Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey! - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

Join me on a cruise of the Mediterranean on the Viking Sea… With exotic destinations to see and explore, it’s cracking up to be quite the adventure !

By 

As you may know (if you saw this post), my husband and I flew to Venice this past week, embarking on a two-week “Mediterranean Odyssey” aboard the Viking Sea, courtesy of Norwegian cruise line, Viking Cruises. Here’s a quick overview of the place we’re visiting:

After another great night’s sleep in our super plush-and-comfy bed, I’m now writing to you halfway through the cruise (ie. a week in), flipping through the Viking Daily. Each evening we’re given a new Viking Daily: a booklet explaining everything that’s going on the following day, the time we disembark, some history about the town we’ll be visiting, that day’s available activities, suggestions for in-town shopping and food, and other essentials like the weather, ship location, shuttle times, etc. It’s basically the day’s guidebook.

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

Needless to say, I’m super excited to visit all these towns, most of which I’ve never been to before.

As you can imagine, I was really excited when I learned about Viking Cruises and realized that a big part of the reason people go on cruises is not only to (comfortably) visit a lot of destinations in a short timeframe, but to also learn about their history while there. So while I could’ve just done my own thing and aimlessly wandered around the towns we’ll be visiting, I made sure to sign up for the included tours at each destination.

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

Waiting to board the shuttle into Venice

Last year, I went on a trip to Brussels and got a few guided tours while there. At first, I was worried that I’d hate going on a guided tour… After all, I’ve never been a big fan of history or forced itineraries. They remind me of high school, when all I wanted to do was show up, leave, and do what I wanted, when I wanted. And to this day, I still need help remembering the time and place of all my appointments. But I swallowed my doubts and met up with the tour guide at the appointed time. To my surprise, I really (like, really really) enjoyed learning the history and secrets of the places we visited. In fact, the tours ended up being the most memorable part of the trip, and provided me with loads of cocktail-conversation fodder.

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

One of the aspects that worried me was the whether Viking could accommodate our vegan diet. But, shortly after we arrived, the executive chef, Martin Kitzing, came to our suite to discuss our custom vegan menu options. We were also appointed our own “head waiter” who will help make sure everything goes to plan, and whom we have been consulting daily to customize our menu.

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

Breakfast (complete with almond milk) on our balcony

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

A delicious vegan dessert on board the Viking Sea

Viking puts a lot of effort into making sure that the food we enjoy on board is hyper fresh. About half of the ingredients are picked up that day in port, making our vegan meals farm-to-table fresh. And we can taste the difference.

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

The bar in the Explorer’s Lounge

The restaurants (there are five on this Viking Sea ship), the food and the service have all been outstanding. Much better than I ever expected to find on a cruise ship. The lounges and restaurants are super comfortable, and remind me of a 5-star hotel experience — but with the most incredible view.

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

Al fresco dining next to the hot tub and infinity pool

As someone who loves interior decor, I’m absolutely obsessed with the furniture on this ship. It’s Nordic-modern style and they used lots of soft fabrics with the emphasis not only on clean and simple design, but on comfort. The colors are blues and natural tones like creams and browns, and the result is a very relaxing atmosphere.

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

There are lots of both indoor and outdoor lounges to have a drink, listen to live music or read a book in, all while looking out at the water or scenery. This is shaping up to be the most relaxing, stress-free, and comfortable trip I’ve been on — ever.

Welcome to My Mediterranean Odyssey!

Want more? Check out My Viking Cruise: Hanging in the Mediterranean

Have you ever gone on a cruise? Would you?

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

56 Comments

  1. Elin Hanks

    I love your post! I am planning to take a cruise one day… It’s still very far in the future, but your post really helps to get a feeling about it. And these pictures… perfect! Thank you for that ?

  2. Carolyn Robertson

    Beautiful pictures! This may be the first and only time I’ve considered doing a cruise. Seems like it’s own, unique travel experience!

  3. Emma Blackwood

    I’m not sure how I feel about the cruising industry. I work with ships so maybe because of that it has never be so tempting, and sometimes I felt like it was something for old people. Altough it is a great solution to visit a lot of countries in only one trip!

  4. Anouska Leigh

    I’ve never been on a cruise, and i’ve always wanted to know what its like. Watching movies and reading stories sometimes paint a too perfect picture. Thank you for your honest opinion! It was a very enjoyable read 🙂 I hope i get to go on a cruise trip one day! Time to start saving up!

  5. Deborah Henry

    My Fiancé and I are doing a Med cruise for our Honeymoon in November. I have never been on a cruise, but he has been on two. I can not wait for the experience. We asked for some friends to buy us “all you can drinks” as a wedding gift 😉

  6. Daisy Clarke

    I would love to go on a cruise! Hopefully I can fit in a cruise somewhere in my around the world-cycling trip, at least if I can bring my bicycle onboard with me 🙂 (also you’re so pretty, oh my gosh.) ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  7. We just went on a cruise too – and LOVED it! It was my first time too, so I did a ton of research – but nothing can really prepare you for how awesome it is :). I will say we loved our outside room. It had a window – but wasn’t as expensive of an upgrade as a balcony. We felt that going back to our room was still a way of us enjoying the boat – and that we weren’t missing anything because we could see out. But, it does cost a tiny bit more.

