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Navigate the World with Bill & Mary Ann on the Zuiderdam's 128 Day 2023 Grand World Voyage


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Report # 1   Friday  December 30, 2022 Getting ready to leave again!   Rain and more rain - 58 degrees   Part # 1 Of 1   0 Pictures


It seems like just yesterday that we arrived home from the Alaska and Tales of the South Pacific cruises.  It has been an incredibly busy 6 weeks with routine doctor and dentist appointments, not to mention getting the new Covid boosters and flu vaccines.  In between all of this, many dead pine trees needed to be brought down, mostly due to the drought and old age.  On the plus side, we have a mountain of firewood for several winters to come.  And we only had time to do half of the job.  The rest can wait until spring.


Then Thanksgiving with the family happened somewhere in the mix.  It was great to see everyone together, including Pepsi, the dog.  It seemed like we had a lot of time to get stuff done, but the clock was ticking way faster than we thought.  Funny how that seems to happen more and more these days………


Then came the packing for 128 days.  There was a huge change with the size and weight of the bags this time.  Never before was the size or weight a problem, but now, it must comply with airline regulations.  Sixty-two linear inches and 50 pounds.  In the past, we shipped large duffels that tipped the scales way over 50 pounds.  No more…..  We were allowed 2 pieces each, even though we upgraded to an SS suite, unlimited luggage did not come as a perk.  So we searched for three perfect size duffels and added three suitcases we already had.  Luggage Forward is the company being used, and we paid to ship the two extra bags. 


The pick-up date was December 14th with UPS as the carrier.  A week prior, we received the printed luggage tags for each piece.  Tracking the numbers, we learned they all arrived on December 21st.  Good news, considering what has happened with the recent airline problems.  At least the luggage is in Florida, and we hope we will be there without any hitches. 


One of us keeps a list of things to do before we go.  It is mostly wrapping up everything with the house and the bills etc.  Not a day went by that a phone call was necessary to confirm that everything was in place.  The best thing we ever did was installing a large locked mailbox.  No more dealing with the post office, as our son deals with the mailbox now.  We had such a terrible experience with forwarding our mail to our son’s address.  Nothing could have been more messed up when we got back.  Our mail had gotten reversed with his for months afterwards.  And many things went to “mail heaven”, never to be seen again.


So the plan for tomorrow is to be picked up by our driver at 3:30am.  He was concerned with the heavy rains expected tonight, and asked that we should leave an hour earlier, which is fine with us.  Luckily, it is a Saturday, and the traffic should be light.  We always like to fly ahead a few extra days, just in case there are delays or cancellations, God forbid.  We have packed only one duffel to check on the plane, and a couple of hand carrys each.  It is a straight through flight and will get us there after 5pm EST. 


One concern we have involves getting the Covid test 24 hours prior to boarding the ship on January 3rd.  This might not have been necessary if it wasn’t for Australia’s requirements. Funny, because we do not get there until February, where we bet we get tested again.  And we do know that most cruises this long have been required to test. Our plan is to pay a visit to a clinic close to our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.  Hope that works….


It has been three years since we sailed on a world cruise, although we did go on back-to-backs for almost as much time early this year.  We are really looking forward to the itinerary as well as seeing many old friends.  We basically will make a beeline to the South Pacific, then head south to New Zealand and across to Australia.  From there, we will head to the east coast of Africa, around the Cape, and up the west coast.  We do have a six day overland from Durban to Cape Town for a safari.  We will not go into the Mediterranean, but head north to Norway, with many stops along the way.  From the Azores, we will go trans-Atlantic back to Ft. Lauderdale.  Of course, there may be changes, and we have learned to roll with them.  


So we extend our sincere wishes to everyone for a Happy and Healthy New Year.  Stayed tuned…..we will be back as soon as we get to Florida.


Bill & Mary Ann


PS    We would like to dedicate this blog to our longtime friend RKACruiser (Bob), who suddenly passed away a few weeks ago.  We met in 2002 while on an Asia/Pacific cruise, and have been in touch ever since.  One of the cruises we will remember doing with him was in Alaska a few years ago.  We loved his story of flying to a salmon bake, where he spotted a large bear licking the BBQ grill.  Hopefully it was after the salmon bake!  He will be missed!

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Hi Bill and Mary Ann!  I love following your adventures and thought it had been awhile for the WC.  


Amazing about the luggage amount and weight change!  So, in total, how many bags are you going to have on the ship?  Sorry, but I could not keep track...lol.


That was a great idea about the locked mailbox!  It must have been awful having mail going every which way, but at least now you will have piece of mind about that.


I like it that you arrive a few days ahead, because it seems in this day and time, more and more things seem to pop up.


Can you tell me how your overland works?  I know you have done safaris before and I always love to hear your plans. 


I wondered about covid testing on WCs.  We went on a Princess cruise, 25 days and the requirement then was cruises longer than 15 days had to get pre-cruise testing, at least for Princess.  That is one thing that still makes me cringe, having to worry about the thing that could cause problems.  It is good that you got your recent vaccines.  Fingers crossed for a negative result.


I want to thank you for doing your blog and can't wait to while away the time reading of your adventure once again!  Bon voyage and smooth sailing!


I am sorry to hear about the passing of your friend!





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Thank you for taking us along with you again; it’s always a pleasure!  Happy New Year to the two of you.


I am sorry to learn of the passing of RKA Cruiser; he was always such a great contributor to the CC boards.  May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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Always a pleasure reading your musings and seeing the photos. We will be joining you with the CSI group on Sunday.

I am totally shocked about Bob as we had emailed not that long ago. We first met playing trivia together on the 2008 WC and have stayed in contact ever since. What a sharp mind and incisive wit he had. My favorite photo of Bob was in his "skirt" touring the temples of Bali, where he had on shorts. Since covered knees were required, the temple attendant supplied him with a long batik wraparound. We will certainly miss him.

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Thank you for taking us along again this year. 


Our condolences on the passing of your friend @rkacruiser.  We never had the pleasure of meeting him although we were also on the 2002 APEC cruise.  Bob and I reminisced about that cruise a few times on various threads.  He will be missed on CC.

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Bill and Mary Ann,


We wish you the best cruise ever! Looking forward to reading your blog every morning with our coffee! And checking out Bill’s photos. 


Sad we didn’t get together before you left. We will have a great get together when you return home. 

Safe travels and Happy New Year,

Denise and Howie, too


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2 hours ago, WCB said:

We would like to dedicate this blog to our longtime friend RKACruiser (Bob), who suddenly passed away a few weeks ago.


Very shocked and saddened to hear about Bob. We only cruised with him once, but spent many happy hours together on the Nieuw Statendam. 

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Bon Voyage!  Thanks once again for sharing your adventure with us.  I so enjoy reading about the ports and seeing your pictures.  


I love the Signature Suites on the Vista and Signature Class ships and I was so happy to hear that you will be staying in one for this long journey.  For me the cabin and balcony lay out is perfect!





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Aloha. We love your posts as they bring back fond memories of most of the places you have visited and are visiting as well as HAL which we love.  Their long voyages are spectacular and special as well as the Neptune Suites which we love. Do you have access to the Neptune lounge?  In any event have a wonderful journey and good health!

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We look forward to your updates from your world cruise.   We will try to wave when we leave port with the Volendam or the Zuiderdam going first.  So nice you have a SS for the trip. Even more opportunities for great photos. 

Agree on the mail forwarding being a mess. My sister was getting my forwarded mail for weeks after we returned. My neighbor will be picking mine up daily. Safe travels across the US. Happy New Year! 

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