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Come Along with Bill & Mary Ann Going Full Circle on the 2015 World Cruise -114 days+

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Report # 1 Getting ready for the 2015 Grand World Voyage December 22, 2014 Monday Partly cloudy and 65 degrees

 

Greetings to all this whirlwind time of year, when winter begins, and we are looking forward to the holidays that end the year on a joyous note. For us, it is also the time to begin the job of packing for a four and a half month journey. Always a challenge. We have come to the conclusion that it is not so much the clothes as it is the "stuff" we need to pack that creates the bulk. Over the years, we have kept a list to follow that well exceeds 100 things we cannot do without. Sure, we could buy along the way, but why waste the time and usually more expense if we can do it ahead of time? For that reason, the purchasing of this stash begins for us from the summer through now. If you have traveled to other countries, you learn that your favorite snacks may not taste quite the same as they do here. Anyway, we were able to fill our four duffels (everything, clothes and all, in plastic sealable bags), and they were picked up on Friday, the 19th by Fed Ex. Lucky for the driver that we stayed home, and were able to assist him putting them into his mini van. Of course, he had to re-arrange his truck to make room. He was riding low when he left our driveway at 2pm in the driving rain, by the way.

 

You may wonder where are we going this time? Well, we always seem to begin in Ft. Lauderdale most years. We have been told that many of the passengers live on or near the east coast, so it is a good starting point for the majority. Also, the weather usually cooperates for flying that time of year in Florida. There are only two stops before we transit the Panama Canal.......Santa Marta, Colombia, and the San Blas Islands of Panama. It has been many years since we stopped at San Blas, and as we remember it, primitive would be appropriate to describe the place. The Cuna Indians bring their handicraft of molas ( clever-made stitcheries ) to sell. We still have a box full that were going to be turned into a quilt. Someday....when there is more time.

 

There is only one stop in South America, and that is Manta, Ecuador. Doubt there will be any time for folks to make a visit to the Galapagos Islands or Machu Picchu this time. One good thing about the one-stop in SA, is that we don't have to get Brazilian visas, which can be a hassle sometimes. No yellow fever vaccinations either.

 

There will be a long time at sea, eight days to be exact, to arrive to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas. The passengers will be happy to stretch their sea legs by then.

 

Two more islands in French Polynesia are the next stops. They are Papeete, and Bora Bora, where we intend to make a visit to Bloody Mary's once again. And of course, make a visit to the pizzeria in Papeete. There is no stop at Moorea, which is too bad. Finding the Intercontinental Hotel was a plus this last fall.

 

Rarotonga in the Cook Islands is a good place to walk or go in search of water sports. Less visited, is Alofi, Niue, where the cruisers literally shut down the town's internet a few years ago. Remember how much the passengers and crew like to find free internet? Well, these small islands offer it, but not with our numbers of users. The kids liked our visit, because the schools shut down for the remainder of the day.

 

Nuku'alofa, Tonga, will be the last of the exotic South Pacific Islands we shall invade. We head for the more civilized country of New Zealand with stops in Auckland and Bay of Islands. Too bad we were not continuing on around the north and south islands, but time does not allow it.

 

Australia beckons us with the ports of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Albany, Fremantle/Perth, and finally Geraldton ( a new stop for us ).

 

The crew will be happy with the three ports in Indonesia. They are Bali, Semarang in Java, and Jakarta, also a new port for us. We expect there will be many family reunions with HAL sponsering a gathering for the clans in some of those cities.

 

Singapore will be the furthest north we go in the Orient this time. Why there is NO Hong Kong or even Vietnam is a mystery to us. We shall miss our yearly hike in Kowloon, as well as the Night Market, Bird, Jade, and Flower Markets. We do understand that there will be a new cruise terminal, but it will not be anywhere as convenient as the old stop where we connect to the major shopping malls.

 

We have two stops in Malaysia....Port Kelang for Kuala Lumpur, and George Town, Penang. Perhaps there will be a lot of bargains there to replace those in Hong Kong.

 

A completely new port for many of us will be Rangoon, Myanmar ( formerly Burma ). We have booked tours there for two days, and are looking forward to seeing the temples and monasteries. We hear there are some huge craft markets there also, not that we need more stuff.

 

A repeated every year stop will be made in Sri Lanka, followed by two ports in India.......Cochin and Mumbai. But not for us. We have pre-booked a 7 day overland trip to see the famous and elusive Bengal tigers of India, along with many other indigenous wild animals. It should be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We shall re-join the ship when it arrives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The only regret is missing Mumbai, where one of us always seems to find the neatest dress shoes. See how much money we will save?

 

The country of Oman offers two cities to see.....Salalah and Muscat. Oh yes, this is where we will find some good bargains, especially fabric.

