Every year we take a trip. Some years we go overseas and some years are touring thru the US. The common factor is that I plan each one and then implement those plans on the journey. And although it’s a lot of fun, it’s also a tremendous amount of work.
So this last fall when we start batting around ideas for our ’08 trip, I stated I did NOT want to do some big excursion. I wanted a vacation where I could relax…maybe a resort or something like that. Just something that once I got it planned out, on the actual vacation I didn’t have to oversee a thousand details.
The trip we came up with was a cruise. Now we had to decide “where”.
An Alaskan cruise was nixed by Himself since he does that twice a year. (One of these days I’ll do it!) Caribbean was kinda ‘ho-hum’ to both of us. It’s so overdone now and we aren’t partiers. I didn’t feel like going overseas for a Mediterranean cruise. So we started leaning towards a Hawaiian cruise. A friend went on one with his wife last June and loved it.
But while researching the different cruise lines, I saw itineraries for cruises thru the Panama Canal. Wow! I trotted that pony past Himself, and he was just as excited as I was.
Out with Hawaii and in with the Panama Canal.
I found out that the Canal season is September thru April. After that, the lines bring their ships to the Caribbean for the summer party season. Since Himself works Jan – April and June – mid Sept, that narrowed down the ‘when’ pretty quickly.
We ended up going with Princess Lines (#2 choice was Holland America). Reason for Princess is that it offered everything we wanted at a better price. It’s not as glitzy as Holland America, but I really don’t care about a golden lobby.
We have a balcony suite on the right side of the ship (so we can watch land as we sail from the Canal to CA). The ports of call are Aruba, Columbia, thru the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Huatulco Mexico. We get on in Ft Lauderdale and off in Los Angeles.
I can’t pick our excursions until July! --Sigh-- But looking at what they have offered this last season, I know what I’m aiming for. Aruba – snorkeling off a wooden sailing boat, Columbia – Panoramic Cartagena, Folkloric Show, the Canal is a thru cruise with no excursions, Costa Rica – a jungle canopy tour, Nicaragua - Colonial Granada, Masaya Volcano & Craft Market, Guatemala - Lake Atitlan & the Mayan Highlands, Mexico - Rural Communities & Traditions.
In Ft Lauderdale we want to go on an Everglades airboat tour, a cruise along the Ft Lauderdale shore and dinner at the Mai Kai dinner show. In LA, we’ll probably go with Gray Line and do a Hollywood tour and rent a car for a run down to San Diego.
And there are things to do while you’re sailing too. Of course the first thing everyone thinks of is eating. Yes, there’s plenty of food. With Princess you can pick either seated dining (where you have the same time and table every meal) or open dining (such as a restaurant). We are doing open dining since we don’t want to be tied to a schedule or set of people. Seated and Open dining have the same menu, just a different atmosphere. There are 3 formal nights, which will be fun! (Can’t wait to go shopping for that!) But there are also classes offered – such as pottery, cooking, photography and so on. There’s the spa – I’m going to get my first full massage and facial!!
And the best part is once I get off that plane in Florida, I am The Queen. Everything will be set up and all I have to do is enjoy!