Challenges of crossing the ocean…

Towel pet on our bed last night.  The eyes are inverted coffee creamers.  Too cute.

Challenge #1:  Time changes

Since leaving Belize on April 9, we’ve experienced a number of time changes. Although a small amount in terms of world travel, it has affected us. We had wrongfully assumed that the gradual time differences occurring while crossing the ocean would be insignificant.  With Belize not observing Daylight Savings Time resulting in a two hour difference in Miami, at this point, the four hour difference has hit us.
Since boarding the Norwegian Epic on April 20th, we’ve had two time changes with another coming tonight. Why I thought we’d be invincible to these changes escapes me.
The almost full moon taken from our veranda last night.

Each of the past four mornings, we’ve awakened around 9:00 am. I can’t recall a time in the past 20 years that I awoke this late. Tom with his prior work schedule occasionally slept a little later. I’ve always felt that half my day was over by noon upon awakening most days between 5:30 and 6:00 am.

It appears that the only way to adjust as we venture toward Europe is to start getting up earlier. At this point, still on Belize time, when we awaken at 6:00 am, it’s still 2:00 am to our bodies.  This morning, we committed to getting up by 7:00 am going forward, starting tomorrow morning. We’ll set the alarm.

Doing so, and following this concept as we traverse through time zones in our travels, will allow us to adapt more quickly. Also, leaving the drapes open at night to allow morning light to awaken us along with eating our two daily meals at regular intervals, for us, within an hour of awakening and five hours before going to bed, should get us on track in no time.

Challenge #2:
Rough waters at sea

We were warned by our captain a few days ago. When nothing major occurred, I dismissed it as a stroke of luck, again making a wrongful assumption, that this crossing of the Atlantic Ocean would be “smooth sailing.” Ha! 

As I write this, we are sitting in our favorite booth (coincidentally available, three mornings in a row) in the Garden Cafe, after a satisfying few cups of coffee and breakfast, watching the horizon rise and fall through the walls of glass surrounding us. For the past 20 minutes, I contemplated getting up and getting a cup of tea, wondering how I’ll carry it the short distance from the beverage area back to the booth.
The magic of moon appeals to all of us, wherever we may be. (The orange line in the upper left corner is the overhang on our balcony.  To avoid including it, I would have had to hang over the railing.  No thank you!)

Alas, I made my tea, while practically trotting to and fro as the rolling waves attempted to catapult me across the room.  Tom, of course, after 42 years of rocking and rolling on the railroad, experiences no such sensation.

Thank goodness, at this point, I don’t feel seasick. Why, not?  I don’t know. The captain made an
announcement about the rough seas over the loudspeaker a few minutes ago, but people wouldn’t shut up long enough to be able to hear what he was saying.

Perhaps it is better that way. Ignorance is bliss. Bouncing and rolling, not so much. Will it get worse? I imagine so. We’ve heard stories since boarding this ship, of rough waters resulting in order that passengers stay in their cabins, taking everything off of the shelves. 

We have our zillions of bottles of vitamins on a shelf in our cabin which I expect will be all over the floor when we return.  Tom just went to the window here in the Garden Cafe to look out, in awe of the waves, coming back with a big smile, loving the adventure of it all. 

As long as we don’t get seasick, I’m OK.  This surprises me.  During the first few nights on our first cruise on the smaller Celebrity Century, I was unable to sleep as the ship rolled from side to side. Now, on our 5th cruise since January 3, 2013, I am at ease, although well aware of the sensations.

How quickly we adapt, we humans. Ironically, I think we are designed for change by possessing the emotional and physical where-with-all to grow, to learn and to adjust to a new environment, a new way of life and ultimately of a new way of observing the world around us. For this, my friends, we are grateful.

We don’t like flying…

It’s not that we’re fearful of flying. We’re not. We both say a prayer upon take-off and landing, asking God to take us to our destination safely and praising God for the minds and skills of those individuals instrumental in creating and flying these beasts of the sky.

