The Posts

  • French Polynesia

    January 22, 23 and 24 2023

    Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti

    Coming into Bora Bora I snapped a shot of a White Tern with breakfast.

    Bora Bora was a great day, we went on a lagoon tour and snorkeling. So many fish, water was beautiful and the guide was amazing.

    Moorea is a beautiful green island. Sadly our excursion was cancelled due to heavy rain and strong winds. At least we did get off the ship for a short visit.

    Papeete Tahiti is a bustling port. We had a nice day on a round the island tour. We saw the black sand beaches, surfers and a beautiful botanic garden.

    We then had some time in the port area to wander a bit and grab a local beer.

  • Pollywogs to Shellbacks

    January 19th, 2023

    Today we crossed the equator and with that all pollywogs (first time crossing the equator) had to appease the Norse god Aegir.

    First the crew had to salute or kiss the fish, take a shot of aquavit and then line up around the pool to await sentencing. Needless to say they were all guilty and had to then jump into the pool.

    Then it was our turn to kiss the fish, drink the aquavit and jump in the pool. It was a great event and we really enjoyed it. Very glad the aquavit was cold and the pool was warm.

    Once through the ceremony we were no longer pollywogs, we are now shellbacks. Aegir is happy and will let us pass.

    We have had some other activities the past couple days as well. Susan has created her first felt gnome, Radulf. We have gotten to enjoy an awesome doughnut buffet and some quality time in the spa. Yes I did the dump bucket of cold water.

  • Hawaii

    January 15 and 16, 2023

    Good morning Diamond Head

    We had two beautiful days in Honolulu. On day one we went to the USS Arizona Memorial. A very moving place. Being there on a beautiful Sunday morning you can’t help but think about what it must have been like on that Sunday morning about 82 years ago. Terrifying.

    The memorial itself is amazing, built over the ship without touching it. A perfect way to respect the sailors that are still under the waves.

    82 years later you can still see and smell the oil coming up from the Arizona.

    We then went to Waikiki beach and wandered around. Wow has it changed since I was here 42 years ago. Still we found a beach front tiki bar at the Royal Hawaiian and enjoyed the best Mai Tai ever and lunch.

    We ended the evening with dinner at the Chart House built in 1968. Was a fine dinner and a great view over the marina.

    Day 2 was a shopping day at the Ala Moana shopping center, huge place. But we did find excellent Ramen and had a great walk back to the ship.

  • Halfway to Hawaii

    Jan 12, 2023

    3 sea days down 3 to go. We both love our sea days. Susan has been busy with morning yoga and stretching, learning mahjongg and painting. I have been reading and spending time with the on board naturalists Robin and Chris learning about the oceans we are sailing on and spotting animals along the way.

    Susan has completed her first art project, I think it is really good

    Not a lot of animals this far out in the ocean though there are birds and there have been some whale sightings, I personally only saw one whale in the distance. I did get some pictures of a black footed albatross, a red footed booby and a flying fish. Watching for the wildlife out on the very front of the ship is addictive and very fun when you capture them on camera.

    3 more sea days and then Honolulu for 2 days instead of 1. Our Kauai port has been cancelled due to a lack of guides and bus drivers.

  • Friends, Lunch and a Christening

    Jan 8th 2023

    We were treated to a very nice sunrise this morning in Los Angeles. The people doing just the Panama Canal portion have left us and the final contingent of World Cruisers are now aboard.

    We had to clear the ship early for immigration and then our friend came and picked us up.

    We went to a small but very nice farmers market and then to an amazing Mexican lunch at a classic old California place. The Red Onion.

    Back on the ship we were treated to a Viking Ship Christening featuring the cruise line executives, a fantastic violinist, the new godmother Nicole Stott and even a real Viking. The ship was christened with a bottle of Aquavit.

    Tomorrow is the first of 6 sea days to Hawaii.

  • Orca!

    Jan 7, 2023

    A quiet day as we sailed up the coast of Mexico to Los Angeles we caught sight of an Orca. Just off the port side of the ship, very fun to see.

