Episode 161 – Change Is The Only Constant

January 9, 2022.

#myvikingstory

Today’s big event was the 10:00 a.m. webinar in the Star Theater to reveal the upcoming changes to our cruise itinerary from the time we leave Los Angeles on January 12th until we reach Jeddah Saudi Arabia on March 29th.

We’ve been prepared all along for changes due to ongoing port of call Covid restrictions. In fact, we’ve spent quite a few hours speculating on alternate port options.

As “homeless” people since selling our (already downsized from a house) condo when I retired in 2017 and the last of our furnishings, etc. in 2018, we’ve learned to be flexible in ways we never imagined when we were younger. Almost five months on a luxurious cruise ship is certainly not a bad way to live, and we have faith in Viking as a company to keep us safe, and compensate us (if necessary) for missed opportunities compared to what we originally booked.

I really just want calm seas and warm sunshine every day, things over which Viking unfortunately has no more control than they have over ever-changing Covid restrictions in countries around the world.

Until today, our latest itinerary was westward: LA to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Fiji, Singapore, 3 stops in Malaysia, Thailand, 4 stops in India, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and 2 stops in Oman…. then on to Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Portugal, England, and Norway.

Our new tentative itinerary – knowing that things can STILL change at any time – is eastward. Viking’s Chairman, Torstein Hagen, likened the changed to famous Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen changing his goal from exploring the North Pole to exploring the South Pole instead.

We’re now scheduled to travel from LA to Cabo, then Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Puntarenas Costa Rico, Panama City, and down the west coast of Central and South America (skipping closed Peru and Ecuador) to Santiago/Valparaiso Chile, which was our 2019 starting point. From there we sail to Puerto Montt, Chile (and its German heritage!), cruise past the Amalia Glacier, Punta Arenas Chile, around Cape Horn (!) to Montevideo and Punta Del Este Uruguay and then across the Atlantic to the Cape Verde Islands. Next comes Madeira Portugal, Cádiz and Seville Spain, the Strait of Gibraltar, Granada/Málaga Spain, Palma de Mallorca, Sardinia/Cagliari Italy, Valetta Malta, Corfu Greece, Kotor Montenegro, Split Croatia, 2 days in Venice (!), Zadar and Dubrovnik Croatia, Olympua/Katakolon and Nafplio on Greece’s Peleponnesian Peninsula , and Heraklion on Crete.

We’ll transit the Suez Canal to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, after which we u-turn to go back through the canal and rejoin our original itinerary in Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Monaco, Italy and Portugal to continue on to London and Bergen.

No Pacific islands. Also no India, among other places, but we Canadians weren’t going to be able to get off the ship there anyway, since India is not currently issuing e-visas to Canadians or UK citizens, and it’s too late to get a regular sticker visa (which would necessitate a visit to the consulate, physical passports in hand). In fact, India COMPLETELY closed to everyone just 3 days ago.

The other major difference in our itinerary is that we’ll be staying for the most part in a Viking “bubble”, which means that we will not be allowed to explore destinations on our own, but only with Viking-approved guides and on Viking-approved modes of transportation. (How DOES one health-check a camel?) Viking can even arrange “bubbled” shopping for those of us who only packed warm weather clothing.

We’re MORE than content with the changes, although certainly not 100% of those on board feel that same way. It’s a huge change to the cruise we purchased back in 2020, and many passengers far more well-travelled than we will have already been to many of the “new” ports. We can certainly understand their disappointment. Viking is offering a 110% future travel voucher for anyone wanting to cancel due to all these changes; that seems more than fair, and in line with what we have come to expect from Viking.

Obviously, with the pandemic continuing to impact the entire planet, nothing is set in stone. The only thing we know for certain is that the Viking Star needs to be in Bergen Norway by mid May, with me – and Ted ! – on board. How we get there is, to some degree, irrelevant.

Our family and friends will just have to keep following along to see where we are. We may need to consider a future grand cruise in the Pacific to see the places not on this itinerary. We’ll see in May whether where we’ve gone means cancelling our November Mediterranean/Atlantic crossing cruise as too repetitive and simply find somewhere warm for November 2022 before we winter in Mexico.

