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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What really does go on?

Day 7/138, 2022/2023 Viking World Cruise leaving Cartagena and visiting Colon, Panama

After we arrived back on the ship yesterday from our walking tour of Cartagena we decided to check out the aft deck infinity pool on the Aquavit Terrace on Deck 7. We had not been in any onboard pools yet and since it was very hot in Cartagena, we thought a refreshing swim during out sail away would be an appropriate way to enjoy our afternoon.

On a rather cheeky note, when we were walking back to the ship after our morning in Cartagana, we saw a guy in the pool with his ‘butt’ against the back wall of the pool and we though it would be a fun way to leave Cartagena!

In port in Cartagena. First time in the Infiniti pool on the Aquavit Terrace.

You can see what I mean about if someone is on shore, looking at the back of the ship!

So we decided to be bad!

Bobbi (in the fuschia bathing suit) is from Florida and we have had a few nice chats onboard.

Fuerte Santa Cruz de Castillogrande which was constructed by Cristobal de Roda and Francisco de Morgan between 1626 and 1636. A fortress with a square base, having bulwarks in each of the four corners, a central yard and arms and a moat. The fort was used until 1938, when an explosion in a munitions deposit maintained there by the Navy, destroyed its vaults. The Fort is currently integrated into the installations of the Officer’s Club of the National Navy. If you look closely you can see the skyscrapers of Cartagena in the background.

If you look very closely in the middle of the photo, you can see the skyline of Cartagena as we sailed away at 2pm yesterday, on our way to Colon, Panama.

With pool service bar attendants always walking by asking if we wanted drinks it was hard to resist! I ordered a virgin mojito and it was so tasty and refreshing with real mint crushed in it, I ordered another one!

Cheers! The drinks on board have been fabulous and the staff are more than accommodating to make us wonderful drinks!

After enjoying the aft Infiniti pool on the Aquavit Terrace on Deck 7 outside the World Cafe, it was time to relax and refresh for a special treat for dinner!

The Viking Chef’s Table on Deck 1 has a rotating menu which changes ever 3 days. We were really looking forward to trying the Chef’s Table since we came on board last week!

Decor of the Chef’s Table restaurant.

Tonight’s theme menu was ‘XIANG’ which would be a 5 course menu inspired by China’s Cantonese and Huaiyang cuisine. The menu presentation itself was beautiful with the ‘Chef’s Table’ cover sliding down to reveal what delights we would find inside the menu when we opened it.

The Chef’s Table menu comes with an included wine pairing for each course and all of us on the World Cruise are on the premium spirits package, so our wine pairings would be upgraded wine pairings with our meals.

Anticipating an amazing meal!

The courses were:

  • Amuse Bouche: Hot & Sour Soup Cantonese style served with hot chili oil on top

  • First Course: Fried Prawns crispy garlic and chili. Since I have dietary concerns with prawns the kitchen happily substituted chicken for my first course.

  • Granita: Coconut lemongrass & ginger infused

  • Main Course: Wok-Fried Beef with black pepper sauce, and rice in lotus leaf.

And the piece de resistance…..

Chilled Mango Cream pomelo and sago on a bed of crushed pistchios. The dessert was so pretty we didn’t want to eat it! But we did and it was like ”eating in your dreams”! So light and fluffy and tasty! WOW!

We truly enjoyed the Chef’s Table last night and the best part was we had just made reservations yesterday, for last evening. The Head Waiter at The Chef’s Table advised us that when the menu changes (every 3 days), the Chef’s Table is quite busy for the first two days, but on the third day of the same menu, the Chef’s Table dining room was only half full. A good tip to keep in mind since we do have a few more days left on this World Cruise!

We wanted to see the second performance of the amazing guest vocalist Yaniv Zarif, but the Star Theatre doors do not open until 8:30pm, so we decided to try our hand at some of the interactive tables set up on Deck 2 in the Atrium.

The tables have some interesting games like Blackjack, Memory, Air Hockey and lots more to while away some time away at sea. I think I would be more conservative with my betting with my own money if I really was in Vegas!

