The Viking Ocean Cruise line is a world-leader in luxury voyages focusing on cultural enrichment and authentic experiences. The Trade Routes of the Middle Ages itinerary traces medieval commercial trade routes and includes overnight stays in some of Europe’s most picturesque cities
In 2018, the 15-day cruise, from Apr 14 – Apr 28, starts in Barcelona and ends in Bergen. En-route there are visits to Cartagena, Malaga, Porto, Paris, Falmouth, Portsmouth, Zeebrugge and Amsterdam.
An overnight stay in Barcelona allows time to discover this vibrant city; stroll down Las Ramblas boulevard, admire the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, watch a performance of flamenco, dine late over delicious traditional tapas.
Next, visit the historical city of Cartagena, rich with remarkable architecture spanning the ages. Highlights include the Roman Theatre and Roman Forum. Further afield there are trips to Murcia’s stunning Mar Menor, an inland sea formed by an accumulation of coastal sediment.
In Andalusia, the stunning city of Granada is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, and easily reached from Malaga. The Alhambra Palace is a renowned example of Moorish architecture and one of Spain’s most significant historical sights.
A day on the Atlantic Ocean, sailing through the famed Strait of Gibraltar into the Alboran Sea, is a scenic treat. It’s also a chance to sample the many onboard facilities, like the fabulous infinity pool.
Porto, famous for exquisite wine, also has a beautiful historic quarter to explore.
The second sea day gives invaluable time to relax. The Spa, Sauna and Snow Grotto are unique aspects of the Scandinavian Viking Cruise experience.
Port calls in England include Falmouth, gateway to the dramatic county of Cornwall and famous as a backdrop of many films. Henry VIII built his Pendennis Castle here to defend his country from France and the Holy Roman Empire. Portsmouth is equally picturesque. Enjoy sailing between Napoleonic forts in the Solent Strait and passing stunning citadels at the harbor’s entrance. Then discover the city’s prestigious maritime past. This historic naval port houses such historic vessels as Henry VIII’s Tudor battleship Mary Rose and Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory.
Le Havre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the starting point for excursions to Paris. After a scenic drive through the Normandy countryside, the sights of the French capital await, whether that be a trip up the Eiffel Tower or a tour of Notre Dame Cathedral. If you already know Paris well, you might choose to visit the D-Day beaches or the pretty artists’ town of Honfleur instead.
Visit the medieval city of Bruge. Walk the cobblestone streets, climb the towering belfry in the Market Square to see the guild houses and tree-shaded squares, and shop for lace and chocolate. Then onto Amsterdam, the celebrated city of canals and great works of art. You can see Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, in the excellent Rijksmuseum.
Cruising the North Sea gives the chance to sit for a while in the lovely Wintergarden.
Bergen, with its beautiful 18th-century wooden houses, is a delightful final destination. Visit the Hanseatic Museum or Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s famous composer, Edvard Grieg. For a great view over the city, take the funicular railway to the top of Mt. Ulriken.
‘Pre’ and ‘post’ cruise extensions are certainly worth considering, allowing you to gain a deeper insight into either Barcelona or Bergen, as well as Iceland. The latter choice offers four days in this fascinating country after docking in Bergen. Visit the capital city, Reykjavík, the hot springs and waterfalls of Thingvellir National Park and the legendary Blue Lagoon, a natural geothermal spa. All hotels, breakfasts and transfers are included.
Viking Star is a 930 guest, all-veranda, adult-only ship. The all-inclusive experience includes shore excursions, wi-fi, all onboard meals as well as beer and wine with lunch and dinner, speciality restaurants, complimentary self-service laundry and 24-hour room service.
Photos courtesy of www.vikingcruises.co.uk