Episode 172 – Below the Salt

January 22, 2022. Temp


Everyone’s equal here on the Viking Star. No one sits “below the salt” – we’re all IN it!

The amount of work required to fight the corrosive effects of salt air and salt water is staggering. At least once a week, all the balconies and patio doors of our cabins are washed down to remove the salt rime. The wooden decks are hosed down daily, and the public area windows washed and squeegeed. It’s a never-ending battle.

Top left: Can you see the shimmer of salt crystals under the chair? That floor was scrubbed just 4 hours prior. Top right: propellers on the tenders stored on the sides of the boat corrode just by being in the salt air. Note the thick crust of salt crystals on the hub. Bottom left: Brass and copper fittings corrode to green, even in protected areas. This pipe is open to the air, but out of reach of actual splash. Bottom right: This window may look simply wet, but when touched the “droplets” are gritty with salt.

The most obvious effects can be seen on the ship’s railings, where the ocean’s salt spray can eat right through multiple layers of varnish, peeling it back in sharp shards. “Wet varnish” signs are common as crew fight the good fight against the elements.

If you do walking laps on Deck 2 on a breezy day, your skin picks up a fine coating of salt, even if you’re not exerting yourself and sweating out your own.

Speaking of salt, son #2 informed me that my last photos of Manfredi’s incredible bread basket and salty wonderful Parmesan cheese left something to be desired, so I’ll try again.

The bread basket contains items only found in Manfredi’s: honey glazed garlic rosettes, crusty Italian country bread, focaccia with cherry tomatoes, mini gorgonzola loaves with olives, crispy roasted garlic lavash with wafer-thin slices of garlic in it, and traditional breadsticks.

Chef Thomas has updated the Manfredi’s menu, so there are several new things we’ll be trying over the next few months.

Ted’s dinner. Earthy cream of porcini mushroom soup with buttered croutons; Manfredi’s signature Bistecca Fiorentina, marinated in their own spice rub for 72 hours, with a side of sautéed mushrooms with ricotta, and fresh greens; silky smooth moscato zabaglione and a latté.
My dinner. Crispy tender calamari fritti with an aioli made using balsamic vinegar in place of the traditional lemon juice.; the Chef’s pasta of the day, spaghetti aglio e olio (garlic and oil) with scallops, prawns and squid; dark chocolate amaro e cremoso (one of the new menu items) – a dark chocolate ganache-like square containing nougat chunks, served with fruit and a quenelle of mascarpone cheese. The only thing wrong with the dessert was that it was fully twice as big as it needed to be, which meant I couldn’t eat it all.

Tonight several of the ship’s officers took part as panelists in an onboard version of Liars Club, and had us all guessing whose ridiculous definition of an unfamiliar word was the correct one. Things got silly fast. One of the funniest parts of the evening was watching our Cruise Director Aaron’s face (he was acting as emcee) get redder and redder as the double entendres flew onstage. In the best tradition of outlandish British panel shows, the 3 Brits on the panel (master of innuendo Cruise Consultant Hamed, and Assistant Cruise Directors wannabe Shakespearean actor Damien and children’s storybook aficionado Sarah-Leanne) escalated the silliness while our Albanian crew member Valbona acted as the eye-rolling “serious” panelist.

The LIARS CLUB panel, left to right: Hamed, Sarah-Leanne, Damien, Vabona.

Correct definitions for the 2 words shown: WENIS is the skin over your elbow (you can guess where that round went, and SMOUT is a small, insignificant Scottish person.

We dock in Puntarenas Costa Rica tomorrow. There WILL be stories to tell!


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