    We also saw some dolphins and one of the ever present Boobies.

    Tomorrow is LA for a visit with a dear friend and the naming ceremony for our ship.

  • Cabo, Whales and Rocks

    After 4 sea days from Costa Rica we arrived in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

    Since this was a tender port we decided it would be a good morning to get a pedicure while most of the people tendered to shore. Turned out to be a good plan. Viking has a very smooth tender process and brand new tenders, very nice.

    The ride itself was about 20 minutes into a very busy marina. tons of boats, row boats to mega-yacht all piled in this marina.

    We found the recommended Captain Jacks for lunch and enjoyed that, then we took a walk about to see what was right there by water. To be honest it is not our scene, perhaps 30 years ago.

    Tender back was uneventful and we went up to the Explorers lounge to see sunset and sail away.

    Before sunset however we saw whales, mostly at a distance, but I did grab a couple tail shots.

    There was one momma whale trying to feed her calf and was constantly being harassed by boats. The naturalist aboard said he could tell she was upset as she kept hitting the water with her fin. People can really suck.

    Really kinda sad what we saw at Cabo, such natural beauty being overrun by greed and uncaring people. I imagine what would happen if Vegas had been built on the edge of the Grand Canyon, it would be like this. The mind boggles at what the greedy would have done. Very glad there are national parks.

    Next 2 more sea days to Los Angeles and the welcoming of the rest of the world cruisers

  • The Daily

    Some people have asked for these. I will try to keep this updated.

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  • The Viking Neptune

    We are on our 4th sea day after Costa Rica and I finally got around the ship to take some photos. The ship really is amazing.

    I have captured most of the public places except the specialty restaurants and the spa, they were not available for photos, I shall try again.

    I do think I have captured most of the many book cases on the ship.

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  • Costa Rica Cloud Forest

    December 31, 2022

    Happy New Year’s Eve

    Today we are in Puntarenas Cost Rica. Perhaps the skinniest pier we have seen so far. Trucks and busses have to back down the pier as there is no space to turn around.

    The Star Clipper was in port. A nice looking ship, but not our style we decided. Looked like they might put a person to work.

    We did a short walk into the town in the morning before our excursion to the cloud forest. Not a lot to see in this little beach town. I do wonder how long you get to rent the bathrooms for? Some of the crafts were nice and very colorful.

    The bus ride to the forest was about 1.5 hours and was interesting as we climbed from sea level to the cloud forest. It is called a cloud forest because it is a rain forest above 3000 ft.

    We saw several restaurants advertising “Typical Food Here” seemed odd, but we were to find out first hand. Our first stop was for a typical lunch. Apparently typical food at this location is served cafeteria style and we got rice, beans, chicken or pork, a potato vegetable stew (this was excellent) and a fried banana and tamarind juice. It was all very tasty.

    Once we got into the cloud forest we saw a number of Tanagers (Silver-throated Tanager, Bay-headed Tanager, Emerald Tanager) and the national bird of Costa Rice, the Yiguirro otherwise known as the Clay Colored Thrush.

    We also saw a bunch of humming birds, zippy little critters are hard to photograph. We also saw an lizard, a baby green tree frog and a toad living in a root. See if you can spot him.

    The forest itself was amazing, everything damp and dripping. We saw huge tree ferns, wild orchids, Strangler figs, walking palms and many other plants and flowers. The hydrangeas that almost every person has planted in their yard up near the cloud forest were as big as my head and beautiful.

    We hiked down into a canyon to a small river, over a few suspension bridges and then back up out of the canyon. We certainly got our exercise.

    Good night from Costa Rica. Next we have 4 sea days until Cabo San Lucas. I plan to post something of a ship tour over the next couple days. If there is something you specifically want to see, please let me know.

  • Boobies, Tea and Sunset

    12/30/2022

    Today was a relaxing sea day that was mostly spent reading, sorting through about 600 pictures of the Panama Canal and being mostly lazy.

