World Wonders Cruise Diary – Day 41 – Brisbane, and Major Itinerary Changes

Cruise day 41, Feb 14

Another fairly rough night at sea due to big swells and big winds (it’s getting old) had us arriving at another big city, Brisbane (pronounced Brisbin).  The approach to the dock was long and slow, as it’s located several miles up the Brisbane River from where it meets the Coral Sea.

Brisbane skyline viewed from the approaching Viking Sun

Brisbane Panorama Tour –

This was a 3-hour scenic motorcoach ride that showed off the downtown area, historic sights and the river before taking us to the top of Mount Coot-Tha for a panoramic view of Brisbane and its suburbs.  From our perch at 755′, we saw the path of the Brisbane River which winds through the metropolitan area like a ribbon.  It was evident that the city has worked hard to create contemporary architectural masterpieces that co-exist nicely alongside old heritage buildings.

The Mansion, ca 1889

St. Anthony’s Cathedral

With a population of close to 2.4 million people, we spent our time checking out the young and vibrant crowd that keep hundreds of restaurants and other businesses up and running.  The number of huge high-rise apartment buildings here rivaled those we’ve seen in several major U.S. cities.

The Wheel of Brisbane. If we only had more time…

School girls in their chic-looking uniforms

Banyan trees lined many streets

Brisbane River winding through the city on its way to the sea

At the end of the tour we returned to the downtown area where folks could disembark for some shopping and dining, or stay on the bus for a ride back to the ship as we did.

We had our Valentine’s Day dinner out on the ship’s deck, where we watched a nice sunset in perfect weather.  We had Blue Eye Cod for the first time, and it was excellent.  Afterward I stayed up late with Mona Liza to attend a concert in the ship’s theater that featured a violinist (it was just OK), then off to bed for another night of rocking and rolling on the high seas – thankfully a bit more tame this time!

Blue Eye Cod checking us out

These grill-guys dished up some tasty cod!

A Major Itinerary Change

Unfortunately, our dinner was interrupted by an important announcement from the captain (uh-oh).  For the safety of passengers and crew, Viking was scrapping all of its Southeast Asia stops – Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Singapore – in addition to the already canceled ones at China and Hong Kong.  Missing 14 great ports is obviously very disappointing not only for passengers but also for the many crew members who had made plans to meet with family and friends in those countries.

The Coronavirus mess is obviously beyond Viking’s control, and they are suffering a financial and logistical nightmare on this trip.  So far the changes have added a stop at New Caledonia (Viking’s first time there), then a journey back to Cairns and Townsville, Australia.  Several more stops will be moved around as well, in an attempt to get us to Bali, Indonesia on time for the hundreds of passengers originally scheduled to disembark in Hong Kong to do so in Bali.

A few days later passengers received a generous compensation package for all of the missed stops, and an offer to reimburse people who want to leave the cruise early.  Even in this tough situation, the  Viking Cruise line continues to come through, and for sure we’ll use the compensation to book a future cruise with them.

 



 

10 Comments »

  1. That is a stunning photo but it is also stunning how affected this tour has become. Stay safe above all else. You are both intrepid travelers and I know that you will make good decisions as you go forward. Thinking of you both.

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  2. Thanks for the post about Brisbane. It looks like another great Aussie city. Our big-city faves in Oz were Sydney and Canberra. We didn’t make it north to Queensland.

    We, too, wondered how COVID-19 was affecting your cruise. I hope you don’t have too many more big changes, but glad they’re looking out for you.

    Wish we could have done the koala-holding experience!

    Take care.

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  3. Love the photo of Bisbane from above. Such vibrant colors. So sorry to heat about your cruise changes. John and I were wondering what was going to happen to your cruise with the continuous spreading of the virus. Sure hope you are able to continue with the rest of the cruise beyond the cancelled stops.

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  4. So sorry about all the changes in your itinerary. I’m glad to hear Viking is doing what they can to make up for the inconvenience. I hope you will enjoy all the new stops and there are calm seas in you future.

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  5. We really enjoyed what we saw of Brisbane … which wasn’t much because we went to the Koala preserve … took a taxi to get there and then came back by boat … it was a fantastic outing. Alas Coronavirus is wreaking havoc with many-a-cruise line. Several have announced changes. Oceania canceled the segments on the last 3 months of its world cruise with full refunds for those who had booked just segments. They will continue to cruise the world cruise with a completely new itinerary. Those who booked the full 6-month world cruise have the option of canceling the second half or continuing with the new itinerary … with generous compensation either way. I’m just glad we canceled the 2020 cruise when we bought the house and don’t have to deal with this whole thing. Now, fingers crossed Europe gets no worse than it already is with the outbreak in Italy.

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  6. That is a huge change in your itinerary, but it’s good that Viking is putting the well-being of their passengers and crew ahead of financial considerations. They really do seem like a stellar cruise line, in every regard. I know you guys must be disappointed about missing some of your planned stops, but just like with other challenges you’ve faced in life, you make the best of every situation. That photo of you two is fabulous!

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