Our Anniversary Cruise - 2022: Part 1

Did you like that title? I did. But it is a bit deceiving, and you will discover why as you keep reading. I'm dedicating the next few Thursday posts to the cruise that Linda and I took last month. We took a Viking Ocean cruise from New York City (New York City!!!!) to Montreal, via Boston and a few other ports of call (just wait). This was to be our 50th anniversary cruise.

But wait! There's more. I want to give you some family cruise history first. Then, I'll talk about the ship and the differences between the three lines on which we've cruised, Carnival, Holland America, and Viking. Then, I'll talk about the shipboard experience and, finally, the cruise itself. So, please stick with me here. You may learn something about cruising that you didn't know. Maybe you, too, will be inspired to cruise. There are cruises from 3-day Cruises to Nowhere to 160-day cruises around the world.

We took our first cruise in 2010. Some friends put together a party-of-eight for a seven-day cruise from Norfolk to the Bahamas and back. Since it was from our home city and not terribly expensive, we went for the experience. We sailed on the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Glory. I won't regale you with that cruise except to say too much food, too much entertainment, and too damned many passengers, 2980 from 6 to 60. But it was our first cruise – and our last on the party ships.

Our second cruise was to be a part of the celebration of my brother and sister-in-law's fiftieth wedding anniversary. In 2014, we met Fred and Carolyn and their extended family in Alaska and did a self-designed land tour from Seward to Denali National Park. At the end of that wonderful week, we boarded a Holland America ship for a return to Vancouver, BC. We flew from there to Toronto and home. This ship had a thousand fewer passengers and many less entertainment venues and restaurants. The cruise through the inland waterway of Alaska was memorable.

We kind of liked cruising, so in 2018 we selected a European river cruise on a line that specialized more in the destination and cultural experience than in the wining and dining experience. We flew to Amsterdam and boarded the Viking Ili, a narrow ship with about 100 passengers, especially designed to cruise the shallow and twisting European waterways. Now, you're talking. Viking is recognized as the number 1 line in this venue. We sailed up close and personal to the historic cities along the Rhine. I even had the opportunity to meet a high school friend that I had not seen since 1967. His life had led him to become a music professor at the University of Koln. We brought home tulip bulbs from the Netherlands that bloom in our yard each spring.

So, when it came time to find the right way to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in 2021, we chose another Viking Cruise, this one The East Coast Explorer with port calls in New York, Boston, Halifax, Gaspe', Saguinay, Quebec City, and Montreal. At the very least, we would see Nova Scotia and dine on authentic poutine in Quebec.

And herein lies the tale of our anniversary cruise; a tale of pandemic, disappointment, and opportunity; of a once-in-a-century storm, of ports lost and others gained, and of extra days at sea and unexpected days in port. This was a cruise like no other we'd ever had or ever wanted to repeat. That is the subject of the next few Thursday posts. I hope you will read on.

Blogger's Note: If you have questions about the lines or cruises, don't hesitate to comment or email me. I'm happy to discuss them. Cruising is a special way of seeing the world.

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Thursday, 07 December 2023