    I did get some Boobie (Brown Boobies that is) pictures.

    We went to tea for the first time. The ship has high tea every day at 4:00. Tea and scones were amazing, like every little thing on this ship.

    The sun provided the evening show with a beautiful end to the day.

    One last thing. As many of you know Susan has these little personal fans. Turns out the crew is FASCINATED with these fans. They never fail to stop, comment, purr and coo over the fans. Apparently cool moving air is a big thing in the crew cabins. We should have brought more to give out to the crew, but it may have caused a riot.

    Tomorrow is a Walk in the Clouds in Costa Rica.

  • The Panama Canal

    A crossing of the canal has been on my list for a long time, it was an amazing day. Serious respect for the people that built this wonder.

    The 5:45AM approach to the Canal was so quiet we could hear all the birds and the howler monkeys in the forest.

    We got to the first lock about 7:00AM and went under the Bridge of the Americas about 4:00PM. I was enthralled the whole way.

    I took a lot of pictures and put just a few here. Note there are multiple pages of photos.

    Approaching the canal at about 5:45 AM
    The Atlantic Bridge
    The first site of the locks
    Where the paths to the old and new locks separate, new locks are on the left
    Approaching our first lock
    They throw ropes up to the ship, this poor fellow tried twice but missed both times
    This guy got it the first try
    Trying us off to an electric mule
    Supervisor #1
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  • Colon and Panama City

    Good Morning from Colon

    Ships waiting for their turn in the canal

    I am not sure I have ever seen two such disparate cites that are so close to each other, about 70 km by road. It is very clear that the money is in Panama City and it seems to me like Colon has been left to its own devices. I would visit Panama City for a vacation, I never need to see Colon again. Very sad for the people of Colon.

    We got on the bus and had a short drive through Colon and then across the isthmus to Panama City. The drive through the jungle and over some small mountains was pretty. It was awesome to see the Chagras river. We then had a drive out to the very western/southern point of Panama City to get the view across the bay. Then to Old Town where we found some time on our own and enjoyed a local beer and some ceviche. About 90 minutes back to Colon and on the ship.

    Colon

    Panama City

    Next is the Panama Transit, we start about 5:30 tomorrow AM and I plan on being at the bow.

  • Columbia’s National Aviary

    Good morning from Cartagena Columbia

    A short day in Cartagena. We made the most of it with a great trip to the National Aviary. About a 45 minute or so drive through a very industrial part of the city. I took a few snaps out the bus window as we rolled by.

    The aviary was very nice and we liked the environments they have the birds in. Here are just a few of the many photos I took and a couple from around the port as well.

    Back home and on our way to Colon Panama

  • Home away from home

    Good morning from the Southwest Caribbean.

    So for the next several weeks we will be “living” in a 225 square foot cabin on the Viking Neptune. It does not seem like a lot but with a few tweaks it is actually plenty of space. And we also have the whole ship to call home.

    These are what it looked like when we first walked in

    This is what it looks like after the tweaks.

    • The coffee service has been removed to give us another shelf
    • The table has been moved behind the chairs to be used as storage
    • Magnets are in use all over, cannot overstate the usefulness of magnets
    • The over the door shoe hanger is awesome for all the little things of life
    • We did not need to make any tweaks to the bathroom
    • Doubled the daily water
    • We have a mini fridge, but since we don’t drink soda we don’t use it.
    The tweaked space
    Table moved behind the chairs.
    Coffee service removed
    Shoe hanger
    Magnets
    Desk and more magnets

  • Merry Christmas From The Neptune

    A beautiful Christmas morning sunrise

    Around the ship

  • Rainy Christmas Eve in Cozumel

    We woke up to a windy raining morning.

    We got off and walked around just a bit, way too windy and wet to go far.

    Today was our first excursion of the cruise, a visit to the Mayan Ruins of San Gervasio. 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Gervasio_(Maya_site)

    A wet excursion but an excellent one.

    Tonight the ship has some Christmas festivities that should be amazing.

