It is a sad day, as all our US friends departed the magnificent Viking Sun last evening, leaving only 8 Canadian passengers and about 460 crew, so each passenger has about 57.5 amazing crew members tending our every need.
Once the charter flight was wheels-up and enroute to Newark (NJ) via Madrid, we fired up the boilers and set the sails, resuming the Magical Mystery Cruise. Lines were cast off, as we departed Dubai about 06:15.
After breakfast, we had an excellent chat with Norbert (GM) Tomasz (Chef), Beven (Cruise Director) and all other department heads, who advised the Viking Ocean way of business, is to continue the full operation, even for only 8 of us. That’s a little over the top, so read on to determine what we requested and agreed.
Wind/Weather: Sunny & hazy
Clox: No change (Z+4)
No navigation updates will be provided until we are in the Red Sea and clear of the high risk zone.
Mostly sunny, with light winds
Since this situation developed late last evening we have no Viking Daily this morning and no formal activities, although Beven, is working furiously to keep us busy.
Awake early, I headed out to the balcony watching the 06:15 departure, sunrise and sail-away from Dubai. Most enjoyable and relaxing, to still be aboard the voyage to somewhere.
At 10:00, we all headed to the Atrium to meet with Norbert (GM) & Beven (Cruise Director). In addition, all relevant department heads attended – Exec Chef, Housekeeping, Restaurant Mgr, Bar Manager, Customer Service Manager, Spa Manager, etc.
Norbert started by advising we can all have suites – any of them. Most of us opted for the fwd suite on our deck and side of the ship, so the 4 couples are in the 4 fwd suites on decks 4 and 5. Judi and I are in 4000 – Deck 4, port side, fwd. Will discuss the new cabin, with photos tomorrow. Within minutes, Anna the Executive Housekeeper supplied each of us with keys to our new cabin and re-arranged the cabin steward assignments, so we retained our existing steward. We still keep Willie, which was greatly appreciated. While all the cabin stewards are excellent, we have got to know him over the past few months.
Next on the agenda was discussing what facilities we required, with Norbert advising that everything is available, with normal hours of operation. Collectively, we thought having all restaurants and bars open their normal hours was over the top and not fair to the crew manning them. While the entire ship (passenger spaces) is open, we requested and agreed to the following:
- Mostly we will eat meals together, so only require a single table in 1 restaurant. We settled on Manfredi’s being available for every breakfast (08:00-09:30) lunch (12:00-13:30) and dinner (18:00-19:30). We selected the times for each meal, which can change upon request.
- The Chef advised, if we had any special requests for meals, provided he has the supplies aboard, he will make it happen.
- Pool grill will also be open for lunch daily
- Pool bar is open all day, with waiters providing service everywhere on Decks 7, 8 and 9.
- Mamsens – we declined any food service from Mamsens or bar service in Explorer’s. While the lounge is available, we are happy to receive bar service from the Pool Bar, as required.
- Living Room Bar – this will be open, per normal hours with usual snacks available. We suggested it close at 22:00, rather than remaining open to midnight.
- Pools and spas – all open continuously, except when navigating in the high risk area. We declined service from Aquavit, as waiters from the Pool Bar are sufficient.
- We declined the World Cafe, which is impracticable even if all 8 of us turned up, so the crew will use the World Cafe for meals.
- Gym – open usual hours
- Spa services – everything is available
- Shops are mostly closed, but will open a couple of hours per day, or by request.
- Viking daily will be produced daily for pax & crew.
- Entertainment will continue with films and production shows. We requested that the crew be permitted to watch the shows, as it is unreasonable to expect the Entertainers to perform for a max audience of 8.
A very productive meeting, which ensures the Viking standard is maintained, but we are cognisant of the crew not standing around waiting for one of us to show up.
On completion of the meeting, it was straight into Baggo, with the Officer/Pax team taking on the Housekeeping Dept (cabin stewards). Great camaraderie throughout the match, although we did feel sorry for the poor cabin steward that had to challenge their boss – Anna, the Executive Housekeeper. It was a close match, but the Officers/Pax team squeaked a narrow victory.
We declined the golf challenge today, as we all had to move into our new cabins and get unpacked, which we completed before lunch. Lunch was in the MDR, with Beven joining the 8 of us. We were provided the Manfredi’s dinner menus for lunch today.
After lunch, Judi had a nap, while I headed to the gym for > 1 hr, followed by a soak in the spa pools. Relaxing in the hot-tub, the Spa Manager was walking through so she stopped to chat, noting my empty water glass, she immediately asked if I wanted a refill. Yet again, amazing service from this exceptional crew.
At 18:30 we all met in the Atrium for pre-dinner cocktails, followed by dinner in Manfredi’s. The menu was a standard MDR dinner menu, with Judi and I having the steak and lobster. OMG!! everything was cooked to perfection. Amazing dinner.
After dinner, Judi and I sat at the Living Room bar for a nightcap, then were invited to join the officers at an adjacent table – Financial Officer, Cruise Consultant & Crew Purser. Spent a most enjoyable hour chatting with them. They asked if all 8 of us were eating together, which we are, so I mentioned it would be nice if a couple of officers could join us each evening.
Check tomorrow’s post for the result of this suggestion.
On return to the cabin, we sat on the balcony for a while, just enjoying the peace and quiet, and the amazing blanket of stars twinkling above us. Another fabulous day aboard the magnificent Viking Sun.