Past Cruises

Cruise 2010 - Seattle to Alaska

Cruise 2005 - Tahiti!
Cruise 2005 - Trip Reports
Cruise 2003 - London to St. Petersburg
2001 Cruise - Canada & New England
1999 Cruise - Barcelona to Athens

Cruise 2005 - Tahiti

CRUISE 2005 --11 OCTOBER 2005


Overview - Cruise 2005

RAFINO members, spouses, relatives and friends will be going on a 10 day cruise of the Society Islands leaving Papette, Tahiti on 11 October 2005 aboard the Tahitian Princess. We will have an ocean view cabin, double, with balcony. The all-inclusive fare per person from Los Angeles (LAX) is $2,598.00.

Cruise fare. $1,595.00 plus $75.16 Tax.  Includes Port Charges. (Cat BB, Deck 7).  Transfers from the airport in Papeete to the Port & back to the airport, $60.00.   Air (Coach) from LAX is $868 incl. Tax.  Includes $75.00 per person shipboard credit.

We will also receive a credit for each 16th person equal to a free passage to be divided among the cruise members.

You can also purchase your own air to LAX or Papeete or you can have John Powell have Princess Cruise Lines purchase airline tickets from your Gateway City to LAX and on to Papeete.  Example: From Indianapolis the cost is $3,015.00 per person.

This is the summary of the 10 day cruise.  Click here for details.

Tuesday,        11 Oct -- leave Papette, Tahiti

Wednesday,  12 Oct – Tuamotu Atolls

Thursday,       13 Oct – At Sea

Friday,            14 Oct – Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Isla

Saturday,        15 Oct – Hiva Oa, Marquesas

Sunday,          16 Oct --  At Sea

Monday,         17 Oct – Rangiroa, French Polynesi

Tuesday,        18 Oct – Tahaa, French Polynesia

Wednesday,  19 Oct – Bora Bora, Society Island

Thursday,       20 Oct – Papeete, Tahiti, Society

Call John Powell (RAFINO Cruise Agent) at 800/642-2566 for a copy of the “ Princess, Australia, South Pacific 2005/06 Cruises “ brochure.  A deposit of  $450.00 per person will hold a balcony cabin for you. Full payment is required by 28 July 2005. A passport is required but a visa is not necessary.

Book now and assure getting the cabin of your choice and at a great group price. Call and have John send you the brochure, 800/642-2566

Bob, Cruise Master

Cruise 2003

The Norwegian Dream

Scandinavian Capitals and St. Petersburg.

Norwegian Cruise Line – “Norwegian Dream”

Sails from Dover on Tuesday, 26 August 2003 – 12 days

Price includes 2 free nights in London – Total 14 days


All rates are per person, Double Occupancy.

Includes port charges.

Inside K                      $1,871.00

Inside J                       $1,906.00

O/S FF-Port hole       $2,271.00

O/S EE-Picture Win   $2,321.00

O/S C- Picture Win    $2,421.00

O/S CC- Picture Win $2,671.00


Day    Activity                                   Date

-3.  depart US                                  SAT, 23 AUG, (time UNK)
-2.  arr.  London                               SUN, 24 AUG, in AM
-1. Overnight in London                    MON, 25 AUG
1.  Sail from London (Dover)           TUE, 26 AUG, 4:00 PM
2.  Transit Kiel Canal                        WED, 27 AUG
3.  Cruise Baltic Sea                         THU, 28 AUG
4.  Tallinn, Estonia                             FRI, 29 AUG,  Noon - 6:00 PM
5.  arrive St Petersburg, Russia        SAT 30 AUG, 8:30 AM
6.  depart  St Petersburg, Russia      SUN 31 AUG, 7:00 PM
7.  Helsinki, Finland                           MON, 1 SEP, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
8.  Stockholm, Sweden                     TUE, 2 SEP,  8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
9. arr. Copenhagen, Denmark          WED 3 SEP, 7:00 AM
10. dep. Copenhagen, Denmark       THU, 4 SEP, 4:00 PM
11. Oslo, Norway                               FRI, 5 SEP, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
12.  Cruise North Sea                        SAT, 6 SEP
13.  arr. London (Dover)                    SUN, 7 SEP, 5:00 AM

Other Categories and Airfares available at competitive prices.