  • Away we go

    After a great breakfast at Lona and a short walk on the beach we went back to our room to finish the packing. Shortly after getting there the hotel porter was there to take our big bags to the ship. Next time we would see them would be in our cabin.

    We gathered in the lobby early and it seemed like most all the Viking cruisers had the same idea, the lobby was packed.

    We were assigned Bus 1/Group 1 to board at 11:00, and it was pretty much on time. However we sat on the bus for a while waiting for some stragglers.

    After a short distance, but seeming long time we arrived at terminal 19. Security and check in was a breeze and we were directed to go get comfortable as there was a coast guard inspection going on and it would be a bit until we boarded. We chatted with a very kind Scottish couple as you do while waiting to get on a 5 month cruise. After about 90 minutes they started calling boarding groups, our number 8 came soon enough and we were finally on board with a glass of bubbles in hand.

    We were immediately directed to our muster station for a brief safety demo and then we were free to find lunch.

    A quick lunch in the World Cafe (Buffet) and the announcement was made that rooms were ready. Off we went to see our new home and do at least some unpacking.

    We found the Explorers lounge and went out front for sail away, we were on our way!

    We managed to get dinner reservations at the Chefs table and had a fantastic fixed menu featuring Peking Duck.

    A couple drinks and meeting new friends and we were ready for bed.

    The next morning we woke off the coast of Cuba to the first of what I am sure will be many beautiful sunrises.

    I took a walk about the ship and took a few pictures. I am sure there will be many more ship pictures. We went to a history talk about Aztec, Mayan and Inca civilizations and in the afternoon I went to a writers workshop. Perhaps my writing will get better.

    Tonight will be dinner in “The Restaurant” and tomorrow Cozumel.

  • Day 0 – The Westin Fort Lauderdale

    The drive to Lauderdale was busy and a bit nerve jangling but we made it to the Westin without incident. Room was great and had a very nice view.

    An early dinner and back to the room where wine and cheese was waiting

    Relaxing, sipping wine and eating cheese is a great start.

    Tomorrow is the big day

  • One More day

    All packed and ready to go. My brother is staying at our place while we are gone, so no worries there.

    While Viking included and arranged flights to south Florida it did not seem to make sense to try and fly to Miami and then bus to Fort Lauderdale during Christmas week. Probably 5-6 hours of travel that we can do driving in 3 hours. 

    Today we picked up our one way rental car to drive to Fort Lauderdale. 

    Tomorrow the adventure starts.

  • 16 days to go!

    Our two duffles are ready for pickup. The next time we see them will be in our cabin on the ship.

  • More Port changes

    As expected we have a few port updates

    We will no longer be stopping in Leon Nicaragua as they have not reopened after Covid.

    We will no longer be going to Myanmar, no surprise there. Instead we will be getting an extra day in both Singapore and Columbo. We are also getting Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Georgetown Penang and Langkawi, Malaysia

    All in all good changes I think

  • Port changes

    I am sure there will be many more, but on July 15th, 2022 Salalah Oman has been replaced with Jeddah Saudi Arabia. Also we will be docking in Geelong Australia a suburb of Melbourne instead of in Melbourne itself.

    And the next change, as of Oct 10, 2022 Brisbane Australia has been replaced by Mooloolaba, Australia

  • Our Ship Floats!

    Our new ship floated out in Italy and the final fittings have been started

    I guess it is time to start packing 🙂

  • Why a world cruise?

    Actually this is something we have long talked about and finally are making it happen. Well a first for me anyhow, Susan has actually already circled the globe once before when she was a bit younger.

    We absolutely love to travel, we have been to many countries and love them all. If someone asks me what my favorite city is I waiver between London, Hong Kong, New York, Barcelona and Quebec City, But truly it is wherever I am with Susan.

    We discovered cruising in 2011 with a 3 nighter on the Disney Dream and we never looked back. Since then we have done many Caribbean cruises, Alaska, the Med, Transatlantic, the Baltic and the Maritimes. We have been on more than 20 cruises with , Disney, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC. Our longest cruise to date is 13 days. 

