Linda, we seem to have done many of the same trips, small world. As you mentioned, I too have tried to do some trips as soon as I retired at age 60, not so much for the flight times, although that is also getting harder, but more for the activity level. I do a lot of Road Scholar (Elder Hostel) programs, have finished up about all of my "bucket list" programs that involve more walking, standing and long bus rides. My thinking is, when my knees & hips give out I'll do more cruises.
I just got back from a 13 day cruise on Royal Caribbean repo from Hawaii to Vancouver, 6 days in the islands. Added Kaui this time. Love Hawaii. I use Roberts Tours in Hawaii, instead of ships excursions. Next June I am doing an Alaska cruise tour with RCI, 6 days from Fairbanks to Seward, then 7 day cruise down to Vancouver. In October 2015 I am doing a 14 day RCI cruise from Quebec, thru Canadian Maritimes, New England, Charleston and end in Ft Lauderdale. As a solo, I really have to watch out for deals since RCI went to 200% pricing. When I see a deal I jump on it., that is how I was finally able to do the Alaska cruise tour. I wanted to do a GCT river cruise, but my budget is full for this year and next, so 2016 will be the year.
I am looking forward to my August 14 NW National Parks with GCT, especially since it seems they are not doing North American land tours any more. They keep changing the hotels for our program, at least they dropped the hotel I had called them about.
Maybe I'll meet up with you on a GCT or cruise. Happy travels.