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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Step away…step away!

Day 12/138; 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise

With very spotty internet service on the Neptune it was very difficult to get the blog published last evening, but when everyone went to sleep, the bandwidth seemed to improve, and I was finally able to get the blog published. So why don’t we have Starlink all the time I asked myself?

If you look closely at the map above, the light and medium blue areas are where Starlink is functioning, but the darker blue areas on the map will not have Starlink internet reception until Q1 2023; which technically is the quarter in which we are in. Last evening we were off the coast of Guatemala which did not have Starlink coverage, so the Neptune relies on its ‘old internet technology’, in periods where the Starlink does not work. It looks like there will be long periods of time where our internet coverage will be very spotty after we leave Santa Barbra and head towards Hawaii and French Polynesia. As long as I am able to pull up the Wix website to work on the blog, I will still write the blog and publish later in the day, if possible.

Yesterday being New Year’s Day, the Viking Neptune put on an amazing New Year’s Sunday brunch from 9am - 2pm in the World Cafe on Deck 7. The delicious food and beautiful presentation and display of food really enticed us to dig into the buffet. This is where on a 138 day World Cruise you just have to say to yourself “Step Away…Step Away!” There will be food again in the evening, and tomorrow and the next day and just because the beautiful New Year’s buffet looks so wonderful, it doesn’t mean we eat until excess.

Spoiler alert…this presentation of food will have you drooling!

A welcome sign made out of bread!

Look at the artwork in this carving of a watermelon and the little panda bears made out of rice!

On the other side of the buffet a fish was carved into the watermelon and the creatures accompanying the fish were little rice and nori penguins!

Welcome 2023!

Freshly made sushi and lots of different varieties to try too!

Look at this spread of homemade goodies! Everything imaginable from the ship’s best pastry chefs.

White and milk chocolate pinwheels.

Look at the detailing in those croissants, and the donuts and French pastries….to die for!

Very special desserts too! So beautifully presented.

Look at the detailed chocolate work on this chocolate dipped salted strawberry! YUMMY!

Look at the detail on that tart with the gold leaf on top of the raspberry!

Cake pop anyone?

Chef De Cuisine Prasan Suvarn who was responsible for yesterday’s New Year’s Eve buffet! Chef is also responsible for The Chef’s Table where we have enjoyed 3 delightful meals as well.

We were both really good yesterday choosing to ‘step away…step far, far away‘ from the buffet, knowing there would be another fabulous meal last evening.

For some fun yesterday at 2:30pm Viking had Cruise Director Bruce and his team put on a mini golf competition on Deck 9, the Sports Desk. A lot of people decided to join in on this fun event.

Richard was very cruise stylish in his lightweight Columbia shirt at the mini golf competition. Since it averages 81F on this cruise, lightweight breathable short sleeve shirts are perfect for cruising.

I brought my own putter to the competition, as we brought our golf clubs on the cruise and plan to play golf all over the world!

I finished in 2nd place with 6 points. “The first of the losers” as Richard likes to say. Once person had a hole in 1 on the first hole and only ended up with 5 points. It was a lot of fun nonetheless and the winner got a bottle of sparkling wine delivered to their room. With the Silver Spirits beverage package which each of us World Cruisers is on, sparkling wine is already included in our beverage package!

After trying to write the blog with spotty internet, last evening we watched an enrichment lecture on live stream in our cabin by Mr. Bob Wallace, on “Citizen Spies”. Mr Wallace is a retired senior intelligence officer who served in the CIA from 1971-2003. His field assignments included that of case officer and Chief of Station. He was the Office Director of the CIA’s Technical Service in 1998. During his time at the Office of Technical Services scientists developed systems for agents and case officers to communicate with each other using secret writing, short-range radio, microdots, subminiature cameras and satellites. They designed and built audio bugs, telephone taps, and surveillance systems. They also made tracking devices, weapons, disguises and fake documents, and conducted experiments in character assessment and even ’thought control. In other words Bob was the “Q” from the James Bond series, except he did it for the CIA.

Mr. Wallace provided us a list of very good books on spying which I think I will see if I can reserve some of them from my local library back home to read on this journey, on my kindle.

After our dinner in the World Cafe last evening we wanted to take a walk on Deck 2, the Promenade Deck, to burn off some calories before the evening‘s special entertainment which we wanted to see live in the Star Theatre. We started walking around the deck and just before we had done a complete lap of the ship (1/4 mile), we found a stowaway! Imagine! We weren’t sure where this stowaway got on board or where it was heading, but we knew it didn’t live in any cabin on the ship! Our stowaway was hanging upside down on the front of the ship, protected from the wind and the waves.

I have tried to identify our little stowaway but unfortunately I don’t have the bandwidth to download or use a butterfly id app. So if anyone can let me know what type of butterfly this is, that would be appreciated. It was kind of neat to stumble upon a butterfly onboard miles out at sea because all we are seeing lately is sea birds.

