Since retiring in 2012 traveling the world has been a source of immeasurable joy for us, and we are delighted to share our experiences with you.
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  • Day16

    Heathrow and Home

    October 3, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    We are on the last leg of the journey. First class tickets certainly make check-in and boarding easier. We just spent a relaxing respite in the Admiral’s Club Lounge enjoying a cup of coffee. Now we are at the gate ready to board the airplane to come home. What a fantastic trip this has been!Read more

    Charlene Shipman

    I have also enjoyed your trip, even though I was not First Class !!

    10/4/18Reply
    Chuck Cook

    Charlene, you always have been, and always will be first class.

    10/4/18Reply
     
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  • Day142

    Final Thoughts

    May 5, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

    We are back in the Western Hemisphere, on the 141st day, in the last of 60 ports, on a trip we never thought we would take. We are in London. This is the last post I will make on our World Cruise page, and it is difficult to describe how this adventure has changed me. I will begin by thanking the officers and crew of the Viking Sun for their impeccable service and dedication to the comfort and well being of us passengers. They have done everything humanly possible to meet not only our needs but also our slightest wants. It has been interesting to be treated like royalty, but tomorrow the wonderful business of being a regular human being resumes. I will be going back to a world where, when I drop the bath towel on the floor, it stays there. That’s not bad either. Even so, Viking Ocean Cruises has done an excellent job.

    Every place where Viking took us was interesting. Some were more entertaining than others, but often the others were more instructive. I have learned of the almost limitless adaptability of human beings. They have adjusted to every possible diet, climate, and government. They are extremely flexible in using the tools, resources and terrain available to them.

    I have learned that countries change over time. Vietnam now is not the same nation it was when I went there as a soldier in 1971. The people, the economy, the culture—all are different. About the only thing that has not changed is the language. At one time China and Cambodia were poor, agrarian orphans, crippled by politics. Singapore was a tropical backwater. Not anymore.

    I learned that my own country has changed over time too. This voyage has allowed me, as it were, to see the United States from a distance. I keep hearing my countrymen saying that if America doesn’t wake up, the rest of the world will one day pass the U.S. I learned on this voyage that in many ways, the rest of the world already has. I love America, but I have concerns about her future.

    Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that the people of the world genuinely like each other. Practically every person we met smiled at us, waved, tried to talk to us, not always successfully, because of language differences. However there was always a grin, a happy look, a glint in the eye, even from an old woman struggling under a load of vegetables in Bali. Our differences in language, income, color, and religion made no difference—not to her. To her, it did not matter that I was on an air conditioned bus and she was standing ankle deep in filthy water. She was genuinely glad to see us. In Kuala Lumpur a quartet of young men and I laughed together like fools when we each attempted to take each other’s photograph at exactly the same moment. There was an immediate connection when on a Friday in Brunei a Muslim family coming from the mosque approached us and asked us where were came from. When she learned we were Americans, the matriarch touched Glenda’s arm and said, “I not hate you.”

    Would it be possible for the nations of the world to send their political leaders on a Viking world cruise?

    The point is that I have learned that it is not the people of the world who start wars with one another; it is the governments of the world that do so. And I have learned that rarely do the interests of those governments precisely align with those of the people. They certainly didn’t line up in 1971.

    This conviction was hammered home to me today in London as we visited the church of St. Alphege and saw posted there this quotation from Aldous Huxley: “The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are human beings, and that these individual human beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own “

    Maybe other philosophers have said it as well. Bob Thiele and George Weiss said it in 1967 through the mouth of Louis Armstrong in the song “What a Wonderful World.” Glenda and I were deeply touched a few years ago when we were in Prague in the Czech Republic. We stood at the feet of a statue of one of my heroes, John Huss, burned at the stake, not because he was wrong, but because the world would not be ready to hear his words for another hundred years. A local jazz group started playing Satchmo’s song and Glenda and I both teared-up. We understood—really understood—that this little blue ball hanging from nothing out in space is all sacred ground—every grain of sand; every drop of water in the huge, vast ocean; every frightened boy and girl, regardless of age, location, condition—all are holy. And because Viking Ocean Cruises made it possible for us to see it all up close, first-hand, over the last 141 days, I now understand at an even deeper level that this is indeed a wonderful, sacred world.
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  • Day141

