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

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Thanks for the kind comments. We sure hope to keep you all entertained.

 

Ger 77.........funny thing you asked about the packing. Bill keeps saying what in the heck did you bring? Yes, we did cut back on some of the clothes, but we still bring too much. We are getting better at it, but refuse to give up on the odds and ends we like.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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I look forward to your WC reports each year. Thank you for taking the time to entertain us. Have fun!

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Already lurking and looking forward to your adventures. Thanks for taking us along. I don't post, but I'll be here in your cheering section. Liz

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Thank you again for taking us on your WC. Happy New Year!!! Hope we have another great cruise with you.

Edited by boards

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"make a visit to the pizzeria in Papeete. "

 

Sounds yummy. We are sailing with you for the first 30 days until Auckland. Please tell us more. Where is this pizzeria located?

Edited by HunEBear

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Report # 3 Happy New Year.......almost........December 31, 2014 Wednesday Very cold & temperatures in the low 30's

 

 

It seems that 2014 will end with bright, blue skies, but very cold for us that live in Northern California. Icy cold winds up to 50 MPH have chilled us to the bone. With the temps dropping to the freezing point, we found it wise to insulate more exposed outdoor plumbing. Visions of broken pipes haunt us. And it always seemed to happen after we left, of course. Nothing will go uncovered this time.

 

We have been keeping up with recent offers of paid upgrades on the world cruise. If memory serves us right, the first upgrade from an outside room to a veranda was in the neighborhood of $7000 each. This offer came about two or more weeks ago. It is a big savings compared to the original price, well above the cost of an outside room. The only problem is that you lose the perks that went with the room. Specifically, that is unlimited luggage shipment, a generous shipboard credit, a couple of bottles of liquor, and one choice of a tour offered through the shore excursion office. A new offer just came out for the price of $4949. per person, making it even more attractive. That tells us that the ship is not full from Ft. Lauderdale, and they are attempting to load it with standby passengers. As for us, we are happy with our room choice, and have decided to keep it.

 

We're finished with the last of our medical appointments, with a visit to our dentist/hygenist today. It is good to know that there is a dentist and a doctor traveling with us on the world cruise in case we need further attention. Many, many years ago one of our fathers had a sudden toothache while on an Alaskan cruise. Needing a root canal, he had to be flown to Dawson City in a small plane for the day and be back to the ship before it left the port. Lucky for him that it worked out well, although we are sure he never expected a side trip like that.

 

Two more days to go, and we will be leaving for the airport in the wee hours of Friday morning. Better start putting the last of the bags together and hope not to be overweight.

 

Happy New Year's Eve and stay safe!

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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HonEBear: The pizzeria is on the main street that faces the harbor. It is about a half hour walk after turning right from where the ship is docked. Located near an Evangelical Church, it is almost hidden behind a wall. The sign says pizzeria and it is only open Saturday.

 

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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It's too bad you can't take the upsells without losing perks. Your weather is almost the same temperature as Calgary. That said, it's warm for us;). Looking forward to future installments. Happy new year!

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HonEBear: The pizzeria is on the main street that faces the harbor. It is about a half hour walk after turning right from where the ship is docked. Located near an Evangelical Church, it is almost hidden behind a wall. The sign says pizzeria and it is only open Saturday.

 

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

Thank you!

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Report # 4 Getting to Ft. Lauderdale, a day we would rather forget January 2, 2015 Friday Crisp and cool in San Francisco Low 30's

 

In hindsite, it could have been much worse. Instead of getting up around 3am Friday morning for a 4:30 or 5am ride to the airport, our driver called the previous evening and bluntly said "3am pickup". Whaaaaat? OK, well we prefer to get to the airport ahead of time by a couple of hours, but with an 8:30am flight, we would have a longer wait. By the time we figured out how early we should get to bed Thurday evening, it was already too late to get in at least 5 hours of sleep. Oh, the joys of travel.....

 

As it turned out, we heard knocking at the front door at 2:45am Friday morning. Yep, our driver was here and ready to roll. He said he had two more pickups on the way, and that was the reason for the earlier time. Anyway, one of us quickly put the last luggage ties on one suitcase, but failed to lock it. Of course, we did not remember this until we were 35,000 feet up in the air on our first leg of the flight to Houston. And for our records, the flight from San Francisco was from 8:30am to 2:20pm Houston time. It would not be the first time a bag went unlocked by accident. There was nothing of great value, such as camera or computer equipment or jewelry. We know better than to pack that stuff. But we did have useful things we could not do without. Like our dress clothes for the dinner party Sunday evening. Just imagine the looks we would get if we showed up in our jeans??? And just because of these unexpected things, we have chosen to arrive well before our sailing day on Monday. Little did we know more would go wrong.

