“So big brother, where exactly are we starting this cruise from, and where are we going to?” Louis asked me as we sat down for dinner at a restaurant, and I chuckled, “You will just have to wait and see, you will know in good time, when we are at the airport heading to the yacht” I replied, “What, we have to wait 12 whole days, you got to be kidding, at least tell us where we will be cruising too?” Joachim responded.
“Ok, I will give you that much, we are spending 9 glorious days cruising the Mediterranean” I replied, and just at that moment, my telephone rang, with no caller ID. “Hello, Sebastian Wagner speaking” I said as I answered the call, and I listened carefully to what I was being informed. “I see, yes that sounds like a good alternative, thankyou for arranging that for us, I will call them tomorrow to confirm the booking, thankyou” I replied and ended the call.
“Well it appears that it won’t be a 9-day cruise in the Med after all, the ship had major mechanical issues, so they have had to cancel our booking” I announced to my brothers and cousin. “Oh, well that really stinks, but I heard you say something about ringing to confirm a booking?” Louis replied.
“Yes, I did, although it will not be an exclusive cruise, it will be a lot more fun and interesting, we have been booked onto a 12-day cruise, onboard the Oceania Cruise lines – the Marina, which is 16 decks tall, and we are on the top deck of guest accommodation on the 12th deck, with two Vista Suites and two Oceania Suites, whilethe Australian’s are on the 8th deck in 4 veranda staterooms” I replied.
“So how big is this cruise ship, and where are we going for this cruise?” Xander asked me, and I chuckled at his enthusiasm. “Well, I believe that it is 785 feet long, 105 feet wide, with 11 guest decks, and the cruise starts on the Monday, in Stockholm, Sweden, with stops in Finland, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and we end at Amsterdam, in the Netherlands” I replied.
“Wow, that sounds awesome” Xander said excitedly, ‘That it does cousin” Louis added. “Now the twins already have their own credit cards, so they are responsible for their own spending, for you though Xander, I am giving you a debit savings card, which will allow you to spend up to €400 a day during the trip, but I suggest that you spend it carefully. I will pay for all of the gratuities, and extra travel we do like onshore tours, but the rest is up to you guys to pay for. The meals and all on-ship activities are all included in the cost of the cruise, so we can relax and enjoy” I informed my brothers and cousin.
“What about the other four guys?” Joachim asked me, “For them, apart from me paying their return airfares and the cruise costs, I am also covering their gratuities and onshore tours, plus I am only giving them €100 a day each for spending money, it’s not much, but they will hopefully bring their own spending money, oh and there are plenty of things to do, but we will know more when I get the information tomorrow” I replied.
The following morning, once we had our belongings packed, and most of it sent into storage for two weeks, we caught the flight back to Bern, Switzerland, and we were soon home again, in the late morning,relaxing in our apartment, which I was pleased about. “I better call Mrs Cooper, I forgot to call her before we left London” Louis announced, and I suggested that he put it on loud speaker, so we all can chat.
“Good evening Mr Wagner, how are you this evening” Mrs Cooper said when she answered the call, and I chuckled, “Which one Mrs C, there is three of us, and one cousin here” I replied, and Mrs Cooper laughed, “Hello Sebastian, Joachim, Louis and Alexander” she replied eventually, after a good laugh. “We called to let you know of a few changes, we are delaying moving into the new house in London, as we plus some extra’s are going on a cruise for twelve days, originally on the Med, but now it is Northern Europe” I replied.
“Oh, that’s nice, who are the extra’s that you mentioned” Mrs Cooper asked, “Kyle Davies, and three of his high school friends, you may remember them, they did that kayaking on the Avon River, in their final school year” I answered. “Yes, I remember that clearly, it was just after the big annual race wasn’t it. So, does this mean my trip to England is delayed?” Mrs Cooper asked.
“Not at all Mrs C, actually we have added to your flight, so that you fly from Heathrow to Bern, Switzerland, so you can see our home country, and you can enjoy our apartment, while we are on the cruise, and use my car, to tour around the country, but remember on the European Continent, it is driving on the right hand side, once we are back in the UK, it is back to the normal left hand side that you are use too” I replied.“Oh wow, that would be very nice thank you, I think I will enjoy that, and it’s coming up towards summer up there now, so it should be quite nice” Mrs Cooper responded.
