|As we approached the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic.|
With school starting this month in most parts of the world, there are probably less than a dozen children aboard this cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas.
|We were amazed by the gorgeous scenery.|
Overall, we’ve surmised that 80% of the ship’s passengers are over 60 years old with many, well into their 70’s, 80’s, more. For once, we’re not the oldies of the crowd. Our time will come.
|The ship slowly moved past the smaller islands.|
This cruise has been one social fest after another with friendly and approachable passengers of all ages. On several occasions, we’ve been approached by couples saying they’ve “heard” of us or read our website. We’re shocked and humbled by this.
We passed out more business cards on this cruise than any in the past. We’re not newbies as much as we were when we sailed on our first cruise 20 months ago through the Panama Canal.
|The sun peeked out.|
This is our ninth cruise since January 3, 2013. Based on the frequency of cruising by many people we’ve met, we’re cruising newbies. Many of the more seasoned cruisers of 25 or more cruises have already seen most of the world. We love hearing their stories as well as sharing our own.
|There were no trees on any of the islands.|
Each cruise line offers perks based on the number of cruises and days at sea. (Please click the link to see benefits). This is only our second Royal Caribbean cruise. With only 15 prior days at sea on the RC’s Mariner of the Seas in May 2013, we’re only in the Gold category in the “Crown and Anchor Society.” At the end of this cruise, we’ll have 29 days logged, one short of moving up to the next category.
|The sun cast shadows on the lush green islands.|
Some of the perks include free drinks at certain venues during certain periods of time, discounted cruises, robes in cabins, and more than we can mention here. Some perks have little value while others result in substantial savings and benefits.
|Love this view of the Faroe Islands.|
When we booked our first eight cruises we’d decided to try several cruise lines based on the locations we intended to visit. With the expectation of eventually picking one or two more cruises over time, it would enable us to accumulate additional points to move up the ranks to higher categories.
|Numerous waterfalls ran down the hills.|
The difficulty of this is our preference for certain cruise itineraries. We try to use a cruise as transportation to or from a location where we’re potentially interested in living for two to three months.
|When we returned to our cabin, this cute fellow was sitting on the bed wearing my shades.|
Many people have asked us if we’d prefer to cruise constantly. Tom said that he’d love it if it included laundry service. For me, not so much. It’s the restrictive food thing and never being able to cook our meals. As much as I love it, I’d tire of cruising in no time. However, although many believe it is affordable to cruise constantly for us, it isn’t. It simply doesn’t fit into our budget.
|This is the area where we lounge in the mornings when not out on tours.|
As it turns out, we stay in affordable vacation homes for as long as we do which allows us to cruise from time to time. In essence, the cruise becomes the equivalent of our “vacation/holiday” if there is such a thing for world travelers such as us.
|Many lounge areas have complimentary coffee, tea, and juice stations.|
We hadn’t been on a cruise since we disembarked the Norwegian Spirit through the northern Mediterranean ending in Venice, Italy on June 16, 2013, after which we spent the summer in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. From this point forward we have four booked cruises ending in April 2016 from Sydney to Perth Australia.
|The Windjammer Café is a buffet.|
Of course, we have the upcoming cruise from Vancouver, BC to Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii beginning on September 23rd, in a mere two weeks with the next in May 2015 from Hawaii to Sydney, Australia.
|Particular attention must be paid to handling common items such as salt and pepper shakers and tongs for various items. We wrap a cloth napkin around our hands tossing it when we’re done gathering our food.|
The only issue of cruising for us, other than the cost, is the constant problems with WiFi aboard the various ships. The tech guy aboard this ship explained their system was 12 years old being upgraded in a month. That doesn’t help us. I still can’t get online on my laptop and must use Tom’s laptop to upload posts when we’re out to sea, upcoming from September 9th to September 14th, the day we disembark in Boston.
|The outdoor dining area off the Windjammer Café where it is too cool to sit most days.|
When we’ll be in port on Sunday and Monday, I’ll be able to upload a few posts using our rented MiFi. As mentioned earlier, our goal is to continue posting for any of these upcoming dates. Once in Boston, we’ll also post each day. Hopefully, I won’t have WiFi issues on the next ship to Hawaii, the Celebrity Solstice.
|Another view of outdoor dining and lounging areas where it’s too cold to be now.|
The food situation has been manageable for me. Tom has been enjoying the options and even trying a few new items. We’ll be sharing food photos in a few days and the joys and perils of eating aboard ship. By the time we prepare that post, we’ll have tried two to three specialty restaurants whereby I’m able to be served higher-quality food specially prepared for my way of eating. The option in the main dining room has been bland and flavorless.
As we prepared this post on yet another cloudy day, we’ll be perusing the ship taking photos to upload with overcast skies which may impede the quality. We’ve had a few sunny days since we left Madeira well over a month ago.
|Rita’s Mexican Cantina. There’s a US $2 charge for most meals.|
Cruising is schmoozing. It’s fun. We’ve met dozens of couples and singles each with their own story to tell, all of which revolve around the love of travel. We’ve yet to meet one person or couple who is on their first cruise.
|Bar at Rita’s Cantina. Cocktails are not included in the cruise fare.|
Many people we’ve met are curious about our lifestyle and some ask us questions as to how we managed to make it happen. Many women say they couldn’t leave their homes and their stuff. Some can’t leave aging parents unattended for more than short periods. Some won’t leave their families.
|Looking down into the center courtyard from the upper level.|
It’s all very personal. Many men have said they would love to travel non-stop but their wives won’t do it. It’s all interesting to us. We respect and admire their lives for their choices for happiness. We don’t expect that others would or could do what we’re doing, nor do we speak about it in that context.
|The long hallway walk to our cabin.|
We speak of living life “on your own terms” for whatever will make one happy. If it’s cuddling with a blanket into a comfy chair with a good book, taking daily long walks with their dogs, or playing cards in their retirement home with their neighbors. One must choose their own path.
|Display area of directions to find areas in the ship.|
As one enters their 60’s and 70’s it’s a time when we suddenly realize our mortality. Life is short. Health may be precarious. Finances may be limited. However, each one of us must choose the path that speaks to our dreams and our interests. Clearly, we’ve chosen ours. Yes, it’s wrought with a certain amount of sorrow for leaving those we love behind.
But, wherever we go, our loved ones are with us, in our hearts and minds and soon, in a mere three months, we’ll all be together again.
Photo from one year ago today, September 7, 2013:
|The road outside our house in Kenya. For details from that date, please click here.|