The seas were rocky last night! The movement of the ship didn’t bother me at all – in fact, I sort of liked it! Reminds me of rocking a baby to sleep! But….I’m guessing that others might not have enjoyed it! I noticed more white caps when I looked out our verandah window this morning. Even took a few pictures!
Terry is an early riser, so each morning, he goes to the 1st floor & brings back a latte to the state room for me. Written on the cup: Coffee Cantata – “How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter than Muscatel wine!” Johann Sebastian Bach On the other side of the cup: Tea – “If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.” William Gladstone
Alexus & Debbie & Terry & I ate lunch in the Restaurant – they all had yummy hot dogs, and I had a salmon souffle and everyone enjoyed! We did notice the the waves seemed to be getting higher & more white caps, so we decided to go up to the Explorer Lounge (7th floor) to watch the waves go by!! It was sort of like a roller coaster up there with the ship rolling from side to side, and as time went on, the waves got larger and the roller coaster ride was more thrilling!
It wasn’t long before the chairs were sliding from side to side, even with people in them! Moved the chairs back a few feet to the carpeted area for safety reasons, and then other things began to move – decorative plants, lights were falling from the ceiling, a LARGE green planter that was coffee table height, bumped into the piano! Alexus was videoing it all, drink glasses were sliding off the bar and breaking, and things were getting rough!! THEN…… the general emergency alarm went off! Seven short bleeps, and one long bleep….. just like we hear and practice for in the safety drill at the beginning of every cruise! We knew then that things had moved from fun to watch & experience to serious! We immediately went to the theater, our assigned muster station! Life Jackets were passed out and we were told that we would be evacuated, one-by-one, by helicopter! And there we stayed for about 24 hours! Just an fyi…..orange life jackets are uncomfortable and HOT, and orange is not the new black!!! We sat with Ron & Ruth Ann Popp, Ralph & Laura Williams (not only our friends but our travel agents), and Alexus & Debbie, so we did enjoy our company, even though it was LONG! The Viking staff did an amazing job of escorting us to the restrooms as needed, bringing snacks (apples, cheese, chips, yogurt, sandwiches, fruit, etc..) during this LONG time.
The helicopter evacuation process was long, and at least three of our group were extremely fearful of heights, so we pretty much decided, if given the option, that we’d go toward the end of the evacuation process! With 915 guests on the Viking Sky, and 458 crew, we figured it would take about 20 people an hour for evacuation! At that rate, it would take a LONG TIME to evacuate everyone!
The ship had lost power from all four engines in the 50’-60’ waves that we were watching in the Explorer Lounge. We heard the term ‘cyclone bomb’(a winter hurricane!) for the first time when this storm was described and the area we were in when that happened was the Hustadvika, – reportedly one of the most dangerous stretches on the Norwegian Coastline. OF COURSE!!! Anyway, it crippled Viking Sky, and the world soon knew about it, thanks to Alexus’ Tweet & video about it on social media!!!
The Captain was very good at communicating what was (or was not) happening during this time. When the Mayday alert went out, tug boats were called for, the anchor was dropped, and one of the engines was able to be fixed, so Viking Sky just hung out, rocking and rolling in the North Sea, only about 1 1/2 miles from the rocky shore!
Much, much later, as we had hoped & prayed for, the tug boats arrived, and all 4 engines were running, so the Viking Sky was escorted into Molde, Norway, where we disembarked @ 6:45 for a charter flight to Oslo, heading back home to Omaha. Our original flights had been cancelled since the cruise ended, and EVERYTHING had to be rescheduled! Viking provided a room for us in Oslo (3 hours sleep), before continuing on to Omaha at 4:00 a.m. through London Heathrow, then Philadelphia, arriving home at 10:30 p.m. on Monday night – one day earlier than originally scheduled.
The CEO & founder of Viking Cruise LIne, Torsten Hagen, personally went to the evacuation site and to the Viking Sky to share his comments to us regarding this harrowing experience. His message was warm and sincere, and told us that the cost of the cruise would be refunded. That was done promptly, as the money was in Terry’s checking account the very next morning!
Looking back on the entire experience, we know it could have been a terrible tragedy, but thanks to the fast action of our ship Captain in dropping the anchor immediately after the engines quit, injuries were few and no lives were lost.
Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.” We were calm during the storm and that was indeed a gift from God, knowing that all was in HIs hands! We praise and thank Him for our safety in this unforgettable travel experience!
March 24, 2019 – Sunday – Stavanger, Norway – Cancelled
March 25, 2019 – Sea Day – Cancelled
March 26, 2019 – Tilbury (London), United Kingdom – Cancelled