Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 a Great Year of Travel

It is the morning of January First 2016, wow 2016 where has the time go.  Seems like just yesterday we were welcoming in 2015 and so excited with what the new year had planned.

Cruising was in the forefront last year.  We had a few trips planned  -- Caribbean in January and the Mediterranean in the Fall.  But hoped we could squeeze in a few more cruises closer to home.

It all started with a trip back to the Caribbean for our first cruise on the Royal Princess.  You can read all about that voyage here.  That trip was so relaxing, so much fun, and a great time for us to reconnect with old friends we haven't see in a while and a time to make new friendships.  

30 days on the Royal forces you to relax and each time you stay on you really get to connect with the staff, they are always surprised (and hopefully happy to see you again).

Back home and back to work made us dream of what was next.  We started scanning the repositioning cruises and what worked within our work schedule. 

We wanted to get back on the Crown Princess and it was doing a seven day repositioning to Vancouver and would only require a few days of banked overtime.  We jumped on it. 

So in May we flew to Los Angeles and boarded the Crown for seven days up the coast to our home.  

This itinerary allowed us to visit with friends Angelique and Simon in San Francisco for two days as the port stop was an overnight.  Here is a link to the blog at start of the trip.

It also was the first time we had ever stopped in Astoria, Oregon.

This year also marked a milestone birthday for me, and of course Princess too.  We both turned 50 this year.  I knew I wanted to celebrate it on board but what/where could we go that wasn't too expensive and could fall over the long weekend with only a few days to get covered at work.

We decided to head back to the Crown for 7 day Alaskan Cruise out of Seattle.  We have been to Alaska many times but have to say this was the best cruise for seeing so many whales!  Here is a link to that trip's blog report.

Again we were spoiled with great service and seeing so many dear friends.  It was also fun to be on board with Claudio who shares my birthday.  I think I cried tears of joy ten times this trip.

We even were able to meet up with Daniel in Skagway as he was on a different ship and in port at the same time as us.  

This birthday will never be forgotten and I feel totally blessed to have so many amazing friends who made it extra special.

This year our niece moved to California, just outside of San Francisco.  We knew they would not be there for very long and we really wanted to see them as they normally live on the other side of the country.  

The Grand was heading South after it's Alaskan season over a weekend and adding two days in San Francisco allowed us to visit with Erin and the boys.  

It also was an added bonus as Laura and Dolores were going to be on board.  We hadn't seen them in ages and knew the trip was sure to be a fun one with them on board.  Here is a link to that cruise's blog.

so nice to see Chef Joel again
Also Victor and Paul would be there and we happy to get to spend some time with them both. 

It was also the first time we purchased the all inclusive drink package - read my thoughts on the drink package.  

Our 20th Wedding Anniversary was this year too and we had planned a big trip to the Mediterranean.  Our first time to Europe on a cruise.  It was booked over a year and a half ago and tons of research went into this trip.  So many friends helped us with great tips and ideas.  

It sure did not disappoint either.  It was a trip of a lifetime. Read about that trip here.

Spending time in Rome ahead of the cruise was a big highlight.  

Then sailing all over the Mediterranean visiting places I had only read about kept us both in awe every day.  

We were also tickled to be sailing with friends we had not seen in a long time.  

Again so many new friends were made and special memories.  

2015 will be an amazing year for us with regards to travel. In all we did 8 cruises, 4 different ships, 74 days at sea and too many memories to count.

2016 starts out with a big celebratory cruise marking Bernie's 60th Birthday.  We are heading back to the Caribbean to join the Royal Princess. 

But once back we don't have any other cruises planned as of yet.  And we only have one future cruise credit in our bank. Many variables are causing us to hold back on booking. Mainly the exchange rate.  I wrote a blog about the cost of cruising going up, you can read it here.

My facebook page - Cruising Princess Cruise Line with Vickie - has grown considerably this past year.  I am still amazed by it's growth and all the great people who follow it. Everyone is so helpful and thoughtful and love the respect that people show each other when talking about cruise travel.

I don't know what the future entails with the blog and the facebook page but for now I still enjoy doing it so I will keep it up.  

Keep following as we head out next week for our next big adventure.

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