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.
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.