Itinerary for Our 2014 Adventure

Our 2014 Adventure

We began this adventure on July 21, 2014.

Well, it’s a year later, the trip is over, but the memories remain.

Here’s a quick look at our itinerary before we begin the individual posts documenting this fun, amazing and educational trip.

Flag Canada
Canada

July 21

Bus to Thunder bay and then three flights ending in Iceland on July 22nd.

 

 

Flag Iceland
Iceland

July 22 – July 25

Reykjavik, Iceland

 

 

Flag United Kingdom
United Kingdom

July 25 – August 10

London, United Kingdom

 

 

Flag France
France

August 10 – August 14

Paris & Lyon, France

 

 

Flag Spain
Spain

August 14 – September 5

Vera Playa, Spain

 

 

Flag France
France

September 5 – September 28

Cap d’Agde & Marseille, France

 

 

Tunisia
Tunisia
Malta
Malta

September 28 – October 5

Mediterranean Cruise – including stops in Tunisia, Malta and Italy before returning to Marseille.

Italy
Italy

 

Denmark
Denmark

October 5 – October 6

Marseille, France to Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 

October 6 – November 3

TransAtlantic cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark to Los Angeles, USA stopping at

Portugal
Portugal

Ponta Del Gada, Azores, Portugal

 

 

 

USA
USA

 

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Miami, Florida, USA

 

Colombia
Colombia

 

Cartagena, Colombia

 

 

 

Panama
Panama

 

The Panama Canal, Panama

 

 

 

Costa Rica
Costa Rica

 

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

 

 

 

Mexico
Mexico

Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

 

 

 

USA
USA

 

Los Angeles, California, USA

 

 

 

Canada
Canada

November 3 – November 4

Los Angeles, USA to Home

Tenerife, The Canary Islands

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 30 ~ Day #173
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$17300
$102.34
$15443.20
$89.27
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15551
7702.2+324.5=8026.7
7662
168
31407.7

Current Location: On Board the Celebrity Century visiting Tenerife, Canary Islands

Today’s Total Expenses: $102.34

Cruise: $102.34 (cruise cost includes transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment)

Miles Traveled Today:
Sea Miles: 324.5 (282 Nautical Miles – Madeira to Tenerife)

Tenerife

Geoff and I have been to Tenerife before but that was a very, very long time ago. I think it may have been around 1989 or 1990. And, we were at a different part of the island than we are now.

So, it will be like discovering it for the first time and that’s true for this part of the island, anyway.

Getting A Replacement Camera

While exploring we stumbled across and electronics store and checked out the items they had in their windows.

We noticed a Sony digital video camera that seemed like a good price so we stopped in to check it out.

Actually, Geoff checked it out. They also had watches and jewelry in the store, so I browsed those things while a salesman demonstrated the camera for Geoff.

No, I didn’t buy anything, I just browsed.

After the salesman had finished showing Geoff the camera, we discussed it and then plunked down some plastic and bought it. We were just so tired of not having a camera with us.

As this was our second-to-last stop before heading back to Miami, it may seem like an odd time to actually break down and get another camera, but we did it anyway.

Next thing was to get it charged so that we could start recording video.

So Many Shoes, So Little Time

While exploring the town further, we also found a shoe store that was simply unbelievable. Really.

There were stacks and stacks and stacks of shoes and most of the prices were €1.00, €3.00 and €6.00! There were very few shoes priced higher than that.

Geoff actually said, “With prices like that, get as many as you want.”

I was in shoe heaven!

I didn’t know where to start, but I was certainly trying to pick out several types of shoes that I would like to try on.

I had only made a few selections, and hadn’t even tried any on yet, when one of the sales clerks indicated that we had to leave – the store was closing. What? I only just got here.

We had arrived just a little after 1:00pm and apparently the store closed at 1:30pm.

Okay. Closing for lunch is pretty normal in Europe. I asked what time they would re-open. After all, we were in port for a while, so we could come back.

