TRAVEL THERE: MY SAILING COMPANIONS ON VIKING TOR
Our first cruise was our honeymoon. We sailed around the Hawaiian Islands on a line that no longer exists. It gave us taste for cruising that hasn’t gone away, but our first moments in Hawaii made us very nervous. When we climbed aboard the bus to the boat terminal, it looked as if we’d caught the wrong bus. Surely all those people with canes, wheelchairs and oxygen tanks were on their way to the hospital, not to a cruise! Come to find out, we were on the right bus and once we were aboard the ship, the wheel chairs and oxygen tanks melted into the general population of passengers.
On our last ocean cruise, the geriatric set was also in proportion, but we wondered where the beautiful people had disappeared to. Apparently Norwegian had corralled them behind the walls of The Haven. We’re not the suite sort, but we also felt a little out of place among the 30 million screaming kids and a large contingency from OUfFWG (Overeaters United for Further Weight Gain). We kept reminding ourselves that diversity is good, but we also wanted a few more people from our team to show up. I’m not exactly sure what to call our team. Maybe MBSK (Mature But Still Kicking)? Or Thirty Something Plus?
Viking Had Our Team
From the moment we boarded the Viking Tor Longship, we felt at home. Diversity was immediately evident. Though the primary language was English, you could also hear a polyglot of other languages. Skin colors ranged from Nordic Pale to nearly black. However, throughout the week I noticed the darkest passengers seemed more Indian than African. There were zero kids. The youngest person I met was either late twenty-something or early thirty-something. I didn’t ask. I just guessed. The oldest was in her nineties.
I’d say about 70% of the passengers were hetrosexual couples. Most of the other people I met were various groups of women traveling together – either friends on a girls trip or multi-generational family groups. I didn’t meet everyone and certainly didn’t quiz anyone about their sexual preferences.
There were blind people, wheelchair-bound people, people with walkers or canes and one lady whose hair was growing back in after some sort of brain surgery. The woman growing her hair didn’t like to walk and was just taking the cruise for the benefit of her husband. The cruise staff made every effort to accommodate handicaps of any sort. In each city there was an “easy” walking tour to facilitate anyone who wanted to enjoy the tour but was worried about hampering the progress of other passengers.
Our Best Cruise Buddies
Usually in the mornings Bill and I made a point of finding someone new to sit with for breakfast. Most of those encounters were very pleasant and we enjoyed the acquaintance of several groups through our endeavors. One morning we bombed out completely. I think we inadvertently interrupted a couple having a disagreement, but didn’t realize it. When we asked to join them they welcomed us to the table. There just wasn’t very much said after that.
We’d also crowd hop in the evenings when the passengers met in the lounge. On the first evening, we ran into someone we’d seen in the airport in Frankfurt. They ended up being our best cruise buddies. I was excited when we met them in the airport, because they were from one of our favorite places, Oregon. They were there with some of their best friends and the six of us really bonded.
The couples, Deb & Mike and Gwen & John were traveling together to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversaries, which were only a few days apart. The girls had know each other for an even longer period of time. We were roughly in the same age group and shared many of the same interests. As the days passed, the friendship grew and I hope we’ll be friends for ever.
I’ve used up all my words today. Come back next week and we’ll talk about the food and beverage service.