Cruising to Cabos San Lucas…Be there tomorrow…

To our readers:  We will be adding photos here as soon as we are near land and able to use XCOM Global Mifi device which doesn’t work away from land.  We are at sea all day today arriving in Cabo San Lucas at which time we’ll upload photos.  The cruise ship’s wireless connection is too slow at this time to upload any photos.

The Celebrity Century which we boarded yesterday in San Diego, California.
It felt as if someone had pulled the plug and I’d slithered down the drain. To say I was exhausted was an understatement. Tom was his usual perky self, ready to dance the night away.

Dining in the Grand Dining Room last night, a table for two by the window, ensconced in the gentle rolling of the ship, we found ourselves relaxed and at ease for the first time in the many months of planning our year’s long journey to see the world.

Our dietary restrictions were generously accommodated with gluten-free references to the well-appointed menu, offering a wide array of what one might consider being upscale dining. Surprised that we weren’t herded about as cattle at a buffet line, we chatted with nearby guests and teased our articulate Croatian waiter. We couldn’t wipe the smile off of our faces. 

All the while the exhaustion was creeping up on me and after our four-course dinner, capped off with a scoop of rich sugar-free vanilla ice cream, I was ready to go back to our cabin.

We’ve yet to unpack other than the items we had had in a duffle bag in San Diego, a few pairs of jeans, underwear, a small bag of toiletries, and my workout clothes. Soon, we’ll leave our “comfy chairs” in this casual dining area after a hearty breakfast and head back to our cabin to see if the overflowing toilet is repaired. Ah, so it begins? No big deal, we laughed. The toiled overflowed in Scottsdale too.

Leaving San Diego was a combination of a test of our organizational skills and our resilience to stay calm when our soon to be turned over vehicle (to son Richard who generously took it off of our hands) was so loaded with “stuff” that we had no choice but to pile luggage on my lap
on the drive to the pier. 

Some items were to be left for Richard who flew in from Las Vegas to pick up the car and my sister and her partner who drove from LA,  all of whom came to see us off at the pier. The remainder was our orange Antler luggage, two computer bags, two duffle bags, and my bulky overloaded handbag. (We “converted” Tom’s”murse” into a computer bag. Now he likes it).

Arriving at the pier to unload our bags at noon proved to be another pleasant surprise. We drove into the baggage drop off area next to the ship and in less than five minutes our bags were tagged
and hauled out the SUV by a burly porter (to whom we gave a generous tip).

In moments, we were on our way to the Fish House Restaurant less than 1/4 of a mile away to meet up with Julie, Maureen, and Richard for our final goodbyes. (We drove past the USS Midway, wishing we had time to explore. We’ll save that for another time).

Having said our goodbyes to our other three adult children, their significant others, and the six grandchildren (who Tom lovingly refers to as the “pallbearers!”) in Minnesota only two months ago and again over the phone in the past few days, we now were faced with more goodbyes. 

At 2:30 PM after entering through two relatively painless checkpoints and security, hundreds of passengers before us, we found ourselves aboard the ship.  Our luggage would be outside our door within a few hours while we were free to roam the ship after a mandatory 3:30 lifeboat training session in our designated muster station. 

I felt my heart racing for a moment when instructed as to how to wear the life vest. While
drawing a deep breath, I looked over at Tom, suddenly feeling at ease. Many years ago, he’d been a volunteer fireman having proven to be highly competent in emergencies. No doubt, he’d take good care of us.  My pulse settled down and a calm washed over me.  Everything would be OK.

Our luggage had arrived in part when we returned to our compact cabin. We were missing a bag
with all of our power cords and another with my space foam neck pillow and Tom’s unfinished bottle of Courvoisier which we had anticipated would be confiscated. 

Passengers are not allowed to bring alcohol aboard the ship which they tag to be returned upon the day of departure.  We were aware of this but it was a shame to toss a bottle of VSOP which no one we knew wanted.  Finding our way to security we discovered our two bags.  Not only was alcohol not allowed but no power strips, extension cords, and multiple adapters were allowed onboard due to a potential fire hazard. With only two electric outlets in our cabin, we knew we’d have to

Now, we’ll return to our cabin, hopefully finding the toilet repaired. We’ll unpack our bags,
hang our fancy clothes in the shower to un-wrinkle for tonight’s formal night and find our way to begin the much-anticipated process of having fun.
Of late, many have asked us, “Are you excited yet?”
We’ll respond in unison, “This is our life now.  One doesn’t wake up every day and say they’re
excited. Some days, we’ll be excited. Some days we won’t think about it. But, most days, we’ll be happy simply being together, wherever that may be.

