Third cruise in and around Japan…10 days and counting…

On our way to the alpaca farm in New Plymouth, New Zealand, on this date in 2016, we stopped at a few scenic overlooks in the rain. For more photos, please click here.

Saturday was yet another fun day and evening. Around 4:00 pm, we grilled New York steaks on the grill at Colleen’s home. I’d brought a salad and broiled the butterflied garlic shrimp under the broiler in her oven.

Colleen made potatoes, gravy, and garlic bread, and a fantastic dinner, sitting inside at two tables for the eight of us, away from bees on the patio.

After dinner and cleanup, we started yet another round of Buck Euchre, but we set up two tables this time, and most of us played for hours. There was endless laughter, teasing, and banter among all of us. 

This morning was relatively uneventful. I prepped everything for tonight’s dinner, which we’ll have some time during the football games. By 9:30, I was fading and headed back to our place to unwind and relax. Tom joined me around 11:00 pm, and by midnight we were fast asleep.

By 1:00 pm, Tom was settled in front of the TV to begin watching the NFL football playoffs. With little interest in teams other than the Minnesota Vikings, who now are out of the running, I kept busy doing laundry and other household chores.

Today is a good day for me to research our future travels. As we’ve lined up these three cruises in Japan, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific, it gives us a point from which to backtrack for locations that appeal to us before the cruises in 2022.

This week will be busy. Tomorrow evening I meet with friend/reader Staci in Mesa for dinner. On Thursday, all the family is driving an hour to Tom’s niece (Mary and Eugene’s daughter) Laurie and her husband Craig’s home in Goodyear, Arizona, where we’ll all spend the day.

No doubt, in between, there will be more “happy hours” celebrations in the neighborhood as we wind down our time in Apache Junction. And, before we know it, we’ll be completing our packing to be on our way to India.

Here is the information on this third and final cruise in and around Japan. We’ll be back with more later.

12 nights departing April 24, 2022, on
Celebrity’s Celebrity Solstice

Brochure Inside $1,988
Our Inside $784
You Save 61%
Brochure Oceanview $2,248
Our Oceanview $914
You Save 59%

Brochure Balcony $2,548
Our Balcony $1,064
You Save 58%
Brochure Suite $6,848
Our Suite $3,274
You Save 52%
Date Port Arrive Depart
Sunday, April 24 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan 7:00 pm

Monday, April 25 At Sea

Tuesday, April 26 Hakodate, Japan 7:00 am 4:00 pm

Wednesday, April 27 At Sea

Thursday, April 28 At Sea

Friday, April 29 Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka, Russia 8:00 am 7:00 pm

Saturday, April 30 Cross International Dateline (Cruising)

Sunday, May 1 At Sea

Monday, May 2 At Sea

Tuesday, May 3 At Sea

Wednesday, May 4 At Sea

Thursday, May 5 At Sea

Friday, May 6 Vancouver, BC, Canada 7:00 am 

It’s blissfully warm here today, in the 70s! It’s about time it warmed up!

Carpe diem!

Photo from one year ago today, January 19, 2019:

A rhino beetle we found on the veranda on Thursday. They are harmless to humans and don’t bite. They have a horn in the center of their foreheads comparable to a rhino. Thus the name “rhino” beetle. For more, please click here.

Another cruise booked in and around Japan…Great times at birthday party yesterday afternoon and evening!…More today!…

One year ago today, we visited Kruger National Park to see this elephant family crossing the road with a few babies protected by the parade. For more photos, please click here.

As we’ve decided on future cruises, we’ve decided that three cruises in and around Japan make sense. The prices are good for these highly coveted ports of call, and after spending 28 days living in the country plus three cruises, we feel we’ll have scoured Japan as well as possible.

Subsequently, we’ll be in the area of Southeast Asia from February 27, 2022, until May 6, 2022, for a total of 68 nights. We love that we will have time to explore Japan and gain a more expansive perspective of the country and its culture.

Tomorrow, we’ll share the details of the third and final cruise in and around Japan. At this point, we don’t have plans as to where we’ll go when the cruises end other than to visit family in the US, (as mentioned in yesterday’s post) when the third cruise ends in Vancouver, British Columbia.

As for yesterday’s events, we headed to Mary and Eugene’s house at around 3:15 pm to find no less than 20 local residents in attendance. As the day progressed, more and more people arrived.

The decibel level was ear-splitting but festive and fun. Eugene appreciated the attendance be so many of their friends. Word got out through the neighborhood and by evening’s end, there was well over 25 well-wishers. 

“Any cause for a party” is the motto around here and we jumped right into it shortly after arriving in Apache Junction over a month ago. I’ve been carefully monitoring my wine intake, and after a few glasses, I switch to sparkling water which takes me into the late evening.

After most of the guests departed, we wandered across the street to Margie’s house to play more Buck Euchre. It was Tom and me, Kevin and Margie who lasted well after midnight playing the fun game. 

We didn’t get to sleep until after 1:30 am but managed to get in a total of six hours leaving us both feeling okay. Today, the festivities begin again around 3:00 pm, when we dine at Colleen and Gene’s for steak and shrimp. 

I never got around to making the butterflied garlic butter broiled shrimp last night and decided to save it for today’s big meal for the eight of us. I have no doubt, at some point, we’ll play cards again today rotating players so those of us interested are able to have a turn.

Most of the group of us have been up past 1:30 am for the past four nights. I bowed out a few nights, knowing I needed to get some sleep. But the rest are a little raggedy from staying up so many late nights in a row.

At our place, we continue to work on setting up items and sorting and organizing supplies we’ve received in the past few weeks. This morning Tom installed a glass screen protector onto my phone. 