“Yes, it will be, we don’t have room to accommodate you at our apartment, so for the few days we are still here before we set off on the cruise, I have you booked into a nearby hotel, then you can move into here as we are leaving” I said.
“That sounds like a good plan, you know you are spoiling me rotten with this extra holiday” Mrs Cooper said, “that is because you are a special lady, and you took very good care of our cousin when he was alive” Louis added, and Joachim and I nodded our heads in agreement, sadly.After a bit more chatting, we ended the call to Mrs Cooper, before I made the call to the Cruise line to confirm the booking for 8 on the coming cruise to Northern Europe, from Sweden to Netherlands.
Once that was done I called Kyle, even though it was starting to get late over there in Australia, with the time difference. “Rectory, Kyle speaking” I heard Kyle say, “Hi mate, how are things down under?” I responded, “Hi ya Sebastian, all is good here, we did the passport applications first thing on Monday morning, before going to our lectures, and we had them done express, which costs about $40 more, but the lady at the post office said that we should get the Passports, on the Wednesday, before we fly out” Kyle said.
“Sounds good, it would be a shame for your friends to miss out on all the fun, now I called to let you know of the slight change of plans, you and your friends will need to pack clothes for cooler weather, as the cruise to the Med has been cancelled due to engine problems with the yacht, but instead we are doing a 12-day cruise on a cruise ship in the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe instead” I announced.
“Oh, wow, so you mean Scandinavia and places like that?” Kyle replied, “Yes, we leave from Sweden, and travel to Finland, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and we end at Amsterdam, I have already adjusted your flights, the lads and I will meet you at the airport in Stockholm, and we spend one night in Sweden, before we board the cruise ship the following day” I informed Kyle.
“Sounds good mate, I look forward to the trip, and the other three guys are very excited to be going out of Australia for the first time” Kyle replied, “That is good mate, just remember to wear loose fitting clothes on the flight, and to drink plenty of water or juice, and avoid drinking alcohol before and during the flight, we will see you in twelve days’ time” I said, pleased that Kyle was looking forward to this trip.
Once I had finished all the phone calls, that I needed to make, I suggested that we go to a café to have some lunch, since we had not done any food shopping yet, and everyone agreed.After lunch we did a bit of clothes and shoe shopping, so we had new gear for our cruise trip, and once back at the apartment, I got to work, to make sure that all the new jeans, shirts, socks and underwear are washed and ready.
Forthe rest of the week, we spent two days doing a bit more sightseeing, showing Xander around Switzerland, in particular, Lucerne,down to Geneva and to Zurich, then across the border to Vaduz in Liechtenstein, before we set off on a four - day trip to Salzburg, Grazand Vienna in Austria.
When we returned home to Bern, we were all very tired from all the travelling, and it was Xander who asked me what day that Mrs Cooper is arriving. “What day is it today?” I asked urgently to no one in particular, “It is Sunday afternoon, why is that Bro?’ Louis called out from the hallway, as he made his way to his room, “Oh hell, we have totally forgotten about Mrs Cooper arriving on Friday, just passed” I responded, as I went to quickly change, before dashing out the door, and down to my car, for the short trip to the hotel.
When I arrived in the lobby of the hotel I went to the reception, and asked in German for Mrs Cooper from Australia, “Yes sir, she is in the piano lounge” the receptionist replied, in polite broken English, and pointed the direction, and I thanked him and dashed into the room, and quickly spotted Mrs Cooper sitting in a comfortable lounge chair, enjoying a drink, while listening to some live piano music.
“Hello, I am so sorry we were not here to meet you, we went on a trip to Austria, to show Xander the sights around Europe” I said as I approached Mrs Cooper, and she just smiled, “That is fine dear, I have been relaxing and catching up some sleep from the jet lag” Mrs Cooper replied as I sat opposite her. “That is good, I hope you had no troubles getting from the airport to the hotel?” I asked her, “Not at all dear, I just showed the taxi driver the address, and he brought me right here, and the hotel has been excellent” Mrs Cooper replied.
“We fly to Stockholm on Friday, so five days from now, so I am happy to show you around Switzerland, in the meantime, or I can organise some tours for you, maybe a European River Cruise?” I suggested, “Oh yes that would be so marvellous, if you don’t mind” Mrs Cooper answered. “That is not a problem, if you like you can be on the cruise while we are on our cruise, and ours is for twelve days, not including the extra day in Sweden, and an extra day in London” I replied.
