A 23-day transpacific journey

Steve and I have recently completed the most magnificently fabulous cruise ever – a 23-day transpacific journey on the cruise ship Carnival Splendor from Seattle, Washington, to Sydney, Australia. Just amazing!

For some of you, cruising may be a special once-a-year treat or even a series of back-to-back cruises throughout the year, but I feel like cruising is undoubtedly something on many people’s minds these days. Cruising is open again, and it is my guess that many of you have more than one cruise planned.

I have discovered also, however, that cruising is not everyone’s cup of tea. Two of my sisters, for example, are not fans of cruise vacations, not even a little bit. I hope that I’ve just about moved one sister over to the dark side, and possibly, we’ll be cruising together soon. Marsha?

Here is the story of how Steve and I prepared for the marvelous 23-day transpacific journey that would take us away from home for more than a month.

a 23-day transpacific journey

Different cruises, different preparations

Different cruises require different preparations of course. A Caribbean cruise for us, because the port is almost in our backyard, is effortless pack a few clothes, obtain safe dog care, find a ride, and go. Also, these cruises are typically between four and seven days.

Cruising is different now, but still the same

Caribbean cruise port

International cruises, such as the transatlantic ones we have taken, require a bit more preparation and thought. Passports, of course, are necessary, as well as travel insurance, climate-appropriate clothing, and longer-term preparations for our home and pets—a bit of work.

a 23-day transpacific journey

Transatlantic cruise

However, this particular cruise is the most extended cruise we have ever taken. It began in slightly chilly Seattle, moved across the Pacific Ocean to the tropical climates of Hawaii and Figi, and ended up in what turned out to be cold and rainy Sydney, Australia.

Incidentally, I am NOT complaining about the weather – not complaining about a single moment of this incredible adventure.

Housekeeping details

  • Ensure our regular bill payments are automated
  • Inform credit card companies we are traveling out of the country
  • Put a hold on our mail service, if no one is staying in our house
  • Purchase travel insurance, in addition to cruise line insurance
  • Provide itineraries to our immediate family

Pet care

We were so amazingly fortunate to find the perfect person to stay at our house and care for Tank and Lilly, our two dog children, while we were away. I subscribe to the TrustedHousesitters service, which matches house/pet sits with potential sitters in their membership base.

Our TrustedHousesitters Listing Cover Photo

We submitted an invitation online at the TrustedHousesitters website that included information about our pets, home, requirements, and dates we needed assistance. I received multiple responses from people all over the world! Then began the selection and matching process.

Since we would be traveling during our hurricane season, it was essential to find a person that lives within a few hours of our home in case of an evacuation. We found just the right person, Angi, who took just outstanding care of our pets and is now a forever friend.

What could go wrong?

Our wonderful dogs, Tank and Lilly Bean

I cannot recommend this subscription service, TrustedHousesitters, enough. It was the perfect solution for our petsitting needs. Please comment or email me about this service if you have questions, but look at their website if you have any petsitting needs for upcoming trips.


Packing the right clothes is almost as important as packing light. I do not believe we have mastered the minimal packing scenario yet, but we are getting better. We left home with a large suitcase apiece, each at maximum airline weight, and a backpack each. Not very light.

a 23-day transpacific journey

Overpacked suitcase

One day we will figure out that we do not have to have all that stuff!

Flights and hotels

Steve and I decided it was wise to fly into Seattle the day before the cruise. This gave us a day to sort out a missed flight or possibly lost luggage. We, of course, had to obtain flights from home to Seattle, transportation to a hotel, hotel reservations, and transportation to the cruise terminal the following day.

Every trip we take has some kind of miracle. This one is amazing. I left my cell phone in its nice little wallet case containing my credit cards in our Uber from the airport! The driver (up for sainthood) returned it to us at the hotel within 15 minutes! WHEW!


Laundry facilities are available for guests’ use on this particular ship, thank goodness, and we were able to take advantage of this amenity more than once. The ship staff will also do laundry at a cost. We chose not to go that route.

a 23-day transpacific journey

Neverending laundry!

I am too short to be able to reach the clothes in the bottom of the cruise ship’s washers and too short to reach clothes in the dryers stacked above the washers. Steve did all the laundry – yay!

Extraordinary protocols unique to this cruise only

There were a few other requirements for this particular cruise because it was one of the first cruise ships back to Hawaii, the first to Figi, and also the first Carnival cruise to sail into Sydney since our friend Covid-19 had put a stop to transpacific cruising two and a half years ago.

About 20 days before the cruise began, we received notification by email about the special protocol requirements all guests would have.

a 23-day transpacific journey


  1. All guests aged 12 and older had to be fully vaccinated. Adults were required to have boosters if vaccinated more than six months from the sail date. Carnival offered refunds to guests that could not comply with this requirement.
  2. A negative Covid-19 test taken three days before embarkation was also required. Guests failing to meet this requirement would not be permitted to board and would not be issued refunds. This requirement was unique to this cruise.
  3. All guests, except Australian citizens, were required to apply for and have an Australian visa to enter Australia.
  4. Fiji did not require a visa, but guests were required to have proof of medical travel insurance for the entire cruise and specifically for Fiji as a destination.
  5. We were required to wear face masks during embarkation and debarkation, at all times indoors, and in large groups outdoors until we reached Honolulu. Carnival was pretty strict about enforcing the mask requirement.
  6. Last but not least, mandatory Covid-19 self-tests were required by every guest, not once, but three different times during the cruise!

I believe these protocols were in place because of the length of our cruise, and although it may sound like just a lot, these requirements did not diminish or negatively impact our cruise experience.

I have no idea how many people on our cruise ended up with Covid-19, but I do believe it was a relatively small number. These requirements went a long way, I think, toward keeping most of us healthy. The new world we must live in now, huh?

a 23-day transpacific journey

The most amazing sunsets and sunrises every single day

Our most wonderfully memorable cruise yet

Steve and I enjoy longer cruises, and this one was our most extended sailing yet. We had very many firsts on this cruise. We crossed the international date line and the equator and finally made it to Hawaii and Fiji too! Please check back next week to read about our adventures on board.

A 23-day transpacific journey

4 thoughts on “A 23-day transpacific journey

    1. It definitely was. We want to take another extended cruise similar to this one as soon as we can. Hopefully next year?

      1. Loved reading your article! We were on the 23 day transatlantic from Seattle to Sydney with y’all. My husband is retired and I am a travel nurse. Heading to st. Augustine florida for up to a year for next assignment. I see you had a pet sitter. We have a 5 pound doxie and want to include pet sitting services for people as well. We have looked into international pet sitting as well. Thanks for the information

        1. Thank you, Saundra. Wasn’t that a fantastic trip? I want to repeat it on the 30-day Luminosa in September, but it is pretty pricey for old retired folks. We are devoted to TrustedHousesitters.com. It has worked out perfectly for us, and each sitter we have had a stay at our home is now a treasured friend. Check out their website and see if it might work out for you as a sitter as you travel. We’ve been home since that cruise, and I have itchy feet – ready to move. We plan to head out in the RV soon and hopefully will make it as far as Florida; not a plan, just an adventure.

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