Exciting future bookings…He just can’t wait! A year ago, a terrifying visitor! See photo…

Low lying clouds over the ocean at 5:00 pm.

When a cruise line has special pricing, Tom starts chomping at the bit. He can’t help it. He loves cruising. That’s not to say I don’t love it. But, he loves it more. 

Not only does he love the cruise itself but he absolutely is fascinated with the planning and booking process. He researches cruisecritic.com for comments from recent cruise passengers on past cruises as to the best cabins for the particular ship, the appropriate side of the ship, port (left) or starboard (right) for the best views during the cruise based on the locations, and the best promotions and packages to choose.

View across the side yard on yet another cloudy day.

As he’s gathering all the information, he writes down all the particulars, (in this case he wrote on a brown grocery bag when we couldn’t find a pad of paper), performing financial analysis as to the best options, average daily rates, and benefits to taking the cruise.

Oh, good grief.  I stay out of the cruise planning.  He need only tell me where, when, and how much and I’m happy. Once we’ve booked a cruise, he reads me the data from the “cruise confirmation” documents that arrive in my email upon booking and paying a deposit, enabling me to enter the pertinent data into various sheets in our Excel workbook: Itinerary, Deposits Paid, Cruises Booked.

A nice feature of booking cruises is the fact that one can cancel with a 100% return of the deposit up to 90 days before sailing. If not canceled, at that 90-day point, the balance is automatically charged to the credit card on file. Partial deposits may be refunded as a sail date approaches based on the number of days of the cruise and the dates the cancellation is requested. 

A lone tree survives the strong trade winds.

To date, we’ve canceled only one cruise which was well before the 90 day period, receiving a 100% deposit.  After sailing on the Norwegian Epic, we decided to cancel a future cruise, we’d booked on the Epic a second time. We hadn’t liked the ship, although it survived the 50-foot swells at sea for three days. 

The Epic was poorly designed to our liking, too large and difficult to maneuver from area to area.  In addition, the design of walking through the bathroom to get into the cabin was particularly unappealing, leaving no privacy when showering and dressing. Gee, a girl (or guy) has to have a few private moments now and then!

Yesterday, after Tom spent time-off and on over the past several months, researching possible future cruises and after spending considerable time since the family departed, he was ready to book two cruises. 

Usually, when booking cruises we’ve had to pay a $450 deposit per person, resulting in tying up $900 of our money for as long as two years into the future. 

When we’d booked several cruises, we disliked the idea of a cruise line having that much of our money for such an extended period. It made no sense at all. But, waiting to book a cruise could result in a lack of availability of preferred sailing dates and cabin selection.

A single shrub against the backdrop of the roaring sea.

While on our last cruise from Vancouver to Honolulu on the Celebrity Solstice, we prepaid two cruise deposits in advance for $200 each, a promo-only offered onboard the ship. It wasn’t necessary to choose which cruises we wanted at that point. The deposits would remain in place indefinitely until we chose cruises.

Yesterday, our prepaid $200 deposits came into play when we booked the two cruises, three and a half months apart, on the Celebrity Solstice, the same ship that brought us to Hawaii in October 2014.

Today, we’ll share the details of the first of these two cruises and tomorrow, the second, leaving us with a total of five cruises booked in the future, all of which we’ll list collectively in tomorrow’s post.

Budding lilies in the yard.

Here are the details of this cruise we booked yesterday, oddly sailing on the day of our four year anniversary of leaving on our journey to travel the world. We booked an upgraded cabin resulting in a total cost for a balcony cabin on the starboard side for an unobstructed view (of lifeboats) for a total of $4143.81 including tax and gratuities for both of us. Here are the details, including the itinerary.

FastDeal 11541
14 nights departing October 31, 2016 on
Celebrity’s Celebrity Solstice
Brochure Inside $2,598
Our Inside $1,249
You Save 52%
Brochure Oceanview $3,198
Our Oceanview $1,599
You Save 50%
Brochure Balcony $3,598
Our Balcony $1,699
You Save 53%
Brochure Suite $7,198
Our Suite $3,599
You Save 50%
The prices shown are US dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. They include port charges but do not include airfare or (where applicable) airport or government taxes or fees.
Important Note: Visas are required for this itinerary.
Mon Oct 31 Singapore 5:00pm
Tue Nov 1 At Sea
Wed Nov 2 At Sea
Thu Nov 3 Benoa, Bali 8:00am 5:00pm
Fri Nov 4 At Sea
Sat Nov 5 At Sea
Sun Nov 6 Darwin, Australia 8:00am 4:00pm
Mon Nov 7 At Sea
Tue Nov 8 At Sea
Wed Nov 9 Cairns, Australia 9:00am 5:00pm
Thu Nov 10 Airlie Beach, Australia 9:00am 5:00pm
Fri Nov 11 At Sea
Sat Nov 12 Brisbane, Australia 8:00am 5:00pm
Sun Nov 13 At Sea
Mon Nov 14 Sydney, Australia 6:00am

On some of our cruises, we return to the cities and countries we’ve already visited.  We never mind this fact.  For this cruise, we’ll have already been to Sydney, Cairns, and Bali. However, we don’t mind the redundancy at all. Seeing an area from a cruise ship is an interesting part of the experience that we never fail to enjoy.

Actually, many ports of call in our upcoming cruises may be repeats at some point. But, the fact that we have an opportunity to see new locations as well only adds to the experience. For both of us, being on the ship itself is delightful giving us an opportunity to interact with other travelers, making new friends along the way.

Booking these two cruises leaves a few holes in our itinerary. During the upcoming four months in Kauai, we’ll be busy filling those gaps and considering the last booking we have scheduled to date, the end of the second cruise, March 13, 2017. Our goal is to always be booked for the upcoming two years. 

As a result, we’ll soon begin booking beyond March 13, 2017. How exciting, that will be!

Photo from one year ago today, January 10, 2014:

It’s hard to believe it was a year ago that Tom spotted the Mozambique Spitting Cobra next to his bare foot as we sat on the veranda in Marloth Park.  He jumped away while I ran for the camera.  This jittery photo was a result of my hands shaking a bit as I shot this through the clothes line rack when the snake tried to get into the house.  Tom moved it with the mop as shown in the right side of the photo.  For more details on this story, please click here.

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