Showing posts with label cruise fashion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cruise fashion. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Leaving Tradition Behind ~ Heading South for the Holidays

Hot steamy jungles thick with lush tropical plants and vines. . . 
Piranhas –  fish that like to eat meat – human, or otherwise. . .
Anacondas - snakes so large that they can eat goats. . .
Villages along a river bank, so small there is no organized tourism. . .
Now that’s a 180-degrees from the traditional Christmas tree and traditions, don’t you think?
You recall that last week I told you we were leaving holiday traditions behind this year and setting out to stretch our travel lifestyle. Well, this is where we are going to do just that. . . 
PicMonkey Collage
Tropical plants - South Pacific
We will be traveling up the Amazon River!
Slicing through Brazil we will be stopping at small villages on our way to Manaus, a thriving metropolis of 1.2 million people (complete with airport), overnight there, and start our journey back down the Amazon.
I know you are probably shaking your heads. . .your vision of us a la Bogart and Hepburn, clad in khaki-colored safari suits, my wide brimmed hat wrapped with mosquito netting, The Scout paddling our dugout canoe. . .(you can quit laughing now). . . 
Hate to shoot that adventuresome image of us, but we will be traveling on a cruise ship – an ocean going vessel, as a matter of fact. And we’ll be surrounded by top of the line luxury:

We’ll be traveling on Oceania’s Insignia, a ship that accommodates some 672 passengers and 400 staff. Small, by cruise ship sizes, but definitely top of the line luxury by cruise industry standards.

I should probably mention that in addition to the Amazon River, we’ll also be hitting our fair share of Caribbean islands – and that we’ll depart from and return to Miami, Florida with an itinerary that takes us to:


It is a VERY different trip for us, in many ways. . .we are sailing on a cruise line we’ve never tried before and the cruise at 24-days is the longest we’ve ever taken. We are going to an area that we'd pretty much never talked about before - if ever!

PicMonkey Collage

A huge difference will be that this cruise has no requirements for formal attire! We will leave the suits, and little black dresses and related shoes at home!! Aloha shirts will be The Scout’s formal wear and I shall make do with a couple of glittery tops – to wear with those Chico’s Zenergy pants, that I call my travel uniform.

loutro to kirkland 493 (1)We’ve also had to demonstrate a leap of faith – as we had to ship our passports off, along with a variety of documents including financial information, to a company that works with the Brazilian consulate in obtaining entry visas for U.S. citizens. (We didn't have to do that with the passports when trying to buy a house in Greece!)

I am happy to report, the passports were delivered to our front door by the postman a couple of weeks ago, complete with Brazilian visas attached. . .whew!

[Note:  Visas are required for entry into Brazil for American citizens – and they are not inexpensive. Documents are required, including bank account statements.  Depending on the company you use, it could range from $200 – $400 per visa. (luckily, the travel agent we used paid for the cost of our visas, as one of the many benefits we got by booking with them).  Some of you may have obtained your own but when you live in the Pacific Northwest, the nearest Brazilian consulate choices are in Atlanta and California – airfare to either would have made the ‘do it yourself’ option even more expensive.]

There’s a lot to study before we set out! We’ve loaded up on travel guides, novels and true stories about the Caribbean, Brazil and the Amazon.  So far it sounds as though I may often be quoting, Dorothy when she landed in Oz and said to Toto: “We are not in Kansas any more!”
Booking the cruise: I’ll spare the details of booking the cruise other than to say The Scout nailed a great deal by booking through our tried-and-true cruise travel agency, based in New Hampshire. While their lowest prices were comparable to that offered by others, their on-board credits and benefits far exceeded any others and included prepaid tips/gratuities ($720 value), a huge credit to on-board spending ($1,800), FREE unlimited internet ($525), and the cost of the Brazilian visas ($400)! Note: The deal was available to anyone – we don’t get discounts because of the blog or my freelance writing.
That’s it for now.  Happy Travels to you. If you’ve been to any of the places on the map above, we’d appreciate any recommendations or suggestions. We are linking up this week with our friends at:

Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route 
Travel Photo Monday – Travel Photo Discovery 
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Travel Tip Tuesday: That Little Black Dress

With the turn of the calendar page a couple days ago and pouring rain this morning, we realized that our 'travel season' is just around the corner.

