I am glad to add any bit of my experience to this or any other board here on Cruisemates. I generally respond to specific queations that I feel I have some experience in, as I have in the past on these boards. Each of my three cruises were memorable, even though there may have been a glitch or two along the way. I don't dwell on negative. That is part of life. Every one of my cruises has given me fine memories. But, on the Veendam, I traveled in Style: 150% satisfaction level on this cruise.
I usually sign-up six months before a cruise and do my research on the ports I will visit. For my last cruise on the MS Veendan, in March 2001, I obtained telephone numbers from this Cruisemates site for the islands I was to visit and called their Tourist Bureaus for information. I received numerous brochures and some maps to prepare me for the sights to see.
Since I choose my cruises for the Ports-of-Call I gather as much information as early as possible to inform me on the culture and activities I can expect when I arrive. I also read travel guides and books on packing for the cruise. This six-month-long preparation gets me more and more excited about the cruise and also enables me to add to my wardrobe in time for the cruise.
Most of the bugs are worked out of my preparation by the time the cruise date arrives. The only thing I can't prepare for is the weather. Since I cruise in the winter and I live in the Wash. DC area, ice and snow storms can present a last minute problem. So far, weather has not been a problem for me.
Since I am a shopper, I search out information on the local crafts produced by the residents of the islands I will visit. I like to add indigenous crafts to my homes decor. .I shop for wood carvings, pottery, wall hanging or any other craft type item as a souvenir of my visit.I'm not into gems or Rollex watches-the're to small to cover my walls. No Early American or Louis the XIV for me. Bamboo and woven baskets, Bagshaw wall hangings and balsa wood carvings from Indonesia are the decor of this abode.
I decorate my home with the treasures of my trips. My house is like a travel agent's office. Any cruise agent would feel right at home in my humble hut. I also collect coffee mugs from the places I visit. I'm planning on adding a mug rack to my kitchen walls that encircles the room at arms length high. I already bought 100 oak pegs to hang the mugs on.I just might have enough mugs to fill it up. I like to bring a diferent mug to work every so often. A little change in my life now and then is good for the disposition. And, nothing helps the disposition more than an arm-full of cruising treasures and a head full of fine cruising memories. That's the best way to end of a yoyage.
Well, Pat you got me a dream'n again. I'm a get'n loose at the lip. Those good memories of my cruises are a get'n me a think'n 'bout another 'venture cruise. Ya' got any suggestions for this lonely traveler? I still have a small spot on my wall that needs just the right de-cor-ation! Maybe a 12 man Polynesian dug-out canoe? Do you think I could get one on the airplane?