Ship damage repaired…New York Harbor sail away…

This photo illustrates how the gangway was jammed into the ship.

In six days we’ll arrive in Fort Lauderdale. This has been a fantastic cruise for us. We’ve met many interesting people, enjoyed hours-long lively conversations, dined on excellent food, and as always, have had a fun and playful time together, often staying up well past midnight.

Not used to such late nights, every four nights or so we try to get to bed a little earlier and try to “catch up” on sleep. “They” say you can’t make up for lost sleep but we both find ourselves rejuvenated and refreshed after a long night’s rest.

A crane was used to hook a cable to relieve tension on the jammed gangway to
extricate it from the ship.

Need I say, we’re having such a good time! I am feeling well, able to walk up and downstairs when the elevators are slow or packed and each day I’m accumulating plenty of steps on my fitness device from frequently walking down the long hallways and walkways on the ship.

We’re in Boston today for a shorter layover than originally planned due to yesterday’s late departure from New York with the damage incurred to the ship from the jammed gangway as illustrated in the photos.  
Finally, the ship was freed and we were on our way, waving to the workers who assisted in the process.

Here again, without warm clothing with us and the overly long walks required, neither of us had any interest in visiting the big city.  We just aren’t “city people” and although we appreciate the many fine aspects of many big cities, we just can’t push ourselves to tour them from the ship.

Besides, we don’t generally cruise in order to see big cities. We cruise for the convenience of getting from one location to another to avoid flying and for social interaction. 
“The Colgate Clock is an octagonal clock facing the Hudson River near Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey. It has a diameter of 50 feet. It is currently situated 400 meters south of where the headquarters of consumer products conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive used to be sited before it left the area in 1985.”

We prefer to visit other countries on our own time and in our own way, mostly by living in an area, among the locals and experiencing the full “flavor” of the location, it’s natural environment, its culture, and its people.

This particular cruise has totally fulfilled our expectations and now with only six nights remaining until we arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, we look forward to the next leg of our journey, spending two months in the US visiting our family and friends.

Ellis Island…Ellis Island is a federally owned island in New York Harbor, within the states of New York and New Jersey, that contains a museum and former immigration inspection station of the same name. As the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954, it processed approximately 12 million immigrants to the United States through the Port of New York and New Jersey. Today, the island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, a U.S. national monument. The north side of the island hosts a museum of immigration, accessible only by ferry. The south side of the island, including the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, is abandoned but accessible to the public through guided tours. In the 19th century, Ellis Island was the site of Fort Gibson, a component of the fortifications of New York Harbor. It later became a naval magazine for storing artillery. The first inspection station opened in 1892 and was destroyed by fire in 1897. The second station opened in 1900 and housed facilities for medical quarantines as well as processing immigrants. After 1924, Ellis Island was used primarily as a detention center; during both World War I and World War II its facilities were also used by the United States military. Following the immigration station’s closure, the buildings languished for several years until they partially reopened in 1976. The main building and adjacent structures were completely renovated in 1990.”

We have a lot to do while we’re in the US, including arranging for new passports, acquiring visas for India, replacing our driver’s licenses in Nevada, purchasing new laptops and phones, purchasing and replacing some of our clothing and supplies.

In addition, we’ll both have our teeth cleaned in Nevada and I am planning to book an appointment for a heart check-up while in Minnesota or Nevada. We’ll see how that all rolls out.
As we sailed past the Statue of Liberty…The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States. The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left-hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken shackle and chain lie at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the recent national abolition of slavery.”

All of these tasks will occur amid spending quality time with our kids and grandkids, siblings and friends. It will be a busy time. On top of that, right now we are perusing options for the two months we’ll spend in India after the Maharajah Express train tour in early February.  

How the time flies! We can only pray for good health to continue on our journey with the joy, freedom, and excitement we are feeling today.

May your life be filled with joy!

Photo from one year ago today, November 2, 2018:
A lioness and her kudu kill on the bank of the Crocodile River.  For more photos, please click here.

An evening to remember…Our seventh world travel anniversary…Dinner and dancing…

View of the Intrepid Museum from the ship.

We’re thrilled to finally be able to upload photos.  As it turns out we’re still at the Port of New York when high winds prevented us from sailing away last night as planned.