When we recently purchased the two Google world phones, Tom had installed a similar screen protector on his phone. But, since I’d bought a phone case that closes, I didn’t think I’d need one. As time has gone on and yet to scratch the screen, I decided it would be best to add the extra protection.

As mentioned above, here is the information on the above-mentioned second cruise in Japan. Our costs are slightly different based on our cabin selections, but we’ll post those costs after we sail on each of the cruises:

14 nights departing April 10, 2022, on
Celebrity’s Celebrity Solstice

Brochure Inside $4,998
Our Inside $2,269
You Save 55%
Brochure Oceanview $5,698
Our Oceanview $2,609
You Save 54%

Brochure Balcony $6,798
Our Balcony $2,999
You Save 56%
Brochure Suite $13,698
Our Suite $6,799
You Save 50%
Date Port Arrive Depart
Sunday, April 10 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan 6:00 pm

Monday, April 11 Shimizu, Japan 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Tuesday, April 12 At Sea

Wednesday, April 13 Kobe, Japan 7:00 am 9:00 pm

Thursday, April 14 Kochi, Japan 8:00 am 6:00 pm

Friday, April 15 Hiroshima, Japan 9:00 am 6:00 pm

Saturday, April 16 At Sea

Sunday, April 17 Nagasaki, Japan 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Monday, April 18 Busan, South Korea 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Tuesday, April 19 At Sea

Wednesday, April 20 Hakodate, Japan 8:00 am 7:00 pm

Thursday, April 21 Aomori, Japan 7:00 am 6:00 pm

Friday, April 22 At Sea

Saturday, April 23 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan 8:30am

Sunday, April 24 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan Disembark

That’s it for today, folks! Gee…we are only 11 days from departure, looking forward to the next leg of our journey.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, January 18, 2019:

The baby elephant is at play with family members. For more photos from Kruger, please click here.

In our world, two years is not a long time, New cruise booking…A year ago birthday party…A birthday party today…

Ken set up the camera on a timer to take this photo of all 10 of us! Fantastic! For more photos, please click here.

Two years may seem like a long time away, but in our lives, two years fly by in a blur. The past seven years have passed so quickly. We can hardly believe it. When we now recalled two years ago, we were in Argentina six days away from flying to Ushuaia, Argentina, to board Ponant’s Le’boreal to sail to Antarctica.

So now, as we book cruises well into the future, we realize how quickly that time will come up, and we’ll be on our way from Singapore to Japan. Recently we booked three cruises around Japan in 2022 that ultimately will provide us with excellent experiences in this part of the world.

Today, we’re sharing details of the first three cruises that sail on February 27, 2022, 25 months from now. This cruise has four ports of call in Vietnam, with three ports we hadn’t visited in the past. The only city we’ve seen in the past is Hanoi, and we loved it so much, we won’t mind returning.

The other three locations in Vietnam and those in the balance of the itinerary listed below are new to us, and we’re excited to be able to see these locations.

After today’s posted cruise ends, we’ll have a total of 28 days to spend in Japan. What an excellent opportunity to experience this exciting country! In the future, we’ll search for a holiday home that we can book for this period, hopefully in the countryside away from the crowds, smog, and traffic. From there, we’ll board a back-to-back cruise around Japan and Korea ending in Vancouver, at which point, we’ll visit the family in the US once again. By then, it will be April, and we may avoid too much bad weather in Minnesota. We have no idea how long we’ll be in the USA at that time. We’ll figure it out in the future.

Here is the information on the first of the three cruises. For ease, I copied and pasted it, which often causes issues. Please excuse the formatting.

      14 nights departing February 27, 2022, on
Celebrity’s Celebrity Solstice

Brochure Inside $3,698
Our Inside $1,619
You Save 56%
Brochure Oceanview $4,298
Our Oceanview $1,919
You Save 55%

Brochure Balcony $4,898
Our Balcony $2,079
You Save 58%
Brochure Suite $10,598
Our Suite $5,149
You Save 51%


Date Port Arrive Depart
Sunday, February 27 Singapore 6:00 pm

Monday, February 28 At Sea

Tuesday, March 1 Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam 7:00 am 6:00 pm

Wednesday, March 2 At Sea

Thursday, March 3 Chan May, Vietnam 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Friday, March 4 Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam 10:00 am

Saturday, March 5 Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam 1:00 pm

Sunday, March 6 At Sea

Monday, March 7 At Sea

Tuesday, March 8 Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan 6:00 am 6:00 pm

Wednesday, March 9 At Sea

Thursday, March 10 At Sea

Friday, March 11 Kyoto, Japan 7:00 am 5:00 pm

Saturday, March 12 Shimizu, Japan Noon 8:00 pm

Sunday, March 13 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan 7:00 am

As for today’s birthday party, it’s brother-in-law Eugene’s 82nd birthday. At 3:00 pm, we’ll all be getting together at his and Mary’s home along with several neighbors to partake in the celebration of this special man.

Yesterday afternoon, and well into the evening, we all met at Colleen and Gene’s home to play the card game Buck Euchre. I hadn’t played in years and fumbled through the first game, but I was thoroughly enjoying it by the second and even won, much to my delight.

Most likely, with all the guests at today’s party, the celebration won’t include card playing until much later in the evening when it’s back to the eight of us. It will be another fun social time.

Ironically, one year ago today, we hosted and celebrated our friend Rita’s birthday at our house in the bush. Great memories were made that day too.

Thus, the socialization continues as we’ve begun preparing for our upcoming departure. Yesterday, I set up Tom’s new Samsung Chromebook, and it appears all is going well for him. He loves not dealing with Windows 10.

May every one of our readers enjoy a festive weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, January 17, 2019:

One year ago today, we celebrated our friends Rita’s birthday at our bush home in Marloth Park. The boys from left to right are Danie, Leon, Tom, Gerhard, and Ken, toasting a good evening. For more photos, please click here.