TRAVEL THERE: PRESSURE COOKER PLANNING
With 18 months to plan our Anniversary Cruise on Celebrity’s new Edge, it would seem that everything should have been smooth sailing, but as I shared last week, almost from the day we booked to the day we left, life was just one big crisis after another. So, what cruise planning did I manage. I’ll tell you.
Plodding Through the Planning
In late August, I decided I absolutely had to start thinking about the cruise. Deb was in her new house and even though Bill was all tied up remodeling our rent house, surely we could start thinking about the cruise. I got on the Celebrity Cruise Line website and started studying everything they had there about our dining choices and the shore excursions. Excitement abounded while I looked at all the options, but Bill wasn’t as thrilled about it when I tried to share the news. I understood why, but it still made me sad.
The next time I got around to thinking about the cruise was late September and the first thing I discovered was that much of the research I had done in August was null and void, because all the pricing had changed. I emailed my travel agent, Sandra Rubio of CTC Travel. She was glad to hear from me, because since we’d booked the cruise I’d been fairly invisible, but come to find out, the shore excursion pricing I’d been looking at was based on a special they’d been running. Not much she could do about that. The special was over.
Because we knew the cruise was going to cost so much, we’d already decided to keep a low travel profile for the year, but as I began to actually plan the cruise, I knew this event was going to take up more than two years of travel budget – more like 3 to 5 years – and all the while, we’re bleeding money on the house we were trying to sell. Still, I had to start making some decisions. If we were going to have a vow renewal ceremony, Sandra encouraged me to go ahead and book it. I got over that hump in October.
The next hurdle was considering pre and post trip excursions, so we’d know when to book the air. I planned the trip 14 ways. I priced it out with the Celebrity pre and post trip excursions. I even had Sandra price out DIY pre and post shore excursions. After all that research, we finally decided to just do the cruise and splurge on the best short excursions during the trip. I was ready to book our airfare on January 7th, exactly the number of days ahead all the travel bloggers say you are supposed to book international air.
We got air hundreds of dollars less than the cruise company was offering it and I had just started to relax. Things were shaping up for our trip in spite of what was happening with the stupid real estate problem. And that’s when I got an email from my Sandra with the words “obstructed views” in it. It’s a darn good thing we’d booked non-refundable air, because had we not done that, just days before, chances are we would have cancelled the cruise. It was just too much. There had been too many complications about the cruise and in our lives. Obstructed balconies made me want to stay home.
So what did we do? Come back next week and I’ll let you know.