Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Brazil to Bangkok: When Opportunity Rocked Our Boat

Last week opportunity rocked our boat ~ striking with the force of a tsunami!

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I’d just tried on the mosquito net head cover given me by my friend, Jeanie. (It fits!)  The lemon eucalyptus mosquito repellent was ordered. Our noses were buried in guides and other books preparing for that Amazon cruise that would replace our traditional Christmas this year. . .

PicMonkey Collage

Then, like the old adage, ‘when opportunity knocks. . .’ .
Okay, so it wasn’t a knock, it was a bit more modern a version - an email from Oceania cruise lines that said:

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If we wanted to volunteer to take one of five longer cruises to different destinations, they’d refund us $3,240 and transfer all of our on-board perks to the new cruise.

Our stages of reaction began with chuckling as The Scout read the email aloud, then we moved  to speculating ‘why’:  perhaps our cruise was overbooked, perhaps they needed to fill the five other cruises they’d offered. 

 Carnival Cruise 2012 043

Then we began pondering . . . there was one cruise that had caught our eye. It was not only going to places we’ve talked about – it was over-nighting in a number of them!  But really. . .

. . .it sounded too good to be true. (After all, a longer cruise for less money on a luxury cruise line?!). . .
. . .there must be some catch. . .
. . .some small print somewhere. . .

We called the cruise line.
We called our travel agent.
Both assured us:

No joke.
No catch.
All true.

And then you might say, we jumped ship – in a manner of speaking!

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We often say our travel lifestyle is one that requires flexibility. In this case it was an exhilarating acrobatic flip – letting go of the trapeze called Brazil and spinning forward in time and place to Bangkok.


We’ll hop aboard the Nautica ship for our Far East Odyssey, as this 35-day sailing adventure from Bangkok, Thailand to Istanbul, Turkey is called. We will sail through the Gulf of Thailand, the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Laccadive Sea, the Arabian Sea, The Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea AND transit the Suez Canal before entering the Aegean Sea!


Don’t Leap without Looking

While we are fantastically excited about the new cruise, let me caution that no matter how flexible your lifestyle, switching plans for a major trip isn’t something to do on a whim. There are a number of details to consider. For example:

Airline changes: Cancelling those flights booked to and from Seattle and Miami. Luckily we used airline miles one way – and booked the higher level of miles so they could be refunded. We’ll deal with Expedia to change the other.

Booking flights to Bangkok and back from Istanbul are going to cost substantially more but that refund will balance out the cost increases.  The Scout has begun scouting.

Passports/visas:  Yes, we’ll need to send our precious passports off into the unknown again to secure visas for three countries on the itinerary – a step that can’t be done until until 90 days prior to the trip.  (The cost of these visas is not insignificant with estimates as high as about $800 for the both of us – this time they weren’t included as a benefit.)

Give and Take: While being at home or gone at Christmas isn't a big consideration for us, our spring travel compass had been pointing back to Greece. . .celebrating Easter in tiny Loutro, on Crete’s southern coast has become a near tradition for us. We’d hoped to take in the 2nd Annual Jazz Festival in Kardamyli in May. Neither of those will happen.

But as I said of the Amazon River cruise, sometimes we need to s-t-r-e-t-c-h our comfort zone.  This spring’s cruise – perhaps even more than the Amazon -- will do just that!

We always welcome recommendations and suggestions for things to do in new places – and we will have a bunch of those on the new cruise . Do you have any thoughts about the places shown on our route map above? 

Again, thanks for the time you spend with us – we read each and every comment and appreciate them all. Every ‘like’ and ‘share’ on Facebook is so appreciated! Welcome to our new followers both here and on Facebook~

Happy Travels to you ~ come back soon!

Linking up this week:
Tuesday Travel 
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox  
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route  
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening


  1. Replies
    1. We think it should be rather interesting - and hopefully not too exciting! Thanks for the visit, Gaelyn!

  2. Holy geez - your life has done a double flip. I love your attitude and the flexibility in your thinking. I think you'll have a marvelous time and I know I'll enjoy reading about it.That's a big chunk of the world you'll be covering.

    1. You can say that again, Leigh. But we've always wanted to see a number of these places and what an easy way to get to them! Thanks much for the visit - always appreciated!

