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.