July 25, 2018 - Today, Viking Sky is sailing towards our next port-of-call in Tromsø, Norway. A relaxing day at sea? Perhaps, but then there is the Order of the Blue Nose. You see, whenever a Viking Ocean ship crosses the Arctic Circle, which Viking Sky did this afternoon at exactly 2:00pm, the Captain blows the ship's whistle and guests are invited to join the Order of the Blue Nose. So, here is how it works.
First, the hot tub adjacent to the main pool on Deck 7 is filled with a LOT of ice.
Next, a large Halibut is wheeled into the pool area (any large fish will suffice).
Then, large bowl of blue whipped cream is placed on a table near the hot tub.
Lastly, there is a table with shot glasses filled with Aquavit, a very powerful Norwegian alcoholic spirit.
The ritual initiation begins with two senior officers, in full uniform, plunging into the icy water. This is to demonstrate to guests that this is real, and real cold!
Next, Cruise Director, Aaron Syfert, dives into the water. Upon exiting the ice bath, initiates are required to kiss the fish, as seen below:
After kissing the fish (not a euphemism), the participant's nose is then painted blue by one of the lovely ship's entertainers, in this case, Alexandra.
After a handful of senior staff members have taken the "plunge" in front of all guests, it is now the guests' turn. Guests line up to begin plunging into the ice bath one by one thereby joining the Order of the Blue Nose. Guests enjoy one more task than did the officers: a shot of Aquavit at the end of the initiation. Everyone in attendance had a great time watching at least 100 guests take the plunge and walk off with a blue nose.
After getting all of the photos and video for this event, I went back to our stateroom to check out my photos. Ten minutes later, Rickee walks in soaking wet with a blue nose. She could not resist. I only wish I had remained there to capture the moment.
Later in the afternoon, I attended an excellent lecture by Micheal Ryan titled "NATO - Still Relevant or a Relic of the Cold War?" Mr. Ryan has extensive military and diplomatic experience and definitely knows his subject. I found it to be a very interesting topic, and one very relevant to the news of the day. I am looking forward to Mr. Ryan's next lecture.
This evening we have been invited to a very special dinner with Captain Gustafsson and Hotel General Manager, Sujith Mohan. Several esteemed travel journalists were invited to this special cocktail party and dinner held in the ship's Owner's Suite. The Owner's Suite includes a large conference/dining room which has been set up for tonight's dinner.
Before dinner, we had the opportunity to mix and mingle with many of the ship's senior staff as well as Captain Gustafsson.
The dinner featured the menu from Manfredi's Italian Restaurant. The meal and the service were both excellent and everyone had an enjoyable evening. After dinner, Rickee and I decided to visit Torshavn, the ship's smaller entertainment lounge. We heard Vincent and Jennifer performing at the pool before the Order of the Blue Nose ceremony and wanted to hear more. The lounge is packed and apparently this duo has already acquired a loyal following.
The vocals were backed up by four members of the Viking Sky band and it was a great show. Viking has a real knack for finding talent. After the show, we head back to our stateroom. It is now 11:15pm and the sun is still shining! This truly is the Land of the Midnight Sun!
Tomorrow, Viking Sky will be docked in Tromsø, Norway.