Voyaging with Viking

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November 23rd 2018
Published: November 24th 2018
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On Thursday morning,after a sound night's sleep, we awoke about 7am and went for breakfast at 7-40am. It was a grey overcast day but still warm. Once we had eaten we hit the road to return to Miami Airport to drop off the car. The roads were very quiet and as we filled up with petrol I realised it was Thanksgiving so noone was heading to work or school thus it would be an easy trip into Miami. It was such an easy drive that we made it to the car rental return before 10am. It was simple to find the right road and drop the car off. All the rental companies have shuttle buses to take customers straight to the port so we found the one owned by Dollar and were soon having exclusive use of the shuttle bus to ferry us to to our ship. Our information was that boarding wasn't until 3pm so we thought we faced a long wait at the port, but as we alighted at 10-30am there was someone waiting to take our luggage and we were directed inside for a passport check and then straight to the check-in area. By 10-45am we were boarding the ship. How civilised, unlike Princess where we were herded into a huge waiting room and made to wait several hours before boarding. We were unable to access the cabin until the afternoon but meanwhile we could explore the ship and have lunch in the World Cafe on the 7th floor.

I really like the decor here. It is very Scandinavian with clean lines and tasteful furnishings. No garish frills or spangles, very elegant.We were able to also access the Viking WiFi, free of charge which is slow at times but very accessible. We went upstairs and had a very tasty lunch. There was plenty of choice at the buffet and as much wine as we wanted, included in the fare.We then went to a lovely sitting area where we read. At 2pm a general announcement was made that all cabins were ready so we went to Level 3 and found our cabin at 3006. This is very spacious with the biggest bathroom I have seen on any of the ships we have sailed on before. Extremely comfortable. Our Indonesian steward, Katong, was there to greet us and explain all aspects of the room and routine. Reading the literature we found that for an extra $20 per person per day we could get a drinks package which would cover most drinks, like spirits, cocktails and premium wines. We thought that ws well worth it. We went to Guest Services and they organised it very quickly.

Most of the passengers are American, unsuprisingly, but we have met a couple of Australians and Canadians already. So far everyone has beeen extremely friendly. At 5pm we had our lifeboat drill but this was done in the comfort of the theatre and consisted of a demonstration of how to put on the lifejacket and what lifeboat we would be in. Very easy.We had a G&T at the bar and then booked into one of the specialty restaurants, the Chef's Table for dinner at 7pm. This proved to be an excellent choice. They change the menus over a four day cycle and tonight was Asian. We had a five course degustation with matching wines and as we had the drinks package we were given the premium wines. It was very delicious with the main course being Peking Duck. We then went back to the bar for a drink or two before bed. We chatted to a Finnish/Canadian couple and listened to the pianist, Anastasia, playing classics and some modern numbers. It was all very pleasant and augurs well for the rest of the trip.

Today we woke about 8 and as it was a day at sea, cruising the Gulf of Mexico, we took our time and went to The Restaurant for breakfast. It is all open seating on board which is refeshing. We had a modest breakfast. I am trying to keep it simple for breakfast and lunch as it is so easy to overeat on board ship. We chatted to a couple from Idaho at the next table who proved to be rather nice. Then we had to see the Excursion Desk as we thought that our travel agent had booked us in for all the included tours, but found this hadn't been done. Not wanting to miss out we spoke to a crew member there, Nancy, and she soon booked us in for all of them, even though on the computer, it had told us "Sold Out" So that was a relief. The staff are so friendly and efficient.We spent the morning relaxing on our veranda, reading and watching the ocean and the ships sail by. At 12pm we went up to the Explorer's Lounge for the first of the Trivia sessions. We were joined at the bar by two sisters from New York, Eileen and Helene.We didn't do too badly, getting 10/15 while the winners got 12. This afternoon we have been relaxing in our cabin, reading and writing this and playing on the internet with the sea stretching out from our window. Our first stop is at Santiago de Cuba and we arrive there tomorrow, docking about 10am . Looking forward to that!!

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