I’ve been doing one of those tagged challenges on my FB page: Post a photo every day for a week with the theme of nature. It’s quite fun, really, because it’s meant I’ve spent time looking through folders of photographs in Picasa and in doing so, I’ve revisited several places and enjoyed the remembering. I took the photo above whilst on a cruise a few years ago, sailing off the coast of Papua New Guinea and thought it looked as though someone had thrown a pot of paint at the sky.
As regular readers will know, we really enjoy our annual cruise. I never tire of watching the sea, the sky and the ever changing pattern of the waves. Though I love the fun and spirit of our road trips and am curious enough about the world to want to spend time travelling independently off the beaten track, there can be no more comfortable way to see the world than from a luxury cruise ship.
There’s one problem though: if the ship isn’t going somewhere you fancy, then you have to think again and that’s exactly what happened when we were ready to book something for early 2017. We were not ready to revisit the same places we’ve been in recent years and the itineraries didn’t include places on our wish list at the time of year we want to travel. There wasn’t an obvious answer, so we dithered a while until one possibility occurred to us. It was on a brand new ship which was creating much curiosity and excitement and of course, by the time we had the idea, others had got there first and there was a waiting list.
We placed our deposit and added our names to the bottom of it, hoping that, as the weeks sped by, people would change their minds and cancel. We were advised that we were twelfth in line, which seemed pretty far from the top, but then, a few weeks later, we were seventh. We were unsure whether to be “squeaky wheels” and call the reservations people from time to time to ask how things were going, or whether to be patient and have confidence that they would call us if something came up. The final payment for the cruise in question was due mid-August, so as July came to a close we were hopeful that money might provoke at least a couple of cancellations (I know, horrible, isn’t it!?) But whereas we Europeans have steep cancellation policies which make us think twice before committing to a booking, in other parts of the world, full refunds mean that plans are frequently changed when a better offer comes along.
In the meantime, we were musing on alternatives for early 2017. Maybe we’d head in an easterly direction and meet up with Tra in Saigon for a few days before exploring another corner of SE Asia? My Hero fancies seeing some of the Silk Road and so we’d been looking at Uzbekistan and maybe some of the historic parts of Iran. But I didn’t fancy the idea of wearing a burqa for two weeks and one way and another, we hadn’t really focused on anything specific.
To satisfy our little cruise “itch” we agreed to join our sweet Californian friends Ellis and Mary in the Baltic this autumn. Originally, we were just going to meet up with them for a weekend in Copenhagen, but the more we thought about it, the more we realised we really wanted to sail off on our long-time favourite ship with them too! Well, it would just mean that our 2017 cruise happened to be in late 2016, wouldn’t it?
So, here we were, in early August, still mulling over thoughts of travelling somewhere fun and exciting in the New Year, even if we haven’t a clue where just yet. A chat with the cruise company last Friday confirmed that the new ship had proved very successful during its first couple of cruises and that, yes, we were still waitlisted. Seventh in line. Never mind. We had thought when we placed that deposit that this might happen and decided that perhaps we’d better begin thinking more seriously about our plans now.
Imagine my Hero’s reaction then, when checking his email in between University Challenge and Only Connect last evening, he found an email with the header “Your Booking #XXXX, Suite XXXX”. Sure enough, on closer reading, we find ourselves with a confirmed booking for just the right suite in just the right place on the cruise we rather fancied on the posh new ship next January.
Less than 24 hours later, we have confirmed flights, we’ve selected our seats on both outward and inbound planes, we’ve booked hotels and the car park, we’ve spoken to or emailed friends and decided which excursions we would like to take, booked places on those we can and putting our names down for a couple which are currently full.
We are so very lucky!!