The Viking Sun that is. Before leaving on this trip, Susan downloaded 35 books to her Kindle and I downloaded about a dozen to keep us entertained on a 141 day trip with over 60 sea days. To date, Susan has read four books and I have read exactly none – though I have read one National Geographic magazine. Why so little reading? We are too busy doing other things.There is a Mah Jongg game for two hours in the morning of every sea day. Susan is one of the heroes of the Mah Jongg players on the ship. Viking promised to provide fifteen sets to use on the ship, but they only bought five sets and they were the Chinese version that is incompatible with the American game. Fortunately, Susan and one other woman brought their sets from home. That meant up to ten people could play and Susan was assured of being one of them since she could always take her set and go back to her room. Eventually, they figured out how to modify five Chinese sets to make three American sets. The Viking ship carpenter then created racks for them since the Chinese do not use them. I am sure our cruise director rues the day she ever heard the words “Mah Jongg”.
There are also bridge lessons and sanctioned duplicate games on all sea days. Each day there is a beginners lesson and an intermediate player’s lesson. The teacher is Australian, so there is the occasional difference in customs, but for the most part everything is the same as at home. The game is usually fourteen boards, so it only takes two hours. We play approximately every other sea day.
Viking also has a team of six enrichment lecturers on board that changes approximately every three weeks. Generally one of the team will be a historian, one will be a naturalist, one will be some sort of scientist, and the others will cover diverse areas such as art, film, government relations, music, or writing. There are typically three lectures on sea days and one or two on port days. The lectures often cover topics related to the countries we are visiting. I probably attend about a third of the lectures and Susan attends less. One of my favorite lecturers was a geologist from Britain. He was quite a character and managed to make the dull topic of geology interesting and entertaining.The lectures are held in the main auditorium. This lecture was about the economies of New Zealand and Australia.
On every sea day at 12:15 we play team trivia. This is the first time we have ever played trivia; and while we aren’t very good, we have a good time and learn a few interesting things.Our team from left to right is Steve, Marty, Julie, John, Karen, Mary Ann, Susan, and me. The game consists of 15 questions covering diverse topics such as nautical flags, names of animal groups, country capitals, country flags, identifying celebrity pictures, and any other topic you can imagine. One day we won outright, and we have been in ties for second and third place a few times. But usually we get a “thank you for playing”. There are no prizes for winning, but everyone who plays gets a one dollar voucher to use on Viking logo items at the gift shop.
On nice days, we spend a lot of time at the pools. On less nice days we like to go to the spa, but to date we have only been there once. I think that speaks to the weather being pretty good and there being a lot of other things to do. There is also a gym where Susan spends a lot of time working off the yummy desserts. She also likes to walk laps on the outside decks when it isn’t too hot or too windy. I also do laps occasionally.
The entertainment has been mostly good to excellent. There is a 45 minute show every evening. The entertainers are predominantly singers or instrumentalists with the occasional magician or comedian. There is a different group of entertainers boarding the ship approximately every week. I think I have been to every show but three or four. Susan usually passes on the comedians and magicians. Throughout the late afternoon and evening there is a guitarist, a piano player, a classical trio, and the Viking Duo (he plays piano and sings and she sings) who play at various bar and eating venues around the ship. There is also a four piece Viking Band that back up the singers and play late into the evening in the lounge for the dancers. It is impressive how they can play with singers from opera to country with minimal rehearsal.Occasionally they have afternoon shows in the atrium featuring the Viking staff or one of the entertainers. The above show was country music classics. The woman in the top picture is Heather, our cruise director. She is primarily a mezzo soprano opera singer, but here she is doing a great Patsy Kline.
In summary, there is a lot to do on sea days, and we find we are unable to do everything we would like to do.