Well, we have changed our minds. We just found two other cruises and its a lot more ports and just seems to be calling to us more. We will do the Europe, Ireland, Scotland cruise later.
On Royal Caribbean (Navigator of the Seas) we would have a long transatlantic cruise from New Orleans to Rome, Italy with mostly sea days. But... Its 15 days for $399 each and if we take a hop to Italy we would get there a week early and we couldn't eat and get hotels and all our food for $399 each. Plus we would not be lugging our stuff around. It stops in the Azores, Provence (Toulon) France and Florence/Pisa, Italy. All places I have never been.
It gets to Civitavecchia (Rome) on April 21st early in the morning.
We would board the Holland America (Noordam) which is good because Holland America is way head and shoulders above anything else I've ever cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean evenly tying for second for us.
From Rome it goes to Florence/Pisa again (the first time we would spend the day going to see Pisa and the second time we would go to Florence because it is a good distance to each of them, hard to do both in one day because of location).
After Florence/Pisa it goes to Corisa, Naples (most are going to Pompeii but we've been there, will probably go to the Almalfi Coast), Kerkira, Greece, Dubrovnik, Crotia then to Split, Cortia, and then Venice, Italy for 2 days.
From there it goes to Argostoli, Greece and then Katakolon, Greece, then Santorini and finally to Athens for 2 days.
After that it goes to Port Said, Egypt and then Alexandria which is the port city for Cairo. I really want that one - I love Egyptian history and missed the pyramids the last time we went. We are going take a ship's tour because this area is politically volatile and it is the safest way to go - with a huge caravan of busses and many armed guards. I also want to see the Cairo museum.
Then to Rhodes, Greece, Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey, Mykonos,Greece and then we end up in Istanbul.
We will take an overnight ferry to either Crete, Sicily or another city with an American base and then hop home. We will probably spend a few days in Crete first.
The first cruise is 15 days and the second is 27 days so we would be cruising for 42 days.
I think we are getting serious about this one. Not finalized yet but we are really leaning towards it.
Angela, great news you will be able to travel again. Last year we did not travel much, because of Henk's job situation. Yesterday I booked a trip to Budapest (will be our first time there) and in September I am set on visiting my friend in Canada. And I do admit, I miss travelling.
On another good note: Henk has found a temp job today. Depending on the amount of orders, there might be something more solid in the future, but we did hear that one before!
Henri it sounds like a great cruise you are planning. Pisa and Florence you can not do in one day. A couple of hours in Pisa is enough, but you need more time in Florence. It is a lovely city and so much to see. If you have time make sure you go to Fiesole as well.
This week will be a short week at work for me (carnival holiday), so I hope I will sort out the pages for my Japan album. The biggest mistake I made was actually printing 900 pictures, firmly believing I would use them all in a scrapbook. So now it is difficult for me to put lots of them aside and try to make a great album.
I've had a bit of a rough weekend, my cousin (who was like a big sister to me) lost her battle with cancer Sunday evening. It's been rough especially being so far away from home. I had to make the decision to go home (but because of Fulbright's strict policies I'm really sneaking home so SHH!) for the wake and the funeral. She is the one who really inspired me to scrapbook and to come to Germany in the first place. She made the most beautiful scrapbooks I have ever seen and if I get to be half as good as she was that would be amazing. I just needed to share with someone
In the words of my cousin: "Remember to speak sweeter, hug each other tighter, and live each day like it was your last."
This is the first of an 8-pages of layouts on King Tut. If you are interested in early Egyptian history it will be interesting to you. Otherwise you will be bored senseless. Since we will be going back to Egypt this summer I'm excited with the early Egyptian history but know that not everyone is. I would not be if I had not been there before.
When we were there in 2009 it was safe if you used a lot of common sense. When we went to King Tut's tomb at the Valley of the Kings it was a 3 hour bus ride. You had to go on the ships tour buses, no private tours or other transportation.
The dock in front of the ship was just concrete and there were armed Egyptian guards with machines that did not let you wander more than about 30 feet from the ship. In other words, no sight-seeing on your own.