Never been cruising?…What????…

Many have laughed when we say that we have never been on a cruise and now, we’ve booked eight cruises.  How risky, they say.  We ask, “What’s the risk?”

When we’ve dared to ask what they perceive as the risk, here are the answers:

1.  Seasickness:  Unlikely, since both of us are avid boaters.  If we could avoid seasickness bouncing around in a small fishing boat on a very windy day on Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota with nary a thought about seasickness, it’s highly unlikely we’ll get sick on a giant ship with built-in stabilizers.  Backup plan: we have several prescribed packets of Transderm Scop.

2.  Boredom:  Nope, not likely.  Tom and I are easily entertained. We will participate in many activities, meet people, play cards, attend classes, and relax in a chaise lounge by the pool reading downloaded books on our phones.  The options to be entertained are endless.

3.  The food will be a problem with our limited diet:  Why would the food be a problem?  We eat.  They have food.  Will we be tempted on occasion to try something we don’t normally eat? Sure.  But we’ll remind ourselves every day that our ability to travel the world is predicated upon our good health. Why jeopardize feeling well for even one day for a French pastry?  To me, it’s not worth it. For Tom, he may occasionally try a few items.  Neither of us will judge the other for their personal decisions, although we’ll continue to offer loving support on staying the course. 

4.  Tiny, cramped cabin: We booked a balcony cabin for each cruise and managed a few upgrades to mini-suites. We’ll spend little time in our cabin. Our world-travel bags currently are all in our bedroom here in Scottsdale, only slightly larger than a cabin (we measured).  We’ll stack them neatly in one area.  We’re tidy.  We’ll be fine.

5.  Extra charges aboard cruise:  As discussed in a post from earlier in the week, we’ve made decisions in advance, based on our budget as to what extras we will choose:  purchase Internet time, purchase cocktails when desired (not the overpriced beverage package unfitting a lightweight drinker) and experience one or two excursions.  (The exception to that will be the upcoming cruise to Dubai in May to see Giza, the Sphinx, and the Great Pyramids.  We’ll do all of these!)  Neither of us cares for professional massages, spa treatments, gambling, or spending money in the expensive shops. We have no room for trinkets in our bags.  We may incur a laundry charge aboard ship most likely upwards of $100 a load.  We’ve budgeted for the expenses that we anticipate and, leaving a margin for the unknowns.

I guess it all boils down to this: self-control.  We need only to remind ourselves of our next adventure, our next juicy steak topped with mushrooms and onions, our next refreshing glass of iced tea with a slice of lemon, and of course, the person we love sitting beside us who makes us laugh warms our heart and holds our hand through it all. 

Yesterday, while checking in online with Celebrity Cruise Line for our first upcoming cruise on January 3, 2013, we perused information for our later cruise leaving Miami on January 21, 2013 sailing to Belize where we’ll live for two and a half months on each of the peninsulas of Placencia and Ambergris Caye. 

We’ll be disembarking in Belize City, three days prior to the end of the cruise.  (We have written approval from the cruise line to disembark early).  We’ve discovered that the pier in Belize City is too shallow for cruise ships to dock and thus, we’ll be “tendered” to shore via a smaller boat. 

For a moment we both panicked envisioning the process of maneuvering our eight pieces of luggage, our computer and digital equipment bags, my handbag, and ourselves into a small boat.  This morning, after a fitful night we promptly called the cruise line to discover that the boat picking us up will be boarded via a large stable ramp to awaiting boats holding anywhere from 100 to 200 passengers at a time.  We’ll not only have assistance from the ship’s employees but also the staff on the smaller boats since they also assist passengers as they are boarding.  No fear!  Whew!

There’s no doubt that the simplicity of our “old” life avoided such decisions, avoided such challenges, avoided such risks.  In the perpetual search for familiarity, comfort, and ease, we found ourselves, happy but stuck in a groove we could have blissfully stayed as we lived out our lives in retirement. 

We’ve chosen “the road less traveled” to challenge ourselves, to expand our knowledge, to enhance our personal histories, and to celebrate and appreciate the amazing world and the people in it.  We’ll make some bad decisions, we’ll make some wrong turns, and at times we may wonder, “why are we doing this?”  But we’ll do this together, we’ll learn together and we’ll marvel together, always grateful and always in love.

