Now that our 2015 trip is over, (sob!) we thought a quick focus on our ‘Mediterranean Odyssey’ cruise would be useful for people contemplating an ocean cruise.
This all began way back in 2013 when we took a Viking river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, and we met some wonderful travel companions from the USA and Canada.
As we had such a good time, our ‘Tribenzi’ all stayed in contact and we started the search for another fun journey to share.
Viking made it super easy for us as they were launching an ocean-going fleet to add to their very large fleet of river cruise boats. None of us had been on a ocean cruise before, and to be honest it wasn’t really on any of our bucket lists.
But once we saw this itinerary starting in Venice and ending in Barcelona, we were hooked!
The compact size of the ‘Viking Star’ ship really appealed to us as it is relatively small with accommodation for only 928 passengers. We don’t think we would enjoy joining 5000 other people as is the case with many current cruise ships in service – that’s just like living in a small town somewhere!
A pretty relaxed time was envisaged once aboard. We were not disappointed.
The ship is very well laid out with lots of areas where you can just chill out for as long as you like.
Very tastefully decorated throughout with a Scandinavian vibe (obviously), and it was a very pleasant experience.
The food – a pretty important part of the experience – was first class… and you could eat very healthily as well as indulge in some amazing creations. No multiple sittings for meals and the staff were very attentive.
Our favourite spot had to be the World Cafe at the rear of the ship as we enjoyed the varied menu available – we all found something fabulous to eat every day! Check out these sushi with delicious wasabi…
In addition to this large selection the chefs always had several ‘cook to order’ options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they loved creating new dishes for us. Don’s special fiery chilli omelette for breakfast didn’t even raise an eyebrow!
We enjoyed a special night out at the Chef’s Table – a ‘sweet and salty’ five course menu paired with special wines. A wow experience. Check the plate of grilled scallops with a sweet beetroot reduction balanced by a dash of passionfruit in the photo below… Or strawberry and basil jelly with ‘black Hawaiian lava salt’ – it does sound OTT but it was VERY special.
Of course you have to work off all those calories somehow, and fortunately our itinerary included a variety of active excursions at every port. These were selected well in advance, and we enjoyed all the ones we chose.
As we only had a day at each port of call, most tours were a half day or so but there was a good variety of optional trips. For example, we loved our full day tour of Sorrento and Pompeii – what a contrast!
However these trips enable you to have a quick look at lots of interesting places, some of which we would like to revisit for a more in depth experience.
Of course you can also just stay aboard if you like, or just head off on your own private walk – as far as we know no-one got lost?!
Unfortunately our friends’ add-on tour to Madrid was not the experience they had hoped for so we were grateful that we had decided to stay on in Barcelona – a fabulous way to end our holiday.
Overall, we found this cruise was good value and a great experience – we can recommend it! Let us know about your favourite trip or what you are planning next???