One of the perks of being a travel writer is getting invitations to take cruises. Cruise lines know that travel writers can help get the word out about the latest innovations in their ships, itineraries, excursions, entertainment, spa treatments, and dining options. I love cruising, but I turn down more invitations than I accept, primarily because if I didn’t, I’d eat myself into being a contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. So until cruise lines start offering liposuction as a spa treatment, I’m very selective about which cruises I take.
Perhaps the most exciting cruise I’ve taken recently was a segment of the maiden voyage of the Viking Star from Barcelona, Spain, to Lisbon, Portugal. Naturally I was intrigued at the prospect of sailing on a brand-new ship with that new-ship smell. And I’ll admit to being enticed by the Viking Star’s offering of a gelato bar instead of soft-serve ice cream machines. But what sealed the deal for me was having a layover in Lisbon prior to flying home after the voyage. Having never been to Portugal, Lisbon presented a perfect opportunity to check another country off my bucket list.
As the ship navigated toward Lisbon in the mouth of the Tagus River, I was a bit perplexed. We passed under what was a rather impressive replica of the Golden Gate Bridge adjacent to a giant statue of Jesus with outstretched arms, strangely reminiscent of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. I had a sinking feeling that photographing Lisbon was going to be like taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower on the Vegas Strip.
My disillusionment turned to delight the closer we got to port. Rolling hills with eclectic architecture and pastel colors gave the city a fairy tale–like charm. With camera in tow, I disembarked the ship and set out on foot to explore as much of Lisbon as I could before heading to the airport. Here are a few of my favorite photographs from my adventure.
25 de Abril Bridge
Toes of Genius
The ship leaving Lisbon
Castelo de São Jorge
Twelve hours was not nearly enough time to experience all Lisbon has to offer, but it was enough time for Lisbon to find its way into my heart—and stomach. I’ll be back for sure!