Just how empty is the ship?

Viking announced a temporary change to their cancellation policy last week due to Coronavirus concerns which allowed anyone who canceled at least 24 hours before the cruise to apply the full fare to a future cruise within 2 years. Apparently a number of folks on this crossing took advantage. Based on our CruiseCritic rollcall (obviously not a very scientific sample) it appeared about 20% canceled.

However after seeing how few there were at the muster drill, in the World Cafe (buffet) and in the Restaurant (the main dining room) I think it may be a higher percentage. No word on an upgraded cabin yet…we had a voice mail stating we could meet with the guest services manager tomorrow between 5 and 7 pm to discuss any “offers”. Hmmmm, I was hoping for a complimentary one. 😢

I purposefully took the picture of Mike to emphasize how empty the room was, there were actually full tables to his right. But typically the room would have been full or close to it at 6:55 when that picture was taken. During our two hours at dinner (great conversation with our neighbors), no one was ever seated at the banquets along the interior wall to his left.

Dinner was tasty as expected-I had the only new dish to us-bacon wrapped plantain on a guava sauce. Very interesting and tasty!

Mustard! lol

Civilized “mustard” drill (we are “Stone Ground” today😂) aboard Viking Sky. Hope we never have to actually participate in a real muster but happy to review the safety procedures each cruise just in case!

Doesn’t seem as crowded as previous so it will be interesting to learn just how full the ship actually is.

Next up, time to sailaway and the weather has cleared!


Landed 10 minutes late so of course no one to operate the jetway so we sat on the plane for another 10 minutes. Our new luggage worked great as it is the largest size that will fit overhead so we were able to go straight to the hotel shuttle area shown above.

Jeez, I had forgotten how hot and humid Miami is 😅

We just got to the Hyatt Place (scored for free on points!) and are soon going to head to bed.

Tomorrow morning to the ship!😁

Almost time!

We are finishing up our packing today and Mike is at the barber getting his old man faux hawk. Lois is taking us to Greensboro airport tomorrow afternoon for our 6:30 pm flight to Miami.

Monday, we met with the flooring people and they had a sample of wood that matches what is already in the entry, dining, and kitchen. We are going to extend it to the rest of the unit except for the bathrooms which are tiled. We then also met with the painter and after reviewing the paint samples Mike had put on the walls earlier, we selected Sherwin Williams “Crushed Ice”. It’s a white that has a little bit of gray to it, it looks good with the existing builder’s beige tile and white trim. We are hoping that the paint and floor will update the condo from it’s early 2000s!

Yesterday was another long day. With the help of Lois’ Danville fireman friend, we loaded up a rental sprinter van with the few things we had stored here in Danville and unloaded them at our new place in Raleigh. After the firemen left, Mike and I got all the kitchen stuff unpacked, run through the dishwasher and into the cabinets. So we are as unpacked as we can be. Doesn’t take a lot when you don’t have much! LOL

We left the little bit of furniture (bed, chair, dining table) in the center of the dining room and kitchen so that while we are gone, the wood floor can be extended . And so it will be out of the painter’s way. Hopefully when we return in May we will be able find some furniture and get settled into our new home.

May? But wait Clay I thought you were going to be gone until June? We got a notice last week from American that our flight home in June had changed and we both read it as saying our first flight from Bilbao to Madrid was leaving late in the afternoon and we would have to overnight in Madrid. On the same day, all the One World partner’s announced a biz class sale from Paris to various places in the US. So we figured we would use the schedule change to cancel and redeposit the award points for our original flight and come back early.

So we are now booked on the same flights that our niece Madison and her friend Katie are on from Paris to Charleston (RDU wasn’t included in the sale). We will spend a few days with my brother and his wife and then take the train to Raleigh.

Unfortunately, either we read the schedule change wrong or it was a mistake originally-the schedule change was actually on our connection from Philadelphia to RDU and would have gotten us back an hour or two earlier. But since corona is playing havoc with airline schedules, we are keeping our fingers crossed that their is another schedule change that allows us to freely redeposit our points. If not then it will cost us $175 and another wasted $160 for the exit row seats we bought. But given the business class seats were only $1,291 each roundtrip we believe it is still a good exchange.

