Viking Ocean Cruises

It’s time to escape the cold, damp days of Vancouver! Our upcoming winter Viking Ocean cruise will explore the West Indies on an 11-day sailing starting and ending in San Juan with a new port-of-call each day.

Aboard the MS Viking Sea, we’ll take complimentary (and optional) excursions, enjoy sea views from our lovely veranda stateroom balcony and gain a sense of the history and culture behind some of these fascinating island countries.

Manfredis Italian Restaurant
[Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant]

The Sea has six levels of passenger staterooms, an outdoor terrace, atrium, living room, infinity pool, restaurant, World Café, Explorer’s Lounge, outdoor gym and yoga area — and a full-service Nordic Spa & Fitness Center which we plan to make good use of while on board!

Here we can choose from a sauna and cold plunge, a snow grotto, fitness machines (with all the great cuisine, this will be welcome at times I’m sure), thermal pool and steam room. There’s even a hair salon on board.

We only need to unpack our suitcase once, place it under our bed, then get set to enjoy our 11 days without having to repack until it’s time to fly home! This is one of the things we love the most about cruising, aside from the never-ending ocean views and arrival in each new port.

West Indies route

11 days in the Caribbean. 9 countries. 9 ports. 928 fellow passengers. Hopefully lots of gorgeous sunsets. Here’s our itinerary:

Puerto Rico

We’ll arrive a couple of days early to enjoy San Juan’s white-sand beaches and unique colonial architecture in the old town, aka El Viejo San Juan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Viking has included a guided walk through the Old Town, starting at the San Juan Gate, leading to the vast Fort San Cristóbal – the largest fortress built by Spain in the New World, followed by Plaza de San José, the neoclassical Cathedral of San Juan Bautista (oldest cathedral in the US) and the Plaza de Armas, site of the Four Seasons fountain.


Today we’ve chosen a a tropical island sail and snorkel excursion, where we’ll board a catamaran and sail across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the uninhabited Norman Island which served as inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. We hope for clear water conditions in order to be able to admire the exotic marine life and colourful coral as described in our cruise booklet. Once back on the catamaran, we’ll continue to Pirates Bight for a beach break, relax under palm trees or even head back into the water for a quick snorkel around the rocks.

Viking Ocean Cruises

Today we’ll be off to visit historic Basseterre & the Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden to give us a good overview of St. Kitts and Nevis’s capital as well as its colonial history and magnificence. We’ll be keeping our eyes out for the Victorian and Georgian buildings, the Berkeley Memorial Clock Tower and Independence Square (which today contains a fountain and centuries-old church but was a slave market back in the era). The Botanical Garden is adjacent to the 300-year-old colonial Great House and between the beautifully-preserved rooms and lush tropical plants, our morning will be a visually-appealing one for sure.

Roseau, Dominica
[Roseau image by Jasperdo on Flickr]

Once we dock in Roseau, we’ll spend a couple of hours driving through the “City of Verandas,” one of the widespread examples of Creole vernacular architecture found throughout Roseau. We’ll also stop in at Abilities Unlimited, a local craft workshop that helps the visually-impaired to earn income by producing and selling local craft items. Here we’ll also get to visit a botanical garden, enjoy panoramic city views atop Morne Bruce, then drive past the city’s landmark buildings as we make our way back to the MS Viking Sea.


Beach day! We’re headed to Carlisle Bay today, a crescent-shaped bay and natural harbor (with one of the longest and widest beaches on Barbados), named for the Earl of Carlisle in the 1600’s. As we pass through Bridgetown, we’ll take in the statue of Lord Nelson, the third-oldest parliament buildings in the Western Hemisphere and Independence Square. This is going to be a sweet half day of relaxing in the shade with a beach chair and umbrella, enjoying a mini prosecco and hopefully some prime beach combing. And once we’re back on ship, we’ve got a spa afternoon planned up until the time we depart port.

Viking Ocean Cruises

Although the included tour would bring us to several island spots for great views (with optional tours ranging from whale-watching to helmet diving at Pigeon Island), we’re taking the day to explore on our own! St. Lucia is famed for its beaches and the island features breathtaking rocky pylon peaks and a local food market. Stay tuned for our coverage upon return!

Antigua --  St.John's,

Our Antigua tour will combine a rich history with lush landscapes as we explore the heart of the island nation. Our guide will take us into the tropical countryside with small villages and rolling hills, on to English Harbor (used by the British fleet in the 18th century) where we’ll have a view of the coast from 446 feet above sea level. We’ll also explore Nelson’s Dockyard (one of the Caribbean’s most recognized sites). We’ll check out the sleek yachts anchored to the old stone quay, enjoy a drink and take in a museum and art gallery before making our way back to the ship for dinner.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten
[Philipsburg photo by Roger W on Flickr]

We’re so excited to finally be visiting St. Maarten (my hubby is Dutch and we lived in Holland for eight years before emigrating to Canada)! Since 1648, this dual French/Dutch island has co-existed amongst elegant resorts, casinos, quaint villages and exotic marine life. We are on a full-day tour to explore both sides and enjoy snorkeling at two locations (including Maho Beach), a local lunch and lively Caribbean culture.

Viking Ocean Cruises

Our last full day on the cruise offers the included excursion of a scenic island tour. Here we’ll get to take in some of the island’s gorgeousness, as we view stunning bays, roadways hugging emerald-green slopes and Mountain Top 2, — 2,100 feet above sea level. There, we’ll likely stop at a shopping area for a sample of locally-produced rum, or sip at a banana daiquiri (said to have been invented on St. Thomas) as we enjoy stunning views of Magens Bay and the British Virgin Islands. It’ll be hard to return to cold Vancouver after so many delightful, sunny days of island-nation-hopping!

If you’d like to follow along on our West Indies journey, find the full itinerary here.

Unless otherwise stated, non-watermarked images courtesy of Viking.

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