyed this woman’s elegance and style. I envied her necklaces!
There were many women on our cruise that fit this category. This woman could be seen early in the morning jogging around the promenade deck in beautiful sports tops and sparkling white trainers. She moved with passion and purpose and always beamed a gorgeous smile at me as I struggled around the deck in my slippy boots.
This woman had come prepared to stay healthy and fit. She was ready for any sea conditions. Nothing was going to stop her from doing her daily10,000 steps. She was always first in line for breakfast at 7 am in the World Café. Yes, her plate had nothing but nutritious and nutritious foods. I admired this woman’s healthy stamina and lifestyle.
Viking provides a limited number of wheelchairs on their ocean ships, and there were several women using them throughout the cruise. Others had walking sticks and were often, in my opinion, the bravest and boldest. They had mobility issues but I never saw a grumpy face. This woman was strong, resilient and incredible fun! She seemed to be everywhere on the ship. From the workshops, port talks to the puzzle and games tables, she was engaged. Nothing stopped her from having a fabulous time.
The Viking staff were of course incredibly helpful. I sat down with some of these women in a crafting workshop session and they were bubbling with ideas, creativity, and joy for life. It made me think about how fortunate I was to not have to use any kind of walking stick or wheelchair – yet! I was in awe of this woman’s self-reliance and courage.
There were several women like me traveling completely by themselves and not part of a group. Some were experienced cruisers but there were some solo women who were on board a cruise ship for the first time. In fact, I met two women on the cruise who were recently widowed. I know there were many others who were recently divorced.
Our cruise director Charlotte very kindly organized a ‘solo’ traveler’s dinner which was such a great thing to do. There were just 5 of us who took up the offer, and one was a recent widow. We all gathered around her to offer support. Most of us had experienced a divorce or loss and could really relate to her. We watched out for her onshore excursions but she wanted to keep to herself. We all understood. I often saw her in the reading area of the ship. It was a perfect location to be still and reflect on how to rebuild her life.
Taking any kind of trip after losing a partner is hard. A cruise is in many ways a very gentle and soothing way to find independence and strength. I respected this woman’s pain and need to heal.
I love experienced cruisers. Absolutely nothing phases them. The seas might be choppy, but this woman is the first one at the dinner table to say, “Oh this is nothing, I remember the experience on my Greek, Baltic, Spanish, Asian cruise. Don’t worry, everything is going to be ok!” This woman is actually very good at positive self-talk and a great one to have when you have a question about aft vs port and where you might find a sewing kit!
I really did meet one woman on this cruise who was on her 14th Viking trip! Now there is a dedicated and loyal customer! And honestly, I can’t blame her. I’ve done 4 Viking cruises myself and without a shadow of a doubt, they are my favorite cruise line too! I admire this woman’s adventurous spirit!
Many women on the cruise were first-time cruisers. I have never seen a more fun group. I watched this group with a smile! They tried everything. They went to every port talk, every movie, dance class, trivia session, craft gathering. They explored the onboard shops with eager eyes and were the first at the gangway to join a new shore excursion (and there were many of them).
One beautiful thing about Viking cruises is that there is a free short excursion at every single port. And they also offer 4 or 5 or more optional tours! This video link below shares my own experience with our visits to Messina, Sicily, Chania in Greece, Kusadasi in Turkey and Athens, Greece.
My Viking Star cruise was an amazing adventure. I am honestly a little bit of each of these women. I am even like the first-time cruiser every time I board a ship like the Viking Star!
I loved seeing so many women in their 60s, 70’s and older out on the high seas. They were challenging aging stereotypes without even trying. They were genuinely having fun, and totally comfortable with the Viking experience. It is a perfect option for cruisers of any age, but for me a 70-year-old woman, they were a perfect choice!
So if you are a first-time cruiser or one with 14 cruise stories to tell, Viking is for you. If you are a stylish woman who loves to dress up and shine or one who wants to be comfortable and feel the wind in her hair, you will both be comfortable. Or if you are a woman who feels a little vulnerable and a little scared or one who has overcome a disability and living with verve! A Viking cruise is for all of you!
Which one of these women sounds most like you? Are you, like me, a combination? Have you ever cruised with Viking? Where did you go and what was your experience? Do you have a cruise planned for 2020?
Tags Senior Cruises