In our earlier discussions of the possibility of world travel upon retirement, we had this brilliant idea (so we thought) that we could avoid flying and cruise from location to location. In the planning of our first year, we are able to avoid stepping foot in an airport from October 31, 2012 (retirement/departure date) to September 1, 2013, when we will depart from Rome to arrive in Diani Beach in Mombasa, Kenya for our upcoming three-month stay.

In looking at a world map, it’s easy to ascertain that cruising from Italy to Kenya is challenging, if not impossible. The trip through the Suez Canal is wrought with dangers of political strife and rampant piracy, which prevent many cruise lines from sailing through these areas.  

Also, the seaports in Kenya are shallow as described in this link about the difficulty China has in importing goods to African seaports, not only due to its shallow ports, but also due to a lack of an adequate river system to transport the goods throughout the continent. As a result, smaller ships travel to Kenya, vulnerable to piracy.  Not an ideal scenario for cruising.

There are a number of cruises that travel through the Mediterranean to Egypt, but only a rare few that continue on into the Red Sea to Kenya. The cruise we have booked for June 4, 2013, doesn’t sail to Egypt. In the future, we will experience a cruise to Egypt. After all, we will have all the time in the world provided good health prevails.  

We selected this cruise which departs from Barcelona, Spain, after our one-month stay in Majorca, Spain, to fill a two-week lag we had to fill prior to the availability of our rental in Tuscany on June 16, 2013.  The cruise ends in Venice where we’ll either take a train to Florence or rent a car and drive to the Tuscany Region to our rental.  

When analyzing the cost of this cruise to the costs of two weeks of transportation through Italy, car rental, hotels, and meals, it proved to be slightly more economical. We’ll have plenty of time to tour Italy while staying in Tuscany for almost three months. 

12 nights departing June 4, 2013, on
Norwegian’s Norwegian Spirit
Brochure Inside $2,399
Our Inside $1,249
You Save 48%
Brochure Oceanview $2,599
Our Oceanview $1,499
You Save 42%
Brochure Balcony $3,299
Our Balcony $1,929
You Save 42%
Brochure Suite $6,399
Our Suite $3,929
You Save 39%
$$$ Early booking bonus! Book now and receive a FREE $100 per cabin onboard credit and a FREE bottle of wine on select categories. Book select penthouse suite or villa categories and receive a FREE $300 per cabin onboard credit (call for pricing).
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.
Important Note: Visas are required for this itinerary.
Tue Jun 4 Barcelona, Spain 7:00 pm
Wed Jun 5 Toulon, France 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Thu Jun 6 Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 pm
Fri Jun 7 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 pm
Sat Jun 8 Naples (Capri), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 am
Sun Jun 9 At Sea
Mon Jun 10 Mykonos, Greece 7:00 am 3:00 pm
Tue Jun 11 Istanbul, Turkey 9:00 am 6:00 pm
Wed Jun 12 Izmir, Turkey 11:30 am 7:00 pm
Thu Jun 13 Athens (Piraeus), Greece 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Fri Jun 14 At Sea
Sat Jun 15 Venice, Italy 2:00pm
Sun Jun 16 Venice, Italy Disembark

As always, we have booked a Balcony cabin.

And thus, we are limited by our transportation to Kenya. Train travel through Africa appears interesting and varied, but the uncertainty of train schedules and creature comforts didn’t quite fit our goal of “wafting through our worldwide travels with ease, joy, and simplicity.”  

Simplicity and ease would not include dragging our bags through various train stations, often waiting overnight while sitting on a bench awaiting the next train. That, definitely would not be “joyful.” After all, we aren’t in our 20’s any longer. 

We’ve discovered that careful planning, well in advance, better prepares us to handle the “unknowns” we will encounter along the way.  

Flying to Kenya and three months later to South Africa could result in sleeping on the floor in an airport with our heads on our carry-on luggage due to a delayed or canceled flight.  It could also result in delays at custom checks or as a result of overweight checked baggage. It may result in our being unable to sit together on the flight. We’ll take these risks, albeit hesitantly, and book the flights as the time nears.

Once we arrive in Diani Beach, unpacked our bags, and get situated on the veranda, we’ll be quite content.