It won’t be long!

I’ve mentioned before that it took two years to talk dear Hubby’s parents into going on a cruise after our first indulgent experience.  Gifting them with their first Caribbean Cruise for their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1987, was incentive.  They were bitten by the cruise bug and went on at least ten more cruises, two of which were with us.  One cruise took them to Iceland.  Mom just raved about it, and Hubby has wanted to go there ever since. 

We’re finally going there this summer . . . along with a few other ports.  We booked the “Voyage of the Vikings” and look forward to visiting some new places and a few we’ve been to before.

Prepping for a thirty-five-day cruise has its challenges, even for those who are experienced. A notebook with sections labeled: Pre-cruise; Flight Info; Cruise Documents; Insurance; Calendar; Cruise Critic Info (more on that later); Tours; and Post Cruise; sure helps with keeping track. As soon as something is booked, it’s printed and added. This is one of the most popular cruises for Holland America, so we booked in October 2018.  Since the cruise begins in Boston, Massachusetts, we’ll go a week early to visit family members and friends and see some sights we missed last time.  We also started researching an Air BnB to insure we had a good selection.  Initially I found one that looked good, but when I shared the information with our friend, Amber, (who lives there) she said, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not in that area!”  She kindly checked out several rentals and recommended a few.  When I settled on one and shared it with her, she assured me it was in a good location and conveniently located to public transportation.  We’ve heard that driving there has its challenges, so Uber will also be handy.

It seemed prudent to take a direct flight, so we made a reservation at the Holiday Inn (near the airport) in Portland, Oregon. They have a convention center with plenty of parking and let us leave our car for an extended period. To avoid complications on the other end, we reserved a hotel, near Boston Logan Airport, for the day the cruise returns, just so we don’t have to rush. Since it’s a three- and half-hour drive home from Portland, we’re staying another night to be able to rest well after our return flight.  Thank goodness for frequent flyer miles and hotel points!

With the preliminary details covered, it was time to start planning the fun part!  Yet again, the Cruise Critic website has been a valuable resource.  We joined their online “Roll Call” (for those sailing on this trip) and were soon connected with a LOT of other cruisers.(Every cruise has a “roll call” and we’ve found it to be a valuable resource for learning about private shore excursions and finding people with similar interests before we sail.) Thankfully someone usually takes on the task of organizing at least one “meet and greet”; a cabin crawl (to view different types of cabins); shore excursions; and other fun activities.  An experienced fellow cruiser created a spreadsheet that includes the itinerary; names (cabin number, dining preference, etc. for those who have signed up); port; excursion; currency; temperature; useful websites; member tips; and other helpful information.                                                  

With several tours already booked, our countdown clock is ticking!  Sixty-two days until we board!  My “kister” (cousin who is more like a sister) and I have a twelve-day trip in June to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.  When I return on July 1st, I’ll have just over two weeks to get ready! Is it too early to start packing?