CALL (800) 642-2566


Includes transfer to hotel or ship.  Add $99 for taxes.

Wash. DC (IAD)         $683.00

Newark, NJ                $582.00

Miami, FL                   $743.00

Orlando, FL               $760.00

Dallas, TX (DFW)      $824.00

St. Louis, MO             $781.00

Denver, CO                $847.00

Phoenix, AZ               $803.00

Boston, MA                $616.00

Pittsburgh, PA            $789.00

Travel arrangements will be made by our good friend John Powell, Master Cruise Counselor, Cruise Planners, Inc.  John has obtained the best rates plus a cruise line that gives us the flexibility to add days before and/or after the cruise and obtain air deviations so that those who desire (at an additional cost) can visit England and/or Europe prior to returning home.

Free Hotel – NCL’s Europe Plus program offers 2 free nights in a first class hotel.  Hotels are allocated on a “first come, first-served basis and are SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY.  The sooner you make your reservation and pay the deposit ($400 per person) the better your chances are to be assigned to the RAFINO Hotel.  The Tower Thistle Hotel in London has been chosen to be the RAFINO Hotel.  When the allotted rooms at the Tower Thistle Hotel are gone then some of us could be assigned to the Thistle Marble Arch Hotel.  Remember that the deposit is refundable up to 76 days prior to sailing.  Make your reservations now.  Let us all meet at the Tower Hotel.

Deviations and Extended Stays – You can stay more than 2 days in London prior to sailing.  Each additional day is $149 per person.  You can also stay in London before returning home.  Post hotel packages are available.  To do that you may have to get an air deviation.  NCL Premium Air Service is available. A non-refundable per person fee of $50 will apply as well as any additional air costs incurred. Premium Air Service can assist you with extended stays, upgrades to 1st and business class, and selection of specific airlines or routings.

Dining – The Norwegian Dream has “Freestyle Cruising” and that includes dining.  Breakfast and lunch is open seating.  You can eat at the time you choose.  Dinner is also open seating but,

a.      RAFINO passengers will be assigned tables in a restaurant and we will have dinner at a given time.  I will make arrangements with the Maitre d’ upon boarding the ship.

b.  You can eat at a different time and at a different restaurant if you choose for one night or the entire trip.

c. Formal nights are optional. At least one night or more during the cruise will be "Formal". One or more of the restaurants will host the formal dinner. I will let you know the restaurant and the table assignments. There will always be several other dining options where resort casual attire is appropriate even on formal nights.
Transfers from airport to hotel, hotel to ship and ship to airport or hotel - The NCL Freestyle Europe 2003 brochure states that there will be a charge for transfers. You can save that amount for each person. Book and pay the deposit before 30 November 2002 and you can save $110 per person. You must also use the NCL Air Program. If you make your reservation after 30 November 2002 and you use the NCL air Program $110 per person will be additional and added to your invoice.

RAFINO Cocktail Party Included -

Tours - Optional Tours will be available to Moscow while in St. Petersburg and to Hamburg. As part of the cruise we will cruise the Swedish Archipelagos and cruise Oslofjord

Sixteenth Person is Free - For each 16th Person (8 double cabins) we will receive a free passage. This amount will be divided among all RAFINO passengers. Method of payment will be determined after 1 December 2002.

NCL Freestyle Europe 2003 Brochure - Please call John Powell if you cannot obtain a brochure. (800) 642 - 2566.

Summary: Make your reservation and pay the deposit ($400 each person) by 30 November 2002 and save $110 per person for transfers and be assigned to the Tower Thistle Hotel.

Call John Powell at (800)-642-2566 ASAP

Cabin Cost       $________
Airfare              $________
Tax                   $ 99.00
Sub-Total         $________
Extra Night
Pre-Hotel          $________
Post Hotel Stay $________

Total                  $________

Remember - Join the group at the Tower Thistle Hotel, the RAFINO hotel. A great location next to the Tower of London with wonderful views of the the Tower Bridge and St. Katharine's Dock is the attraction of this large, busy, modern, hotel.