Our first cruise, upcoming January 3, 2013…

It’s about time we post an actual cruise itinerary! It seems like it’s a long way off, but counting the months on my fingers, it’s almost eight and a half months away! Eight and a half months ago was last August but it seems as if that was only yesterday. 

Keep in mind, neither Tom nor I have ever been on a cruise! Crazy, huh? We’re committed to six cruises so far and waiting to book more as they become available. How do we know we’ll enjoy cruising? Here are some good reasons that aided us in making this huge leap:
1.  We both have been boat owners, most of our adult lives, with neither of us experiencing seasickness, even during rough waters.
2.  We tend not to overeat since we both follow a strict low carb, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free organic diet. Thus, we won’t be tempted by the endless array of food. Although we enjoy nice meals, we tend to eat to live, rather than live to eat. 
3. We are easily entertained and rarely feel bored or antsy. 
4. We are friendly and sociable. We won’t have trouble meeting people, whether together or alone. My sister, a seasoned cruise passenger, warned us to be careful not to commit to hanging out with another couple until we are certain that we like them. This will avoid feeling “stalked” by a not-so-fun couple while constantly trying to figure a way to “ditch” them or, as Tom says, “Vice versa.”
5. We are not claustrophobic, but we have booked BALCONY CABINS or MINI SUITES on all of our cruises thus far. The thought of sitting together on the balcony overlooking the expanse of the sea with morning coffee in hand or later in the day at Happy Hour is deliciously appealing.
6.  We aren’t interested in souvenirs and trinkets nor will we always follow the pack as they get off at each port for organized tours and overpriced activities. If we find an event, particularly appealing, we’ll partake. Since our journey will keep us traveling for years to come, we won’t feel a need to “pack it in” at each port. We can always return at a later date and experience the area if it’s especially enticing.
7.  Our expectations aren’t too high. We will be cruising as a means of transportation when possible, and know that at times, modes of transportation can be unpredictable.

With the above in mind, we feel confident we’ll enjoy cruising, meeting other travelers, partaking of those activities we find appealing, and most of all, spending time together, talking, laughing, and sharing our story.

We booked all of our cruises, as mentioned previously with Vacations to Go, with the help of the best cruise guy on the planet,  Joaquin Contreras, at 800-338-4962, extension #7338. (We are not in any manner associated with the company, other than as customers, but have been thoroughly impressed with their pricing and quality of service).  

In the future, we’ll post all of our cruise itineraries at the time of departure as well as posting our activities and photos during each cruise.  

As mentioned in a prior post we are provided with a price guaranty enabling us to enjoy the benefit of any reduced pricing up to 90 days before we sail when the final payment is due. This is a particularly popular cruise and the price may not drop substantially until that time.  

In any case, we are satisfied with the BALCONY price which translates to $306 a day, plus taxes and tips (for both of us) which is the most expensive of all of our future cruises. The Panama canal is under construction and Tom was particularly interested in seeing it during this time. Of course, I am delighted to join him!


Celebrity’s Celebrity Century

Brochure Inside $1,479
Our Inside $1,429
You Save 3%
Brochure Oceanview $1,779
Our Oceanview $1,729
You Save 3%
Brochure Balcony $2,349
Our Balcony $2,299
You Save 2%
Brochure Suite $3,949
Our Suite $3,949
You Save 0%
$$$ Early booking bonus! Book now and receive a FREE $100 per cabin onboard credit on select categories.
Promotions may not be combinable with all fares.
The prices shown are US dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. They include port charges but do not include airfare or (where applicable) airport or government taxes or fees.
Thu Jan 3 San Diego, CA 4:00 pm
Fri Jan 4 At Sea
Sat Jan 5 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 11:00 am 6:00 pm
Sun Jan 6 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 12:30 pm 7:30 pm
Mon Jan 7 At Sea
Tue Jan 8 At Sea
Wed Jan 9 Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala 7:00 am 6:00 pm
Thu Jan 10 At Sea
Fri Jan 11 Puntarenas, Costa Rica 7:00 am 6:00 pm
Sat Jan 12 At Sea
Sun Jan 13 Panama Canal (Full Transit) 6:00 am 6:00 pm
Mon Jan 14 Colon, Panama 6:00 am 4:00 pm
Tue Jan 15 Cartagena, Colombia 9:00 am 4:00 pm
Wed Jan 16 At Sea
Thu Jan 17 At Sea
Fri Jan 18 Fort Lauderdale, FL 7:00 am