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rafinmd

Around the Horn in 80 days.

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10AM lecture, must post and run.

 

Day P6, Thursday, January 10, 2019, Fuerte Amador (Panama City), Panama


I have started setting my alarm but lingered in bed for a few extra minutes getting up about 5:10 and was on deck about 5:30.  I was not planning on walking in port and thus walked 6 laps on the Lower Promenade Deck, needing to be careful of my head where the tender mounts on the port side were hanging down.  With pretty good timing I rounded the stern on my last lap and returned inside to my room as they were just lowering the starboard tenders.  We were joined in port by 2 other ships.  Noble Caledonia’s 95-passenger Serenissima is on a cruise ending in Puerto Caldera January 19.  As I was walking we were joined by Windstar’s Star Breeze (former Seabourn Star).  We were the only ones tendering into the cruise terminal; both the other ships were sending passengers away by Zodiac.  I prefer the tender.  There were low lying clouds but the sun did produce some nice colors over the stern late in my walk.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dawn0110.jpg


A number of tours were offered but I have taken most of them over the years (with Crystal) and
this time chose to look for the Hop On Hop Off bus.  Tendering in earnest started at 7:30 and I went up to the Ocean Bar for a tender ticket about 7:45.  The wait was short and I was soon ashore.  Fuerte Amador MAY be working on a dock but for now there’s a tender “terminal” with a number of restaurants and shops.  The HoHo literature indicated the stop was a 5 minute walk from the terminal and I went to try to find it.  As I was leaving the parking lot a bus came up and the stop was actually right at the terminal door.  There is also apparently a different schedule for cruise ship days and the bus came earlier than expected but also did not keep very close to the schedule I was given.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/hopbuspanama.jpg

Fuerte Amador is on the last of a string of islands joined by a causeway built form excavated material from the canal.  It was intended as a breakwater for ships approaching the canal and was also a military base while the canal was in US hands.  The causeway is about 3 miles long and near the inland end has a Biomuseo.  The Frank Gehry structure is a eclectic collection of colorful panels and also visible from the canal.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/biomuseo.jpg


We circled for a while around central Panama City which has quite an impressive skyline, mostly built in about the last 10 years.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/pcskyline.jpg


I had planned to make 2 stops, one at a mall and the other at the canal visitor center.  The first loop of the day skipped the mall and I left the bus at the visitor center about 9:30 after passing the canal headquarters, on a hill just tall enough to be the same elevation as Gatun Lake.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/canalhq.jpg


I had about an hour at the visitor center.  It was nowhere as crowded as when we locked through but there was also not a lot going on.  A smallish bulk carrier was just leaving the lock and behind her were 2 small tour boats.  They did not leave until the Atlantic Oasis was fully out of the chamber.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/tourboats.jpg


While there was no other activity in our area there was a good view of a large MSC container ship leaving the new locks for Lake Gatun.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/newcanal2.jpg


The bus showed up about 10 minutes later than it’s 10:35 scheduled time.  On the way back I got a good look at rolling stock for the Panama Canal railroad.  I was also able to identify the original passenger terminal, now recycled as a McDonalds.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/panamarr.jpg


I was surprised to see that HAL had a shuttle to the Albrook Mall, as Crystal is very good about providing shuttles and has always said it was prohibited there due to pressure from the taxi drivers.  I assume something has changed and I got back to the pier in time to pick up the 11:30 shuttle.  It was a HUGE mall but I only stopped at one store for a couple of 3-way electrical adapters and grabbed a burger at McDonalds (in the mall, not the old RR station) as it was getting on to or past lunch time.  I caught the 12:30 shuttle back, browsed the stores at the pier a bit, and was back on board before 2.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/albrook.jpg


The day had been quite hot.  The cover and breeze kept me comfortable on the bus but once back on the ship I did not go outside much.  I did have a peek at my foot before dinner and continue to keep it protected by the bandage but did check and there was no discoloration beyond the bandage.  As I write this on Friday I did extend my morning walk.  

The last tender was due to leave at 5:30 but as I entered the dining room Captain Jeroen had his sailaway message and they had just emptied the last tender with all on board and preparing to sail.  The evening was designated Panama Hat Night and the penguins in the lobby between dining room entrances were all wearing Panama Hats and each of us got a replica Panama Hat.  Our waiter Adnyana took a group picture.


ttps://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/table19.jpg


As our starters came we were starting to swivel towards our direction of travel and we started on our way towards Ecuador.  For the evening I chose the Caesar Salad, Veal, and Blueberry Mango Crisp.  Our dinner timing is pretty standardized since some of our members predictably leave in time for 7PM trivia.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dishes10.jpg


The featured entertainment was a variety show featuring Carl Strong, Kenny Bird, and Devlin.  I skipped the show and spent a little time up in the Explorers Lounge with Adagio.  I ran out of gas again taking a little break on my bed about 9:15 and waking up after 11 to really go to bed.

