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April 20, 2022
We are off on a river cruise!

A Viking river longship

Since Russell retired in March 2019, we have found a terrific retirement gig working on cruise ships. Russell is a Guest Enrichment Lecturer, covering unique cultural topics with storytelling and humor. Gail is a Guest Workshop Host, teaching needle felting crafts.

After a two-year interruption from COVID-19, we have pretty much filled our calendar with cruising. Since June 2021 we have spent six weeks in Iceland, two months in the Mediterranean, and almost four months in Central America and the South Pacific.

Russell lectures in the Star Theatre aboard Viking Orion

Gail teaches in the Chef’s Table aboard Viking Orion

Our adventures have been exclusively with Viking Ocean Cruises. We love the Viking brand, culture, and the way they treat their guests and crew. Frankly, Viking has been giving us all the cruising we can handle.

There is one downside. Though Viking earned its reputation with its river cruises, we have only worked on Viking’s ocean cruises. The river ships are smaller (180 guests versus 930 on ocean ships) and cannot accommodate lecturers overnight. Instead, they bring in local experts when they are in port. So while we greatly enjoy ocean cruising, we had resigned ourselves to never experiencing a river cruise.

Until now.

Since the beginning of March, we have been home for a couple of months before our next contract begins in mid-May. Our brief spells at home have been very precious to us. Russell works 12 hours a day at his PC writing new lectures. Gail continues to finish and furnish the inside of our mountain home, working on walls, ceilings and floors.

Russell in his element

… and Gail in hers

But mid-April, we saw an opportunity to join a Viking river cruise at short notice. How short? The ship would be sailing in only two weeks. We quickly went over the logistics in our minds. Russell’s lectures could wait. Gail’s house projects could wait. Spraying the weeds, clearing fallen trees, installing the new floor – everything could wait.

Gail’s new kitchen cabinets will have to wait in their boxes… for now

900 square feet of new flooring will have to wait in the garage… for now

And so, we are joining the April 22nd sailing of Viking’s “Grand European Tour” river cruise. Starting in Amsterdam (Netherlands), we will sail for 15 days down the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, ending in Budapest (Hungary) on May 6.

From there it gets tricky. We are due to board the new Viking Mars on May 13. We don’t want to fly back to the US, just to turn around and come back to Europe. So we will remain in Budapest for an additional week. We will fly to Croatia just in time to board the Mars in Dubrovnik.

Great news: our son Cameron will be joining us on the river cruise! Unfortunately, our other son Joss is not available.

Even more great news: we are sailing as guests, not as working lecturers. So we will be blogging throughout our journey.

Stay tuned for another amazing adventure in the days and weeks ahead!

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