We were excited to enjoy last evening‘s entertainment from a fellow Canadian who now resides in San Diego. Viking has done an excellent job of bringing fantastic entertainers onboard on this segment of the World Cruise, which for some passengers is actually only an 18 day segment from, Ft Lauderdale to L.A. Docking at ports where the entertainers can arrive and depart from, allows Viking to book the entertainer for 2 shows in a 5 day period for example, and then the entertainer leaves in the next port of call.

Roy Tan was an amazing virtuoso pianist and the ‘Soundtrack’ show was outstanding! One of my favorite songs is the theme from the movie Forest Gump, called ‘The Forest Gump Suite’ and Roy played this score as one of his numbers. It sure will be boring when we head home in May and are back to trying to figure out which Netflix series we are watching after having our daily dose of entertainment served up to us on the Viking Neptune every night at 9:15pm in the Star Theatre!

We are learning some restraint after less than 2 weeks onboard. We both went to the gym again this morning and after our gym session, we couldn’t find a restaurant open since we had slept in a bit. Luckily we didn’t really need a big breakfast so the Living Room on Deck 1 always has some pastries and muffins available so we grabbed a couple of these to eat in our room before trivia.

Spending time in the gym is really the only way to keep enjoying this cruise and ensuring our clothes still fit us!! I still think we will be making a trip to some stores in L.A. Since we have noticed that despite saying the cruise is casual, people do dress up a bit more for dinner than we had originally thought. Now that we’ve had 12 days under our belts (And those belts aren’t looser either), I’m making a shopping list for L. A., where I understand we need to be off the ship by 8:30am, with shuttles provided by Viking to some shopping spots. Our e-bike excursion we had planned in L.A. we got notified today has been cancelled due to slippery conditions, so all the more time for shopping and stocking up on more essential toiletries for the rest of the cruise.

And while we are taking about restraint, oh my! Tonight we had dinner for the first time since boarding in Ft. Lauderdale, at ’Manfredi’s’ the Italian restaurant on the Neptune.The food was outstanding and the bread was the best we have had on the ship.

A very extensive menu with a daily fish and a daily pasta.

Cold tomato soup which was delicious. Lasagne And mussels and Richard had a daily pasta which was lobster pasta.

Nutella pana cotta and tiramisu.

I think after stepping away from the New Year’s Day buffet yesterday we more than made up for it tonight in Manfredi’s. It will be another trip to the gym, and probably a few laps around the ship for good measure tomorrow to keep us on track with the ‘step away…step away’ program!!

We are at sea for 2 more days before we arrive in Mexico at Cabo San Lucas and our team is busily working on our snowperson project. I cannot show you any ‘work in progress’ shots as we do not know who our competition are, or if they are following this blog. Of course we want to win the competition and we have some very unique, creative ideas making up our snowperson, which will be judged on January 6th, to determine if we win the contest. The contest is a fun way to meet new people and do a ‘think outside the box’ project with very limited shipboard resources. We don’t have an Amazon delivery coming to our ship to help us out, so it is good to have people who can pool their resources creatively for this challenge. Using recyclable materials gets us bonus points, so that has been our focus; to include as many recyclable items to try and win. I guess only time will tell, but if you’re coming on this cruise next year think about scissors, tape and other items to help decorate a snowperson!

Life is extremely busy on the Viking Neptune. Too busy to even document all of the lectures we have also attended in person and live streamed over the past two days. I’m not sure when I’m going to get reading again, but I see there is a book club starting out onboard so maybe that would be something to strive for and finish a book by January 20th to meet up at the book club!

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Tip from a previous WCer, you can order 1/2 portions at Manfredi’s!



Can you share additional information about people dressing up a bit more for dinner than you had thought?

Ruth Mcbride
Ruth Mcbride

I had thought that perhaps sun dresses that I had brought for excursions would work for dinners but the dining rooms are too cool for those even with a wrap. Long sleeved dresses would work better For dinner. also, people don’t wear gowns but do wear nicer dresses like I used to wear to work for dinner. Men also have multiple jackets they are wearing to dinner with long sleeve Shirts. I don’t notice too many people with tshirts and shorts rather nice casual tops and shorts. I should have brought more golf shirts or casual tops. And more capri pants too. with the average age around 73 or so, the clothing befits the age of the people on board.…



Google lens identifies the butterfly as an Anartia Fatima. According to Wikipedia: "Anartia fatima, the banded peacock, is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is commonly found in south Texas, Mexico, and Central America but most studied in Costa Rica". So now you know!


Cathy Vee Volpe-Paul
Cathy Vee Volpe-Paul

I will third "Love your Blog" and photos. Thank you so much for doing this. We will - Good Lord Willing - be on Neptune WC out of LA Jan. 2024.



I will second that "Love your Blog" and the photos are fabulous. Thanks for taking the time.

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