End of cruise…Final cruise bill…Hello, Boston! The city where I was born…Three days until we depart for Vancouver…

Our last day at sea, the sun peeked out.  Photo taken using my new camera!  Yeah!
The fare for both of us for an upgraded balcony cabin for the 14 night cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas was US $3976.70 including taxes and gratuities.

Always on top of the fare is the bill for items not included in the fare. For the 14 nights our bill was US $939 which included: Tom’s drinks, one of four (at US $379) excursions three of which we’d paid in advance for private tours, one US $399 Internet package for Tom’s computer and the cost of dining in specialty restaurants on three occasions. 

We were cautious with our spending staying well within our budget of US $1200 for extras aboard ship.  As a result, the grand total US $4915.70.  For the 14 days, the average daily rate was US $351.12, certainly no more than the average cost per day for a hotel, transportation and meals.

It’s hard to believe the cruise is over. We’ve had a fabulous time meeting new people, hanging out with other fans of CruiseCritic and engaging in several planned fun activities including:  Meet and Mingle, Slot Pull (58 of us won US $1 each), the Cabin Crawl, a special luncheon , dining in specialty restaurants with new friends and more.

We'll stay in touch with our news friends whom we hope to see in the future. 

A sunny morning at the pier in Boston.
Somehow, with the annoying WiFi issues, we've managed to post for most of the 14 day cruise.

We didn't become ill on this cruise by beefing up our sanitation methods
including wrapping cloth napkins on our hands when using tongs and salt and pepper shakers in the buffet restaurant.

When walking up or down stairs we avoiding touching handrails and made every effort to avoid shaking hands which when unavoidable, prompted us to immediately wash our hands.  We washed the exterior of our mugs several times daily.

Neither of us suffered with seasickness on several days of rough seas.  Nor did either of us get carsick on the 4X4 off road adventure in Iceland.

We visited Normandy, France, soaking up the emotional historical facts and stories,  We walked around Stonehenge in England and visited the Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland and sites in the port of Cobh, Ireland, the last port of call for the Titanic, a hundred years ago.  We dined in an authentic pub in Ireland.

We toured the barren Iceland, fascinated with its geothermal activity where the most active volcano is currently hinging on a major eruption.  We traveled in a crazy beefed up 4 x 4 vehicle on a fast running river and up mountains with no roads.  We never saw the Northern Lights in the two days in Iceland when it rained constantly nor the volcano which was too far away.

We dined, we laughed, we slept well including on the nights of rough seas, of which there many.  We experienced seven time zone changes, flipping our digital equipment and biological clocks back and forth.

We purchased a new camera aboard the ship, tax free, at a competitive price and learned to use it when lounging in the cabin.  More on that later when we post our first photos.

The port in Boston.
We attended a few shows, a few seminars, and listened to a welcoming speech by the ship’s captain. We dined in specialty restaurants on three occasions at a total combined cost of US $128 with excellent food and service.

As I write this now, its Sunday morning on September 14th.  We’re waiting to be the last off the ship as we usually do, to avoid standing in line with our luggage, the MiFi keeping us online. 

Soon, we’ll disembark the ship to grab a taxi to the airport to pick up the rental car to head to our prepaid hotel in Stoughton, Massachusetts, close to where family members reside. 

Most likely, we’ll arrive too early for check in but, we'll use the time wisely to run a few errands while we wait including a much needed trip to a Laundromat where we desperately need to do laundry. We’ve placed all the dirty clothing in the duffel bag, making doing so easy.

Its our first time on US soil in 17 months when we were in Florida for a cruise.  Shopping in a US store will be a novelty which I anticipate with childlike wonder.  

It’s been a good cruise. As always, we’ve reveled in each moment, all the while knowing what lies ahead is exciting, carrying with us the memories of everyone we’ve met, everywhere we’ve been and, everywhere we’ll be in the future.

Of course, we excitedly anticipate seeing our loved ones in December as we work our way to the next leg of our journey, the cruise to Hawaii where we’ll live for seven months on four different islands.

The other night in conversation a passenger asked me what we’ll do in Hawaii for seven months.  I paused for a moment, looked into her eyes and said, “We’ll live our lives, our lives of simplicity and ease, cherishing all the exquisite gifts the islands have to offer all the while sharing our story in words and photos about life in Hawaii. 

Buildings at the busy port of Boston.
We’ll share the beauty of each island, its natural wonders, its vegetation, its wildlife and the expenses one might incur living full or part time in the islands.  We’ll research its rich history, mingle with its people, embrace its authentic culture, hoping the avoid the typical tourist attractions. 

With ocean views at each location, we’ll spend many hours exploring and many more hours gazing at the sea whale and other wildlife watching. 
And now, over these next few days we’ll be in Boston, where I was born many moons ago, where my father passed away when I was 12, when we lived in Massachusetts for a mere two years, only to lose him while living there. 

In the next few days, after we visit his grave site, we’ll share photos and the story of losing him through a horrifying tragic accident in 1960.

Life is filled with many joys and many sorrows.  We’ve all been blessed with the exquisite opportunity and privilege of choosing the course of our lives and how we handle the challenges along the way.  We’ve chosen ours, dear readers, which we’ll continue to share with all of you each and every day.


Photo from one year ago today, September 14, 2013:
Due to WiFi problems in Kenya and multiple power outages, we weren't able to post on this date one year ago.


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