July 22, 2018 - The ancient city of Bergen is nestled between snowcapped mountains, one of Europe's largest glaciers and spectacular fjords. Originally a Viking settlement, the city was founded in 1070. Bergen is Norway's second-largest city. The most iconic landmark, and the one we immediately recognized, is the Bryggen wharf with the row of colorful, and historic, wooden buildings.
After some much needed sleep, we get a late start today. Thankfully, Viking Ocean allows guests to book excursions in the morning or afternoon! The meeting time for each excursion is listed in the Viking Daily newsletter. After a quick lunch at the Pool Grill, we make our way off the ship and outside the cruise terminal where we board one of the motor coaches for our Panoramic Bergen tour.
The two-hour long tour is one of Viking's included excursions. In each port of call, Viking offers guests an excursion which is included in the cost of the cruise fare. Of course, there is a wide variety of optional excursions (additional fees apply). But, it is conceivable that one could travel with Viking, see the world, and never pay for an excursion!
Once onboard the coach, we met our guide for the day, Beatriz, who began explaining the local history as we drove up the winding road to our first photo opportunity.
Our first photo stop was a panoramic view of the city and the Sotra Bridge in the distance. The Sotra Bridge connects the mainland of Bergen to the island of Litlesotra.
The final stop of the tour gave us the opportunity to photograph Bryggen wharf from across the harbor.
This was a very good, slow-paced excursion that gave everyone a glimpse of Bergen. The city, however, is best seen on foot, which is easy to do from where cruise ships dock. It is only a five-minute walk to Bryggen wharf from the ship! We were back on board Viking Sky in time for the mandatory muster drill, after which, we headed to the Star Theater for the Port Talk on Geiranger, our next port-of-call. Our Cruise Director, Aaron Syfert, gave a presentation on Geiranger and the sights we can expect to enjoy tomorrow.
After the port talk, we decided to have dinner this evening in The Restaurant on Deck 2. The Restaurant is the main dining room on Viking Sky (and all Viking Ocean ships) with a menu that changes daily. We arrived at around 6:45 and, unfortunately, all of the window tables for two were already taken. So, if you want a table next to a window, you should arrive at 6:00pm when The Restaurant opens. However, there are a lot of two-top tables for couples who wish to dine alone. Once seated, we were presented the daily menu.
The menu offers a 3-course meal consisting of a starter, a main course and a dessert. However, you can order whatever you like from any section of the menu. We each had two starters and a main. The Three-Onion soup (think French Onion soup) was a rich beef broth filled with onions and topped with a melted cheese on a toasted crouton. My crab cake appetizer was quite large and very good.
The Beef Wellington, a perfectly cooked, fork-tender beef tenderloin wrapped in a mushroom duxelle surrounded by a puff pastry was the highlight of the meal.
Unfortunately, we were too full after our main course to enjoy the Chocolate Souffle dessert. Maybe next time. Tomorrow, we will be in Geiranger, Norway.