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Knocking Out Continents 4 & 5 In One Epic Trip

 A few people have asked for my upcoming itinerary, and I think that this is the easiest way to share it with you all. Since I touched on it last year, Norwegian has actually altered our itinerary due to an issue with our ship, which forced us to rework parts of the trip. I'll also be including my booked shore excursions. My cruise schedule below begins on Monday, January 16th (though we'll be getting to Hong Kong earlier).

We ended up losing a second stop in Vietnam as well as Bangkok, Thailand with the itinerary changes-both places that I really wanted to see. We did manage to sneak in a side trip to Malaysia during our (new) overnight in Singapore though. And so, I present to you, my final itinerary for this crazy trip.

Day 1: Sunday, January 15th
I'll be arriving into Hong Kong around 6am, dropping luggage at the hotel, and heading right for Disneyland Hong Kong-because when am I ever going to be back here again.

Day 2: January 16th
Cruise time! We're scheduled to begin boarding around 12pm, with departure from the pier currently scheduled for 6pm.

Days 3-4: January 17th-18th 
At sea

Day 5: January 19th
Nha Trang, Vietnam

I currently have a 9 hour "Saigon Highlights" tour booked:
 Discover Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam with over eight million inhabitants. Enjoy this unforgettable experience and the ever-ready smiles of the locals. See the rickshaw drivers and motorbike riders skillfully negotiate the road side by side, while street vendors peddle an assortment of seasonal fruits.
Visit the colorful Binh Tay Market, in the heart of Cholon commonly known as Chinatown, and the Giac Lam Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist Temples in Saigon. Head downtown and stop for photos at City Hall. Enjoy free time for lunch on your own or choose to explore the only pedestrian street in the downtown. You’ll have many restaurants to pick from offering both local and international foods and lots of shops at nearby Vincom Mall.
Drive through the French Colonial section where you’ll find grand old style buildings, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and City Square. Visit the former Presidential Palace, now known as Reunification Hall. A stop at a lacquer workshop gives you the opportunity to watch skillful craftsmen at work and to purchase on the spot, a wide range of products including lacquer ware, ceramics, or wooden carvings.

Days 6-7: January 20th-21st
At sea

Day 8: January 22nd 

Since we are arriving into Singapore a day earlier than originally scheduled and overnighting, we had a free day as none of the tours were available. We're scheduled to make a break for Malaysia on a "Half-Day Johor Bahru Tour".

Visit another country during your stay in Singapore on this tour to Johor Bahru—the capital of the Malaysian state of Johor. Linked to Singapore by a causeway over the Straits of Johor, the city is home to historical and cultural attractions like Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque and the Royal Mausoleum, where you’ll learn about Muslim burial customs. Begin your half-day tour by crossing the Johor–Singapore Causeway, which connects the island of Singapore to Malaysia over the Straits of Johor. A guide accompanies you from the checkpoint. You’ll arrive in Johor Bahru, the capital city of Johor. Visit Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque, built between 1892 and 1900 under the direction of the Sultan of Johor. Then enjoy a drive along Lido Beach to a craft village where you can see batik painting, used for sarongs, wall hangings and other textiles. Next, visit a Malay cemetery, and see the outside of the Royal Mausoleum, where you’ll hear about burial traditions in Muslim culture. Take a drive through the city center on your way back to the causeway to return to Singapore. 

Day 9: January 23rd

I'm currently booked on "The Spirit of Singapore" tour:

Modern Singapore is a city comprised of concrete, glass, freeways and shopping centers. Singapore features many diverse cultures and lifestyles from its waterfront to the Singapore River. In the bustling streets of Chinatown, fortune tellers, calligraphers and temple worshipers are still a part of everyday life. You’ll drive along the colonial heart of Singapore passing the Victoria Theater, the Victoria Memorial Hall, the Parliament House, the Supreme Court, City Hall, St. Andrew's Cathedral, and the Sultan Mosque. Enjoy a short photo stop at the famous Raffles Hotel.

Visit the Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple, Singapore's oldest Hindu temple and observe a profusion of deities carved all over its walls. Its doors are adorned with bells and ceilings with splendid frescoes. You’ll have an opportunity to also visit the Singapore Botanic Garden where you can enjoy a stroll amidst exotic orchids in the new national orchid exhibit. Drive up to Mount Faber for wonderful panoramic views and photo opportunities of the city and harbor.

Days 10-11: January 24th-25th
At sea
Day 12: January 26th 
Bali (Benoa), Indonesia

I'm currently booked on the "Balinese Elephant Safari".

