Have any cruises booked?…Want to save money?…Please read this!…Its a “piggy day” in the neighborhood…

Each morning, we’ve seen this huge pig, but he/she hasn’t been in an advantageous spot for a photo when the yard in shrouded in greenery. This morning, we had a chance to see “a pig in the mud.” We howled.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

One day soon, we’ll walk in this area,  quite a distance from the beach in front of the villa.

Sure, we were worried that topics for posts would be sparse during our second stay in Bali. That’s not been the case thus far. With a huge list of future topics for our remaining 52 days, we doubt we’ll be struggling for fodder.

As each relatively quiet day passes in pure splendor in this peaceful and relaxing environment we find ourselves entrenched in the local culture and busy walking to regain my strength along with considerable time exercising in the pool.

Now this sounds like a boring life which may in fact be typical for some seniors. But for us, we’ve learned that intense observance of our surroundings, of the most seemingly innocuous situations brings us laughter and pleasure beyond what we may have felt had we’d been settled in one place.

Side view of the huge muddy pig.

No doubt, if we stayed in Bali much longer (which we won’t) eventually we’d run out of photos and topics. We can easily manage 52 more Bali posts to hopefully hold the attention of our readers who may be chomping at the bit for our new locations with subsequent photos and experiences.

Sit tight, dear friends. We have so much upcoming once we leave Bali, you’ll have to hold on for the ride along with us. We’re excited to say the least. 

Even during next summer’s two months in the US we’ll have plenty of photos and stories of our former home state, photos we hadn’t considered when we lived there. Certainly, these past years of travel have created a new perspective, we’ll both utilize during the two busy months. 

As we walked on the newly paved road, at first, from quite a distance, we thought these were two dogs. As we approached, we realized they were piglets. They scurried about as we approached, but stayed long enough for a few photos.

Our readers will get their fill of Minnesota and Nevada, both states, of which have plenty to see and do. I don’t know how much time we’ll spend outdoors in Nevada in July and August when temperatures average 103F, 39.4C and 106F, 41C respectively. That’s toasty. However, there’s plenty of stunning indoors and evening outdoor possibilities warranting a plethora of photos to share.

Funny, but I keep forgetting that once we arrive in Seattle in May, 2017 we’ll be embarking on an Alaskan cruise. That in itself will be quite the adventure, one that many of you have already experienced which we, old timers that we are, have sorely lagged behind. 

We’ve met countless cruisers who’ve sailed Alaska. Being close to Vancouver next May, it made sense to book an Alaskan cruise especially when we’d hoped to get to Minnesota closer to the time the grandkids would be getting out of school for the summer. This nine night cruise made the timing to Minnesota almost perfect.

We expect the piglets must be about two months old. They grow quickly.

Speaking of cruises, yesterday while Tom was engrossed in his usual “searching for cruises” mode he examined the pricing on cruises we’d already booked. Many cruise lines and cruise booking agencies have a “best price” policy prior to the due date of the final payment. 

As we happily continue to use Vacations to Go for all of our cruise bookings with rep Brooklyn Earnhardt, we appreciate her enthusiasm is ensuring we get the best possible price and perks. However, its the traveler’s responsibility to check for price and perk changes. 

Cruise booking companies don’t spend time researching the best daily price for 1000’s of cruises worldwide and then contact their customers with price reductions. At this point, there may be software that performs such as task on a moment by moment basis. 

I can’t explain why we’re so fascinated with barnyard animals.  We literally squeal ourselves when we get close.

There are online apps Tom can use to check although there are nuances in our bookings that may make the latest pricing, inaccurate when we’ve chosen to book upgraded balcony cabins within a variety of categories. As a result, almost every day he spends a little time checking directly into the cruise line’s website for changes. 

Yesterday, he spotted a price reduction on an upcoming cruise on March 1, 2017, that changed a few major points for us. To make the changes, it’s necessary to speak to a live person at Vacations to Go while they call the cruise line to confirm price reductions/changes.

Here are the details from when we originally booked this cruise in January, 2015.

With the huge time difference, when they’re open, we’re sleeping and when we’re up, they’re closed. The only good times to call is either very early in the morning or after 9 pm. 

Flowery offerings left on the ground for the holiday celebration.

When our rep from Vacations to Go, Brooklyn (here’s her email address) wasn’t in yet, we spoke to a manager to get the ball rolling with the changes but Celebrity’s office was closed. The manager made notes in the system on our requested free upgrades and last night at 9:00 pm, we called back. It was 8:00 am in central US (one day earlier). 

After the 30 minute Skype  call with considerable hold time, we were able to lock up the changes. We called their business office’s landline using our Skype phone number. Our cost of the two call was well under US $1, IDR 13,077.

Scurrying away together to get out of our way.

Here’s what we received for taking the time to call:

Perks we received at our original booking for the March 1, 2017 cruise:
1.  Free gratuities (valued at US $26.90, IDR 352,390 per day for two)
2.  US $300, IDR 3,923,100 onboard credit
3.  Regular drink package (valued at US $55, IDR 720,500 per person per day

More offerings left upon the paved road.

New perks with free upgrades:
1.  Free gratuities (valued at US $26.90, IDR 352,390 per day for two, same as above)
2.  US $300, IDR 3,923,100, onboard credit (same as above)
3.  Regular drink package upgraded to premium drink package for 12 day cruise at an additional US $10, IDR 131,000 per day, valued at US $65, IDR 851,500 per person per day with a total savings valued at $240, IDR 3,138,480
3.  Unlimited WiFi for two devices, valued at US $300, IDR 3,923,100
4.  Price reduction for cruise itself for two, valued at US $315, IDR 4,119,255

Busy backyard of a hour on the morning walk. Few yards are landscaped.  Most don’t have garages, let alone cars, and yards are used for “stuff.”

In total, the added benefits are valued at US $855, IDR 11,200,500.  But, the value isn’t all about the money, per se. Having these perks enhances the overall cruise experience.

The onboard credit of US $300, IDR 3,923,100 will be interesting when trying to determine how we’ll spend it when our usual expenses during a cruise include the cost for the above perks which for this particular cruise are included. Guess we’ll try a few of the specialty restaurants while I replenish a few cosmetic items at great, duty-fee prices, usually my favorite Lancôme mascara.

The total 30 minutes we spent on Skype plus another 30 minutes Tom spent researching, made it well worth the trouble. We realize we’ve written about this topic several times in past posts, but many of our readers have since booked their own cruises, making this information most relevant to them at this time.

Blooming in our yard in Bali.

Remember,  in order to reap these benefits, it’s necessary to ask for the price change before the final payment for the entire cruise is due, usually 60 to 90 days depending on the cruise line. Plus, many promotions have a short window, as short as a few hours or as long as a month. Otherwise, they will not be provided.

We hope this information is helpful to any of our readers who book plan to book cruises in the future or currently have a cruise booking pending. For those of our readers who don’t cruise, we apologize for repeating ourselves.

This morning, we had another exciting walk in the neighborhood with fun new photos we couldn’t resist sharing today!

Have a fabulous day!

Photo from one year today, September 7, 2015:

Kangaroo family resting under a tree on a hot day. No photos were posted on this travel date, one year ago. Instead, we’ve included a favorite Trinity Beach photo posted on the prior date. Please click here for the post.