As a parting shot I see that the Senate has approved back pay for furloughed workers.  I hope that the time is not too far away that the shutdown will end and they will receive it, especially one of my table mates.

 

Roy

 

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Good morning Roy!! Finished my coffee

and your great report!! Thank you for another sunrise photo. I’m happy your able to do your walking and your foot seems to be mending well. FuerteAmador when we were there last year we did not have a chance

to go to shore. This time will do what you’ve done with the Hop off and On bus. Also hopefully will have a shuttle to go to the mall too👍 I always learn a lot from your adventures on what to do on our cruises.

have a good day!

Denise😊

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16 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

 

We love the Panama BUNs.  I usually have 2 or 3 of them for breakfast.

 

 

 

LOL!  We'll have Panama Rolls in a couple weeks in the canal on the World Cruise....then they will be Sydney Rolls....then Singapore Rolls.....Mumbai Rolls.....and...drumroll please.....Suez Canal Rolls!  Who knows what else they will be!  I don't remember them years ago everywhere we went but it seems that they show up now at all the main sail-ins around the world.  Hong Kong, Shanghai...hahaaaa!

 

Linda R.

Oh!!!  Wait!!!!  "Amsterdam Rolls" when we sail into Amsterdam ON the Amsterdam in April. 🤣

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Another great report.

 

So much has changed since we were last in Fuerte except when we were there a number of years ago, they were talking them about building a pier for ships to dock at rather than everyone tendering.

 

Great pictures -- one didn't take.

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Thanks for the great pictures and comments.

Unfortunately, I couldn't access the Panama Hat picture.

But everything else is wonderful.

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Thanks everyone.  Rich, I hope your guide was closer to the truth than our narrator.  Ann, that would have been the Centennial Bridge

 

 

8 minutes ago, puppycanducruise said:

Thanks for the great pictures and comments.

Unfortunately, I couldn't access the Panama Hat picture.

But everything else is wonderful.

 

table19.jpg

 

Oops, lost the leading h on the link.

 

Roy

 

 

Edited by rafinmd

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10 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Thanks everyone.  Rich, I hope your guide was closer to the truth than our narrator.  Ann, that would have been the Centennial Bridge

 

 

 

table19.jpg

 

Oops, lost the leading h on the link.

 

Roy

 

 

Thanks Roy

 

Nice to see 3 great CC friends in one pic 🙂. I bet you are all having a blast! 

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Linda, I wonder if they will have those buns when I arrive in Amsterdam on the Nieuw Statendam. 

 

Denise, a couple of  comments on the HoHo bus.  Their website is not very good.  They seem to have a different schedule on cruise ship days, and I will attach a copy of mine.  That first run was listed as at the port at 8 but was actually more like 8:45.  That first run also skips a number of stops; I think it goes to the listed places but ran later than that.

 

The website offers tickets for $33.  When I boarded I was offered either a single circuit for $20 or a day pass for $25, so I would not rush to buy an online ticket.  They also sell tickets to the visitor center for $20 or the Biomuseo for $18.  $20 is the price at the visitor center so if you are only going there I would suggest buying on the bus (the ticket office often has long lines), but if you want to do both you can buy a combo ticket at the visitor center for $30.

 

Roy

hohopc.pdf

Edited by rafinmd
Forgot attachment

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Thanks so much Roy I saved the PDF!!

really nice picture of all of you! Love those Panama Hats too! Will do the visitor center to get our tickets as you suggest!!

Our weather here in a San Diego is overcast cool and rain coming tomorrow. Kinda hot where your at hun? 

Enjoy Elegant Explorer 

Denise😊

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Hot off the press, here's the photo from the Panama Canal transit.  I am in the pink t-shirt immediately behind the pool sign to the right of the picture and Scrapnana is seated behind the guy standing in the plaid shirt.finaltransit.thumb.jpg.e782559c7d6154be900697092ef361d7.jpg

 

Roy

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I found Scrapnana pretty easily but I don't see a sign for the pool in order to see you.   What a fabulous souvenir to have.

