Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ready Or Not, Here We Go





















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It is hard to believe that after many months of planning that our journey will begin tomorrow. We look forward to exploring new areas of the world and returning to those locations that we have previously visited.

We are both humbled and at the same time very excited to have the opportunity to sail on the 2010 Crystal Cruises World Cruise. Arrangements have been made by Crystal Cruises to take us from our home to the airport where we will fly to Miami, Florida and then from the Miami Airport over to the Hotel where we will stay prior to boarding the Crystal Serenity on January 4. Our journey begins with the seven day cruise which we will enjoy with our son and his fiancé and our daughter and our son-in-law before the World Cruise begins.

As you can imagine, we have spent countless hours preparing for this journey. In order to keep us as organized as possible, we created spreadsheets and several of those “to do” lists.

For example, we prepared a list of all items to pack, a detailed itinerary which included information about each day of the voyage, each port we will visit and all of the shore excursions we have signed up for. We also created a checklist detailing each and every item that we needed to take care of prior to the start of our journey.

When it came to packing we considered clothing needed on board the ship and in port. While the majority of stops along the way include places where the weather should be relatively warm, we also had to prepare for those stops near the Black Sea where the weather will likely be on the cool side. As we all know the added complexity is that weather is often unpredictable year over year or even from day-t0-day adding another challenge when trying to pack for so many days. Hopefully, we are well prepared for this adventure.

Our luggage is all packed and we are talking about “a lot” of luggage. This includes daytime clothing to wear on the ship and in port, clothing for our daily workouts in the fitness center, along with evening attire. In total, there will be 22 formal nights, 36 informal nights (essentially semi formal) and 57 casual nights. For now,we will keep the exact number of pieces of luggage we are taking a secret except to say that we are taking quite a bit of luggage with us. The picture that we posted purposely makes it challenging to count up the luggage. Just in case you are wondering, those two bears on top of the luggage are not traveling with us.

Items needed for the cruise simply add up very quickly. For example, given the length of this voyage we are taking an entire suitcase almost exclusively devoted to personal care and cosmetic related items and we also are taking a good deal of wire hangers with us to maximize closet space. The good news is that very few if any of these items will return home with us. We are also taking gifts for some of the members of the crew.

We have completed almost all of the items on our “to do” lists, except for the final set of items.

In September, we obtained visas for those countries where visas needed to be secured ahead of time. Once on board the ship Crystal will also obtain the other visas required for this trip which include; Tanzania, Seychelles, Maldives, Oman, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Russia and South Africa.

We read extensively about each and every port we will visit along the way. We have not only reviewed all of the shore excursions offered by Crystal Cruises, but we have already reserved all of the ones that we are most interested in taking during the course of this cruise. In many ports we will take excursions offered by Crystal Cruises, while in other ports we will visit sites on our own. Once on board the ship, we expect to make some changes to this list, after consulting with personnel from the shore excursion department.

We have made sure that our vaccinations were all in order. We received the regular flu shot in early September and were fortunate to each receive the H1N1 Vaccination in early December.

Crystal has an extensive library on board the ship but we usually also take some books with us. However this time around we decided to each make use of audio books which we plan to listen to while we workout in the fitness center so we put a sufficient number of these books on Keith's iPhone and on Anne Marie's iTouch. We can also supplement the audio books with some books from the library.

Before we begin this journey, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks and sincere appreciation to both family and friends for all of the wonderful encouragement, and well wishes, you have given to each of us. We will miss all of you more than you know.

We also was to add special thanks to our wonderful travel specialist, Lynn Segal, for all of her help as we prepared for the World Cruise. As you can imagine, there are many more items that require close coordination and followup for a voyage of considerable length. Lynn was always there for us working diligently on each and every item and we appreciate her dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm.

Lynn and her husband Allen will be joining us on the portion of this voyage that goes between Mumbai and Dubai. They will be the hosts for those guests traveling on this voyage who booked through travel specialists around the world who are affiliated with the same travel consortium that Lynn and her travel agency are also affiliated with. We look forward to their arrival in Mumbai and in sharing a portion of this experience with the two of them.

We are also very appreciative and thankful for all of the assistance that various personnel from Crystal Cruises have provided to us over the past several months as we prepared for this journey. They are truly professional in every way possible.

It is our hope that through this Blog that each of you will feel part of this 115 day journey on board the Crystal Serenity. Please feel free to post comments on our Blog and we will do our best to keep the Blog up-to-date each and every day. You can just post them at the end of the most recent entry.

We would love to hear from you.

It's time. Let the journey begin.

OUR THOUGHT FOR THE DAY....

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.”

Keith And Anne Marie

5 comments:

Nancy P said...

Bon Voyage Keith and Anne Marie!

Wishing you a wonderful journey.

Nancy

Anne Fasfous said...

Bon Voyage, I look forward to following your voyage via your blog and to catching up with you when you reach Dubai...

Anne

Ashley Barrington-Mace said...

Have a fabulous time with your family this week. Enjoy them as you prepare for the WC. Safe travels and we look forward to following your course around the world.

Ashley.

Colonelwes said...

Fairest Winds and Following seas for your Steiner Family pre cruise and Keith/Anne Marie's World Cruise Adventure. best, Wes

sharon said...

Wishing you a safe journey and look forward in all of the photos as you travel. Sharon