(2:25 p.m. EDT) My partner and I have been environment out to take a look at fairly very little Isafjordur, which like so several other towns on Iceland’s coast has the shut-by trifecta of mountains, snow, and waterfalls. But 1st we had to spit in test tubes.
We had arrived in town onboard Viking’s Viking Sky, along with some 760 fellow passengers, anyone onboard vaccinated (crew and company), the ship working at about 80 per cent capacity (Viking Sky can commonly have 930 travellers). Viking Sky is a best venue for exploration, with its streamlined Scandinavian décor and upscale vibe. It’s also a ship wherever COVID-19 health safety measures are taken very very seriously.
Daily PCR Screening
We have become made use of to our spitting plan. The first working day onboard, we spat when we arrived at our cabin, next guidance to open up two plastic sealable baggage, each printed with our names and a bar code. We had to spit 2ml into our different vials, then reseal the tubes in the bags. Our cabin steward took them away. The only principles were being no having, no drinking (not even a wakeup cup of espresso) and no brushing your teeth within a half hour of the spit.
Three days into the journey, that system has come to be routine. Wake up, spit before 8:30 or so into our tubes, so we have a hand off when the knock on the door comes from housekeeping to accumulate our samples. It is a bizarre practical experience.
What takes place to our spit as soon as the vials have been taken away? The tubes are taken to the ship’s have onboard lab for testing – Viking was the very first to set up complete-scale committed labs at sea for processing onboard tests as a end result of the pandemic.
You’d assume the PCR testing may be adequate, but Viking is taking no probabilities when it comes to its health and basic safety protocols. We are reminded to place our shipboard card up to screens about the vessel that read our facial area and get our temperature. It is proposed we do this once a working day.
There is also an occasional dilemma in our Viking Day by day or on our Viking Voyager application, just inquiring how we’re experience.
Finding into Iceland
With all guests onboard vaccinated, we had been not required to just take a COVID-19 check ahead of the journey (unvaccinated visitors to Iceland are essential to get examined and to quarantine on arrival).
To get into Iceland, we were being required to go on line to fill out an Icelandic health and fitness survey and to down load pics of our vaccine cards to get an personal barcode to enter the state. We also had to have our vaccine cards physically with us.
In advance of we boarded our flight, we ended up needed to clearly show our vaccine playing cards and printout of the barcode code to the gate agent.
Speak to Tracing
On these one particular-week Iceland sailings on Viking Sky, the cruise line released a further amount of wellness precaution in the variety of a wearable get in touch with tracing medallion.
You acquire your gadget at test-in – which on this itinerary will take area at the landmark glass-facet Harpa live performance hall on the waterfront in Reykjavik. The white medallion is about the dimensions of a silver dollar. You may perhaps dress in it on the supplied purple Viking Cruises lanyard or adhere it in your pocket.
It tracks every person you appear into speak to with (at least individuals also donning a medallion). Personnel encouraged that the unit does not retailer your personal information and does not file where you have been when you have been in call with whomever. We were inspired to retain our medallions on our individuals on the ship and on shore, and we would be notified should any get hold of with anyone with a COVID-19 infection arise.
What Viking did not tell us is that the tracing point occasionally gets excited — it flashes pink lights and sometimes other hues far too when somebody comes near, and even in the middle of the night time when you go away it on your nightstand.
I occurred to be at guest companies when a disconcerted passenger referred to as to make sure the flashing did not necessarily mean she experienced COVID. She was certain she did not.
Thoroughly clean Air and Robots
In situation you have to have further assurance that you are on a protected ship, think about that Viking ships were designed with unbiased air handling models in all staterooms somewhat than a shared compelled air system. To complement that, the line has included new air purification technologies employing UV-C light. You don’t see it, but it is there.
You possibly will not see the ship’s new cleaning robots accomplishing their issue either, but they are onboard, and there may perhaps even be 1 on show close to the gangplank. For safety reasons they are used late at evening and not near persons, considering that they also get rid of germs with ultraviolet rays. A human accompanies the device as it will work — they don’t roam freely.
Fewer large tech are all the hand washing stations established up close to the ship, with crew producing frequent reminders to wash your arms.
The Viking Sky is a roomy ship for 930 travellers, the quantity it will have future 7 days when totally booked (the before two sailings operated at 50 per cent capability. On our cruise, Viking Sky carried 760, which is 80 percent of usual potential).
It is not difficult to discover your own area onboard, irrespective of whether it is in a comfy lounger all around the indoor pool in the Wintergarden, in the atrium that is set up like a grand dwelling space, or up in the leading of the windowed Explorer’s Lounge, the place you can examine maps as you check out the sea.
We observed some bar stools onboard ended up blocked off. At times, you could possibly see a indication on a portion of couch indicating not to sit there for social distancing needs, and some eating tables may well have been a little bit farther apart. But it was all quite discreet.
Viking has beefed up its in-space amenities package to include things like new well being and security items. Each individual passenger gets a bundle of 10 “Full Ultrasonic” (according to the package) facemasks that are black and search stylish, a bunch of handwipes, and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
Mask carrying is needed of everyone onboard all around the ship, apart from when ingesting or consuming, or when working with the pool or incredibly hot tubs. You are demanded to wear your mask off the ship, also, for boarding tour or town shuttle buses.
The point is, when you are in a town or city you promptly comprehend several in Iceland are carrying masks it’s a place where by the significant majority of the grownup population is vaccinated. In Reykjavik, Iceland’s cash metropolis, no masks ended up necessary at the art museums, nor in the seafood shack on the waterfront where my partner and I ate lobster soup for lunch. No one on the road was carrying a mask.
The exact was accurate in very small Isafjordur, where by we enjoyed mask-absolutely free kayaking in the mountain-surrounded fjord, adopted by beer at the pier in the only brewery in the area.
By comparison, the mask-carrying limitations onboard Viking Sky seemed excessive at periods. I pitied the band users who had to dress in them on stage. The singers at the all-ABBA show had been mask-free of charge. Lots of audience users took theirs off too. It is hard to sing along to Mamma Mia when wearing a mask.