Cruise day 61 – Mar 5
By the time you read this we’ve returned to Arizona cutting short our World Wonders Cruise. It basically fell apart as far as the destinations we wanted to see – although Viking Sun is continuing with no planned itinerary. The World Health Organization has just declared Covid 19 a global pandemic and President Trump declared a National Emergency. This post is a bit stale, but it details the last few days of our cruise before we decided it was time to bug out.
What a mess. The Coronavirus situation is beginning to take a toll on the ship’s staff and the passengers. After delays at our stop at Komodo Island, where everyone on the ship had their temperatures taken (all were normal) and folks going ashore were required to wear masks, you’d think the process would be streamlined at Semarang, our next port stop. We’d just have our temperatures taken as we disembarked for our tours as we were told the previous afternoon, right? Wrong!
We were notified late the night before that everyone on the ship would have to fill out a Health Status Card and get their temperature taken BEFORE the ship could dock. This created an hours-long delay and forced the cancellation of all excursions. Passengers had to be ready for their checks at 6:30am, but the Indonesian “officials” were over an hour late and the checks took a couple more hours. Everyone got a clean bill of health, and the officials never even looked at the health cards we had filled out. Oh well, at least we could go ashore now, right? Wrong!
With nothing else to do while waiting to see if we’d be able to go ashore, Mona Liza decided to try some martini’s she’d heard about:
The ship sat near the port all day as the dysfunctional Indonesian government discussed whether to let us come ashore. Because of social media, we had been branded us possibly having the virus from pictures taken while we were at Komodo Island wearing masks, as they had required. This was our first time actually being part of fake news – how exciting! The final verdict? No entry. After making us fill out the cards and get the temperature checks – which proved for the second time that nobody onboard had the virus – we were refused entry!
Viking, however, was able to negotiate a docking for fuel and supplies only – nobody could enter or leave the ship. Very unfortunate for crew members who had family and friends on shore waiting to meet them after months of separation. This was apparently a decision made by the mayor of the city, and the mayor of Surabaya (our next stop) was of the same opinion so that port was canceled as well. Oh well, maybe we’ll visit Indonesia and spend our tourist dollars someday after all of this blows over, right? Wrong!
We feel sorry for the Viking Sun crew, which has worked so hard day and night to keep up with all of the changes to make the passengers comfortable and happy. None of this is Viking’s fault in any way, but it’s unfortunate for everyone. Semarang and Surabaya knew we were coming and they could have made some decisions about whether we’d be allowed ashore before we sailed in and sat all day, right? Wrong!
We were disappointed by all of the waiting and uncertainty, but at least there was some great entertainment to uplift our spirits as we sailed away:
The next night we enjoyed a hilarious game of “The Liar’s Club”, with Bethan (Viking vocalist), Beven (cruise director) and Himanshu (restaurant manager) as the liars:
We began two days at sea for our next (and major) destination at Bali, Indonesia. Now we were getting a bit apprehensive about how things would go there, as hundreds of people were scheduled to disembark the cruise and many others were set to join. We’ll see how it goes on day 63, our arrival at Bali!