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Viking Sky Barcelona to Rome Cruise #158343
04/04/2018 10:45 PM
04/04/2018 10:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 182
garycal Offline OP
Traveler
garycal  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 182
We took a cruise on the Viking Sky from Barcelona to Rome between March 17 to March 24. As is my custom I daily sent update reports to family and friends and have modified them for this forum.

MARCH 17-18

We are now aboard the Viking Sky and have enjoyed our first lunch.

We toured the ship and with just 900 passengers and 42,000 tons it is the smallest cruise ship we have sailed on. For comparison purposes both the Oasis of the Sea and Allure of the Sea which we have sailed on carried 5000 passengers and displaced 250,000 tons.

The Viking Sea is a beautiful ship without the glitz and frenetic activity of larger ships. The decor is Scandinavian understated and relaxingly beautiful. Children under 16 are not allowed so it is very quiet as well.

Tonight we will have dinner in the main dining room which means sport coat and slacks for me but no tie. Tomorrow we do the buffet for dinner as I have a strict rule on vacation against dressing fancy two nights in a row. Also most of tomorrow will be devoted to touring Barcelona before sailing tomorrow night for Marseille, France.

One more thing—I know from a DNA analysis that my ancestry is over 50% Northern European. Men of such descent often get a condition called Dupuytren’s contracture which is manifested by a ring finger contracting so it gets to an 45 degree angle to the other fingers and interferes with the ability to grasp. Until several weeks ago I suffered from this problem with my right ring finger. Recently a hand surgeon performed a a procedure to straighten the finger (you don’t want to know the details). I am now getting occupational therapy and splinting the finger whenever I can during the day. It is much better.

So we were touring the ship this afternoon looking at all the exhibits they have on the Vikings when we ran into one explaining how you can tell if you have Viking blood. One sure sign is if you have Dupuytren’s contracture.

Henceforth you may address me as “Thor”.

MARCH 19
Last night was very stormy after leaving Barcelona heading to Marseille. The ship tossed, pitched and rolled most of the night— worst night of cruising we have ever had. About 2 a.m. I started to feel very queasy which I have never done. With help from my wife’s ministrations (cold compresses) I was able to avoid losing my dinner.

By the time we got to Marseille and docked I was better. After breakfast we walked ashore and explored the old section of Marseille near the port. It was cold and windy so that made our exploring not very pleasant and truthfully Marseille is not really a tourist hot spot.

When we returned to the ship the captain announced that due to expected high seas again tonight he has decided to cancel our port call at Saint Tropez and go directly to Monte Carlo for a two day visit. Unlike Saint Tropez we will not have to anchor in the bay and use tenders to transfer passengers to shore which could be difficult if the strong winds continue.

We both I have taken medication this evening to help avoid sea sickness. As a Viking I am ashamed of myself.

MARCH 20
We arrived this morning promptly at 8 a.m. at Monte Carlo, Monaco, a day earlier than expected due to high winds and waves at St. Tropez. We now have two days to explore the second smallest country in the world from a geographic size (Vatican City is the smallest) and the richest from a per capita income point of view. We docked among gorgeous yachts of the rich and famous.

Once off the ship we decided to get on a hop on, hop off bus to tour Monaco. Monaco is very compact and built against a backdrop of Mount Charles, i.e., Monte Carlo. We got off the tour bus at the highest point where the Prince’s Palace is. Great views from that spot.

We then trudged a short distance to the Prince’s Palace where Prince Albert, the son of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace (Kelly), now reigns. We just missed the changing of the guard.

Directly across the plaza from the palace was a very narrow street which we decided to explore. As we came to the end of the street we turned right and discovered we were in front of the Monaco Cathedral. We decided to go in. The nave had smaller side areas where you could light candles. At the first such area we paused to light a candle for my mother.

Proceeding down the nave we came to another side area commemorating St. Roman where we lit a candle to seek a blessing for our 7 grandchildren, the youngest of whom is named Roman.

As we proceeded down the other side of the nave we came to the tombs of Prince Rainier and her wife, Princess Grace. We did not know that the cathedral was their final resting place.

After our visit to the palace we got back on the next hop on, hop off bus which came along. We got off at the waterfront stop and headed back to the ship for a late lunch via a “boat bus” which took us across the harbor.

We spent the afternoon resting and are looking forward to further exploration of this very interesting place tomorrow.

MARCH 21
We started our second day in Monaco with a guided walking tour of Monaco with a Viking Sky tour guide who we quickly ditched because she talked too much.

Our goal for the day was to see the Monaco Océanographique Museum whose director for many years was Jacques Cousteau and to visit one of the many public gardens that dot Monaco. Once we realized we could find what we were seeking by just following signs we left the loquacious guide.

It is amazing how much of Monaco is below ground because the surface area is so small. Some roads go underground for long stretches. The same goes for some walking paths. One such path led to a cliff beneath which was an auto tunnel. At the top of the cliff was the museum.

Once we got pass the auto tunnel we took three sets up of escalators and two elevators and emerged in a small plaza next to the Océanographique Museum. The museum is located very close to the Prince’s Palace we visited yesterday. We spent sometime visiting the fishies.

After leaving the museum we went to the nearby Garden of St. Martin which given our interest in the Caribbean island seemed appropriate. We then walked backed to the ship.

Tonight we head to Tuscany where we will be in the port of Livorno for two days .

Tomorrow we will travel through the Tuscany countryside to visit the city of Pisa including its famous leaning tower. On Friday we will visit the city of Lucca in Tuscany.

Thor’s Roman blood is looking forward to seeing the paisano side of his ancestry.

