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Apr
05

Bring on the April showers! I wrote about 10 Stylish Items That’ll Keep You Dry in a Downpour for USA Today 10Best. Bet you’ll especially love the cute boots and the heart-shaped umbrella!

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shout-out to our viking star family!

Viking Star Lois and captain

Michael and I are still raving about our Grand Mediterranean Tour aboard the Star, Viking’s first ocean cruise ship last month. It was probably the best cruise we’ve ever taken.

Although, obviously, we love to travel, we’re usually ready to come home, especially after being away for 15 days. But, for the first time ever, both of us kept asking how we could stow away for a couple more weeks. We have never felt like that on any cruise before.

A huge part of the credit goes to the amazing crew. Although the ship itself is magnificent, it’s the people who always make or break a trip, and the people on the Star are equally magnificent, starting at the top.

Viking Star Willy balcony

You see that picture of me with the captain, at the top? That was taken on one of the first days when Michael and I couldn’t find our way off the ship for our excursion! The captain saw us wandering and escorted us himself, even thought we’re pretty sure he had more important things to do.

We spent a lot of time talking to the executives with stripes but just as much time with the waiters, housekeepers, hosts and hostesses. We loved hearing their stories and experiences, and there were a couple of days we decided not to leave the ship at all just so we could spend more time with them.

There are a few people, though, I want to give a public thank you to because they made our trip even more special and they deserve to be recognized.

I didn’t take photos of them but the chefs who made sure Michael had incredible vegetarian choices every meal are the true unsung heroes of our trip. Being a vegetarian on a cruise ship is not easy, but they made sure Michael loved everything he ate. So thank you.

Viking Star - Lois, Michael, Yoga

Doesn’t that face — not ours! — just make you happy every time you look at it? Yoga worked at the bar and, although we don’t drink, he did keep us in Diet Cokes when we ate lunch at the pool and he always stopped to chat. Yoga is from Bali and when we told him our son was going there with his girlfriend, he wrote out four pages of places for them to visit and delivered it to our stateroom! And when he found out it was Michael’s 59th birthday, he not only brought over this (notice the light-up candle because you can’t have real ones on the ship!)

Viking Star Michael's birthday Yoga

Viking Star Michael birthday notebut he had the bar crew write him birthday wishes! Michael brought this home and treasures it.

We hope we will visit Bali one day and Yoga will be home for a visit at the same time. He is a thoughtful, generous, kind young man whose smile brightened every day of our cruise.

We’re also hoping to celebrate every single birthday on a Viking Cruise from now on because our wonderful stateroom attendants, Willy and Fernando, also had a surprise for Michael’s big day.

Viking Star - Michael, Willy, Fernando

Willy and Fernando are adorable but they are also really hard workers and they went above and beyond in so many respects. When Michael’s adapter didn’t work, they went and got one for him — and when he lost that one (sigh), they searched until they found it somewhere behind the desk. They warned us early one day that it was supposed to rain heavily that night and suggested we put on our seasick bands preventatively. They were right and, although it was a stormy night — the only one during our two weeks — we slept like babies, rocking along with the ship.

Lois, Willy and Fernando

We loved running into Willy and Fernando throughout the day and I snapped that picture, above, of Willy peeking around the veranda one morning when I knew he was in the next stateroom, cleaning. We miss their cheerful faces and their graciousness.

It must have been fate but one of our favorite people on the ship, Angela, shares a birthday with Michael so we knew there would be a connection. From the minute she welcomed us to tea in the Winter Garden on the first afternoon, we felt right at home. Angela is from Macedonia and we loved talking about poetry with her, among a million other topics. We laughed so much with her, we just hope we didn’t get her in trouble.

Viking Star - Michael and Angela

Angela and I bonded immediately over our infinity jewelry — she has earrings, I have a necklace — and that’s how long we will treasure our Viking Star memories.

