A very special lady….
Day 18/138; 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise
L.A.! 5am this morning.
And why were we up at 5am to look at this ugly port? Because the ship had stopped moving! Both of us woke up when the ship was no longer rolling along. It is funny how the motion of the ship, or lack thereof, has affected both of us.
The port got a bit prettier or at least the sunrise at 6:50am today, made it look prettier. I have never seen so many cranes and cargo containers ever in one place! Since the Port of Los Angeles is the largest port in the U.S. with 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles, it is no wonder, that all I could see in every direction was cranes, ships and containers. At least we are on the port side of the ship so we had a view of the port, instead of the view of the cruise terminal at dock 93.
Since we had to be up early, at least we woke up without the alarm! We had pre-ordered room service breakfast, so that we could be off the ship by 7:45am for U.S. Customers & Border Protection immigration, and then we were on the free shuttle bus with about 7 other people from the port to the Aquarium of the Pacific at 8:20am. Nothing was open of course, but I had a call at 9am I needed to be set up for, so being out in the fresh air early in L.A., was fine.
It was nice to have the shuttle bus provided by Viking to get us out of the port area and closer to shopping and sightseeing.
Our drop off spot but we had not planned to spend any time at the Aquarium today.
Luckily I had a great bench to wait on before taking my 9am call. You know what they say don’t you? “Life is like a box of chocolates!”
While Richard was trying to get through to our Canadian phone provider Rogers to let them know yet again that we were not taking phone calls on our cell phones for the next few months, I called a Lyft to take us to a shopping mall where we needed to re-think our wardrobe and pick up some fresh supplies. The good part about doing the first 17 days of the ‘World Cruise’, is realizing what you should have brought but didn’t, and are in a big enough city to rectify the situation. I had not brought enough long sleeve shirts to wear during the day and long sleeve sweaters/casual sweaters and enough long sleeved dresses for evenings. The ship is cool inside and I had packed for mostly warm shore excursions, instead of days at sea where its nice to be cozy with a hoodie on or to wear a long sleeved top. Being athletic, I prefer t-shirts instead of fancy tops, but I did not have enough long sleeved things, so going to Dick’s where they have the beautiful Calia line of athletic clothing, helped me solve some of my clothing dilemmas today.
We were headed to the Los Cerritos Center for some shopping. We had been googling yesterday to try to find a spot that might have a new Sunday golf bag for Richard, as well as a mall that had some decent clothing stores, and a nearby pharmacy. Luckily we found everything we needed around Los Cerritos Center.
The only problem was we were early and the mall didn’t open ’til 11am, but luckily Dick’s Sporting Goods opened at 10am and we only had to wait for 10 minutes before it opened. We spent an hour in Dick’s and asked them to hold our purchases for later and then proceeded to shop the rest of the mall, have some lunch in the food court, and then walked to Target which had a CVS in it, walked back to Dick‘s and bought the clothing and golf bag and then called a Lyft back to the Aquarium. PHEW! What a tiring day. Our Lyft driver got a bit lost getting us to the Aquarium, but we were able to help him find it and when we arrived, there was a shuttle waiting to take us the 25 minutes back to the Neptune.
The new Maxfli ’Sunday’ bag at Dick’s today in L.A.
Today was a very special day! A very special lady in our lives was having her 91st birthday! And of course the Viking Neptune naming ceremony was taking place too! My mother in law, Shirley Hotte turned 91 today! Happy Birthday Shirley! We are sorry we cannot be there to celebrate with you in person, but I know you read the blog every day to keep track of us, so we raised a glass to your good health today!
We arrived back at the ship with all of our purchases, went through the port security screening and when we arrived in our cabin we found a beautiful booklet prepared by Viking to commemorate the “Viking Neptune” naming ceremony. The name ’Neptune’ is inspired by the cosmos of course and Neptune was originally the god of fresh water, with the ancient Romans believing that Neptune was the god of the sea. Neptune is regarded as the planet of spirit, mysticism and imagination. We also learned that the Neptune’s ceremonial godmother would be Nicole Stott, veteran NASA astronaut, aquanaut, and artist. How exciting!
Viking Neptune’s new godmother!
We showered, changed and got ready to head up to Deck 7, the pool deck,where we had heard the giant screen would be showing the naming ceremony live at 5pm.
We were treated to live entertainment by violinist Tor Jaran Apold, along with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres while we waited for 5pm and the special ceremony to begin.
The high top tables all had beautiful fresh flowers tonight on the pool deck.
As you can see from this pano, there was standing room only in the Wintergarden, and pool deck as we waited for 5pm and the Naming Ceremony, which also coincided with sunset this evening.
All dressed up for the special celebration this evening! We knew when we booked the 2022/2023 World Cruise back in December 2020 that we would be sailing on the brand new Viking Neptune ship, but never in our wildest imagination did we ever think we would be at the naming ceremony of the Neptune! What a cool opportunity for us as we embark on the World Cruise today with the fellow World Cruisers. A small bone of contention for us, since we all thought we were embarking on a World Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, but because the Ft. Lauderdale to L.A. section of the cruise was sold as a segment to ~330 people, the ‘real’ world cruise only starts today when we picked up our L.A. World Cruisers.
Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking giving a speech before the official Naming Ceremony and letting us know that this past Friday was the biggest booking day for Viking cruises ever!
Sissel Kyrkjebo is a Norwegian soprano who is godmother of the Viking Jupiter, holding the microphone for the Viking to explain how the axe is to be used in the naming ceremony.
The naming ceremony took place with Nicole Stott bringing down the axe on the red ribbon to cut the ribbon, so the bottle of aquavit could be broken against the Neptune’s hull. Aquavit - a Scandinavian spirit whose name is fittingly derived from the Latin term ‘aqua vitae’ or ‘water of life‘, over the bow, rather than a bottle of Champagne. Using Aquavit is yet another twist that set’s Viking’s naming ceremonies apart from other cruise lines. My video of the Naming Ceremony will not load to the bog, so I will post it on Facebook for you to watch.
Karine Hagen, daughter of Torstein Hagen, is the EVP of viking and she closed out the ceremony today by introducing Sissel to sing for the audience, as well as to thank Nicole Stott for being Viking’s godmother. Karine is wearing the traditional Norwegian national costume called the ‘bunad’. Bunad’s are considered formal wear and are worn on festive celebrations. Usually the ‘bunad’ one wears differentiates what part of the country one’s family originates from.
So we had two special ladies honoured today and now we are off to sea. Our original next port of Santa Barbra has been cancelled due to bad weather, so we now have 6 long sea days ahead of us. I think we will be busy though given we just on-boarded a whole bunch of new guest lecturers and there seems to be more activities planned for us now that we are really on a World Cruise leaving L.A.
And so it begins and I couldn’t think of a better person to sail around the world with other than my loving husband Richard! We’ve dreamed of this cruise for over 2 years and now it is a reality. Bring it on! We’re ready to explore new unusual places and seek out and enjoy exciting adventures all over the world!