Wandering World Cruiser’s Epilogue

This is our great group of new friends with whom we were traveling the world together, sharing each others experiences and enjoying the adventure.

First our update then the rest of the cruise.  John and I disembarked the Viking Sun in Darwin, Australia Feb 29th, due to John’s inability to walk. Nothing to do with the virus. The long flight from Brisbane to LAX went surprisingly well for us. I think we were flying on Angel wings in answer to much prayer. Our son met us at LAX with a wheelchair and a rental car and we took John to see the doctor on March 2nd. The MRI found that he had blood on his brain and he was immediately flown to a PHX hospital for emergency surgery on a subdural hematoma. A week later he tried to get up by himself while in the hospital and fell, requiring a second surgery. He is now in a rehab center undergoing physical, occupational and speech therapy. No visitors are allowed, so I’m in Yuma and talk with him on the phone each day, but he doesn’t have his speech back very well yet. However, he is getting better every day and the doctors remind me it takes time. Although the doctors agree he has a number of symptoms relating to Parkinson’s, the same symptoms relate to the slow brain bleed hematoma and resulting surgeries and brain damage. Lord willing, I will be bringing him home to our Yuma house May 8th.

At home in Yuma, I have a great support group here that will help with probably anything I need. I’m working with our immense hoard of photos and send John some pictures occasionally to help jog his memory. Friends in CA have our dog permanently now. That was a blessing to know she went to a good family. The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”

We have been so blessed to have had many, many, many adventures in life, too numerous to even list……. Not the least of which was this World Cruise. My next adventure is navigating the waters of health care for my husband living at home. I’ve planned for us to laugh together with some old Carol Burnett TV episodes. Go for walks (when he is better) with our matching walkers!! (some folks hold hands when they go for a walk, we’ll just hold onto our walkers 😉 Mine is a red convertible Corvette and John’s is a VW Beetle!) And we’ll see what we can do with small jigsaw puzzles. Even though we experience some memory loss at this stage in life, maybe John more than myself right now, our memories, of so many years of wonderful experiences, family and friends, many travels, lots of building projects and lots of love, have become our Roses in our December years! And those family and friends, along with healthcare nurses visiting daily, will help us to enjoy those beautiful, fragrant roses of life!

From the Wellington Botanic Garden, New Zealand

We know God’s Grace is sufficient. And His Love is Eternal. Take care and God Bless you all during these different and sometimes difficult times in which we live.

Much love from the Wandering World Cruisers, John and Diana Maruska, now in the AZ desert missing the rolling waves rocking us to sleep at night 😉

The following is my “Reader’s Digest” Version of the rest of the story!

I received an update on the remainder of the cruise via emails from a couple fellow travelers who were sailing the Viking Sun to the end, not realizing where that end would end up! That’s what you call an adventure!

After John and I left Darwin, Australia Feb 29th , the next stop for Viking was Komodo Island. This is what we didn’t get to see in person!! And masks were declared a must for those going ashore.

At first glance he looks quite tame. But his rugged hide that is sort of like a chain-mail type armor, his forked tongue, sense of smell, his size and speed of maneuvering is enough for one to be afraid of this dragon that is without fire and smoke. He’s really only a lizard.

Then on to Bali, where many passengers flew home and the others still traveling were able to go ashore, tour the island and enjoy a dinner show at Bali’s Bird Park. We too were scheduled to go there…. thank you for the photos Beverly. 

The Black Palm Cockatoo, largest cockatoo species 

Then on March 9th, an announcement on the ship: no future passengers, no future entertainers, no future lecturers—no future anything was getting on board this ship! They are sailing all the way to London with approximately 360 psg and approx 430 crew.  As management said, this is now our own personal yacht. Now being called, Viking Magical Mystery Cruise 2020

March 12th, the US has closed travel from Europe, which means not going to London….

March 15th,  Sri Lanka for a technical stop. Refueling and provisioning.

Next stop — Muscat Oman — a no go except for another technical stop.

March 17th, no more ports to visit, no more shore excursions

March 18th, It was announced that the ship will stop in Gibraltar to let 7 or 8 passengers get off—if they will let us stop.

March 19th, changes in the routing daily. Will Dubai let psg disembark?  With the UK closed, Suez Canal scheduling a problem, with so many changes, and the question, will a port in the US allow disembarkation if we were to sail that far?

March 22, Dubai, the last of the Australians, Brits and Europeans disembark and are flown to their respective homes. Leaving approx 250 Americans and Canadians going ????? No Corona virus on board.

March 24th, announcement of a flight to Newark, NJ. Told to be ready by noon, then at 5pm that same day, told to go to the World Cafe for dinner.  Charter flight not cleared, Dubai airport closed.

Next day, we were told to have bags ready at 9:30pm

The trip home began at 10:30pm with a short shuttle ride to the terminal. This was the first time in 17 days our feet hit terra firma. We collected our bags and took a 45 minute bus ride to the airport, which was near Abu Dhabi. It was very strange as few cars were on the roads. The airport was huge, and driving to the terminal it was dark and eerily quiet with no passengers or cars.

Around 4:30 am, buses came to drive us out to the plane.

It actually took off and….     with thankful hearts, we arrived home safe.

Who would have thought that a mystery virus would be the cause of so much disruption, chaos, social isolation, economic downturn, hostile governments and ultimately the cessation of our dream voyage!

The very last of the Viking Sun passengers disembarked on a flight from Abu Dhabi to Madrid for refueling with no one getting off and then flew to Newark, NJ.  When they got to their respective homes they quarantined themselves for two weeks. They renamed the cruise The Magical Mystery Cruise 2020! They never knew from day to day where they would try to dock. At short notice, Viking were obliged to organize 361 flights to various destinations around the world. Ourselves included, we, along with all the others, applaud Viking Cruises for their handling of this unprecedented crisis. None of the passengers got sick and all were returned home safely.

This is a brief (?) photo review of the trip 😉

Vicki was the best Cruise Director any one would ever want. Funny, beautiful, helpful, friendly, very efficient and did I say she was funny 🙂

With the White Cliffs of Dover in the background, I’m holding a plate with John’s favorite breakfast of lite waffles found only in the Explorer’s Lounge with Norwegian brown goat cheese and fruit. Yum!

Liverpool, England
Docked right in town at Hamilton, Bermuda
Brazilian celebration dress up for dinner
Di’s B’day Tea
Equator Crossing Celebration. Kiss that ugly fish!
Ushuaia, Argentina “The city at the end of the world” between the Beagle Channel and the southernmost slopes of the Andes.
Estancia Fitz Roy, 100 yr old sheep farm, Patagonia, Chile
Leaving the Magellan Strait with the Patagonian Andes in background
Puerto Chacabuco, Aisen Fjord, Chilean Patagonia with the Andes Mountains

Southernmost tip of Baja peninsula, Cabo San Lucas where the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean meet.  Is that beautiful brown pelican looking down his nose at me?

Anchored offshore of…
…Akaroa, NZ
Doubtful Sound, rounding the southern tip of New Zealand
Aren’t they cute little devils? Tasmania, Australia

A recap: What a Wonderful World!  Viking has expanded our minds with great lectures, history, geography, cultural lessons, out-of-the-way small cities to visit as well as famous big ones, whetting our appetite to visit again at length. I could go on and on, kindness, efficiency, smiles, fantastic food, entertainment, crew, staff and management. I can’t help but think everyone on that trip is a walking advertisement for Viking.  They deserve to be #1 on the seas.             Thank you Viking.