I'm a six in the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a personality typing tool and I wholeheartedly embrace my six'ness.
Sixes love to worry (I prefer to call it thinking) and the best way to calm the worry (thinking) is to research and plan so mistakes* and disasters* are averted. I love trip planning and preparations. I come from a family of 'planners' so this is all very normal for me.
My biggest worry is always - who will look after the dogs? Luckily our regular dog and house sitter is available. Whew! I'll still worry about them though.
The dogs are dealt with now it's time to plan our port stops. We like to jam pack our port days - returning to the ship exhausted equals a day seized. Every cruise I take, I learn a little more. Generally, we search for independent tours - the more unique the better. Independent tours are usually smaller groups and a better deal. I use Cruise Critic a lot for information and ideas. We join our roll call and connect with others on our cruise to share excursion information. Once we are on the ship we will meet up with the people at a Meet & Greet to be held the first day at sea in the Crow's Nest. Cookies provided. The cookies on the ship are good. So is the ice cream.
This is what we have planned for this trip:
Ponta Delgada, Azores - Tour with Amazing Tours - how can you go wrong with a tour company called Amazing? We are going to see falls, medicinal mud, site of the first nunnery on the island, a tea factory and a place where the earth is warm enough to cook things (like mother nature's slow cooker) - Furnas “Cozido”. I think that means stew cooked in the earth.
Cadiz, Spain - We don't have anything planned. Most people go to Seville from Cadiz. We did that last winter on our Canary Island cruise. We loved the trip but next time we go to Seville we want to spend more time there. We may do a walking tour in Cadiz.
Malaga, Spain - We have booked a day trip to Granada to tour the Alhambra with Spain Day Tours - highly recommended by many.
Cartagena, Spain - Is a walkable port stop so we will just wander around and see what we find. Maybe some paella, sangria and sunshine!
Valencia, Spain - We have a bike, tapas tasting and market tour booked with Tours in Valencia. I am super excited about this excursion.
Barcelona, Spain - Some of the passengers will leave the ship in Barcelona and new folks will board. We have a day planned exploring the city with Barcelona Day Tours. This time we are making a point of seeing the Gaudi sites especially the Sagrada Familia and visiting Park Guell. No segway for us this time. It just wouldn't be as fun without mom and especially dad.
Tunis, Tunisia - We will probably book a ship excursion. We don't know much about this port in Northern Africa. I think there are some white wash towns, mosque and a Medina?? I have to do more research.
Palermo, Sicily - This is James birthday! Last year we were in Shanghai for his birthday. For the record, last year we went to Uncle Ed's (the restaurant - I don't have an Uncle Ed) in northeast Edmonton for my birthday. I love perogies - I'm not complaining! Anyhow...in Palermo we are doing a full day walking tour with Jackie Alio. My main goal for the day is to get an authentic, made right before my eyes cannoli. Palermo is famous for its street food.
Civitavecchia, Italy (port for Rome) - We are not going to Rome. We have joined a tour that will take us to the Umbrian hillside towns of Orvieto and Civita de Bagnoregio. Check out the video describing them. I can't wait!
Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy - We are on a day tour with the travel company we booked through. We are going to explore the Cinque Terre by boat and train...and of course have a delicious lunch (with wine). We are in port until 11 pm so we hope there is time to do some hiking between the villages.
Monte Carlo, Monaco - The last time we were in Monte Carlo the historic Grand Prix was on. Roads were closed, sight lines were blocked and it was hard to get around. Although we saw a lot - the palace and area, the cathedral (saw where Princess Grace is buried), a trip to through the riviera (saw where Princess Grace's car went off the cliff) to Eze and Nice. This time we plan on checking out the casino and gardens. Who knows, we may take the train to Nice. Or pop in to the Oceanographic Museum.
Barcelona, Spain - We have two days in Barcelona post cruise. We will head to Montserrat and tour the "champagne" (it's not champagne) caves of Cordorniu. Also included in our two extra days are meals on the Barcelona waterfront and free time to poke around the amazing city.
And that is what we will be up to on this voyage.
If you need to plan a trip, find a 'six'.
*Please note: Mistakes and disasters to a six are usually no big deal to other personality types :)