Part 1, The journey continues…Itinerary additions…

Please see below for details of itinerary changes as we’ve filled in a four month gap in our planning.  Part 2 continues tomorrow.


Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas


Ship Rating: 

This ship will satisfy vacationers with the most active of interests as well as those who just want to relax and take it easy. Sports-minded passengers will love the two uppermost decks, which feature a putting green, a rock-climbing wall, a multi-purpose sports court and the ShipShape fitness center. At the Indian-themed solarium, relax in the whirlpool or take a swim while three 16-foot stone elephants stand guard. After being pampered at the full-service spa, head to the Pacifica Theatre for a star-studded show. Enjoy a variety of meals on board the Brilliance, served in the Minstrel main dining room, Chops Grille and the open-air Windjammer Cafe. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read and grab a cup o’ joe at the ship’s coffeehouse and bookstore, Books, Books and Coffee. In the Colony Club, you’ll find four theme clubs in one: The Bombay Billiard Club, Jakarta Lounge, Singapore Sling’s and the Calcutta Card Club. Brilliance of the Seas
 Ship Statistics 
Year Built 2002
Last Refurbished 2008
Tonnage 90,090 tons
Registry Bahamas
Length 962 feet
Beam 106 feet
Passenger Capacity 2,501
Crew Size 859
Total Inside Cabins 237
Total Outside Cabins 813
Cabins & Suites w/ verandas 577
Suites 64
Maximum Occupancy per room 8
Age Restrictions One person must be 21 or older
Dinner Seatings 2
Seating Assignments 
in Main Dining Room
Assigned
Dining Hours 6:00 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Dining Room Dress Code Dining
Tipping Recommended? Yes
Tipping Guidelines Royal Caribbean will automatically add a $12.00 USD gratuity ($14.25 USD for Suite guests) to each guest’s onboard SeaPass® account on a daily basis. 15% tip included on beverage orders.
Onboard Currency US Dollar
   
Services & Amenities
Bars/Lounges 10
Beauty Salon/Barber Shop Yes
Casino Yes
Chapel Yes
Disco/Dancing Yes
Elevators Yes
Hot Tub 3
Cell Phone Service Yes
Internet Center Yes
Wireless Internet Access Yes
Note: Available in certain areas
Laundry/Dry Cleaning Yes
Library Yes
Movie Theatre Yes
Outdoor Movie Screen No
Onboard Weddings Yes
Self Serve Laundromats No
Shops Yes
Showroom Yes
Spa Yes
Video Arcade Yes
Fitness & Sports Facilities
Basketball Court Yes
Fitness Center Yes
Golf Driving Net No
Golf Simulator Yes
Ice Skating Rink No
Jogging Track Yes
Mini-Golf Course Yes
Rock Climbing Wall Yes
Swimming Pool 2
Note: 1 Heated
Tennis Court No
Water Sports Platform No
Cabin Features & Amenities
24-Hour Room Service Yes
Hair Dryer Yes
Safe Yes
Telephone Yes
Television Yes
Kids Facilities
Babysitting Yes
Children’s Playroom Yes
Kiddie Pool Yes
Supervised Youth Program Yes
Teen Center Yes
Special Needs & Requests
Adjoining Cabins
     (private connecting doors)
Yes
Kosher Meals Yes
Single Occupancy Cabins No
Single Share Program No
Wheelchair-Accessible Cabins 15

 

14 nights departing August 31, 2014 on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas. Older ships typically have a lower star rating when in fact we’ve often found them to be come of favorites with the old Hollywood décor and ambiance.

As you can see, the cost for cruises increases substantially when adding taxes and tips. Plus, we’ll have additional charges for Internet access, alcohol and non included beverages (of which we have few). Iced tea, coffee, and hot tea are free.

As always, we’ve booked the balcony cabin, receiving the Past-Guest Rate. Here are our actual costs including taxes and tips.


Charges

Cruise (includes port charges) 3,978.00
C&A Member Discount – 200.00
Government Taxes* 282.70
Pre-Paid Gratuities 336.00

Total Sale (US$) $ 4,396.70


*subject to change by the cruise line.

Payments

Paid To Type Amount



Royal Caribbean CC 900.00

Total Payments (US$) $ 900.00
Balance Due (US$) $ 3,496.70


Final payment due June 10, 2014.