As a result of the high winds, while we’ve been stuck at the port overnight, one of the pier gangway ramps severely jammed inside the ship and is being repaired/removed. We definitely won’t be able to sail away for several more hours.

Clouds over the skyline.

We aren’t sure as to how this will impact the few remaining ports of call on this cruise’s itinerary. The captain will let us know once we’re on our way again sometime this afternoon.

As long as we arrive in Fort Lauderdale in time for our flight to Minnesota on November 8th, we don’t have a worry in the world. We’re continuing to spend time engaging in lively conversations with other cruise passengers and of course, with one another.

The New York skyline on a cloudy day.

Last night, the celebration of our seventh world travel anniversary was very special. First, we had happy hour in the Sky Lounge on deck 14 with the same group of about 10 people with whom we’ve mingled each evening.  

At about 7:00 pm, we wandered down to the Emsemble Bar, chatting with another lovely couple.  At 8:00 pm we made our way to Murano, the specialty restaurant where we had a fantastic meal with impeccable service. We have several photos yet to share from the meal including finally, one of each of us.

An old Concord supersonic plane on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum as seen from our ships in port.

After dinner, we returned to the Sky Lounge for the 10:00 pm “silent disco.” I can’t dance as long or as enthusiastically as I had in days past but I have no doubt that in time my stamina will improve.  

We had a fabulous evening reminiscing over the past seven years, particularly regarding cruises since our first in January 2013 when we experienced our first foray through the Panama Canal.  At this point, we’ve been through the canal twice but who knows what the future holds?

Other aircraft on display at the Intrepid Museum includes a Blackbird spy plane.

This particular cruise is our third transatlantic and the crossing has been seamless with only a few short spurts of rough seas during the first six days at sea. 

The itinerary from here in New York to Boston, to Bermuda to Fort Lauderdale, should be relatively easy providing we don’t encounter any unanticipated storms along the way.

A peek of the Empire State Building.

Tomorrow, we’ll report as to what has transpired with the ship’s repairs and our ability to continue on the planned itinerary and hopefully be able to upload more photos.

Thanks to Louise and Pamela for filling us in on this architecturally unique building in New York:  VIA 57 West (marketed as VIΛ 57WEST) is the name of a residential building designed by the Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The pyramid shaped tower block or “tetrahedron” rises 467 ft (142 m) and 35 stories tall and is located on West 57th Street in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City. According to The New York Times, the name was chosen “because the southbound West Side Highway slopes down as drivers enter the city, right at the spot where the building is situated”, serving as an entrance to Manhattan “via 57th”.

Enjoy your Friday and weekend to come! 

Photo from one year ago today, November 1, 2018:
Lilies growing in the Crocodile River as seen in Kruger National Park. For more photos, please click here.

Our 7 year travel anniversary is today!…It seems s long ago…

Due to WiFi issues while in port today, we are unable to upload any photos.  We will be back out to sea tomorrow and should have a better signal at that time.  Thanks for your patience.

Seven years.  It went quickly, more quickly than we ever imagined. When we started in 2012, we had no idea we’d still be traveling all these years later.  After selling everything we owned, which was a huge commitment to stay on this path for the long haul, this in itself presented a huge degree of dedication.

It would have been ridiculous to only stay gone a year or two and then try to rebuild an entirely new life living in a condo somewhere in or outside of the US.  The thought of having to buy furniture and household goods made us cringe then and still does today. 

Is it inevitable that we’ll eventually have to stop traveling? Sure. At some point, we’ll no longer have the health or stamina to continue on. At this point, we prefer not to have to think about that.

We realize now, that in the worst of circumstances, short of one of us eventually losing our “leasehold” on life, we won’t be able to haul one more heavy piece of luggage, sail on one more cruise ship, or fly on one more plane in a cramped seat. Those days will come.

But, now, after our big scare in February, we’re all the more determined than ever to continue on.  There is so much more, we’ve yet to explore.  In reality, we haven’t even put a dent in it with so much more ahead of us.

Today, we revel in this special day, our seventh anniversary of total freedom to live life on our terms, where, when and how we’d like based on the hopefulness of maintaining good health, a sense of well being and ongoing financial security.

