10:15 united texts that our 4:05 pm departure is delayed to 9:50. So after a 15 min on hold with United we are rebooked on the 12:52 departure. Can’t reach our original ride so Shanghai a coworker to take us. Posting this from what feels like the Daytona 500 as lovely LaJuan rushes us to the airport. Looks like we will make it.
Our hero (no she wasn’t texting while driving)
Due to my crazy travel schedule over the last three weeks (Boston, Dallas, San Antonio, Boston again) we packed out big bags three weeks ago. That meant we only had to run by Target for bug repellent and come home to pack out bag for DC and Tampa after work tonight (Thursday). Once again I underestimated how long it can take….it’s now 10:42 pm! But we are ready! Haircut in the morning before work, office til noon and then we are off.
Hard to believe the time is finally here. When we booked this cruise it seemed a loooooong way away but the time actually went pretty fast. Just hope the next three weeks move a little slower.
We originally booked the cruise more than a year ago when we were able to snag one of the two forward facing (relatively) low cost balcony cabins. We were able to use reward points from our Norwegian Cruise Line branded loyalty credit card to “upgrade” ourself from an inside cabin to the balcony cabin. This type of upgrade is known as a double (because we went up two categories) cross meta (because we jumped from an inside across an ocean view up to a balcony). Upgrades can be from a lower category of a type of cabin to a higher one. From a low deck inside stateroom to another inside on a higher deck for example. Or they can be cross meta from an inside stateroom to one with an ocean view. But blow 60,000 points and you can jump across two like we did. (20,000 points were gained for signing up, the rest from always using it for Norwegian purchases 2 points per $ and when I learned about the upgrade possibilities using it for just about everything.!)
The great thing about the 2xMeta that it takes the same number of points no matter the overall cost or length of the cruise…so for our 19 days we used the same number of points we would have for a 7day one. The cost differencefor a short cruise might only be $200 or $300 but in this case we “saved” about $2,500!
Of course at the this past January I was a bit frustrated and perturbed when after our final payment was due and paid, they significantly lowered the fares in an effort to sell out the ship (it worked) which meant that other balcony cabins were selling for what we paid for ours (at an inside rate). I tried to convince Norwegian to lower my cost to the new price of insides which they wouldn’t do without me canceling (we would have had a $ penalty but we still would have been a few bucks ahead) which meant we would stand the chance of loosing “our” cabin. However, they did offer us an onboard credit of $600 which is what the credit card points were worth if we cashed them in for cash. I asked and they agreed To instead redeposit our points so we have the opportunity to do it all over again.
So we will have to find another long cruise!
For years I have wanted to cruise the Panama Canal and after hearing about our friends Peggy and Lowell’s transit in an aft facing stateroom I knew I only wanted to do it on one end of the ship or the other so that we could see everything along the way.
As some of you know, Mike and I have sailed on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Sun previously (’round the horn, couple of carribean cruises) and enjoy its relatively small size and atmosphere. And because it has two really nice bow facing staterooms with big balconies. For the last several years when Norwegian announced their future itineraries I would try to book “our” cabin for the Panama Canal cruises buy never was able to snag them. Finally last year however I was successful! So if you are interested, follow along as we go from Tampa to Vancouver.