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Travel The World with Bill & Mary Ann HAL's Grand World Voyage 2007

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Report # ! January 12, 2007 Friday

 

Well, we are about to join the Holland America ship, the m.s. Amsterdam, on her "Voyage of Discovery" World Cruise 2007.

 

Guess we should introduce ourselves. For those of you who do not know us, we are Bill and Mary Ann of Northern California, born and raised San Franciscans. We've been married for almost 40 years, and have taken 30 cruises since the early 80's. Yes, we are "hooked" cruisers! We have been fortunate to have sailed with Seabourn, Radisson (now Regent), and HAL on previous world trips. We are looking forward to this 105 day trip which will include many countries such as South America, Chile, French Polynesia, Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, United Arab Emerates, Oman, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Morocco, Madeira, and of course, the USA.

 

We began to consider booking this cruise in the fall of 2005, and knowing that most of the trip would be in warm weather, we decided to spring for a balcony suite. So with four payments over the course of seven months, we were set to go! Well, almost. From May to November of 2006, we booked shore excursions online. Now we could have done this onboard, but we would not be sure that the limited tours would be available. Our travel agency, the specialists from Seattle, also offered excellent tours, so we booked many of those. One highlite of these tours will be a 4 day visit to the Taj Mahal in India. We're excited about that!

 

In addition to this, we pre-ordered HAL's internet minutes, Pinnacle Grill dinners, bottled water, and the laundry package. The dry cleaning-laundry will be a luxury.................no laundry room gossip or fights! We have seen and heard lots of funny stories over the years regarding the laundry rooms.

 

At this point in time, we needed to update our vaccinations, like the flu shots and anti-malarial pills for India. Thankfully, we already have had tetanus, hepatitis A, polio, typhoid, and yellow fever shots. All of these vaccines were recommended, but not required for this particular cruise.

 

The only visa we had to purchase before boarding the ship was for India. Quite surprisingly, Zierer Visa Service had them back to us in 3 weeks. The rest of the visas for Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey, and Egypt will be arranged onboard the ship. They will be charged to our shipboard account. Very easy!

 

Now, the fun part...........packing. We "lucked out" by having unlimited luggage shipment, one of the many perks of booking a balcony room. Speading out several suitcases, garment, and duffel bags, we started the task of packing right after Christmas. We ended up with a total of 13! No, we are not superstitious. Holland cruise lines still maintains the traditional of elegance, so therefore, there will be 22 formal evenings, 20 informal (jacket, tie optional), and 62 smart casual nights. It looks like all we have forgotten to pack is the kitchen sink! It will be a creative challenge to see where we store it all! All the luggage was picked up Friday, January 5th. Hope we see it again!!

 

A few years back, we changed all the bill payments to automatic withdrawal. This works well when we are away. And being that we will be gone for the marvelous tax time, we payed forward. And with the expert help of our two boys and wonderful neighbors, all goes well. We thought all the loose ends were tied up, when right after Christmas, we had a wind storm that brought down a 100 foot eucalyptus tree. Tackling the take-down ourselves, we cleaned up the mess, getting some firewood in the process. And we were no sooner done, when nine acacia trees decided to fall, threatening our neighbors shed and lanai. Time to call in the "tree guys"! Hmmmm, wonder if that is because we sent "13" bags??? Oh well, looks like we will be set in the firewood department for next year! Along with that, we had four yards of wood chips from those trees piled high in the driveway, which we are shoveling as we write. Great workout!!

 

So on Saturday, we will fly, first class, no less, out of San Francisco directly to Miami. It will be great just to have carry-ons and one overnight bag. We have a two day stay at the Ft. Lauderdale Marriot North, and should arrive there by a limo, courtesy of Holland America. On Sunday evening, we will join our travel group for a cocktail party and dinner at the hotel. This should be fun, since we know several people who are going again. And having kept in touch by mail and e-mail, it will be fun sharing our adventures for the last two years since the 2005 Grand World Voyage. Monday will be embarkation day, and our very first cruise on the m.s. Amsterdam!