    So glad you had a great time!

  8. Christina Norelli

    This brings back memories! We ❤️’d our first cruise experience too! Hubby won it at work as a reward for best store one year…I was thrilled – him, not so much! But….he ended up loving it as did I! We lucked out to have an outside balcony room – and for the couple of days at sea – it was to die for! I wish we could do it again.

  9. Camila Hilhorst

    Oh gosh… I’ve never been on a cruise but this post makes me want to go on one! BUT my husband isn’t as keen. Plus… we’d have the kids. Bah. 😛

  10. Franny Pimms

    This makes me want to go on a cruise so badly again! I haven’t been on one since I was 12 but it’s been popping up on my radar. These are really great pictures and I’m glad you’ve had such a great time! 🙂

  11. Kaitlyn Barrett

    Great post, Hilary! My boyfriend has never been on a cruise and we plan on going year after next. Since I like to plan in advance, I have been keeping my eye out for posts re: cruises. Bookmarking this to show him later.

  12. Jessika Hag

    I wouldn’t travel like this. It looks really boring, except that I would enjoy the comfort it provides. I am an active girl, and I prefer walking around and exploring one single town or a city.

  13. Linda Collie

    Informative and enticing article, thanks for the tips and love your writing style & photos

  14. Gerry Carlton

    I took a cruise years ago w/ my mom and my aunt and it was a blast. We had so much fun that I’ve been wanting do it again ever since. This article makes me want to start planning one! Thanks for all the great content! ?

  15. I’ve never been on a cruise, but it is something we are thinking about though, they look fun! Thanks for the pictures! Viking cruises seem very luxurious and glam.

  16. Kimberley Foulkes

    What a faboulous piece! Those pics are lush!! I’ve never been on a cruise, but would love to. I am a bit nervous about going on one though, but feel like I will be better equipped after reading all this. Sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂

  17. Jennifer McSween

    I’ve never gone on a cruise, but I think I would like it if it were to the right destination. (Those European river cruises I see during Downton Abbey? Yes PLEASE!)

  18. Celine Carter

    Great post! My husband is dying to go on a cruise one day, I on the other hand am terribly afraid but you make it look like so much fun!

  19. Ariana Rhyder

    Whenever I go on regular vacations, we always end up having to find a store to grab odds and ends of things that we left at home so being stuck on a boat without a store would be a little intimidating in itself. I’ve never been on a cruise before so all the little details of how it would work is a mystery to me – Hoping to see an article from you on cruising tips and advice for first timers. 🙂

    • Evelyn Sandler

      They have odds and ends on the ship that you may have forgotten. No worries about that! It is generally found in the gift shop. I have been on four and just booked my fifth today!

  20. Pamela Sanabria

    I am pinning this because I have yet to go on my first cruise. I hoping one day I can convince hubby, or I am just going to have to go with friends.

  21. Melissa Princeton

    What a splendid ship! Looks like y’all having fun! I love to cruise and am heading that way in 2 weeks with my hubby and my sister and brother in law. ?

  22. I have never been on a cruise and I’m so glad you shared these. I would like to book one soon. Thank you for the great photos you shared.

  23. Alice Landon

    I definitely need to try cruising, but here’s a question now you’ve had a go – is it baby friendly? Part of me wonders whether we’d get a bit of “eye roll” from other passengers on a ship with a wee one, but I also think all the facilities on board would be a plus. Family travel seems to be a whole new ball game!

  24. I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise, either a Mediterranean one or an Alaskan one. Looks like you made the most of it ?

  25. Kimberly Thompson

    Very nice post. I work at sea so I always feel a cruise might feel too much like work. But I guess there’s a time and a place. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your experience.

  26. Berna Goodwin

    Amazing! I did a school cruise (loooong time ago….) and it was nothing like that! We did however, stop at Santorini and i have never forgotten it, I thought it was so beautiful. Really hope to go back there some day. ?

  27. Keisha Fry

    The whole trip sounded wonderful. You were lucky to have found a route that was so calm. My last one was from Australia. My cruise went out from Queensland, Australia over to the islands Vanuatu, Lifou and Noumea. At times it was so turbulent it was hard to walk straight (pressure bands and ginger tablets saw me through). We heard stories at dinner that some people hadn’t been able to leave their cabin yet due to sea sickness – and at that point we were four days in! We were introduced to an elderly lady who was on her 47th cruise!! Anyway such a brilliant post .You’re certainly on the right side of the world to fit some great places in ?