    Greenwich, England

    May 4, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌙 54 °F

    At London, our final port, we decided that we would spend our time walking near the ship's anchorage at Greenwich. We walked past the Cutty Sark, and visited the Royal Greenwich Observatory with its excellent display about astronomy and the calculation of longitude. I especially wanted to go inside St. Alphege's Church to see the organ played by Henry Purcell. While there, I was surprised to find a monument to General James Wolf, who died at the Battle of Montreal in the French and Indian Wars. After lunch at the Crown & Anchor, a proper English pub, we went back up the hill toward the observatory to see the rose garden. Unfortunately, no roses were blooming, so we came back down the hill to see the wonderful exhibits at the Queen's House and the Royal Maritime Museum. We finished across the street at the Royal Naval College and were awed by its lovely chapel. We were back on the ship for our last night of sleep in our wonderful little stateroom, and ready for an early departure on the morning of May 5, 2018, the official end of our Viking Ocean Cruises Inaugural World Cruise.

    Here are some interesting facts from our cruise:
    Highlights included : 5 Continents, 35 countries, 66 port stops, crossing the equator twice, crossing the international dateline, going through the Panama Canal and Suez Canal. Distance traveled approximately 36,000 miles.
    Some interesting facts:
    Only 476 people did the entire cruise from Miami to London.
    257 people did the cruise from Los Angles to London.
    62,181 Lbs. of Potatoes were peeled and consumed.
    114,633 bread loaves were baked.
    289,137 Bed sheets and pillowcases were washed.
    55,000 rolls of TP were used.
    Most importantly 124,081 bottles of wine were emptied! That worked out to 2.6 glasses per day for each passenger. This was at least double what Viking had expected. I did not get my entire share but others more than made up for it.
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  • Day13

    Winchester

    April 27, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 50 °F

    This morning we went to Winchester to view the cathedral and the remains of the medieval town. Winchester was the capital of Wessex before the English capital moved to London. A large statue of Alfred the Great is in the town square. We got to see the boxes containing the bones of the early English Kings such as Ethelbert Ethelred and Knute. We came back to the ship and I had a Pancho Villa burger. In the evening we went to a musical presentation called the Rat Pack, featuring the music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Junior. Afterwards we went to a presentation given in tribute to Edith Piaf.Read more

  • Day26

    Windsor to Heathrow to Home

    September 13, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 50 °F

    The sun rose beautifully behind Windsor Castle this morning as we placed our packed luggage in the hallway of the Harte and Garter Hotel in preparation for the bus ride to Heathrow. From there we will take a flight back home. What a wonderful trip this has been! We have seen the places from which our known ancestors came. We have seen the places that cradled the world in which we live. We are forever changed.Read more

