Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 13- 18, 2013 Panama Canal Cruise

Sunday (13th) was another sea day but what a sea day.  This was the day that we would be traveling through the Panama Canal.  "Uncle Marty"Harrington narrated the events of the day as we made this travel.  At 7:45am we entered the Miraflores Locks and approximately 8:50 am we departed this set of locks.  Then about 9:30am we entered the Pedro Miguel Locks and about 40 minutes later we departed these locks into the Gatun Lake area that would take about  2 hours to pass through.  We would then go through the last set of locks, Gatun Locks, which we exited about 3:35pm.  It was an amazing trip as the pilots maneuvered this massive ship with only 2 feet of clearence on each side through the locks.  The other unusual event of the day was that this morning we saw the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean and in the evening we saw the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.  The ship would remain at sea during the night.  Tom and I were both feeling pretty bad that we did not go to the evening's entertainment but stayed in our room.  We were also experiencing some rough seas.  The travels through the Pacific Ocean had been fairly calm but once we were in the Atlantic Ocean the swells were 9 or more feet.
Monday (14th)  the ship docked in Colon, Panama a little past 6am.  About 8am we were on a bus tour to visit an Embero Indian village.  After an hours drive we came to the Gatun Lake where we boarded motorized canoes for a ride to the village about 45 minutes away.  The thatched roofs could be seen as we approached the village.  The villagers greeted when the canoes landed.  A large thatched roof structure had booths set up for the selling of crafts.  A talk about the village was given and then lunch was served.  A banana leaf rolled into a cone-shape had a piece of fried tilapia fish and several pieces of fried plaintain.  Later trays of fresh fruit- melon, papaya and pineapple-  were passed around.  After lunch native dancing was done.  Before leaving the native women placed head bands adorned with hibiscus on each of the female visitor's heads.  We returned to the ship about 3pm and the ship departed at 4pm.  The night's entertainment was a comedian, Steve Scott.
Tuesday (15th) the ship docked in Cartagena, Colombia about 8:30am.  At 9:15am we were on a bus for about a 4 hour tour of the Best of Cartagena.  Our tour guide, Jose Villa, was really a good guide, his English was well spoken and he was very knowledgeable.  We did some walking about the older areas of the city where the srteets were too narrow for buses to travel.  Cartagena was a beautiful city and supposedly the drug problem is being dealt with.  We returned to the ship a little past 1pm and by 3pm we were sailing toward Florida.  The seas remained to be quite rough.  The night's entertainment was a split show between Sean O'Shea, a singer, and Michael Dubois, a juggler.  The juggler had his hands full with the motion of the ship.
Wednesday (16th) was a sea day.  Because of strong winds we were unable to go out on the deck 6.  The upper decks were mostly all sun- too hot and sunny for us.  so we spent much of the day in our room.  In the afternoon, John Grantham, the Cruise Director, presented a show, "Meet the Stuntman", about his former life as an actor/stuntman.   Dinner in the Grand Restaurant was a formal night in which lobster was served and baked Alaska for dessert.  The evening entertainment was "A Touch of Broadway" put on by the Celebrity Production Cast.
Thursday (17th) our last day at sea as we were moving north toward Florida passing by Cuba.  In the morning a Crew Talent Show was presented in the Theater.  A flash mob started the show off with a dance to "Thriller".  Several crew members then presented their acts- comedy, juggling and the best was a waiter with a great voice that was called back to do a second number.  Tonight's entertainment was again a split act of Craig Dahn, pianist, and Steven Scott, comedian.  The seas was much calmer on this day. Our luggage had to be outside our staterooms by 11pm.
Friday (18th) at 7am the ship docked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  It was a chilly 59 degrees.  We had been in temperatures in the 80's so this was a real change.  We were assigned a lounge to wait in until we were allowed to leave the ship and collect our luggage.  About 8am we were released to go off ship to where our luggage was.  After retrieving our luggage we then boarded bus for the airport.  Our plane left a little past 12 noon and we arrived in Baltimore about 2:30pm.  It was really cold in Baltimore as we waited for the shuttle to take us back to LaQuinta Hotel to get our car.  We stopped for dinner in Westminster and then by 6pm we were home.

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 9 through 12, 2013- Panama Canal Cruise

Wednesday (9th) we were up early as we were scheduled for a tour at 8am.  We had docked at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala at 7am.  The tour was a tour of Colonial Antigua- Past and Present.  From the dock we rode on a bus about 90 minutes to the city of Antiqua, 4500 feet above sea level.  We had views of volcanos and sugar cane fields along the way. We walked about the city with a guide and then had lunch, buffet-style of chicken, beans, rice, some hot green sauce and soup, in an outside courtyard of a hotel.  We returned to the ship about 8 hours later.  The night's entertainment was performers, magicians and comedian, from previous nights sharing the stage.
Thursday (10th) again we started out early getting out of bed at 6:30am.  This was another sea day.  We had another talk by "Uncle Marty" about the efforts to build the canal.  And then another talk about the upcoming ports and the activites that were offered at those ports was given.  It was an extremely windy day.  We had attempted to eat lunch on an outside deck but the wind was so strong that it blew the lettuce off our plates so we retreated to inside dining.  The night's entertainment was "Liverpool Knights" with the ship's entertaining staff.  Tom started to not feel too well  with cold symptoms.
Friday (11th) we arrived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica about 7am.  We had not scheduled any tours here so we had a leisurely breakfast and then left the ship on out own.  Tents were set up along the  beach with vendors selling their wares.  We found an internet place that for $2.00 we could have an hour of internet service (the ship charged .75 per minute and the service was bad).  So we sent out some emails to family and checked emails.  We met an American lady that is living in Costa Rica as we were walking about the area.  She said that she wanted to sell her house in Costa Rica and move to Nicarauga as it was getting to be too expensive to live in Costa Rica.  Another couple from the ship told us that 2 people had died on the ship from heart attacks- we never heard anymore about this although we had been asked to vacate an elevator for a sick person and the person was a lady that was very upset- we wondered if she could have been the spouse of a deceased.  The entertainment for the evening was a juggler.  Tom continued not to feel well.
Saturday (12th) was another sea day.  Another talk by "Uncle Marty" about going through the canal.  There would be 3 pilots on board each taking 2 hours at a time at the helm.  In the locks the ship will only have a 2 foot clearence on each side as the locks are 110 feet wide and the ship is 106 feet wide, this is the widest that any ship can be going through the canal. It will cost $320,000.00 to 350,000.00 for the ship to go through the Canal.  Sean O'Shea was the entertainer on this evening with a high energy musical performance.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 6-8, 2013 Panama Canal Cruise

