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.