We made our way to The Star Theatre and found very good seats near the front of the theatre.

The ship was very stable last evening as we sailed towards Colon. Yaniv’s father sat in row A on the left of the aisle and video taped his son during his performances. Yaniv definitely has an unbelievable repertoire of songs from the musicals: Hair, West Side Story, Little Shop of Horrors, Rent, Jersey Boys, The Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof, as well as many more. It will be sad to see him leave in Panama, as his guest appearances were really very enjoyable in our first week on the Viking Neptune.

We had very calm waters as we sailed to Colon, Panama and when we woke up, we were in Panama!

Viking guests disembarking to go on their shore excursions around 8:30am this morning.

Another ship was in port with us today in Colon. The ‘AIDA Luna’ was in from Germany.

We decided not to go on any excursions today, since both Richard and me on separate occasions have spent quite a bit of time in Panama. Our plan for the day was to relax onboard and maybe take a stroll off the ship into Colon.

We watched as a refuelling ship started to pull up on the starboard side of the Viking Neptune.

We changed decks from the last photo and went up to the Explorer’s Lounge Deck 7 to get a better look at how the refuelling ship slowly, but surely was being brought closer to the Neptune through the guide ropes at the front and back of the refuelling ship. The refuelling ship also used their side thrusters to inch ever so closer to the Neptune. We definitely would not want an ‘incident’ with our brand new Neptune!

The rubber bumpers seem to be made up of many, many old tires!

The winch guy has the refuelling hose hooked up and is ready to send the fuel hose over to the Neptune crew, for them to take over the process onboard the Neptune.

The refuelling team were happy to oblige for a quick photo opportunity once they had the hose safely over to the Neptune! My father was an electrical engineer so I was taught to be curious on ‘how things work’ so it was a nice way to while away some time watching the refuelling operation this morning.

The Captain had announced during breakfast that the crew would be performing safety drills after breakfast and we were not to worry because the alarms that would sound were for the staff’s drill purposes only. When we walked back to our cabin there was definitely some different things going on in the cabin hallways.

The green exit lights are not usually on when we walk through the cabin hallways.

Every cabin door had an ‘evacuated’ card on the door to demonstrate that the staff performing the drill had actually evacuated the ship.

We heard the announcement for the staff to go to their muster stations and these staff members happened to be on the deck we were watching the refuelling from.

There is so much that goes on behind the scenes on a cruise ship. Fascinating! I would love to be able to see the kitchens and the food prep areas during this cruise. Maybe Viking could make that happen for me so I could write about it in this blog?

I had booked a Swedish deep tissue massage for 11am in the Nordic Spa this morning and the treatment was fantastic! I did not bring my camera with me to the treatment, but the therapist was extremely well qualified and I will blog about the spa area another time. We have lots of sea days still on this ship to enjoy after all!

While everyone was off the ship today in Panama, the windows on the port side of the ship were all cleaned. I believe that yesterday while the Neptune was in Cartagena, the windows on the Starboard side of the ship were cleaned. With the rain we have had, as well as the ocean salt spray, within 7 days of leaving Ft. Lauderdale, it was time for some TLC for the Neptune.

AYU our fantastic cabin steward working very hard to clean our windows in our Deluxe Veranda Suite on deck 4.

We could not be in a port and stay on the ship, so after my massage we decided to walk to the duty free shopping mall in Colon, Panama. Now the image of a shopping mall by North American standards is definitely NOT what we experienced today! We were also advised by my massage therapist to remove all jewellery, take limited cash and don’t wear any branded clothing.

And away we go to Colon.

The Viking Neptune was taking on supplies when we were disembarking and heading to the Duty Free area. Tip: the duty free shop next the port is a rip off. Prices were no where near what was available a few blocks away.

A nice and shiny cruise ship terminal with a very pricey Duty Free area.

Walking to the Duty Free Shopping Mall we encountered some nice colourful graffiti. I did not bring my expensive Fuji XT-4 mirrorless camera with us to Colon as were trying to minimize any attention to ourselves.

