We usually book cruises relatively last minute, but last week we realized that because we already had one cruise booked (October 2022 Hong Kong to Bangkok) that Viking Cruises would delay their usual one year in advance final payment to six months before. We have been planning to take their cruise from Reykjavik to Bergen to celebrate Mike’s 60th summer but hadn’t booked it because we didn’t want to tie up that much money for that long. They had been offering a $25 deposit promo in celebration of their 25th Anniversary but since final payment would be due in September 2022 we had elected to wait until after our October cruise.

But when we realized that we could book now and not pay the balance until January, we jumped. So now for the first time in a very long time we have two cruises on the books and for the first time two showing up in Viking’s online system, “My Viking Journey”. 😊

If you’d like to see pictures of where we are headed, follow us on Instagram: @ClayNMike. If you’d like to join us, drop me a line, the more the merrier.


Just got some good news from our travel agent. When we booked our Hong Kong to Bangkok cruise for this coming October we booked under a promo that provided a one category upgrade. So we paid a promo price for the lowest category and when I used the online “book it now” button was able to select a DV1 (highest DV Category) facing aft…alas, by the time I finished inputting the required information, the system said it was no longer available and we ended up with a DV2 on Deck 6-midship. Still not too shabby!

Week before last while looking to see how full the ship was, I saw that one DV1 had become available-and it was one of the wake facing ones. Emailed our travel agent, she could see it and so could her Viking rep but they couldn’t get the system to book it. They thought maybe the deep dive he had done to see which DV1 was left had locked the room up. Anyway, Clay looked again last week and it was still there. Emailed a friendly reminder to our agent and frankly we both had forgotten about it until just now at 10pm on a Sunday when she emails that it’s now ours! 😊😊😊

Now what will we do if they offer us a reasonably priced upgrade to a PV? Will be mighty hard to give up the wake views-haven’t had one since we went round the horn in 2010! As you can see if you go to our Instagram (@ClaynMike) it’s balcony is bigger than those on either port or starboard. We will be directly below the big infinity pool but based on reviews of this stateroom, that hasn’t been an issue for anyone.

Now just have to make sure the cruise doesn’t get canceled🤞

So we did a thing😉

After a year without having a trip booked we are looking forward to being back onboard Viking Cruises’ Orion in October. We will be boarding where we last left her in 2019 in Hong Kong and sailing to Bangkok. The 14 night itinerary includes several overnights in Vietnam as well as at one the end in Bangkok.

We had hoped to do a longer sailing from Athens to Bangkok and had been keeping an eye on it, but it’s close to sold out so when Mike got a promo email on Friday offering a discounted price, “free” air (let’s hope we can snag an exit row seat!), silver spirits package, and $500 shipboard credit for this cruise at about a quarter of what the longer cruise was going to cost we decided it was time to push the button as it seemed like too good a deal to pass up – so we didn’t!

Our plan is to stay an extra week after disembarking-two nights in Bangkok and then fly to Siem Reap for three nights to visit Angkor Wat before flying back to Bangkok for one night to catch our “free” flight home. Now we just have to hope the stars align and the cruise actually goes. 🤞

If you have independent excursion recommendations for Viet Nam and/or hotel recommendations in Bangkok or Siem Reap we are all ears!

As always, if you would like to follow along and see pictures, then follow us on Instagram @claynmike. It’s easy just install the app to follow my photos and videos.

30 Days!

This time a month from now we will be aboard Viking Sky to begin our cruise around Iceland. Just a reminder that due to storage issues, I won’t be posting much here but will be doing so on Instagram. Follow us over there if you want to see what we are up to! We are clayandmike


While we had said that we didn’t want to be guinea pigs and be on some of the first cruises, early today we booked our first cruise since our covid shortened transatlantic in March 2020.

We expected it would be sometime in 2022 before we went anywhere but yesterday Viking announced three circumnavigation of Iceland cruises.

After some quick research we determined that while certainly not inexpensive, compared to a land trip the cruise is a much better value (Iceland is really expensive!). So that left deciding if we want to deal with masks, Covid tests, temperature checks and the other procedures implemented to keep the sailing safe.

While we are worried they may negatively impact our trip we also think this short cruise will be a good test to see if traveling in this new normal is worth it. Figure it is better to find out now than on a longer cruise.

So on July 9th we take off for Iceland!

As noted before, I can’t post any pictures here anymore so I will be sharing our trip on Instagram. This link will take you there:

It’s Been A Year!

Hard to believe that it was a year ago that we were enjoying our first cocktail aboard Viking Sea. We thought we were headed to Europe through June until Lady Rona decided that wasn’t to be. 😢

Hope everyone is well and staying safe. We are both fine though bored. We aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine but it appears that our group in NC may start before the end of the month. 🤞. Mike’s mom Lois gets her second shot next week and several friends have already gotten both of theirs. First time since I was a tween that I wanted to be older!