Angela and many of our new friends were recruited to launch Viking’s new ocean cruise ship, the Sea, next month — and we hope to join them there. It will be like a big family reunion!

Viking Star Lois and Angela

Comments

  1. How amazing was that. It really is nice when traveling feels like home and having your family around. Viking sounds like an amazing cruise one day I hope to take one.

  2. I totally relate! When we went on our cruise we had a ton of fun with our servers and when it was time to leave we were so sad that we had to say Goodby 🙁

  3. Oh, how much fun to not only go on a fabulous cruise but to get to know the incredible staff. It makes it that much more interesting and fun! Bali? Did someone say Bali? Sigh.

    What a great cruise line. They are the best!

  4. Wow! You two are my heroes. Can I stow way in your bags next time?

  5. I have never been on a cruise….but have thought about it. I get motion sickness so that is a concern for me. However….it certainly looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time. Awesome!!

  6. Oh, how I want to do a Viking cruise to the Christmas markets! This cruise looks fantastic too!

  7. I’ve never been on a cruise, but I’d want one like this! The staff sounds incredible and personal.

  8. Sounds fabulous and a great birthday to remember!

  9. I love to go on cruises. But what I love even more is incredible, knowledgable and friendly staff! It sounds like you had a fantastic time.

  10. The chefs on our cruise were great, too and the maitre d was fantastic with my restrictions. Daily he’d come tell me what I could and couldn’t eat. I was surprised at how personalized the service was.

  11. Oh wow. I have ALWAYS wanted to take a cruise, but it’s just never happened for us. Your experience makes we wish I could run away and hop on that boat right this very minute. So many wonderful memories!

  12. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Getting to know the fabulous staff members must have been the icing on the cake. Those big smiles tell the story!

  13. How awesome is that the crew went above and beyond. I can’t wait to cruise!

  14. I have read many cruise posts before but never one that featured the staff. What a testimony to you and to them. I was super interested to see how much you loved this cruise as my husband and I are considering the same one. Can’t wait to click through and see what else you have written on the ship etc.

  15. How wonderful to experience not only a trip that takes you to so many fabulous places, but to also make such wonderful friends along the way!

  16. Seriously… This cruise sounds so wonderful! When you have great, personal service like this it makes vacationing even more amazing.

  17. I like the way you gave a shout out to so many of the people who helped make your trip enjoyable and special.

  18. That looks like an amazing trip! It’s completely awesome that they ensured Michael had veggie options, too! I hate going places and get told “we have a rabbit food salad that consists of a piece of watery iceberg lettuce and grainy tomato. Would you like that?”

  19. This looks like an amazing cruise and I can’t agree with you more that often it’s the people you run into that make a trip truly memorable. The ship looks great, but it’s the people you meet that make the real memories!

  20. You have sold me. I want to take a trip with my family soon on this ship!

  21. So much fun to not only go on an amazing cruise but to get to know the incredible staff. It makes it that much more interesting and fun!

  22. I know the cruise itself was extremely lovely, but it is also great to see that the wonderful cruise staff made the experience equally enjoyable. I need to start planning on going on a cruise soon.

  23. You just are living the dream. I love it. Can’t wait to see you at Erma! xo

  24. I can’t wait to take this cruise someday. Every post of yours looks amazing. It’s so important to connect with the staff…they can really make or break an experience like this.

  25. Wow, what a fantastic trip! The people you come into contact with truly do make or break your experience. I’m glad that the incredible staff of the Star made your cruise magnificent. It’s sweet of you to give them a shout out. I’ve never been on a cruise, but I hope my first cruise experience is as enjoyable as this one was for you.

  26. People connections are what life is about. It is wonderful that you made so many real connections in a place where authenticity must become difficult after a while, but then, you are such a genuine and real in the moment person, I’m sure you brought out the best. I just may decide to do this type of stuff – one day.

  27. What a fun vacation. I want to take a cruise so incredibly bad! Looks like a blast, glad you were able to find your way off the boat

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