At the airport.

After an uneventful disembarkation -not even a temperature check (so much for enhanced screenings!), we are in the Turkish Airline Lounge at MIA (courtesy of the Priority Pass that is a perk with one of our credit cards. It took about an hour from White 3 being called onboard Viking Sky for us to be at the airport and another 15 minutes to get to the Lounge.

Before joining the others waiting for their luggage color to be called in the Living Room we had our traditional last (and first …and as many times as we can get it) lamb chop breakfast (and a pistachio roll!😂) while looking across the Miami skyline. So much more civilized than the buffet!

After our color was called it was a quick roll off the ship (we are loving our new AWAY spinners), downstairs and onto the bus. It was amazing to see so many ships docked. Many ships are tying up at the pier while others (like ours will be) are anchored offshore nearer to the Bahamas. It is going to be interesting see how the cruise industry recovers.

It will also be interesting to see what happens with the airlines. The Miami airport is not quite a ghost town but certainly isn’t what one normally finds at MIA. It’s more like Raleigh-Durham in the middle of the day.

So we are almost home …that’s weird to say after two years of not having one of our own. Unfortunately, our new home isn’t furnished yet so we are hopeful that we can find a furniture store open tomorrow to buy at least a sofa! Wish us luck.

For now Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone!

Miami.

Landed 10 minutes late so of course no one to operate the jetway so we sat on the plane for another 10 minutes. Our new luggage worked great as it is the largest size that will fit overhead so we were able to go straight to the hotel shuttle area shown above.

Jeez, I had forgotten how hot and humid Miami is 😅

We just got to the Hyatt Place (scored for free on points!) and are soon going to head to bed.

Tomorrow morning to the ship!😁

Final Thoughts

After several weeks to contemplate our spring trip, I think all three of us will say it was most enjoyable.

Mike and I enjoyed our return to Viking and noticed some differences none of which negatively impacted our time onboard. The food portions seemed to be slightly smaller which given all the good food available was appreciated by our waist lines. This transatlantic seemed to be more crowded than last year but perhaps that was due to us eating earlier than just us two would normally do. We don’t know whether it is a cruise line initiative or simply the difference between Hotel Directors, Chefs and Cruise Directors but there were many more “special” events this year-pool side lunches (Cesar Salad, Mexican, etc.), pool side events (two or three dance parties, ship building competition), Port Greetings when we returned to the ship, Sunday Brunch in the Winter Garden and of course this year they made an event out of our passing of Gibraltar-even though it was still too dark to really see it.

We missed having the Virginia Gentleman aboard but the entertainers did a fine job despite there being two less singers and no dance couple. The shows seemed a little more professional and used the show band more than the prerecorded music that was typical last spring. There was at least one more lecturer than last trip and their topics were more diverse as well as interesting. There was also a bridge instructor on this crossing which I don’t recall from last time.

You may recall that part of the last minute deal we got was to pay for the lowest category cabin -Veranda (V) and reside in a higher category – Deluxe Veranda (DV). The staterooms are identical except the DV comes with a coffeemaker. I thought this would be great but turns out I only used it once. The other differences are “soft” ones-the sodas in the fridge get replenished daily and we could make reservations for the alternative dining venues before we boarded. Since one staying in a Veranda could replenish the soft drinks by asking at the bar during meal time for an extra can or three and we ended up changing all our reservations once onboard (so as not to miss lobster nights) I don’t think the perks of a DV would be worth paying any extra. Guess we are just too frugal. But when offered for free, they were great!

We also enjoyed the included airfare although I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see whether we could deal with long haul economy if it was “free”. Well maybe not really disappointed, the ice cream sundae in AA business class fixed that!😂

The Viking officers and crew were just as friendly and helpful as previously, the room lovely and we continue to think that Viking is a great value for their repositioning cruises. Lois really enjoyed herself and now is sold on the benefits of smaller ships. Having John the Scotsman aboard and his friendliness to her and willingness to have two special meals made just for her probably helped in this regard.

Of course no one aboard will ever forget the Great April Fool’s Day Toilet Paper Fiasco! LOL

Our post cruise time in Barcelona was great as it was in Rome. I think the highlight for Lois in both was Sagrada Familia and I certainly was blown away again by it. Even though it had only been 6 months since our last visit, we saw progress so maybe they will be finished with construction by 2026 as they are predicting (while crossing their fingers according to our guide).

Thanks for following along, hope you enjoyed it as much as we did…and that you will stay with me as I blog about our upcoming North American roadtrip (hopefully with a cruise to Japan 😲🤞thrown in). We leave Danville on Friday headed for DC and don’t expect to be back to the southeast coast until Christmas. Stay tuned for details…

We’re Back!

Had an uneventful flight back, immigration let us back in, and now sitting waiting for our flight to Raleigh. As you can see above, Lois’s couldn’t wait to talk to her boytoy. He will be picking us up in Raleigh. We should board in about an hour and after landing in Raleigh about 8 we will have about a 1.5 hour drive to Danville (in the pouring rain it appears.)

I was impressed with American’s service and seat. It’s the old USAirways Envoy seat which has a bigger footwell than their newer seats, so plenty of room for my big ole feetz!

I enjoyed both meals. For lunch We all selected the Korean beef. It was tasty as were all the sides.

Starter which I had with the Tuscan white

Entree which I had with that Tuscan red

Sundae time!

The flight attendant said no one wanted the other dessert!

I failed to take pictures of the arrival snack-I had the Thai salad and really liked it and the chocolate mousse was really tasty!

I watched three movies and took an hour nap or so. Saw the Melissa McCarthy, “Can you ever forgive” movie, followed by “On the Basis is Sex” the dramatization of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s early career followed by “The Notorious RBG”. She is quite the lady! I had no idea of the impact she made on gender equality in the country.

All in all a good flight but it’s been a long day. Got up at 7 which was 1am US time. So I suspect we will be sleeping late in the morning!

In the Lounge.

Got out of the van at 8:34 and checked into the lounge at 9:34. So an hour to find the correct checkin counter (why is that always the most difficult part in an European airport?) which of course was at the opposite end of where we entered the building, checkin, go through USA only security, then walk back to where we started, them passport control leaving the EU, then walk through the huge duty free, then walk past 10 gates, then upstairs, wait on a train, ride it ala Orlando, exit train, then walk past four gates, then ride elevator down to lounge. Phew. .82 miles before 10 am, I’m tired already!

Upgrade!

Almost forgot! When we checked in today, it appears our request to use miles (25,000) + dollars ($350) to upgrade our fre..ahem included in our cruise fare by Viking economy seats to business had cleared. So all three of us will be sitting in comfort from Rome to Philadelphia. We are all so excited. What was going to be a dreadful flight is now going to at least be tolerable and hopefully comfortable in these lie flat seats.

Unfortunately it appears Lois’ and Mike’s upgrade for the short flight from Philly to Raleigh didn’t clear…but mine did!

So the question now is, should I be the good Son-in-Law and let Lois sit up front?

Decisions Decisions.