Chairman Hagen translated a Norwegian saying for us: “Only those who wander find new roads”.

Here’s to new roads!

34 comments

  1. Oh my gosh. Well, you certainly have a great attitude. I’ve heard of folks in LA who were getting on canceled for a full refund. I hope it works out for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Look at the glass as full as you get to round Cape Horn. I’m looking forward to your posts including Istanbul as we are cruising Viking Istanbul to Venice in May 2022, 4 months

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  3. Having done the South American route, I think that you will enjoy it. It was quite beautiful. You will probably need some clothes for colder temperatures but you’ll be there in their summer so it will be as mild as it gets. If you brought some warm clothes from Canada that may suffice. Cape Horn is known for rough seas but we did not experience any when we cruised there at the end of January 2018.

    I do admire your attitude! In this COVID age being flexible is a real plus. It looks like you are going to visit the Cape Verde Islands which are so out of the way!

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  4. Looks like a great itinerary! Envying you your adventure… We are finally over our Covid symptoms, and just imagining ourselves getting on an airplane tomorrow for Los Angeles! Alas, not this time. Keep these wonderful posts coming so we can live the cruise vicariously through you.

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  5. Great post. Those of us following your journey who hope to go on the World Cruise 23-24 are excited for you and your new adventure. It looks great and we know you are well taken care of by Viking. Stay safe and keep blogging.

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  6. We wish we were with you on this new itinerary! As 2 of the 8 Canadians left on the last WC we enjoyed the “not knowing” and the pampering by Viking. You are truly in wonderful hands with Viking.

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  7. We’re definitely excited. We loved Santiago 2 years ago, so are happy to revisit it – and now we have the possibility of seeing Magellenic penguins!!

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  8. I love your closing quote – and the positive attitude you brought on board.
    Tally-Ho, motor on! And just enjoy the challenges and rewards as they come to you each day.
    B.

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  9. Just found out we are “negative” and will be joining the cruise in LA.
    We didn’t get to hear Chairman Hagen this morning because we were in a line for 2 1/2 hours. Thank you, Happy Travelers, for the update.
    Cheryl

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  10. Such a change but you continue to keep your positive attitude! We loved visiting Funchal, Madeira, in 2017. At least visiting via cruise ship, you will miss landing at their airport which is listed as one of Europe’s most challenging airports to land in! Because of cross winds, we had to circle for some time before landing. It was definitely exciting!

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  11. I shall enjoy following your adventures, and the blog, wherever you go. As the unofficial “virtual naturalist” for the voyage, I’m particularly excited to see the ship heading round South America. Many interesting whales and dolphins down there, including Blue Whales!

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  12. Rose – you have a briliant attitude, which is a definite requirement as you embark on this voyage of discovery. Like Deb, we are another 2 of the final 8 Canadians pax from the 2020 Magical Mystery Tour, so we have some idea of what you are going through.

    Enjoy the magnificent service from the amazing Viking crew, who really do try to make everything perfect.

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  13. Rose, I’m enjoying your blog. I especially enjoy the food reviews. Have a drink for me as well. Angela

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  14. So happy to be following your blog and ever-changing itinerary! As our final payment approaches for the 22-23 WC, your blog presents my husband and I an opportunity to discuss how flexible we would be in your circumstances and whether we still want to go. We, like you, would be “all in”…your cruise is still a four-month adventure! Maybe I won’t research the planned ports after all…they all might change!?!?! Hang in there!

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  15. Loving your blog, thanks for sharing. PV do the glassblowing tour. Costa Rica do the zip line and canopy tour or Cloud Forest. Enjoy it all

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hello Rose and Ted. We have been following your blog and glad to see you are still enjoying the trip. Viking are certainly doing a great job at keeping a lid on any outbreak. No doubt there will be fewer boarding in LA which may be a good thing. Despite the changes still lots of interesting ports to visit. Have you been trying my tips for swimming yet? Got to get ready for Sharm el Sheik. Keep your positive frame of mind and stay well.

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  17. Hi Jacqui! Sadly, I have not even donned a bathing suit yet – the fairly small pools are limited to just 4 people to ensure distancing (although that’s not really an excuse)… I’m just “too busy” eating and socializing! Thanks for following along.

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