Saturday, March 9, 2019

Viking Sun, Day Three - Good bits and not so great

With thanks to Viking for this cruise
We are at sea today, and Aotearoa is living up to its name, the land having a low fluffy duvet of cloud its whole length - but at least the sea is calm. Today is about onboard activities, if that’s not too strong a word for the clientele, most of whom to my observation seem to hover (again, probably too active a verb) outside the upper 60-70 age range that was claimed by my guide on the first day. They had parked themselves all around the ship in its many nooks and crannies with iPads and books, puzzles and games, and seemed to be settled in for the duration. I, however, dear reader, began my day in the spa with some Nordic bathing.

This was my first, and not my last, encounter of the day with a territorial fat old white (self-)entitled American man, a demographic which now has to prove itself to me, individual by individual, as worthy of space on this earth. The cause for my getting growled at here was pausing in the doorway to take off my fogging (not a euphemism) glasses, and accidentally letting out some of the steam. I’m a sauna novice, and perhaps this is the ultimate sin, but it felt like an over-reaction and certainly didn’t help me to relax. So I sat, tense and sweaty, and much closer to him than I would have preferred, space allowing, until it felt like time to cross over into the snow room, which was small and obviously chilly, snow heaped up around the walls and on the benches, clinging to the walls and visible as frost crystals in the air.

As instructed previously, I scrubbed my skin with handfuls of snow – thus exfoliating it, which is why people rave about their smooth, glowing skin afterwards – and then sat, a bit bored, waiting to get cold enough to leave. Repeat twice. I finished up with a longer session in the steam and then popping into the bucket shower next door, to pull the chain and empty a wooden bucket of cold water over my head. It was more funny than bracing. A quick wallow in the warm pool facing the flickering pretend flames along one side was the final duty – intended, probably, to induce what the Danes call hygge.
Next (today is all about experiencing what’s available on board) I went to the pool, aft, which I had all to myself. Actually, pools – there’s a Jacuzzi but the main one (still small) is an infinity pool perched right at the back of the ship, overlooking the swirling aqua and white of the wake. It’s pleasurably mesmerising to hang there gazing at it, even on a dull (but warm) day. There is a bigger one, incidentally, on the pool deck, which has a handy retractable roof.
A bit later, I passed through the Knitting Class in the Wintergarden – a busy group of women clearly of differing abilities, needle-wise, but all looking contented. I had heard that there was some shock at the prices of NZ wool – but have every confidence that they will be impressed by the quality.
I’m not eating much today, having rather overdone it in the main restaurant yesterday, and we had the Chef’s Table degustation menu to look forward to this evening, so I kept on moseying around, signally failing to get the layout straight in my head (it doesn’t help that the ship is not symmetrically organised) and fetching up at the wrong end as often as not. There were people everywhere, scattered about in comfy chairs inside and out – but nowhere looked crowded.
The theatre was busy, though, come Trivial Pursuit time. We wandered in, looking for a team to join or, failing that, somewhere to sit – but were summarily moved on from our seats by yet another officious OWM who stated that that was where his team sits. There were plenty of seats, dear reader – but these were his, and we were evicted. Then it happened again, but more politely, and we ended up on our own, a team of two amongst twenty of six each, and took on what turned out to be Round 38 of the game. It was a brisk affair, soon over, without the entertainment value of Moss running it on Silversea, and we did ok, considering: 7/15 (should have been 8, if I hadn’t been overruled on my K=potassium answer) – that’s equivalent to 21/15 if we’d had a full team, so my head is high. (The actual highest score was 14/15). More interesting than that, though, was my encounter with an actual US government whistle-blower - but that can wait for a separate post. 
Next I thought I would have a go at the art class, since I disappointed myself so deeply trying that on my last cruise. But, though I got there right on time, the class was already full and silent, people heads down busily sketching kiwis. This is the downside of joining a cruise halfway through: everyone else is onto it, their territories claimed, friendships established. The same thing happened at the choir in the shiny black windowless bar: the auditions were done ages ago, everyone had their parts and their music, and there was no room for me to croon along in their rehearsal of 'Danny Boy'.
The official Cruise Critic Awards gloating round the pool yesterday afternoon naturally focused on the category that Viking Sun was absolute top for, which was Entertainment, and tonight’s show (as well as last night’s) certainly vindicated that vote. Christina Bianca was the sole star this evening, doing song impersonations of every diva you could think of – perfectly performed, funny and thoroughly entertaining. She was excellent, and the full theatre gave her a standing ovation that she totally deserved. (Yet another Titanic reference, though - she naturally included a Celine Dion number in her performance.)

It was a very satisfying end to an evening that had already begun at The Chef’s Table with a 5-course degustation menu that was interesting and delicious, and very much complemented by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic input from the serving staff. So, well done, Viking.

2 comments:

the queen said...

I have had awful times getting turned around in cruise ships, until the Norwegian Pearl, where all the decorative fish on the carpet swim toward the prow.

Pamela Wade said...

That's a brilliant idea! It should be compulsory. It seems pathetic, not even to be able to tell which direction the ship itself is even going in, when you're in a windowless corridor, but that's how it was for me. I never got it sussed.

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