Yes, that’s right, it means we will be headed back to Paris in November and hopefully catching a deal on a cruise back before Christmas. We think we may spent a week or so and visit some Christmas markets in France and Germany. Time will tell what we end up doing.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll stay tuned as we make our third Viking transatlantic cruise!


So as noted in my last post, I’m not going to be able to do blog posts on each of our stops between Vegas in late October and Raleigh in February. Instead I’m going to list our itinerary and include some pictures. Above is a map of our general routing.

10/26 Drive to Las Vegas 1 hours go through red rock canyon.

10/27 Las Vegas 10/28 Drive to Hoover Dam

10/29 Drive to Williams 3.5 hours Motel 6 Williams West. Booked with hotels.com $54

10/30 Drive thru Grand Canyon to 2285 Roadrunner Road Sedona. 2 hours via cameron (loose an hour)

10/30-10/31 Sedona

11/1 -11/3 drive to 2401 E Mabel St Tucson (3:45 hours) and stay with Jeff and Ken

11/4 Drive 4 hours to Las Cruices reserved Drury Inn hotels.com $116 cancelable

11/5 Drive 4 hours to Santa Fe Hyatt, booked with Mike’s Promo

11/9 someplace halfway to Arlington

11/10 -11/11 Dallas

Houston 11/12-11/28 Houston 1100 Augusta Drive 28, Houston, TX 77057,

11/29 Baton Rouge

11/30 Biloxi with Chris and Jen

12/1 Tallahassee

12/2 Winter Park with Barry

12/3 Fort Lauderdale

12/4 – 12/11 Hollan American Veendam

12/12-12/13 Greenville, SC

12/14-12/27 Danville, VA (Mike’s Family) and a weekend in Raleigh

12/27-12/30 Ladson, SC (Clay’s family)

12/31 Richmond,VA – New Years Eve with Frances and Larry

1/1/20-1/27/20 Arlington, Va -Visit with Yost and Sam

1/27-2/23 Raleigh, NC

2/23-3/5 Danville, VA

Beautiful but windy and freezing day at the Grand Canyon
Incredible to see the cave houses on our drive from Sedona to Tucson
Great stay (and desert sunset) in Tucson with Jeff and Ken
Beautiful downtown Santa Fe
The 48oz steak challenge at Big Texan. We elected to watch rather than compete!
Cadillac Ranch on the way to Dallas
Texas BBQ with Karen in Dallas
Visits with Houston friends and a haircut!

Short visit in Beaumont to visit Clay’s aunt and meet her great grandchild
Overnight with Mike’s brother and family in Biloxi
So glad to get some south in our mouth!
Overnight with Clay’s college chum Barry and his family in their just renovated mid century house in Winter Park, Florida
Lunch with Clay’s coworker from our Key West days, Verlie (and her boytoy Sam) on the way to the cruise
Holland America Veendam, our home for a cheap week
Fun in Greenville with longtime friends Klase and Claudia
After 15,466 road miles, 7,986 air miles, 921 train miles and 7,647 nautical miles on ships, we made it back to Danville, Virginia
It was great to have a real kitchen to do some Christmas baking
Visit with Jane at her new place in Raleigh-hard to believe a year ago we spent time with her before Christmas in Kentucky
Fun time seeing a Christmas play in Raleigh
Christmas dinner at Mike’s mom’s
Fun times with Clay’s brother and family after Christmas
New Years Eve in Richmond with Frances (and Larry)
Fun times in the DC area with friends, former coworkers and museums
Great reconnecting with George and Doug in Raleigh
Clay enjoyed Galentines with former Heery coworkers
Fun lunch with Linda while in Raleigh
Cheered the Carolina Hurricanes (hockey) to victory one night
And the perfect snow….Beautiful one day, gone the next!

Just finished packing so once we move our few things into our new place on Tuesday we should be ready to go on Thursday. Hope you’ll tag along. I’ll be trying to post as we go.