January 1, 2022 80°F/27°C
Just after midnight last night we entered new year, and a new time zone. We have wonderful memories of New Year’s Day’s spectacular brunch on the Viking Sky on January 1st 2020 off the coast of Mexico, which was also the day we witnessed the exciting helicopter airlift at sea of one of our passengers who needed to be transferred to a hospital on the mainland.
With the ongoing requirements for social distancing, the extravagant events of past cruises have been scaled down – no multiple ice sculptures, no huge seafood extravaganza, no gigantic Parmesan wheel and bread sculptures (a couple of very nice smaller ones though) beside the whole leg of Prosciutto being sliced into freshly made pasta dishes (where the pasta was flung into the air to mix it with your choice of sauces), no fruit carvings, no towers of macarons beside gelato being scooped into waffle cones, no phalanx of white-hatted chefs making synchronized omelettes to order on the Pool Deck stage, and of course no self-serve anything. In fact, New Year’s Day brunch was much like every other day: lots of variety, supplemented by trays and trays of mimosas and Bloody Marys and a few fancier-than-usual dessert offerings (keep in mind, the food is always fresh, varied, and beautiful). A nice addition was the small pasta and omelette station on the Aquavit Terrace located on the outdoor deck behind the World Café .
On the up side, our ship’s Covid tests this morning yielded ZERO CASES! That just leaves a few isolated earlier positives recovering. Fingers crossed we can keep this momentum going after we take on more world cruisers in Los Angeles on January 10th (when those current passengers sailing the Panama Canal itinerary disembark).
Sadly, we got the news yesterday that the lovely Seattle couple we’d met in 2019, and were hoping to get to know better on this cruise, will not be joining the ship in LA due to having contracted Covid while celebrating Christmas with their family. Viking’s policy precludes anyone who has tested positive within 14 days of the sailing date from embarking, and issues either a refund (if the passenger identifies the issue) or future cruise credit (if Viking’s testing does). We can only hope that we’ll have another opportunity to travel together and wish them a speedy and complication-free recovery.
Since we didn’t feel the need to go overboard at lunch, we partook in afternoon tea, serenaded by the Star’s charismatic balladeer and guitar player King. (Ted and I both love acoustic guitar and the singer/songwriter vibe, so we’ve kind of become King’s stalkers as he performs in the various venues on board.)
Our first dinner of 2022 (let’s just keep focussed on food, shall we?) was delicious. After appetizers of a classic wedge salad and Harissa Lamb soup (neither pictured), we enjoyed classic moules et frites (me) and spicy rigatoni all’amatriciana (Ted). Ted finished his meal with Viennese apple strudel with a quenelle of bourbon vanilla gelato.
Tonight’s entertainment in the theatre was soprano Barbi McCulloch, who wowed us with her finale rendition of “Time to Say Goodbye” in Italian. What a voice! But unwilling to allow the night to end so early, we stalked King to the Torshavn bar and enjoyed another set of good music.
The first day of 2022 also ended with a gorgeous sunset over the Pacific.
Life is good.