Since our last post on “fake news,” we sailed on to Bali, where we were assured that because everyone had passed the previous health screening, we would be allowed to disembark. After being turned away in Semarang and Surabaya, Java, we were excited about the prospect of spending three beautiful days in Benoa. Upon arrival, we anchored off this southern port and awaited the “All Ashore.” Several hours later, as we continued to wait, we were informed that the governor and representatives of the health department were meeting with staff from the US, Canadian, and several other consulates; leadership from Viking; and others to reconsider our fate. Just before dinner, after waiting around all day, we were notified that if all 1300+ passengers and crew passed yet another screening, we would be able to disembark. So throughout the dinner hour, we were summoned to the theater floor by floor. And once again, miraculously NOT ONE temperature…a testament to all of our nurse pals who have forever been telling us to “WASH YOUR HANDS!” We went to bed not knowing if the Balinese authorities were going to make good on their word. At 7:00 am, we learned that we would, in fact, be able to go ashore in Bali, and all of our excursions would proceed as planned. We were also warned that the media would be there, as this had become big, if fake, news. The paparazzi, wearing masks, were lined up with cameras at the ready.
As all of this was going on, guests and crew were making a difficult decision. While some passengers were scheduled to disembark (originally in Hong Kong, but now in Bali), Viking had offered the rest of us a refund of the balance of the cost of the cruise as well as a future cruise credit to compensate for the missed ports. Crew were also given an option to disembark if they had concerns. The other big question among passengers was how Viking planned to screen new passengers and crew scheduled to board in Bali, and later in Mumbai.
Early on Sunday, before our tours began, we were called to a meeting. On stage were Viking Sun Captain Lars Kjeldsen, General Manager Norbert Tesch, Cruise Director Beven Addinsall, and Viking Operations Director Karl Eckert, who traveled to Bali to help with the situation. Rumors were flying around the room, as passengers speculated on what they might have to say.
Their message was clear and concise. They thanked everyone for their full cooperation and understanding during this difficult time, and reiterated their sincere concern for the guests and crew on board. They informed us that Viking is offering the remaining guests and crew the opportunity to remain on board for a cruise “from Bali to somewhere!” Although additional passengers were scheduled to board in Bali and Mumbai, they had been notified that they would not be joining the cruise, as Viking had no way of assuring their health status. And they gave guests and crew one last chance to disembark. While about 400 guests got off the ship, we decided to stay and enjoy the adventure.
So as it stands, we’re not sure how many will be on board…we’re not sure where we’re going…and today everyone who’s staying is calling the Viking Sun our “private yacht!” This, we were told, will be the first and only time Viking will do this, but it’s being done with our health and well being at the forefront of their decision making, and we are grateful for that. These leaders also gave great kudos to the crew, who have been incredible throughout. As we reflect on how this could have been handled, we realize we’re witnessing great leadership at work. Viking is doing the right thing for the right reasons.
So we’re fine… everyone on board is fine…and we hope you’ll continue to follow our journey. As one dear friend said, “You wanted an adventure!” And adventure is what we’re getting! Today’s daily bulletin says “Welcome to the Viking World Magical Mystery Tour! Bali to Somewhere!”🤣
But for today, we’re off to enjoy another day in Bali.