A small sample of some of the many amazing experiences that await on a Viking Cruise.
An Evening at the Hammam – Istanbul, Turkey
A Relaxing and Cleansing Trip to a Traditional Turkish Bath
After an exciting day in Istanbul, why not relax like a local and enjoy a traditional Turkish bath? After a short transfer from the ship, you’ll arrive at one of Istanbul’s leading Turkish baths. On arrival, the bath attendant will greet you and explain the procedure. First, change from your clothes into a traditional cotton wrap. Then enter the steam room, where you will lie down on a warm marble table and relax. Next, an attendant (who may be male or female) will scrub your skin vigorously to exfoliate before smothering you in bubbles. After this, you can enjoy a soak in one of the baths before returning to the ship by coach. During time spent in the hammam, you will also enjoy the sounds of the Sultans and Ottoman rhythms which will take you back to the golden era of the Ottoman Empire.
The Underground Cistern – Istanbul, Turkey
Discover Istanbul’s Stunning Basilica Cistern
Discover Istanbul by night when you leave the ship after an early dinner to drive through the heart of the old city. Cross the Galata Bridge and then pass the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome of Constantinople, and the museum of Hagia Sophia. After this drive, you will arrive at the Basilica Cistern, the largest of the ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city and Istanbul’s most important Byzantine monument.
You will have exclusive access to this incredible feat of engineering that perfectly marries form and function. Dating from the 6th century, it was built to supply water to the nearby palace. Three hundred and thirty-six Corinthian columns support the vaulted roof, and the atmosphere inside is eerily quiet and calm.
Natural Wonders and Waterways – Kotor, Montenegro
A Scenic Exploration of Skadar Lake National Park
Journey through the Montenegro countryside to Skadar Lake National Park. The lake is the largest on the Balkan Peninsula and it forms the border between Montenegro and Albania. Both countries have declared their respective parts of the lake as nature reserves. Here, you may see some of Europe’s last pelicans and a number of seabirds that feast on the abundant fish that can be found in the clear waters.
Your scenic drive will end at the tiny village of Virpazar on the western shores of the lake. Here, you will leave your coach behind and transfer to a local boat for a scenic cruise of the lake. Enjoy a couple of peaceful hours gliding through the calm waters, spotting the local flora and fauna with the help of your guide and boat crew.
After your cruise, return to Virpazar for a local lunch in the charming Stari Most restaurant. Finally, return to Kotor by coach, passing Cetinje and Budva. If you wish, you can spend some leisure time in Kotor before the ship sails.
Hill Towns & Truffles of Istria – Pula, Croatia
Explore the Quaint Hillside Villages of the Croatian Backcountry
See a little more of the Croatian hinterland on this tour, which will take you up into the hills that surround Pula. You will ascend to the lovely town of Motovun. This walled village has kept much of its medieval charm, and you and your guide can explore the narrow cobbled streets within town walls built by the Venetians.
The 13th century bell tower of the Parish Church of St. Stephen dominates the main square, where you will have some free time to explore independently.
A short drive brings you to the village of Stefanici. Here the residents grow fruit on the sunny slopes. Apples, pears and plums thrive here, and beneath the fertile earth, truffles also flourish. Enjoy a taste of the produce, not just on the plate but also in the glass by way of some delicious fruit brandies.
Lunch will be served here, and you can taste the famous Istria truffles while being entertained by a group of local musicians, who will perform some popular local folk songs.
Exclusive Grimaldi Royal Palace Visit – Monte Carlo, Monaco
The Grace of the Grimaldis
Enjoy an exclusive private tour through the palace of the Grimaldi family, who have ruled Monaco for centuries. Transfer from the ship to the old town before walking the short distance through the medieval streets to the palace. This palace began as a heavily fortified military stronghold, but over the years, it has been transformed into the sumptuous palace you see today.
Enter through the gates of the palace into the courtyard. It is said the Castle at Fontainebleau influenced the design. Walk through this impressive space to reach the chapel dedicated to St. Devota, the patron saint of Monaco. After the chapel, you will reach the Gallery of Hercules, a space decorated with images of mythical characters, and the Mirror Gallery, inspired by the palace of Versailles. Continue the tour to reach the spectacular State Apartments.
Here you will see the Red Room and the York Room before visiting the nearby Yellow Room, Louis XV’s bedchamber. Follow the processional route through the various reception rooms, and you will reach the Throne Room. In modern times, ceremonial state business is conducted here. End your visit in the Great Dining Room
Climb the Famous Mediterranean Steps – Gibraltar, United Kingdom
The Ultimate Gibraltar Challenge
The Mediterranean Steps, or “Med Steps,” were constructed during the 18th-century to allow sailors and soldiers to move quickly between two important defense positions. Starting at Jews’ Gate, some 590 feet above sea level, the steps climb through the Upper Rock Nature Reserve to the highest point in Gibraltar: 1,397 feet above the Mediterranean Sea. When the Med Steps were still within the military area of the Rock, service personnel would run up to the summit as part of their fitness training. Our pace, however, will be much more leisurely! As the name suggests, the steep path requires many steps to reach the summit, but you will be rewarded with terrific views and the unspoiled nature of Gibraltar.
Along the route, you will see evidence of the military past. There are gun emplacements left over from World War II, and at the top of the walk, you will reach O’Hara’s Battery. The battery takes its name from General O’Hara, the Governor of Gibraltar at the turn of the 19th-century, who built a tower here to spy on the Spanish. It was later demolished and replaced with a gun battery. Also on view will be flora unique to Gibraltar, such as Thyme and Candytuft. You might even come across one of the Barbary apes sunning on a rock.