  3. What a great opportunity. It's great that you two have the flexibility to take advantage of it instead of being locked into certain travel dates. If you have time to visit Ayutthaya from Bangkok, definitely go there. Perhaps even arrive a bit earlier so that you can. It's an easy daytrip from the city. Try Chili Crab from Jumbo Seafood in Singapore and visit the Gardens by the Bay at night. It's such a futuristic place. My favorite thing to do in Phuket was just relaxing on the beach if it's not monsoon season. You should be there early enough so that it's not a problem. As for the rest of your ports of call -- I've never been to the rest and look forward to reading about your take on them, especially the Suez Canal.

    1. Oh Michele, thanks for the tips. We do plan to go to Bangkok early so we can do some exploring. I will make note of each idea you listed - thanks so much!!!

    2. BTW, it's best to make a reservation at Jumbo Seafood in Singapore. You can do it online at http://www.jumboseafood.com.sg/reserve-eastcoast.html. I'm not sure which location is closest to where you'll be.

  4. I'm completely speechless (perhaps for the 1st time in my life!)
    Bon voyage, you two.

    1. Oh Marsha - you made me laugh out loud with that comment! Thanks much for the visit today!!

  5. Oh wow, I had been telling my friends about your Brazil trip as we had discussed all of that stuff with getting your visa there. Btw...I can wear a helmet but I remember getting very claustrophobic with a mosquito net covering my head when camping. Maybe it's the difference of having "covers" over my head like when I'm in bed. So, onto this new adventure and wow what an itinerary, Jackie! Just as I was trying to grasp a simple roundtrip flight from Reno to Seattle and back and all that had changed in the world. I was reading this with all of the steps you have gone through and are going through and felt stress...with ME!! :) I would most definitely need someone really sharp helping to change all of that stuff. And yikes, that is tight window on getting the 3 new visas isn't it? Very excited for you both!!! :)

    1. Well it is good there are companies that specialize in those visas so we will ship them off to them and hope they continue to be as good as with Brazil. And I understand completely that feeling of something on your head - I guess it is better than Yellow Fever, but still it was rather strange!

  6. Love that you jumped at this great opportunity. Sure looks like the trip will be worth the effort. Have fun!

    1. No guts, no glory - ha, ha! - we always say. Should be interesting and I do think we will have fun!

  7. WOW! You had me confused. (doesn't take much). I read a different post for #TPThursday. I figure, you are early and are linking this post tomorrow! Okay, not back to the story at hand. This sounds every exiting. When do you leave, and when will you be in Bangkok? You never know our paths could cross. Will you be traveling through Incheon (Korea). Again, there's a chance we could make our paths cross :) This is a fantastic itinerary.

    1. Sorry to confuse you. We leave for San Diego early tomorrow as I have a conference there so I decided to post today and link up tomorrow with this post. The cruise leaves April 15th and we are hoping to go a week early to have some time to explore Bangkok since it has been more than 20 years since we were there. Haven't found an airline yet so will keep you posted on our routing as well. It would be fun to 'link up' again in person!!!

  8. What a wonderful opportunity. It is good you were able to be flexible, but I can understand if you felt a bit overwhelmed as you begin to consider the details to take care of.

    1. As with everything that happens, it will probably all fall into place. Thanks for the visit, Donna - always appreciated!

  9. It looks like a wonderful itinerary on a great ship. Don't look back! :-)

    1. You are correct, Irene, we are future focused here! Thanks for commenting~

  10. wow you certainly have jumped ship! and changed your plans in the final hours. We have never been on a cruise. I will look forward to seeing and reading about yours. It looks like an interesting itinerary. Enjoy!

  11. Unbelievable! But, you two are the jet-setters of the vast, open seas, and such savvy sailors, indeed!! Bon Voyage and can't wait to hear about your Far East Odyssey!


  12. 35 days on a boat sounds like a long time to me! I'm looking forward to seeing your postings re. this cruise. Enjoy!

  13. I think that is wonderful. Looking forward to following your new adventure!

  14. What a fantastic opportunity!!! Great blog; great advice!!

  15. Love it when opportunities present themselves and one has the flexibility to reach up and grab it. This cruise sounds like a dream come true and the destinations are on our "someday" list! P.S. We had an opportunity occur which also required flexibility as we had planned to be in Malaysia this December. Instead we will be housesitting for two months in Curacao and are chilling in Cartagena, Colombia until our gig. Flexibility is EVERYTHING to awesome travel experiences!


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