 

The only African stops will be in Egypt. One in Safaga, where some folks will undoubedly go overland to see Luxor, and one in Sharm El Sheikh. Once we transit the Suez Canal, the final visit in Egypt will be Alexandria, where HAL offers day trips to see Cairo and the pyramids.

 

Aqaba, Jordan, is the port where most everyone will go to see the fabulous rock formations of Petra. Hopefully this entire region will not be in turmoil, and the ports get cancelled. That can happen anywhere, such as this year, when we missed the west African ports due to the ebola virus outbreak. Safety is number one.

 

Once we are in the Mediterranean, the ports of call will start with Kusadasi, Turkey, Pireaus, Greece, Katakalon, Greece, and Naples, Italy. We can literally smell the pizza baking from here!!! We shall also seek out the tasty Italian treat while in Civitavecchia on our stop for Rome.

 

Spain will have three stops with Cartagena, Malaga, and Cadiz. Granada and Seville can be reached from the latter two ports.

 

Finally, the Azores has two ports.....Ponta Delgado and Horta, which will end the itinerary for the stops. A long haul across the "pond" will give us plenty of time to pack for disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale, a true circumnavigation of the globe.

 

We will pack everything this time, because we must also disembark the Amsterdam. Usually, we stay onboard to transit the Panama Canal to San Diego, but this time the ship will be going into drydock during that period. So, our only other option to sail back was on a Disney Cruise. At first we laughed, but with further thought, we figured, why not? It may be a whole lot of fun for a change. It is a 15 day trip with stops in Cozumel, Mexico and Cartegena, Colombia. Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, will be our last ports before our final destination in San Diego. By then, we should have our fill of Mickey and Minnie Mouse! Or not....

 

These last days of the year will be used to catch up on gardening chores. Seems like we start the job of pruning and trimming earlier each year, but this year, we were blessed with rain, something we have seen little of for three seasons. Dedicated gardeners, we are, but not to the point of getting drenched.

 

The bird feed will need to be stocked up. Foghorn, our newly-acquired rooster, has outlived all but two of our hens. He got rather feisty this last spring, but has calmed down with the colder weather. That, and the fact that the hens are no longer laying eggs make a difference in his attitude. We still have several doves pigeons, and ducks, but the largest amount of birds we have are still the peacocks. They seem to live forever. And also living on our property is one lone feral cat, who has lived out eight of his nine lives for the last three years. The automatic cat feeder has continued to make him one happy, fat kitty. We know he is a good "mouser".

 

The holidays are near, and we look forward to our family dinner with the kids and grandkids. For a change, we are completely ready. That means we must have forgotten something......

 

So we end this message with a wish of Happy and Healthy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Great!!!!

 

So happy to hear of your next WC: another wonderful adventure! Thank you for taking us all along again.

The Disney cruise should be fun and it would be great to hear your thoughts on that one, too.

 

Enjoy your last few days at home. Bon Voyage!

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Thank you for taking us along again. Merry Christmas and safe travels.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Wow, another year has come and gone and you're off again on the WC! Looking forward to reading your reports. Have a great time!

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Yea! I always eagerly await this thread. :)

 

Safe travels to FLL and as always thanks for taking us along for the ride!

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thanks for bringing us along. I assure you, there are a lot of followers that don't post and everyone finds this enlightening :D

 

Hope you will share your views on your return as well:D

 

Happy holidays to you both as you sail away

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Bill & Mary Ann:

 

Thanks for taking us along once again. It is always a pleasure to read of your adventures on the WC.

 

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

 

My best!

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Happy Holidays - and thanks for taking all of us along via your wonderful daily reports!

 

Sue/WDW1972

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Yippee, we're going again ! ! ! Thanks so much for doing what you do to keep us apprised of your travels and experiences.

 

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a fabulous New Year!

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

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Bill & Mary Ann

 

Look forward to seeing you both again next Sept/Oct on the 50 day Amsterdam sailing !

 

Unlikely I will still be in Phuket this March, as plan being back in Marbella much earlier than usual, perhaps you will visit when in Malaga, sure that you would enjoy seeing the lovely old town and Puerto Banus

 

"Happy Holidays" and great cruising in 2015 :)

 

John

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What a treat this morning to find your thread!! Thanks for taking us along...love your reports...

 

Have a wonderful holiday and safe travels to the east coast:):):)

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Looking forward to seeing you both onboard our second home. A merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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We are also looking forward to this WC....Our first....Hope to meet you there. Happy Holidays...

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Having followed your travels through your blogs I feel as though we are joining old friends again. Thanks for taking us along on your travels.

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We are again home being caregivers,so we look forward to hearing all your adventures. Have a super time! We will be anxiously awaiting your reports.

 

Judy&Glenn

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