Cheers,  Patti

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48 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Hot off the press, here's the photo from the Panama Canal transit.  I am in the pink t-shirt immediately behind the pool sign to the right of the picture and Scrapnana is seated behind the guy standing in the plaid shirt.finaltransit.thumb.jpg.e782559c7d6154be900697092ef361d7.jpg

 

Roy

Great Picture Roy!!! I see you and Kathi! That is a wonderful momento.

Denise😊

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The sign is on the port side of the pool.  At the front of the picture there's a guy in a bright blue shirt sitting with his feet in the pool.  The sign is by his right shoulder (Kind of a blue circular sign with a chrome strip at the top.  I am probably not clear enough to identify but there is a noticeable bit of pink/orange sticking above the sign.  That's my tee from the 2017 Grand Asia cruise.

 

Roy

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Thanks for your report and the photos.

With the aid of a magnifying glass I can see you.

A lovely photo of the tablemates.

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13 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Hot off the press, here's the photo from the Panama Canal transit.  I am in the pink t-shirt immediately behind the pool sign to the right of the picture and Scrapnana is seated behind the guy standing in the plaid shirt.finaltransit.thumb.jpg.e782559c7d6154be900697092ef361d7.jpg

 

Roy

 

Great picture and what a nice memory to have!

 

I found you and Kathi.  Still looking for Sherita & Andrea.

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Thanks erewhon, puppycandcruise, and Jacqui.

 

Day P7, Friday, January 11, 2019, At sea, MS Prinsendam


Since I tend not to take a lot of pictures I am going to start with a couple left over from Santa Marta.  While the Prinsendam is only number 3 among my favorite ships (after the 2 Crystal ships) it is number one as the prettiest ship I have ever sailed and she was looking glorious from the shore outside the Santa Marta port gate.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/eestmarta.jpg

As I was leaving the ship there I turned back find my cabin.  I am the very last cabin with portholes, two decks below the walking deck, and just below the rearmost hoist for the life rafts.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/ilivehere.jpg

 

I took the bandages off for a look at my foot and it does not make much sense but it looks a lot like what would happen from poison ivy.  It is not the way it should be but is bothering me less and I increased my morning walk to 8 laps (2 miles) and walked the equivalent of another 4 in trips to the lido (walking to the forward porch stairs, up to deck 11, all the way to the exterior stairs at the aft, and back to my cabin) for a total measured walk of 3 miles.  There were again clouds on the horizon this morning but the sun produced some nice colors just before actual sunrise.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dawn0111.jpg

We had a morning lecture by Tim Calvert with Early Spanish Settlements in the Americas.  He is not a fan of the way the explorers treated the natives.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/calvert.jpg


In his noon update Captain Jeroen reported a temperature of 82F (We were at 15 minutes North when I turned out the lights at 11:30 and 12 minutes South when I got up at 1:30).  He also added a program not in the When and Where.


Heather had her talk on Manta, Trujillo, and Lima.  There are complimentary shuttles at all 3 ports, and the stop in Lima looks like a more attractive place than when we stopped there on the Zaandam 2 years ago.  I think that’s one of the little benefits of a grand voyage.


After the talk I gave my foot a soak and applied some Benedryl in a gel form.  I had heard that there were occasionally “Block Parties” on the Prinsendam and guessed they were the creation of Captain Dag as that’s a regular activity on Seabourn (Captain Dag moved over from Seabourn).  I guessed wrong.  It seems to be Captain Jeroen doing it and we were all asked to come out to the corridor at 4:30 and meet our neighbors with the stewards pouring complimentary wine.  I was getting ready for dinner at 4:30 and was late to the party.  There were about a dozen people gathered at the bow end of the corridor where the port and starboard hallways meet and where there is a fairly wide spot. We come from quite a diverse geographic and cruising background.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/blockparty.jpg


For our second Gala night the penguins in the foyer between dining rooms were sporting bow ties.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/galapenguin.jpg


On the Gala menu I chose a chicken soup (a bit of the spicy side for me), rack of lamb, and a berry tart.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dishes0111.jpg


The featured entertainment was an oldie but goodie, the Prinsendam Singers and Dancers in Atlantic Crossing, British hits from the Beatles to the present day.  When I returned to my cabin after the show probably the nicest of the pillow gifts had arrived, a battery pack for small electronics.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/power.jpg


My parting shot will be a wish for a number of people leaving on overland adventures to the Galapagos (3 nights) and Galapagos/Machu Picchu (5 nights) for a fabulous adventure.  One of our tablemates will be doing the 3-night version.  Have a wonderful time.