THere were 19 of the ships buses that went and there were armed military guards in front of the caravan, behind it and along side it. There were also armed military stations with guards armed with military weapons all along the route for the entire 3 hours each way.
At first it was a little strange being in that environment but I never felt unsafe but I didn't wander away from the group either. Valley of the Kings was very safe. With the high admission price you would not expect there would be much trouble. And Karnak Temple also felt very safe. We did not go away from out guide or the other tourists. But - with 19 buses with 80 passengers each - there were a lot of us.
Bill said Cairo isn't so bad but you do need military guards to escort the buses. I'm okay with that, guess I'm somewhat used to it now. It is not a place you wander around alone or with just a few people. In fact Bill is concerned about problems at the bazaar so I doubt we will go there. Has been problems there but we should be okay with the pyramids and the museum.
When we were in Alexandria, Egypt in 2009 there was no problem that we detected. We saw soldiers around town but nothing threatening. We walked around town all day and I don't feel our safety was ever threatened.
I do quesiton how much longer we can freely go to this part of the country. I think that is the reason I have been itchy to go back and see what I didn't see before.
So to answer your question, its safe if you stay with a big tour group. It can be dangerous if you wander off by yourself or ignore their laws.
Thank you for your thoughts and kind words. Trying to get readjusted to US time is proving to be somewhat difficult. Trying to take my mind of things by getting some LOs planned. Was able to upload some photos of previous ones so check them out! Lots of food as a heads up lol.
We have traveled to places that were not safe or there was a danger of a natural disaster. So far we have never run into anything (knock on wood). We went to Egypt in 2004 when things were relatively safe. A few months after we left a hotel close to the one we stayed in in Sharm el Sheikh was bombed. It is a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But then again, most accidents happen around the house (that is why we travel to avoid those accidents happening).
But Henri is right. Make sure you travel safe in areas where there might be something going on and avoid places in that country or city that are known. When we were in Egypt, but we saw the same in Bogota, there is police and guards everywhere. We had to go through metal detectors in shopping malls, museums and hotels. It might not look nice, but they are there for your safety.
On the other hand: do not always believe what you see on television. We have a lot of news about the problems and protests in Athens. We talked about it with a friend who lives there and he told us that there are some demonstrations that last an hour. After that everything is back to normal, people go home. If you have to believe the news, there is trouble all day long and that just isn't true.
So travel but think about what you do, but don't be too scared about going places. Just make sure you are well prepared.
Exactly Els - it all comes down to common sense for the most part. And staying alert and being aware.
Unbelievably small world story. In 2009 we were on a cruise to Egypt, India, through the Suez Canal, to Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore and met a woman, Jan whom we both liked immediately.
Didn't keep in touch after the cruise, didn't get to know her that well but we really liked her.
THen when we went on the cruise to Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, China, South Korea and several other places in 2011 - the first person we ran into when we got onto the ship was Jan! This time we really hung out together and had a blast with her.
When we were in Seattle last year we visited her and had her homemade spaghetti sauce and cinnamon ice. Just an awesome visit with her!
I sent an email around to friends yesterday giving them our cruise itinerary and she just emailed me back! She is going to be on this cruise too! We are already getting excited about seeing her again - our 3rd cruise together, all by coincidence. Actually we are taking a 15 day cruise and a 27 day cruise back-to-back and she is only taking the 15 day cruise but still - we get to cruise for 15 days with Jan!
Back to the safety issue - the ship takes a lot of liability and they aren't going to throw you into a really dangerous position or take you to a really dangerous port. However, when you are off the ship stay with large tour groups and you are okay.
In Egypt the security is done by the Egyptian military. You have to go in groups - all the tour buses, whether through the ship or private excursions, the line up the buses and vans and caravan with their military guarding the buses. Sounds creepy but it isn't.
Chile, Peru, Argentina - many countries there are armed military soldiers on the streets guarding builings and keeping peace. It's okay - because of them we can travel there. They keep things safe and you do get used to them.