Thursday, December 2, 2010

Varhola Cruise History

While sitting in our stateroom aboard our most recent cruise, on Celebrity Constellation, my wife Diane and I were trying to remember which cruises we had taken over the last 12 years and where they went. Maybe needless to say, it took us a little while to reconstruct this! She has a pretty good memory, however, and I think we did a pretty good job. Some of the entries might be missing ports or even inadvertently had incorrect ones added that we are remembering from other cruises, and not all sea days are reflected, but we are confident that it is pretty accurate overall …

August 1998: Royal Caribbean, Majesty of the Seas, seven day, western Caribbean (Fort Lauderdale/Miami; Labadie, Haiti; Kingston or Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; private island, Bahamas; Fort Lauderdale/Miami). This was pretty typical of a "starter cruise" in terms of length, line, and itinerary.

January 2002: Royal Caribbean, Radiance of the Seas, seven day, southern Caribbean (San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; San Juan, Puerto Rico).

December 2002: Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), Norway, seven day, eastern Caribbean Miami, Florida; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; maybe other ports … private island, Bahamas; Miami, Florida). My parents, Mike and Merrilea Varhola, accompanied us on this cruise. Launched as SS France in 1962, Norway was reminiscent of a classic ocean liner and, of all the ships I have been on, was my favorite. Sadly, she was badly damaged by a boiler explosion in 2003 and was eventually dismantled at an Indian scrapyard in 2008.

December 2004-January 2005: NCL, Norwegian Wind, 13 day, Hawaii & Kiribati (Oahu; Hilo or Kona Hawaii/Big Island; two ports in Maui; Kuai; two sea days directly south; Fanning Island, Kiribati; two sea days directly north; Hilo or Kona Hawaii/Big Island; Oahu).

September-October 2006: NCL, Norwegian Jewel, 13 day, Aegean, Adriatic, and eastern Mediterranean (Athens, Greece; Corfu, Greece; Olympia, Greece; Crete, Greece; Santorini, Greece; sea day; Alexandria, Egypt two days; Mykonos, Greece; sea day; Kuzadasi, Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey. Best itinerary ever! We did an excursion in every port except Corfu, including an overnight trip to Cairo while we were in Egypt. We also spent one night in Athens before the cruise and three nights in Istanbul at the end of it.

January 2007: Princess, Regal Princess, 10 day, Panama Canal (Acapulco, Mexico, to San Juan, Puerto Rico). This was the first cruise on which I served as the ship’s lecturer. This image is from one of the man-made lakes that are part of the Panama Canal and which our ship crossed during the cruise.

May 2007: Royal Caribbean, Empress of the Seas, seven day, Bermuda (Norfolk, Virginia, roundtrip).

c. October 2007: Azamara, Journey, seven day Bermuda, (roundtrip from Cape Liberty, New Jersey).

c. November 2007: Azamara, Journey, seven day, Bermuda (roundtrip from Cape Liberty, New Jersey). This one I did on my own after the cruise line asked me to stay on board and lecture for an additional week and Diane had to return to work! I spent a lot of the five days in Bermuda exploring the interior of the island, the highlight of which was a nine-mile hike along with historic Rail Trail (part of which, near one of the historic lighthouses toward the east end of the island, appears in this photo).

January 2008: Princess, Coral Princess, 10 day (?), Panama Canal (roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale). My details on this one are a little fuzzy because I took my daughter, Hayley, with me instead of my wife, who serves as my institutional memory. We took three excursions, including a horseback ride in the Costa Rican rainforest, a canoe trip to a native village in Panama, and a bus trip to a number of historic sites in Kingston, Jamaica (an image from the first of those excursions, of Hayley on her Costa Rican forest stallion, appears here).

September 2008: NCL, Norwegian Pearl (?), six day, New England & Canada (roundtrip from New York City/Manhattan). This one was different than the norm in that it took us north instead of south! We did not take any excursions but did independently explore all our ports of call, to include visits to a number of museums and at least one fort.

October-November 2008: Celebrity, Constellation, 11 day, southern Caribbean (Cape Liberty, New Jersey, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida).

November 20-December 4, 2010: Celebrity, Constellation, 14 day, southern Caribbean. This was our longest cruise to date and included three ports of call we had not yet visited, including Bonaire, Grenada, and Curacao (from which this picture was taken). No excursions but we are wishing we had taken one to a beach at some point early in the cruise.


hkristine said...

The criuse was amazing! Panama and Cost Rica were my favorite by far. Walking around the old city in Columbia came in as a close second. I remember when the rain forest guide Jose' picked up the poisonous dart frog to show the group. He wasn't afraid of how potentially lethal it could have been to him. Those horse were hardly happy to be carting my fat butt around the rain forest though. :)

-Love the blogs dad, they're really neat!

Diane said...

As I indecated on FB, nice hat.... who carries a purse while riding a horse???:-)


Hey, you've got to carry your stuff in something -- and I was actually wearing a backpack during this excursion! That over-the-shoulder Versipack I am using now would have worked a lot better but you've got to use what you've got on hand.