A Cruise Vacation Update

Our 2013 NCL cruise vacation is only about 281 days away. We have managed to just about pay the actual cruise off but still need to get our soda passes for the cruise and our transfers from the disembarkation port in Rome to the airport in Rome, which from what I have read and heard is approximately 1-1 1/2 hours away from where the ship will be docked.
The transfers are $75 per person but it is well worth the money to ride a large comfortable bus and have our luggage stored under the bus. I find this arrangement to be much better than trying to get a taxi for the long ride to the airport.
We will just have to make sure that we can get an early transfer shuttle so that we can arrive at the airport with plenty of time to get checked in and go through customs in Rome. I have a feeling that it will be hectic and busy at this airport.
We won't be able to arrange for these transfers until we have purchased our airline tickets.
We checked out various flights and we have kind of decided to stick with Delta for all of the flight segments on this trip.
We found several options for our "open jaw" flights for our arrival into Venice Italy and returning home from Rome, Italy.
We have our eye on one particular set of flights but we are waiting a bit to see if the prices go down some. The tickets have already dropped $50 a piece in the last 2 days, which was when we initially started our airline ticket search.
Another reason for flying Delta is that if we fly Delta and use our American Express Delta credit card, we get double rewards points.
We recently found out how nice it is to have these reward points. We recently purchased our upcoming August plane tickets for our flights to Minneapolis...on our way up to Canada for a week long relaxing fishing adventure. By using our Delta rewards points, we only had to pay $7.50 a piece for each of our plane tickets and this was for round trip tickets. That alone kind of endeared us to being loyal customers and reward points enthusiast.
Besides purchasing the flight tickets, we need to decide whether or not to do any shore excursions for the ports of call that we will be visiting.
We usually like to go off on our own without paying the price for these excursions but there have been times when it was better to be on a paid excursion through the cruise line. We will have to look carefully at each port and see what is available and what the cost is compared to having the freedom to go where we want and spend as much time at any give location as we choose and not having to pay a cent to do it.
There still is a lot of logistical research that I need to do especially for our time in Venice. Options of getting from the airport to a location near our hotel  in Venice are plentiful but each has its own price and benefit, getting from our hotel in Venice to the pier where our ship is docked, arranging a gondola ride with serenade (a must for any visit to Venice), arranging travel from our hotel to the islands of Murano and Burano...these are just a few things that must be researched still and fully arranged.
One major thing I got accomplished was to make our reservations at the Hotel Papadopoli in Venice for 2 nights prior to our cruise actually starting.
I will most likely go through the hotels concierge service as far as the arrangements for the gondola ride and the visits to Murano and Burano. Hopefully a long distance telephone call and a few emails will take care of those arrangements.
And of course there will be the final task and probably one of the most important, gather up enough Euros so that we can totally enjoy ourselves during this next cruise adventure.

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