The Mighty Amazon
This was our first over Christmas and New Year cruise. 21 days, starting 18th December. We have been fortunate to sail on the Viking Sea twice before, and know that we love the "Viking product". Again we were not disappointed. We started cruising in San Juan, then headed to Barbados - then we set sail for the Amazon. I am not usually lost for words, but some of the scenery had me rendered speechless. Beautiful unspoilt stretches of thick foliage on either side of the ship. Floating houses and floating docks to take account of the ever changing level of the river.Then came the merging of the various tributaries into the main river - what sights! different coloured waters, flowing at different rates and with differing PH levels did not mix, just flowed beside each other, like stripes! We sailed as far up river as a ship this size can get. Manaus, which was once the rubber capital of the world, and it's majestic buildings reflected the opulence there once had been in that area. We then sailed back down the river and proceeded through the Caribbean , calling at St Lucia, Antigua and St Thomas, before disembarking in San Juan. Overall a wonderful experience. The ship is very airy, all dining areas in particular having superb sliding glass doors to enable open air dining when possible, in fact even with the doors closed as exterior 'walls' are windows one feels as if one is dining al fresco. The food is always of good quality, with plenty of choice. There is the main dining room, a buffet, Mamsen's (for more Norwegian type open sandwiches at lunch, waffles in the morning, and a very delicious thick pea soup as late night snack, two specialty restaurants (at no additional cost) Chef's Table - more a set tasting menu with a wine paired to each course, and the Italian eatery, Manfredi's which is definitely my husband's go to place! The cruise director on this trip was the best one we've had yet on a Viking ship - Chris Shafer managed to create such a warm, friendly, family type atmosphere. The entertainment was varied , as were the various lectures and classes available throughout the day. The roof over the indoor pool thankfully could close quickly, as whist in the Amazon basin, rain just appears from nowhere like a cascade! - or a showerhead on full blast! The infinity pool on the Aquavit Terrace is a lovely tranquil experience. Though being 'vertically challenged', I could not stand in either, so swimming was a must. The spa area is just out of this world, complete with a huge hydrotherapy pool, jacuzzi, steam room, saunas and a snow grotto. Use of this all comes included in the cost of the cruise. Treatments are extra , and I felt ,really pricey - but then I find this the case on all the cruise lines. The staff in every capacity are absolutely terrific. From the captain down, you are greeted warmly by each and every one - and the smiles are genuine. The staff feel valued, and therefore value their customers, which makes for a happy ship and very happy cruisers.
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