Bass Strait

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    • Day 52

      Feb 12. Melbourne, Australia

      February 11 ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

      Our ships culinary specialists demonstrated their great skills and flexibility at today's Superbowl party. They provided endless American style football cuisine on the pool deck where the game was shown on the big screen. You name it, they served it! I don't know what more Viking can do to make us all happy! Julie was very excited to see her Chief's win today!

      After the game, we walked to the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Established in 1846, the 94-acre gardens are truly amazing. In just a few steps, we left the hustling city and entered an oasis!

      We then walked to Melbourne's infamous "Laneways & Arcades." In a word, WOW!! Once used as service roads to the main streets, these narrow laneways and covered passageways are now vibrant and lively spaces full of cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops. We could spend a week here and still not see everything! The highlight for me was visiting The Charles Dickens Tavern, a British pub in the heart of Melbourne. The main room inside the tavern is called The Pickwick Room, named after my FAVORITE Dickens novel, "Pickwick Papers"!! We stopped at the H&M Department store (3 floors huge!), to buy baby socks (future art project). Built in 1861, the store is located in the old Post Office and is one of the most beautiful buildings I've seen!

      Melbourne is a real gem! We had a great day! (8 1/2 miles walked)
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    • Day 52

      Feb 13. Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria

      February 11 ⋅ ☀️ 66 °F

      Today, we traveled to the Australian bush to the Healsville Sanctuary, 1 1/2 hours outside Melbourne. The sanctuary is one of only two places in Australia to have successfully bred a platypus and has a well-established breeding program. The Sanctuarys mission is to conserve some of Australia’s most endangered wildlife.

      It was very hot today (95°), and many of the animals were hiding in their homes to keep cool. Koala's sleep 20 hours a day, so it was a real treat to be able to see the Koala's being fed. We watched as a 5 year old Momma & her 10 month old baby, climbed to a special branch where the keepers just placed some fresh eucalyptus. In the video, check out how the baby works her bum to get her seat just right! It was a great day!
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    • Day 66

      Tag 65

      December 31, 2023 ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

      SYDNEY…morgens um 5 Uhr!!! Noch ist es dunkel, aber die Lichter von Sydney sind erkennbar. Mit klassischer sehr passender Musik und dem begleitenden Lektor zur aktuellen Info und einem Kaffee in der Hand laufen wir ganz langsam in Sydney ein. Passend zum Sonnenaufgang passieren wir die weltbekannte Oper, dass 100-Millionen-Dollar-Projekt, und unterfahren die imposante Harbour Bridge. Die unter Denkmalschutz stehende Brücke hat 8 Fahrspuren, 2 Bahngleise, einen Fußgängerweg und einen Radweg. Sie ist 49 Meter breit und steht im Guinness Buch der Rekorde. Die AIDAsol passt gerade so unter durch 👍!
      Die Skyline von Sydney ist wunderschön, stylisch aber auch sehr ursprünglich!
      Nach dem Frühstück und viel fitter 🤪 durchlaufen wir die Pass- und Einlasskontrolle. Zöllner mit Drogenhunden gehen durch unsere Warteschleife. Nach der Kontrolle müssen alle AIDA Gäste ihre Pässe für die folgenden Länder wieder abgeben!
      Wir steigen in ein wartendes Taxi und fahren zum Hauptbahnhof, denn hier ist eine Station von HOP ON HOP OFF.
      Auf gehts zum weltberühmten BONDI BEACH, vorbei an vielen guterhaltenen alten Gebäuden, chicen Wohnhäusern, Sehenswürdigkeiten, das unter Denkmalschutz stehende riesige Coca-Cola Schild und bekannten Stadtvierteln.
      Obwohl es bewölkt ist und bei nur 21 Grad ist der Bondi Beach gut besucht. Spezielle Badezonen werden von den sehr freundlichen Rettungsschwimmern immer zu dritt bewacht. Viele Wellenreiter zeigen ihre Kunststücke oder versuchen es 🥵! Der ganz feine weiße Sand ( ohne Muscheln ) lädt zum Verweilen ein.
      An der Strandpromenade gibt es viele hübsche Bars, internationale Restaurants mit Aussenterrasse, Musikpubs ( die Gäste sitzen im offenen Fenster ), kleine Shops und natürlich alles, was man zum Baden & Wellenreiten braucht!
      Bei Hummer 🦞 & Garnelen 🍤 pausieren wir !
      Es ist eine so entspannte tolle Stimmung, vermutlich täglich, hier und nicht nur an Silvester!
      Es ist ein junges flippiges internationales Publikum, hin und wieder begegnet man jemanden Ü 50!!! 😡
      Zurück auf der AIDAsol stimmen wir uns auf Silvester ein 🥂🥂, machen uns chic für das Silvesterdinner und natürlich für die anschließende Party 🎈🥳 !
      Viele Plätze und Straßen im Innenstadtbereich sind ab 15 Uhr abgesperrt. Es versammeln sich immer mehr Schaulustige mit Decken, Getränken und Essen und warten stundenlang auf das Feuerwerk!
      Um 21 Uhr startet das Familienfeuerwerk! Es ist schon imposant! 👍🤪🥳
      Danach startet die Party in der ANYTIME DISCO und an der OCEAN BAR!
      Bevor traditionell mit der Schiffsglocke das Neue Jahr eingeläutet wird, hält der Kapitän noch eine kurze Ansprache!
      Und dann zählen wir rückwärts ins NEUE JAHR und ein wunderschönes Lichtermeer aus Raketen, 🚀, Silberregen, Laserstrahlern und und und …erstrahlt in allen Farben.
      Die Harbour Bridge wird illuminiert und es ist wunderschön anzusehen. Die Musik ist passend und wir stoßen alle glücklich auf das neue Jahr an ! Unvergesslich und einmalig ❤️🥂😘🥳❤️
      Viele geschmückte Boote leuchten zusätzlich! Ein Riesenspektakel !! 😘
      Nach einigen Gläsern 🥂🥂🥂auf 2024 fallen wir ins Bett mit keinen neuen Vorsätzen ! ❤️
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    • Day 69