Roy

 

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Good morning Roy and what a beautiful sunrise pic this am. Your able to get a lot more walking in this am. On this Grand 

Voyage that battery pack sure can come in handy. THANKYOU Roy for all the great writing 

Denise😊

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Just getting caught up, as this is now the weekend. Your description of the canal has me so interested is doing that. (Reading blogs has proven to be expensive for me.😉

 

The group picture was really cool. I’m hoping they do the same when we are aboard for Pdams last voyage this summer.

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19 hours ago, rafinmd said:

The sign is on the port side of the pool.  At the front of the picture there's a guy in a bright blue shirt sitting with his feet in the pool.  The sign is by his right shoulder (Kind of a blue circular sign with a chrome strip at the top.  I am probably not clear enough to identify but there is a noticeable bit of pink/orange sticking above the sign.  That's my tee from the 2017 Grand Asia cruise.

 

Roy

Thanks for further identifying where you are in the photo.  I finally found you.  Enjoy every minute!

 

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Wonderful report.  Great pictures.

 

I love the idea of a block party to meet the neighbors.

 

That is a great idea to have dressed up penguins greeting people as they enter the dining room.

 

Hope your foot keeps improving.

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Thank you Denise, Tiogacruiser, Oahucruiser, and Krazy Kruizers,  Off now to lunch in the Pinnacle.

 

Day P8, Saturday, January 12, 2019, Manta, Ecuador


The morning got off to a rather cloudy start.  We were tied up in Manta before I woke up about 5AM, and I only walked on board a little bit.  I was at my computer and did not actually remember to be out at sunrise and when I did go out the sun was just into the clouds shining down nicely on a little break at the horizon.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dawn0112.jpg


When I came back from breakfast there was a certificate on the door commemorating our overnight crossing of the Equator (Manta is just under 1 degree South).


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/equator1.jpg


Like most of our South American ports we tie up at a commercial dock and must take a shuttle bus out of the immediate port area.  While the tour buses can meet the ship everyone else must leave the dock via the shuttles.  We had one that went to a plaza in town and a second that took us to the edge of the port.  This is my third visit to Manta after visits from the Crystal Symphony in 2016 and the Zaandam in 2017.  I had taken all the tours here that interested me and decided to just look around town a bit.  I left the ship a little after 9 and there were no shuttles at the gangway; when one did it was the one to the city plaza.  I had enough free time after tours on previous Manta visits to explore the plaza near the shuttle stop and this time walked to the area on the opposite side of the city from the port gate.  As I left the shuttle there was a church a couple blocks further inland and it was up a hill.  There was something going inside and I just looked at it from the entry but it appeared to be a completely open air venue.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/mantachurch2.jpg


The streets I walked were pretty quiet for a number of blocks but eventually there was quite a large mall.  I did go in and make a few small purchases, one additional 3-way plug and a couple bottles of diet coke.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/mantamall.jpg


From the front of the mall I could look out on the little beach at Manta.  I continued down to the Malecon or beach walk which appeared to be quite short and a dead end.  A new building there was marked “cruise terminal”.  It was a good thing I went in there as it was the place where the shuttle to the gate ended.  There were a few little shops and an interior roadway that ran back to the ship.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/mantawalk.jpg


A gate at the end of the building was marked to the ship and there was a place for the shuttle to the ship but no seating there to wait for the shuttle.  There was some seating near the entry from the street and I was able to wait there and see the shuttle drive up.


Once back at the ship I noted that the Grand Voyage logo had been painted on the sides of the ship near the gangways.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/sidelogo.jpg


I was back just about lunch time which was a pasta dish at the lido.  There were a few freighters at the harbor but it is largely fishing boats.  One, the Jocay, is almost half the size of the Prinsendam, quite an impressive boat.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/jocay.jpg


I think I was the only one at table 19 that did not do some kind of a tour, either through the ship or by booking a taxi for the morning.  It was pretty quiet at dinner as some people may have even dined ashore with our late departure.  I chose a fruit (watermelon) starter, chicken entree, and cherry crisp for desert.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dishes0112.jpg


The final shuttle from the town plaza was at 5 but shuttles continued from the port terminal until 7:30, when Captain Jeroen announced we were all on board.  As the gangway was being stowed it was pretty well past sunset but the sky in front of us was still a very pretty red.  I hope “red sky at night–sailors delight” turns out to be true in our case.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dusk0112.jpg


The featured entertainment was an encore performance (different program) by pianist Paul Pappas.


As my parting shot I think the Cub Scout Pack I am affiliated with is living a bit of a charmed life.  Our area apparently got hit with weekend storms but they apparently managed to work in a very successful Pinewood Derby before things turned ugly.


Roy  

 

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