Cruising

IMPORTANT – Travel, Testing and Health Requirement information is provided by your Travel Advisor as guidance only and can change without notice. Always reconfirm information by checking government & airline websites before booking and traveling.

Recently I sailed on the Seabourn Odyssey’s seven day, Southern Caribbean cruise. We embarked from Bridgetown, Barbados on an amazing itinerary through the Caribbean. Because this ship was small and intimate, with a capacity of only 450 guests, we were able to enjoy the smaller ports on the islands of St Lucia, Antigua, Tortola, St Kitts, and Bequia. This particular sailing could be extended to a 14-day trip with visits to several more island.

Seabourn specializes in a luxury sailing experience, with a nearly 1:1 ratio of guest to staff, their focus is entirely on the client experience. It wasn’t long before the staff knew our names and our dining preferences. Even though this was my first time on a Seabourn cruise, I immediately felt like part of the Seabourn family. I was impressed with the number of passengers who had sailed on many previous Seabourn sailings.

All cabins in the Seabourn fleet are ocean front suites. I enjoyed the comforts of the Veranda Suite which included a full bathroom with separate tub and shower, walk in closet, spacious sitting area and baloney with bistro table and chairs. It was a complete treat to wake each morning and enjoy the vista of a new Caribbean island from the convenience of my balcony.

The food on board is exceptional. On the Odyssey there was the option of a formal restaurant, a more casual buffet experience with daily chef specials, the intimate Thomas Keller Italian Grill, the outdoor bar and grill by the pool, and of course in suite dining. Each dining experience was unique and delicious with a large variety of choices. One of my favorite treats was the afternoon English tea in the observation lounge. A beautiful and yummy selection of tiny English sandwiches, cakes, and scones with a wide view of the open sea.

Additionally, Seabourn is a genuinely all inclusive experience with no added costs for gratuities, drinks, or specialty dining experiences. On-board WIFI is also included. The on-board entertainment was classy and enjoyable. Our sailing had a young, talented pianist that could conquer any type of music. There was also an archeologist historian who gave nightly lectures on relevant topics like ancient buried treasures and the pirates parading around the Caribbean. My favorite evening event though was the ship dance party held on the pool deck one beautiful night under the stars.

The highlight of this cruise for me was the unique, small ports we were able to visit. Even with the restrictions of covid, the experience was exceptional.

Rodney Bay, St Lucia

Because of the intimate number of passengers on our ship, those that wanted to go ashore could easily tendered to Rodney Bay for shore excursions. I chose to the Creole experience, where I enjoyed dancing, food, and a tour of a local family farm. Afterwards, a trip up the steep hills to an island estate with a beautifully manicured botanical garden.

St. John’s Antigua

Normally St. John would be a busting cruise port, but Covid has put a temporary damper on this. We were required to stay with our tour operator at all times. We enjoyed a sea kayaking experience around a mangrove filled island followed by a snorkel and private island beach visit. The snorkeling was amazing with plenty of coral and colorful fish to enjoy.

Road Town, Tortola

I choose to take another snorkeling adventure today, the Caribbean is generally a perfect location for this kind of activity. In addition to the coral and colorful fish we also saw a sea turtle and a giant sea bass. Our excursion ended with a relaxing visit to another private beach.

Carambola Beach, St. Kitts & Nevis

After a morning visit to the UNESCO site of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, an early military fort that toggled between ownership of the French and English, we spent our afternoon on the beach. Today we enjoyed one of Seabourn’s signature events - Beach BBQ and Caviar on the Surf. We smiled as the captain arrived at the beach aboard an inflatable raft waiving a Seabourn Flag. The crew had already prepped a surf board with crackers and caviar. We marveled at their skillful attention to passing out caviar and drinks without being swamped by the surf.

Port Elizabeth, Bequia the Grenadines

We toured this tiny island in the back of small pick-up trucked - lined with benches and a protective canopy. This was a great way to see the sights. Because of Covid restrictions and the inability to interact with others on the Island, after the tour, Seabourn arranged a visit to a private beach where we could relax for the afternoon.

Bridgetown, Barbados

We had a late afternoon flight from Barbados back the US, so opted for the shore excursion and transfer to the airport this morning. We took a scenic drive around the island hugging the coast and enjoying the colorful store fronts and scenery. The tour concluded with a relaxing lunch on a hilltop over looking Bridgetown and the coast.

Happy travels!

All the best,
Lara Maxfield
Morris Murdock Travel - Salt Lake City

(801) 483-6436
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Traveling to Bermuda has always been on my “Bucket List” and sailing with Viking Ocean Cruise was a dream come true!

The thought of traveling with all of the COVID requirements was a bit daunting and Bermuda has a lot of restrictions in place. Viking was completely on top of the situation and provided a step-by-step timeline of all of the requirements needed to travel. They sent multiple emails & reminders along with a personal phone call to ensure we understood all of the requirements and would be completely prepared to travel.

In order to ensure a safe sailing for all guests Viking Ocean Cruise also had onboard COVID requirements in place including a daily PCR test and temperature checks. The requirements onboard the ship were handled with grace and never felt intrusive. Viking Ocean Cruise ships have onboard LABS to process the PCR tests so results are processed the same day. Having this extra layer of protection onboard the ship put all of our worries at ease and we were able to relax and enjoy!