 

Check-in at the airport was easy, although we were most surprised at the large crowd of folks traveling that early in the morning. There were many young families with little kids, more than likely going home after the holidays. At least one good thing happened when one of us got lucky with the pre-TSA check-in at security. Guess that is a hit-or-miss thing. And we did have plenty of time to enjoy a warm breakfast with lots of hot coffee at the airport restaurant.

 

The flights went well, and even though we were worried about the possibility of fog in San Francisco, which can stop air traffic on a dime. It was a perfectly clear morning. Not so in Houston, where we went through a low fog bank with zero visibility. Best to keep those windows closed and not watch the landing.

 

You know how you get that sinking feeling that something is yet to occur? Well it did in the way of a missing piece of luggage. Originally, our flight was supposed to be straight through to Florida, with no stops. That changed a few months ago, when the airline decided to stop in Houston instead. The time between flights was only an hour and a half, getting us to Ft. Lauderdale by 7:14pm. But that would give us a chance to stretch our legs, and perhaps buy something to munch on. Munchies turned out to be a small cheese and tomato pizza, which should not be a surprise to those that know us. However, it was not enough time to get all of the luggage transferred from the first ride. Whatever happened to the TSA rules that your luggage had to be on the same plane you were on? Not so.

 

When we got to the baggage claim area in Ft. Lauderdale, the HAL reps were there to greet us. Several other folks on other HAL ships leaving here in a few days were missing luggage as well. At least we had company. Filling out a lost bag form was quick and easy with the airline. They tracked the bag and found it was still in Houston, and would remain there until a later flight Friday night. Best case scenario, we would get the bag delivered to our hotel tomorrow morning. At least we knew that someone had not accidently walked out of the baggage area with our suitcase. Yes, it happens.

 

Then we were more than ready for our transfer to the hotel. It had been a long day, and beginning to get stressful. For some unknown reason, our names were not on the HAL list for transfers. On past world cruises, our travel agency has partnered with HAL for that job. Something must have fallen between the cracks. Believe us, we were in no mood to hear this. We were never denied the ride, but it appeared that HAL was utilizing the hotel's complimentary shuttles to take the other folks to different hotels. We were left waiting with no explanation, although now we think they were waiting for another flight to come in, and we would all be bussed together.

 

We usually do not get impatient, but this time we did. A little. The rep promised that if our bus did not come within 10 minutes, he would order us a towncar. Somewhere in his computer, we believe he accessed our Mariner numbers and found we were 5 star Mariners. We think that helped. Anyway, we had a nice 12 minute ride in a nice limo with a friendly driver, arriving at our destination around 9pm instead of around 7:30 pm. Although it seemed like a lot later to us, it was still dinnertime at the nearby sports bar we like to walk to.

 

Checking in was a breeze, and once we got our stuff stashed, we were enjoying a BBQ hamburger and chicken quesadillas at the sports bar shortly thereafter. It's a short walk over a lake, past some buildings, and through a parking lot. So after everything was said and done, we had everything we needed in the other bags. And nothing was missing in the unlocked suitcase. Lucky.......Finally in bed by 11:30pm.

 

Tomorrow should be a better day. Everything always looks promising after a good night's sleep. And besides, we were looking forward to meeting a very good cruising buddy (not on the world cruise this time) for lunch Saturday afternoon. Yes, things are looking up.........

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Bill and Mary Ann,

 

Having followed your wonderful travels for multiple years, is your son going to update your webblog with your travels and pictures?

 

Thank you in advance if he is. I check for your updates first thing in the morning after I record my rainfall in the COCORAHS database --which tells me how bad we are in SC for drought conditions, but nothing like you in CA.

 

Elaine

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I hope you get your missing bag soon. I bet you were on United. They get my vote for the worst airline and the one most likely to lose bags. You would think 1.5 hours would have been enough time to transfer bags.

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Hi Elaine,

 

We are not certain our son will have the time to post the reports with photos on another blog site this year, as he is beginning a new direction in his career. Turned out to be a bigger than expected job last year.

 

Cruz chic: Yes, you get the prize! We did fly UA, but the missing bag was delivered today.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Hi Elaine,

 

We are not certain our son will have the time to post the reports with photos on another blog site this year, as he is beginning a new direction in his career. Turned out to be a bigger than expected job last year.

