Panama Canal Cruise – Day Thirteen

Today is the start of our 4 days at sea.  We have about 1800 miles to get from Nicaragua to San Diego with no stops.  The entertainment staff have their work cut out for them to keep everyone happy for the four days we were supposed to be stopping in Mexico.  The agenda for the day seems to be getting longer and longer.

Rick and I had been spending a lot of time in the Piano Bar with a new cruise singer, Diane Fast.  Diane is from Seattle and this is her virgin cruise – both as a cruiser and as an onboard entertainer.  She has been absolutely fantastic. The cruise director was looking for as many activities as could be fit into a day so Diane volunteered to do two new activities – a Songwriting Seminar and the Passenger Cabaret Class.  Today was the first day for both.  I was amazed at how many people came.  So for the first day of sea, I now have homework to do on a new song and confirm the words to the song I’ll be singing in the cabaret.  Rick’s homework is to get “Stupid Cruise Questions” together for a comedy bit.  This should be good.

Captain Harris and his entertainment crew are a smart bunch.  They decided that tonight there would be another Pool Party, with one major difference…..FREE DRINKS!!!!  What a great marketing tool to get people to forget we are not going to Acapulco tomorrow.  The Lido mid-ship pool was packed.  Charlie and the HAL Cats played great music again and we had dancing, drinking and partying in the pool. 

The bunch of people we had met at the Pub Crawl a few days ago met for a Pub Crawl reunion on our own.  The bartenders were quite generous in their drink pours even though this was not a “sanctioned” event.  We started at 7:30 and hit three bars until we got to the Pool Party for the free drinks.  At that point we were ready for the pool.  We managed to throw in DJ Dan and the Cruise Director Jimmy.  We really wanted to throw them overboard instead of the pool but didn’t want to end up in the brig!!

While we were going through the Panama Canal, a correspondent working at the new canal saw our ship and took a couple of pictures.  You can check out more information about the Panama Canal at: www.kleph.com

Here is Cliff’s email to me. 

I am a correspondent for Engineering-News Record and I was at the Panama Canal yesterday doing photographs of the Third Lane Expansion project. (A slideshow I did for the magazine’s online site two years ago can be found here (Panama Slideshow)
While I was wai  ting to take shots of a controlled blast in the expansion area I was also taking shots of ships going through the Miraflores locks and I have a couple of the cruise ship Westerdam.
I stumbled on your blog entry doing some of my research this evening and just put the two together. If you would like to send me an email, I’ll send it your way post haste.
I hope your trip is going well. It sounds like it from your blog entries.
Cliff

 westerdamwesterdam2

 

For the official version see CAA Niagara Travel

Panama Canal Cruise – Day Twelve

Welcome to Corinto, Nicaragua.  We ended up backtracking by heading south to Nicaragua for this historical day for Holland America. This is first time a Holland America ship has landed in Nicaragua.  What’s really amazing is, like yesterday, even though this has never been a designated port, somehow there were excursions created and many, many pedicabs available for our transportation in this tiny coastal town of 20,000.   

You could tell the locals had thrown together whatever they could find to set up a “market” close to the pier.  It was like going to a garage sale of sorts – lots of toys, kids clothes, shoes, etc. 

We found a town plaza that had a fountain area in the middle with turtles and to our surprise a crocodile.  The crocodile’s snout was right by one of the turtles but it didn’t seem to be concerned.  We watched its amazing reptilian eyes until it decided that it was time to cool off.  It’s eyes slowly shut and then even slower it slide down into the water very stealth-like.

We walked around the town to take in the local life and found an Internet Cafe, a Kingdom Hall and a movie theatre.  The theatre was open air with no seats and instead of a screen, just had a big wall painted white.  It also had a big fan to keep you cool while you watched the movie.

Walking by a bar we heard Madonna wafting out and also saw Pepsi and Eskimo Pie signs all over.  During our walk we also saw a mother and son walking down the street with 4 chickens apiece.  At first glance we thought they were dead as they were holding them by the feet and they weren’t moving.  When we got closer we found that they were, in fact, alive.  The boy tilted up one of the heads and it blinked.  I guess they knew they were headed for the fryer…..

When we first started our walk it was somewhat overcast but after about a half hour or so, I found that my legs and lungs were not working correctly.  I got to the point that I was unsure whether I could get back to the ship.  It turned out Rick was feeling something similar.  While we were walking it had turned very hot with very high humidity and had a real negative effect on our circulatory systems – our blood was turned to mud.  (at least it felt that way)  We DID manage to get  back to the ship and once we were in the pool and relaxing we were fine again.

Sail away was so much fun as the people of Cortino came to the beach to see the big ship off.  As we sailed by you could see multiple flashes going as everyone wanted a picture of this historic event.  The people were very nice and it is a beautiful country so I hope they develop their tourism and get air conditioning soon.

For more information see CAA Niagara Travel 

 

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