      Rebecca fährt...

      December 17, 2022 ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      ...uns im Campervan nach Tasmanien.

      In den letzten Wochen haben wir gemerkt, dass die Distanzen in Australien unglaublich riesig sind, zudem standen uns ab Adelaide nicht mehr viele Himmelsrichtungen zur Auswahl: Wir kamen aus dem Süd-Osten und sind nach Norden gefahren, weiter Richtung Westen kommt bis Perth (ca. 2700 km) nicht mehr viel... ;-)

      Wir steigen daher auf die klassische Form des Reisens in Australien um und überführen einen Campervan nach Tasmanien. Wir haben 5 Tage Zeit und müssen das Benzin selber zahlen, dafür gibt es das Auto und ein Fährticket umsonst. Außerdem passen die Fahrräder entspannt in den Innenraum. In drei Tagen fahren wir zurück Richtung Melbourne, um im Hafen von Geelong die Nachtfähre nach Devonport auf Tasmanien zu erwischen. Dort fahren wir zur Hauptstadt Hobart quer über die Insel und gewinnen so schon einen Eindruck von den vielfältigen Landschaften Tasmaniens. Ganz im Gegensatz zum Rest Australiens sind hier die Distanzen sehr überschaubar, die Landschaft scheint sich mit jeder Kurve zu verändern und mutet in Teilen fast skandinavisch an.
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    • Day 38

      Captain on Deck!

      February 15 ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

      So honored to be able to tour the Viking Neptune's bridge today!

      The Neptune's maiden voyage was in 2023, so she is newly constructed with room for 915 guests on 9 decks total.

      She is equipped with 4 engines. and horizontal stabilizers that extend 18 feet. These greatly reduced the ship from rocking side to side in rough waters. In addition, she has aft and bow thrusters used to move the ship sideways during docking.

      We want to thank the crew for taking the time to show us around and answering all of our many questions.
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    • Day 51

      Day 51: Meet Jeric

      February 11 ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

      Jeric is from Manila, Philippines and this is his seventh contract with Viking. He is role is “Bar Waiter” - he is very knowledgeable on different types of drinks and if you give Jeric your mood and what you are thinking - and you want tot try something new he will pick out just the right drink for you to try.

      When Jeric is not in the Explorer’s lounge serving us drinks with an amazing smile, he enjoys spending time in the mountains hiking and often goes to the mountains with his mom.

      Come to the Explorer’s lounge and be greeted with a huge smile, and if you want to try something different - let Jeric find just the right adult refreshment for you.
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    • Day 23–24

      The Curious Case of Jack and the Sea

      January 26 ⋅ 🌬 17 °C

      The morning air crackled with anticipation as we bid farewell to our temporary haven at Bunjill and set our course for Geelong once more. Australia Day painted the streets with vibrant hues, but our hearts sought a different kind of connection—a reunion with our kindred spirit, Jack.

      Jack, a fellow traveler whose soul echoed our own, had graced our Christmas with shared laughter and stories. Now, on the precipice of our next adventure, we yearned to rekindle that camaraderie before the winds of fate carried us further apart.

      We ventured into the heart of the festivities, indulging in the savoury scents and boisterous energy that swirled around us. But it was within a tranquil park, away from the jubilant throng, that we sought true solace. Beneath the shade of our outstretched awning, shielded from the sun's relentless gaze, we found our sanctuary.