Mike has been teaching himself to sew via YouTube with some assistance from our friend Linda in Chapel Hill and Gail in Montana-the joys of FaceTime! In addition to pillow covers for our sofa and bed throw pillows, he has now branched out to beach and tote bags. He made one to match the accent fabric in our guestroom. It is hanging in the closet waiting for guests to use it!

Clay is slowly taking up watercolors using the set Mike gave him for Christmas. Not as good as what I would like but better than expected! PracticePracticePractice!

I had intended to share photos of our new hobbies but there is not enough storage on WordPress for more photos 😢

Because of this storage issue, this will be my last blogpost unless I find a new place with larger storage capacity (or a cheaper price!)

So, I really hope you will consider following us on Instagram (@ClaynMike) or on Twitter (@RealClayClayton) where I will continue to post regularly and even more when we finally get to travel again!

Stay well and wear your mask!

Happy 2021!

Hope everyone had a great Holiday season – we enjoyed ours here in Raleigh. It was great to see some of our Christmas tree decorations after being packed away since 2018. Especially those that Niece Madison and Nephew Jack made with their grandmother when they were toddlers.

Mike’s mom joined us for Christmas after her trip to Colorado was canceled due to Lady Rona. We had a quiet Christmas Eve and Day.

New Year’s Eve was also quiet but I suspect that like us, you were happy to say a quiet farewell (and not a fond one) to 2020.

Here’s to happier times ahead in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours for a healthy, safe, and more travel filled year.


Hope everyone is well and not going too stir crazy during these crazy times through which we are living. We are happy autumn is finally here. We have enjoyed having the air conditioning off and the windows open. We even had to put a blanket on the bed! Unfortunately that is likely to change next week as temperatures are predicted to rise again. But for now we are loving looking at our thermostat.

Mike and I are both healthy but bored most of the time. Our plan to volunteer and reconnect with old friends here in Raleigh has definitely been negatively impacted by Lady Corona. But we are happy we have a comfortable place to live and are healthy. We know how lucky we are compared to so many others.

In addition to becoming a baker, Mike has gotten started on learning to sew. We bought a used machine for $20 and his first project was a pillow cover for the guest room. He used the same fabric that I had used to recover the (free) chair we found on Facebook Marketplace. We didn’t realize when we bought the clearance fabric that it was going to coordinate so well with the quilt Mike’s grandmother made so we were excited when we put the room all together. So with those, the new bed and the painted end table and desk, our guestroom is basically finished!

And the guestroom has had several uses. Sam (our friend from DC) came for a long weekend after the 4th of July, and after two weeks of self-isolation, our friend Claudia came for her birthday celebration-Claudigras! That was followed by my brother and his family for a long weekend. We however spent the whole time at the lake so hopefully they will make it to Raleigh sometime. Then after more self-isolation, Chris and Jennifer (Mike’s brother and sis-in-law) spent a night here before we all went to the lake for several days.

No more plans at the moment for visitors so if you’re up to visiting, please don’t hesitate to come on. We get good reviews!

While Mike is sewing and baking, I’m texting on behalf of Joe and the Democrats. It had been great to connect with others who are supporters and even some of those who aren’t. While many Republicans have been unpleasant, It is nice to know there are some who are still polite and with whom one can have a civil conversation. I’m hoping (but unfortunately not hopeful) that after November 3rd our country can be one again. 🤞

Please stay safe, wear a mask and wash your hands! I want to be able to visit with you again when all of us are able.

Enjoy your fall!


Magnolias are blooming so it’s summer in North Carolina. While I love their scent, I could do without the heat and humidity that comes along with them. Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there!

I hope everyone is safe, healthy and wearing their masks and washing their hands. We are both doing fine though the whole idea of settling down and reconnecting with friends hasn’t worked out as planned due to our friend Lady Covid. 😢. By now I had hoped to be volunteering a few days a week somewhere and be enjoying get togethers with old friends. Oh well, we recognize how lucky we are and are thankful that we are able to be comfortable and healthy. Just bring on a vaccine!

Other than a short 4 night trip to Folly Beach to help celebrate my niece’s high school graduation, we have been practicing lots of isolation. We have purchased though Facebook Marketplace and the LetGo app some furniture for our new place. I hope to start painting some of our “treasures” this week 🤞

We have received refunds (or credits after disputing the charges to our credit card companies) for all our planned travel. That has been a relief though the effort it took is a bit annoying. We do however look forward to being able to plan travel again….someday. Just bring on a vaccine.

So happy summer everyone and please stay healthy!