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  1. 01-22-2019 At Sea to Honolulu Sea state is much, much better this morning. It finally started calming down a bit late last evening. Now we have a slow gentle roll with minimal buffeting from the wind. The bed is quite comfortable and the new memory foam pillow is going to worth its weight in gold. Hard using one of those feather pillows after a memory pillow at home, so we just bought one, and it does compress very nicely into the suitcase. Still re-arranging the cabin. Those magnetic hooks from Amazon are great for sticking to the roof, where they hold the maximum weight, and hanging various stuff up like backpacks, rain coats, sweat shirts, hats, etc. Yesterday was very busy. A welcome aboard get together with the Captain and staff in the Pacific lounge for all of us who joined in LA. And yes, the Captain is VERY visible! Apparently though, we will not be able to become Golden Shellbacks (cross equator AND date line at same time). Would have been an interesting selling point. Nor will we become Emerald Shellbacks (cross GMT and equator at the same time) because of the stops in Brazil. According to one of our fellow travelers there is actually a buoy at that point. Internet is achingly slow. Slower than the Coral at this point in the voyage. Yesterday I could understand because of the motion, but not this morning. It takes 15 minutes to VPN in to work email to even start downloading email. And then its just sit and wait. (Oh, and this is at 0600 in the morning!) Unfortunately the front desk staff did not get my invitations to the mailboxes. So only the Captain, and the staff Captain, showed up to the CC M&G and only because I personally invited him during the prior meeting. It was well attended and we got lots of signups for the Slot Pull, luncheons and dinners. Now I just have to track down the Maitre D to set up those things. Not much activity yesterday because of the rockin and rollin. A bit too dangerous for Zumba. Looks like Zumba alternates with Line Dancing. Frank did his typical excellent lecture on Pearl Harbor yesterday. I’m so glad we have a good lecturer on this cruise – and they replay the lectures on TV. No dancing last night, so we listened to the Domino Duo in the Casino bar for a while after dinner. Any yes, for the first time in over 100 days at sea, we actually went to the dining room for dinner. That was the lowest place on the ship to get Judy some food and it was still rolling pretty good up in the buffet. Dinner was good. The lamb was cooked perfectly and it was very tasty. I get lamb as much as possible on the ship. A good start, but I’m sure ship’s food will become pretty boring by the time we get back. Not their fault, but this is a long cruise for sure. The Panorama buffet is going to be a fantastic place to eat when we get into the tropics. The open air dining deck is going to perfect at night in harbor in warm climates. Especially the late night departures and overnights in Tahiti, Sydney, Auckland and Singapore – maybe even Cape Town. We definitely won’t be eating in the dining room then. I don’t know if I mentioned this or not, but Paul and Elizabeth, from Texas, has joined us on this cruise. They are staying till FLL. Not our first cruise together, we’ve probably done at least 120+ days together including a B2B2B2B 61 day on the Ruby in the Med several years ago, but our first world cruise together or apart. Nice to know someone on the ship, but several people from the Coral 60 Day are on as well. (Including Richard! More about him as we go through the cruise…) Missing Jane though! We have marked the seat in the Club bar as Jane’s Seat. (Pictures to follow…) So let’s give you a taste of today’s Patter activity. Tonight is the first of five formal night for this segment to SYD. Doesn’t look like any Tai Chi yet, but there is meditation in the Pacific lounge, bible study in the card room, Yoga ($$) in the fitness center (which doesn’t open until 0700), Knitters and Knatters at 0900 in the Club bar, line dancing in the Pacific Lounge at 1000, destination presentation at 1000 in the Cabaret Lounge by Deb, arts and crafts, a lanyard, with Judith at 1000, bridge at 1000 in the steakhouse, morning trivia at 1100, line dancing at 1000, ballroom dancing at 1300, Ukulele lessons at 1400, hula dance class at 1500, afternoon trivia at 1615, elite lounge and then the Captain’s cocktail party at 1915 this evening. The Pacific has two major lounges, Pacific and Cabaret. Shows and presentations are in the Cabaret Lounge. The Pacific Lounge takes up the rest of the activities like dance and trivia. Some smaller events are held in the deck 4 atrium area, but the Pacific is very limited in large public entertainment venues. There are lots of nooks and crannies to sit and watch the world go bye, but not that many venues, especially when the weather is cold, windy and rough outside. So that the morning update from the Pacific…. Later!