      The Crew, a cooperative card game that had tantalised us with near victory during Jack's last visit, beckoned once more. Joined by Jack's new partner, Nic, and their spirited foster greyhound, Odie, we immersed ourselves in the intricate dance of strategy and teamwork.

      Laughter echoed through the serene park as we navigated each challenge, our minds united in pursuit of a shared goal. Though victory remained elusive, we emerged with hearts alight, vowing to reconvene in the wilds of Tasmania to conclude our epic quest.

      As the day surrendered to twilight, we embraced the bittersweet farewell, knowing that our paths would soon intertwine once more. The Crew awaited its final chapter, and the promise of shared laughter and adventure whispered upon the winds of anticipation.

      The port beckoned like a gateway to adventure, a mere ten-minute drive from our eager wheels. The Spirit of Tasmania, our trusty steed across the notoriously restless Bass Strait, awaited our arrival. We clutched our cache of motion sickness tablets like warriors preparing for battle, determined to weather the tempestuous crossing.

      A dance of motorhomes, campervans, and caravans converged upon the vessel, each carrying dreams of wild Tasmanian shores. Our hearts echoed the collective hum of anticipation, for this journey had been five months in the making. The moment held a surreal edge, as if we were stepping into a long-awaited tale.

      Like sardines packed within a tin, we surrendered our freedom of movement to the gentle thrum of the ferry's engine. Our humble two-bed cabin, a sanctuary amidst the floating city, welcomed us with open arms. A shower, a luxury long absent from our nomadic life, whispered promises of rejuvenation.

      As the sun dipped its celestial canvas into the ocean's embrace, it painted the Victorian shoreline in hues of molten gold and crimson farewell. The mainland, bathed in the ethereal glow of twilight, whispered a poignant adieu as we embarked on a 12-month odyssey to the wild, untamed heart of Tasmania.

      We retreated to our cozy cocoon, seeking solace in slumber before the open seas unleashed their fury. But the ocean, a restless beast, would not be denied.

      At the witching hour, we jolted awake, tossed amidst a tempest of five-meter swells. A few more tablets became our peace offering to the churning waves, granting us a fragile return to slumber's embrace.

      Morning dawned with a touch of vertigo for Sal, a lingering souvenir of the night's tumultuous dance. Yet, as we disembarked onto Tasmanian soil, relief and elation intertwined. We had weathered the storm, and a new chapter of adventure lay before us, ripe with possibilities.
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    • Day 36

      02.11.2024 Tasman Sea Sea Day 4/4

      February 11 ⋅ 🌬 64 °F

      We will touch land again tomorrow so today is our final sea day.
      What a beautiful day. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and no wind. 76 degrees.
      We can see land. The picture with the unidentified cruise ship shows us passing the most southern tip of Australia.
      Russell Lee is told us a story today at 9:30 am “The Legend of Ned Kelly - Australia’s Outlaw Hero”.
      Diana went to felting class at 1:00 to finish her gnome. She has named him Olaf the Viking and will give him to Dylan since he is Norwegian and his middle name is Olaf.
      Myron attended choir practice at 2:00 as they are getting ready for their next performance on Feb 15th.
      A little afternoon pool time with friends in the infinity pool. Warren, Myron, Terry and Brian.
      I did not take this video but Juan was kind enough to share it with me. Dolphins.
      Dinner tonight is in the Restaurant with Brian, Jonathan, Jim, Scott and Rich. Another fabulous dessert for Myron.
      Surprise! We are getting into Melbourne, Australia tonight instead of tomorrow morning. We can’t get off the ship tonight but at least we can watch the sail in.
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    • Day 57

      Philip Island, Australia

      February 14 ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      We had a leisure morning.
      Bob went to breakfast while I checked emails and paid some bills.
      At 10:20 AM we headed to the Winter Garden to watch about 10 couples participate in a vow renewal ceremony. Viking out did itself once again. It was a lovely ceremony complete with cake cutting, champagne and dancing.

      After the vow renewal ceremony, we went back to the stateroom to change into casual clothes. The weather has changed significantly. We had tremendous winds last night which resulted in the most motion so far on this trip.

      We went to lunch in the World Cafe. During lunch we found out that there was no power on Philip Island. The winds last night caused widespread outages in Melbourne and Philip Island. We decided that we will still make a trip to the island this afternoon.

      After lunch, we went back to the Stateroom and put on warmer clothes.
      We caught the tender with Dale and Jenni to see if we can find any adventures.

      We walked through town. Due to lack of electricity, only one store was open. It was Coles grocery store. We find it fascinating to investigate grocery stores around the world. I found some essential oils to diffuse in our stateroom. We also purchased popcorn, chips and salsa because we clearly have not been eating enough.

