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Journey with Bill & Mary Ann on the Amsterdam's 2016 Grand World Voyage - 114 days +

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Report # 1 The Preparations Begins………………….December 26, 2015 Saturday Cold……..very cold

 

Hard to believe that we are here, in the coldest part of December, getting ready to wrap up the holiday festivities, and prepare for another long journey. Time has a way of disappearing way too fast these days.

 

We always think we have tons of time to begin packing the things we will need for four and a half months, but that luxury came to a halt when December 16th arrived, and the four duffels had to be stuffed and picked up by Fed Ex. They happened to go out about the same time as our final documents arrived. HAL really kept us waiting a long time this year, as we usually receive all that vital information before Thanksgiving. There must have been some last minute changes, such as the dining options (fixed and open seating), that delayed the docs. Just when we thought we had everything down pat, HAL decided to switch things up. This upcoming grand cruise will have only 14 “gala” evenings. Not designated formal, we noticed most folks still dressed to the nines on these nights on the Tales of the South Pacific this fall. As for us, we plan to keep up with the traditional “formal” dress. Remember the days when we had formal and semi-formal? Out of a 100 day cruise, 50 of those days were dressy and more dressy. Got to admit, it was easier to pack with only 14 dress-up nights.

 

Our documents arrived on December 21st for our Sri Lanka adventure……….leopard (and other animal and bird) sightings on a safari out of Hambantota in Yala National Park. We’ll have a four day stay in luxury tents, with a day and evening tour in historic Galle, and another night and day in Colombo, before flying to Dubai, UAE. If it is anything like our trips to Kruger in South Africa, and Bandhavgarh in India, we will be quite happy.

 

Christmas with the family was fun, as always. The best part was watching the little ones, who waited patiently (?), to open their gifts. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we ourselves, could hardly live with the anticipation of what Santa would bring to us. The best was seeing how much little Kenny (2) liked ripping the paper……almost as much as getting his presents. And Melanie (5), who helped picking up after her little brother. Julie (12), on the other hand, is turning into quite the young lady…..hardly waiting to be a teenager. We see the makings of responsible future adults with these young ones, taking after their mom and dad, Ken and Monica. They’re doing a good job raising them, not always easy these days.

 

As much as we hated to put the Christmas tree and decorations away until next year, we took advantage of a free afternoon today to do the job. With the help of son Bill and daughter-in-law Lynne last night, we all finished cleaning up the family room, locating missing puzzle pieces the kids were playing with, and even finding some stray drink coasters Kenny decided to stash under the coffee table. What fun……….

 

As the weather gets colder, in the 30’s, we certainly look forward to warmer days in Florida, where we fly to next Saturday. In the meantime, we’ll keep the fires burning, and do the last of the packing for the plane and our three day stay in Ft. Lauderdale. The entire trip will be south of the equator, more or less, so we do expect warm to hot weather in the weeks and months to come.

 

Speaking of upcoming ports, here is the list of countries we will be visiting: Costa Rica, Panama, French Polynesia (Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Tahiti, Moorea, and Rarotonga). New Zealand, Australia (Gold Coast and Great Barrier Reef area), Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Jordan, Suez Canal, Israel, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and Portugal.

 

When most all the world cruisers leave the ship in Florida, we will continue on to Half Moon Cay , Bahamas, Colombia, Costa RICA (again), Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, and finally San Diego, USA. We will be back on May 16th.

 

We leave January 2nd from San Francisco and arrive in time for dinner in Ft. Lauderdale. Look for ongoing emails from our hotel at the Renaissance Plantation.

 

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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And a Happy New Year to the two of you..... I am looking forward to your posts to keep me going through our long cold days of winter. I enjoyed your posts from the Tales of the South Pacific and am still looking at that cruise for next year, maybe.

 

Have a great time (I know you will).

 

Susan

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I'm looking forward to reading of your travels. Thx so much for taking this on every year.mIt gives me something to look forward to during our cold winter.

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How wonderful of you to take us along with you again! I am so happy to hear you had a beautiful Christmas with those nearest and dearest to you before you cruise.

 

I know you're anxious to get away from the 'cold' California temps, but just to help put it into perspective, tonight on the 'frozen tundra' we are expecting overnight low wind chill values of -35C. You can't imagine how I am wishing the next 28 days will pass so we can get out of the deep freeze and into a place where the only things I will have to shovel are sand on a beach and ice in my drink!

 

I wish you smooth seas and fair skies.

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

Gerry

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See you onboard! ;) I still show Safaga, Egypt on the schedule (two days prior to entering the Suez Canal) however, it is possible that might be removed

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Reading your posts is a wonderful way to pull me through winter. Thank you, again, for letting us share your adventures.

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Cannot imagine trying to pack for 4+ months - but you are pros at it by now.

 

So looking forward to reading about your adventures every morning with my coffee. Thank you in advance for your time and expense in doing this.

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See you both soon HK to Seattle. Will follow along with all the news beforehand

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See you onboard! ;) I still show Safaga, Egypt on the schedule (two days prior to entering the Suez Canal) however, it is possible that might be removed

 

Actually, Safaga has already been replaced on the 2016 cruise by Aqaba (gateway to Petra). No stops in Egypt this year.

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Always look forward to this opening post. Yay! Safe travels to FLL.

 

Mind sharing what group you are using for you Sri Lankan Safari?

Edited by sppunk

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Really looking forward to your adventure -- this year no long trips until 30 day France and Viking Voyage in June/July. Thanks for taking us along.

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Actually, Safaga has already been replaced on the 2016 cruise by Aqaba (gateway to Petra). No stops in Egypt this year.

Thank you kindly for that!

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So happy to see your first post for the 2016 World Cruise...have a wonderful trip..and thank you so much for sharing it all with us:)

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A big THANK_YOU!

I enjoy your attitude to what you do and see.

Please take good care of Copper10-8 and return him to us in one piece ;)

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I'll add my thanks as well - your reports are a pleasure to reach each morning with my cappuccino! I'll be sailing out on the Westerdam 1/2, but look forward to "catching up" after we return from our very short cruise (compared to yours) ;-)

 

Sue/WDW1972

1/2/16 Westerdam

1/15/16 DCL Dream

12/4/16 Koningsdam

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Thank you for taking us along one more time. It is truly appreciated.

 

Charles

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I love reading about peoples adventures so thank you for doing a blog so I can travel with you.

 

Susan

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Thank you for inviting us along on your world cruise 2016. We are very much looking forward to this cruise especially since we literally will probably not actually doing the real thing till late 2016 if at all. So we are wishing you both an enjoyable adventure.

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Bill and Mary Ann,

 

Have a good trip. We decided not to do the world this year. Too much like last year , however we already have reserved our room for 2017. We will be boarding in Ft. Lauderdale at the end of April heading to San Diego so we look forward to seeing you again. Will enjoy following your blog as usual. First pizza is on us when we meet.

 

Rich and Peg

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