Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We arrived in Aruba about noon today. We didn’t have an excursion booked because we have been here before, so Judy went into the port with Seldon and I stayed onboard and took a nap. Aruba is actually mostly made up of desert and beaches. The used to take excursions to the natural bridge, but it collapsed in recent years so now they take tours to what was the natural bridge. It was a bridge that was formed by the sea coming in and out. We have played lots of trivia, not winning often but learning a lot. Now two days at sea and then Fort Lauderdale.
Monday, September 28, 2009
We arrived in Cartagena early and we had scheduled a shore excursion on a Pirate Boat. The boat was parked close to our ship and we were soon on board. We were greeted by a folkloric group that was very enjoyable and we spent the next two hours touring the Cartagena Harbor. Cartagena has a very modern new section with dozens of high rise condo buildings and a lovely walled old city that includes some beautiful churches old buildings and lovely walkways. I can’t say too much about our table mates. Of course they Include Sheila and Seldon, but also Bryan and Judy from Denver. They are a little younger that we are and we can’t wait to hear about their days adventures which are much more daring and difficult than ours. Tomorrow, Aruba and our last stop before heading for home.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Today we did the transit of the Panama Canal and even though we have done it before, it was another great experience. Spain first did a survey of doing a canal between the two oceans as early as the middle of the sixteenth century. It wasn’t until 1903 when Panama got their independence from Columbia that the US bought the properties from the French and starting construction on the canal. It was completed in 1914 at a cost of 387 million dollars and guess what “IT STILL WORKS”. We got up early for the transit of the Mira Flores Locks and after the Pedro Miguel locks and the Gatun Locks we were finally in the Caribbean about 3pm. It cost the Island Princess $226,000 to go thru. Tomorrow, Cartagena and our ride on a pirate ship.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Puerto Amador and Panama City seem to be a city of contrasts. We took a tour that we found interesting even if it was in a very small and cramped bus. We first saw the area that serves the Canal which was designed and built by American Contractors. It has great roads, nice office buildings and a great layout. From there we drove through very rundown areas of Panama City where the average monthly wage of its population is $310. We went from that to a part of Panama City that was nothing but high rises with condo’s starting in the $300,000 for 1200 sq ft. I know that at one time it was a retirement place for people from around the world, but it is surely not Judy and My cup of tea. Shiela and Sheldon took the tour with us and we both agreed it was an interesting tour. Tomorrow, the transit of the Canal.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
We arrived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica early this morning and left on a wonderful tour of the countryside about 8 AM. The tour was wonderful; we had a great tour guide and went to some small towns inland. At one of the stops we had a group of young kids from a local school do some dances for us. They ranged in age from 2 years to probably 13 and were extremely enjoyable. I was adventurous and tried a locally prepared fried tortilla with beans and it tasted great. Our guide told us a lot about the history of Costa Rica and its current state. In 1948, they disbanded their army and now spend 36 percent of their taxes on education. Every child who is capable is offered education including the University level for free. We saw happy people and more importantly happy children. Tomorrow, another day at sea and some wine tasting. We are really enjoying the Island Princess and later on I will do an entire entry talking about it.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
We had a short stop in Huatulco, Mexico. Judy took a short walk into the small town. Huatulco has wonderful beaches and many overlooking cliffs that make this a unique community. The Mexican government has made a commitment to the area to develop it into a resort community much like they did with Cancun. There are marvelous hotels al over the area, each overlooking or on a fabulous beach. We have been playing trivia daily, but still no wins, but we keep trying. Tomorrow is another sea day and also a day we get lunch with the Captain because we are among the most 40 traveled passengers. The next port is Puntarenas, Costa Rica.
Monday, September 21, 2009
After three days at sea, and they were fun ones, we finally arrived in Acapulco. We booked a tour to the cliff divers and they didn’t fail to entertain. The divers are amazing, they dive from a 120 ft cliff into a pool of water that constantly is coming in and out. We watched several divers from a lookout at the top of the cliff. After the cliff divers we toured the city of Acapulco and like most Mexican cities it has its contrasts. Some areas are extremely poor and other areas with fabulous houses of the rich and famous from all over the world. When we arrived back at the ship we seen a wonderful folk loric show that featured a six piece mariachi band and about ten dancers doing lots of different traditional dances. Tomorrow, Huatulco where we will probably just walk into the town.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Our first day at sea was great, it was a little foggy in the morning but later in the day the sun came out. We are finding our way around the beautiful Island Princess and find the ship really nice. Because this ship was designed to go through the Panama Canal it is narrower than most of the big ships and it is also longer. We have found the common areas on the ship are really nice and it rarely seems crowded. We played trivia twice yesterday with Sheila and Seldon and a couple of other people, we didn’t do badly but didn’t win either. We have a great team of waiters at our table along with some nice folks from Denver. Tomorrow, another day at sea.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
After a wonderful time with Weston at Paige and Eric’s, Paige dropped us off at Pier 35 in San Francisco where the Island Princess was waiting. It was tough to say goodbye to Weston who wanted to wait and watch us leave. Our check in was quick and we quickly found Sheila and Seldon in the buffet. They had spent a couple of days in SF and enjoyed it. It was a beautiful early evening for our sail away but as always the closer the bridge we got the cooler and windier it got. The nice part was no fog, so we got great views of the bridge and San Francisco as we sailed away. We have sailed under the bridge several times and of course every time it looks like the ship is going to hit it, but again it glided beneath it without incident. Now we are looking forward to three days at sea and the exploration of the Island Princess, because it is our first time on this ship.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Well, we survived the plane trip to California and our luggage came and we are all set for getting on the Island Princess on Wed. We are spending a few days with Paige, Eric and our grandson Weston. We will be eating too much but spending wonderful time with Weston who is 2 1/2 years old and so much fun. We will be cruising with two of our friends Shiela and Seldon who are flying into San Francisco a couple of days early and we will meet them the day of departure. We have gone on the Panama Canal cruise in the past, but this will be a first for Shiela and Seldon. Next update will be after we leave San Francisco and cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge.