Summer solstice today in the Southern Hemisphere..Again, we made a decision about our visas expiring in a month…

Impala with an oxpecker in Kruger National Park.

This morning, when checking the news for any relevant topics to share today, other than the news-hogging Omicron variant, I stumbled across several articles about today being the official start date for summer in South Africa. It was nice to see headlines about something other than Covid-19, which is monopolizing headlines worldwide.

Impalas on the side of the road as we passed.

To stay on top of things, I read several news reports from worldwide sources. I tend to particularly like news from the UK and South Africa, both of which seem to be most relevant to us during our time in this country. The UK media tends to report on activities in South Africa, especially now when many tourists from the UK often visit SA during the holiday season. Of course, travel has been dramatically tempered since the onset of Omicron, which is raging in the UK right now.

Also, at this time, we’re paying particular attention to news directly out of South Africa to see if President Ramphosa will extend visas for foreign nationals, which will directly impact us.

Baby impala, perhap only days old.

However, at this time, to be safe with our visas expiring in a little over a month, we had decided to use the services of the law firm in Cape Town that we used to obtain a waiver after we were banned from the country for five years when we overstayed by 90 days when I had emergency open-heart surgery.

The law firm did an excellent job for us when we contracted their services in May 2019 while we were in Ireland, and they could handle everything remotely. We feel confident using them again. As a matter of fact, Gerhardt and Rita used this same firm with our recommendation when they applied for their four-year retirement visa while in the US.

Zebras near the Verhami Dam.

We considered applying for the South Africa four-year retirement visa but doing so requires an extended stay in the US which didn’t work for us. Foreign nationals cannot apply for an extended visa while in South Africa. Subsequently, in the past few days, we decided to go ahead and apply for a 90-day extension with the law firm, which will take us to the end of March (and beyond until April 23, if need be).

Why pay for a law firm to assist us? Right now, the immigration department is so backlogged with applications, we will get a faster result if we use a law firm.

Zebras seeking shelter from the sun under a bush,

At this point, we still don’t know if our booked transatlantic cruise to the UK will sail on April 8th. The final payment will be taken from our credit card online at Costco on Christmas Day. We were hoping that Celebrity Cruise Line would do so before the final payment is due if they ended up canceling the cruise.

However, many cruise lines require full payment on the original final payment due date, even if they intend to cancel the cruise in a few months due to the pandemic. This provides them the free use of our money for many months while we end up having to wait for a refund for months after they cancel the cruise. It can take three to four months to get a refund after the cruise is canceled. It’s the nature of the beast.

A newborn wildebeest suckling.

Based on what’s happening in the UK right now with the Omicron wildfire of cases, we’re expecting the cruise will be canceled. Based on stats from the website Worldometer, yesterday, the UK, with a population of 68,409,000, had 91,743 new cases. For comparison’s sake, the US had 143,530 new cases, also yesterday, with a population of 333,850,090, which continues to have the highest numbers of cases and deaths worldwide.

Yes, I know these numbers can easily be skewed. After all, humans are entering the information. Does a person who goes to the hospital with a fatal heart attack become a Covid statistic when they also happen to have Covid-19 at the time of death? Sure, there’s plenty of this going on, especially when many countries provide hospital remuneration when patients die from the virus.

Wildebeests resting near Verhami Dam.

But, we have nothing else to go on, and perhaps these stats serve as a guide to what’s happening throughout the world. I can only imagine how many cases aren’t reported in most parts of the world. Not everyone who gets Covid019 gets tested or goes to a medical facility for treatment. It’s not foolhardy to speculate that more than half, if not more, of the cases, go unreported.

We live in precarious times. We can’t anticipate what the future holds, even based on daily living. All we can do now is continue to strive toward good health, fulfilling relationships with family and friends, kindness to others and our world, and fiscal responsibility to the best of our ability.

May this holiday season remind us of our blessings and those areas of life for which we can be grateful.

Photo from one year ago today, December 21, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #263. In December 2019, we were preparing to enter the stadium for the Las Vegas Golden Knights game with my son Richard. Thanks, Richard, it was an enjoyable night! Here‘s the post from that night. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic new cruise bookings…

  1.  Azamara
    10 Nights – Azamara (Athens/Piraeus – Lisbon)
    Cruise Line: Azamara
    Ship Name: Azamara Journey Star Rating
    Cruise Length: 10 NightsDeparture Date: 11/19/2022
    Embarkation Port: Athens/Piraeus, GreeceReturn Date: 11/29/2022
    Disembarkation Port: Lisbon, Portugal
Sailing Itinerary
Date Port of Call Arrival Departure
11/19/2022 Athens/Piraeus 05:00 PM
11/20/2022 Cruising
11/21/2022 Valletta 08:00 AM 10:00 PM
11/22/2022 Trapani 11:00 AM 07:00 PM
11/23/2022 Cagliari 08:00 AM 06:00 PM
11/24/2022 Cruising
11/25/2022 Cartagena/Spain 08:00 AM 05:00 PM
11/26/2022 Malaga 08:00 AM 10:00 PM
11/27/2022 Gibraltar 07:30 AM 02:00 PM
11/28/2022 Lisbon 01:00 PM
11/29/2022 Lisbon

When we booked the cruise listed below, and Tom noticed the above cruise for a back-to-back, starting in Athens on November 19, 2022, a mere 14 months from now, he suggested we also book this cruise, adding ten more days our itinerary.  It may not seem like adding ten days is a significant benefit, but with our desire to cruise as much as we can afford over the next few years, added some cruise ports we’ve yet to visit, it made all the sense in the world.

On this same ship, on 11/29/2022, we’ll change cabins and continue on the even more exciting second leg of this cruise, Lisbon to Cape Town, enabling us to return to South Africa and Marloth Park for a possible six more months with one visa stamp required for each of us, after the first three months.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, this cruise, which we’d booked in the past and was canceled due to Covid-19, now has a slightly different itinerary but still fulfills our goals of visiting more countries in Africa and, above all, ending in Cape Town, South Africa on December 20, 2022, where will stay for a few nights and then head back to Marloth Park.

Here is the price summary of this first cruise. Notice the high amounts for taxes and fees.

Price Summary
Traveler 1 Traveler 2 Total
Cruise Package $3,439.00 $3,439.00 $6,878.00
Taxes and Fees $175.97 $175.97 $351.94
Total Package Price $3,614.97 $3,614.97 $7,229.94

Based on previous bookings, we’ll need to change cabins between the two cruises. This isn’t a problem for us. We can pack and unpack in a matter of about 30 minutes. Below is the itinerary for the second cruise on the same ship:

21 Nights – Azamara (Lisbon – Cape Town)
Cruise Line: Azamara
Ship Name: Azamara Journey Star Rating
Cruise Length: 21 NightsDeparture Date: 11/29/2022
Embarkation Port: Lisbon, PortugalReturn Date: 12/20/2022
Disembarkation Port: Cape Town, South Africa
Sailing Itinerary
Date Port of Call Arrival Departure
11/29/2022 Lisbon 05:00 PM
11/30/2022 Cruising
12/01/2022 Funchal 08:00 AM 06:00 PM
12/02/2022 Tenerife 01:00 PM 10:00 PM
12/03/2022 Cruising
12/04/2022 Cruising
12/05/2022 Dakar 08:00 AM 08:00 PM
12/06/2022 Banjul 07:30 AM 03:00 PM
12/07/2022 Cruising
12/08/2022 Cruising
12/09/2022 Abidjan 01:30 PM 07:00 PM
12/10/2022 Takoradi 08:00 AM 06:00 PM
12/11/2022 Cruising
12/12/2022 Cruising
12/13/2022 Cruising
12/14/2022 Luanda 08:00 AM 04:30 PM
12/15/2022 Cruising
12/16/2022 Cruising
12/17/2022 Walvis Bay 06:30 AM 10:00 PM
12/18/2022 Cruising
12/19/2022 Cruising
12/20/2022 Cape Town 06:00 AM

Here is the price summary of this first cruise.

Price Summary
Traveler 1 Traveler 2 Total
Cruise Package $7,439.00 $7,439.00 $14,878.00
Taxes and Fees $351.04 $351.04 $702.08
Total Package Price $7,790.04 $7,790.04 $15,580.08

This second cruise is more expensive, based on its 21-nights as opposed to the first cruise’s ten nights.

Also, for each of these two cruises, by booking through Costco, using our US $60/year (ZAR 878) membership card we’d purchased while in the US only a few months ago, we are receiving the following Costco gift cards: the first one for  US $545 (ZAR 7743) and the second for US $1210 (ZAR 17192).
So far, after booking five cruises through Costco, we’ve accumulated US $4390 (ZAR 62047). We still get all the perks offered by the cruise line as if we’d booked directly through them or another agency. The gift cards are added perks only offered by Costco. As mentioned in an earlier post, gift cards cannot be used for future cruises, rental cars, and airfare, although some package tours may be possible. We have no doubt we won’t have trouble finding products for which we’ll use the gift cards. Also, customers won’t receive the gift cards until a few weeks after each cruise has sailed for apparent reasons.
These two cruises each offer US $1000 (ZAR 14137) cabin credit to be used at our discretion during the cruises. Premium drinks are included, along with taxes and gratuities. Most likely, we’ll use a portion of the cabin credits for unlimited  WiFi for two devices.
Of course, all of the above is subject to the status of the pandemic at the time of sailing. One never can plan anything for sure during times of Covid-19.
There they are, folks, our two new bookings. At this point, we have eight cruises booked, but we are questioning if the first three cruises around Japan, upcoming in February 2022, will be canceled due to Covid-19. As always, only time will tell.
Dare to go for the adventure! We’ve all sat around too much!
Photo from one year ago today, September 9, 2020:
This photo was posted one year ago while in hotel lockdown for ten months in Mumbai, India, on day #170. This batch of vegetables was KES (Kenya Shillings) $150, US $1.72. The more we travel, the more we are amazed by, the lower cost of food in other countries compared to the US. For more photos, please click here.

Moving cruises to future dates…Dealing with unknowns in time of Covid-19…

Dozens of school kids walked along the beach while on a field trip to celebrate the end of the school year in Sumbersari, Bali, for a one-month holiday. When they return to school, they’ll enter the next grade as they continue their studies. Wearing school uniforms is required with a color change on different days of the week.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. Today’s photos are from June 10, 2016, while living in Sumbersari, Bali. See the link here for more photos.

At present, we have four cruises booked from November 2020 from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa, and three in and around Japan between February 2022 to May 2022. 

The final of the three cruises ends in Vancouver, Canada, at which time we’ll spend time in the US for a family visit, flying from state to state to visit everyone.

Beautiful colors and scenery at high tide from our vacation villa.

For now, we’re thinking in terms of the upcoming cruise from Lisbon, Portugal, to Cape Town, South Africa, which is scheduled to embark on November 10, 2020. Every few days, we check Amazara Cruise Line’s website to see if the cruise has been canceled based on Covid-19. After all, that’s only five months from now.

When we originally booked the Azamara cruise for 22 nights, we’d done so early enough to book it for a reasonable price for the unusual itinerary with ports of calls on the western coast of Africa, a route rarely taken by cruise ships. 

The kids were happy and playful as they chatted with one another on their field trip.

This cruise appealed to us with its unique ports of call and the resulting disembarkation in Cape Town, where we’d planned to spend a few days and then head to Marloth Park, with visa restrictions allowing us to stay for the remainder of 90 days less than those we spent in Cape Town. 

We’ve never visited Cape Town and decided this cruise would be an excellent opportunity to visit one of the most popular tourist locations as one of the “most beautiful cities” in the world. 

The colors and shadows change in the constant daylight sunshine.

When we booked this particular cruise two years ago, we hesitated a little over the price since Azamara’s smaller ships with 690 passengers are considerably higher than larger cruises, often with thousands of passengers. 

But, we were fortunate to lock in an excellent early booking price of IDR 950992, US $12,598 (for two). Now that same cruise is listed as IDR 1388819, US $18,398, a difference of INR 437828, US $5,800.

This breathtaking view never ceased to amaze us.

This is all well and good, but we are confident this original cruise will be canceled. As we approach July 7, 2020, when the final payment is due and, if the cruise line hasn’t yet canceled the cruise, to hold our best pricing, we’d have to pay the balance in full, less the INR 83036, US $1100 deposit we paid at the time of booking.

If they cancel after we’ve paid the balance in full, we could end up waiting three months or more to get a refund. We don’t want them holding our money for so long. On another note, if they cancel and we don’t ask for the money back, most likely, they’ll offer a 125% credit toward a future cruise. What happens next?

Each day, we’ve rescued many grasshoppers who were drowning in the pool. Once we take them out, they dry off for a while and then fly off.  Some appeared dead but often came to life in no time at all.

They’ll raise the price of the 2021 similar cruise (of 21 nights as opposed to 22 nights), and if using our 125% credit (if we chose not to get the money back), we will end up paying a higher price for the similar cruise.

However, if we move our booking for the November 2020 cruise to a similar cruise in 2021, our best booking price will roll over to the transferred booking. I hope this makes sense.

This grasshopper was lethargic after I rescued them from the pool but soon flew away.

The disadvantages of this cruise are the differences in some ports of call and the fact it arrives in Cape Town on December 22, 2021 (the day before Tom’s birthday), making arrival at Christmas time tricky. Last night, considering the time difference, we requested the change with our rep at Vacations-to-Go. We should be receiving a new confirmation for the 2021 booking ending in Cape Town by this evening. We’ll deal with that later.

So, here is a possible scenario for now. We leave India as soon as both borders open to fly to Marloth Park via Johannesburg and then on to Nelspruit with a one-hour drive to Marloth Park. We’ll spend three months there with additional travels in Africa to extend the visa by going in and out of South Africa.

The view, directly in front of our villa, as the tide rapidly washed closer to the edge of the infinity pool. Logs and ocean debris often accompany the incoming tide, which later disappears as the tide rolls back out to sea.

We’ll plan to work our way back to Lisbon, Portugal, for the eventual sailing in 2021 and then back to South Africa for another visit. At this point, with India and South Africa borders closed to international travel, we have no idea how long it will be between our first and second arrival in South Africa. We’ll figure it out as we go.

As for the remaining three cruises in 2022 in and around Japan, we’ll play it by ear and see what transpires over the next many months. These cruises are all on Celebrity with much higher passenger counts. Later, we’ll decide if they are safe in light of Covid-19.

A praying mantis on the glass door.

Thanks to many of our readers with suggestions for future posts after yesterday’s post asking for suggestions, shown here. We so appreciate your valued input, and many of you will see your offers in posts to come.

Hang in there, everyone! Hopefully, soon, these challenging times will pass.

Photo from one year ago today, June 10, 2019:

Happy on a hill, cows in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

Final expenses, Baltic cruise…Final sailing day…Stockholm, Sweden photos…

Please see our final cruise expenses at the end of today’s text. With the poor WiFi connection, I couldn’t move the expenses box to the text or load captions due to the poor signal. Please excuse the inconvenience.

The cruise is winding down. Tomorrow morning we disembark in Amsterdam to take a taxi to the airport and fly to Exeter, England, where we’ll pick up a car and drive for approximately two hours until we arrive at our next holiday rental in Falmouth England.

It’s wonderful knowing this cruise is ending only to result in our starting our next adventure for two months in England, staying in what appears to be four unique and exciting country cottages.

Once we began our travels, I envisioned living in a stone cottage in the English countryside, and now this dream will be fulfilled. For us, it’s always the “simple life” that brings the greatest pleasure and purpose to our world travels.

Today is our last full day at sea, and the ship is a flurry of activity with passengers booking new cruises, meeting up with others they’ve met along the way, and reminiscing about the experiences of the past almost 12 days and nights.

Last night, once again, we had dinner with our favorite little group, including American partners Fred and Larry and British mother Deborah, and adult son James. The conversation and laughter are neverending with this six-person group, and thus we booked a unique table with our favorite waiter for tonight’s final dinner at 7:45.

Last night we stayed up late watching passengers dancing to various “oldies” in the Centrum. It was the first time in my life. I couldn’t participate in the lively dancing. Tom and I love dancing together, especially to “oldies” of the correct beat (to us anyway)

Trying not to feel sorry for myself, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever been able to dance again. Right now, it doesn’t feel as if I could. Currently, right now, my legs feel as if they’re made of jello, and it takes everything I have to keep from falling flat on my face. But, hopeful that I am, I’m now dreaming of the day I’ll have my strength back and be on steady legs.

I believe this is a result of the medications and the weaning process, tentative walking being listed as a significant side effect while on the drugs and attempting to wean off of them, possibly lasting for many months.  

It would be a lot easier if I knew that an end to the discomfort was in sight. But, like life itself, nothing is certain. We attempt to live in the moment and how important it is to treasure each day as it occurs. It’s challenging not to project into the future.

This morning I reduced the dose of the Bisoprolol in one more increment. I’m now down about 70%. I’ll wait another four or five days until I attempt to reduce it again.

The most common side effects of the withdrawal of this beta blocker are increased heart rate and blood pressure, breathing issues, at times to dangerous levels, and coughing and painful walking. I am monitoring these closely.  Once the body adjusts, the rates return to more “normal” levels for most people, and the pain eventually dissipates.

Before weaning off this drug, my pulse was in the 40s and 50s, causing me to feel exhausted and short-winded. Now, as I’ve reduced the dose, it’s running between the 60s and 90s. My blood pressure is low. We’ll see how it goes.

Oh, I am sorry to go on and on about my health. Let’s face it. It has had a significant impact on our travels. If we were living in a condo somewhere in a warm climate, I could easily have fallen into the trap of being the “perpetual patient,” going back and forth to doctors to answer every question that comes to mind.

Now, I lean on reputable scientific research to guide me through this process.  I’ve read in many cases how many cardiologists have suggested their patients stop these drugs “cold turkey” while others warn patients to be hospitalized during the weaning process. Go figure.

Medical information is misleading, and doctors can have varying “opinions” on treating their patients, especially cardiologists. I’ve chosen to go to the “middle ground” and try to work this out independently.  

Of course, if anything untoward were to occur, we’d immediately seek medical attention. Also, if my pulse or blood pressure rise too much, I always have the option to increase the dose short-term to get me through a bad spell and then try again a few days later. Right now, I’m holding my own.

As the day quickly sails by (no pun intended), we find it hard to believe this cruise is over. We’ve already packed our bags, leaving out clothes to wear tonight and tomorrow. Since our bags will be whisked away at 10:00 pm tonight, most likely, we’ll wear the same outfits tomorrow that we’ve worn tonight.

Today’s photos are those we took while in Stockholm, Sweden riding on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus that we decided to try one more time. With no rain this time, the photos were better.  

We were able to ride on the top deck without windows providing us with a clear view. It’s not easy taking photos from a fast-moving bus, but we did our best and are delighted to share these with you today.

Most likely, we won’t be able to prepare a full post tomorrow, but we’ll let you know we’ve arrived at our new holiday rental in the late afternoon. We’ll be busy unpacking and washing clothes.  Hopefully, we’ll have a few new photos to share!

Be well. Be healthy. Be happy.

Final expenses for the cruise:

Expense US Dollar Euro
Cruise Fare  $          4,313.84                      3,894.36
Airfare –   $             385.00                    347.56
Hotel & Meals Amsterdam- $              440.00                    397.21      
Taxi   $             102.00                      92.08
Cabin Credit  $              (150.00)                  (135.41)
Wi-Fi on ship  $                227.40                     205.29
Gratuities  $                520.00                     469.44  
Miscellaneous  $                   82.00                       74.03
Tours  $                 930.00                     839.57   
Total  $             6850.24                   6184.12
Avg Daily Cost – 12 nights  $              570.85                     515.24
Photo from one year ago today, August 22, 2018:
While on safari in Chobe National Park in Botswana, we were excited to get a view of the leopard’s face after waiting for a considerable period while Samson, our guide, kept moving the vehicle for better shots. Upon careful inspection of this photo, you can see the pads of the feet of her kill in the tree near her head.  For more photos, please click here.

Our wonderful helpers in the park…A stroke of good luck saving us lots of moolah!…

A tattered ear on an old elephant.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Three little pigs…

Update:  There’s a good possibility the “lioness on the loose” has returned to Kruger National Park via the same means (or other means) by which she entered a week or two ago.  She hasn’t been sighted in the past few days.

A few wildebeests with a zebra in the background.

Currently, in South Africa, kids are off school until July 17th for the “school holiday.” The reason we knew this particular date is that Marta, our housekeeper, who lives in a tiny house on the property has a few of her kids staying here with her until the holiday ends when they’ll return to school to stay with other family members in a nearby town. 

A large bull at the side of the road.

This scenario is typical for the local workers in Marloth Park.  Many of them come here to work and walk to catch buses that pick them up to return them to various towns surrounding the area.  Many others stay in Marloth during the week living in small houses such as Marta’s here on the grounds and return to their families on their days off.

Elephants crossing the road.

It’s not an easy life and we appreciate them all including Marta and Josiah who cleans the pool, the grounds and the veranda on most weekdays.  Then, there’s Vusi and Zef who attend to replenishing our bottled water and bottled gas.  Many areas of the house use bottled gas such as the water heater, oven, range, and gas braai. 

Wildebeests, zebras and an impala sharing their food sources in Kruger.

Typically, they all cover for one another if one is ill or unable to work.  Of course, Louise and Danie oversee the efficient running in all of these areas, ensuring the work is getting done proficiently and in a timely manner.

Giraffe preparing to cross the road.

As for our “stroke of good luck,” well, Tom couldn’t have done a better job at saving us over ZAR 14,893 (US $1100) on an upcoming cruise we’d already booked.  The cruise sails on October 24, 2019, beginning in Southampton, England and ending in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 8, 2019, at which time we’ll fly to Nevada (and later drive to Arizona) to see family for a few weeks.

As we zoomed in on the above giraffe, we noticed this round patch which must be a result of some type of injury.

As we’ve mentioned on many past occasions, by watching cruise fares almost daily, when there’s a price drop, all we must do is notify Vacations-to-Go, a company we use exclusively for booking cruises.

They’ll verify the price drop with the cruise line and issue us a new “cruise confirmation” document showing the new pricing. Tom had been able to get a ZAR 4062 (US $300) price reduction on this same cruise about a month ago. 

Cape buffalo grazing along the edge of a waterhole.

Yesterday, he contacted Vacations-to-Go again when he noticed another price reduction at Celebrity’s website for another ZAR 10,831 (US $800).  With these combined price reductions we saved ZAR 14,893 (US $1100).  This is more than a 25% reduction from the original cost of the cruise.

It’s this type of diligence we maintain, individually and collectively to ensure we’re always getting the best possible pricing for everything we do.  In doing so, it allows us to spend a little more on quality properties wherever we may travel in the world.

We’d hoped to go to Kruger today but have heard there’s a long wait to enter.  They only allow so many visitors inside the park at one time.  We’ve heard it is a maximum of 600 visitors per day at each of the nine entrance gates to the vast national park.  We’ll wait until the holiday season winds down.

Have an excellent day and evening!


Photo from one year ago today, June 26, 2017:

Vincent caught his first fish of the day, tiny but gratifying.  The hooks are carefully removed to avoid injuring the fish and the fish are tossed back into the lake.  The kids have no interest in eating the fish they catch nor do any of the adults care to fillet small sunfish or crappies (pronounced, croppies).  For more photos, please click here.

Antarctica – February 8, 2018…Final expenses are here!!!…We’re back in Buenos Aires for two nights…

Killer Whales…we’ve yet to share the many photos and videos of whales and will do so over the next few days.

This morning’s short post: Due to a poor Wi-Fi signal at the airport, we’ll have to wait until we arrive in Buenos Aires later today to complete our post. Please check back later in the day for the final expenses. Thanks for your patience.

These Black Browed Albatross build these unbelievable nests for their chicks.

Now, since we’re back in Buenos Aires, a little pooped after so many action-packed days, I honestly don’t have much ummph to write much. I didn’t sleep more than three hours last night and have yet to have a bite to eat today.  

In a little while, we’ll make the walk to La Cabrera for our final dinner at the fabulous restaurant. Our mouths are watering over the prospect of the options available, and we look forward to a lavish sit-down meal. 

Gentoo Penguins in the thousands.

We mostly dined in the buffet with our group of friends during the cruise since we all found the variety much more appealing than the lesser menu options in the formal dining room.

Magellanic Penguins are on a mission to get to the beach.

It’s 5:30 pm.  We arrived back at the Prodeo Hotel about an hour ago, did a little unpacking, getting necessary toiletries out for less than two days until we depart for Africa.

Rock Hopper Penguin parent and their chick (they only have one), but a friend chick stopped by for a visit.

We decided to wait to have our laundry done in South Africa since there isn’t enough time to get it laundered and packed here. We planned to be packed by early afternoon tomorrow, leaving out comfy clothing for the overnight flight.

This Rock Hopper Penguin is one of my favorite photos.

I apologize for the repeat photos we shared only a few days ago. When I perused through all the photos, some of these came up as favorites. It can’t be helped. Plus, I’m reasonably bleary-eyed and couldn’t muster any creativity or enthusiasm right now to go through the several thousand photos we shot during that 17 days. Bear with us. They’ll be coming.

Us and our flag on  “real life'” ice bar in Antarctica.

We’ll begin to share our exciting whale photos tomorrow, although we did include one here today. Plus, we’ll be uploading a few unique videos we’ll finally be able to post on YouTube, which allows us to share them here.

Seeing that which Mother Nature provides is life-changing.

The flight today was good and pleasantly uneventful. It was fun to see all the beautiful friends we’d made during the cruise on the plane. Roundtrip airfare to Buenos Aires was included in the cruise fare.

They were toasting with French champagne on a sofa on an ice floe.

Speaking of the cruise fare, here you go…our final expenses for the cruise and incidentals. It was a hefty chunk for us, but we have no regrets. It certainly was worth all the sacrifices we made these past two years to make this possible.

Expense US Dollar Euro
Cruise Fare  $             34,500.00  $                27,945.00
 Airfare – inc in the cruise fare  $                                –
Hotel Buenos Aires – 2 ngts $                    140.00 $                       113.40
Taxi – paid by hotel  $                  $              
Cabin Credit  $                 (101.23)  $                      (81.00)
Wi-Fi on ship  $                   444.45  $                       360.00
Gratuities  $                   250.00  $                       202.50
Miscellaneous  $                    29.63  $                         24.00
Doctor visit on ship  $                  213.73  $                       173.12
Total  $             35,476.58  $                 28,899.02
Avg Daily Cost – 17 days  $               1,970.92  $                   1,605.50
The “ice bar,” the real deal on an ice floe in Antarctica.

No doubt, this was a lot of money to spend for this relatively short period. However, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one we doubt we’ll ever regret or repeat.

Happy as we could be to share this blissful experience.

We need to get busy handling our complicated packing after storing half of our belongings here in boxes at the hotel. Tomorrow will be a busy day, but we plan to start it with a cup of coffee for Tom and tea for me, sitting in the hotel lobby, sharing more of this incredible experience with all of you.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, February 8, 2017:

This adorable coffee shop in Southport, Tasmania, made us laugh. It appears to be a diving bell. For more photos from our road trip, please click here.

Antarctica…February 7, 2018…Rough seas update…A most unusual experience on an ice floe in the Polar Circle…Spectacular…

Both of us are raising a glass in celebration of this special occasion.

The Drake Passage continued to be rough, requiring we hold onto walls and railings when we walk throughout the ship with a degree of added difficulty while maneuvering in the cabin, especially in the bathroom and shower. Last night, the buffet where the 12 of us has dined together on most occasions was closed, and we had no choice but to eat in the main dining room.

I couldn’t resist lying down for this pose. How fun it was! We loved the sofa and a champagne bar on an ice floe in the Polar Circle.

Today, it’s settled down, and all dining areas will be open. However, this morning the ship continued to bob, occasionally jerk, and lurch from side to side. We haven’t heard anything from the bridge about the size of the swells or the speed of the winds, both of which we anticipate have been reasonably high.

Tom with icebergs in the background sitting on the sofa on the ice floe.

We’ve weathered it well with nary a moment of seasickness for which we’re incredibly grateful. Many passengers had no choice but to wear the seasickness patches or take medication to avert the uncomfortable sensations attributed to getting sick at sea.  But surprisingly, many passengers had no ill effects like us.

The wine steward, Laurent, served us French champagne.

Later today, we’ll arrive in Ushuaia, where the ship will spend the night. This afternoon, we’ll pack, leaving out enough clothing to get us through the next 24 hours. We’re baffled as to why the ship designated tonight as a “dress up” night when everyone needs to have their baggage ready for pickup around 10:00 or 11:00 pm. As a result, we’ll be casual tonight as usual.

It was fun to hold up our US flag on the ice floe.

Now, as the cruise winds down, I’m feeling a little sad to see it end. Without a doubt, this ranks in my top three experiences since we began traveling the world in October 2012. It’s an expensive once-in-a-lifetime adventure leaving us with photos, stories, and videos we’ll always regard as treasured memories.

The bar was set up on the ice floe earlier in the day, so everything was set and ready to go by the time we arrived.

We’re thrilled to be heading to Africa next since many other locations could be anticlimactic after this incredible experience. Africa won’t disappoint, and I expect we’ll handle the transition with ease, even with the vast difference in weather conditions. It will be hot for a while longer in South Africa during their hot and humid summer months. 

Tom was holding the “I crossed the Polar Circle” sign while sitting on the sofa.

Fortunately, we’ll have air conditioning in the bedroom, and we’ll spend most of our days outdoors on the veranda. As excited as we’ve been during this outstanding cruise, a slight tinge of excitement impacted me, knowing on February 11th, we’ll arrive in Mpumalanga, Nelspruit/Kruger, albeit very tired after the long flight with layovers, to commence the 90-minute drive to Marloth Park.

Both of us are holding the “I crossed the Polar Circle” sign.

We still have many Antarctic photos and videos we’ve yet to share. We will attempt to wrap them up while in Buenos Aires during our final two days in Palermo Soho while we reorganize our packing, get laundry done (we only hand-washed underwear on the cruise) and get ready upcoming long flight.

The sun was setting on the icy waters.

Tonight, we booked a table for 10 in the buffet for our final meal with our group of new friends.  We all prefer to dine in the buffet where the options are many and the food more appealing for all of us than in the main dining room with limited menu options. 

There is exquisite scenery at every turn.

Overall, Tom hasn’t been thrilled with the food (picky eater), but I found it suitable for my diet and don’t complain. As for food photos, I’ve yet to show many when food was the last thing on my mind during this adventure.

The sun was reflecting on the sea during daylight hours.

Today, we’re excited to share the photos of one of the most enjoyable events during the cruise, drinking French champagne, once again after a Zodiac boat ride, but this time, in the Arctic Circle on an ice floe, not while in the Zodiac as we shared a few days ago. This theatrical event left all of us reeling with sheer delight over the irony of the situation.

It was fascinating to see how the ship and Zodiac boats maneuvered through the ice-filled waters.

Who stands on an ice floe, sipping champagne? What an exquisite touch added to this magnificent cruise! We’re all still talking about it, along with all the other exceptional experiences we’ve had during this past almost 17 days and 16 nights.

Icebergs often develop into artistic designs.

Since we’ll be getting off the ship before 8 am tomorrow, this afternoon, we hope to have time to prepare tomorrow’s post with the “final expenses” to upload around our usual earlier time of the day automatically. We’ll be adding “favorite photos” in the two or three posts we’ll prepare in Buenos Aires.

A single Crabcatcher Seal on an ice floe.

If, for some reason, we can’t get tomorrow’s post done today, we’ll finish it once we arrive in Palermo later in the day. In other words, there will be a post tomorrow, but at this point, the exact time is up for grabs.

It has been exciting to see wildlife sunning on ice floes.
My knee has greatly improved after the ship’s doctor provided excellent medical care, and we’re both feeling well and ready to tackle this next leg of our journey.
Another Crabcathcer Seal was lounging on an ice floe.

Stay well. Stay happy and please, stay tuned for more. 

Photo from one year ago today, February 7, 2017:
A white sand beach in Dover, Tasmania. For more photos, please click here.

Antarctica- Saturday, January 27, 2018…Tom’s photos…

Tom certainly got it right when he captured this Black Browed Albatross chick with what appears to be a smile. 

Today, we’re heading to South Georgia Island, a popular stopping point on the route toward the Antarctic Circle. We’ve yet to see snow-covered islands and glaciers. Soon enough, that will come. But, it’s a long way from Ushuaia, and today is the only day five of the 17-day cruise.

The beautiful scenery in the Falkland Islands.  Notice the birds flying above.

Many of our readers have written asking about the status of my injured knee. As it turned out, yesterday at 5:00 pm, I visited the ship’s doctor, fearful that the infection wasn’t improving after four full days of antibiotics. Thank you all for your thoughtful concern. 

Penguins fill the hills.

Bound and determined, I wasn’t about to be missing out on any of the many upcoming Zodiac boat excursions, and with another sea day to recoup, I felt I had no choice to see what was going on.

It’s fascinating to see how penguins love to stay close to their family members and friends.

My leg was turning red further up my thigh, several inches from the original site of the infection. It wasn’t in a specific line creeping up my leg, as one might expect from “blood poisoning.” Instead, it was in bright red blotches, each of which was tender to the touch. This was worrisome. I had no idea what was going on or how to treat it.

They’re never far from easy access to the sea.

This is cruise number 22 for us in the past over five years, during which neither of us had ever visited a ship doctor, not even when we contracted awful coughs, colds, and cases of flu. Fortunately, we’ve never had norovirus or seasickness requiring medication from the doctor.

A lone Caracara.

After a comprehensive exam of my knee, my leg, my groin, and mid-section, he determined I have the equivalent of phlebitis, inflammation in the vein in my leg, and lymphatic system, which, if left untreated, could be a disaster. He determined it hadn’t spread to any other parts of my body and was localized in my leg. 

Black Browed Albatross in a massive colony.

He prescribed a strong prescription anti-inflammatory drug that must be taken with food three times a day and continuing the antibiotic for at least four more days. Although concerned with the diagnosis, I was especially relieved when he said I could keep walking as long as I can tolerate it. 

A lone little bird.

Even with the pain these past many days, I’ve participated in the long walks on the excursions, although I continue to walk gingerly due to the pain. Tom has been patient and helpful as always, hanging on to me as we’ve navigated our way over the rough, rocky, and uneven terrain. 

Here’s a young chick making a little noise while atop their elevated nest. That’s amazing! This is unreal…the Black Browed Albatross on Steeple Jason Island remove tall grass from these massive “pod-like” structures, adding mud and vegetation to make it a free-standing pod on which they can nest. 

I’m scheduled to return to the doctor tomorrow at 5:00 pm to decide the next course of treatment if there has been a sufficient improvement. We’re hopeful when this morning I noticed the redness and tenderness had improved about 20%, not a significant amount but enough to make us feel optimistic.

More chicks and parents sitting atop their raised pods.

During this last outing on Steeple Jason Island in the Falkland Islands, he took all of the photos while I watched my footing using the walking sticks that the ship recommended we all bring with us. Tom, as sure-footed, as one can be, hasn’t needed to use them. Hence we only brought along one pair.

It was stunning to see all these Albatross atop these pods in their massive nesting grounds.

We failed to mention any information about the Falkland Islands in our enthusiasm to present our photos and with the sketchy Wi-Fi signal. Here’s a bit of data from the ship’s newsletter, to fill in the blanks:

The varying species can easily hang out together, as shown in these photos of Penguins and Albatross.

“The Falkland Islands have a rich history embracing maritime trade, sealing, whaling, as well as cattle and sheep farming. The English navigator, John Davis, aboard the “Desire,” made the first confirmed sighting of the islands in 1592. 

The first landing is attributed to the British Captain, John Strong, in 1690 at Bold Cove, Port Howard on West Falkland. Early visitors were sealers, whalers, and penguin hunters from different corners of the world. Many imported, domestic animals were left at various locations as a food source for future voyages.

A preening chick on the nest.

Cattle spread rapidly throughout the islands. Travel was on horseback and South American gauchos made their mark. Stone and turf corrals were constructed, and remains of these can be seen scattered across the islands. particularly on East Falkland.

It is “wildly” congested in spots!

The year 1833 saw the re-assertion by British for its sovereignty. By 1845 the capital had been moved to its present site and was named Stanley, after the Colonel Secretary, Geoffrey Smith Stanley. 

A bird of prey, the Caracara awaits the next opportunity for a meal.

Stanley became an important port for vessels involved in whaling and rounding Cape Horn.  Settlements and farms were built across the islands, and sheep farming took over from cattle ranching as a mainstay.

The ship’s naturalists set up a perimeter of flags for us to walk. This curious Caracara had to investigte the flagpole.

Falkland Islanders participated in both World Wars. The World War I Battle of the Falklands has commemorated the monument on Ross Road, while the Cross of Sacrifice commemorates World War II.  For 74 days in 1982, Argentine troops occupied the Falkland Islands. 

There are over one half million Albatrosses on this island.

A British Task Force was sent to recover the islands. Fierce fighting took place on land, at sea, and in the air, with several Islanders aiding the British military. Ultimately, Argentine Forces surrendered to the British Forces.”

As mentioned above, today’s photos were taken by Tom while we were at Steeple Jason Island in the Falkland Islands. He’s becoming quite the photographer!  For more information on this island, please click here.

They seem to go on forever.  What a sight!

Tomorrow’s post will be arriving later in the day since we’re heading out again, in the early morning, on the Zodiac boats to South Georgia, where we’ll certainly be in for quite a surprise which we can’t wait to share with all of you.

Have a fabulous day filled with many wonders!
Photo from one year ago today, January 27, 2017:
This fish mascot wandered about the Australia Day celebration for photo ops. For more photos, please click here.

Antarctica- Thursday, January 25, 2018…Our first penguin photos…The Falkland Islands…Aaaamazing!!!

A one or two-year-old Rock Hopper Penguin on New Island in the Falkland Islands has yet to grow his full plumage.

As we expected, the Wi-Fi signal on the ship is touchy. On our first full day out to sea, we anticipate arriving at our first so-called “port of call” at the Falkland Islands, one day earlier than scheduled.  

Rock Hopper Penguins.  Pinch me…is this happening?

Tuesday night, after an enjoyable dinner (fully accommodating my dietary restriction) in the main dining room with two good Aussie couples, we tried on the complimentary red parkas, which we’ll take with us when the cruise ends.  

A colony of penguins.
A family gathering.Rock Hopper penguins with one of their offspring.
Most likely, we’ll add them to the other winter clothing we’ll be shipping back to our mailing service in Nevada to store until another cold-weather adventure in years to come.
There are thousands of Rock Hopper and Imperial Shags penguins on New Island.

The crowd on this 200 passenger ship, Ponant Le Soleal, are mostly seniors like us although many, based on the outrageous fares we all paid, are much more “financially possessed” than our middle-income selves. But, like most people we met, we all seem to blend well, mainly based on our mutual world travel experiences.  

Rock Hopper and Imperial Shags.

Of course, we never meet anyone that “does it” quite like us, although we’ve found many of the passengers are traveling more than they’re staying “home.”

About half of the 200 passengers hail from France or other French-speaking countries.

A Zodiak boat is bringing passengers back to the ship after they explore the island.

The remainder is from Australia, the US, the UK, and various parts of Europe. Many speak no English or very little. Why should we expect them to speak English when we don’t speak their language. I’m having a hard time not saying “hola” when people walk past. After all, we’ve spent the last six months in Spanish-speaking countries.

A female Uplander Goose.

The staff is perfect at arranging like-language speaking seminars and dining tables, allowing for free-flowing conversations. I’m finding I understand a great deal of the French language, more than I’d expected, from my four years of studying French 55 years ago in high school. I always say our brains are like computers storing information that may be retrieved decades later if we try hard enough. 

A male Uplander Goose is wandering about.

Jumping back for a moment: Once we arrived in Ushuaia, our bags were whisked away to be placed in our cabins. An English-speaking 30-minute city tour ensued as we headed to an Accora Hotel located at about 2100 feet in the Andes Mountains, surrounding the historic and beautiful city, for a fabulous buffet lunch.  

Another male Uplander Goose.

Having been in Ushuaia in mid-December on the South American cruise, we found ourselves reveling in the beauty of this remote location. Details of this lunch and time in Ushuaia are described in more detail in yesterday’s post.

Me in front of the museum on the Falklands Island of New Island.

By 4:15, we began the quickest boarding process of our past 21 cruises in the past five years.  Within minutes, we were escorted to our cabin by sophisticated English speaker porters who handled our carry-on bags. 

Tom, in front of The Museum on New Island in the Falkland Island.

Once in our luxurious cabin, which was only about 200 square feet, we were pleased with our fourth deck (out of six decks) choice. With tons of closet and drawer space, we were utterly unpacked with our bags neatly tucked under the king-sized bed by dinner time and after the mandatory muster drill.

A shipwreck on the shore at New Island in the Falkland Islands.

The first night we sailed away by 6:00 pm, arriving the following day at New Island of the Falkland Islands, which are the photos we’re sharing today. We are both wildly in awe of being in this part of the world, never taking a single moment for granted.

An old stone stove in the museum.

This is one of those times we keep pinching ourselves, asking, “How did we get so lucky to be here?  How did we ever manage to save enough to pay this outrageous cruise fare? I guess we can say we bit the bullet and sacrificed many amenities and extras we may have included in our lives in the past.

This bird, a female Kelp Goose, found a bit of kelp to nibble on.

Soon, when we arrive in Africa, we’ll tighten our budgets to afford the many tours we’re hoping to embark on while on the continent.

For now, we’re reveling in this experience, wrapped up in every luxurious moment, every bit of wildlife and scenery we’re gifted with the opportunity to behold.
Our first trip on a Zodiac boat. A maximum of 10 passengers is allowed on the Zodiac boats. The boat ride is bouncy, windy, and wet, but our waterproof clothing protected us from the elements.

Above all, we’re incredibly grateful to be sharing this and then, of course, with all of you, our dear readers/friends. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t see a new post, keep an eye out. We’re making every effort to stay in close touch with new photos each day. We can’t wait to share more penguin photos!!!

We’ll be back soon! Stay warm!

Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2017:
This Tasmania Devil posed for our photo while at Wild Wings Wildlife Farm in Gunns Plains, Tasmania, the first we’d seen. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Challenges along the way…New cruise bookings…Changes in tipping on cruises…

Celebrity Eclipse - Wikipedia
Celebrity Eclipse.

San Antonio, Chile to San Diego, California
15 nights departing March 24, 2019, on Celebrity’s Celebrity Eclipse
Our price:  $3,885.68 (we included tips on this cruise) (ARS 73,349.98)
(Prices listed here are for both of us included taxes and port fees)

Date Port Arrive Depart
Sunday, March 24 Santiago (San Antonio), Chile 9:00 pm

Monday, March 25 La Serena, Chile 10:00am 6:00 pm

Tuesday, March 26 At Sea

Wednesday, March 27 At Sea

Thursday, March 28 Lima (Callao), Peru 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Friday, March 29 At Sea

Saturday, March 30 Manta, Ecuador 10:00am 6:00 pm

Sunday, March 31 At Sea

Monday, April 1 Puntarenas, Costa Rica 7:00 am 4:00 pm

Tuesday, April 2 At Sea

Wednesday, April 3 Huatulco, Mexico 10:00am 8:00 pm

Thursday, April 4 At Sea

Friday, April 5 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 9:00 am 5:00 pm

Saturday, April 6 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 9:00 am 5:00 pm

Sunday, April 7 At Sea

Monday, April 8 San Diego, CA 7:00 am

In reviewing our upcoming itinerary for 2018-2020 for 852 days (see this link), we realized we’d yet to post any information for the cruises we’ve already booked. 

