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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What side are you on?

Day 3/138, 2022/2023 Viking World Cruise on the Viking Neptune

We both woke up very early this morning when it was still quite dark outside, to watch as we entered the port of Cozumel.

Our arrival was scheduled for 7am, but at 7:10am we were still not in Cozumel.

We saw this very large ship which we were following into the harbour that had something written in lights on the side of it.

At first we though the sign to the left of ‘305’ looked like the logo for the ‘Canadian Tire’ stores in Canada. We googled ’Canadian Tire 305’ and nothing came up.

We then wondered if the ’305’ was an area code, so I asked Richard to google ‘305’. Sure enough Miami came up as the area code for ‘305’. We still were not sure what the significance of ‘305’ was, but we quickly figured it out using Cruise Mapper.

Scarlet Lady was right next to the Viking Neptune and Scarlet Lady is the relatively new and first ship for Virgin Voyages, Virgin’s first foray into ocean cruising.

As we got closer to the port, we could see that we were going to be docked alongside the Virgin Scarlet Lady.

As you can see the 930 passenger Viking Neptune is dwarfed by the size of the ‘Virgin Cruise Scarlet Lady Miami Beach 305’ which carries 2,770 passengers which they call ‘sailors’. Virgin’s ship went into service in April 2020. Their passengers must be 18 years+, there are no buffets, no dress code, balcony’s all have hammocks, they promise ‘rockstar service‘, they have 20+ restaurants, offer champagne and caviar ($$$ not included), have a tattoo parlour on board called ‘Squid Ink’ and have 2 full time tattoo artists; offer a drag show brunch; fitness offered includes aerial yoga or boxing and they have spa parties.

It was interesting as the pilot brought our ship into port to see which side we would be on as we entered port. Would we be docked next to the Virgin cruise ship? Or would we on the port side of ship, and be looking out to see. And can you guess?

Yes…we were looking out to sea today! We didn’t have to watch the Virgin ship and their ‘sailor’s antics today as we were docked in Cozumel.

Speaking of sides, the last 2 nights we have slept on opposite sides of the bed to what we are used to. For some reason I thought that we should have me closest to the bathroom, and Richard would have the side of the bed next to the living area. It hasn’t worked out very well at all for me to get a good night’s sleep, so today we switched everything out of our bedside tables and hopefully tonight I will have a better night’s sleep. The bed is a very comfortable king size bed, which is what we are used to at home, and is extremely comfortable, with beautiful high quality luxury linens. I guess we are just creatures of habit though and which side of the bed we sleep on seems to matter!

We decided today was finally the morning to check out the fitness centre on Deck 1. Our included excursion in Cozumel was not until 2pm, so we had lots of time for our workouts before our chance to explore Cozumel.

The fitness centre is extremely large, well appointed and the exercise equipment is the ‘Technogym’ brand.

My typical workout is to ride the recumbent bicycle and then do a floor exercise workout focused on strengthening and stretching. Unfortunately today both of the recumbent bicycles were in use, so I decided to try the spin bicycle for a ‘weight loss’ 25 minute session. It was a very good workout following the little man on the screen showing me what I needed to do every 30 seconds or so. I was never really interested in spinning before, but I quite enjoyed the session.

My cadence slowed down a bit while I was taking this photo, but other than the standing up pedalling (broken femur two years ago is not great for this action) I was happy with today’s workout! I followed my cycling performance with floor exercises and then proceeded to light weights on the weight bench. I really appreciated the 1 lb, 2lb and 3lb weights which are perfect for some strength training, but not heavy enough to do any damage!

Richard took a photo of his workout summary today.

Richard has not been able to do much cycling due to his knee surgery in September and this was the longest time he has cycled this year. Baby steps as they say…

Richard finished his workout before me and headed up to our cabin for a shower. I decided to explore the Nordic spa area a bit more and am I ever glad I did! I didn’t take any photos of the spa area today but we will definitely be going back there on sea days to relax and I promise I will share with you our experience in blissful tranquility from the Nordic Spa another day!

We wanted to explore Cozumel before our 2pm shore excursion but the weather was looking pretty unsettled. While we were in the fitness centre we had some fun watching the ’sailors’ exiting the gangplank from the Virgin Scarlet lady with shorts and t-shirts on, only to see them turnaround after about 50 yards, to go back for more layers. It was pretty funny to see almost every person do a complete ‘U-turn’ after getting off the Virgin ship.

