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Enjoy the "Treasures of the World" with Bill & Mary Ann on the 2014 World Cruise

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Merry Christmas & best wishes for safe, healthy travels. I have learned so much from you.

Thanks for taking us along again.

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Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Thanks for your kind wishes for our upcoming trip. Safe and healthy is our goal.

 

To answer a few questions, we can tell you that the Galapagos Island overland is offered out of Manta, Ecuador for a really pretty penny\ through shore excursions.

 

Copper John, we are disappointed that we will not see you on this upcoming trip. It was a pleasure meeting you and spending some time together. Maybe next year.......

 

Hi John Z! How was your trip to Machu Picchu? Spectacular, we hope. We did have a fun table didn't we? By the way, Sawasdee to you also. However, what does it mean???

 

Hi Esri......between all of us that are writing, we should have a wealth of information to share with everyone. Glad we can be of some help for future travelers.

 

Hmmm, margherita pizza is starting to sound good about now!

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

Sawasdee is a Thai greeting-meaning Hi / Hello

 

MP and Cusco can best be described as magical and certainly

places that MORE than lived up to expectation

 

Luckily I did have another fun table-but so enjoyed getting to know you two

and hearing all about your "amazing voyages "

which certainly contributed to making it a sailing to remember !

 

Happy boxing day (a UK holiday)

 

John

 

Great Statendam review-much appreciated

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Bill & Mary-Ann; Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a great world cruise! Didn't make it this year; maybe next! Enjoyed our dinner table on SADM

 

I also enjoyed your company and look forward to dining with you again on another dam ship !

 

Meantime,my very best wishes to you and your family for a great 2014 !

 

John

 

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Is this the place to look for your updates?

Yes. This is the place.

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I also enjoyed your company and look forward to dining with you again on another dam ship !

 

Meantime,my very best wishes to you and your family for a great 2014 !

 

John

 

 

And back to you /likewise John! All the best!

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I do hope I am still on your list to receive your cruise blog.... just for your

information, I had never had a margherita pizza, until reading your adventures, and noticing you eat a lot of them!! had never heard of it before, now have ordered and eaten one, and find it delicious!!m Happy to be going on this WC with you again!!

 

carri cruiser I'm like you, I had never had a Margherita pizza before reading about it here. Now that's just about all I order. I think maybe Bill & Mary Ann are a bad influence. ;) :D

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carri cruiser I'm like you, I had never had a Margherita pizza before reading about it here. Now that's just about all I order. I think maybe Bill & Mary Ann are a bad influence. ;) :D

 

I agree, they keep ordering it everywhere they go!! I had never even heard of it before.... never seen it on a menu, never knew anyone that had one before,

actually, I liked it, and............. it was the least expensive on the entire menu!!

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Report # 2 The final days of prep.........December 26th, 2013 Thursday

 

With the holiday of Christmas spent with family a past memory, we continue to wrap up the final chores. We had a truly special day with the recent addition of a new family member, Kenneth William.....all 9 pounds and 7 ounces of pure baby boy. Son Ken and Monica welcomed him into their growing family on December 11th, much to our whole family's delight. We envy his ability to sleep through the merriment and excitement of fine dining and opening presents. Next year will be a different story, with little Kenny probably getting into everything he can reach and touch. We'd be disappointed if he did not try!

 

As we reluctantly began to put away the Christmas decorations today, we discussed the ups and downs of a recently announced upgrade on the ship from our outside category to a veranda room on deck six. The first offer HAL made came around December 1st with an added amount of $7499. per person. Here's the deal. We would get a balcony room anywhere they choose to put us from a BC to an A category. However, none of the veranda perks would apply. The perks we would NOT get would include unlimited luggage shipment, a higher shipboard credit, one complimentary shore excursion of our choice, a one time in-suite liquor set-up of 2 bottles per person, and a bottle of champagne. Well, we already get the champagne and prepaid hotel service charges, so that's a wash.

 

While we were thinking about that offer, another one from the folks at HAL came through with an upgrade for $6000 per person. Figuring the difference between an outside room to the lowest balcony, the original book price was nearly $20,000. No doubt, that is a big savings. But...........we really like the location of our room. And believe it or not, we have extra closet space in our E category. Over the years, we have narrowed down the best location on the lower deck for coolness, stability, quietness, and access to the gangway. To add to that, deck six has been experiencing some major plumbing and air conditioning problems, which may or may not be fixed during their drydocking in San Francisco a few weeks ago. So we hesitate to give that up, unless, we happen to be upgraded with a complimentary veranda. It does happen, not often, but it did for us once in 2010 while on the Prinsendam. Guess you can say that spoiled us. But, a balcony can be nice...................so we are still comtemplating it.