Bob and Mary Lou

Aboard the 4-star Norwegian Dream

* Norwegian Cruise Line's innovative Freestyle Cruising allows you to choose from a wide variety of dining options and activities.

*Four Seasons Dining Room, Sun Terrace Italian Trattoria, THe Terraces Dining Room, Le Bistro French Restaurang, Outdoor Café/Pizzeria, Sports Bar & Grill; Ice Cream Bar

* Ten bars and lounges, including Observatory Lounge with floor to ceiling windows and Lucky's Piano Bar.

* Basketball Court, golf driving net, table tennis, and jogging track.

* 24-hour Fitness Center offering Lifecycles and Lifesteps fitness equipment and aerobics

* Spectacular Broadway-style shows and revues - NCL is known for having the best entertainment at sea

* Two swimming pools and two hot tubs

* Monte Carlo Casino

* Galleria boutiques for duty-free shopping

*Full Service Spa & Salon

* Library/card room, and Much more!

Start making plans to cruise with RAFINO on 23 AUG 2003 to London and sail from Dover on 26 AUG 2003..

Cruise 2001 (Canada & New England)

Grandeur of the Seas

Grandeur of the Seas

Twenty-one of us sailed from Boston Saturday 29 September right on time.  (8 RAFINO members with spouses and 5 guests.)  The Grandeur of the Seas is a large, very nice ship.  The food is great, plenty of it and it all tastes wonderful.  The center area of the ship was open from deck 4 to deck 8 with 2 glass elevators.


First stop was Bar Harbor, Maine on Sunday 30 September.  There were three Cruise ships in the harbor and this little town was literally full of people. Sunday afternoon the Captain held a cocktail party to greet us all and the Dinner meal was formal. The special desert was Cherry Jubilee.

We took this picture after dinner.  From front left they are Radomski, Boyer, Griffin, Bain, Perez, Wallace, Rotz, Burns, Rodriguez & Lux.

Monday 1 October was spent in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  There were several different shore tours that were offered.  Virginia and I took two with only an hour between them for us to get back on the ship and  reorient ourselves.  In the morning we went on the City Tour.  A hill top fortress, The Citadel, was the highlight of the tour.  It was built between 1825 & 1856 to protect Halifax from attack by sea.  The guards wore kilts, as you can see, and there was a bagpipe band that played for us.

In the afternoon there was a threat of rain but we went on to the famous Peggy’s Cove.  The post office is in the old lighthouse so we had to check that out.  The airliner that went down off the coast a few years ago was a few hundred miles off the point, and the recovery effort was conducted from Peggy’s Cove.  Lobster fishing is the industry there but with 3 cruise ships in the harbor it looked more like tourism was the big income producer to me.  It did not rain.  This picture is of the lighthouse post office.

After dinner Monday night we went to see the first extravaganza of the trip.  A troop of young singers and dancers did a wonderful job of entertaining us.  The marvel was that none of them fell down because the ship was bucking and rolling in a 20 knot wind.

Tuesday 2 October was a lovely day in Sydney, Nova Scotia.  In the morning we took a one hour bus ride over to see the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.  We were amazed at all the things that Bell had invented.  The list ran from the telephone to airplanes and hydrofoils, and a list of smaller things too many to name.  In case you are wondering, most of the leaves have not turned their beautiful colors yet because there has not been a frost.

The afternoon was spent on a leisurely walk through the old city with frequent stops at places on the list of the Society of Old Sydney.  Buildings that were constructed in the late 18th century were shown off by society members wearing the dress of the times. 

We are looking forward to a day at sea with no shore tours on Wednesday.

Wednesday 3 October was a day at sea.  There was more to do on board the ship than anyone could do.  Some of these things were shopping, casino games, bridge, dance class, various briefings & bingo.  The day was topped off with a RAFINO cocktail party followed by a formal dinner and a show by the musical comedy team of Alan & Shane.  The ship’s photographer took the official cruise picture of the RAFINO group.  You will see it on the web site after we get back home and can use the scanner.

Thursday 4 October dawned with a misty overcast and we docked in Quebec City at 8:00 AM.  The large Hotel Chateau Frontenac sat high on the hill as a dominant landmark. 