      Next, we walked back through town. It is a quaint town with beautiful trees.
      We caught the shuttle back to the marina, took some photos of birds, and caught the tender back to the ship.

      We had a quick early dinner at 4:30 PM because our excursion, the Penguin Parade, was to depart at 5:15.

      After dinner, we changed into and packed some warm clothes because we were warned that this evening it would get chilly watching the penguins. Then we were off the to Star Theatre to get a ticket for the tender ride to Philip Island.

      Phillip Island is home to the largest Little Penguin colony in the world. During our excursion we are to be able to experience the magic of watching these amazing seabirds waddle home from the ocean to their burrows.

      Bob, Jenni and I (Dale opted to stay warm on the ship) got on the same tender and bus. When we arrived at the Penguin Parade facility, we were told that the doors to the boardwalks and stands would not open until 7:00 PM so we had a bit of a wait. We looked at the souvenir shops but did not find anything intriguing so we lined up early.

      During our wait in line, we were able to observe Wallabies through the window as they came to the stream to drink.

      At 7 PM, we were allowed to begin our walk to the stands where we would be able to view the penguins immerge from the surf and parade across the sand. The three of us decided to leisurely make our way to the stands. No photography is allowed after sunset to protect the penguins vision so we did not see a reason to rush to the stands. On the way, we were able to observe many wallabies, geese, some baby penguins in their burrows, and numerous other birds.

      We were still quite early to the stands as the penguins do not exit from the surf until after sunset. This is a defense mechanism because their greatest predators while crossing the beach are birds of prey. Since the birds of prey return to their nests after sunset, the penguins have evolved to only make this journey after the sunsets.

      Once the sun sat, we waited about another 20 minutes before the first group of penguins exited the surf. We watched for another 30 minutes. At this point, many people exited the very chilly stands to make their way up to the visitor's center and awaiting bus. Bob, Jenni and I repositioned ourselves to get better views and watched for another 20 minutes.

      We were treated with seeing a Bandicoot. Bandicoots are terrestrial, largely nocturnal, solitary animals that dig funnel-like pits in their search for insect and plant food. These animals were extinct on Philip Island until foxes were eradicated. A breeding pair was re-introduced to Philip Island and they are thriving. They are now listed as endangered but their numbers continue to improve.

      As we made our way along the boardwalk, we were treated with observing the birds returning to their burrows and greeting their young. We were so intrigued with watching the penguins that the staff had to move us along as they said that they would soon be turning out the lights.

      We were able to catch the last bus back to the tender boats but by the time we arrived at the tender boats, there were 3 other buses ahead of us. We have an extensive wait before we were told that we could exit the bus and head to the tenders.

      We finally made it back to the ship close to midnight.

      Full disclosure, the photos of the penguin parade were downloaded from their website. They welcome people to use these photos.
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    • Day 51

      Day 51: Meet Martin

      February 11 ⋅ ☀️ 81 °F

      Martin is a single man, from China, this is his third Viking contract. In an earlier life he graduated with a degree in CNC Numeric Control. For fun he enjoys badminton & hiking.

      How many of us have degrees in a certain field and our careers have taken us on a different path? Martin is a clearly a people person. The idea of working in a factory for him just didn’t seem to fit. His never ending smile and wanting to make others smile as well is the direction which led him to Viking.

      One of the threads throughout our meeting the various crew members has been their ability to “SWE” - Smile without Ending! How do they do it? Are there classes they have to complete?

      What is the final exam like? The exam is to keep smiling for 8 hours straight while people ask them for another napkin, another drink, or tell them the room is too cold or too hot. I would fail that exam. By the way to pass this final exam you have to carry, without dropping, 43 pounds of dirty dishes, or 20 glasses of champagne while the ship simulator is rocking and rolling - weaving their way through the “Waitstaff Ballet” walking through the World Cafe or The Restaurant.

      Kudos, to Martin, Jeric, Karmila, Shai & Gede, Lisa, Nick, Casper, Igor #1, Igor 2, Ledi Gaga, Beka & John, Amiee, Guest Services, Wait Staff, The Blue Man Group, The White Suits, the Entertainers, the list goes on, and on, and on. They all have clearly passed their final exam.

      There are about 1,500 people on the Neptune - many of us about ⅓ of us have already fulfilled our career paths and now living our retirement dreams. While a group of the next generation is looking towards their future hopes and aspirations. Families at home.

      I know I still view this cruise through a “first-timers” lens. I met one gentleman in the hallway a couple of days ago; this is cruise number 39 for him. Wow No matter the number of cruises we have been on, all of us (passengers & crew) come to this cruise with unique backstories and dreams for the future. Whatever our story, we are all very fortunate to have this experience on the Neptune.

      “As iron sharpens iron, so to a person another.”
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Bass Strait

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