 

With our handcarrys starting to bulge, we decided to add another piece of luggage to the two we will be checking at the airport. Better to keep them light, and not worry about overweight charges. Besides, we will need some extra space to bring back some treasures that we will more than likely find along the way. And we will need some room for the HAL gifts, although fewer than given in past years, are promised to be of better quality.

 

We're happy to report that Mr. Foghorn is doing well, and is probably happy we chose to dine on prime rib for Christmas dinner, and not chicken!

 

To be continued..............

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Glad to hear Foghorn is doing well and also pleased to hear that you weren't planning on eating him for Christmas dinner.:eek:

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Report # 3 Almost ready or ready or not? December 30, 2013

 

There has got to be hundreds of little details involved in leaving home for 18 weeks. Over the years, we have learned to keep a list of stuff to do, therefore, not forgetting anything, we hope. Over a month ago, we had to pay the big bills ahead of time. That included property, federal, and state income taxes. Since we have booked another South African safari on this upcoming trip, we needed to pay off that balance. At least we allowed enough time to know our checks cleared and the credit card was charged and paid.

 

The rest of the list included most everything to do with the house and garden. Pruning trees, roses, and grape vines has been a high priority. This is one area that we are worried about........the lack of rainfall. In fact, the hillsides look bleak and brown, much like we are living in a high desert area. If we don't get the storms breaking through soon, we may be in trouble next summer or sooner with water use. Too bad we can't teach our birds to do a rain dance in our absence.

 

Speaking of birds, our newly added rooster, Mr. Foghorn, has made himself right at home. Today, we heard him crowing more than normal. So we snuck back there and found him getting "very friendly" with one of his new girlfriends. With five hens to keep company, we expect him to be doing a whole lot of happy crowing.

 

For a change, we have almost completed our chores for this trip ahead of time, and have one full day tomorrow to find things we forgot. The last thing we need to do, is leave the house on Wednesday, and ask each other, did you lock the front door, turn lights off, or check for water running? We'll probably ask anyway. Old habits are hard to die. One thing we cannot leave at home? The passports, or we go nowhere.

 

We hope to be emailing from the hotel in Ft.Lauderdale, so look for reports after the 1st. And by the way, Happy New Year to all of you!

 

To be continued......

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Happy New Year to you! I'm enjoying your posts so much - chickens are wonderful, aren't they - such personalities! All birds, really. Love them:D

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Happy New Year. Can't wait for the cruise to start, my DW said I act like I'm the one going. I guess in a way I'm, thanks for your reports.

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Hello,

 

I've never posted on any of your world cruises but have always followed along.

 

Have been watching for your new blog.

 

I'm a Princess fan but love to read and travel along with you.

 

Your writing style is so enjoyable.

 

Can't wait for the very entertain ride…

 

Judy

 

Sent from my A110 using Tapatalk 4

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Happy New Year and wishing that you have a wonderful time on the Amsterdam. We have sailed with you several times, the last being on the 2012 World when we joined your dinner table for an enjoyable time. The fact that prime rib was on the menu plus Tom supplied the wine which helped also.

 

We always look forward to your reports and enjoyed your recent postings from your South Pacific cruise on the Statendam.

 

Darrel & Karen

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We again will not be joining you. Glenn's mother is still hanging In there and taking much of our time. WE will be looking forward to your very honest reports. Hopefully next year we will join you again

 

Have a fun trip!

 

Judy & Glenn

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I really appreciate being able to follow along on your cruise! This year I don't have to feel guilty like last year when I was trying to finish up my college degree! Congratulations on the new grandson. The rooster story is so funny.

 

Thanks again!

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I look forward to following another of your journeys. My wife's health problems will keep us on dry land for a long time so I'll be catching the scent of salt air from your posts.

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I will see you both in Hong Kong where I join the Amsterdam for the remainder of the voyage. Happy New Year!

Suzie

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Report # 4 Our trek to Ft. Lauderdale January 1, 2014 Wednesday

 

Happy New Year! And what a way for us to start off the New Year by traveling to Florida. To be honest, it was the "perfect" travel day. No traffic, no commuters, and few people going anywhere since it was a holiday.

