100 YO Canal
We had a great cruise from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale (3/18 to 4/1), despite a number of problems along the way.
Our ship blew one it's 5 engines the third day and we had to overnight (unscheduled) in Puerto Viarta to have them switch out a new engine from another ship (Oosterdam) owned by Holland America Lines overnight in the harbor. (neat piece of work if you ask me). Also one fellow cruiser got very sick so the Captain decided to stop in Acapulco and tender him off to a hospital. Later reports were that he was recovering well. Next day as we were approaching the harbor at Puerto Chiapas, with the Pilot aboard, we experienced large swells that caused them to abort the port call as the ship could have either run aground or caused damage to the dock and/or ship.
The long and short of it was that we missed port calls in Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas Mex because of the delays. We were still able to make port calls in Guatemala, Panama and Cartagena, Columbia, in addition to PV. Plenty to do on board during "sea days" ~ great food, more great food, fabulous gym workout each morning with a 180 degree view of where we were headed, plenty of whales to view in the AM on the back deck sipping coffee and noshing a Danish, casino gaming (broke even), nightly live entertainment in the showroom, movie theatre, interesting lectures on various subjects, house band played at poolside once or twice a day, 2 for 1 happy hour at Ocean bar and Crows Nest daily and much, much more.
Best shore excursion? Our Puerto Quetzal port call. It was a visit to a small shade-grown coffee plantation with a very nice tour given by the owner's daughter and a visit to Antigua, Guatamala.
Best lecture? Video and talk by Safety, Environmental, and Health Officer Jason Grimes. Amazing what they do to recycle all of the trash, create potable water, look out for whales, reduce fuel consumption, keep everyone on board healthy.
Best take home item? Cruise Log. Sample entry ~ "Tuesday March 29, 2011. Cartagena, Columbia. 8:19 local Pilot Aboard; 9:37 Safely Anchored off Cartagena;12:00 N Gentle Breeze, partly cloudy skies, harbour conditions 30C/86F; 14:53 Vessel undocked, departing Cartagena"
The highlight was our trip tho was the day (6AM-4PM) traversing the Panama Canal. What an engineering masterpiece~ that still runs as well today as it did in 1914 when it opened using the same technology and infrastructure that is almost 100 years old! They (Panama) are in the process of digging two more sets of locks so that larger ships (up to 160 ft wide) can use the canal. Current locks are only 110 ft wide.
If you ever want to take a 14 day cruise, that's the one to take.
Part-Owner of Texas
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx
In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.