Well, as it was Saturday, 1:30pm was their closing time for the day. They wouldn’t be re-opening until Monday! By Monday we’d be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I was devastated. I hadn’t even tried anything on yet. But, they didn’t care, they just wanted us out of the store so they could close.

So, I left this amazing shoe store, where I was told I could buy what ever I wanted, without making a single purchase! Waaahh!!

Doing the Tourist Thing

As the Canary Islands were our last stop where we would need Euros, and we still a few left, we did the touristy thing and actually bought some t-shirts with Tenerife on them.

They were actually a pretty good deal and we liked the quality of the t-shirts, too. They weren’t those awful thin shirts but a good weight and very soft.

We bought three of them at €3.75 ($4.94) each. Two for Geoff and one for me and that all but used up our last Euros.

Even though there is VAT (valued added tax) in Europe, I like the fact that it is already included in the price of things. So, the price you see if the price you pay. The tax doesn’t get added on on top of the price like it does in Canada and the U.S.

That made it easy to figure out if we had enough money to buy the t-shirts and how many we could afford. As we only had about €12.00 left, we were able to buy three t-shirts.

Again, we have not added this into the daily expenses as this is a discretionary expense and not really a cost of traveling. Other people may not find the need to make such a purchase.

Entertainment

Tonight’s entertainment featured two performers – Sideshow Bert, who we’d seen earlier in the cruise – and Mario D’Andrea.

Mario D’Andrea is billed as a mixed up Italian from Australia. He has a great voice and does wonderful impersonations of such celebrities as Dean Martin, Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdink.

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

Tonight we turned back the clocks another hour. It’s something that will be happening a lot on this cruise.

We also find it much easier to deal with the time change this way. When you fly you have to deal with the time changes immediately.

I guess that’s why there’s “jet lag” but I’ve never heard of “cruise lag”.

The Home of Madeira Wine

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 29 ~ Day #172
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$17200
$133.98
$15340.86
$89.19
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15551
6923.2+779=7702.2
7662
168
31083.2

Current Location: On board the Celebrity Century visiting the island of Madeira, Portugal

Today’s Total Expenses: $133.98

Cruise: $102.34 (cruise cost includes transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment)

Entertainment: $31.64 (€24.00 City Tour Bus)

Miles Traveled Today:
Sea Miles: 779 (677 Nautical Miles – Malaga to Madeira)

The Island of Madeira

Although we had most certainly heard of Madeira, to be truthful, we didn’t know it was an island in the Atlantic (not far from the Straits of Gibraltar).

Madeira, which belongs to Portugal, is a beautiful island with lots of tropical-type vegetation and a warm and inviting climate.

We were so impressed with this island that we even checked out the cost of real estate here and visited a real estate agent.

Again, there was a bit of a language barrier, but the agent we spoke to spoke a whole lot better English than we speak Portuguese. Actually, that’s not really tough because we don’t speak ANY Portuguese!

However, he was very, very helpful and the prices here, given the climate and the infrastructure, really weren’t that bad. It’s unlikely that we would settle here, but it was fun to look.

A Tour of Madeira

As you know, we don’t normally splurge for tours, certainly not from the cruise ship anyway. But, the local tour bus offerings seemed to be pretty reasonable, at least based on the other places we have visited.

We decided to splurge for a tour with a local company. This one was a hop-on, hop-off type of tour, which meant you could get on or off anywhere along the route for the entire day.

We decided to just stay on the bus for the entire tour to see exactly where it went. That way, we could decide where we’d like to get off later, so we could explore.

It was an amazing tour. It took us to the top of the mountain and it is beyond me how the bus made it up, or down, some of those hills and narrow streets. But, the view from the top was incredible. (Once more we were missing our camera.)

But that wasn’t the only place the tour went. As a matter of fact, we weren’t even half done yet!

From there we headed along the coast (which was pretty much all cliff) to a small fishing village. Once again, kudos to the bus driver who was able to safely navigate such narrow streets.

Once back into the town of Funchal, which is where the cruise ship was docked, we headed back to the ship for lunch.

Buying Madeira Wine IN Madeira

After a quick lunch on the ship we headed back into town.

