University of Greenwich with London Cityscape

University of Greenwich with London Cityscape

We arrived in the Royal Borough of Greenwich on Friday, day 127. We boarded a local Clipper boat from the Viking’s Tender Platform in the middle of the Thames and were taken to the Greenwich Pier for a walking tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. We walked by the famous Cutty Sark, the world’s only surviving tea clipper and the fastest sailing ship in the world when it was built in 1869. The St. Alfege Church, where King Henry VIII was baptized, is being remodeled. It is dedicated to the archbishop of Canterbury who was killed on this spot in 1012. From a distance in the Greenwich Park we saw the Royal Observatory from where the world’s clocks are set and where the Prime Meridian Line is located. We passed by the Queen’s House, the first classical building built in England. The National Maritime Museum, housed in a former royal palace, is the world’s largest seafaring museum. University of Greenwich now uses Sir Christopher Wren’s riverside Old Royal Naval College. After the guided walking tour, we used the pedestrian walkway under the Thames to the Isle of Dogs peninsula for a view of the University and the Viking Sun. After lunch on the ship, we returned to Greenwich where we toured the National Maritime Museum. I liked the array of figureheads near the entrance and dispersed throughout the museum. Horatio Nelson’s feats were celebrated in an extensive collection on the 2nd floor. I noted that, while the board of the small peg chess set that he is alleged to have used, was aligned correctly, the kings and queens were reversed. On our return to the pier we passed through the historic Greenwich Market, established in 1737. This covered market has crafts, collectibles, and food stalls.

London Eye Vista

London Eye Vista

Later in the afternoon we took a panoramic boat ride along the Thames to the iconic London Eye. We passed under the beautiful Tower Bridge and admired London’s historic landmarks and stunning new skyscrapers. We received VIP treatment bypassing the regular line at the London Eye to board one of the 32 capsules with a guide and about 20 Viking Sun guests. The London Eye is a cantilevered observation wheel whose structure rises 443 feet in the air on the south bank of the Thames. It was breathtaking to see the layout of the city from the air. The Elizabeth Tower, commonly known by the bell it houses, Big Ben, was mostly covered with scaffolding. This last excursion was a great way to finish our world cruise. After a last dinner at the World Café, we attended the Revelation Avenue destination performance in the Star Theater.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

We left our Viking Sun stateroom home for the past eighteen weeks by 8 a.m. on Saturday, day 128. Shortly before 9 a.m. we were called to board a tender to take us to the Greenwich Pier where we collected our luggage and boarded a bus for the airport. We drove through London’s city center with little traffic. It was great to cross the Tower Bridge and view many historic buildings. Our 10.5-hour direct flight to Phoenix on a British Airways plane was on time and without incident. It helped that we flew business class. Our world cruise was a life changing adventure. We visited five continents and 20 countries with a remarkable collection of fellow travelers while being cared for by a highly skilled crew. Highly recommended!