Day 94 – 7th April 2020, At Sea

Induction certificate

Today we received information that changed Mystery Cruise to Somewhere, to the Mystery Cruise to Gibraltar. Yes!, we now have an end in sight, so read on to find out when and how we are all getting home.

In addition to receiving flight instructions, we participated in a thank-you message to the Hagen Family from the Officers & Crew, and participated in a Viking Crew Induction Course, we even received a certificate upon completion.

Navigation

We maintained WNW’ly courses to a position North of Tunisia, when we altered to generally W’ly courses, at a speed of 10 kts.

Weather

Fine and clear, light to moderate N’ly winds

Meals

This evening we enjoyed dinner with a couple of young ladies from the back of the Purser’s Office. They work on arranging ship’s clearance procedures, ensuring all Visas and Passports are correct, for the local authorities to inspect. Since we are landing in Gibraltar, this was very timely, as I provided my UK passport, as I will disembark as a UK Citizen.

Activities

Today’s activities included:

  • 08:00 Spa opens
  • 09:00 Temperature check
  • 09:30 Baggo – Galley Giants v’s Beverage Bulldogs
  • 10:00 Lectures – recorded lectures in Cinema 1
  • 10:00 Ted Talks – on Ted-Ed Lessons in Cinema 2
  • 10:30 Baggo – Restaurant Raptors v’s Replacement Dingos
  • 12:00 Meeting – Honorary Crew meeting with Norbert (GM) & Beven (C/Dir)
  • 13:00 Crew & Honorary Crew thank you message to Hagen Family
  • 14:00 Afternoon Melodies – Classical Duo
  • 14:00 Brainstorming – Honorary crew brainstorming for video message
  • 14:00 Atrium Coffee Club
  • 15:00 Afternoon Melodies – Pianist Andras
  • 17:00 Honorary Crew Induction Course
  • 17:45 Evening Serenades – Classical Duo
  • 18:00 Insanity Workout
  • 22:00 Music at Pool Deck with DJ Zharko

After breakfast & temperature checks we headed to the Atrium, watching some rather competitive Baggo matches and working on our blog. We were also requested to attend a meeting with Norbert & Beven, at Noon – some important news is coming.

Baggo

Standings after 5 matches:

Team                                                  Played           Points               Percentage

The Vikings                                           5                     8                     121.69%

Restaurant Raptors                             5                     8                     117.90%

Housekeeping Hurricanes                 5                     8                     106.22%

Engineering Eels                                  5                     6                     117.11%

Beverage Bulldogs                               5                     4                     94.14%

Galley Giants                                        5                     4                      91.75%

Replacement Dingos                           5                     2                      95.08%

Explorer Extremes                              5                     0                      67.96%

With only 2 matches remaining, our game tomorrow is against Engineering, so a victory tomorrow guarantees The Vikings a top 4 finish and entry into the Semi-Finals.

Meeting

At Noon, the 8 of us met with Norbert (GM) and Beven (C/Dir) for an important announcement. The Captain is still in quarantine, so was unable to join us. Norbert advised he had 2 good news items and 1 sad item of news:

  • We are going home (good news)
  • We have confirmed flights and will be escorted by the Cruise Consultant, with Viking staff available at airports, hotels, etc (good news)
  • We depart in Gibraltar, on April 10th (sad news)

In Gibraltar, all 8 of us will depart the vessel by tender, accompanied by Charaine (Cruise Consultant). We have business flights with British Airways, departing Gibraltar shortly after 17:00, arriving London about 19:00. We will be met by Viking ground staff, who have arranged a bus to the Novotel T1-3 Hotel on Bath Road. Although the hotel is closed, Viking have arranged for Government approval, so we each have a room.

Saturday 11th April the others fly to Toronto, while Judi and I fly to Vancouver.

Crew Thank You Message

As a private company, the Viking management are taking excellent care of their crew, so the crew wanted to record a “Thank You” message to the Hagen Family. As Honorary Crew, we were invited to join them up on the pool deck.

