It's A Small World - A Never-ending Pre-trip Report

Flossbolna

Sea days are just so relaxing!
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Corinna, I am at a loss of words. Originally I wanted to come on here to wish you a magical birthday, but due to current events it feels like the only thing I can wish you is that your birthday will not be totally miserable. I am so sorry that you won't be able to visit the park today! I am glad that @franandaj let us know that you are not physically harmed, but it must be a dreadful experience to be in France just now. I am sending you and Graham lots of hugs!
 

Ladygoldenhair

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
She posted on FB that she and Graham are OK. I'll Let her Post any further updates.
Oh, thank you for letting me know, I am not a FB friend, I just spend my quiet nights reading her adventures. It was gut wrenching to watch, but to know a Dis friend is there was like a double blow in the gut. Prayers for safe travels.
 
  • Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    Corinna, I'm so sorry you're in the midst of this tragedy. :hug: I'm glad Graham was with you and you weren't there alone.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Sorry about not coming back here earlier. I have been on late shifts since coming back, which in turn means that most of my computer time is in the morning when the DIS is down for maintenance.

    I'm sorry I missed your send off. I hope you're have a fabulous trip!!!!
    I did.

    Love the nails :)
    Thanks.

    I wanted to take a minute to check in and see if you posted that you were okay with the terrible events in Paris tonight.
    Thanks for your concern.

    She posted on FB that she and Graham are OK. I'll Let her Post any further updates.
    Thanks for having my back and sharing the news on here.

    Originally I wanted to come on here to wish you a magical birthday, but due to current events it feels like the only thing I can wish you is that your birthday will not be totally miserable.
    Considering what happened and the knock on effect that this had, we actually had a lovely day.

    I am so sorry that you won't be able to visit the park today!
    Well, I am in the process of pencilling in the next trip. I got the Dream annual pass and I am intending to go back for their spring festival probably in early March.

    Corinna, I'm so sorry you're in the midst of this tragedy.
    Thanks. I was actually blissfully unaware of what was happening. We had an early night and we were staying in a sleepy little suburb about halfway between central Paris and Disneyland Paris. By the time everything unfolded, we were fast asleep. The first I knew about this was when I woke up at around 2:00 AM and decided to quickly check my emails on my phone and my inbox was lit up with messages of concern. I then went on Facebook and found the same again. At that stage I then went on some news websites to find out what was actually going on, but not before letting people know that we were safe and well.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I have decided to go with the trip report for the Disneyland Paris trip first and should have the first installment of this ready on the weekend. I will post the link on here.

    By tomorrow I should also hopefully be able to post a few updates about upcoming trips. I just want a couple of things to fall into place first and don't want to risk jinxing myself. I can however tell you that I did warn you that this would be the wildest ride in the wilderness and nothing does seem to want to happen like I had hoped, but I am so excited about the alternatives.

    Corinna
     
  • Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    I'm excited to hear about the alternatives :)

    I'm glad you were in an area that was safe in Paris :hug:
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    This year has really been funny when it has come to trips. Every now and again I had a trip where we had to resort to plan B, but this year this happened with every single trip and it looks like this is going to go on into 2016. Still, it is all good and really rather exciting.

    Originally when we started planning our trips for this year, the plan had been that we would combine a cruise on the Dream with a Florida road trip in May and then a cruise out of Galveston and a Walt Disney World trip in December. Unfortunately both of our jobs threw a spanner in the works as far as our May trip was concerned. The leave for this was re-purposed for my coast to coast trip in September.

    At some stage, Graham started to say that it is just to complicated to head to Galveston in December. At that stage I was already planning to add a few days at Walt Disney World at the end of my Disneyland trip so there was really no need to go again so soon. I have to say, the idea of not going to sail on the Wonder was nearly breaking my heart. Over the last few years, the Wonder has become my favourite ship and she is due to be reimagined next year. Although I really like what they have done with the Magic, I am glad that I had the chance to sail one last time on her before they made the changes. I really wanted that opportunity with the Wonder as well. Graham suggested that maybe we should look at going back to Alaska in 2016. That worked for me. I loved our Alaska cruise and this would give me the chance to sail on the Wonder once more before she goes in her big dry dock.