The cruise ship was offering a shuttle for €8.00 per person, good for the whole day, but it wasn’t a difficult walk and only took us 10-15 minutes.

Along the tour route, one of the stops we made note of was the place where they make Madeira wine. So, we got the tour bus again and got off at this stop.

The shop was in an old stone building that you got to down a narrow alleyway. All the buildings must have been very, very old. There was lots of stone and huge wooden beams everywhere. The stones on the cobbled lane were worn from years and years of use.

Inside the shop were rough-hewn wooden tables and chairs where you could order glasses of Madeira wine and soak in the atmosphere as you enjoyed your drink.

We, however, went directly to the counter and asked about the various options. There are several ways to choose. Madeira wine comes in dry, medium and sweet. It also comes in different ages – 3 years, 10 years, etc. The cost, of course, will be based on your choices.

We simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to purchase Madeira wine while we were ACTUALLY IN Madeira, but we had no idea what to choose.

The very helpful lady behind the counter brought us a few samples to try so that we could make our decision. The first thing we determined was that we definitely wanted the sweet Madeira. After trying the dry and the sweet, there was no contest for us.

Although we would have liked to buy the 10 year old wine, our budget insisted that we purchase the 3 year old vintage.

We bought two bottles at the price of €9.75 each. We have not included this expenditure in our trip cost as this was purely discretionary. You can most certainly travel to Madeira without purchasing the wine – but we couldn’t.

Back To The Ship

After hopping back on the tour bus, we did another quick tour of the island before heading back to the ship.

If you’ve traveled by cruise ship before, then you know that they x-ray everything you bring back on the ship after a day in port. Any liquor, wine or beer is confiscated and held for you until the end of the cruise.

So we had to bid our Madeira wine farewell until we got to Miami. We did, however, make sure to tell them to take extra special care of it.

Entertainer Helen Jayne

Tonight’s entertainment on board ship was singer Helen Jayne.

This singer has an amazing range and her show was well received. Some of our dinner companions raved about her at dinner.

However, she just wasn’t our cup of tea, so we didn’t stay for the whole performance. Perhaps we should have given the positive reviews from the people at our table.

Enjoying a Relaxing Sea Day

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 28 ~ Day #171
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$17100
$102.34
$15206.88
$88.93
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15551
6923.2
7662
168
30304.2

Current Location: At Sea On Board the Celebrity Century En Route to Madeira, Portugal

Today’s Total Expenses: $102.34 (cruise cost includes transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment)

Miles Traveled Today:
At sea all day, will record mileage at next port – Madeira, Portugla.

Lazy Days on Board

The days at sea seem relaxing and unrushed, yet seem to go by very quickly nonetheless.

Today consisted mostly of relaxing, reading and wandering the ship.

Entertainment

We had, once again, chosen the late seating for dinner, so we were going to the early entertainment at about 7:00pm.

Tonight was an act from Las Vegas – Sideshow Bert.

While it was fun to watch, we didn’t think it was what could be considered “A List” entertainment. I suppose it must be difficult to get entertainers on a transAtlantic cruise. After all, once we leave the Canary Islands, it’s sea days all the way to Miami.

Repositioning Cruises

You may think that we’ve got the daily expenses wrong on these posts. After all, $102.34 seems like an awfully cheap price for a transAtlantic cruise.

That’s a two-week, all-inclusive vacation. And we do mean all-inclusive – food, accommodation, entertainment AND transportation all rolled into one.

One reason for the price is that this is a “repositioning” cruise. What that means is that the ship had been doing Mediterranean cruises for the summer season and was now being moved to the Caribbean for the winter season.

Although some people actually flew over from North America just to take this cruise, we found that it was the most cost-effective way for us to get back home from our European adventure.

We checked the airfare from Barcelona to Miami and it was over $1100.00 for the two of us. This cruise, which offered us a two-week, all-inclusive vacation, like we said above, and also got us home, only cost us $1432.76 – total – for the two of us!

It was a simple decision. With only a $300 difference, who wouldn’t go for the cruise?