  • Day25

    Arrival in Windsor

    September 12, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    5:00 pm Arrive at the Harte and Garter Hotel in Windsor, stow our bags and immediately begin the tour of Windsor Castle. Overwhelmingly magnificent. We stay for Evensong in St. George Chapel, where we are seated right above the graves of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII, Edward and George III. A lovely buffet dinner back at the hotel was the tastiest dinner we have had on this whole trip. I chose not to eat a potato. I enjoyed it with a Cabernet made in Argentina. Our room is magnificent. It has a huge canopy bed, a lovely carved armoire, and a spacious bathroom. After supper we took a walking tour of Windsor with guide Amanda. She was voted the best city guide for Windsor last year, and it is clear why she won this award. She was cheerful and enthusiastic. First we saw the Public Records Office where Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles, and where Elton John married his male partner. We go Down Park Lane to see the formal entrance to Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth can often be seen driving her Jaguar with one bodyguard down the lane to the family cemetery, the home of her son William, or to the Royal Ascot horse track. Amanda says the Queen drives "like a bat out of hell." This week she became the longest reigning British monarch, passing Queen Victoria's record at about 5:00 pm on Tuesday. The wealthiest neighbor of the Queen is now the rock singer Sir Elton John, who owns a 75-acre tract adjacent to the Castle grounds. She mentioned that, unlike the formal rooms of state, the Queen's private residence is rather modest, but quite comfortable. Windsor Castle belongs to the state. The Queen has two private residences which she owns in her own right: Balmoral in Scotland and Sanderingham. For the last two years the Irish regiment has provided the military guard for the Queen. They erected a statue of a modern soldier made of bronze from the statue of Saddam Hussein, which was pulled down when the allies took Baghdad in the Iraq War. The large boulder on which the Irish statue sits came from Helman Province in Afghanistan. We saw the stables. Prince Phillip emerges every day driving a carriage with at least two horses, driving down Park Lane to the Royal road. We saw the King's Head Tavern. Over the door is a facsimile of the warrant for the arrest and execution of King Charles I. The fourth signature on it is that of Oliver Cromwell. We saw a building, formerly a tea house but now up for sale, that was made of unseasoned oak. The wood bent and warped, and now the house leans precariously, and there is not a square corner in it. We came back to the room, got our luggage ready, and prepared for an early departure tomorrow morning at 7:30 am.

    11:45 pm There is a celebration for an Indian wedding going on in the dining room adjacent to our quarters. Two Indian children, little girls, are running up and down the hall, making a racket that woke up both Glenda and me. She stood outside the door and gave her English-teacher routine. Then things got noisy again, and I stood outside the room glaring at the girls until a hotel employee came by and asked what was the matter. I told him that the children were running and making too much noise. I don't know if he said anything to the partners, but the revelry broke up shortly afterwards.
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  • Day25

    Stonehenge

    September 12, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    At breakfast this morning at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth we ordered coffee for the six people at our table. In thirty minutes the waitress brought one small coffee pot containing two cups of coffee. Shortly afterwards, she brought a larger coffee pot. It seems that they wait until coffee is ordered to brew it. We never got our breakfast, so we finally left. We are heading for Stonehenge and Windsor Castle today, so we will arrange our luggage so that we will be ready for the tight security at Windsor. We already getting ready for our flight out tomorrow morning.

    9:15 am We pass through Otter Valley, where there is an otter nursery for the propagation and protection of the animals.

    9:40 am We are on road 303, the old Roman road west to Exeter. Fairly straight.

    11:00 - 1:00 at Stonehenge. Last week a henge of 90 subterranean stones was found by radar to encircle the adjacent town of Durrington. Subterranean radar shows nearly 400 dwellings in Durrington and a wooden henge. One theory is that the wooden henge at Durrington was a symbol for life, while the stone henges, made of an eternal medium, were associated with death.
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  • Day24

    Mevagissy

    September 11, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    We planned a rest stop in the charming little fishing village of Mevagissy. Beautiful fishing boats filled the harbor. It was interesting that the small public toilets were filled, so I suggested that I stand guard and allow the women to use the men's restroom as long as no other men needed it. They found this idea shocking, but a few women finally relented, their line was so long. I saw a sign reading "Mevagissy Wet Fish." I asked the woman at the kiosk about "wet fish." Aren't all fish wet? She told me that this is a common phrase in the British Isles to distinguish fresh fish from dried fish.Read more

  • Day24

    Marazion

    September 11, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    It is strange that I had never heard of this place before, but Marazion has all of the charm of Mont St. Michel in France. Marazion is another fortress built out on a spit of land that is an island at high tide. In fact, several tourists walked out onto the peninsula and were caught by the high tide. Operators manned small boats to go rescue the stranded tourists. Of course, it looked as though this was a rescue operation they were required to repeat daily.Read more

  • Day24

    Land's End

    September 11, 2015 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    We arrived at Land's End late in the morning. It is lovely, but no more so than other spots along the coast. I suppose their is some mystical attraction in knowing that one is as close as one can be to America while still on British soil.Read more

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