We’re Cruisin’!

We are docked in Aqaba, Jordan today, but are not getting off the ship. Instead, I will take advantage of having internet and try to get caught up before we are at sea for the next 5 days! The itinerary for the cruise is one we have done before, so we are not touring every port. After we reach Dubai, we will be on a “new to us” cruise, so will be exploring new places.

Here is what we have experienced so far:

This is not starting well. . .


Cruising the Suez Canal

Luxor, Egypt

Waiting for the cruise to begin

I am writing this post while in Civitavecchia, Italy. Soon, we will be starting our next cruise adventure on the NCL Spirit.

Originally, we signed up for back to back cruises. The first would leave from Civitavecchia on February 10th and would essentially mirror the cruise we took in 2016 through the Middle East, ending in Dubai. The second would start in Dubai and travel down the coast of Africa to Cape Town. Total cruise days? 41!

Unbeknownst to us, the Spirit was getting a major refurbishment right before the first leg of our cruise. We had cruised on the Spirit in 2015 and loved the ship, so were pretty happy that we would be sailing on her again; practically a new ship after her spiffing up!

A few months ago, we received notification from NCL that the cruise would be delayed for a day. The cruise line would either pay for our hotel for a night and provide a free transfer from Rome to the port, or give us $300 on board credit (OBC). This was a no-brainer for us; show me the money! We could stay an extra night in Civitavecchia and get ourselves from the airport to the cruise port for much less than $300. We would miss one port, but a new one was added, so no big deal.

A few days before we were set to leave Thailand, we received another notification from NCL. Apparently, there were labor issues in France (where the ship was being refurbished) and the cruise was going to be delayed by 3 more days. This was a bigger deal – 4 ports were removed from the itinerary and now we had to fill 3 more days in Italy. Our compensation would be a 25% refund on the cruise, and 25% towards a future cruise. The dates for the remaining ports were almost all changed, which meant changing pre-arranged tours. Fortunately, that was possible in most of the ports. One exception was Haifa, Israel. The tour company was not willing to accommodate our new date, and would keep 75% of the prepaid amount due to the late notification. Grrr!!! We will be in Haifa 2 and a half days. One of those days is now completely free. I have not been able to find a new tour at this late date, so we may end up taking the train to Jaffa. I was really looking forward to our Masada tour, but it is not going to happen. We will still be able to tour Jerusalem, and I am know that we will thoroughly enjoy it (even though we have toured there before!).

We took the train in to Rome for the day. We have been a couple of times before, so I a, not going to write about it. We just rode the HOHO bus around. I took a few pictures of the Colosseum. We saw so many Smart cars! These baby sized cars are perfect for Rome given that the parking there is abysmal. I love how they park them sideways. I have NO idea how the cars parked around them can get out!!!

Our ship has arrived in port, but is not ready for embarkation for a few more days. So, we relax in our apartment in Civitavecchia while we wait. A few minor bumps in the road related to the cruise, but life is good! We board the ship tomorrow.


As seen in Civitavecchia – a joint dispenser!😱

Here a Wat, There a Wat, Everywhere a Wat, Wat!

You may wonder at the title of my post, unless you have been to Chiang Mai. It was amazing with all of the walking we did how many temples we ran across! Many are found within the old city walls, but we also randomly ran into temples on little side streets everywhere we went. It is hard to believe, but a month has passed since we arrived in Chiang Mai! If you are curious why I have not been posting much, it is because our goal for this trip was a bit different than usual – we wanted to see whether or not we would want to come back to spend our winters in the city, not to be tourists.

The month flew by! We walked all over town (the old city) and all over the outskirts of town. We averaged around 7 miles per day, always avoiding the hottest part of the day by walking in the morning and evening, when the temperature is most comfortable.

If you want to read our impressions of the city after spending a month there, click here: Impressions of Chiang Mai

And, if you want to read about the touristy things we did, here are links:

Mae Ping River Cruise 2020

Tiger Kingdom

Chiang Mai Zoo

Lanna Smile Thai Cooking School