The hysteria over the COVID-19 virus is causing world wide issues, especially in the cruise industry. Even this spotlessly clean and healthy ship experienced issues being accepted by the local Indonesian authorities. In Semarang, we anchored off the port, never getting ashore and in Bali, we lost 1 day.
However, the Viking management team worked wonders and while the lying Jakarta Post published we weren’t getting into Bali, we did enjoy 2 fabulous days ashore (still working on those photos, so couple more days for Bali posts). I did a cruise-by on SS Oriana back in the 1970’s, but this was my first time ashore. Thank you Viking, as their exceptional negotiating skills were greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately, some very tough last minute, perhaps even last second, decisions were made to keep this ship healthy. As mentioned on a previous post, Viking made the decision to depart Bali with only passengers who were already aboard. To those that were boarding in Bali, we hope you have a safe return and I have no doubt that the Viking team will look after you extremely well.
We’re back at sea and the World Cruise was renamed, so today is a new dawn and the start of the, “Magical Mystery Cruise to Somewhere”. Departing Bali last evening, we lost a day ashore, so this amazing private yacht crew, brought Bali to us. Read on for the Balinese Dinner & party.
Temperature: 28C/82F (Forecast). Actual – 33C + >90% humidity
Wind/Weather: Partly cloudy, moderate seas/swell on stbd bow
Clox: No change (Z+8)
Departing Bali, we sailed South, then on clearing Java, we altered to stbd, steaming WNW’ly courses along the south coast of the Indonesian island of Java. Since departure Bali. we steamed 284 miles until Noon, at an average speed to 16.2 kts. To reach “Somewhere”, probably Colombo, we have another 2,180 miles, requiring 16.7 kts for a 17:00 ETA at the pilot station (Mar 15th)
As per the daily Noon announcement, “It is what it is”. This morning, we enjoyed a fabulous sunrise, with broken clouds at the Eastern horizon providing a myriad of colours.
Winds are fairly fresh from the Stbd bow at N’ly about 20 kts, which is coupled with a moderate swell of 6 to 8 feet. All this results in a fresh breeze over the open decks and the usual rockin ‘n’ rollin’ across the Indian Ocean.
The crew number are back to normal, so special meals are back with a vengeance. This amazing crew brought Bali to us, aboard the ship with an amazing Balinese Buffet.
Photos and description under activities.
My day started at the usual time, up on the blustery Dk 8, for my daily hike. On completion, I grabbed the laundry bag, getting the entire load washed at once. The laundry rooms are surprisingly quiet, almost like we are down a few pax!!! When everything was in the dryer, we Skyped with our daughter and grandsons, watching the youngest one starting to crawl. Great start to the day.
After breakfast, we headed to the Living Room, where the crew were everywhere. Before Bali, the service was 1st Class, now it has stepped up a number of notches. The crew are simply amazing, it is almost as if each couple has a personal steward. When the tea cup is almost empty, a crew member magically appears, “Sir Andrew/Madam Judi, can I get you more tea. Can I get you anything else” After this, going home will be even tougher.
Nelson, pictured above is a wine steward, often lovingly referred to as the World Cafe’s Chief alcohol pusher, as no sooner is the glass reaching empty and Nelson appears. He is now down in the Living Room by morning, operating with the same vigour, only difference is he is pushing tea and coffee. Judi uses her own mug, so when finished her tea, Nelson scooped her mug, bringing it back spotlessly clean. Getting tea stains out is no mean feat.
At 11:00, I headed to the Theatre, meeting Dave (NY Nick) in the usual seats, for Col Coutts-Britton’s excellent lecture. He was scheduled to disembark in Bali, but graciously agreed to stay and will present > 20 new lectures, between Bali and “Somewhere”. The title, refers to the fact that the Japanese took over Hong Kong on Christmas Day.
Noon trivia was again a challenge, as we were about 2 behind the winning teams. At least we are consistent. Read on for afternoon trivia, where we did rather well.
The MDR was closed for lunch, as the galley prepared the Balinese feast, so we headed up to the World Cafe for lunch, then back to the Living Room, until afternoon trivia.
The “Multi-Media” edition consisted of 30 questions:
- 10 brain teasers – we had to guess a common phrase, based on the clue provided. Example – a pair of scissors above the word “Rest”. Answer – A cut above the rest
- 10 photos of world capitals – Edinburgh and Ottawa were 2 of them
- 10 TV program theme music
We did extremely well, with our entire team contributing to our score of 8/10 in each group, for a total of 24/30. Neil really knew the brain teasers, while I got most of the capital cities. Only 2 teams got >20, with the boys team scoring 22/30.
After Trivia, we headed up to the World Cafe to enjoy the crew bringing Bali to us, aboard the amazing Viking Sun. In addition to the crew dressing up, they have decorated the World Cafe.
The regular buffet stations all had traditional Indonesian dishes – curries, rice, various satays. sauces, etc. Aft, beside Aquavit Bar, they had a suckling pig, chicken soup (one we made in cooking school) and special desserts. Enjoy the photos.
Similar to our experience in the Living Room, the crew had again stepped the service levels up a number of notches. Literally, as soon as the plate was empty and knife and fork put down, a crew member magically appeared and whisked the plate away. For drinks, the glasses never got the opportunity to reach empty, as once they were about 1/2 way, a crew member was asking if you want a top up. Simply amazing service.
In Bali, Spike managed to spend a night ashore, at home with his wife and 2-year old daughter. He showed us a film of him and his daughter giving him a peck on the cheek. Real tear jerker.
What an amazing dinner, and you guessed correctly, we all ate way tooooo much!!!! But wait, it wasn’t all about eating, check this out.
Served in a coconut, it was much lighter than a normal Pina Colada, with Rum, coconut milk and a smidgen of cream. Very enjoyable and refreshing.
After the spectacular feast, we should probably have headed to the cabin to sleep it off, but tonight it was the Magical Mystery Tour Kick-Off Party by the pool deck. We headed to the pool deck to enjoy the party.
The technology on this ship is amazing, as the sound technician runs around with a tablet, where he can adjust the sound levels of each source. Incredible.
Shortly before 21:00, the Viking band started playing, brilliant upbeat music. No classical stuff tonight.
Norbert discussed expectations, specifically around the number of ports we will visit. He suggested setting our expectation low, well actually really, really low, so if “Somewhere” actually becomes a port, we will be pleasantly surprised. Works for us. Beven discussed some of the new entertainment options his team is working on to keep us entertained. Had thought about listing them, but no, check back often to learn about a number of new initiatives for Viking.
Unfortunately, the captain was unavailable, as the Bridge was steering zig zag courses. While some may recall this as a pirate deterrence, tonight it was the Bridge Team navigating around rain squalls.
Enjoy some photos of the party.
Yes, the last photo shows our very multi-talented Cruise Director on the drums. Also note another change for the Magical Mystery Cruise, the crew were welcome to join us at the party. Really worked well.
About 1/2 way through the party, the rain started, which put a short dampener on the deck party, but it quickly resumed, with passengers and crew heading to Torshavn (nightclub) to party into the wee hours.