  28. Jodie Carpenter

    Your room looks amazing. I wish all cabins would look like that but what an amazing trip! The last cruise that I took was across the pyramids in Egypt before the troubles. Yikes! That was great because the ship was small. I think we were about 100 people which I thought was perfectly fine. I did get ill for a day or two but not because of the sea but because of the sun: 40C out there was killing me! I’m a bit worried about the time when docked as you need time to do a walking or local heritage tour, have lunch, and do some shopping I reckon however, I think river cruises are more my thing as I like historical places LOL!

  29. Great post! I am a bit reluctant to try large cruise ships – too busy, long queues everywhere….might give Viking a try though!

  30. Aylin Sanli

    So glad you’re enjoying it, Hilary! – I was a little worried about the motion sickness so glad that you didn’t feel it. Looking forward to more posts and pics of your cruise. 🙂

    • I get seasick on smaller boats, but this ship is so large, and the Mediterranean is so calm, that I hardly even realize it’s moving unless I look out the window!

  31. Grace Hart Tomlison

    My husband and I love cruising and have been on 7 ocean cruises and one river cruise. We have never had a bad experience and always come away with new friends.We have yet to do a Mediterranean cruise but plan to.

    • WOW – that’s a lot! I guess it’s your favorite style of travel? I’d love to go on a river cruise one day…

  32. Wow, cruising looks incredible! I had never considered taking a cruise before but this looks truly beautiful and like a great experience!

    I love the idea of making new friends and waking up each day ‘in a new place’. ?

  33. Loving the pics 🙂 What a lovely article! We went on a Med Cruise in Oct of 2009 and the weather was great. We sailed out of Civitecchia (Rome), to Livorno (Florence) to Ville Franche (Monte- Carlo) to Barcelona and then to Malaga, Spain, and the trip was great. We spent 4 days in Rome before the cruise and 4 days in Malaga after the cruise, and loved every minute of it. Hope you have as much fun, am sure you will. 🙂

    • That sounds fantastic! October is a much better month to go… August is super hot…

  34. Great article and truly wonderful photos! Indeed, a writer and photographer in one persona 🙂

    I’ve read somewhere that Viking Cruises focus on the comfort of mature travelers, would you know if this is true and why?

    • Well, Mike and I are one of only about five or so couples we’ve seen that are under 40… Most are over 60 or 70…

  35. Sharry Lennon

    Great piece! The photos are a delight! Enjoy your cruise. The Mediterranean is one of the world’s best destinations to explore by cruise ship. 🙂

  36. Alexandra Scott

    WOW! Can’t help but express how jealous I am of this experience! I think the ship’s interior is wonderfully designed. Just the perfect ambiance for a memorable trip 🙂

  37. Michelle Hewitt

    Personally, I would NEVER book a cruise to Greece and the Eastern Med in the heat of the summer months. Just my opinion tho….

    • You’re so right — I wish we’d gone in the fall. The heat in town is almost unbearable!

  38. Trish

    Wow Hilary you make it sound so inviting, I’m going to go to the Norwegian Cruise website after I write this comment, to find out more information and pricing. I’ve never been on a cruise, and the thought of those HUGE floating hotel types of cruises is definitely not my cup of tea, but the smaller, luxurious one you’re writing about sounds very appealing. I’m looking forward to more articles about your cruise trip!

  39. Love this article, Hilary! Especially the video! You’re giving me wanderlust! lol

  40. Wow! Very exotic! I hope and without a doubt you’re having a great time! Lots of love Rach xo

  41. I love your article, although, honestly, going on a cruise barely crosses my mind. But if given the chance, I have high hopes that my trip would allow me to see the world and learn other cultures in a different perspective. How long is your trip?

    • It’s a couple of weeks… We extended it by staying an extra night in Barcelona. I’ve never been, so I’m excited to see it.

  42. In all honesty, I would say that I don’t prefer cruise trips. I don’t know, some say I’m old-fashioned or closed minded because I always prefer road trips rather than a plane (and ships, of course). But since your article caught my attention, I wonder if the trip offered breathtaking scenery while at sea?

    • Oh, absolutely! There’s nothing quite like watching scenery pass by from your private balcony… pretty amazing!

  43. Kerry-Ann M. Meyers

    I think cruise trip is the best way to explore, discover and learn about Europe! All aboard!!! 🙂

  44. Well, I’ve always thought that “cruise ships are floating old age homes.” I might be wrong though, LOL

    • Francis Woods

      I know right! And this is one of the reasons why cruise trips are not of interest to me, thinking I won’t enjoy because activities, facilities and amenities are designed for elderly… I maybe wrong though. Just sharing my thoughts!

    • I understand your point. Yeah, most cruise travelers are the “chronologically challenged.” They have lots of time (as well as money) to relax and enjoy life. Come to think of it, if one of you’re goals in traveling is learning, you’re going to learn more, particularly about life, when you get the chance to talk to these people.

  45. WOW! I’m jealous! Cruise traveling is on my bucket list! Thanks for this! I’m more inspired to save more and fulfill this wish…

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