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In August of 2005 we wanted to get away again, so I went to my favorite cruise web site and started looking for bargains. We normally aim for a price of $100 per day excluding air fare. We know that shore excursions, shopping, and incidentals will push it over that every time, but it's a good starting point. One of the best sources of bargains is repositioning cruises , since they often have multiple days without a port of call, and are on the edge of a season.

We found one on NCL which was going from Philadelphia to Miami via Aruba at the end of October. Since the price was right and we had never been to any of the islands that it was visiting (except Puerto Rico), we signed up for it. At first we wanted an outside cabin, but when we found out that the top category (veranda suites on the top deck) was also highly reduced this close to sailing, we splurged. We are now spoiled as far as ordinary cabins are concerned.

Getting Ready

My brother Ed decided that he was also ready for a vacation, and he booked a cabin on the same sailing. he didn't get as good a deal as we did since he had to pay a single supplement since he had a cabin to himself.

As the departure date approached, so did hurricane Wilma, a force 5 storm that did a lot of damage in Cancun and then headed towards Florida. We anxiously peered at the path projections from the National Hurricane Center. It really looked as if Wilma was going to be in the Atlantic at the same time we were. There wasn't much that we could do about it, so we just trusted to the captain to choose our course.

So on a clear October day the three of us set off on our adventure. The first ptoblem was getting from New Jersey, where my brother lives, to the Philadelphia Navy Yard where the ship was docked.
The only reasonable form of transportation was Amtrak, so we had somebody take us to the station with all our luggage. About the time our train was due, the tracks looked very empty. Then they announced that it had yet to leave New York. Finally, almost an hour late, we were on our way to Philadelphia
A taxi took us down to the pier, and we arrived with ten minutes to spare, We were quickly processed, and made our way on board.

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(c) Copyright 2005, F. W. Schneider, all rights reserved.