Sunday (6th) after getting up we went to the Fitness Center for our morning workout and then had breakfast.  This was our pattern for most mornings.  During the night we had another time change from Mountain to Central time.   About 1pm we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The ship was docked at the pier.  Again we had not chosen to take any tours but just walked about the local area.  There was a nice mall close by that we walked about but our last stop was at a Wal-Mart.  We wanted to get some cokes to have in our room and knew that we could get a couple of six packs in Wal-Mart- other places sold cokes individually.  Many street vendors out trying to sell their wares.  We returned to the ship and caught the football games on the TV.  The ship left port at 8pm after our dinner and before the entertainment.
Monday (7th) was a day at sea.  We attended two seminars during the day.  "Uncle Marty" Harrington gave the first of 5 talks he would do on the cruise about Panama leading up to going through the canal.  Dr. Connie Soja gave a talk on the Reefs of the Mexican Riviera.  We particicpated in a golf tournament(?) in one of the lounges in the afternoon.   In the evening 2 people were removed from the ship as we neared Acupulca due to illness.  Word was passed about Norovirus and santization procedures were stepped up.  Purell dispensers were everywhere throughout the ship and as we entered the dining rooms a wait staff dispensed the Purell.  We now could no longer serve ourselves in the buffet lines or pour our drinks, this had to be done by ship staff. The nights entertainment was a comedy impressions act, Kimika.
Tuesday (8th) started out with some excitement as we were eating breakfast in the Spa dining room.  The ships horn sounded and then the ship listed, the plates flew off the counter, the dining room staff ran to the windows forgetting the broken dishes.  Tom also checked it out and saw a small fishing boat that was in the way of the ship.  No collisions occurred.  The second "Uncle Marty" Panama talk was given this morning.  And another golf tournament in a lounge in the afternoon.  This was another sea day.  The dining was formal on this evening.  The nights entertainment was Jack Walker, a singer from Scotland.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 2 through January 5, 2013 -Panama Canal Cruise

Wednesday, January 2, 2013, Tom and I left Taneytown and headed off for the airport in Baltimore.  We were going to travel a little differently this winter.  We spent the night at La Quinta Inn.  We met up with friends Dave and Libby Hagan and had dinner at G & M Restaurant, a well-known crabcake restaurant.
Thursday (3rd) after a breakfast at the hotel we were off to the airport at 6:20am.  We had some gels and lotions taken out of our carry-ons.  We had been careful to keep liquids out but obviously we couldn't even have a tube of toothpaste or shaving foam.  By 8:30am we were boarded on the plane but the air traffic at the airport was so heavy that it took about 45 minutes to get off the ground.  We arrived in San Diego, Ca. at 11:30am (PT).  We were met by Celebrity Cruise personnel at the airport and transported by bus to the pier.  Herded like cattle through one line after another we finally got on board the Celebrity Century ship about 2pm.  We were able to get lunch on board after finding our state room- 4006.  Dave and Libby Hagan were in room 4000.  Bruce and Cricket McGinnis, the trip planner, were on board and we met them on a stairwell.  During the mandatory muster drill we found Jimmy and Rose MacBlane, Beth's parents, sitting in the row in front of us.  At 5pm the ship left the dock and our 15 day cruise was underway.  At 6pm we dined in the Grand Restaurant and met our waiter, Vernon, and his assistant, Ruben.  These 2 would be serving our dinners for the entire cruise as we were assigned to a specfic table for this meal.  At 9pm we were entertained in the Theater with a show performed by the ship's entertainers.
Friday (4th) we were up at 6:30am although we thought that it was 7:30.  We had a time change during the night from Pacific time to Mountain time loosing 1 hour.  This day was a sea day.  After breakfast we walked around the upper deck for about 2 miles and then we just explored where things were on the ship.  We did attend a talk about the activities/tours on the first 3 ports of call.  An Art Auction was being held on board that we attended (free Champagne!!!)  In the afternoon we watched the movie "Dark Shadows".  This evening was the first formal night.  After dinner we were welcomed on board by Captain George Iatrou, the Master of Century with a champagne toast.  The nights showtime was Dance Around the World.  The aerial/Vadagio duo were indeed the show stoppers with their aerial performance.
Saturday (5th) after breakfast we went to the Fitness Center and used the treadmills.  At 11:30am we arrived in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  We did not go on any tours of this area.  We did get off the ship (from this port we had to be tendered from the ship) and walked about the harbor area.  Like all areas of Mexico we were approached by numerous street vendors selling "silver" very "cheep", "almost free".  At 6:30pm as we were having dinner the ship departed Cabo San Lucas.  The nights entertainment was Gossamer Magic- Peter Gossamer, a magician and comedian.  And later in one of the lounges there was a 50's party that a group of us attended.