    Every single cruise we have been on has been way too short.

    But not this time.

    The idea of getting away for months and enjoying each other and our lives became a glimmer of an idea a couple years back. 

    We were on our Maritimes cruise sailing out of Boston on the Holland American Zaandam bound for Montreal. 

    It was a beautiful afternoon on the top deck and we started chatting with a lovely older couple while enjoying our first cocktail of the trip. As it often happens we started talking about the cruises we have been on and while having done many were sad they had never done a world cruise. Now they felt like they were too old for such an adventure, they were probably correct. But, they looked at us and said in no uncertain terms that we should do it while we had our health.  

    We talked about this conversation often and it really started to come into focus as we watched our parents get old and become unable to travel and it became clear as a bell when a very young best friend was diagnosed with a horrible cancer. We knew then and there that we had to make it happen. Life is just too short.

    So we have the motivation, did we have the means? Turns out with a little creative savings (we saved everything) we could make it happen.

    Next the question became with which line and when.

  • Why Viking?

    So it turns out world cruises sell out very fast and being the end of December 2020 I found out that if we wanted to go in 2023 (seemed so far out) we would have to decide very quickly. 

    We came up with a list of nice to haves. We wanted as long as possible, lots of new ports, mostly inclusive, a newer ship  and we wanted few or no formal nights.

    I started the research.

    There were a few lines that did world cruises that we eliminated right away. MSC, Fred Olsen and P&O were not our style. Regent, Silver Sea, Crystal and Seabourn were just too much money.  Cunard was just too formal and too many sea days. These were eliminated quickly.

    So that left Holland America (the early leader), Oceania, Princess and this one I knew little about, Viking Ocean Cruises.

    Out came the spreadsheet to compare.

    After lots of figuring and cyphering and head scratching it turned out that with one exception the cost per day on all four lines came out very very close, less than 40.00 a day difference from top to bottom. Princess however came out over 100.00 a day less when all was considered. That put Princess at the top of the list.

    On to the “inter webs” for more research and the inevitable pros and cons list. Huge thanks to Andy at https://andyandjudi.com and so many others for being an absolute wealth of fantastic information.

    Princess

    Pros : Cheaper, We liked our previous cruises, mostly inclusive, the world cruise included many perks

    Cons: Old ship, formal nights, fewer ports, questionable reviews

    Holland America

    Pros : We liked our previous cruises, A long history of World cruises

    Cons: Expensive, Old ship, formal nights, fewer ports

    Oceania

    Pros : No formal nights, long cruise, many ports, mostly inclusive

    Cons: Expensive, Old ship

    Viking

    Pros : No formal nights, long cruise, many ports, mostly inclusive, new ship

    Cons: Expensive, an unknown to us cruise line

    At this point it seemed pretty clear that it was going to be Oceania or Viking

    Enter Teresa Skeim from Cruise Specialists. She is wonderful. We had several back and forth conversations around the logic I was using to make a choice and she was patient enough to get me quotes for the options. She also encouraged booking soon as the Viking cabins were selling out quickly by now.

    But, I really wanted to see the Oceania itinerary to compare to the Viking one I had in hand. As luck would have it I came across a copy of the Oceania itinerary a bit earlier than publicly available and that made the decision no easier. The Oceania itinerary looked great, but we really wanted to be on a new ship, we really wanted to end in London and Oceania may have been a little too long (if possible) at 214 days.  

    Oceania World Cruise

    After watching a lot of You Tube videos, many conversations and soul searching Viking won the day. The popularity of Viking with loyal cruisers, the stance of mostly inclusive, the lack of a casino and high pressure sales and the beautiful new ships and the much lower total cost than the longer Oceania cruise all contributed to the decision.


    The 2023 Viking World Cruise

    What Viking Is

    What Viking Is Not

    Through Teresa we booked a deluxe verandah on a ship that has not even started to be built.

    The Viking Neptune

12/22/22 to 5/9/23