We asked a port guard where we were supposed to go to find the duty free shopping mall and he told us to walk to the end of the street and turn right

We are at the end of the street and turning right to head down this road. Does it look promising to you? It sure didn’t look too promising to us! I think the garbage sanitation trucks missed their pick up this morning at this…

I think we must be getting closer. I was looking in these expensive tour buses to see if the drivers were sitting in their buses in case we needed someone to help us since it felt like we were walking in a sketchy area.

Finally…the Mall!…or so we thought.

We tried to enter the shopping street only to be told we had to go into this very run down building first. We entered the building as we were told and had to pay $5 USD each and the lady behind the counter put orange bracelets around our wrists to allow us to enter the duty free shopping mall.

Our plan to be incognito was definitely not going to work, wearing these Orange onto the mall!

There is no mall! There are a collection of stores on a few streets that form a Colon Duty Free Zone though. Our expectations of finding a shopping mall had to be adjusted at this point.

It is uncanny isn’t it that the Target sign and logo happens to be very similar to the one we all know back in the USA.

The curbs and sewer grates would definitely not meet any code guidelines in Canada or the USA! Richard had to constantly keep telling me to watch my step to make sure I didn’t fall and re-break my femur.

It is a wonder this car is still operational!

After a hot walk back to the Viking Neptune we spent the afternoon on the pool deck on Deck 7 mid ship. We hadn’t been in this pool yet so we wanted to have a refreshing swim after the hot walk back to the ship from the Colon Duty Free Mall.

The pool deck on Deck 7 mid ship. The roof retracts!

After a quick swim I attempted to start writing the blog but unfortunately the internet was not co-operating. We have Starlink broadband internet constellation operated by SpaceX providing us on the Viking Neptune with satellite internet access. I have to say that after reading the blogs of the folks on the World Cruise last year I was very worried what the internet speed would be for uploading photos and writing the blog. Things have been fantastic until this afternoon and tonight in our Viking Daily we received notification that due to our geographic location over the next few days, the internet and live TV signal may be intermittent. So if there is no blog published…that is why!

We were really intrigued today by the goings on, onboard the Viking Neptune when most people were off on shore excursions. We also saw lots of our crew in the various stores we visited in Colon. I’m sure our long stop in Colon (we don’t leave until 11pm tonight), allows the staff the opportunity to get off the ship and enjoy some free time.

Tomorrow we traverse the Panama Canal and we have a full day of transit time through the Canal.

I think we will be out on the various decks as well as our own deck a lot tomorrow on what will definitely be a very interesting day in the Panama Canal. We will definitely be wearing out Quietvox headsets to learn more about the transit throughout the day.

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K Stonetoo
K Stonetoo
Dec 29, 2022

Thank you for your blog. This is our first WC and all of your information is greatly appreciated. We will board in LA.


Cathy Vee Volpe-Paul
Cathy Vee Volpe-Paul
Dec 29, 2022

Terrific writer you are ... thank you for doing this great blog.


UW Wolfe
UW Wolfe
Dec 29, 2022

Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed your comments about the trip to the mall. Was it worth going? Did you buy anything there?

You mentioned interest in behind the scenes activity related to food prep. It reminded me that Andy had posted information in his 2020 WC blog about one of their behind the scenes tours which may be of interest to you: You also mentioned in today's post that you "have Starlink broadband internet constellation operated by SpaceX providing ... the Viking Neptune with satellite internet access." This is the first I heard that Viking was using Starlink on the Neptune. Can you point me to more information? I'm wondering if the Viking Sky will have Starli…

Ruth Mcbride
Ruth Mcbride
Dec 29, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for sharing UWDawg. I will look at Andy’s blog. Our Captain was in the gym the other day with my husband Richard and he cornered the Captain asking him how come the internet is so good. Captain replied Starlink! I’m sure after last year and Kolbs on the Road many comments in his blog about poor internet Viking has fixed it. The mall was worth going to, from a cultural perspective and we did buy some beach slides 2 pairs for $15, duty free chocolates and I bought my husband a beautiful, good quality shirt at Regatta Sport a higher end store with good pricing. Even though Viking is casual men do wear jackets for dinner on o…

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