The Knicker Nicker….!!
Day 138/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. On a Virgin Atlantic A330-900 flight home to Tampa, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.
As I’m writing this very special bonus blog, I’m listening to a playlist in a pod in row 1A. I’ve already watched two movies and it is 11:28pm London time…. Richard is napping in the row behind me, but I will not be napping.
The best way to NOT have jet lag is to get on the time zone you’re going to, before you get there. So in other words when we land at 9pm or so in Tampa, we will go to our home in Plant City, Florida, a short 25 minute drive from Tampa airport, and I will have a glorious sleep in our own bed tonight, because I will be very tired. Hopefully I do not wake up too early tomorrow as if I am still on London time, but I have always been very good with managing jet lag throughout my working career, so let’s hope I’ve still got the knack.
So I’m sure the title of today’s blog immediately got your attention! I intended that actually as I want to make sure that everyone knows about the goings on that happened on the 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. As Russell Lee, our Guest Lecturer on the Viking Neptune would say “Are you ready to hear a good story?”
So the exact date of the beginning of this story is unknown. I have an approximate date, which I would put at around the middle of March, 2023. I know the timing started sometime before we reached Port Klang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
We were visiting with Steve, the Brit and his wife Sue in the World Cafe who also had a cabin on the 6th floor like us, and they mentioned to us that there is something fishy going on in the 6th floor laundry. Well we had to sit down and hear the story, because of course juicy ship gossip is always rampant, but to hear a verified story, well that made us sit down and listen keenly to what Sue had to say.
And here is the story….and it is a true story too!
Decks 3, 4, 5 & 6 all have launderettes on the Viking Neptune. The configuration of the laundry room is fairly simple. 4 washers on the bottom, and 4 dryers stacked on top of the washers. The laundry soap is on the wall and associated with a washer, so it is automatically dispensed to the washing machine when the machine is in use. The washers cannot be opened once the laundry cycle is started. The dryer though, can be opened at any time during the drying cycle and after the door is re-closed, the set cycle time continues. There are also 2 ironing boards attached to the wall of the laundry room and corresponding irons, with the ironing boards. I give you this information for way of background to our true story today.
Another passenger we know very well, we will call her Mary to protect her anonymity, was sitting in the 6th floor laundry room waiting for her laundry to dry, reading a book. Another very short lady from the 6th floor came into the laundry room as her washing machine was almost finished its cycle. Once the cycle was over in the washing machine, the short lady was struggling to reach the dryer above the washing machine, so Mary offered to help her put her clothes in the dryer. The short lady was very happy Mary had helped her and thanked Mary, proceeded to leave the launderette, knowing her clothes were in the dryer to dry.
After about 10 minutes of drying time on the short lady’s dryer, another person comes into the laundry room and goes to the dryer which Mary had just loaded for the short lady. The new person opens the dryer and takes out some clothes. Mary confronts her and says “Those are NOT your clothes! I just helped another lady load that dryer!!” The new lady, looks at Mary, says nothing and leaves the launderette. Imagine??
Now what should Mary do? Mary does not know the short lady or what cabin she is in to report to her what had just happened. Mary also does not know this new mystery woman or what cabin she is in either. Mary had heard rumours that two couples got kicked off the ship for fighting in the laundry room (apparently one man touched another woman’s underwear and punches flew, and they got kicked off for fighting) earlier in the cruise, so she did not want to confront this mysterious woman who seemed to be stealing someone else’s laundry out of the dryer. Should Mary report this to Ronald, the General Manager? What proof does she have, other than what she saw before her? What a dilemma for our Mary!
Mary is smart though, she thinks about what to do, and then she decides to walk around the ship with her iphone to see if she can find the mystery woman to take a photo of her. And that is what she does. One day out on the pool deck she sees mystery woman and she is able to take a photo of her.
Mary then shares that photo with our friend Sue, the Brit, who we are speaking with, since she knows Sue also uses the 6th floor launderette. Sue pulls out her Iphone and shows us mystery woman’s photo too. After seeing the photo of mystery woman, we commiserated with Sue and Steve on what we should do next and we decided that we would keep watch in the laundry room when we were all doing laundry because we did not think we had been impacted by mystery woman. Or had we?
After our chat with Sue and Steve when we were back in our cabin I immediately decided to check my underwear supply. I had mentioned to Richard a few weeks before that I thought I was missing some white underwear. I will spare you the details on the type of underwear that I wear, but they are very specific, and I usually buy them in Canada at The Hudson’s Bay company department store, especially when they are on sale.
Anyway, back in our cabin I empty my underwear drawer from our closet onto our bed and start counting my underwear supply. Having come onboard with 14 pairs of underwear, I was now down to 8 pairs of underwear and most of my white underwear was missing. I also checked the laundry basket in our room to make sure that I had not miscounted any underwear. Nope. I was down 6 pairs of white underwear.
