Checking items off my Bucket List is a goal of every trip I take. Whether it’’s learning something new, visiting a new destination, trying a new cuisine, meeting an interesting person, or just being part of something big makes the trip all the more memorable. My recent adventure aboard the #VikingStar provided me with not one, not two, but FIVE bucket list checks on one trip!
1. Sail on the Maiden Voyage of a Brand New Ship
I was thrilled to have been invited to sail on a segment of the maiden voyage of the Viking Star, from Barcelona Spain to Lisbon. Portugal. In addition to that “new ship smell,” I was blown away by Viking’s focus on its customers and their attention to detail on their first ocean ship. The Star has leather wrapped handrails; large print on shampoo bottles – so you don’t have to wear your reading glasses in the shower; a spa with a “snow grotto;” a gelato bar (instead of the soft serve ice cream machines that so many cruise ships now offer); a sushi bar; free dining in the specialty restaurants; and free wifi!!!!!
2. Hike to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar
Since I tend to over eat on cruises, I like to take hiking excursions whenever possible, so in Gibraltar, I signed up to hike the famous Mediterranean Steps to the top of the world’s most famous rock. The winding path offered spectacular views at every turn. I saw beautiful plants and flowers, caves and tunnels, and even a few Gibraltar monkeys. It was also pretty cool being able to see the continent of Africa across the Mediterranean Sea and see where Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.
3. Meet a corporate icon
I expected a clean, neat ship, a friendly and enthusiastic crew, amazing ports of call, and some of the best food afloat because that’s how Viking does business. What I didn’t expect was that I would have the opportunity to chat with Viking Cruises CEO and Founder, Torstein Hagen, in his private suite over a gin and tonic with waffles and jam from Mamsen’s – an on board deli style eatery named for his mother and features her recipes. His drive, passion, and vision for providing customers a meaningful experience at a great value made it easy to understand why Viking is so well respected in the industry.
4. Visit countries I haven’t visited before
Prior to this trip, I had never been to Portugal or Gibraltar. I know that Gibraltar is technically a UK territory (kinda like Puerto Rico is to the US), still it has its own constitution, government, and flag so I’m counting it and adding two more countries to my countries visited list! 🙂
5. Drink Port wine in Portugal
My foodie bucket list includes consuming certain foods or beverages in the place they originated. I feel this enhances the cultural experience. Therefore drinking port wine in Portugal was on my list. While I’m not a fan of sweet wines in general, I did enjoy the port wine I had in Lisbon.
What are the most items you’ve checked off your bucket list in a single trip?