  2. 01-21-2019 At Sea To HI Internet connection is now officially, sort of, kind of, working…The ship is rocking and rolling this morning, so I’m sure the antenna gimbals are getting quite a workout. That always makes for a very slow internet connection. We were allotted our 500 minutes yesterday and I purchased another 200. They did have their ‘unlimited’ packages – 200MB, 300MB and 500MB – which are actually not that much bandwidth if you think about it. Facebook updates their mobile app every week and its over 300MB just by itself. Which is why I always turn off all the automatic downloads and updates when I get on the ship. Yesterday’s embarkation was WEIRD. We’ve never been on the Pacific before. Never experienced this kind of uncrowd before. We shuttled to the port from the Doubletree with all of our STUFF. Calmly walked through the areas, no hurries, worries, lines, crowding, yelling, screaming or otherwise the typical cruise boarding experience. Reminded me of the old days of flying. They held us in the Elite area for about 45 minutes, boarded the in-transits and then us. So where’s the rest of the ship? 2/3 of it is missing! Oh yeah, that’s right – only 680 of us. The Norwegian Gem left the dock around 1700 and pretty much dwarfed our little ship. (Oh yeah, interesting story. So we are getting ready to shuttle to the port with our pile of STUFF. Still embarrassing to me BTW to carry this much STUFF. But met a very nice couple with a pile of STUFF that was about the size of ours. We chatted, expecting to find out that they were headed to the Pacific as well. Nope. They, and their large pile of stuff were headed for the Gem and a 7 day Mexico cruise! Now I don’t feel so bad anymore.) So back to the ship. Wow. This is completely different. Old style cruising. Dark hardwoods. Brass stair handrails. Deep rich carpeting. A lounge, not a theater. Seating available at showtime! No need to get there 45 minutes in advance!?! Being able to almost, almost, reach across the ship! A hair dryer in the bathroom that looks like it came from a 60’s sci-fi show. (Judy thinks it looks like something I can’t write in a public forum like this….) An Atrium that is NOT an atrium. No lines in the buffet. Lots of crew everywhere. This is going to take some time to absorb. Good thing we have the time! We have a standard balcony cabin. And amazingly, everything fits and we have space available. I don’t know how, but it works. We did bring a bunch of storage enhancers after seeing a really good video from last year’s world cruise. The double door hutch type closet has been supplemented with a hang up fabric storage shelf. The bathroom door has an over the door shoe rack holder, now a STUFF holder, with very few shoes. We did have to limit the hangups to those requiring ironing – shirts, blouses and dresses – and we did bring several different high strength magnets with hooks that hold the metal ceiling perfectly where we can hang bags, jackets and rain gear. Magnetic hooks on the walls hold hats. Magnetic bracelets have all the paper work held firmly to the wall. (I will try and upload photos later.) A new 2 plug and 4 USB outlet charging station is now on the mirror over the desk, our 3 outlet extension cord and 6 USB charging station is under the TV – which by the way is the smallest TV I’ve ever seen on a ship. The tool box, now storing the piles of spare STUFF, fits perfectly between the couch and the window. The end table has now been moved to Judy’s side of the bed next to the nightstand to hold her CPAP machine – gallon of distilled water was waiting for us in the cabin. Even the snorkel bag and equipment fit in the closet above the hanging clothes. We didn’t have to move the fridge either. Even in the bathroom, there is limited counter space, but a lot of nooks, crannies and shelfs to hold things, including in the shower itself, the medicine cupboard, under the sink and over on the wall next to the toilet. With the over the door shoe holder, plenty of room for all kinds of toiletries. We did empty the two bottles of shampoo/conditioner and body wash, and found traces of the ‘black’ gunk that we found on the Coral – both inside and outside the bottles, especially on the pump cap threads. Judy cleaned and sanitized both bottles and we filled them