Day 66 – 10th March, Magical Mystery Cruise (Day 1)

Viking Daily Mar 9

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.

Magical Mystery Cruise sign

Temperature: 28C/82F (Forecast). Actual – 33C + >90% humidity

Wind/Weather: Partly cloudy, moderate seas/swell on stbd bow

Sunrise/Sunset: 06:36/19:01

Clox: No change (Z+8)

Navigation

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)

Weather

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.

Meals

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.

Activities

Viking Daily Mar 9

Although dated yesterday, today is really Day 1 of Magical Mystery Tour

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.

Nelson and Judi

Judi and Nelson, who is now in the Living Room in the morning

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.

Lecture fall of Hong Kong

AM Lecture on the fall of Hong Kong

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.

Trivia multi-media edition

Afternoon trivia – Multi Media version today

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.

Bali night welcome committee

Stbd side World Cafe entrance with Norbert (GM) and staff

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.

Bali night welcome beside sinks

Welcome table at entrance beside the sinks

Decorations 3

Palm fronds the entire length of the World Cafe buffet line

Decorations

Time taken to braid some palm fronds

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.

Decorations 2

Decorated umbrellas at each station

Cold counter with decorations above

Cold counter with decorations above the display counter

chicken pork prawn satay

Various satays – pork, prawn, chicken, etc

Curries and rice

Curries R-L – boiled rice, chicken in coconut milk, fried rice, beef

Desserts pizza and sushi

In addition to pizza and desserts, Sushi also available on Stbd side tonight

Roast suckling pig

Roast suckling pig – cooked to perfection, so moist

Fresh fruit station

Fruit carving

Bread display

Bread display

Banana flambe station

Chefs at Banana Flambe station

Banana flambe

Banana flambe in the pan

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.

Simba in Balinese night uniform

Simba in the Balinese Night costume (uniform). Great smile, so infectious

Judi and Spike

Spike (Putu) and Judi

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.

Bagus head waiter

Head Waiter Bagus in local costume

Andy Judi and Himanshu

Andy & Judi with Homanshu (Restaurant Mgr)

Himanshu and waitress

Homanshu & RiRi

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.

Balinese Pina Colado

Balinese version of Pina Colada

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.

Magical Mystery Cruise sign

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.

Kick-off party rehersal and sound checks

Enter Viking vocalists & band completing sound checks

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.

Viking band starting the party 2

Viking Band whipping everyone into a frenzy, with great music

Norbert and Beven at kick off party

Norbert (GM) & Beven start the party

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.

Brilliant evening.

16 thoughts on “Day 66 – 10th March, Magical Mystery Cruise (Day 1)

  1. Great Party that we sorely missed:( Say hi to Nelson for us too, what a popular guy. The waitress next to Himanshu is RiRi, we like her too.
    We will be enjoying your mystery cruise and hope you will be able to dock somewhere soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Richard – we attended a meeting yesterday with the Captain & GM, where they showed us the short film from Viking’s Chairman announcing the decision.

      While one of the other ships sailing from Miami to Barcelona has turned around in mid-Atlantic, we are continuing on, at least for now, As the ship receives more information, or further instructions from Basel, they have promised to inform us ASAP.

      Dreadful results on Wed/Thurs.

      Like

  2. What fun you are having and great photos. I was wondering with more crew then passengers if the crew would have shorter hours or more freedom of the ship.

    Like

    • It is a fine balance between throwing out the rule book and bending it. The biggest challenge is keeping the crew busy with meaningful tasks, as aboard ship you don’t want idle hands.

      Like

  3. I love the idea of the more intimate cruise, more time to get to know more about the crew. The obstacles y’all have encountered but continued with a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes great picture of Nelson. We walked around Hobart. He was looking for a present for his wife on Valentine’s Day. Sir Rob Says hi.

    Like

  5. Hi Judi. Hi Andy.

    Wow. It’s getting real with the virus situation. Now it’s pandemic and spreading everywhere. That said, we need to carry on ( with sensible precautions).

    Any questions?

    Vern

    Like

    • Vern – no questions from us, as we just received another update from the Captain, GM & C/Dir at Noon in the Theatre. We are fine, sailing along in our protective bubble, on a spotlessly clean and healthy ship.

      Like

  6. Please do say hello to Nelson from Sir Bob and mam Rose Marie. I often called him sir Nelson.

    Anyway, you all seem to be having a grand time on this mystery tour.

    🌷Rose-Marie Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.

    >

    Like

  7. Nelson won’t remember me, but I remember him. He was on the Orion from Auckland to Bali last March. What a great guy. Dobie says hi!! (The 6 foot gal with the white hair). I sure hope that you guys manage to complete your cruise. Thanks so much for the updates.

    Like

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