Big itinerary change!…Part 1…

Without a doubt, an itinerary change was inevitable. When we began this process, we decided that any major changes would not be on our part unless an unforeseen health issue or misrepresentation of the situation occurred. 

If we found a better “deal” elsewhere after paying a deposit on a vacation home or cruise, we agreed that we would stand behind our original decision.  Good health providing, we decided that if we arrived at a vacation home, finding it dirty or in ill repair or, not as represented, we would never force ourselves to stay for what could prove to be uncomfortable, dangerous in any manner or unbearable.

In the past, I was the person that would check out the hotel room to ensure it was to our liking before committing.  If it wasn’t, I would gently and kindly request an alternative, rather than ask for a price adjustment. 

At times, this resulted in an upgrade.  This was never intended to be a case of whining to “see what one could get” but more a situation of exercising the privilege of getting that which one pays for.  Fairness. 

Over the past several years, finally maturing in my 60’s, I became less picky, expending my energy on more important issues.  With Tom at my side, I could live in a tent.  Of course, the cotton inside the sleeping bag would be 600 pt. Egyptian cotton and the tea would be loose leaf Pouchong from Taiwan.

Our original plan had been to spend from May 4, 2013, after a cruise from Barcelona to Mallorca, staying until June 4, 2013 in the lovely property, high on a hill overlooking the sea, the beautiful historic island of Mallorca, Spain (also spelled, Majorca). 

It was a good plan, to be followed by a Mediterranean cruise from June 5th to June 16th which would end in Venice, Italy, where we’d take a train to Florence, spending the remainder of the summer in a renovated 17th century farmhouse in Tuscany.  Ah, what a plan!

Shortly before we left Minnesota 12 days ago, we were informed that the property in Mallorca may be sold.  Rather than leave the owner, a dear friend and neighbor in Minnesota, in a tough position we graciously agreed to bow out and find other accommodations for this time period while leaving all of our other plans in place.

The new challenge, to fill this odd time period from May 4th to June 4th with something especially daring and exiting, rather than filling the spot with a
month in a residence hotel.  Compared to our planned two to three month stays in various locations, this to us, was a short period to fill.

And fill it, we did. This weekend we wrapped up our plans:

May 5, 2013 – May 21, 2013- Aboard this 15 day cruise from Barcelona to Dubai:

FastDeal 10789
15 nights departing May 6, 2013 on
Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas
Cheapest Inside $959
Cheapest Oceanview $1,049
Cheapest Balcony $1,499
Cheapest Suite $2,649
$$$ Early booking bonus! Book now and receive a FREE $50 per cabin on board credit on select categories.
Royal Caribbean – Mariner of the Seas, departs 5/6/13, 15 nights
 Mon May 6 Barcelona, Spain 5:00pm
Tue May 7 At Sea
Wed May 8 At Sea
Thu May 9 At Sea
Fri  May 10 Cairo / Giza (Alexandria), Egypt 7:00am
Sat  May 11 Cairo / Giza (Alexandria), Egypt 3:00pm
Sun May 12 Suez Canal, Egypt (Cruising)
Mon May 13 Luxor (Safaga), Egypt 7:00am 10:00pm Tue May 14 Petra (Aqaba), Jordan 9:00am 10:00pm Wed May 15 At Sea
Thu May 16 At Sea
Fri   May 17 At Sea
Sat  May 18 At Sea
Sun May 19 At Sea
Mon May 20 At Sea
Tue  May 21 Dubai, United Arab Emirates 6:00am

With taxes the total was $3900, averaging at $260 per day for both of us, higher than our preferred $200 per day including meals. Plus, another $900 total for our return flight to Barcelona on June 4, 2013, yet to be booked. 

We realized this month long trip was higher than our budget allowed for any one month. But, averaging our total daily budget over the extended period of 945 days booked thus far, we’re still within our daily budget of under $200 per day including every known expense: health insurance, emergency evacuation, personal insurance,  XCom Global for MiFi Internet, incidentals, my lipstick, haircuts, booze aboard ship, tips, taxis, ferries, planes, car rentals, boat rides and on and on).

Giza and the Suez Canal become a dream come true only a short four months after we’ve experienced the Panama Canal on our cruise beginning on January 3, 2013, the date we first leave the US.  Tom loves the idea of seeing two of the largest waterways in the world, history buff that he is. 

Yes, we may ride a camel to see the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. And yes, photos will follow.

Please read this about Giza from Vacations to Go’s website:

“Highlights in Cairo include the Ibn Tulun Mosque, which dates to the ninth century, and the Citadel, a medieval fortress. Many passengers choose to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World; the Sphinx is nearby. Tours of these sites are offered on foot, horseback or camel. The port city of Alexandria is set on a strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Mareotis, and serves as the gateway to Cairo and Giza. In Alexandria, a tour of the harbor and Montaza Palace or lounging on the beach are favorite activities.”And this about the Suez Canal:

“The Suez Canal runs 100 miles between the sand dunes of the Sinai Peninsula and the Nile River delta. Cruise ships often dock toward the canal’s north end at Port Said, a gateway to Cairo. From the port of Safaga at the south end, passengers are offered shore excursions to the ancient city of Luxor, where Tutankhamen was entombed.”

And this about Luxor:

“This small port city on the western shore of the Red Sea is a gateway to Luxor and all of the splendid Egyptian temples, tombs and ruins found there. After experiencing the sights on the east bank (including Karnak and the Luxor temples and Luxor Museum) cruise across the Nile to the west bank (where sights include the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Queen Hashepsut). Although most people head straight to the ancient architectural treasures, scuba diving and windsurfing are popular activities in Safaga itself. “

As on our previously booked seven cruises (this being the eight cruise), we once again chose a Balcony Cabin with the assistance of our fabulous cruise professional, Joaquin Contreras from Vacations to Go, truly the king of cruise planning himself!  Thanks, Joaquin!

Here’s the link to the actual cruise with more details. 

Next post, we’ll share with you how we ‘ve booked the remaining 13 nights in Dubai from May 21st to June 3rd, after which we’ll fly back to Barcelona for the next cruise in our itinerary, the following day. 

There is never a moment that we don’t marvel in our willingness to take the risk of selling everything we owned, leaving everyone we love behind to embark on this adventure, in this perfect time in the economy, in this particular time in our lives; with one another, full of love, full of joy, full of wonder and full of gratitude. 

Leave a Reply