with our own shampoo and conditioner. The bed is comfortable – on the soft side, but that’s what Judy likes - the air conditioner works well (yeah!), my new memory foam pillow is great compared to the standard pillows. All in all, I am very pleased with the cabin. So now on to the first patter information! Andrea Spinardi, who looks like a teenager, is the Captain. Karin Luppes is the Hotel General Manager. Neil Rose is the Cruise Director. Billy Caronna is the Customer Services Director. Sean Leech is the Food and Beverage Director. Luigi Pascale is the Maitre D’Hotel. Sandy is the FCC and Captain’s Circle Hostess. For this segment to Sydney we have 4 production shows – La Danza, Variations, Limelight and Amour. We have folkloric shows in Honolulu, Papeete, Huahine and Auckland. (Which I have to find out if these shows will be on the reflections DVD. They WERE NOT on the Coral.) For guest entertainers, we have Christopher James (saw him during the welcome aboard show, not bad). Craig Richard, James Fox, Noodles Levenstein (saw him on the Coral), Moya Angela, Tara Whittaker, Diane Cousins, Michael Young, Tracey Shield, The Behives, Michael Votano, Will Martin. The Domino Duo is also on board – we know them very well! The 2 Cool Duo and the Lado String Duo. The Sandstroms are on board for Arts and Crafts (Judith) and lectures (Frank). We have a ballroom instructor pair – Michelle and Jeffrey East. A bridge director, Ann Richmond. A Destination Expert, Deb Fraioli. Hawaiian Ambassadors Tui and Maile Letuli and Maori Ambassadors Riki King and Kelly Bennett. So that is a quick overview of the first patter, and my first LIVE FROM post. Later!
  3. Just a normal Balcony cabin. The Pacific balcony cabins have a love seat in them, but lose the large closet typical in Princess Balcony cabins. That's why we bought an over the bathroom door shoe holder - actually a STUFF holder - and a hanging closet shelf to increase capacity in the very small closet. Most of our clothes will be folded, not hung. From the videos on-line, there appears to be room to use the tool box as an ottoman, coffee table, or end table storage box, which we are going to need a lot of nooks and crannies to put all of this STUFF in.... I appreciate your situation. That is why we are doing this cruise now. You never know what tomorrow may bring. After this cruise we will take a break and decide what we want to do in retirement. But if you can't do the world cruise, at least enjoy some cruising while you can. It still is the most economical and easiest mode of world travel - and everyone who cruises does appreciate the unpack once and done thing. I look at Rick Steves videos of travel in Europe and cringe at the constant do this, do that, pack, unpack, up the stairs, down the stairs, in the train, off the train...its pretty hectic! On the other hand I do enjoy sipping an adult beverage on our balcony overlooking some strange and foreign harbor, contemplating seriously the nature of the whichness of the why, while not having to drive or park this thing!
  4. That was a great cruise wasn't it! I really enjoyed the crossing the line ceremony. (The blonde dancer jumping up and down on top of me sure helped!) Patrick's tour was great too. Got video of black tipped reef sharks and stingrays all in the same shot. We aren't doing Bora Bora this time, but a couple of new Islands in Tahiti. But we brought all of our snorkeling gear to enjoy the water once again. I don't know where you leave from, but this buy STUFF here worked quite well. United was charging $150 for a 5th checked bag! I can buy a pretty nice toolbox for that! Hopefully it gets to our cabin in one piece!
  5. If we don't dance, I can't eat! Just in Case, we brought dance music and bluetooth speakers for DIY...
  6. BTW - Starting tomorrow afternoon, I will be 'on the clock' as in using ship wifi. So I will try and answer questions, but if someone else jumps in and answers it, I probably won't. I always compose off-line and upload, then log off, reading messages cached on the screen. Helps keep the wifi bill down a bit. For those of you interested in more details on this cruise and the people involved and some of the other stuff we did in preparation, the Shutterfly website is in my signature line below. So later all!