The route was refurbished in 2007, and handrails were added in some places, but it remains a demanding walk, and is not for the unfit, young children or the faint of heart. Once you’ve enjoyed the views from the top, you’ll walk across to the cable car. Enjoy a more leisurely ride back to the town, where you can choose to stay for shopping and browsing, or take a shuttle back to the ship.
Normandy and the D-Day Landings – Paris, France
World War II History Comes Alive
Travel from Rouen to the Normandy coast, scene of the D-Day landings. Your route will take you along the sea, past Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, where British and Canadian troops came ashore. You will arrive in Arromanches and see the remains of the ingenious Mulberry Harbour, a port that allowed the Allies to land vast quantities of troops and supplies here in the days following June 6, 1944.
Overlooking the site of the Mulberry Harbour is the Arromanches D-Day Museum. After visiting this small museum, you will have some free time to buy souvenirs or walk along the sea front.
After being refreshed by lunch at a local restaurant, continue along the coast to Colleville-sur-Mer, site of the Normandy American Cemetery. The cemetery and memorial are located on a cliff high above Omaha beach, and nearly 9,400 servicemen and women are buried here. You will walk through the cemetery and arrive at the visitor center before continuing to Omaha Beach for a photo-op stop.
Ascent of Mt. Ulriken – Bergen, Norway
Tea at the Top
Enjoy a tour through Bergen from the comfort of a sightseeing coach; passing the medieval Håkonshallen and the UNESCO listed Bryggen. This area was developed during the Middle Ages, and it was through these wooden warehouses that the wealth of the Hanseatic League passed.
Continue through the affluent suburb of Kalfaret to the cable car station, where with your guide, you will ride to the top of Mt. Ulriken, the highest of Bergen’s famous “Seven Mountains,” to enjoy the spectacular views from the summit. You will enjoy some refreshments in the mountaintop restaurant, including tea and the famed “Ulriken Bun,” a cinnamon pastry that the area is famous for. Enjoy some free time here, over 1,000 feet above sea level, before returning to the city below and the ship.
Flåm Valley by Bike and Train – Flåm, Norway
Norway From Road and Railway
Enjoy one of the most spectacular, yet easiest bike rides in the world. You will leave Flåm by train on the world-famous Flåm Railway. Arguably the most dramatic train ride in Europe, the route is only 12 miles long but a masterpiece of engineering. After leaving the village, you will climb nearly 3,000 feet, passing through 20 tunnels and over numerous bridges. The experienced drivers proceed at a stately speed to allow you the best possible views of this breathtaking landscape.
Disembark at Myrdal Station and transfer to the returning train, which will take you to Berekvam Station. A local cycling guide will meet you and provide your bike and helmet, and then you will start a gentle descent into the valley. The route is almost seven miles long and descends a jaw-dropping 1,131 feet. The vast majority of the route is downhill, making for easy, relaxing cycling.
The road follows the course of a river twisting its way down the valley to the fjord. The water here is so pure, you can drink directly from the river. Regular stops will be made so you can enjoy the view and take photos before you return to the ship.
Explore a Fjord by Boat – Stavanger, Norway
A Scenic Cruise Down Lysefjord Past Pulpit Rock
Embark on a local sightseeing boat next to your ship for the scenic cruise to Lysefjord. Your route will take you first through the Stavanger archipelago. Many residents of Stavanger own vacation homes on the small islets here, and an even greater number come here to fish and swim from their pleasure boats.
After crossing the archipelago, you will enter Lysefjord. The name means “light fjord” and is derived from the lightly colored granite rock that lines the sides of the fjord. Here, nearly 2,000 feet above you, is the famous Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock. A popular destination for hikers, this incredible rock formation juts out above the fjord. You will cruise directly under the rock, as well as pass some large waterfalls, a fabulous photo opportunity.
Your boat will stop at an idyllic beach at Helleren. Go ashore here for waffles, best served with cream and sweet jams. Tea and coffee will be served as well. After your snack, rejoin the boat for a return cruise to Stavanger.
Hanseatic Rostock & Brewery Tour – Warnemünde (Berlin), Germany
Germany’s Beauty and Brew Masters
Enjoy a relaxing boat transfer from the coastal port of Warnemünde along the Warnow River to Rostock. The fortunes of this city have waxed and waned over the years, and following neglect during the communist era, it has now been restored to its former glory.
Your scenic cruise boat will dock right in the heart of the city. From here your guide will take you on a walking tour. Visit St. Mary’s Church, which survived World War II unharmed and is home to an enormous astronomical clock built in 1472. You will also pass the historic City Hall, the University of Rostock, the Abbey of the Holy Cross and the impressive gothic Kröpeliner Tor, which marks the old city walls.
After your walking tour, you will visit a microbrewery and learn about beer brewing and bottling. The tour will culminate in perhaps the most important part of beer making: Beer tasting! Enjoy a well-earned drink and light snack and the opportunity to purchase some samples to take home with you. You will return to the ship by coach.
Dinner at One of the World’s Oldest Restaurants – Stockholm, Sweden
Enjoy a Meal at Den Gyldene Freden
Located in the historic Gamla Stan, Den Gyldene Freden (The Golden Peace) is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world to have the same surroundings, and its interiors have been unaltered since the place opened in 1722. This evening, you will enjoy a dinner prepared by the highly skilled chefs that have made the restaurant one of the most popular in Stockholm.
We have secured access to the private dining area known as “The Bellman Floor.” It is here, on Thursdays, that the Swedish Academy meets for their weekly dinner to discuss the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
You will enjoy a tasting menu of Den Glydene Freden’s distinctive style of Nordic cuisine. The restaurant’s sommelier will pair some wines for you to enjoy with this award-winning food.
On this very special trip, members of the ship’s senior management team will ensure you make the very best of this unique opportunity by escorting you. If your visit falls on a Thursday, you will have dinner in one of the other, equally stunning private dining rooms.