That means ‘packing the suitcases’ – those small roll-aboard-sized bags with which we travel in the air or on land and sea -- is also just around the corner.

GreecePt12013 001We have used the same Travel Pro roll-aboard bags for years.We find these small bags are much easier to haul up and down and over uneven European sidewalks and subways (some with long flights of stairs). And they are much easier to get into the narrow rail car doorways and over the grated ramps of Greek ferries. And they must be packed light enough that I can carry my share of the load.

These, now battered, accessories have seen us through our month-long overland sojourns and cruises of varying lengths.

In the photo to the left, I posed as ‘bag woman’ with those trusty travel companions as we set off for Greece last spring: our two roll-ons, my Baggallini purse and tote; and a Travel Pro shoulder tote.

We will be taking the same gear on our 19-day Celebrity Solstice cruise from Honolulu to Sydney this fall. This will be the longest cruise we've been on and 12 of the days will be 'sea days' -- those wonderfully relaxing days spent on the ship.

Cruise ship ‘formal nights’ and our ‘small suitcases’ are not a match made in travel heaven.  But we’ve met the challenge. Here’s how:

DSCF2210The Scout packs a suit, dress shirt, tie and shoes and is set.

((Tie and belt are rolled and tucked inside the dress shoes to save space.)

And I have ‘the little black dress’ that I purchased at Chico’s,  (a U.S. women’s apparel chain)  a couple years ago:


001I tuck in a few scarves, necklaces and tops and I am set for those formal affairs without ever wearing the same thing twice.

The scarf/shawl (pictured above and to the side) is a sequined affair that I bought at at Italian street market (8-euro) and the glass necklace was a souvenir from Rhodes, Greece.

(Scarves and necklaces are my preferred choice of souvenirs these days. They take up little space and can be used both while traveling and back home.)

That same little black dress on another formal night – this time another Chico’s top and a necklace purchased in Madrid -- turn it into a kaleidoscope of color.


Another Chico’s top (I am what they call a 'Chico's Chick')– a poncho of vibrant primary colors (it folds up as small as a scarf) is how I accessorized that little black dress on a Mexican cruise.

Carnival Cruise 2012 089

And for those other ‘country club casual’ dress code times on board, I’ve relied on the basic black or white pants and accessorized it with a few tops – the kind that can work with either.

One example is this top I found at Kirkland’s 1 Best Kept Secret, a designer label sample shop (with fantastically low prices). I can wear it with those black and white pants:

PicMonkey Collage

An afternoon cocktail party last fall aboard Celebrity’s Silhouette was a casual affair: those white pants worked well in the Adriatic Sea and a hand-washable top finished off the outfit.


On another evening, a black shawl replaced the black jacket that I use on shore excursions and ‘dressed up’ a bit, the black pants:
Speaking of shore excursions, when in Europe we’ve usually worn those black or dark colors for which Europeans are known. 

Again, by using a few scarves, I can wear the same basic black outfit and it always looks a bit different – and scarves take up much less room than do tops and blouses. On our upcoming trip we'll be heading into Australia's spring/summer so I plan to wear the whites more often than the dark colors:

SilhouettePt22012 032

That’s it for this Travel Tip Tuesday – sorry you had to see so many photos of us, but I couldn’t think of another way to illustrate this post.  I promise I’ll stay behind the camera in future posts.

Other posts related to packing tips can be found at: 
Bagless Lady
 Pickpocket Prevention
Tuck these in your suitcase

Note: We are often asked for our packing tips and that's what prompted this post. We were not paid or otherwise compensated for the brand name references – we buy, we use, and IF we like something, then we recommend it.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your travel fashion packing tips? Please tell us in the comment section below or send us an email.  Hope to see you here again soon ~


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