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WCB

Circumnavigate The Globe in 123 days with Bill & Mary Ann - 2011 World Cruise

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Greetings all!

 

Well, here we go again, on a journey for 123 days that will take us from our California home to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It is there that we will board Holland America Line's Amsterdam, a fine ship that carries almost 1400 guests. She will head basically west, the best way to go in our humble opinion, through the Caribbean, Costa Rica, then transit the Panama Canal. The areas we will explore include South America, the South Pacific (one of our favorites), New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, India, the Middle East, and the mighty Mediterranean. Some of the new ports for us will be Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Manila, Luxor, Egypt, and Naples, Italy. The plan is to stay onboard after the 110 day world cruise, and sail for 13 more days through the Panama Canal once again, and enjoy Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico on the way back to San Diego. It's much nicer to sail home than fly, right? Yes, we do have a short flight home to San Francisco, but it is brief.

 

The process to get to this point in time has been a long one. Our initial deposit was 2 years ago. That way we are assured of our requested cabin and usually the best price. With the balance paid this last spring, we had 2 mailings from HAL with tour information and cruise details. This fall, we got the visa requirements, ship packages to order, and everything else we needed to know in a booklet. One of the perks of a world cruise is complimentary luggage shipment. In our case, we filled four rather large duffel bags, while veranda folks got to send unlimited luggage. That is a nice deal, but where do you put it all once you are in your room? We have learned that lesson from the past, and now have it all stream-lined. Only the essentials, with room for a few souveniers, of course!

 

Speaking of perks, the line recently adopted a tier program, which rewards passengers according to the number of days sailed. In our case, we have achieved the 4 star Mariner status of 200 days sailed. To be honest, we will be close to 5 times that amount with HAL after these two cruises are completed. And many of our friends have double and triple of what we have, but so far, there is no 5 star level. Among other perks, the deep discounts of the wine, mini-bar, and Explorations Cafe purchases are the most appreciated. The best discount is 50% off of the Pinnacle Grill meals. However, better than that, is the laundry and pressing for the entire voyage. Does that save time and stress? You bet! Believe it or not, the worst fights among passengers can and do occur in the laundry rooms! We have some suggestions for a 5 star program, such as free internet and dry cleaning.

 

Well, the bags did get picked up yesterday, and one is already in Florida, but just one. The other three are cooling their heels in Tennessee, go figure? We cannot even consider the possibility of lost luggage, as we have read about on Cruise Critic. We continue wrapping up the loose ends and last minute chores that need to be done in five days, rain or no rain! A week from today, we should be enjoying the warmer weather in Ft. Lauderdale, if the weather gods are going to be kind to us!

 

Will write again once we are onboard the Amsterdam or sooner.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Will be enjoying your travels around the world. We will be looking forward to each posting. It is our way of traveling. Thank you.

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I am so green with envy:) I wanna do this cruise :)

 

I am looking forward to your posts.

 

Joanie

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Oh Goody..Goody:):):) Have been watching for a post:) I have followed your other world cruise threads and enjoyed them tremendously! Just what I needed to see today...NC is still covered in snow! Thank you so much for taking us along again:)

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Have a Grand Grand Voyage. I'll be thinking of you as I follow about 5 days behind you on another ship Papeete to Auckland.

 

Roy

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I'm looking forward to living vicariously through your postings! Wishing you 123 days of good sailing and fun adventures!:)

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Bon Voyage, your reports from your last trip were so well-written and greatly appreciated that I know you will have another group of eager fans. You had so many virtual passengers. We too on a 42 day trip in the Indian Ocean loved running into the Amsterdam in Mauritius last year,as she was plying her way around the world. To see that lovely deep navy blue hull in port with us that far away was like seeing a welcomed old friend. If it had to be any ship in the world to share a port with that far away from home, we loved knowing it was good old HAL.

 

Since you say Naples is a new stop for you, please know it is one of our most favorite cities in Europe and we go back often for extended stays. We love wandering the old parts of town which are not all that far from the dock area which unfortunately is more modern and uninteresting looking due to being rebuilt after extensive WWII damage.

 

But if you can wander just a few blocks further into the city on the pedestrian streets (Spacconapoli) you will find dazzling buildings, narrow street neighborhoods, fabulous museums, churches, plazas, markets, cafes, gelato stands, and exceptional restaurants all on a highly intimate scale. The city itself has shed its old crime-riddled reputation and is one of the more engaging and vibrant cities now in Italy. It is almost like visiting a time capsule as it has escaped the dreaded urban modernization and globalization that has homogenized too many other European cities.

 

I know most of the shore excursions take one away from downtown Naples and to Pompei or Sorrento which are engaging as well, but exploring the charms of the city itself is an under-appreciated treat. And not a place many tourists visit which makes it even more engaging.

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So glad you are taking the cruise and planning to share it with us via the internet! We have been on several long cruises with you in the past, but for the last two years we have stayed around home because of obligations here. Later in 2011 we hope to resume cruising, longer trips. In the interim your log will help us meet our cruise and see the world cravings. Have a wonderful, safe trip.

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I will be following you...once I get home from my own adventure!

Looking forward to seeing you in Ft Lauderdale!

Karen

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I'm looking forward to your posts, as I have enjoyed them so much on other cruises.

Will you be answering questions this time?

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Yipeeee!!! I will be following along .... just wish I were going along. Look for my friend Judi Johnson on board.

 

Susan

(still having wonderful memories of the Voyage of the Vikings)

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Thank you so much for the encouraging words! We hope not to let you down!

 

TiogaCruiser - We will be posting to this thread.

 

Kween Karen - Yes, we also plan to read your amazing adventure when we get back. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

 

RuthC - If time permits, we will be happy to answer questions.

 

durangoscots - We shall hunt down Judi Johnson! It should be easy, since she is in our CC group.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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WCB,

 

Thank you for your post.

Have followed your previous voyages with great interest.

Best wishes for wonderful cruise and safe adventures.

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Have a safe journey...I enjoyed your 2009 cruise vicariously as well, and just started McCullough's book on the Panama Canal, so it will be interesting to hear your comments this time around with a different perspective!

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I am so glad I saw this post. I would have been so sad to miss your trip. Someone recommended your blog over on the Crystal boards. You are well known. Have fun and safe travels.

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All I can say is WOW!

 

Welcome back! I am really looking forward to this!

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Bon Voyage Bill & Mary Ann.

 

We have thought about taking a world cruise, but it seemed overwhelming planning excursions for every port. Have you made plans for all the ports already or are you going to be making decisions during the cruise?

 

Wishing you safe travels and adventures of a lifetime!

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