Friday, August 28, 2009

Voyage of the Vikings, Day 35 - At Sea, Bound for Boston

Up late, at 7:30 (6:30 after setting the clock back. Continuing to steam for Boston at 14 knots. Skies overcast (a for-runner of hurricane Dennis, or just local weather?), wind somewhere at 8 knots. Calm sea, the kind we prayed for on summer weekends in southern New England.

I didn't catch our geologist speaker's pitch a few days ago on Inuit culture, so I watched a bit of it on channel 29 before going up for first breakfast.

8am, relaxing in the Lido over a cup of coffee, while reviewing our shipboard account. Prior to embarkation each passenger must register a valid credit card. The cruise company immediately places a $1000 hold on this card, to cover anticipated shipboard charges.

It's hard to believe how we could accumulate over $1100 in charges, just sitting watching the world spin by. Most of it ($770) is the $22 per day daily gratuity for the help. Why this is levied as a separate charge, instead of being built into the overhead, is a mystery to me. Tradition, I guess. Most of the rest is Kathy's daily drink, plus a few miscellaneous charges such as SD cards and Internet service.

It's a constant battle to keep from charging stuff to the room. They make is so easy! The most egregious example is the opportunity to charge as much as $1000 per day in the casino. I haven't investigated their policy, but it is my guess that they check your registered credit card limit at embarkation, and cut your gambling off at that limit. I must report that Kathy has been scrupulously careful about this booby trap. It's not easy for her, because she loves to gamble so much.

8:30 and the southern tip of Nova Scotia is in view on the far horizon.

1pm. Our morning was filled with fun activities like a disembarkation lecture, and a session on backing up and sorting photos.


Room Boys Displaying Towel Creatures


Deck Crew Wishing Us a Fond Farewell


Proper Way To Fold A Napkin

(What Everyone Needs To Know) NOT!

Wind is variable at 3 knots, seas placid. This is the calmest I have seen on this trip. The skies have cleared for a bit, so Keith ran out and took a photo.


“Blue Skies, Nothing But Blue Skies, Do I See”

Lunch was a mixed theme buffet by the pool, featuring carved lamb accompanied by a diversity of ethnic dishes. All topped off with an excellent blackberry - blueberry crumble, a la mode.

The kitchen staff also displayed their creative and artistic talents with food.


Eiffel Tower Crafted With White Chocolate


Bread Artist Displays His Masterpiece


Bread Animals


Fruit Artists Display Their Skills


This Watermelon Looks Just Too Good To Eat

Our captain was just on to announce that Denny has spluttered out, and is no longer a hurricane. Our next question is, will we be able to get home before it rains.

This afternoon promises to be the most fun we have had so far. It's time to pack. Our luggage must be outside the cabin by 1am tonight. Not wishing to stay up that late, we shall pack this afternoon, except for the carry-ons.

4pm, all packed, and in the Crow’s Nest for Kathy's daily double. Except it won't be a double today, since we are not in port. Must run. Kathy is expecting me to play cards and chitchat with her, and she is worth the effort.

7pm, our last supper aboard is done, and Keith is showered & in bed. Kathy is in the library puzzling, and e-mailing. We are meeting the pilot boat at 4:30am tomorrow morning. Keith hopes to be in the Crow's Nest for the sail-in. I hope it's not raining. The weather here, 130 miles east of Boston, is starting to cloud over and look threatening. Wind is still light at 8, so the ride continues smooth.

Stay tuned.


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hari narayan said...

During a ski holiday, don't catch a cold, catch a warm ski lodge instead.

The Italian slopes are also a great alternative if you enjoy skiing. And like a wise traveller, you must also book an accommodation in advance to better maximize your time in the Italian slopes.

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Travel around

Airline flight times are a little longer contrary to other Alpine locations. Milan St Moritz, Turin and Bergamo can be contacted within just two hours, Venice and Brescia take a little longer. Even so transfer mileage to most ski resorts to help you still get through to your ski accommodation in under 5 - 6 hours from the UK. Ski transfer companies are readily accessible at all air terminals. Most often (if you don't drive to Courmayeur), driving a car will be a less helpful option. Car route times is often as long as 14 - 16 hours based upon your ski vacation destination in Italy.

Ski Housing in Italy

Italy happens to be identified for great catered accommodation and fine foodstuff. In Italy there's a simple good mixture of hotels and ski chalets and several living spaces. You will discover minimal purpose-build blocks and discover mostly demand a small stroll or a ski bus to go to ski lift and ski slopes. Italy is also endowed with awesome historic hotels, many boasting substantial terraces that you can like your lunch or apres-ski under the sun. Many of the so-called Pensions (larger B&Bs) recently improved to hotel standard, adding fitness services along the way. Catered ski lodging in Italy quite often comes with impressive cooking. Italian cuisine and in particular the various pasta meals are the ultimate skiing diet.


There are several well known ski areas in Italy and many very large interconnected ski areas like the Milky Way composed of Cesana, Claviere, Sansicario, Sauze d'Oulx and Sestriere and presenting 400km of piste. The Dolomites Super Ski Area comprising Selva Val Gardena, Val Di Fassa, Folgarida, Madonna di Campiglio, Alta Badia, Arraba, Alleghe and Cortina has more than 1200 kms of pistes, but not all interlinked. Regardless of whether you're a skiing newbie or a professional skier, you will in all probability acquire slopes to cater for your needs.

Ski Housing Expense

Ski accommodation in Italy is usually good value and mostly more cost effective than neighbouring France, Austria and Switzerland. Very cheap cost preference is frequently other possible traditional exclusive B&Bs and Pensions delivering half-board deals. Eating out is not high-priced and fine Italian food is easily available in many of the conventional eateries and mountain refuges. If you have dinner out at night you will need to budget £15 for dinner, £4 for a pint and £2 for a soft drink.

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There are other ski destinations indeed, but to ski in Italy and to savour the food and ambiance of the country is more than enough to give the Italian slopes a try.