  7. The trip in to LAX yesterday was typical January Colorado weather. A blizzard. 2 hours late into LAX on a direct flight from the Springs, but at least it was on an E-175 with decent E+ seating. Even got a little nap. In winter we always fly two days early. Especially for a cruise this important. All 4 bags made it off the luggage belt - #1, 2, 3 and 5. Found a cart laying around and headed up to the departure level to grab an UBER. (LAX United UBER stops at the departure level between T7 and T8.) It was rush hour so UBERX, no UBER XL was available, was $85 to the Doubletree and took about 45 minutes. I think a taxi would have been over $100 with the stop and go traffic. The Doubletree is our go-to hotel for San Pedro departures. 30,000 HHonors points per night, free breakfast (for Gold and Diamond), free shuttle to the port, free shuttle to a lot of places nearby and a nice place to walk around the Marina. We have used Super Shuttle before, but with this delay we would have missed our assigned shuttle and would have had to wait for another. Waiting time for UBER was about 5 minutes. After getting something to eat, OCPD kicked in and we shuttled to Home Depot to pick up a roll around toolbox – which I, of course, had previously scouted out on-line and at our local Home Depot – and walked down to the Target to pick up almost 75 items on our STUFF list – which of course we had previously scouted on-line and in person at our local Target. Two hours later, we had everything we could find on our list and called the shuttle to pick us up. That was the end of my day for sure… This morning we (Judy) removed all the packaging, broke out the duct tape and filled the tool box, which will serve as a storage coffee or end table on the ship, with the STUFF purchased so far. Some friends of ours picked us up to complete the shopping quests for the day. Walmart and Whole Foods had almost everything we need. Anything else we will pick up in Honolulu at the Ala Moana Wal Mart. After intensive shopping, our friends took us to Din Tai Fung, in the Del Amo Fashion Center mall in Torrance. WOW. This is really good dim sum. As good as the dim sum we had in Hong Kong last April. The pork/soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) were fantastic. The cucumber salad could have used a bit more spice, but was very good as well. The Shrimp & Kurobuta Pork Shao Mai were fantastic, but the dish that stole the show for us was the Vegetable & Kurobuta Pork Dumplings in a spicy sauce. That sauce was to die for. The braised beef noodle soup was also really good as well! This was, what I refer to, as WOW food! A really good start to the trip for sure! So now, OCPD is sated for the day. Time to kick back and relax, watch the boats in the Marina and join fellow cruisers for happy hour. So until tomorrow…
  8. I will check tomorrow when I post the first patter details.
  9. Since the Honolulu Stadium flea market was such a bust last November, maybe we will gather some people and do an excursion. Thanks for the tip!
  10. Is Bill sure? I know how persnikity he can be! Judy brought lots of EVERYTHING! Oh my aching back, and that poor UBER driver from LAX. His Prius had to have 3 of our luggage pieces in his front seat! Take care guys and have fun. Wake Bill up for me - ok?