“That sounds good, thankyou Sebastian” Mrs Cooper replied happily. “Ok, well let me see what we can organised for you” I said, as I looked towards the concierge desk, and eventually caught his attention. “Yes sir, how may I help you” the concierge asked in broken English, “Ich hatte gerne informationen zu Flusskreuzfahrten auf Ebb, Rhein und Donau fur Frau Cooper” I said to the concierge in fluent German, asking him for information on river cruises for Mrs Cooper, which caught him by surprise.
“Sorfort Herr Wagner” he replied before dashing away” after I gave him a sizable tip. “The concierge will get some information for us and be back later” I explained to Mrs Copper, before I signalled a porter, who arrived quickly, “Nachmittagstee fur Frau Cooper und mich bitte” I said to the porter, who also dashed away, as soon as I gave him a tip. “I’ve just asked for some afternoon tea, to be served to us here” I said to Mrs Cooper, “Lovely, just what I need” Mrs Cooper said to me smiling.
While we enjoyed some afternoon tea in the late afternoon, the concierge arrived with a handful of brochures on the river cruises, and I handed them over to Mrs Cooper to look at, “Don’t worry about the cost, or the length of the cruise, just select the one you would like to go on” I said, as she began to browse through all the brochures.
After a good twenty minutes of looking, Mrs Cooper sighed as she put down the last brochure, “so many to look at, but I like the looks of the 17-day Jewels of Central Europe Cruise from Budapest, Hungry to Remich in Luxembourg as he best option” Mrs Cooper said, before handing me that brochure.
With the information infront of me, I grabbed my phone and called the Cruise line to check on availability of cruises in the near future, speaking in German the whole time. I was surprised to learn that there was a cancellation for this week’s cruise, departing on Wednesday, and that it is a Royal Suite. I told the lady that I was happy to book and pay for that suite immediately to secure it.
Once I had finished with the booking, I ended the call with a big smile. “It is your lucky day Mrs C, you are booked onto the 17-day Jewels of Central Europe cruise, that leaves this coming Wednesday, with Avalon Waterways, and it is all booked and paid for, so all you need to do is pack up and be on your way, I just have to organise you flights and one night’s hotel stay in Budapest” I announced.
“Wow, that is wonderful, you are so good at organising things so swiftly” Mrs Cooper said to me, and I blushed a little, which made her laugh. “I just like being well organised I guess, I must have inherited it from my parents, anyway, you are leaving on Tuesday afternoon, threedays before us, and we will be returning the day before you get back”I said to Mrs Cooper, “How about you organise for me to fly to London, from Luxembourg, and I can get started on getting your new home in to order” Mrs Cooper suggested.
“Yes, we can do that, I just need to organise for you to collect the key to the house, and I will give you a credit card for housekeeping, which I have already set up for you, oh and the lads suggested that you have the guest bedroom on the top floor if you are up do dealing with stairs, also there is enough accommodation for a total of four staff, if need be, I will leave it up to you to sort that out, once you have had a good look around the house” I replied.
“I am only 63, so I am sure that I can cope with stairs with no problems” Mrs C said to me and I smiled, as I pulled out my phone and called the travel agency in Bern, that our family company uses mostly, and I organised the flights from Zurich to Budapest, and from Luxembourg to London, plus the hotel accommodation in Budapest, and two nights in London.
“I will have a chauffeur take you to Zurich, which has a direct flight to Budapest, it is about a 1 ½ hour journey there, which is not a problem, now would you like to join us for dinner tomorrow night, unfortunately most of us are so tired from all the travelling the past week, that we need an early night tonight” I explained. “Yes, that would be lovely, what time?” Mrs Cooper replied, “Let’s say pick you up in the lobby at 7pm tomorrow night” I suggested, and Mrs Cooper agreed to this, as I said goodbye and left her to relax some more.
When I arrived home, all three lads were fast asleep in their rooms, so I let them sleep while I relaxed for an hour or so, before telephoning for a pizza delivery for dinner. When dinner arrived, it didn’t take long for the twins and Xander to appear, especially when I had left their bedroom door slightly open, to let the smell drift in.
During dinner, I explained what I had been talking to Mrs Cooper in regards to the house, and that she would be going on a Central Europe river cruise, while we are away on our cruise, and that after her cruise is finished, she will fly to London, to start working on the new house.Once dinner was over, and everything was cleaned up, we all retreated to our rooms to get some sleep.
Copyright 2018 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights are Reserved