Finally the trees were in full and beautiful color.  There was a choice from 12 shore tours that would fit any need.  They toured the Old City, the New City and the countryside.  Rain came about 7:00 PM which thwarted any late shopping spree and we sailed at 11:00 PM.

Friday 5 October was a beautiful day cruising The Saguenay River.  This river is really a fjord and has steep sides that were cut years ago by glaciers. The scenery was outstanding; at the point where we turned around there was a huge white statue of Mary perched high on one of the craggy ridges.  A naturalist Park Guide came on board at the mouth of the river and gave us the history of the area as we cruised up and down it.  That evening after dinner The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers performed “The Beat goes on”. 

At 11:00 PM the kitchen crew showed off their artistic skills, which included ice carving as well as vegetable & fruit artistic presentations.

We were invited back at midnight to sample the food.

Saturday 6 October was a foggy & windy day as we sailed on to St. John, New Brunswick.  We entertained ourselves with the multitude of activities.  The Cruise Director announced that a $3,000.00 prize for bingo would be awarded this day.  College football games held the attention of many of the group.

Sunday 7 October was spent in Saint John, New Brunswick; Canada’s first incorporated city in 1785.  A trip through the countryside revealed another beautiful display of colors by the maple trees at every turn.  Some members went to see the reversing falls where the high tide (as much as 28 feet) drives the water back up the rapids. 

Hector Perez took Norma on a jet boat ride through the rapids for her birthday.  She was almost able to calm down enough to enjoy the cake and birthday celebration that the Cruise Master planned for her after dinner.

Monday 8 October we reenter the good old USA and were greeted by the Immigration service.  They required each passenger to “present ourselves” or The Grandeur of the Seas will not be able to dock.  This is evidently a new step that is “due to the recent incidents in the US.”

The ship was cleared and docked right on time in Portland, Maine.  Portland is the largest city in the smallest state; home for almost 25 percent of the state’s population.  Shore tours included bus tours of the cities of Portland, Kennebunkport & Freeport; shopping at the famous L. L. Bean factory outlet; tours of lighthouses, Victoria Mansion or Fort Scammel; a lobster bake; and in Kennebunkport a drive by Walker Point where retired President Bush has a home.  The guide pointed out that the US flag was flying to indicate that President Bush was there today.  When President George W. Bush is there the Texas flag would also be flown.

Early morning of Tuesday 9 October we docked at Boston, Massachusetts.  Baggage that had been placed in the hall outside the room was first off the ship and was organized by a colored tag that represented the final destination.  Then as passengers sat around in the open areas they called for the departure by color code.  I think that those with the earliest flights were called first.

Logan airport was a bunch of slow moving lines as herds of agents checked every piece of luggage.  They actually poured the contents of some purses out so they could check in detail.  Those with computers had to remove them from the carrying case and place them in a plastic box to go through the x-ray machine.  The amazing thing was that no one was complaining.

Thus we came to the end of another very successful RAFINO Cruise.  Thanks go to Bob Radomski for all his good planning and organizing efforts.

J. Claud Wallace, Webmaster


cruise ship Marco Polo in the bay

click on the picture to enlarge)

1999 RAFINO Cruise, Barcelona to Athens--Twenty people participated.  All of us flew into Barcelona and were taken to the Princesa Sofia Intercontinental Hotel.  The next day, after a tour of Barcelona, we boarded our ship, the Marco Polo.  We were joined by 7 other couples who were members of USAA, and like us, used USAA Travel to book their cruise.  That made a grand total of 34 and entitled all of us to another hour of cocktails and horsd'oeuvres while on the ship.  That evening we left on our seven day cruise to Athens.  We stopped at Monte Carlo, Rome, Sorrento, Malta and the Island of Santorini.  We disembarked the ship at Athens and after a tour of the city we were taken to the Hilton hotel for two days of sightseeing and relaxation before leaving for home.  The weather, as on the previous cruises, was great.  We had 12 days of warm and sunny weather which made for wonderful shore excursions.  Hope to see a lot of on our next cruise.  

We will display still pictures and movies on televisions in hospitality rooms and gathering areas of the Reunion 2000 Hotel so you can get a feel of the cruise.

(Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge.)

bus tour in Barcelona casino in Monte Carlo
cruise ship Marco Polo