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geoherb

Live: Geoherb's Solo Cruise on the Caribbean Princess, Dec. 10-20, 2019 (Partial Panama Canal)

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Thanks. I'm feeling better, especially after being released by the medical center this morning in time to view going through the locks. I missed sailing under the bridge. It was under construction when we sailed under it on a HAL ship in January 2017.

 

It's a beautiful day. I spent most of the time at the front of the ship on Deck 8 but later moved up to the Lido Deck forward viewing area. We spotted a crocodile in the water, but my photos don't show it very well. It just looks like a log in the fourth photo.

 

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Edited by geoherb

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My big impression of the new locks is how spacious they are. Here's a photo from our HAL Zuiderdam cruise showing a crew member touch the walls of a lock. The walls were 20-30 feet away from the CB. The other big impression was the use of the guide boats instead of the mules (trains) to guide the ship through the locks.

 

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Today's lunch menu in the dining room. I went by guest services to ask about a partial refund for my missing yesterday's hockey game. She offered $20. That's more than I would have asked for. I'm happy with it. We'll start sailing back toward the locks shortly. It's great to be able to watch the ship's cam on TV to make sure I don't miss it.

 

 

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Edited by geoherb

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Tonight's dining room menu. It's going to be nice to go there after missing the last three nights.

 

 

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I had a salad, the surf and turf, and fruit plate tonight. I ate with five nice people: a couple from Iowa, a couple from Florida, and a widow from Canada. We were delayed entering the canal this morning, and all the tours were pushed back. We are late leaving Cristobal as well. We'll gain an hour tonight, which will help those who weren't able to get back to the ship until after 7. There was a small folkloric group performing on the pier to greet the returning passengers.

 

I went to Fantastic Voyage by the production singers and dancers in the theater after dinner. They performed this show twice last night as well. It seems like the entertainment director is scheduling three performances of the major shows over two nights so everyone will have a chance to see them. I enjoyed the theatrics of the performance but the music selection was poor--too much lip syncing to a recorded soundtrack and not great songs either. The singers, who sounded great in Bravo, were struggling tonight, but I think it was once again the songs and not their voices. Not everyone is created to sing Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga songs. (The photos are from their curtain call, not taken during the performance. I once sat behind a woman who was very disruptive in her photography. I don't won't to be like her.)

 

When asking for my internet credit this afternoon, I also asked about the refund for the tour I missed yesterday due to being quarantined. The handout I received from the medical center said it would be automatically refunded. The guest services rep told me I would need to talk to the shore excursion desk. When I got to the shore excursion desk, they said they needed the medical center to stamp my shore excursion ticket. Once again, it seems like something that Princess would have worked out a long time ago. I returned with my stamped shore excursion ticket and received a receipt showing a credit from the shore excursion desk. I'm now waiting for it to show up on my onboard account. At least the cruise is five more days.

 

I'm off to see comedian I missed the other night while quarantined. He has two shows in Club Fusion tonight.

 

 

 

 

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Last night's comedian, Bengt Washburn, was very funny to me. He brought me to tears from laughing a couple of times. I needed that. I did not go to the 9:30 comedy magic show in the theater with Trigg Watson. He'll repeat his show twice tonight. Instead I came back to my cabin and watched the movie Judy. I thought Renée Zellweger did a great job as Judy Garland. It's too bad she did not have a happier story to tell.

 

The captain just announced that we're cleared by Costa Rican authorities for passengers to go ashore. My excursion's meeting time isn't until right before noon. I'll probably do a little shopping this morning near the pier after breakfast. I'm taking the rainforest walk and canal cruise this afternoon. On our first Panama Canal cruise--on the Island Princess eight years ago--we joined six people from our rollcall on an excursion in a minivan. We toured the sloth sanctuary, stopped by a fruit stand, ate at a beachside restaurant, and took the small boat ride through the Tortuguero Canals.

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Great review! Any chance you might be willing to stop by the new kids/family area on the back of the ship? There is not a lot of information out there and I am wondering about the new seating areas and shade structures.  Traveling with my 9 mth old and 3 year old in April and can't wait to take advantage of this area!

 

Have a great rest of your cruise!

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2 hours ago, Tennant said:

Great review! Any chance you might be willing to stop by the new kids/family area on the back of the ship? There is not a lot of information out there and I am wondering about the new seating areas and shade structures.  Traveling with my 9 mth old and 3 year old in April and can't wait to take advantage of this area!

 

Have a great rest of your cruise!

It's a nice area with a splash area, etc. for the kids. There's also a bar that serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Also, a lovely lounge area to sit and watch the waves.