 

Our driver arrived early at 4:45am, shivering as he stood knocking on our front door in the 30 degree temperatures. Certainly, we were ready to go, or were we? The three pieces of luggage were placed at the back of the garage last night, so all we had to do was throw in the last few things in our handcarrys, and jump into the van. That's when one of us felt something was missing. One of the handcarrys was still in the house, where one of us swore it was in the kitchen last night. Cleaning the refrigerator took priority after dinner, so that piece of luggage slipped by. It contained unreplacable items (prescriptions meds for one), so it's a good thing our brains were still working this morning.

 

We arrived at the SFO airport in one hour after leaving our house. The driver was very chatty, and we gladly engaged him, since last night was New Year's Eve, and he may have been up late transporting party-goers through the evening. It was our job to keep him awake and alert. Although, like we said, there was little to no traffic.....a dream.

 

The rest of the day went as well. Especially checking in at the United desk. Since we were early, there was no line. The three bags were under the 50# limit, and were tagged, charged, and on their way. Now the nice part. One of us got the TSA approved sign on the boarding pass, meaning that the security screening was minimal. Shoes stayed on, handcarrys went through the xray without taking out the liquid bag, and no special "arms in the air" super xray picture check. Piece of cake. Later on, reading the fine print, the TSA approved minimal check-in is strictly by random. And there is no guarantee it will happen every time we fly United. We can only hope it will apply to both of us sometime.

 

Time for some breakfast, since we left the house without eating. We always go to a favorite place right across from the security checkpoint. We shared a breakfast sandwich and toast. The coffee was hot and so good this chilly morning. Hard to believe in a few short hours, we wil be in 80 degree weather, and probably humidity too. Can't wait......

 

By the time we reached our gate, only 20 minutes had transpired from the time we entered the airport doors. So we had plenty of time to relax before our 9am flight. We sat facing the tarmac, and got to watch the plane being loaded with luggage. Now we thought we had seen it from the very beginning, and had some concerns that we had not seen one of our pieces. Occassionally, the fellows would put a bag on the belt, then take it off and throw it back in the truck, like it was mismarked or something. Could that have happened to ours? Well, maybe we just had to have something to worry about. The day was going too smoothly.

 

With the exception of a few bumpy spots flying over the Continental Divide, the flight went well. It was definitely a no-frills flight. It drives us crazy that there is no complimentary TV or even music anymore in coach. Same thing goes for the little pillows and blankets you used to get. With the nut allergies, we can understand why the peanuts are gone. But a small bag of mini pretzels would have been nice on a 5 1/2 hour flight across the country. Everything to eat is for sale, with the exception of two drinks of water, juices, or soda. No, we would not starve. We could have purchased something in the terminal, but at the time, nothing looked appealing. Better for us to wait until we got to Florida and have an early dinner there, skipping lunch.

 

The plane set down in Ft. Lauderdale spot on time at about 5:30pm EST. For some reason, the time seemed to go by fast. Maybe that's because we may have been snoozing, more or less, the whole way. That, and waiting in line for the bathroom.

 

Just as promised, we were met at the baggage area by an HAL rep, dressed in the familiar red jacket, holding a sign for us. She helped us load the first of the luggage on her cart, while we waited for the third one....the one we presumed was missing. Nope, it finally came, and obviously must have been there all the time. We simply did not see it being loaded in SF. The rep was waiting on one lady, who was supposed to arrive on a flight from Atlanta. However, after paging her with no reply, she took us outside to wait for our transfer to the hotel.

 

We had a whole huge bus to ourselves for about a 10 minute ride to the Renaissance Plantation Hotel. This was a first for us at this location. And it appears it will be a good choice so far. Our travel group will not be mixed with the HAL folks, so nothing should be overcrowded. Especially the elevators. Can you imagine at checkout time, and hundreds of guests are trying to gather their things to meet in the lobby for the drive to the ship? Mass chaos. So we shall see how this works here for a change.

 

We got a nice room on the seventh floor, facing a huge lake and the hotel pool. Everything they promised was here.......a safe and a refrigerator. So after stashing away the valuables, we headed down to the lobby to check out the hotel restaurant. The menu did not appeal to us this evening, as we wanted something simple, not fancy. One of the front desk gals recommended a place a quarter mile from the hotel, an easy walk, even in the dark. It was a sports bar and grill. OK, now we're talking. We found it easily, and were quite pleased with the menu. Half pound burgers and crispy fries were exactly what we craved. And extra large diet Pepsis. And to make things even better, the Rose Bowl game was in the last quarter, while we watched Stanford lose to Michigan State. Oh well, can't win them all.