    So when I came back from my coast to coast trip, I decided to do something about leave for Alaska. We had actually discussed doing a back to back cruise as there is so much in Alaska we want to see. Unfortunately I could not get leave on 9 days out of the three weeks we would have needed. So this was not a goer. Alison suggested that I might want to look in joining the cruise that she and Fran have booked and after looking at the prices for the cruise, this looked doable. This is also before the summer holidays in England and Wales so I thought we would be OK in terms of flights as well. How wrong could I be. The flights were 3 times as expensive as we would normally expect to pay. So I did not even get as far as checking leave.

    Graham joined me for the weekend while I was at Disneyland Paris and over dinner on the Friday night, we finally had a chance to have a good chat. We have been pretty much like ships in the night since we got back from Florida. The fact that I am working predominantly late shifts at the moment does not help either. Anyway, we had a leisurely dinner and talked about our holidays next year. We were throwing various ideas around and in the end we decided I would try if I could get the leave for the Westbound Panama Canal cruise. We were already planning this for 2017, but we both love the ports that this involves and we figured it would be nice to see the old canal once more before the Wonder is too big for the old locks.

    So with this decided, I checked the leave situation out as soon as I got back to work. All apart from one day got confirmed straightaway and the waitlist for that day has now been confirmed, too. I had a look at flights and they are quite cheap, too. Now I just have to wait and see if there are going to be Interline rates for the Panama Canal cruise. In the past they have come out shortly after the beginning of the year so the waiting game has yet again started. In all honesty, the normal prices are quite fair and I may just jump on that anyway even if they should not release Interline rates.

    The plan is then that Graham spends a few days after the cruise in San Diego and I take the train up to Anaheim for 3 or 4 days at Disneyland and then we will meet at LAX to fly home. Hopefully I will get the chance to meet Alison and my friend Sue during this flying visit.

    So that is next year. Things have changed rather a lot in terms of my December 2015 leave as well, but I am functioning on about 4 hours sleep today so the rest will wait until tomorrow.

    Corinna
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    Congratulations on the May trip!!! My heart skipped a beat in excitement when I started reading Panama Canal but then realized I'm on the Eastbound one.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    OOH! Nice sounding cruise.
    It is. We have done two Panama Canal cruises previously and they were great.

    Congrats on getting it booked!
    So far the only thing that is booked for this is the leave.

    Congratulations on the May trip!!!
    I am glad that this is working out.

    My heart skipped a beat in excitement when I started reading Panama Canal but then realized I'm on the Eastbound one.
    What a shame that we are not on the same cruise.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    The December trip for this year has been even more difficult to pin down. Shortly after Graham vetoed to the original plan, I found out that a good friend of mine had a cruise booked on the Magic for December. This is essentially the same cruise we all did in 2013, just that it substitutes Castaway Cay for Grand Cayman. I was all over this. Normally December is a good month for Interline rates so this sounded like this would be happening. One drawback was that the cruise only lasts 5 days. So to make is worth our while, we had to combine it with something else.

    Very early on, we looked at other cruise lines and I was actually ready to commit ourselves to a Eastern Caribbean cruise on Carnival, which also sails out of Miami and is due back into port the same day they Magic sets sail. So this would have been perfect. People we know did try to warn us off, but we decided to make our own assessment. So I called the Interline agent that was offering this cruise and my enthusiasm was soon curbed. After all kinds of surcharges were applied, the cruise suddenly cost twice as much and this was more than I was willing to pay. By then our September trips were creeping up on us and we decided that we would enjoy them first and then worry about December afterwards.

    In the meantime, I kept looking though. I noticed that there were a lot of Interline rates available on the Dream and there was a sailing that would work perfectly well with our plans on 7th December. This would mean that we would have a day and a bit to explore Miami from getting back into Port Canaveral. At that point there were only rates out until early November, but we were not going to book anything until we got back from Florida anyway.