We’ve yet to book the Zambezi River cruise in Africa, which we’ll do once we arrive on the continent, and also the sails for the Pantanal and Amazon River since they’re both far into the future.

Otherwise, at this point, we have a total of five cruises booked which includes the upcoming Antarctica cruise sailing in 17 days.  Based on the fact we’ll be spending a full year in Africa, other than the Zambezi River cruise, these four cruises are booked as shown, including pricing.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Dublin, Ireland
14 nights departing April 22, 2019, on Celebrity’s Celebrity Reflection
Our price:  $4,497.10 (tips not included) (ARS 84,891.76)
(Prices listed here are for both of us included taxes and port fees)

Date Port Arrive Depart
Monday, April 22 Fort Lauderdale, FL 5:00 pm

Tuesday, April 23 At Sea

Wednesday, April 24 At Sea

Thursday, April 25 At Sea

Friday, April 26 At Sea

Saturday, April 27 At Sea

Sunday, April 28 At Sea

Monday, April 29 At Sea

Tuesday, April 30 Ponta Delgada, Portugal 7:00 am

Wednesday, May 1 Ponta Delgada, Portugal 3:00 pm

Thursday, May 2 At Sea

Friday, May 3 At Sea

Saturday, May 4 Cork (Cobh), Ireland 10:00am 8:00 pm

Sunday, May 5 Waterford (Dunmore East), Ireland 7:00 am 7:00 pm

Monday, May 6 Dublin, Ireland 4:30 am

Tom suggested I mention that the pricing in Vacations to Go is not necessarily the price we paid.  Usually, they list the costs for the lowest valued cabin in the category mentioned. 

Based on our Captain’s Club member status, we often get an upgrade and also choose a more conveniently located cabin suitable for our needs that may be priced slightly higher than listed.  Thus, the prices listed here today may be different than those listed on the VTG site.

There are various perks listed from time to time, but few are included on the cruises listed here due to their excellent overall pricing based on “six of one, half dozen of another.”

Note: No map was provided for this itinerary.
Amsterdam to Amsterdam, The Netherlands
12 nights departing August 11, 2019, on
Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas
Our price:  $4,313,18 (tips not included) (ARS 81,419.90)
(Prices listed here are for both of us included taxes and port fees)

Date Port Arrive Depart
Sunday, August 11 Amsterdam, Holland 5:00 pm

Monday, August 12 At Sea

Tuesday, August 13 Copenhagen, Denmark 8:00 am 5:00 pm

Wednesday, August 14 At Sea

Thursday, August 15 Tallinn, Estonia 11:00am 6:00 pm

Friday, August 16 St. Petersburg, Russia 7:00 am

Saturday, August 17 St. Petersburg, Russia 6:00 pm

Sunday, August 18 Helsinki, Finland 7:00 am 3:00 pm

Monday, August 19 Stockholm, Sweden 7:00 am 4:00 pm

Tuesday, August 20 At Sea

Wednesday, August 21 Skagen, Denmark 8:00 am 6:00 pm

Thursday, August 22 At Sea

Friday, August 23 Amsterdam, Holland 6:00 am

Often, cruise passengers prefer the perception of getting a great deal with several perks provided.  After all these years of cruising, we’re well beyond the concept of perception and choose an exact price.

Recently both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity (owned by the same parent company) have upped the daily tips from US $13.50 (ARS 254.84) per day per person for US $14.50 (ARS 273.72).  That results in an amount of US $29 (ARS 547.43) per day added to our cruise bill.  For a 15-night cruise, there’s a total of US $435 (ARS 8,211.49) added to the account.

These tips can be reversed by passengers when on the ship, and they can do whatever they’d like regarding tipping their favorite staff members.  However, we’ve never changed the daily tips and always include extra tips for cabin stewards and others.

London, England to Fort Lauderdale, Florida
15 nights departing on October 24, 2019, on
Celebrity’s Celebrity Silhouette
Our price:  $4,304.40 (tips not included) (ARS 81,254.16)
(Prices listed here are for both of us included taxes and port fees

Date Port Arrive Depart
Thursday, October 24 London (Southampton), England 4:30 pm

Friday, October 25 At Sea

Saturday, October 26 At Sea

Sunday, October 27 At Sea

Monday, October 28 At Sea

Tuesday, October 29 At Sea

Wednesday, October 30 At Sea

Thursday, October 31 Boston, MA 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Friday, November 1 New York (Any Port), NY 3:00pm

Saturday, November 2 New York (Any Port), NY 5:00 pm

Sunday, November 3 At Sea

Monday, November 4 King’s Wharf, Bermuda 10:30 am

Tuesday, November 5 King’s Wharf, Bermuda Noon

Wednesday, November 6 At Sea

Thursday, November 7 Nassau, Bahamas 10:00am 6:00 pm

Friday, November 8 Fort Lauderdale, FL 5:00 am

We discovered from a former cruise employee that removing tips is noted in the passenger’s computer file and visible by all serving staff members.  This could indeed hurt the quality of service. 

Like us, many passengers prefer to show an extra token of gratitude for exceptional service, especially for their cabin steward, bartenders, and other service staff one may frequent.  After all, these workers leave their homes and families and live in not-so-ideal conditions while aboard ship for many months at a time.

When we first began booking cruises in 2012, tips were often included in the price.  But, this was merely a case of convenience.  With price increases, these cruise lines decided to leave them out for passengers to pay separately, allowing them to raise introductory pricing, which would provide the perception of somewhat lowered pricing on many sailings. 

Artistic painting on a wall in Palermo.

Trickery.  It’s the nature of the beast.  We love cruising in between our land-stays, using cruises as much as possible for us to get from one location to another, as illustrated in our newly posted itinerary.

With the sun shining again, after last night’s rainy walk to dinner (the Prodeo Hotel staff provided us with an umbrella), we’re looking forward to getting out today for a bit of sightseeing, now that we’ve completed so much planning for the future.

We’re both feeling well, optimistic, and refreshed as we’re almost halfway through our extended stay in Buenos Aires, enjoying every day’s insight into life in this big city in Argentina.

Be well and happy!


Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2017:

Joey’s head and legs were hanging out of the pouch in Tasmania last year.  It looks as if it’s time to stop living in there!  For more photos, please click here.