Once we arrived in Hamilton to board the stunning Viking Orion our vacation truly began. We were escorted to our beautiful Verandah Stateroom. The king size bed was plush and comfortable and the bathroom was beautiful with a large glass shower and heated floors.

We settled into our room and headed out to explore the ship and soon realized just how elegant and inviting it was. Viking Ocean Ships include all verandah staterooms and suites with only 930 adult only guests. Throughout the ship we found spacious and tucked away seating areas perfect for relaxation or meeting up with friends.

Dining and Service are where Viking Cruises really stands apart. The quality of service we experienced with Viking exceeded all of our expectations. By the 2nd day most of the staff knew us by name and went out of their way to greet us and ensure that everything was perfect for our vacation.

The main dining venue, The Restaurant, and The World Café including indoor dining or al fresco were available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food was always fresh and delicious! We also enjoyed a Norwegian Breakfast at Mamsen’s which offers Norwegian specialties for breakfast, lunch, & afternoon snacks. Our favorite spot for lunch was the Pool Grill which had a small salad bar and absolutely delicious sandwiches, burgers, chicken wings, and onion rings.

The 2 included specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant and The Chef’s Table were the highlight of the cruise. The food and service in both restaurants was amazing!

Viking includes an excursion at each port. In Hamilton we joined the Famous Homes & Hideaway Cruise with a glimpse of how the rich and famous live. At Kings Wharf we enjoyed the Great Sound Catamaran Rally which included sailing, swimming, snorkeling, paddle boards & canoeing. We also chose an optional ship wreck snorkeling tour at Kings Wharf. The water was crystal clear and the snorkeling was spectacular.

Days at sea consisted of relaxation in either the heated main pool with retractable roof or outdoor infinity pool and hot tubs. Then we would meet up with friends for a game of Trivia in the Star Theatre followed by a delicious lunch and more relaxation. There was a beautiful Spa and Fitness Center and there were lectures to choose from, movies in the cinema, and afternoon Tea in Wintergarden.

Bermuda is known for pink sand and beautiful beaches. The mid-Atlantic Islands are overflowing with opportunities for adventure including bays, beaches, cliffs, caves, parks & preserves.

I would love to help you plan your next Viking Ocean or Viking River Cruise or Bermuda Adventure.

ValRee Lowe

If I can help plan your next vacation, please contact me:

Phone: 801-483-5245
Street: 1212 E 4800 S
City: Ogden, UT 84403

Business Days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

   

I just returned from a 7 nights cruise to Bermuda on the SS. Viking Orion. It was a double experience for me since it was my first time on a Viking Ocean ship and my first time to Bermuda. Both turned out to be a wonderful experience.

As we all know, travel these days is not what it used to be. The preparation can be stressful due to the ever-changing requirements, but I can attest, once you reach your destination, you realize it was worth the trouble.

Four days before my arrival on the island I had to do a PCR test. Upon arrival at the airport in Bermuda I had to do another PCR test and once on board I did one more saliva test. Believe me after all these tests I felt very safe being on a cruise. During the cruise mask was always mandatory everywhere. You had to do a saliva test every morning and have your temperature checked once a day.

The SS. Viking Orion is my kind of ship, sober and elegant. There are many open spaces, lots of light and lots of very inviting sitting areas. It is quite easy to find a lovely intimate, quiet alcove to read a book or even meditate. Cabins are well designed. The bathrooms are really great with heated floors, fog free mirror and glass door to a good size shower. The staff is always eager to help and make sure you are comfortable and happy. Viking Ocean exceeded my expectations.

I typically try to go on two big trips and as many little trips as possible every year as I have a major addiction to traveling and new experiences. Needless to say the Pandemic put a damper on everyone’s life to say the least and being a travel advisor and my love of travel was a challenge to sit home for many reasons, my job setback and industry setback being the big one after health and safety.

I jumped at the opportunity to go on the Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise as soon as the cruise lines figured out how to salvage the Alaska Season after Canada had kept it’s borders tightly closed. I was already vaccinated as it was pretty clear early on that to travel anywhere would be requiring proof of vaccinations and I mainly got vaccinated for health and my families safety.

I also had never been on Norwegian Cruise Lines, nor had I experienced Alaska’s beauty in person. I do have experience on creating great vacations for my clients with NCL and to Alaska, but now it was time to see it for myself!

As everyone is, I was very apprehensive about traveling during COVID and also with all the testing requirements – what would happen if I tested positive? What if the cruise cancelled? What if I flew there and had issues and couldn’t board the ship? I can be a nervous Nelly even at small things, so this was going to have me use all my calming techniques I have learned over the years. Besides, the opportunity to travel is too great to resist (answer to all those questions is through your travel professional of course! Know before you go).

In October we went on A Canada New England Cruise on Royals Serenade of the Seas. We Flew into Boston a couple days before so we could see some sites in Boston before the cruise. We had a late flight after the cruise so thought that would be plenty of time in Boston. There was so much to see and do in Boston that we wished we had chosen a longer pre- or post-Cruise stay in Boston.

Boston really is a place to learn the history of this great country. We saw Plymouth Rock which commemorates the location where Europeans first set foot onto what's now U.S. soil. The Plymouth Plantation and Grist Mill were very educational and interesting. We were also able to spend a little time at each of the following. The Salem Witch museum, The Wax museum, the New England aquarium and the Boston tea party. We rode the city view hop on hop off Boston Trolley Sightseeing tour but did not have time to visit everything we wanted to.