December 27, 2021. Temperature 81°F/27°C. December 28, 2021. Temperature 82°F/28°C #myvikingstory
Sea days are an opportunity to kick back and enjoy the ship’s amenities and on-board culture.
First, you need to know that this is in no way a “party cruise” – even in non-Covid times. Yes, the world cruise includes fully open bar service, but folks who take these journeys are generally more interested in which wine is curated to match their meal, or learning how to make the local destination’s signature drink, than getting a buzz. Sea days mean afternoon high tea in the Wintergarden (see Interlude ); hair, nail and massage appointments; time in the gym; visits to the spa with its sauna, plunge pool, and snow room; extra extravagant al fresco lunch services on the sundeck; and lots and lots of lectures and TedTalks – about wildlife, astronomy, food, culture, architecture, and history (there is a “resident historian” who travels with us), along with several other experts who offer talks, workshops and small Q & A forums.
Some folks gather in groups to do yoga, to knit, to play cards or mahjong, or to do puzzles – there’s even buzz about a world cruise book club being organized – but I love having a couple of hours between lectures to simply sit on a lounge chair on one of the decks reading or catching up on my blogging while sipping chilled white wine. Of course, sea days are also an opportunity to get to know other passengers and, as the cruise progresses, to share our different excursion experiences.
Unfortunately for me, the first of our 2 consecutive sea days was also a seaSICK day, and I spent most of it in our well-appointed cabin bathroom. I wasn’t even keeping Gravol down, so sent Ted to the ship’s store to get me a set of sea bands; I’m convinced they’re a placebo, but I’ll wear anything if it helps even a bit.
By dinner time, having subsisted on water all day, I was really hungry, but leery of anything too heavy. Ginger ale is good for settling heads and stomachs, so I simply decided that Prosecco would be too.
Here are our dinners from the main restaurant’s á la carte menu December 28th:
After dinner we were treated to the live violin of Juliette Primrose (http://www.julietteprimrose.com/) who regaled us with everything from Pagannini to Kurt Weill/Edith Piaf to Irish jigs and reels (she was Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance fiddler for 8 years!) to country to Led Zeppelin. Frankly, she hooked me when she began her set with Carlos Santana’s “Smooth”.
Our second sea day, unfortunately, started with a sombre announcement by Captain Lars: 9 guests + 2 crew have now tested positive for Covid, and are in isolation, with 8 close contacts in preventative quarantine. As a precautionary measure all group events in the theatre and all workshops are being cancelled or moved online until daily testing can confirm there is no additional spread. Many of the American passengers had seen the news that the CDC was recommending less stringent consequences for asymptomatic infected vaccinated adults, but the captain reiterated that a closed cruise ship community is not the same as being out in the wide world, and that Viking would continue implementing stricter protocols. Today, hallway walls were being washed down with alcohol, and each time a passenger is done with a deck chair, a crew member swooped in with either alcohol or soap and water before the next person sat down.
We can only hope that there is no further spread, and that the cruise is not aborted due to ports refusing us entry.
Ted was determined to use the day productively and start a sea day gym routine, and I was ready to start a mid-morning sea day walking routine on Deck 2 (where 4 laps of the deck = 1 mile), but neither of us made good on those plans. There are lots of sea days ahead for us to do better. Instead, I did a load of laundry, napped (tummy still not totally used to the waves), and had some lovely peppermint tea and a scone while being serenaded by the Star’s classical duo on cello and violin.
At 2 p.m. this afternoon, there was a Port Talk streamed live on our stateroom video screens to prepare us for tomorrow’s stop in Cartagena, Colombia, but …. at 6 p.m. our captain informed us that Colombia had just changed their threshold for Covid cases on board a cruise ship from 2 percent of total passenger/crew occupancy down to 1 percent, meaning that we are not going to be allowed in port.
Maybe now those few people on board who continue to “stretch” the masking protocols will understand that Viking is only trying to protect passengers, crew, and their livelihoods.
Instead we’ll go directly to Colon, Panama. The guest performer who was to join our ship in Cartagena is being flown in to meet us in Colon.
Five days in, I’d agree with our shipmates that it’s not quite the cruise we expected, with far less socializing than usually possible, and last minute port changes continuing to happen, but as was so eloquently put by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you’ll find you get what you need”.
Sunshine, good food, lovely surroundings, music, and attention to our health and safety. It’s what we need.
Dinner once again was from The Restaurant’s á la carte menu.