  11. Now its 4 suitcases, 4 carry-ons and a toolbox! A toolbox from Home Depot, wheeled, cheaper than a new piece of luggage, duct taped closed, filled with 4 months of toiletries and STUFF. Oh yeah, let’s not forget umpteen different charging cords and the futility of trying to make sure your laptop and all your electronics are updated while still connected to decent WiFi – and knowing full well that the moment you get on the ship and leave the harbor, every device will require a major system update and app updates totaling more gigs of bandwidth than the entire Apollo program used in its lifetime – and those update will only last about 2 weeks… When did cruising get so darn complex! Oh I forgot, we signed up for our first world cruise! To paraphrase a famous general, everyday cruisers think fun, drinks, exotic ports, sun, sea, surf – serious cruisers think logistics, alternate plans, closet space, backups upon backups (what if the toothbrush charger goes out?) – how many days of vitamins and supplements? How many bottles of shampoo and conditioner? No wonder the house budget consists of 20% food and the rest – STUFF! (Good thing we don’t have to bring toilet paper!) But I get way, way ahead of myself. Hi Everyone! For those of you who don’t know us, Judy and I have been sailing since 2001 when we got hooked on an Alaskan cruise on the old Ocean Princess (Sun Class). 50+ Princess cruises and a little over 600 days and here we are – on our first World Cruise and our first cruise on the Pacific Princess. Yep, from a ‘can you fish off the back of the boat’ guy to a serious OCPD (Obsessive Cruise Planning Disorder) engineering approach to World Cruising. We are presently ensconced at the Doubletree in San Pedro having had our breakfast, inventoried and re-packed a bunch of STUFF, and are enjoying a nice cup of coffee before heading out to purchase MORE STUFF. After spending almost $600 last night in STUFF for the next 100+ days on the ship, what more STUFF could we possibly need? Glad you asked. Crystallized ginger and Stevia from Whole Foods. A closet organizer, flip flops and a couple of other things from Walmart, with a backup location of a Target in Carson just in case the Walmart fails me. So welcome to a Live From thread on the 2019 Pacific Princess World Cruise. Roundtrip LA. Or at least we are doing the R/T LA. Several of our Cruise Critic band has already started the journey from FLL. And many will get off in FLL as we circle the world. But I wanted to do a World Cruise. The whole enchilada. So here we are. Why the 2019 WC? In a word, Africa. When we booked, I didn’t think they would do Africa very soon after that, although the 2020 cruise also does Africa. But we have already booked our Route Sector Deviation and will be doing a 3 Day safari from Durban, catching up with the ship in Cape Town. But again, I get ahead of myself. The 2019 cruise, for us, starts in LA and then goes on the following itinerary. The Indian Ocean and Africa part of the itinerary is what caught my eye. Parts of the world we will probably never see, and face it, we’re not getting any younger. To quote another famous general “L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace”! Sun, Jan 20 Los Angeles, California Mon, Jan 21 At Sea Tue, Jan 22 At Sea Wed, Jan 23 At Sea Thu, Jan 24 At Sea Fri, Jan 25 At Sea Sat, Jan 26 Honolulu, Hawaii Sun, Jan 27 Maui (Lahaina), Hawaii (Tender Required) Mon, Jan 28 At Sea Tue, Jan 29 At Sea Wed, Jan 30 At Sea Thu, Jan 31 At Sea Fri, Feb 1 At Sea Sat, Feb 2 Tahiti (Papeete), French Polynesia Sun, Feb 3 Huahine, Polynesia (Tender Required) Sun, Feb 3 Raiatea, French Polynesia Mon, Feb 4 Raiatea, French Polynesia Tue, Feb 5 At Sea Wed, Feb 6 Cross International Date Line Fri, Feb 8 At Sea Sat, Feb 9 Nuku'alofa, Tonga Sun, Feb 10 At Sea Mon, Feb 11 At Sea Tue, Feb 12 Auckland, New Zealand Wed, Feb 