I cannot describe how upset I was at the time once I found out that I was missing underwear! It is not like I could go to the store the next day and buy more underwear because we were at sea for quite a few days and trying to find a store which sold the brand and style of underwear that I wear, was going to be quite impossible. I was livid at this point, and feeling very violated. Richard did not know what to do for me and that is not a good place for him to be.
I called up Mary and told her what had happened to me. She offered me some of her underwear which I really appreciated, but I still had underwear so I knew I would be ok. Richard did our laundry very frequently too, but the fact still exists that someone was stealing people’s underwear in the 6th floor launderette and more than one person was being impacted by the thefts.
I decided to take matters into my hands and go speak to General Manager Ronald about the underwear theft. I knew I could tell him the story of Mary in the laundry room so that he knew that someone had seen the perpetrator first hand actually stealing laundry from someone else’s dryer. To have to sit in front of the General Manager of the Viking Neptune and tell him my sorry tale of woe was probably one of the most embarrassing situations in my life. Ronald called over Guest Services Manager, Mara to ask her if there was any of my specific brand and colour of underwear in the lost and found. Mara knew that the lost and found did not contain any underwear and told Ronald this. What Ronald proposed was to put CCTV in the 6th floor laundry room and he would see if at an upcoming port of call someone could find me the exact brand, style, colour and size of underwear that I was missing. So we think Ronald potentially has solved the problem for other people by promising to put CCTV in the laundry room which would be monitored by Viking Neptune’s security staff, but did he really follow through on his promise? Where does he find an extra CCTV camera in the middle of the ocean to install in the laundry room?
That night at dinner we were eating with the gang that we had become friends with including Sue and Steve, Gene and Margaret and Sharon and Mike and I mentioned to everyone that I had been a victim of the mystery laundry stealing woman. Sue passed her phone around so everyone could see her ugly mug to know who she was. We all had a bit of a laugh about the situation although it was at my expense, so I came around a bit and cheered up to see the hilarity of the situation. Here we were on a very exclusive 900 passenger Viking Neptune World Cruise with an average age of 74 and we are spending our time worrying about someone who was the ‘Knicker Nicker’! Imagine? I cannot fathom what perverted person gets their kicks out of stealing first of all and secondly, stealing someone’s underwear out of the dryers in the laundry room? Unbelievable! This is not how I imagined our World Cruise on Viking would transpire and what one of my lasting memories of the 138 day cruise would be!
When we reached Port Klang, Margaret and me headed to the mall in Port Klang on the Viking shuttle bus, after our excursion into Kuala Lumpur, to try and find me some replacement underwear. And as luck would have it there was a UniQlo store in the mall, and I was able to buy some new underwear. The underwear I purchased was not as nice as the ones that had been nicked, but at least I had more than the 8 pairs I was down to after having underwear pilfered.
So for every problem there has to be a solution right? So what pro-active measures did we take to make sure that no more of my underwear would go missing? Every time Richard did laundry he set a timer for the washing machine. He would set the timer on his Iphone to go off exactly 5 minutes before the washer would be finished. Since the washing machine is locked, there was no way someone could open the machine before the cycle was finished. Once the washer was finished its cycle, Richard would put everything in our laundry basket, and bring it back to the cabin to hang, which meant that our cabin looked like ‘laundry central’ and the underwear was not as soft as usual, after air drying in the cabin, but the underwear was safe from the pilfering Knicker Nicker….
But that is not the end of the story….
For awhile no one noticed anything missing from the launderette on the 6th floor. The Knicker Nicker also coincidentally got off the ship for about 2 weeks and did a private tour at the same time. Interesting.
And there is more….this story was the talk of the ship….
Our friend Sue, the Brit a few weeks after mystery lady is back on board notices that she is now missing about 7 bras. I won’t get into how many bras she brought with her for the cruise, but she knew exactly how many bras she had packed to come on board for 4.5 months. Sue was mortified! The Knicker Nicker had struck again!
Sue had to go and sit in front of Ronald or perhaps Steve did the deed, all we know is that Ronald was notified and Sue and Steve received a $50 USD credit to their shipboard account to try and compensate them for the 7 missing bras. Once I heard about their compensation I asked Richard to go and see Ronald and seek compensation as well. We received a $44USD credit in our shipboard account.
So why did we not confront the Knicker Nicker? Remember that only Mary saw the person nicking underwear out of the dryer and the rest of us listened to Mary’s story. We know what assuming can do, and none of us wanted to get into a confrontation with the Knicker Nicker. I said that I would blog about it though after we got off the ship, since we did not want to give Viking any reason to kick us off the ship. We do not believe the CCTV ever got installed in the laundry room either, which would potentially have solved this ongoing problem in the launderette.
So if you ever take a Viking cruise in the future watch your underwear when you put it in the dryer. Or have Viking do your laundry for you to avoid the potential for a Knicker Nicker. There are a lot of sick people in this world and just because someone can afford to take a 138 day Viking World Cruise, does not mean that they do not either have a fetish, or like to steal things, to see if they can get away with it.
And that is the story of the “Knicker Nicker” which I promised all of our friends on the 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. An unbelievable, but completely factual and true story!!!