MARCH 22
We arrived in Livorno, the port city gateway to Tuscan area of Italy, early this morning. The passage from Monaco to Livorno had its rough moments but nothing like what we experienced when traveling from Barcelona to Marseille.

Once off the ship we traveled to Pisa to see the sites contained in its Square of Miracles. The square which is a World Heritage Site contains four historically significant sites. We had to walk several blocks from where our bus was parked to the square.

Once we went through the gateway entrance in the wall surrounding the square we were in the middle of medieval history.

The first thing you see as you enter the square is the round domed circular Baptistery. Then just across an expanse of green lawn you can see Pisa Cathedral with the Leaning Tower peeking out behind it.

We went first into the interior of the cathedral. It was impressive. It is said that Galileo who was born in Pisa formulated his theory of pendulums here by observing an incense burner swinging from the ceiling.

We then backtracked across the square to the Baptistery which is still used for Catholic baptisms. We were fortunate to be present during one of the periodic short “concerts” where a choir member demonstrates the great acoustics of the Baptistery.

We then left the Baptistery to travel to the end of the square to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is simple amazing.

So there you have the Square of Miracles— faith, birth, caring, death and man’s ingenuity.

Time well spent today.

Tomorrow in our second day in Tuscany we will visit the city of Lucca.

MARCH 23
Today was our second and last day in Tuscany and we spent it in Lucca which is a 45 minute ride from Livorno where the Viking Sky is docked.

A large part of Lucca (Old Lucca) is completely surrounded by a medieval wall. You enter the old city through narrow gateways. Once inside there are historical churches and other historic sites ( the birth place and boyhood home of Puccini) as well as many shops and cafes.

Our first stop was at St. Michael the Archangel Church. This was special because our oldest son is a police officer and St. Michael is the patron saint of police officers. We lit a candle.

After we left the church we saw a local police car—- two big guys crammed into a Fiat!

Along the way we saw big posters on walls advertising the Lucca Summer Festival which is apparently a big deal. One of the acts is the “Hollywood Vampires” composed of Joe Perry from Journey, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp— a weird combination.

Next while while my wife went shopping I decided to climb to the top of one of two very tall bell towers for which old Lucca is noted. It took me about ten minutes and hundreds of steep steps to get to the top. My reward was great scenes of the walled city.

Once I caught my breath I met up with wife who had an overheated credit card and several shopping bags and we decided we needed a refreshment break.

We spent the rest of the time exploring before heading back to our bus.

We had a good time.

Tonight we sail to Rome’s port which is about 50 miles from the city itself. Hopefully the car service I reserved will be waiting for us as we have to be off the Viking Sky by 8 am.

Looking forward to 3 days in Rome.

SUMMARY
We have taken a Viking River Cruise in the past and loved it. Our Viking Ocean Cruise was the best Cruise we have taken. It is a little pricy but worth it.

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Re: Viking Sky Barcelona to Rome Cruise [Re: garycal] #158361
04/05/2018 09:14 AM
04/05/2018 09:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 67,833
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 67,833
Central Florida!
Thanks for the report! I was casting around in my mind, trying to figure out what cruise line that was. I had forgotten that Viking had an ocean cruise section now. I would love to take a river cruise some day..


Carol Hill
Re: Viking Sky Barcelona to Rome Cruise [Re: garycal] #158362
04/05/2018 09:17 AM
04/05/2018 09:17 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 305
Tampa, FL
denverd0n Offline
Traveler
denverd0n  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 305
Tampa, FL
Nice trip report. My wife and I did our first 5-6 cruises on big, multi-thousand passenger ships. If you like the "glitz and frenetic activity," as you put it, they are the choice for you. We don't. After our first cruise aboard a smaller ship, we were hooked. Yes, the smaller ships cost a little bit more, but they are SOOOOO worth it! Glad you had a good time.

Re: Viking Sky Barcelona to Rome Cruise [Re: denverd0n] #158365
04/05/2018 09:29 AM
04/05/2018 09:29 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 67,833
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 67,833
Central Florida!
We started out cruising a LONG time ago, when there WEREN'T any huge ships like now. I think the biggest ship we have been on is around 3,000 pax, and that is still too big for me. Around 700 is my ideal size..


Carol Hill
Re: Viking Sky Barcelona to Rome Cruise [Re: Carol_Hill] #158429
04/05/2018 04:49 PM
04/05/2018 04:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 182
garycal Offline OP
Traveler
garycal  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 182
Our Viking river cruise started in Basil and ended in Amsterdam. We stopped in small towns in France, Germany and the Netherlands we would have never otherwise seen. We had a wonderful time. We will do another river cruise in the future.

Re: Viking Sky Barcelona to Rome Cruise [Re: garycal] #172874
10/17/2018 09:59 PM
10/17/2018 09:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 199
New York
normm Offline
Traveler
normm  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 199
New York
Thanks for your report, I am taking the same cruise in reverse, staring in Rome and ending in Barcelona. I took a Viking cruise last year but I don’t remember having to wear a jacket in the main dining room.

We are paying for an excursion regarding DaVinci but haven’t paid for any others. Which excursions were worth taking?

Re: Viking Sky Barcelona to Rome Cruise [Re: garycal] #173284
10/24/2018 07:21 PM
10/24/2018 07:21 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 720
Tennessee
K
KayMike Offline
Traveler
KayMike  Offline
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K
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 720
Tennessee
We took our 1st Viking Ocean cruise in October 2017, and my husband & nearly everyone else on the ship never wore a jacket to the main dining room!!! Those ocean ships are simply very WONDERFUL! Also we have done 3 Viking River cruises. These also very WONDERFUL!


SXM Our favorite Carib island destination!

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