The Viking Neptune Fitness Centre is on Deck 1 and was exactly opposite the Virgin gangplank.

After determining what layers we needed to wear, we headed down the Viking Neptune gangplank for the very first time, grabbing two bottles of water, and tapping our room keys at the exit, to indicate we had left the ship.

A crazy windy day leaving the Viking Neptune in Cozumel. It wasn’t raining though when we ventured out, so that was a bonus!

In case we forgot which port we were in there were definitely lots of signs to remind us of the fact that we were in Cozumel today!

Yup…a whole wall of Cozumel….

Detailed maps of Cozumel.

And my favorite of course (20 years in the Automotive Finance business) a crazy painted Volkswagen ’Cozumel’!

Cozumel‘s main drag has all manner of tourist traps and attractions….

Not our thing…move on…

We definitely did not rent one of these roofless vehicles on a potentially rainy day in Cozumel.

Walking the main drag in Cozumel.

One interesting thing we noticed today in Cozumel was how many Pharmacies there were. Cozumel (Mayan Island of the Swallows) is the most popular cruise port in the Western Caribbean and in a typical week 20-30 cruise ships dock in the port each week, bringing between 70-80,000 people each week. I suppose that many of these tourists would be interested in purchasing prescription medications without prescriptions and Cozumel has everyone covered on what they might be likely wanting to purchase. In the town of San Miguel where we were docked at the Punta Lagosta cruise ship terminal, I must have counted 35 pharmacies. I knew Cozumel was famous for its coral reefs, scuba diving and snorkelling, but medical tourism, to purchase prescription medications was something I had never heard of until I saw it today in town.

Every type of medication you could possibly want to purchase was available in San Miguel today.

After walking around town we headed back to the Viking Neptune for a quick bite of lunch at the World Cafe buffet restaurant. The food is always fresh, tasty and varied, allowing both of us a chance to try something we each like. Today Richard had traditional English beer battered fish and chips and I had the mushy peas that typically accompany English fish and chips. Delicious and reminiscent of my mother’s English heritage.

We headed off the Neptune again to meet our Viking excursions team waiting at the cruise ship terminal. We also caught our Captain Erik Saabye dressed in casual attire, having his photo taken in front of the Virgin Scarlet Lady. I guess it is not every day a Viking ship is right beside a Virgin ship!

I prefer the left side to the right side!

We had a chuckle as we played a little game while waiting for our tour to start today. It was called “Name which ship they belong on”.

If you zoom in closely on this photo, I think you will understand our little game today. It helped us humorously pass the time away as a we were pelted with rain and wind, waiting for our tour to begin.

Our excursion was to San Gervasio which is a site dedicated to the Mayan goddess Ixchel: goddess of the moon, fertility and death. San Gervasio is 11 miles from San Miguel and is deep in a jungle setting.

A picture of Ixchel held up by our guide Mimi who provided an excellent overview of the San Gervasio ruins today.

Many women from the mainland Mayan settlements would pilgrimage to Ixchel’s shrine at some point in their life to either thank Ixchel for their fertility, or to seek out her help in getting pregnant.

Arch protecting an alter on an ancient Mayan road. The arch had many unique numerical combinations in the stone work around the arch, that were related to cycles of the moon.

Some more images of San Gervasio today.

We were happy to get back on the bus to head back to the Viking Neptune. It had been a very long day for us and we were pretty exhausted from our exercise and lots of walking and fresh sea air! And hopefully tonight now that I am finally on the right side of the bed, I will be able to get a good night’s sleep! The ship is really ‘rocking and rolling’ now like we have not experienced since we arrived on the Neptune 2 days ago. Since this is my first cruise I’m trying to go without any interventions to see if I can naturally get my ‘sea legs’, without feeling nauseous.

You can see the Neptune (above) as we sail along in this snapshot from CruiseMapper. Apparently the Western Caribbean can be rough especially during winter months, so we just have to ‘roll’ with it and hopefully I will be ok!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Dec 25, 2022

Thanks so much for blogging for us! We’re going on the 23-24 Viking WC so are very interested in following you till London. We’re interested in all the details you wan5 to post!

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