Chairs were provided for the 8 of us out front, with a member of each crew nationality standing behind us. All other crew were at the other side of the pool. Beven made the introduction, then passed the microphone to each crew member to say “Thank You” in their native language, then everyone shouted, “We are Vikings for Life”

Very moving experience that re-inforces the message that Viking crews feel part of the family.

Induction Course

As Honorary Crew, the HR Manager asked if we would be interested in attending one of the crew welcome courses, which he presents. All crew members must attend, every time they join, or re-join a ship. This teaches the values and standards expected of crew members. They call it the “STAR” Program.

We also discussed the HR Manager’s role on board and other training and personal development courses they offer.

After dinner, we again sat out on the balcony enjoying the Moon, stars, shore lights and passing ships.

27 thoughts on “Day 94 – 7th April 2020, At Sea

  1. I have so enjoyed your blog and have read them all. We are looking forward to talking the 2021 Viking World tour. Hopefully it’s not cancelled!
    We have reserved cabin 4000, so I was interested in seeing your pictures and comments on it. Did I miss a post.?

    It sounds like you had a fantastic trip even though it didn’t go according to schedule.

    Thank you again for sharing your trip.

    Like

      • Thanks so much! Again, your posts and excellent photos have been very entertaining. I can’t wait to do our trip.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m going to look forward to the suite photos as well. I think that you will be surprised how “busy” you get in quarantine….or maybe “lazy” is a better word!!

        Like

  2. Thank you for keeping is in touch with the excellent blog. I know you will have been sad to leave the ship but wow, what an adventure you have had. Safe travels and do keep in touch.

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    • Hi Robin – Just got home after spending a night at the Novotel T1-3. We disembarked in Gibraltar by tender, flew to LHR with BA and the Air Canada to Vancouver.

      The in-flight service and meals in the hotel are best described as interesting.

      Like

  3. Thank you for you interesting blog!
    My husband I wish you a good travelling back to your home! Take care!
    Yours sincerely
    Viola Britt-Marie Faernqvist
    Anders Faernqvist

    Like

  4. Andy and Judi, It’s been a privilege to follow your blog and CC commentary. You’ve experienced more of VO on one cruise than we have on 4. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I really enjoyed your Suez blog and detailed visits to the Bridge, galley, storage, medical and crew areas. I even got up a few times that night just to see your Suez passage on Panomax! Looking forward to reading about your journey home and your final thoughts and comparison with your 2015 WC. Try to get some extra masks from Viking as they’re really in short supply everywhere. Wishing you both a safe journey home and good health!

    Like

  5. It has been so much fun and so enjoyable to follow your journey. You have all made lemonade from the lemons that were handed to you!! Safe travels home and be able to look at this as an adventure of a lifetime – not the one planned but the one you lived.

    Like

    • Thanks, but this cruise has been really easy to remain positive. I know that not all our fellow passengers would agree, based on the unacceptable abuse we heard that was directed at the Customer Service Staff. However, we have no complaints.

      Going to ports is just one aspect of going for a cruise, with the ship and crew being 2 significant factors as well. So we missed a few port, well really most of them, but this was totally outside the Cruise Lines control. The schedule changes were entirely driven by COVID-19. I look at how the cruise line responded to factors within their control and in my opinion they went well above and beyond normal expectations to make us happy.

      Comparing this to our last cruise, where we got into most ports, but the ship was akin to a Greek tramp ship and the crew were average, compared to Viking. That cruise wasn’t so easy to maintain a positive attitude.

      We also consider the itinerary to be fluid, as it is only confirmed once we disembark.

      Like

  6. An honorary crew member now? How cool! Does that mean if we cruise together in the future you might be serving my dinner, or servicing our cabin? Don’t worry, I’m a good tipper 🙂

    Best of luck to you and Judi on a safe trip home. I’m sure leaving will be very emotional after all you’ve been through with the Viking family.

    If the airport duty-free shop has toilet paper, buy some on the way through!