    To complicate matters, while I was enjoying myself at Disneyland, they changed the DCL website and now you can no longer retrieve the Interline rates on there, but have to call them. So call them I did and all they had on offer were cruises out of Galveston including the one we had originally discussed. I tried once more, but Graham still was not keen. So I monitored Cruise Fish and a few Interline sites that I am a member of and hoped for the best.

    Not long after it was time for my trip to Disneyland Paris and while I was there, I noticed two things. The cruise on the Dream had almost sold out by then and some Interline rates had been released for January, but no further ones for December. I had to admit that this was not going to happen. I have just over 3 weeks leave booked in December and as our year for leave runs consecutively with the calendar year, I could not move it. So I got used to the idea that I may spent those three weeks sitting at home.

    Once I went back to work after the Paris trip, one of my colleagues mentioned that he had seen a really good Interline deal on Royal Caribbean out of Dubai just before Christmas. The problem for him was the lack of leave and he was also concerned that the flights would be full. This was during the time I was on leave anyway and more or less for fun, I checked what the flights looked like and they looked very promising indeed. Still, at that point I did not do anything about this. It was not until a couple of days later that I decided to have a closer look at this. I actually quite liked what I saw and sent Graham an email with the prices. He sent me an email back that he was up for it if I was. By then I was at work and could not do anything about this until the following day.

    The next morning I rang one of the UK Interline agents and was told that the rate had expired and what they quoted me was significantly higher than the rates that are open to everybody on the Royal Caribbean website. So I politely declined. The same rate was still available via a Canadian agent and I decided to book through their website. What I had forgotten as it was so long that I had actually booked a cruise through an Interline agent is that they do not work with a life system, but have to request the booking from the cruise line. I got and acknowledgement email stating that I would hear back within 24 to 48 hours. So I was a little worried that they would turn around, too and say the rate is no longer available. Fortunately when I was on my way home that evening, I had my cruise documents in my inbox.

    So now we are booked on an Arabian Gulf cruise on the Splendour of the Seas from 14th to 21st December. The cruise sails from Dubai and calls a Khasab in Oman, Muscat in Oman (overnight stop), Abu Dhabi and then makes an overnight stop in Dubai. Dubai we are of course well familiar with to the point that we are thinking of just staying on the ship during the port day there as we have already been to Dubai this year, but the other ports are all new to us. I have also found out that they have spinner dolphins in Oman. We have started to look at shore excursions, but are feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. There is just so much that we would like to do in Oman. Abu Dhabi does not quite capture my imagination as much. I am sure that at one point or the other during the cruise snorkeling, history, culture and scenery will feature. We just have to sort out what to do where.

    Corinna
     

    jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2005
    I'm really fascinated by your cruise out of Dubai. I can't wait to hear more detail on that as that's an area I don't know that much about. Glad you got something to work out so you didn't waste your leave or pay more than you wanted!

    Jill In CO
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I can't wait to hear more detail on that as that's an area I don't know that much about.
    I am very excited about this as well. Dubai was literally love at first sight for me and I am absolutely captivated by the Arabic culture. So it will be great get to see a bit more of the Middle East.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Khasab

    Our first port of call will be Khasab, which is part of the sultanate of Oman. Khasab is located on the Musandam peninsula, which is perched on top of the United Arab Emirates. It is often called the Norway of Arabia because of its fjords. There are a number of different species of dolphins that hang out in these waters including bottlenose, common and spinner dolphins. I was very excited when I read that they have spinner dolphins. I always thought that they are a Pacific dolphin. I fell in love with them when I got to snorkel with them in Hawaii in 2012 and I would love to see some again. They offer boat tours on traditional Omani Dhows and this is what we have decided on for an excursion in Khasab. It looks like we will be treated to some stunning scenery with the fjords and mountains. I am hoping that we will get to see some dolphins on this excursion, but if not I will keep my eyes open while we are cruising. We also will get to swim and hopefully do some snorkelling.







    The excursion we booked is only half a day and we will spend the afternoon exploring Khasab on our own. It looks like there is some pretty stunning architecture and I read that the castle/fort is well worth a look. I kind of feel that Khasab has already stolen my heart before I even got there.





    Corinna
     

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