Finding our rhythm at sea aboard the Neptune has been easy!
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Finding our rhythm at sea – what do we do with 54 sea days?
The first half of our trip is heavily loaded with sea days. The beginning segment from Ft Lauderdale to Las Angeles is 17 days long. There are five stops and a day transiting the Panama Canal, leaving 11 sea days before we arrive in Los Angeles. After leaving Santa Barbara on the 10th of January, we have a 5-day cruise to Oahu, HI, followed by another five days to French Polynesia (Bora Bora, Morea, and Tahiti) and another four days to New Zealand. So, how do we spend our time during all these sea days?
The choices are numerous as we find our rhythm aboard Neptune.
Ship Board Activities:
In addition to mealtimes, there are many things to occupy your time on board, no matter your interests. It is impossible to do everything that is offered. Here are some of the things available:
Leisurely Activities and Hobbies:
Viking Ocean ships have an outstanding design, providing comfortable places to enjoy various activities. The Atrium is a three-story living area in the ship’s center with an open center and a grand staircase. Various sitting areas around the open center are organized in a living room style with comfortable leather couches and chairs. There are also different game tables spread throughout. Some are electric, allowing players to play Scrabble, Bat Gammon, Texas, Texas Hold’em, and other electronic card games.
Additionally, there are round tables set up around the atrium for people to play cards, scrabble, or work on jigsaw puzzles, all supplied by the ship. If you have some work to do, like writing a blog or catching up on emails, there are many comfortable corners to hide away and get your work done. Right now, I am sitting on the Aft Fantail on deck two with a shaded roof, protected from the wind, listening to the ocean’s churn as we steam north. As I write, I have a 180-degree view of the Pacific but haven’t spotted any whales yet.
To guide your way to finding a rhythm at sea, the Daily Newspaper is printed and delivered the evening before with all the available activities for the day. There are:
- At least four lectures a day on everything from nature, photography, history of the areas we visit, and adventurists such as Mike Dawson, who has successfully rowed across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
- Game activities such as Mahjong and Bridge with Bridge instructions for beginners and intermediates.
- Crafting workshops and gatherings such as knitting, crocheting, and painting.
- Reading: the ship has hundreds, if not over a thousand, carefully curated books tucked in nooks and crannies throughout the ship available to be enjoyed by all.
- Leisure time relaxation: either on the main pool deck, the rear infinity pool deck, or up on the sun deck, where there are more outdoor games available to play. No pickleball, though, which is too bad.
- There is music to listen to day and night in the various lounges like the forward trendy explorers lounge or the atrium.
- Need an afternoon pick me up? Head to high tea at 4 pm in the Wintergarden lounge overlooking the pool deck. Enjoy tea, coffee, and soft drinks while listening to classical music and munching on delicate sandwiches and tasty treats.
- Don’t forget team trivia every day at sea; it is at 12:15 each day in the forward Explorer’s lounge. Bob and I have been so busy we haven’t made it to one yet, and we usually enjoy playing while cruising.
- Baggo competitions are popular on the first floor of the atrium each morning, drawing decent crowds daily. In much of the U.S., Baggo is called corn hole, but Baggo is played with only one target platform.
- The gym and spa area are my favorites. The gym is well-equipped and spacious, and the spa area includes steam rooms, saunas, a Viking snow Room and plunge pools. This takes up about two hours of my day, as well as many others,
- Of course, there are also spa services, such as beauty treatments and massages, which I indulged in and was delighted with the quality of the massage. I’ll be back!
- It is fun to meet other people and learn about their backgrounds and cruise history while doing all these things. Many of these world cruisers are frequent flyers on cruise ships and have been worldwide. Thinking of your next trip, there are probably twenty people on board who can share their experiences wherever you are thinking about going.
- There are two walking/jogging tracks around the ship. Decks 2 and 7 are set up as ¼ mile tracks, so there is no excuse not to get your steps in while enjoying fresh air.
- Not into running, the atrium bar on deck 1 is fully stocked and a favorite place to congregate with others and grab a coffee, snack, soft drink, or cocktail.
Throughout most of the day and evening, there is music playing somewhere onboard.
- Jeno and Geza are a classical duo of pianists and violinists playing daily in the atrium, during High Tea in the Wintergarden, or up in the Explorer’s lounge.
- Sergii is an additional classical pianist who plays around the ships’ lounges at different times.
- After dinner, Jinky and Ralph entertain us with various old and new pop songs, usually found in the Torshavn lounge, until late into the night.
- The Viking Neptune Entertainers are featured most nights in the Neptune Star Theatre. Each night has a different theme, a 50-minute show that includes show tunes, country night, pop songs, and more.
- Viking also brings on guest artists to mix things up weekly. This week, Mike Mentz, a great singer-songwriter, performed several of his songs but also beautifully stylized versions of several cover songs by Springsteen, the Beatles, and even Whitney Houston.
