2009 Cruise Schedule, revisited

Well, I have the first half of 2009 lined up: In March I am sailing on the MSC Lirica on a 10 day Caribbean Cruise with stops in the Dominican Republic, Antigua, St Marteen, Tortola, St. Lucia and San Juan, Puerto Rico. MSC is an Italian line, which got some bad reviews when they first tried to penetrate the American cruise market with their Caribbean offerings (they have been taking Europeans around the Med for years). A while back they brought on the former President of RCI'S Celebrity Cruise line, and since then they have steadily improved the product, and the reviews are getting better and better. Personally, reading between the lines, most of the dissatisfaction seems to be from people who expect this Italian line to be just like their favorite American cruise ships. People who are more adventurous, and better traveled, seem to "get" the way they do things, and have a pretty good opinion. Personally, I love Italian food and culture, and I am really looking forward to this cruise, as I always look to try new things and see things from a different perspective. In any case, in over a hundred tries, I have failed utterly to have a "bad" cruise. Cruises are kinda like sex and pizza - when they are good, they are great, and even when they're bad, they're pretty good.

Following that, in April/May, I am going on the Queen Mary 2, Eastbound TransAtlantic (New York to Southampton, England). I am really looking forward to 6 days on the largest ocean liner ever built. Everything I have read about this ship and cruise has been fabulous. Despite their being absorbed by Princess and Carnival PLC, so far, by all reports, Cunard has maintained their standards, and offer a truly classic luxury cruise experience.
Moreover, once in England, I will probably hang out a few days. My latest plan entails taking a train to Liverpool for a couple days of Beatle tourism, and then a ferry to Dublin for a couple days before flying home. For some reason flying from Dublin to LA is about half the price of flying from London to LA, so the price is almost the same to stay the few days extra.

And next, over the 4th of July weekend, I will be joining 30 or so of my Santa Fe High School Alumni friends for a 3o year Class Reunion. It's just a 3 day Carnival Paradise cruise down to Ensenada, but, obviously, it's more about the Reunion and hanging out with some old friends.

In the meantime I am on the lookout for some good cruises in the last half of the year.

But first, I have to get thru Christmas.......

This just in...add a two day Cruise to Nowhere on the Carnival Splendor. Apparently Carnival has a couple open days as the move the Splendor from her current home port in Florida, around South America, to begin a new season of 7day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach. Rather than leave her tied up doing nothing, they are taking some people on a quickie two day trip...and I am one of the lucky ones.

EDIT: Okay, 86 the QM2...stuff came up.

But now I am adding a 3 day on the Carnival Elation, May 28th...taking my neice and two nephews, ages 5, 7 and almost 9...so I am sure I will be able to report on the Camp Carnival thing.

Next, I have added in a 7 Day Alaska, Sept 5th on the Norwegian Star. I sailed on NCL in Hawaii, and had a good time. This is a first time trip to Alaska (I never really wanted to go, frankly, as I don't think it's a vacation if you have to wear long pants and shoes). NCL is giving me a terrific deal as a reward for becoming a FREESTYLE SPECIALIST, that I couldn't pass it up.

And then an 8 day Mexico Cruise on the Carnival Spirit out of San Diego, on Nov 19th - got roped into it by some new friends (ones I sailed with on the Splendor). By making it 8 days instead of 7, and leaving from San Diego instead of Long Beach, she can get all the way to Acapulco, along with Manzanillo and Zihuatenejo, instead of the usual Mex Riviera ports. While I have been to each of those ports, nowhere near as many times as the old Cabo, Mazatlan, PV thing...so that should be cool.

So, that's the schedule (for now)

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