July 21, 2018 - Once again, American Airlines has us fearing that we will miss a connection and be a day late arriving for our cruise. When we will learn? Our flight from DFW to Chicago was supposed to depart at 12:40 and the message board at the gate now says 1:20 which, in American Airlines lingo, means 2:00pm. Our FInnair flight from Chicago to Helsinki departs at 6:00pm, so we will have a tight connection, at best. We got lucky and our flight did leave DFW, at 2:00pm, NOT 1:20 as they promised. But, we did get to Chicago in time to make our connection.
Once on board the Finnair A330, we began to relax. The only remaining concern was whether our luggage was transferred to the Finnair flight in time. Rickee did a masterful job of getting us excellent Economy Comfort-class seats on Finnair (their version of Premium Economy). Our bulkhead seats (21A & C) had at least 4 feet of legroom! They were well worth the extra $105 per seat. In addition to more legroom, Economy Comfort seats come with a small amenity kit, a bottle of water and noise-cancelling headphones. People seated in Ecomomy Comfort also get to board early and are served meals before everyone else in Economy class. The service was excellent and even the Economy-class meals were quite good. Our entertainment systems worked well and there was a decent selection of movies and TV shows.
We arrived in Helsinki at around 10:30am and had a five-hour layover until our flight to Bergen. After going through Passport Control at the airport, we found a Finnair lounge that accepted my Admirals Club membership and allowed us to use their facilities. What a great relief! The lounge was huge, with lots of comfortable seating, complimentary food, beer, wine and soft drinks. We boarded our final flight to Bergen on Widerøe, a Norwegian regional airline. The seating was pretty cramped, but it was only and hour-and-a-half flight to Bergen.
Once we arrived in Bergen, we were relieved when both of our pieces of luggage came sliding down the carousel. Viking personnel were waiting for us on the other side of Customs. Porters grabbed our luggage and escorted us to the waiting motorcoach. Our names are checked on the guest list before we board the coach.
The drive to the ship only takes about 25 minutes. Viking Sky makes a striking impression against the Bergen skyline.
As soon as we enter the cruise terminal, we go through a security scan and have our passports checked. Next we go to the desk where ship personnel are checking in guests. It only takes a few minutes for our passports to be scanned, and we are given our stateroom key cards. Anna, the ship's Guest Services Manager, greeted us and escorted us on board Viking Sky where we were met by Sujith Mohan, the ship's Hotel Manager. We sailed with Sujith last year on Viking Sea. He remembered us and actually took the time to meet us and welcome us back as we boarded to ship!
Anna escorted us to our stateroom (6068) located aft on Deck 6 where we were greeted by Arvin, our stateroom attendant. Arvin welcomed us and gave us a thorough "tour" of our stateroom, explaining all of the features. He offered to get us anything we needed. It was the most professional welcome we have received from a stateroom attendant in many years. An envelope containing tickets for all of the excursions we pre-booked on the Viking website were waiting for us on the desk.
By the time Arvin left the stateroom, it was 6:15pm and we have been up for more than 30 hours. We are exhausted! We decide to leave the unpacking duties until after we get something to eat. We head up to World Cafe (Deck 7), which happens to conveniently be located almost directly above our stateroom! I will go into more detail about World Cafe in our final review, but it is one of the nicest Lido Buffets you will find on any ship. We enjoyed a leisurely meal as we sat by the window taking in the view of Bergen.
When we arrived back at our stateroom, our luggage was waiting for us. We unpacked and immediately went to bed for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow, Viking Sky will still be in Bergen and we will be taking one of Viking's "included" excursions.