- Last night, Vikings’ famous cruise director, now corporate office superstar Heather Clancy, performed, and wow, she was terrific. Combining her incredible opera voice, great sense of humor, and knack for storytelling, she had the entire crowd on their feet by the end of the evening. We also had a show of Columbian folk dancers on board one evening. So, we never know what entertainment delights are around the corner.
- I can’t forget to mention the fantastic Neptune band playing with all these artists in every musical style, never skipping a beat. They go from operettic classical to rock or country without missing a beat. The pianist Niko is excellent, and the rest of the ban are no slouches. We are glad they will be with us for the entire cruise. These guys had the whole ship booging on New Year’s Eve for hours as all the Viking entertainers took turns keeping us hopping up on the pool deck. It never gets boring to us. We love all sorts of music and appreciate the hard work all the performers put into every performance.
There are several food venues on the ship, where you can get everything from a poolside snack to an elegant tasting menu. One of the nice things about these restaurants is their design. Like the rest of the ship, the design of the restaurants provides a more intimate dining experience wherever you are eating.
The two main restaurants are:
- The Restaurant (Deck 2) is most famous for dinner but sometimes open for lunch and breakfast. The Restaurant is an elegant restaurant with clothed tables and excellent wait staff. Offering a menu with everyone’s favorites on the left side(steak, salmon, chicken) and a daily menu on the right with new dishes every evening. We are free to mix and match from either side of the menu.
- The World Café (Deck 7)– is a casual buffet-style restaurant. This restaurant is also in a U-shape with two servicing areas on each side and a bar in the aft that overlooks the infinity pool area. It accommodates even the busiest rush without too much trouble as their staff keeps our drinks coming and our plates are cleared and always with a smile.
- Manfredi’s is our favorite. There is no need to worry about getting in; people constantly change their minds, so there seem to be openings most nights. We have eaten there three times and have always been delighted with our meal. This is an Italian-themed menu with a daily special fish and pasta. So far, I have had the steak Florentine (excellent), Short ribs (excellent), and chicken parmigiana, which was also great. Bob’s choices have all been delicious as well.
- The Chefs Table features elegant (some say foo foo) tasting menus. The goal of this restaurant is to delight its guests with many different flavors from around the world with interesting pallet cleansing offerings between courses. It stretched our pallets the night we went, but we enjoyed it. The menu seen here was interesting, with the steak being one of the best steaks Bob and I have ever had. Each course is paired with a specific wine, which always puts me in a happy place, but it was lost on Bob, who had his beer and diet coke.
- The gill up on the pool deck. Grab a hamburger, Philly Cheesesteak, Hot dog, fries, salad, Tuna, or other items. All are cooked expertly by one of the chefs.
- Mamsen’s – found on Deck 7 next to the Explorers lounge, offers typical Nordic breakfast treats, sandwiches, and dessert treats: morning, noon, and early afternoon. I have not tried Mamsen’s, but Bob grabbed a snack there one day and enjoyed it.
Room service is available 24/7, which many people take advantage of, especially if they are not early risers. We ordered the other morning for a 6 am delivery before we went fishing. It arrived right on time, hot, and with everything we needed. Note: Be sure to write any subtleties you would like with your menu, such as toppings for oatmeal, condiments, etc.
Need to do some laundry? Every deck with rooms has a launderette with four free washers and dryers, two Ironing boards, and a few laundry baskets. A soap machine dispenses the exact amount of detergent with a button push. They can get busy, especially early in the morning, but I haven’t had any trouble getting our laundry twice. Why did I have to do laundry twice already? Because we are having too much fun and changing three times a day. Gym clothes, casual daytime clothes, bathing suits, and elegant evening clothes for dinner and after-dinner entertainment.
Considering I am not shopping, cooking, or cleaning, I am ok with doing some laundry.
Get into your rhythm: After a day or so, it seems everyone got into their rhythm onboard the Viking Neptune by doing the fun things that interested them.
Bob and I usually have breakfast around 8:30 and hit the gym and spa in the morning. We may sneak in a lecture in the morning if there is one we are interested in. After, we head for lunch in the World Café and often split up in the afternoon. He does a few work calls, and I head off to write somewhere for a few hours. We also may head to the theater for an afternoon or evening lecture before dinner around seven or 7:30ish. On any given day, we may hit one of the pools in the afternoon and snooze, listening to the sounds of the ocean go by.
After dinner, we usually head to the theater to see the evening show, grab a nightcap in one of the lounges, and listen to music.
Ask ten other people, and you’ll get ten different answers: light jogging on the deck in the morning or afternoon, playing bridge, or Mahjaung. The bottom line is there is plenty to do if you are interested and plenty of ways to relax and let the world go by.