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Leixõs (Porto), Portugal
Saturday, April 22, 2017   Related topics:
This morning, Viking Sea is docked in Leixões, a port city that is basically a jumping off point for excursions to Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal.

Port city of Leixões

Our included Porto Orientation tour departed about an hour late at 10:30am. The parking lot at the cruise terminal can only handle about five buses at a time, so it took longer than normal to get everyone on their way.

The drive to Porto takes about 30 to 45 minutes depending on traffic. The city of Porto is situated along the Duoro river and is best known as the birthplace of port wine (wine fortified with brandy). Even though the vineyards are upriver from Porto, this is the location from which the wine is distributed. The city is filled with beautiful architecture and historic landmarks.

Porto, Portugal

Our local guide, Joana, guided us through the streets of Porto, explaining various points of interest along the way. However, today's tour was more about 'free-time' exploring than a guided tour. Our first stop was near a popular landmark, Clérigos Tower, a 76m tall belltower that can be seen from anywhere in town. Unfortunately, the morning sun is not in a good position for taking a photo of the face of the tower, so we walk around back to get a decent shot.

Clérigos Tower

We use our 30 minutes of free time here to hastily shop for postcards and a refrigerator magnet to add to our burgeoning collection.

Joana, our local tour guide in Porto

There were three stops on the tour where guests had the opportunity to explore with "free-time". We found the last stop the most interesting. Joana led us down a fairly steep incline to the riverfront which is lined with interesting architecture, shops and cafes. This is definitely a place we would like to explore more thoroughly. Perhaps on a Viking River Cruise of the Duoro River?

Shops and cafes line the riverfront

The Porto Orientation tour was accurately named as this was a small 'taste' of this amazing city. The tour lasted just under four hours and we were back on board Viking Sea in time for a late lunch. Today, we decided to give room service a try. Viking Cruises offers an extensive room service menu available 24 hours a day. Camera and Lens RentalWe decided to try a few different items. I ordered a NY Strip Steak cooked medium and a Chicken Soup. Rickee ordered a Chef's Salad and an Italian Club Sandwich. My steak, soup and Rickee's salad arrived first, about 30 minutes after we ordered. The person delivering the order said the sandwich would soon arrive, but they did not want the rest of our meal to get cold waiting for it.

I will be reviewing Viking Sea Room Service in our new Cruise Ship Dining blog, so check it for more details coming soon. Here's a little hint: the Italian Club Sandwich was the highlight!

This afternoon, I went to Guest Services on Deck 1 to report a 'banging' noise that we noticed last night that sounded as if it were coming from our balcony door. I got up at 2am to make sure the door was properly closed, but the 'rattle' continued. It was one of those annoying, intermittent noises that is just irritating enough to keep you awake. The lady at Guest Services assured me that someone would address the issue.  While on Deck 1, I noticed that Marvin was once again handing out glasses of sparkling wine to guests for the Explorer Society gathering.

Explorer Society Reception

The Explorer Society is Viking Cruises' loyalty program for repeat guests. Guests who have sailed previously with either Viking Ocean or Viking River cruises are invited to attend. I delayed my plans to meet Rickee at Explorers' Lounge so I could take a few photos of the Explorer Society event.

Petr and Jade perform for guests at Explorer Society Reception

Heather Clancy welcomed Explorer Society members and introduced Captain Gangdal, who also greeted guests and thanked them for their loyalty. Heather then introduced the Cruise Consultant who revealed Viking Cruises' future plans for new itineraries and new ship builds. There are a lot of exciting things going on in the world of Viking Cruises.

Heather Clancy greets Explorer Society members

After Rickee and I enjoyed a cocktail in Explorers' Lounge, we returned to our stateroom briefly before heading to this evening's show. Our stateroom attendant, Eka, and one of the housekeeping managers was in our stateroom when we arrived. They were leaving us a note regarding the rattle issue. They are confident that they have isolated the source of the noise and resolved the issue. We will know for sure in the morning if the fix has worked.

We were impressed that a handwritten note was left on our desk describing the maintenance work performed. Great service.

We arrived at The Star Theater early this evening to get a good seat for La Peregrina, billed as a musical comedy. I don't think I want to spoil the surprise of this performance for any future Viking Cruises' guests. Let's just say it combines the unique talents of the entertainers with some pretty slick technology. It is another show you don't want to miss.

Viking Sea entertainers in La Peregrina

It has been another great day aboard Viking Sea. Tomorrow, we will be in A Coruña, Spain.

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