There are just 3-days to go until I join Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ‘Black Watch’ on her 108-night World Cruise and honestly, it still doesn’t feel real – even though I am almost packed. I don’t think it’s going to hit me until I’m onboard and we are leaving Southampton.
Planning For A World Cruise: Shore Excursions
So, what’s been happening since I first mentioned the cruise? Well, there has been A LOT of planning going on. Marian (TravelShopGirl) and I have been researching each destination and looking at shore excursion options and I am so pleased to say that we are now finished. We’re doing several excursions during this cruise with CruisingExcursions and Marian will be using their transfer services to and from London to the ship – as she is flying in from America, this will make her journey Brit-side much easier. I’ve used external shore excursion companies in the past, but this is my first time with CruisingExcursions and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do. We’ve also booked some excursions directly with Fred. Olsen and we’re doing some things independently. It would take me a month to share our entire plan, but these are just some of the things we will be doing:
- Ponta Delgada – Furnas Lake
- Callao, Peru – Shanty Town and Lima City (Reality Tours)
- Papeete, Tahiti – a 4×4 adventure into the Papeno Valley
- Auckland, New Zealand – Whale watching with AWADS
- Brisbane, Australia – Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
- Komodo Island, Indonesia – Going in search of the Komodo Dragon and relaxing at the Pink Beach
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – We are hiring a driver for the day to take us to various places, including the Batu Caves
- Yangon, Myanmar – We have booked via ToursByLocals for a full day of sightseeing – I can’t wait to see the Shwedagon Pagoda
- Mumbai, India – A day with Reality Tours going to various places across the city, including the Dharavi Slum
- Aqaba, Jordan – Red Rose city of Petra
- Alexandria, Egypt – Cairo
Top tip: Always do your research and don’t just look at what the cruise line is offering. You never know what you could be missing! It’s a lot of work and takes up a lot of your spare time, but it will be worth it.
Planning For A World Cruise: Travel Insurance
We’ve also been arranging other things, such as travel insurance, and I opted for a cruise specific policy with AVANTI for this trip. Can you believe that it even covers emergency formal wear hire? I looked at many different companies and many different policies, but the AVANTI one stood out. I will never travel without insurance, it really isn’t worth the risk. Please, always have a policy in place before you go anywhere and ensure you have a cruise specific policy as standard travel insurance won’t always cover you. If in doubt, I can recommend the team at AVANTI – they answered all of my questions and pointed me in the right direction. I also opted to take out extra cover on my electronic equipment, but this was all packaged into the policy for me and broken down into easy to read and follow sections.
Planning For A World Cruise: Packing
As I said, I’m almost packed and let me tell you that figuring out what to take on a world cruise is no easy task. I’ve had 2 cases packed and unpacked three times, but I think I am finally getting there. I have written down every single thing that is in each case and without those check-lists, I would have been in a right mess! I can’t stress enough how much easier taking things out, putting things in and checking things off has been, thanks to a simple note for each bag. I have tried to keep toiletries in the same cases – padding them out a little with some t-shirts here and there, just to soften the movement between the bottles during transit. Apart from that, I have no real order to my bags, but they are neat – for now! My best advice when packing for a world cruise would be not to panic and put your entire wardrobe in your cases. You can wash as you go, treat yourself to new things in new destinations and as long as you always have at least 1 formal wear back-up, you’re good to go.
I always travel to the port (where possible) with Eavesway and I will be travelling with them to join Black Watch, however, I also decided to send some luggage ahead of me on this cruise, so I opted to use the services of The Baggage Handling Company, a company that is recommended by Fred. Olsen. Pick-up was on time and the young man explained the handling process to me step-by-step. I waved goodbye to my cases with the assurance that they will be waiting for me onboard on Friday. I’ll review this service in full once my cases and I are reunited.
Planning For A World Cruise: Foreign Currency
Getting every currency in advance that you think you might need for a world cruise isn’t practical and some currencies, such as the Cuban CUC and Indian Rupee, are closed currencies. This means you can’t get them in advance, you can only obtain them when in the country. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do at first with regards to various currencies, but then I made my decision and I’ve stuck to it. I decided I would make a large withdrawal from my bank and only exchange pre-cruise into currencies that I think I am likely to need the most of, that turned out to be US dollars, Australian dollars and New Zealand dollars. Any other currency I might need I can exchange onboard or ashore. My reason for doing this? Because Fred. Olsen usually offer one of the best exchange rates at sea! They work alongside City Forex, which means onboard rates are usually the same as high street rates – they don’t rip you off! You can also pre-book your foreign currency with City Forex and they will deliver it to the ship for you. I know everyone is different and what I decided to do wouldn’t be the ideal for someone else, but make sure you sit and plan it carefully. I’m not visiting a single US destination, yet here I am with a pocket full of USD and that is simply because a lot of the places we visit will in fact accept USD as payment and for some places, it is actually the preferred option. I will also be taking a credit card as back-up.
Planning For A World Cruise: It’s Time To Go!
There are no words that can accurately describe how I feel about this cruise. All I can tell you is that I’m likely to cry as we sail from Southampton and I’m sure I’m going to experience so much more than I ever could have imagined. I genuinely feel like the luckiest human being on the plant and I’m excited to share my journey with you. I am hoping that I can keep you updated with live blogs during the cruise, but we can never know what the internet at sea will be like. I will, however, be posting image updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so you can at least keep up to speed with my travels via those accounts, if my blogging fails.
Until next time…happy cruising!