We are going on a Trans-Atlantic (TA) cruise next April. Yep, kinda scary but since we did the repositioning cruise from Australia to Hawaii, and no pirates got us, I figured I could do a TA with no problem. I absolutely love cruising and the days at sea are wonderful – we don’t have to get up early for an excursion at a port-of-call, we can just hang out anywhere on the ship and read, or people watch, or visit with friends we met on CruiseCritic.com, or take a nap, or sit on my private balcony and watch the ocean go by!
CruiseCritic.com (CC) is an on-line forum where you can meet fellow cruisers on your cruise ahead of actual boarding the ship. All you need to do is find your cruise line (we’re loyal to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines), find your ship, find your actual itinerary and sign up! Once you have 25 signed up for your CC forum, the cruise line will give you a little party on-board with drinks and snacks and door prizes. Jim won the bottle of champagne on the last cruise! Through CC for our Australia cruise, 34 of us went on an excursion in Bora Bora that included 3 outrigger canoes, snorkeling a reef, feeding the stringray, swimming with the sharks and an authentic Polynesian meal on the beach in a cove sitting at picnic tables in the water. It was the best excursion I’ve ever taken and would take it again in a heartbeat.
For this TA cruise, there are a number of cruisers that have been to Europe and to the scheduled ports-of-call. These wonderful folks have gone over and beyond and have organized private tours for those of us interested. Of course we’ve signed up for several and we’re still over 10 months away from sailing! Here’s our itinerary:
We have tours scheduled for the Azores (Portugal), Cork (Ireland) (no I don’t think I’ll be kissing the Blarney Stone), and Amsterdam (canal tour). Since we port so far away from Paris (1 1/2 hour drive), we’re taking the ship’s bus into the city and then catching the HoHo (Hop On Hop Off) bus to see all the sites! Believe it or not we have nothing scheduled for Brussels but I’m sure our fellow CCers will come up with something! We debark in Copenhagen, Denmark and plan on spending the night there so we’ll be able to see a little bit of that city before ending our wonderful vacation and coming back to reality!
Following the CC forums, I’ve picked up a few helpful tips for packing and items to take with us. For instance, e-Cubes! I first saw these when Valerie & Ian stayed with before we boarded our ship for the Alaska cruise last July. After reading so many positive reviews about these little gems, I ordered myself some and let me tell you, while we were driving from Washington state to New Orleans, my luggage stayed nice and neat while Jim’s was a total disaster. While we were staying in an extended stay hotel while waiting to get into the apartment, my clothes stayed nice and neat (didn’t want to unpack since we were only going to be there 6 days) while Jim’s was a jumbled mess. Yes, of course, I got pink!
Another very useful item is this Belkin charger for 3 plugs. With all the electrical items we now take on vacations with us that need to be charged, this will be very useful. We won’t have to have items plugged in all over the cabin! I can’t wait to use it!
That’s all for now!