Cella Baker landed in Anchorage recently immediately after a extraordinary round-the-world journey. Despite the fact that she did not technically circumnavigate the globe, she certainly did not sit nevertheless building her way from place to country.
“I’ve been to 140 international locations,” she stated. “The very first point I do is discover how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in the community language. On this excursion, I feel we went to 46 nations.”
Baker’s journey commenced previous November in Aruba. She experienced been employed by Oceania Cruises to work on a round-the-environment cruise. But the ship, the Insignia, was laid up in the course of the COVID pandemic. Component of her task was to get it all set to sail again.
“We have been channeling Jules Verne,” she stated. “But alternatively of heading about the planet in 80 times, we added one more 100 days.”
The Insignia, created in 1999, is 594 ft extensive and holds 656 passengers and 400 crew members. Just after her retrofit in Aruba, the ship sailed to New York to pick up its first passengers on Dec. 21, 2021.
Baker’s occupation aboard the ship is a “Oceania Club Ambassador.” She sells potential cruises to guests on board, manages a loyalty application and guides excursions in port. Some guests on the ship consider the complete 180-working day cruise, though many others sail distinct segments of the itinerary.
“This is my retirement work,” she stated. “I retired two a long time in the past and went to sea!”
Oceania Cruises has offered the round-the-planet vacation considering the fact that 2015. “We have some company who have been 6 moments,” explained Baker.
“We managed COVID actually nicely on board the ship, but there ended up ever-shifting protocols on shore.”
Those people “ever-changing protocols” led to some re-routing in the middle of their journey.
Immediately after leaving Los Angeles on Jan. 6, the Insignia built it as significantly as French Polynesia ahead of turning all over. Numerous of the Asian ports-of-call even now have been shut to cruise ships.
“We did a U-convert in Tahiti,” claimed Baker. “We went again through the Panama Canal and spent about a month in the Caribbean. From there we went to Europe, Israel, the eastern Mediterranean, the Greek Isles, around Italy, France, Spain and Gibraltar. Then we sailed up to the Baltic location.”
Baker easily recollects the spur-of-the-moment itinerary adjustments and all of the preparing that wanted to be carried out on-the-fly.
“When you journey throughout a pandemic, you have to be versatile. You can’t have set anticipations,” she mentioned.
But the new port calls yielded some remarkable ordeals.
“We had been a single of the very initially ships authorized in Istanbul,” said Baker. “I escorted a evening tour to the Blue Mosque location during Ramadan. We saw families appear and spread out picnic blankets on a substantial 100-acre yard spot for a celebration. And it was a celebration just about every night (through Ramadan).”
A further adventure when the ship identified as in Italy was truffle searching in Tuscany. “We went out with two guys and their canine. And certainly, the dogs did the digging,” she claimed.
Cruising in the Atlantic, the Insignia called in Funchal, Madeira. Just off the coastline of Africa, the island is controlled by the Portuguese and is acknowledged for its port wine.
Baker went with a group on a cable motor vehicle up to the prime of a mountain on the island. From there, they went back downhill in sleds with comfortable chairs. “It was the most enjoyable,” stated Baker. “Each sled had two gondoliers that steered the sled down the steep streets.”
In Montenegro, which is north of Albania and south of Croatia, the cruise line organized a tour of an olive grove. When they arrived, the farmer met them and they experienced an olive-oil tasting in the industry. From there, the team went to the farmer’s dwelling for a wine tasting.
Other eating occasions were far more extravagant. “We experienced evening meal below the sea,” stated Baker. “We went to the decrease amount of the National Aquarium in Copenhagen,” she mentioned.
“Most attendees are in their 60s and 70s,” reported Baker. “Of the 250 round-the-world cruisers, there had been some mom-daughter pairs, as well as some just lately-retired friends. Also, there had been some who marketed anything and resolved to go about the earth. Some others bought their homes, place anything in storage and made use of the journey as a sabbatical.”
The visitors on board arrived from 15-20 nations around the world, in accordance to Baker. The crew customers arrived from 30-50 international locations. “It’s like a tiny United Nations on board,” claimed Baker.
Wanderlust usually has been element of Baker’s tale due to the fact she started functioning in the journey business. That consists of careers in resorts, at vacation businesses and with cruise traces. “This is a excellent retirement work. I get paid to see the environment in a way that I couldn’t afford. And that would make it all the a lot more appealing,” she reported.
What is future? Properly, Baker is scheduled to get the job done the 2023 itinerary for Oceania. “Next calendar year, we’re likely to Antarctica,” she reported. “Next year will be my 3rd consider to get around the earth. The cruise in 2020 obtained canceled and this year we experienced to make a U-transform.”
The 2023 itinerary also integrated some Alaska ports: Dutch Harbor, Juneau and Ketchikan. Oceania offers a 198-day itinerary leaving just soon after Xmas, on Dec. 28, 2022 from Miami. Staterooms are readily available from $47,199 for each human being.