 

Got back to the hotel after 9pm, and ready to turn in for the night. Even though it is 6pm home time, we need to get into the swing of eastern time soon. At least we will have one full day tomorrow to either kick back, or explore the stores around this area. That pool looked pretty inviting too...........

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Hi Bill & Mary Ann

 

Just read about your Grandson's arrival-heartiest congratulations to all and a VERY happy 2014 !

 

John

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Report # 5 First Full Day in Ft. Lauderdale January 2, 2014 Thursday

 

Our day did not turn out exactly as we had envisioned.........sleeping late, lounging around the pool all afternoon, or eating three meals leisurely. Actually, we only had two meals today. But it still was a productive day at that, without all the lazy stuff.

 

Yes, we did sleep in later than we would have at home. But we had an unexpected knock on the door at 8:45am. NO ONE we know would even be up yet, or dare to get us up unless there was a fire somewhere close. It turned out to be the housekeeping staff. Why that early, we never did find out, but it also happened to another guest we know in our group. The staffer must have gone from floor to floor looking to clean rooms earlier than normal. Many convention-type people seem to be here for meetings, so they may be the ones that get up with the chickens. We did answer the door when she tried to come inside. Good thing we had the bar lock engaged at the top of the door. Part of the problem was that we failed to turn the deadbolt last night, so she probably thought nobody was in the room.

 

Breakfast in the hotel's restaurant was really good, which was a surprise. There were so few people in there last night, we were a bit cautious about trying it. While we were waiting for our orders to arrive, two good friends found us and dropped by for a quick chat to say hello. They were off and running for shopping chores and had rented a car to do all that. Great idea. Our food arrived, they left, and we enjoyed every bite.

 

We knew there was free wifi available in the lobby, so we sent emails off quickly. This is a treat for us, because we are used to slow and slower internet at home with dial-up. Will take full advantage of this perk while we are here. Once on the ship, we have to pay for internet time, which happens to be slow for the most part once again. While sitting in the lobby, another cruise buddy of ours pointed out that the bright white Christmas tree had been removed. With the lighting dimmed in the lobby last night, the tree was a beautiful, welcoming site. Looking around, we noticed the tree was moved down to the reception area for the banquet rooms. Perhaps they will be there for our party on Friday evening.

 

Getting directions from our waiter, we headed for the nearest mall with a Publix, Florida's version of Safeway. It was only about a mile away. Besides the grocery store, there was a big office supply store and a large chain discount clothing store, with plenty of cafes and fast food-type restaurants. Publix had what we were looking for, and our four carry bags were full of healthy snacks (really) and drinks. We considered eating a lite lunch somewhere here, but with the ample breakfast, we decided against it. Time to walk back.

 

This week happens to be big with football games. The Sugar Bowl was in progress, so it was easy to get hung up watching it in the comfort of our room for awhile. We had planned to spend some time at the pool, but looking out our window, we noticed the lounges were full and lots of little kids were jumping in the water. Maybe it would be better to wait until naptime for the little ones.

 

By the time the pool area cleared out, so had the sun. A strong wind had come up, so we took a walk on the nearby canal that flanked the freeway. A sign posted by the walkway stated that this area had been planted for a natural setting for flora and fauna. We did see many birds, butterflies, and iguanas and lizards. The largest iguanas take refuge in the trees overhead. If you watch long enough, you can spot them twisting their long bodies up the branches. A strange sight for us, because we are used to seeing tree squirrels. Some huge fish were jumping in the canal, although we never did see what they were. A lone man was fishing for them way up the walkway.

 

By the time we got back, we sat around the pool and cooled our feet off in the tepid water. Most everyone had left by now, since it was getting close to dinner time. That sounded like a good plan for us too. Since the food was so good last night, we decided to walk back to the sports bar and grill for some boneless chicken wings. We shared those and split another hamburger. Dessert looked good, but we know many of those will be coming our way on the ship soon, so we said thanks, but no thanks.

 

It was dark by the time we got out of the grill, but at least we knew the way back easier tonight. Tomorrow will be a busy day, so getting to bed early was a priority once again. So far, the jetlag has not plagued us too badly.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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