13 At Sea Thu, Feb 14 At Sea Fri, Feb 15 Dunedin (Port Chalmers), New Zealand Sat, Feb 16 Stewart Isand, New Zealand (Tender Required) Sun, Feb 17 At Sea Mon, Feb 18 At Sea Tue, Feb 19 Sydney, Australia Wed, Feb 20 At Sea Thu, Feb 21 At Sea Fri, Feb 22 At Sea Sat, Feb 23 Cairns, Australia Sun, Feb 24 At Sea Mon, Feb 25 At Sea Tue, Feb 26 At Sea Wed, Feb 27 Darwin, Australia Thu, Feb 28 At Sea Fri, Mar 1 At Sea Sat, Mar 2 Komodo Island, Indonesia (Tender Required) Sun, Mar 3 At Sea Mon, Mar 4 At Sea Tue, Mar 5 Singapore Wed, Mar 6 Singapore Thu, Mar 7 Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia Fri, Mar 8 Langkawi, Malaysia Sat, Mar 9 Phuket, Thailand Sun, Mar 10 At Sea Mon, Mar 11 At Sea Tue, Mar 12 At Sea Wed, Mar 13 Colombo, Sri Lanka Thu, Mar 14 At Sea Fri, Mar 15 Maldives (Male) (Tender Required) Sat, Mar 16 At Sea Sun, Mar 17 At Sea Mon, Mar 18 At Sea Tue, Mar 19 Seychelles Islands (Mahe) Wed, Mar 20 At Sea Thu, Mar 21 At Sea Fri, Mar 22 Nosy Be, Madagascar (Tender Required) Sat, Mar 23 At Sea Sun, Mar 24 At Sea Mon, Mar 25 Port Louis, Mauritius Tue, Mar 26 Pointe des Galets, Reunion Island Wed, Mar 27 At Sea Thu, Mar 28 At Sea Fri, Mar 29 At Sea Sat, Mar 30 Durban, South Africa Sun, Mar 31 East London, South Africa Mon, Apr 1 At Sea Tue, Apr 2 Cape Town, South Africa Wed, Apr 3 Cape Town, South Africa Thu, Apr 4 Cape Town, South Africa Fri, Apr 5 At Sea Sat, Apr 6 Luderitz, Namibia Sun, Apr 7 Walvis Bay, Namibia Mon, Apr 8 At Sea Tue, Apr 9 At Sea Wed, Apr 10 At Sea Thu, Apr 11 Saint Helena, Great Britain (Tender Required) Fri, Apr 12 At Sea Sat, Apr 13 At Sea Sun, Apr 14 At Sea Mon, Apr 15 At Sea Tue, Apr 16 Natal, Brazil Wed, Apr 17 Fortaleza, Brazil Thu, Apr 18 At Sea Fri, Apr 19 At Sea Sat, Apr 20 "Devil's Island (isle Royale), French Guiana Scenic Cruising" Sun, Apr 21 At Sea Mon, Apr 22 Barbados Tue, Apr 23 Guadeloupe (Point-a-Pitre) Wed, Apr 24 "Marigot, Saint Martin Tender Required Thu, Apr 25 At Sea Fri, Apr 26 At Sea Sat, Apr 27 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sun, Apr 28 At Sea Mon, Apr 29 At Sea Tue, Apr 30 Aruba Wed, May 1 At Sea Thu, May 2 Panama Canal (Scenic Cruising) Panama Fri, May 3 At Sea Sat, May 4 Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica (Tender Required) Sun, May 5 At Sea Mon, May 6 At Sea Tue, May 7 Huatulco, Mexico Wed, May 8 At Sea Thu, May 9 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Fri, May 10 At Sea Sat, May 11 At Sea Sun, May 12 Los Angeles, California For this itinerary, we have a mix of DIY, Private Excursions and Princess tours scheduled. The largest and most complex, of course, is the safari in Durban. The DIY ports are mainly those that we’ve been to before – Hawaii, Auckland, Dunedin, Sydney, Darwin, Singapore – and the private excursions where we could get on them. Then we just filled in the rest with Princess excursions. As we go through the cruise, I hope to give everyone an idea of what we did, who we did it with and how it all went. Especially the mechanics of what we did for those of you infected with OCPD. We have over 150 Cruise Critic members on this cruise. Meet and greets planned for FLL, LA and SYD. Hopefully we can do group luncheons and dinners as well – we had a great time on the Coral late last year during the 60 Day Northern Pacific cruise. I will try and give everyone, especially those on the 2020 cruise, a good idea of shipboard life, cabin space, food and entertainment, as well as the ports. After all, you can’t get enough information when planning something like this… So that’s the morning before update… Later!