 

So with our fingers crossed for no more fallen trees, you will hear from us soon.

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Oh....I'm jealous!

 

Have an absolutely wonderful cruise.

 

Guess we'll have to wait a while for a review.....;)

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Bill and Mary Ann, sounds like your about to take on a wonderful adventure. Have a great safe trip, looking forward to hearing all about it.:)

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Thanks so much for taking those of us that don't have the time or resources for a cruise of that magnitude with us!!:)

Safe seas and have a fabulous trip!! After all your planning you will be on the Amsterdam in no time!:D :D

BON VOYAGE!!

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Dear Bill and Mary Ann:

 

I'm ready - let's go!

 

Having read every word of your day-by-day report from the Maasdam Boston to Boston cruise this past year, I was thrilled to see this post for your world cruise! Already, you've given us a lot of interesting information to consider. Fascinating.

 

Anything, anytime you can post will be hugely appreciated and greatly anticipated!

 

The Amsterdam is an elegant ship and Apollonia and her husband, Captain Van Zaane, will ensure that your cruise will be the best.

 

Have a wonderful time!

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Bill and Mary Ann:

 

Thank you kindly for continuing the great tradition of the Round the World journals here on CC. Much obliged. You've already given me a bunch of marvelous advice for my own world cruise some day:) I'll follow along with you most gladly!

 

Bon Voyage!

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Dear Bill and Mary Ann,

How great that you're going to share this wonderful adventure with us!

Bon Voyage!

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Mary Ann and Bill: Bon Voyage to you both! What a wonderful experience you are about to share! We love the Amsterdam and hope you will enjoy cruising on her as much as we have. I am looking forward to reading about your adventures! Thank you both for allowing us to have a vicarious experience, too!

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And you're getting out of the city just in time - as a record setting cold front begins to march through. But don't give a thought to those of us you're leaving behind - have a great trip!

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Bill and Mary Ann,

 

I have my chair pulled up to the pc and am eager for the next installment. Have a safe trip and if you have any treess left, I hope they remain intact.

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for allowing us to travel along with you:) I loved Grumpy and Slinkie's journal and am looking forward to yours:) Bon Voyage:) :) :)

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We followed and enjoyed the last 2 world voyages and we are looking forward to your adventure !! Thanks for taking the time, MaryAnn

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Bill & Mary Ann,

 

I am so glad to hear you shipped 13. It makes me feel better. I shipped 11 but we will check 3 suitcases and each have a carry on for the flight. See you at the CC get together on Tuesday.

 

Leslie

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Another eager armchair traveller has bookmarked this thread. Bon Voyage, have a wonderful trip....along with those 13 bags, your luggage includes a lot of virtual stowaways!

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I am also looking forward to reading all about your travels once I get home in early March (I'm only going as far as Hong Kong).

 

See you on board.

 

Valerie:)

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Thanks for taking the time to post your observations and I'm looking forward to reading about the fabulous time I know you're going to have!

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Thanks for taking the time to post your observations and I'm looking forward to reading about the fabulous time I know you're going to have!

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Wow......we are blown away with the kind responses!! We will post as often as time and internet capabilty allows us.

 

One last day of shoveling wood chips, and we are out of here!

 

Be in touch soon,

 

Bill & Mary Ann

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Wow!!! I am truly amazed by your attention to detail, how you've tied up every loose end and left things at home in the best of hands.

 

Now, all you have to do is have an absolutely fabulous cruise! ;)

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Thank you for sharing this trip with us! I really enjoyed reading about the cruise last year from someone else who took the trip.

Unless I win the Powerball or my only really weathly relative leave me something, this is the only cruise I will never take. But I can live it by viewing it with your eye! Enjoy!!

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Another 'Thank You' for allowing all of us to vicariously live/sail along with you on your wonderful journey. Bon Voyage!

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Bill, I greatly enjoyed your Maasdam trip blog and am eagerly awaiting your soon to begin cruise reports.

 

Now if Grumpy would get well and back to cruising and Ides of March hits the high seas again we'd have a trifecta.

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