Cheapest Inside $1,549
Past-Guest Rate $1,499

Cheapest Oceanview $1,739
Past-Guest Rate $1,639

Cheapest Balcony $1,989
Past-Guest Rate $1,889
Cheapest Suite $4,199


 ITINERARY

DAY DATE PORT ARRIVE   DEPART
Sun Aug 31 London (Harwich), England 5:00pm
Mon Sep 1 Paris (Le Havre), France 7:00am 9:00pm
Tue Sep 2 Portland, England 7:00am 4:00pm
Wed Sep 3 Cork (Cobh), Ireland 10:00am 4:30pm
Thu Sep 4 At Sea
Fri Sep 5 Klaksvik, Faroe Islands 9:00am 6:00pm
Sat Sep 6 At Sea
Sun Sep 7 Reykjavik, Iceland Noon
Mon Sep 8 Reykjavik, Iceland 5:00pm
Tue Sep 9 At Sea
Wed Sep 10 At Sea
Thu Sep 11 At Sea
Fri Sep 12 At Sea
Sat Sep 13 At Sea
Sun Sep 14 Boston, MA 6:00am

Filling in the gaps in our travels gives us an added sense of contentment and whole lot of peace of mind.  After all, isn’t that what all of us are striving to achieve in our lives whether we’re working or retired?

Some have said, “Wing it!” or “Wait until the last minute and see what deals you can get!”  Yea, try having no home, no car, no stuff other than what would fill a grocery cart and “WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!!!” 

That might feel like being homeless with a bank account, thinking “Oh my, where am I going to stay tonight?”  For one of two nights that might work.  But, that’s not for us.

Besides, part of the fun in life is “anticipation,” the joy of plotting and planning, imagining the experience along with a sigh of relief when the event finally has begun to occur.  We love that part, too.  We love it all.

Shopping for “good deals” in advance becomes a vital element in the planning stages and later when the event is in process as we delight the good deals and time well spent.

As we’ve mentioned here in the past, we aren’t backpackers. Good for you brave souls out there who are! We don’t stay in hostels which usually works better for younger travelers.  We like creature comforts, many of which may be forfeited if waiting too long to book into the future. 

The gaps in our schedule:
Our time ending in Madeira, Portugal on August 1, 2014 to arrive in Hawaii on December 1, 2014, (where our kids will visit at Christmas), a gap of four full months.

Purposely, we’d left this time open, giving us the option to decide where we’d ultimately want to spend these four months while we’re still in Europe, hopefully ending in a transatlantic cruise as we’ll work our way back toward the US to Hawaii, a long haul.

How could we best expand our travel horizons while maneuvering our way toward Hawaii while seeing more of our amazing world in the process?  How could we make this leg of our journey meet our budgeting requirements?

We decided on one distinct fact:  We love to cruise as a means of transportation, giving us an opportunity to visit more ports of call.  Doing so, enables us to see more cities where eventually, we may chose to return for an extended visit. 

(I can’t get Mykonos, Greece or Dubrovnik, Croatia out of my mind after they were amazing ports of call.  For the reasons why, please type these city’s names, one at a time, into the “search” field on the right side of our main page and you’ll see our attraction to these cities when our posts and photos pop up).

After much discussion, along with Tom’s persistent online searches at Vacations to Go, with endless questions promptly answered by our loyal and knowledgeable rep, Joaquin, on Saturday we finally booked our 9th and 10th cruises since January 3, 2013.

As we’ll wind down our 2 1/2 month stay in the house overlooking the ocean on the island of Madeira from May 16, 2014 until August 1, 2014, here is a portion of our new plans:

  1. August 1, 2014:  Fly from Madeira Portugal to London, England (one way, under US $200 each!)
  2. August 1, 2014 to August 31, 2014: Stay in a vacation rental close to a train station away from the hustle and bustle of the city, preferably a house with character near the sea.  We’re searching for this now and will report back once we lock it in.
  3. August 31, 2014 to September 14, 2014:  Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas from London to Boston, MA, USA  (see cruise information at the top of this post: the route, pricing and cruise details)
  4. September 14, 2014:  Stay in a hotel in the Boston area for 3 nights close to where we have family members that we are anxious to visit, our beloved cousin Phyllis and almost 94 year old, Uncle Bernie.

Another aspect of this cruise from London to Boston is the opportunity to see Paris, although only for a day.  Most likely, we’ll participate in the ship’s planned excursion to Paris which is easier than planning this short period piece by piece.  Also, Iceland has a particular appeal for both of us. 

And of course, Cork, Ireland which has a particular appeal for my Irish guy, Tom, who prior to our meeting had traveled to Ireland on two separate occasions, once to take his beloved Mother in 1989, who passed in 2008, for an entire month to go to Rome to see the Pope and travel Ireland, prior to her going totally blind.  This fact alone was instrumental in my falling in love with him, over 22 years ago.  Any guy who’d take his Mother on a month’s vacation, was my kind of guy. Now, look at him dragging me all over the world, never to disappoint!

At the moment, the rain is pelting.  We’d hoped to walk to the vegetable stand today. As is typical here in Kenya, the rain will stop but the sun will return in a short time. Soon, we’ll be on our way.

Thanks for stopping by, once again.  Much more to follow.

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