  12. 09-18-2018 We have finally arrived in San Pedro to prepare to board the Coral Princess tomorrow on its 60 day Northern Pacific Circle Route that will take us from Alaska to Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Guam and Hawaii. A pretty epic adventure on one of our favorite classes of ship. OCPD (Obsessive Cruise Planning Disorder) is one of my major ‘issues’. And this cruise was certainly no exception. The roll call was started in May of 2017 and for the past 15+ months all of us on the rolls have been planning and scheduling and thinking about this cruise. So hopefully, the internet gods willing, you will all get a little taste of the trip with us. I’m hoping that several of my fellow cruisers chip in and provide different perspectives on this cruise in this Live From. So let’s get the basics out of the way, shall we? We are Charles and Judy from Colorado Springs. Flew in yesterday because I could not stand one more day staring at a pile, and I mean a big pile, of suitcases. Originally planned to be in today, but that went away. We are staying at the Doubletree in San Pedro. I am a HHonors members and try to stay at Hiltons because I use points. The last time we stayed here I was disappointed. Not this time. The remodel is over with and its very nice. Not to mention the chef is pretty good and the food is tasty. A room upgrade to a suite didn’t hurt either. Now we have plenty of room to lay everything out as we re-pack from boarding. Speaking of re-packing, this was the most we’ve every packed since our first cruise in 2001! 4 checked, 2 carryons and a backpack that did NOT fit in the RJ overhead (I hate those Canadair 200’s!). With 48 pounds for each checked piece in the cart I am wheeling around the airport, having forsworn years ago the use of one, this cruise has proven to be a packing challenge with 3 seasons to pack for, a ship full of elites to delay laundry service, and 60 days of ‘stuff’ to consume. We did 61 days in the Med on the Ruby with only one checked and one carryon each several years ago! But the cameras are bigger, the pharmacopeia more extensive, the need for better quality shampoo, conditioner and body wash, and the number of vitamins and supplements in the pack took up almost all of one carry-on! Then there are the shoes! 5 pairs each! And my 14’s take up most of a suitcase all by themselves! Oh, I can hear it now – the gasped ‘5 pairs of shoes each!?!’ – so here is where OCPD comes into play. One pair of hikers, one pair of deck shoes, one pair of dance shoes. That’s the bare minimum. But for 60 days, shoes get wet one day and you have to have a spare for the next day while the one dries out. So we bring a combination shore/deck shoe as a spare. Dance shoes? Last cruise my dance sneaks/formal shoe soles tried to abandon ship. We ended up in the Victoria Market in Melbourne buying shoe goo as our supply of super glue, in our first aid kit for wounds, was insufficient to fix the problem. So now, for these longer cruises, I am bringing a complete spare set of dance/formal shoes. See what trouble OCPD can get you into? Spare this, spare that, pretty soon you are packed for survival at sea! And yes, there are even spare laces for the shoes as well. (They also double as sign holders for the Halloween costumes and for fire bow drills if we get stranded on a desert island with all of our luggage.) Of course the signs are laminated! What do you think we are? Amateurs? Then add 20# of candy for the crew, Halloween door decorations, rain gear, emergency rain gear, wipes of every type imaginable (body, hands, insect and unmentionables – indispensable in Asia), energy and electrolyte drink mixes and the electronics – oh don’t get me started on the electronics! Enough about packing. Let’s talk itinerary. Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Kodiak – 2 ports in Alaska we’ve never been to. Across the Northern Pacific, maybe the Bering Sea? Down to Kushiro, Yokohama, Osaka and Hiroshima Japan. Been to two of the ports, but this time we will do different things. Kyoto from Osaka, Yokohama itself instead of Tokyo, the fish market in Kushiro and Miyajima Island in Hiroshima. Then its Beijing, Incheon, Shanghai, Okinawa, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Been to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, but have not seen everything. Okinawa, Incheon and Taiwan are new to us. On to Vietnam and two new ports, Ha Long bay and Hue. In Phu My we will do Vung Tau and avoid the scooter chaos of Saigon. Over to Manila, Guam, Honolulu, Kauai and back to LA. Most ports have nice long port times. As in docking by early morning and leaving at night. Looking forward to having dinner in several ports. We have a mix of private excursions and DIY planned. One of our fellow organizers on this cruise (Pam of pamandcookie) organized a whole bunch of excursions. I took the easy way out and found a vendor in Vietnam to take care of everyone at all the ports. Then several other people jumped in with private excursions as well. Princess made a big mistake by pre-charging for excursions. That removed the final incentive, for me, to book with princess. DIY for us is a mix of public transport. We are going to try and do Kyoto from Osaka on the Shinkansen – gotta do that at least once. Miyajima via Hiroden and Ferry in Hiroshima. Yokohama via the Akai Kutsu bus. Okinawa via the monorail. Hong Kong to the Big Buddha via metro and Cable Car. For us it is about the journey. I was so tickled to learn, on the last cruise, how to navigate the metros of Sydney and Tokyo during our pre and post cruise stays. Kind of personal, minor victory. Yep, we got stuffed into a Ginza line car in Tokyo and loved it! So anyway, here we are, ready to get started and I’ll try and update this as we go around the Pacific. Get on-board! Let’s have some fun! Later!
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