 

Cruz chic: Yes, you get the prize! We did fly UA, but the missing bag was delivered today.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

 

Excellent!! I'm happy to be wrong :).

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I am looking forward to taking this cruise with you in my imagination. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

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So glad to hear that the missing case caught up to you.

Looking forward to following your cruise. Thanks again, for

taking time to post.

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Report # 5 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida January 3, 2015 Saturday Day One Warm, breezy, and in the low 80's

 

Well, just as we had suspected, today was a perfect day that went by all too quickly. At least one of us had slept well last night, while the other had a touch of jetlag that can prevent that deep sleep. The room is well-appointed with a king-sized bed, desk area, reading chair and table, and spacious closets and drawers. The TV is a large flat screen with too many channels to choose from. We are enjoying it, because at home we have limited sources for TV viewing.

 

We got a bit of a later start, having slept in until after 8am. Deciding to take a walk across the road to a local strip mall, we found a cafe for breakfast we had discovered last year, but did not have a chance to visit. It reminded us of the small cafes that seat about 50 people maximum, and the waitresses still call you "honey". We got lucky and only had to wait about 10 minutes for a table. Since we were meeting our buddy from Ohio, Bob, at 11:30am in the hotel lobby, we did not have the chance to linger too long. And besides that, with a simple phone call to the airline at 9am, we discovered our luggage had left the airport, and was on its way to the hotel. Wanting to collect that before lunch, we finished our meals of blueberry pancakes and biscuits, eggs, and gravy within an hour. Sure was good.

 

Bob had traveled from Ft. Pierce, where he has been staying with a friend for the last week. We all met back in 2002 on the Volendam's Grand Asia/Pacific Cruise, and have kept in touch ever since. We did re-unite with Bob on the 2008 world cruise, and have kept up with all of our travels ever since then. He will be joining the Noordam on Monday, when we board the Amsterdam. Thanks to him being willing to drive a four hour round trip today, we have a marvelous lunch at the sports bar and a quality visit to remember.

 

Three hours flew by so fast, then it was time for him to hit the road. Being a Saturday, the traffic was starting to get heavy and he wanted to get back before the sun went down. Someday, we will plan a trip where we sail together. We hope.

 

This would have been a good time for either a visit to the pool or watch a movie in our room. Except, we realized we had left all of the t-shirts at home we had planned to take here. Three good hardcover books took their place. So that was a good excuse to hike back to the strip mall where there was a department store. It was easy to find a couple of nice t-shirts to wear the next two days. We also stopped at Publix for some chips and dips. By now, it was nearing 5pm and the sun was going to be down soon. Some rain clouds were floating overhead, and we were not sure if it would rain or not. Of course, our umbrellas are in the shipped luggage. Never did rain.

 

It has been great to have free WIFI in our room. At home, we only have dial-up, as there is no regular service provided out in our area. So we are liking the speed, even though most folks still complain about it here. So this was a good time to download updates and anti-virus checks.

 

By 6:30pm, we walked back to the bar and grill for a hamburger and pulled pork sandwich. Two tall beers really hit the spot. We even got to bed by a decent time. Tomorrow will be another busy day, when most of the group will be arriving for their complimentary night here. Be interesting to see how many of the regulars show up.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Can you suggest restaurant/bar locations near your hotel for others who might be in the area later? We will be staying at the Hilton Ft Lauderdale Marina and would like to wander the area rather than staying at the hotel. I know the Publix / Total Wine is about 4 - 6 blocks from the hotel, but unsure where we should go for drinks, etc.

 

Smooth Sailing ! :) :) :)

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ger77 - Our hotel is located off of Interstate 595 and Pine Island Rd. in the Plantation area. The closest food market is about 4 blocks west, while the sports bar and grill is about 2 blocks east of the hotel. A nice walk, but very do-able.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Can you suggest restaurant/bar locations near your hotel for others who might be in the area later? We will be staying at the Hilton Ft Lauderdale Marina and would like to wander the area rather than staying at the hotel. I know the Publix / Total Wine is about 4 - 6 blocks from the hotel, but unsure where we should go for drinks, etc.

 

Smooth Sailing ! :) :) :)

 

I know you didn't ask me but I tried carlos and Pepe's right next to embassy suites based on a recommendation from some cc friends. I thought it was quite good. I've also heard some folks recommend Kelly's landing which I think is next door to carlos and pepes. I have not tried it. Also in the same mall as publix and total wine I tried joes Cafe for breakfast. I'm not a fan of the free breakfast at embassy because I hate crowds and find it mediocre. Loved joes for brekie and it was very reasonable. Hope this helps.

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