New booking to share…Packing day is upon us…

On our three years of travel anniversary, we visited the Namale Resort for a tour and luncheon celebration.  It was a great day!

Yesterday, I told Tom that if we had to pack with short notice in 20 minutes, I could do it.  That’s how uncomplicated the process has become.  I’ve already refolded all my clothes in the cupboard and with nothing on hangers (no closet bar here) its a breeze.

Add the bathroom items, power cords, digital equipment and the few toiletries in the bathroom and we’re good to go.  In the earlier days when we had so many bags, I had to begin a week in advance.  Its easy now that we have it narrowed down to three bags and a variety of carry on bags. 

Tima and Rasnesh when they took us on the tour of the waterfall.

Over these years, I’ve become used to having such a small amount of clothing although its a bit challenging on cruises when there’s a certain expectation for attire especially on dress up nights.  Some cruise lines are lightening up the dress code for formal nights.  This works for us.

Speaking of cruises, yesterday we booked another cruise, leaving us with 8 booked upcoming cruises.  Since January, 2013 we’ve sailed on 11 cruises.  Yep.  We like cruising as we’ve mentioned countless times in the past. 

The egg guy at the Farmers Market where we purchased 2 1/2 dozen free range organic eggs for FJD $12.50 , USD $5.82 each week.

Our budgeting revolves around our ability to cruise as a top priority resulting in living relatively frugally in affordable vacation homes and in renting cars only when necessary.  We enjoy cruising enough to make some sacrifices.  But, we’ve hardly diminished the quality of our lives to do so.  One only need check out the photos of the vacation homes we’ve been fortunate to find and make work for us.

So…here’s the new cruise…May 17, 2017, after we arrive in Seattle (from Australia) by cruise on May 15, 2017,  we’ll get to Vancouver (a three hour drive) where we’ll stay in a hotel for two nights and then board the Celebrity Solstice.

View from one of many overlook points in Namale Resort on the day of our anniversary visit.

Once again, we’ll spend a few nights in Vancouver as we did in September 17, 2014 to September 23, 2014 when stayed in a wonderful condo complex overlooking the harbor.  This next time, we’ll stay at a hotel close to the port based on it only being for two days.

Then off we go to fulfill another item on our to-do-list…a cruise to Alaska, while we happen to be in North America in 2017.  This cruise will transpire before heading to Minnesota to see family and friends for about a month, planning that the grandkids will be out of school for the summer, allowing us to spend more time with them.

Bana, the Dive Master, at Namale Resort.

This new cruise ends in Seattle on May 26, 2017 at which point we’ll rent a car and begin the drive through the northern states toward Minnesota, taking our time with a plan to arrive around the end of the first week in June. 

Most Alaskan cruises are for 7 nights only.  This particular cruise we selected on the day it was posted is for 9 nights. The early-in-the-season sailing in these frigid waters constitutes a better price but doesn’t limit what we’ll be able to see.  We’ll bundle up with sweatshirts and jackets and be able to watch the wildlife and ice floes from the deck. 

Filo, our tour guide at Namale Resort provided an amazing tour.

Here are the cruise details for those who may be interested.  We selected an upgraded balcony cabin which price isn’t listed here.  The prices listed are for the lowest priced options in each category. 

The cabin and class selection we’ve made brings our total to USD $4,452, FJD $9,495.  Our rep at Vacations to Go is working on adding perks. As Celebrity adds more perks over this extended period, we’ll be able to add them to our cruise package but its up to us to frequently research when such options are added based on a “best price guaranty.”  Here are the details:

9 nights departing May 17, 2017 on
Celebrity’s Celebrity Solstice
Cheapest Inside $1,399
Cheapest Oceanview $1,649
Cheapest Balcony $2,049
Cheapest Suite $4,099
Click for additional rates: Singles Rates
No brochure rates were provided by Celebrity. 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.
Wed May 17 Vancouver, BC, Canada 5:00pm
Thu May 18 Inside Passage, AK (Cruising)
Fri May 19 Ketchikan, AK 7:00am 4:00pm
Sat May 20 Juneau, AK 9:00am 8:30pm
Sun May 21 Skagway, AK 7:00am 6:00pm
Mon May 22 Hubbard Glacier, AK (Cruising)
Tue May 23 Sitka, AK 7:00am 4:00pm
Wed May 24 At Sea
Thu May 25 Victoria, BC, Canada Noon 8:00pm
Fri May 26 Seattle, WA 7:00am

Perhaps in years to come, we’ll return to Alaska for a long summer stay.  For now, the prices are simply too high to book a long term vacation home during the short summer.  We’ve done considerable research to no avail, deciding a cruise would be a better option for now. 

We’ve heard many avid cruisers extol the virtues of an Alaskan cruise and we couldn’t be more thrilled to add this cruise to our itinerary.  As for the Celebrity Solstice, we’ll be on that ship in a little over a month sailing from Sydney to New Zealand. 

The beach for guests at Namale Resort on the Koro Sea.

Over a year ago, we sailed on the Solstice from Vancouver to Hawaii.  The boarding process was the longest and most frustrating of any boarding process we’d experienced due to US immigration taking almost three hours from the time we arrived at the pier until we entered the ship.  At least this time, we’ll be prepared for the waiting time.

So, there’s that folks. Now, we’ll concentrate on the packing for tomorrow’s departure as soon as Vika arrives to make the bed, the only spot in this house suitable for opening and loading the suitcases.  Gosh, we’ve become lazy, not wanting to make the bed ourselves.  That will certainly change at our upcoming location with a cleaning person only once a week over the four weeks.

Tom at the dentist’s office located in the hospital parking lot.  He was happy with the good service and improvement in his tooth abscess which cleared up after taking the “free” antibiotics.

We already prepared tomorrow’s post with more great photos and with our final expenses for the almost three months we’ve spent in Savusavu which will be available online a few hours earlier than usual based on our early morning departure.

The day after tomorrow, Sunday for some of you, Monday for us, we’ll be back with photos of our new home in Pacific Harbour, Fiji!  See you tomorrow and again the next day. 

Have a fulfilling weekend.  Go Vikings.


Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2015:

The first of two houses we rented in Pahoa on the Big Island had fabulous ocean views.  But, its close proximity to the raging surf created moisture problems in the house contributing to wear and tear not visible in the photos.  Overall, it worked out fine with a few adjustments and help from the cooperative owners.  For more photos, please click here.

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