    Like

    • Ha Ha – good one Steve. Can you imagine the rumours throughout housekeeping if we brought our name badges and induction course certificates on the next cruise and stuck them on the cabin bulkhead.

      Gonna be a tough day, especially when we step on the tender about 14:00. The tears and hugs started last night and it will be even more emotional today.

      Good idea on the TP, I hear it is more valuable than gold or gas.😁

      Like

  7. Andy

    Larry here. We met at Ron and Allison’s dinner. We would also meet briefly on the morning walk where I asked you how to say a Scotish greeting. You replied “Are you all right” said in one syllable. I tried to perfect it for you but failed. I’m still trying. Also working on “Not all right” as a reply.

    Thank you so much for all the work you put into your blog. I was late to the game to know that your blog existed but enjoyed it immensely. You helped me complete the cruise of a lifetime I did not get to finish. I really enjoyed the transit through the Suez canal. I attempted to live the moments you experienced after Dubai having met most of the players. From baggo to dinner to the shows. After working on the book inventory, I would have wanted to fold towels for a few hours each day. Next cruise.

    I found it very emotional to have to leave in Dubai. I cried a lot about it. I can’t imagine how hard it will be tomorrow but what an experience to cherish.

    The crew performed exactly as I would have imagined based on my experience. Actually they always exceeded my expectations and clearly they continued to do that with the eight of you.

    Please extend my thanks again to all the crew for my trip of a lifetime. Godspeed to all of you. May the yellow flag continue to shine brightly until it’s no longer needed.

    All my best to all of you

    Larry Murphy

    Like

    • Hi Larry – great comment, thanks.

      Keeping working on the accent and the next cruise we can start with rolling your “R’s”

      After we formed up at the gangway to see our US friends off the ship, it was really emotional, with lots of tears and hugs. When you all left, we stopped by the Atrium and it really was a very sombre mood, with us still in shock, especially with how quickly it evolved.

      For us, it started last night and is going to gain traction all day, until we step aboard the tender.

      The crew have been amazing, especially since we had an opportunity to really spend time with them, Couple of days ago, I headed up to the pool and spent a couple of hours chatting with at least 1/2 of the crew. Most importantly, is they are being really comfortable sharing the ship with us and chatting, especially when they are in civvies on their days off.

      BTW – Justyna forwarded me a copy of your email yesterday.

      Hope to meet up on another cruise.

      Like

  8. We are almost jealous of the totally unique experience you have had – it will never be repeated and as such, you are part of an exclusive passenger club. Looking forward to following your next adventure. Margaret & Tony (UK)

    Like

  9. Thank you so much for sharing wonderful and amazing journey. I quietly followed along from the beginning and you all have touched my heart. Thank you again for such a lovely gift. Travel safe & stay healthy!

    Like

  10. You brought tears to my eyes with the description of the crew thank you message. What a memorable cruise! Wish we had been there. Be safe and careful on your way home. DO wear your mask. We wore them during the entire flight from Dubai and in the airport in Chicago while waiting to travel to Oklahoma City. Don’t assume that all is well.

    Like

    • Thanks, great suggestion. We have lots of masks + what the ship provides. We will have one from the ship to the hotel tonight, then a new mask tomorrow from London to YVR.

      We also have a large container of disinfecting wipes, so every surface in the planes and hotel will be thoroughly wiped down before we settle.

      The real challenge for us will be maintaining the social distancing, as it wasn’t required aboard the ship. Lots of hugs last night and no doubt more today.

      Like

  11. Such an extraordinary adventure. Incredible. By your writing, the ship, the crew and the company were wonderful throughout this world-wide virus situation. Please be safe and enjoy your trip home. See you guys soon [in two plus weeks]. Many regards.

    Like

    • Thanks Vern – we now have to present a formal quarantine plan at YVR , which must be approved before being let into the country. Can’t leave the house for 2 weeks, so see you out front in a couple of weeks.

      Like

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