A Cruise Around Iceland
Our first cruise after the pandemic was with Viking Ocean Cruises. This July 2021 cruise was our 52nd cruise since 1996! This cruise was notable for several different reasons:
1. It was the furthest we've ever traveled.
We crossed seven different time zones to get to Iceland!
2. It was a "free" cruise. I put the word free in quotes because while the cruise was "free", we spent $7000 in airfare to get there and back!
3. Even though all passengers and crew members had been vaccinated, one of the passengers ended up testing positive for Covid during the cruise. This ended up affecting all of us in one way or another.
More about all three of those issues later. Let's start with the basics of the story. Here's the itinerary:
Doing a cruise around Iceland was VERY different from our normal destinations in the Caribbean or the Mexican Riviera. The only other cold-weather destination we've ever sailed to has been Alaska, and this was a lot like that. Other than this Iceland cruise and our 2014 Alaska cruise, every other cruise we've ever done has been to somewhere tropical!
Since our cruise was in July, it was summer in Iceland. We actually saw a few people in shorts and t-shirts (and I'm not talking about tourists) even though the weather never got warmer than the upper 50s the entire time we were there. But to Icelanders, compared to what they have to deal with in the winter months, 50 degree temperatures must have felt pretty good!
This was also the furthest north we have ever traveled to. Prior to this, Fairbanks, Alaska, was as far north as we had ever been... with a latitude of 64 degrees. One of the cities we visited in Iceland was Isafjordur, at a latitude of 66 degrees. So, that's our new record, and it will probably stand for the rest of our lives. I doubt we'll ever go any further north.
This cruise was offered to us by Viking Ocean Cruises, at their expense! They did this so that I would make some YouTube videos about the cruise, which will help to publicize Viking's return to cruising following the pandemic. They were very happy with the good publicity they got out of the videos I made about our two previous Viking cruises: a 2016 cruise on Viking Star (which was at our expense) and a 2019 cruise on Viking Sea that was at Viking's expense. Yes, that's right, this was our second "free" cruise with Viking!
Even though all the passengers and crew on Viking Sky were vaccinated, we still ended up having a brush with Covid-19. One of our fellow passengers tested positive about halfway through the cruise. I made a 13-minute long YouTube video that tells the full story of that aspect of the cruise. Please take a look at it:
To start the video playing, click the triangle in the middle of the video screen
To make the video fill the screen (recommended) click the little symbol in the lower right corner of the video player
Another video that I think you would find interesting is the following 11-minute video that I made prior to the cruise. It explains the general plan for the cruise, and what's so special about Viking Ocean Cruise ships:
I'll be working on editing several additional videos from our Iceland trip. I'll post them here once they're ready.
The Trip Back Home
After the cruise, our flight back home from Iceland was quite memorable. The first leg of the flight, Reykjavik to Seattle, Washington, was the longest flight we have ever taken. 7 hours and 45 minutes from wheels up to wheels on the ground again! This was especially interesting since we crossed seven different time zones, and we were traveling with the sun from east to west. So, we took off at 6:01 PM Iceland time and landed in Seattle at 6:45 PM Pacific time. In other words, the clock only advanced 44 minutes during the nearly 8 hour flight!
During the flight, I saw one of the most amazing views I have ever had during my travels. As we were approaching the coast of Greenland, I saw a bunch of little specks in the water. At first, I couldn't figure out what they were. As we got closer, I realized they were icebergs! It was the first time I had ever seen icebergs in person.
Once the plane actually crossed the Greenland coastline, the views got even more amazing. There were multiple glaciers visible, as well as a bay full of glaciers. My poor wife in the aisle seat missed out on an incredible sight!
Photos From Our Iceland Cruise
These days I think of myself as a videographer much more than a photographer. Making YouTube videos is why I went to Iceland. But I did also manage to shoot a few still photos, which I would like to share...
My favorite thing about Iceland was all the waterfalls!
This one was smaller, but still quite lovely...
This was a very typical view from the ship. It reminds me a lot of Alaska.
I shot this one from our balcony when the ship was docked in Reykjavik...
Another shot that could easily have been from Alaska...
A cute little town coastal town...
I shot very few still photos
within the ship...
But this one shows the tasteful Scandinavian design scheme of the interiors.
This was our favorite crew
member on Viking Sky, Arjim.
He was a bartender at one of the bars, and he took very good care of us.
Since my name is Jim, I found his somewhat ironic. It's pronounced Our-Jim.
People that know me well know
that I'm a picky eater with the food tastes of a 10 year old boy.
The most common type of food on our Iceland cruise was seafood, which I despise.
So, I ate a lot of hamburgers during the cruise. This is called the Viking Burger.
Don't let the red stuff on top of the burger freak you out... it's just sweet red onions.
Even this picky eater liked them.
The croissants at breakfast were also fantastic!
Need A Travel Agent?
Booking a cruise can be confusing, especially if you haven't been on many cruises before. There are lots of first-time cruiser mistakes that a travel agent can keep you from making.
If you're interested in booking a cruise with any cruise line... please feel free to use the services of my travel agent, Caitlin Gallagher. She's extremely pleasant to deal with, easy to talk to since she lives in the United States and speaks without any kind of an accent, and quite experienced and knowledgeable about different types of cruising. Caitlin is the owner of Ambren Travel. Visit her web site, check out the Ambren Travel Facebook page, or contact her using the information below.
The Cruise Ships We've Been On
If you've enjoyed this page, you would probably also enjoy reading my web pages about:
January 2020 Carnival Panorama>
December 2019 cruise in The Haven on Norwegian Joy
May 2019 Carnival Horizon cruise
April 2019 Norwegian Breakaway cruise
January 2019 Caribbean cruise on the Viking Sea
December 2018 country music cruise on the Norwegian Getaway
May 2018 Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Bliss
January 2018 cruise on MSC Seaside in a suite with a private Jacuzzi
September 2017 Carnival Vista cruise in a Havana Suite
October 2017 Norwegian Sky cruise in the owner's suite
The $1600 per night owners suite: January 2017 Norwegian Pearl
An Un-crowded Small Ship Experience: Viking Star
One Of The Best Waterslides At Sea: Liberty Of The Seas
Quite Possibly The Best Cruise Ship In The World: Anthem Of The Seas
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
One of the best cruise ships we've ever experienced: The Norwegian Escape
2015 Carnival Breeze back-to-back cruises
Back-to-back cruises on Independence Of The Seas
World's largest cruise ship: Allure Of The Seas
2015 Carnival Freedom repositioning cruise
Our first VIP cruise in The Haven: The Norwegian Getaway
Our June 2014 Alaska cruisetour with Princess
Our first cruise with Princess! January 2014 Sapphire Princess
2014 back-to-back eastern/western Caribbean cruises on the Carnival Glory
The completely refurbished Carnival Sunshine
One of Carnival's best ships, the Carnival Breeze
A sister ship to the Breeze, the Carnival Magic
Our 2013 cruise on the Carnival Conquest
One of the oldest ships in the fleet, the Carnival Inspiration
Our first Caribbean cruise: the Carnival Glory
Our many cruises on the Carnival Spirit
Our February 2010 cruise on the Carnival Splendor
Our January 2008 cruise on the Carnival Elation
Our April 2008 cruise on the Norwegian Star
Our first cruise! 1996 on Carnival Cruise Line's MS Holiday
Click here to see the complete chronology of all the cruises we've ever taken.
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