I get to play with elephants. Nuff' said.
Day 13: January 27th
Komodo, Indonesia
This is currently the only port that I don't have anything booked. Maybe I'll go looking for some Komodo Dragons at the national park-we shall see.
Day 14: January 28th 
At sea
Day 15: January 29th 
Darwin, Australia
I'm currently booked to do the "Cage of Death at Darwin's Crocosaurus Cove", which is tame by my standards.
Adrenaline junkies can tempt the jaws of some of Australia’s largest crocodiles on this ‘Cage of Death’ experience at Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove, which includes a general admission ticket. This daredevil attraction lowers you into one of four acrylic enclosures for 15 thrilling minutes of a face-to-face encounter with a saltwater croc. Bonus: professional photos are available to purchase of your up-close experience in the viewing cage! Experience Australia’s only crocodile dive with a ‘Cage of Death’ experience at Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove — perfect for adrenaline junkies who dare to get up close and personal with these massive and menacing creatures. Start this once-in-a-lifetime experience with a full safety briefing before you climb into a purpose-built transparent acrylic enclosure, solo or shared with one other person. You’re suspended above the pool before being lowered into the pen, home to almost 200 fearsome saltwater crocs. For the next 15 minutes, tread water near the surface while you come face-to-face with these prehistoric reptiles, which swim near when tempted by food from their handlers above. Photos are available for purchase (additional expense) from on-site photographers who capture 360-degree pics of you and the crocs! Your ‘Cage of Death’ encounter includes general admission to Crocosaurus Cove. After this thrilling experience, settle your nerves with educational talks and see the daily barramundi feeding. When you’ve caught your breath, observe the world’s largest display of Australian reptiles, including the most venomous snakes on the planet.
Days 16-17: January 30th-31st
At sea
Day 18: February 1st
Cairns, Australia
Time to have some real fun-because I've officially been cleared for bungee jumping!
I'm booked through AJ Hackett for one bungee jump and one extreme swing. The biggest decision that I have to make: how am I going to throw myself off of the platform when there's so many options?

And let's not forget about the swing....world's fastest!
Day 19: February 2nd
Airlie Beach, Australia 
I'm booked on "The Great Barrier Reef Adventure" tour.....aka the reason that most people visit Australia.
Visit the largest reef in the world with an opportunity to snorkel and get up close with marine life. Boarding a luxury catamaran directly from the ship, you’ll sail for approximately two hours to the Outer Reef. You’ll drop anchor and transfer to the pontoon, for your exclusive use. Here, an underwater world of incredible beauty is waiting your discovery.

From the pontoon, you can take a semi-submersible ride for breathtaking views of colorful fish and coral reef gardens. You can also swim and snorkel here. The pontoon also has an underwater viewing chamber so that you can see coral and fish, without getting wet. Morning tea and coffee will be served as you make your way out to the pontoon. While at the reef, a buffet lunch will be set out onboard for you to enjoy. Soft drinks, Australian wine and local beer are available for purchase. Following approximately 2 ½ to 3 hours at the pontoon, your catamaran will make the 2 hour journey back to the ship.
 Day 20: February 3rd
At sea

Day 21: February 4th 
Brisbane, Australia

Time to go play with more animals! I'm currently booked on the "Highlights of Brisbane & Koala Sanctuary" tour.

Brisbane is the capital city of the Australian state of Queensland and is the country's third largest city. The original settlement began as a penal colony, and during World War II, served as the South West Pacific Headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur. It was only after the war that it gained prominence as an important urban center. Your tour will give you a glimpse of this relaxed, friendly city and all it has to offer.

As you travel alongside the curving banks of the Brisbane River, you'll see sights such as the Parliament House, the Treasury Building, City Hall and the Old Customs House. Your route also takes you past the impressive South Bank Parklands and Cultural Centre. This is adjacent to the location where the 1988 World Expo was held. Today, the center houses the State's Art Gallery, Performing Arts Complex, a Museum and library, bearing witness to Brisbane's vibrant cultural community.

You’ll next travel to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for a visit. This is the world's largest koala sanctuary, and allows you the opportunity to get close to over 130 free roaming koalas. The sanctuary is also home to kangaroos, wallabies, sheep dogs and other animals such as the Emu, Tasmanian Devil, Wombat, Dingo and Kookaburra. Following a brief tour, you’ll have some free time to explore further on your own.

Day 22: February 5th
At sea

Day 23: February 6th
Sydney, Australia

Sydney is where we're getting kicked off of the ship, but we have one last excursion planned: the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb! There's one twist though-we're doing karaoke at the summit (my apologies in advance).

 We'll then have the rest of the day to explore Sydney.

Day 24: February 7th

I'm trying to mentally prepare for this day from hell with a 29 hour transit time to get home. We depart Sydney at 8:40am, have a 9 hour flight back to Hong Kong, a connection, and then another 16 hours back to Newark. Even though we're in transit for 29 hours, we actually still arrive home on the 7th.

Time to go finish packing. Only three days to go before we leave!

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