From the Arbor | News for April & May from Jerry Weakley

I begin today with an invitation to join with the Wandering Wildcats on their next travel adventure scheduled for June 17-29, 2012.

The destination for our 2012 trip is based entirely on a survey I sent out just about three years ago to those who had traveled with this group before and others who had expressed a future interest in traveling with the University group. As I hinted in the March Arbor, we will cruise the Adriatic and Mediterranean again…but this time concentrating on and with stops both in Turkey and several in Greece located in the Aegean Sea.

The trip begins with us flying into Venice, Italy. After arrival we will be escorted to the ship and after getting settled in will then have ample time to explore the canals, people-watch in St. Mark’s Square or visit the unique shops that dot the streets leading to the square. The first night on board our ship will be spent in Venice so you will be able to come and go from the ship as you wish. An evening gondola ride through the canals would be my recommendation for how to spend that evening! The next day the ship doesn’t sail until 1 p.m., so there’s plenty of time in the morning to buy your traditional departure mask to be worn at the bon voyage party or to find a lace or crystal gift for someone special.

The rest of the itinerary is JUST what you said you wanted with lots of additions.

The first stop on the cruise will be at the port known as the jewel of the Adriatic…Dubrovnik, Croatia. Walking the top of the medieval town wall or a boat trip to the nearby island where a chapel was built by the Crusaders are great ways to spend the day. Croatian ice cream is pretty special as I remember, too!

Then it’s off to four stops at some of the most beautiful and historic of the Grecian Islands. We will stop at these cities in this order: Corfu, Olympia, Athens and Mykonos. The eighth day will find the ship at anchor at Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey, the city that savvy travelers claim to be the most beautiful of all the cities on our cruise. Days nine and 10 return us to Greece at Rhodes and then finally at Santorini where the stark white houses are capped by roofs of tile that match the deep blue of the Aegean.

For those weary of shore-excursions, the next day is for you: a quiet and relaxing day aboard our beautiful ocean-going home. There you can watch as the last of the Greek Islands pass from sight while you prepare for one of the most beautiful areas that Italy has to offer on day 11: Naples. In Naples you can enjoy a city tour or you can board a hydrofoil to explore the Isle of Capri. Also from Naples you can easily get to Pompeii and the beautiful coastal town of Sorrento or all three!

The cruise concludes the next day as we disembark at the port of Civitavecchia, where buses will take us to the airport at Rome for our trip home. You may wish to extend your trip in Rome or in other Italian cities, and that is definitely possible.

Our travel advisor and booking agent is once again, John Novotny with Travellers in Lawrence, Kan. I have used the good people at Travellers some 11 or 12 times now to arrange travel for the Wandering Wildcats and they always do great work!

I selected this particular cruise not only for the variety and number of the ports of call, but also and almost as important, for the cruise ship and cruise line.

This cruise is on Princess, which for the past seven years has been voted as the cruise line with the best and most varied itineraries by one well-known travel magazine. The ship is the Crown Princess, which has an amazing number of amenities and restaurants to satisfy every taste bud out there. (For those of you who traveled with us on the Panama Canal trip, the Crown Princess is the younger sister ship of the Grand Princess we took on that trip). You will be pleased with the level of service, the quality and quantity of the food and of course the itinerary.

Princess just opened bookings on this sailing about three weeks ago, so we still have the opportunity to get you into the cabin that best fits your desires and price range. The Crown Princess offers 900 balcony cabins along with a great assortment of outside cabins that offer a view and the inside cabins that are a tremendous bargain.

The pricing for the cruise alone is as follows:

  • Category BD outside with balcony: $3,859
  • Category D outside with view: $3,459
  • Category J inside stateroom: $2,709

Air pricing is still not available at this time, and won’t be, John tells me, until August. This has now been the practice of cruise lines for the past several years as fuel prices affect their ability to secure long-term firm prices for air with the airlines. John estimates, based on this past year’s rates, that air will be $1,631 to $1,875 per person, based on a Kansas City departure. (I always encourage you to at least look to see whether you can acquire your own air because airlines have specials from time to time that you might find that the cruise line cannot secure.

Single rates, additional stateroom categories and suites and airfare from cities other than Kansas City can be obtained by calling John at 1.800.382.6700 or email  jnovotny@travellersinc.com

The deposit at this time is approximately $900 per person. All cruise deposits are fully refundable until March 1, 2012.

As always, Baker’s President, Pat Long and her husband, Dennis, will join the group as will Lyn Lakin, my wife, Patti, and I. We all hope you will join us for what will hopefully be the most memorable trip/cruise of all time. As I have mentioned the trip privately and in small gatherings, a large amount of interest has been expressed. I would love to see us top the largest number of travelers on a Baker Wandering Wildcats trip, which was 91 in 1994 to the Caribbean.

Now, for the rest of you who may not be interested in the trip but wish to find out what’s been going on at Baker since I last wrote, you can access the current issue of the Arbor. I hope you will find something in it that will inform, entertain or further engage you with our University.

Jerry Weakley, 1970/MBA 1992

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