18 Days and counting…

Our Trip of a Lifetime

December 18, 2014

Almost a year ago we began this journey. We took the giant step of deciding to do a world cruise. This is an idea we have entertained for several years but could not make the commitment of time, money and effort to pursue.  Additionally being away from family for four months would not be easy.  In January of this year while on a three week Caribbean cruise we saw the itinerary of the 2015 Holland America World Cruise and decided it was time. Our friends and travel companions Janet & Carl Wellborn were in agreement. Subsequently the past year has been one of preparation for the trip.

Planning to be absent from not only your home but your country for a span of four months is not an easy task, especially since we were not going to be in any one location for more than a couple of day during this period. Communication with family and friends will be limited and incoming mail almost impossible. Subsequently, plans must not only be made for the actual trip itself which is a substantial undertaking, but for what will be happening back home while away. Arrangements must be made to be sure bills are paid, scheduled maintenance is taken care of and mail is dealt with.

Routine bills are no problem since they are already paid automatically, but what about those once a year items; tax returns, car tags, life insurance, termite treatments and a myriad of other items which you only become aware of when planning begins. At this date, I feel confident that all but a couple of these issues have been resolved.

The actual planning for the trip itself was even more daunting. Knowing the itinerary of our trip, we began to make plans for what we would like to see and do in the various ports and countries we would be visiting. With almost 50 ports and over 25 countries a lot of planning was necessary. When possible we prefer to arrange shore excursions on our own, not with the ship. This allows us more flexibility and more opportunities to travel in small groups or sometime just the four of us. As a result we have booked tours and excursions with a number of different agencies as well as directly with guides in some cases. 

With Holland America you receive many benefits if you pay for your cruise early, in this case I believe it was eight months. Included is a 3% cash discount, hotel gratuities which amounts to about $2500 for a trip of this length, $500 per person shipboard credit, a welcome bottle of Champaign and one of the best of all, free door to door shipping of your luggage both to and from the ship.

We were contacted about three weeks ago and given the time to expect the pickup of our luggage. This was the signal that it was time to get serious about our packing! I had mine ready two day early, but as usual I continued to add forgotten items up until about an hour before pickup. The one thing both Kay and I noticed for this trip verses our previous 67 day South American cruise is that we were not taking nearly as much “stuff”. Our four pieces of luggage would have met airline weight this time. For the other trip I believe my large duffel alone weighed 70 lbs. At least this time we will have plenty of room to bring back souvenirs We even packed an empty duffel in case we needed to check an extra bag through the airport on the return trip.

Today is the luggage pickup day… Our trip is beginning to seem real.

The presents are all wrapped and waiting for Santa, uh FedEx…

Derek, our FedEx guy, got our luggage loaded and on its way to Fort Lauderdale. Hopefully everything will be waiting for us in our cabin when we arrive on January 5th.

With our luggage gone and our excursions arranged, we can now use the remaining time till departure to worry about what we have forgotten 🙂 . On the other hand, I believe we will just enjoy our family and friends. There are the children and grandchildren coming over for Christmas and events planned with friends.

18 Days until we sail!

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1 Response to 18 Days and counting…

  1. Sharon says:

    Won’t you get two pieces of luggage as one of your pillow gifts? Make sure to include photos of Janet and Carl. We have several good friends from our recent South America cruise that will be on the cruise with you. They are Ada & Chuck Tumelty and Kathy & Jerry Stansfield. Ada is doing the photo book for Cruise Critic.

    Like

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