Each of these conditions requires a degree of mindfulness and effort but we do so with the utmost enthusiasm and zest for life. We each easily possess these qualities as we make our way through each and every day.

And today, we’ll celebrate this seventh anniversary in style…spending a leisurely day on the ship, preferring not to get off the ship in New York when its pouring rain, cold and cloudy.

Had we made plans they may have been dashed due to the unexpected hours-long US immigration process. With happy-hour and tonight’s specialty dining reservation to celebrate our anniversary, we’d have had little time in the traffic-congested city to do much of anything.

Easily we avoid disembarking when we know full well, that eventually, we’ll travel the US when most certainly New York will be included in that itinerary.  Also, I’ve visited New York many times over the years and am not chomping at the bit to get out on this cloudy rainy day nor am I enthusiastic to tackle a tremendous amount of walking at this point.

Tomorrow, we’ll share photos from tonight’s activities and special dinner. 

Happy day!


Photo from one year ago today, October 31, 2018:

An orange-breasted roller.  For more photos, please click here.

Less than 24 hours until we’re on US soil as we celebrate life after 7 years of world travel….

Bartenders performing tricks at the Ice Bar.

It’s hard for us to fathom the idea that tomorrow on Halloween, October 31st, we’ll be stepping foot on US soil for the first time in 2 years, 3 months, which coincidentally, will be the seven-year anniversary of the day we left Minnesota to begin our world travels.
For us, it’s a momentous day for many reasons including the harsh reality of the struggles we experienced in the past year with the necessity of my having the triple coronary bypass surgery in February and the subsequent slow recovery.

Many often asked us, “What will you do if something bad happens?”  

Passengers learning dance steps in the Centrum.

We have no home, no place to land, no belongings to settle into should such a situation arise. At the times of such questions, we’ve always replied, “We’ll figure it out.”

And…we did.  We figured it out and, here we are 8½ months later with me feeling well, albeit a little terrified at times when thinking about what transpired after being in the operating room four times in six weeks.

But, we must continue to face another harsh reality…that there’s no guaranty that I will be OK in the long run. Then again, no one has such a guaranty. Life doesn’t come with warranties and return policies.  

We “get what we get” and none of us are exempt from those unpredictable situations whereby our lives are turned upside down by a single event. For now, we survived and for this, we are more grateful than words can express here in a post written with the utmost of candor and vulnerability.

Dancer training passengers to perform dance steps.

We often surprise ourselves by how well we survived this trauma, how well we, as a couple, came out on the other side. Here we are on a cruise ship on its way back to the USA to see family and friends and to be reminded so close to this anniversary of how delicate life can be.

Playfully, we’re enjoying every moment of this cruise, often finding ourselves laughing, dancing, and reminiscing over how much we’ve gained, how much we’ve learned and how we’ve survived these fascinating, exciting and dangerous past seven years.

The future? Who knows? None of us knows. None of us can state emphatically that we’ll continue on any path we’ve chosen for the past years, months or even days. Life will always be uncertain.

Tomorrow, our ship arrives in New York City. At this point, we may or may not get off the ship. Halloween festivities will create more traffic, more tourists, more hustle and bustle that at this point neither of us are much interesting in exploring.

The participants are having a great time learning dance steps.

The calm and peacefulness we’re experiencing during this highly pleasurable cruise could turn on its head if we threw ourselves into that tumultuous environment right now.  

Plus, I’ve only been able to walk well for that past six weeks. I don’t know if I’m ready to tackle as long a walk as will be required if we get off the ship.  Our other option is a taxi to be potentially stuck in Manhattan traffic, a situation totally unappealing to either of us at this point.

We’ll see how it goes and what we feel like tomorrow. We have no one to please but ourselves and as we’ve discovered during the past seven years, we aren’t “required” to do anything that doesn’t appeal to us at any given time.

Please check back tomorrow for our anniversary celebrations as we share highlights of this exquisite journey that we hope we’ll be blessed to carry on.

Have a safe and festive Halloween!

Photo from one year ago today, October 30, 2018:
Our friend Lois feeding a large number of kudus who stopped by.  She puts the pellets on the veranda’s edge to keep the helmeted guineafowl from taking them all.  For more photos, please click here.