Edited by CI66774
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Thank you for your posts. My sis and brother in law are on the same cruise and I feel like I’m following along.  Love the menus and the patter 

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My excursion yesterday afternoon was very good. I did not make it off the ship beforehand since I noticed after breakfast that it was just a few minutes until time for trivia. I paired up with a guy with whom I've played before. We managed to get 14-1/2 points and squeaked out victory. Another notepad. 

 

I went to the designated meeting point on time only to discover that a lot of eager people had gotten there much earlier. They were already sitting on the buses. I found a seat at the next to last row on the first bus. A funny thing happened in that I had started going toward the second bus after seeing a group of four women leaving the first bus. I'm glad I was on the first bus. We had a wonderful tour guide. He spoke English very well. Two of the women ended up getting back on the first bus because the other one was full. They did not realize that the buses would take the tour in a different order. They met up with their friends when both buses were at the souvenir stop.

 

"Stop to stretch your legs with a walk through the rainforest along a sturdy walkway." (Excursion brochure) "Walk along the elevated trails through the rain forest." (Website description) Reality: You get to walk through the woods on a steep rocky trail. The excursion brochure does clarify in a note that the "walking portion of this tour does not take place inside the rainforest." 

 

I spotted the pretty yellow bird. The guide spotted a three-toed sloth for us on the walk back.

 

 

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My main reason for taking this excursion was the boat ride through the canals. It was wonderful. We saw more sloths, both two-toed and three-toed ones, herons and other birds, Jesus lizards, howler monkeys, and spider monkeys. Even with my good camera, it was hard to get photos of the sloths and monkeys. Here's a juvenile yellow-crested heron, a hibiscus, and achiote (annatto). I noticed the latter growing along the parking area at the canal place and took several photos. I cook with annatto frequently. The guide on our bus ride back to the ship had a pod of it that he demonstrated the red dye properties of the seed.

 

He also talked about how bananas grow when we stopped to view a banana plantation. 

 

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"At a restaurant, you'll enjoy tropical fruits and other natural refreshments." (Excursion brochure) "Enjoy Caribbean music at the restaurant while tasting a delicious tropical fruit buffet." (Website description) Reality: No restaurant. No music. Just handed a plastic container with pieces of cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, and papaya. 

 

 

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Overall, I'd give the excursion 4 out of 5 stars if I could figure out a way to do so on the new "customer reviews" tab on the Princess website. It was $10 less to book it online before the cruise than waiting to book on the cruise.

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18 hours ago, Tennant said:

Great review! Any chance you might be willing to stop by the new kids/family area on the back of the ship? There is not a lot of information out there and I am wondering about the new seating areas and shade structures.  Traveling with my 9 mth old and 3 year old in April and can't wait to take advantage of this area!

 

Have a great rest of your cruise!

 

Thanks. Here are photos of the area. I haven't paid much attention to the pool areas. These photos were taken around 8:15 this morning. When I went by the main pools, I did not see evidence of chair hogs. There were plenty of available lounge chairs by the pools both in the sun and in the shade.

 

During operation, the colorful wheels hanging from the post fill up with water and splash down at various intervals.

 

 

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Edited by geoherb

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I asked my cabin steward about the laundry I sent out Saturday that had not returned. It was during the period I was in quarantine. Apparently I put down the wrong cabin number--one across the hall that has a different cabin steward. I'm not sure why she didn't notice the laundry for that cabin with the wrong name on it and figure it out. I'm betting there's no other passenger on board with my last name.

 

The good news is he found it. He also said I don't have to fill out the prices on the laundry slips. 

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Hi there, dear friend Geoherb! When I sent you birthday wishes on FB the other day, I had no idea you were sailing (much less solo). Your FB posts gave no indication. I haven't been on CC much of late, so logging on today to find your cruise blog was a pleasant surprise. But please know that whenever your DH can't go with you, I'm always willing to sail along as your roomie. I'm serious. Easy for me living down here. And I think each of our DH's would be fine with the arrangement. LOL. 

PS If you should ever find yourself stuck down here with flight issues, you're welcome to stay with us. We're only 35-40 minutes from the port/airport. Happy Holidays!

 

Edited by tothemall&beyond

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WOW! Thanks SO much for the great pics of the family area! Can't wait for our cruise and sure hope you are enjoying yours!!!

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Geoherb, thank you for sharing your adventures with us.  Photos are beautiful.  Cruising solo isn't too bad based on your experience.

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On 12/16/2019 at 5:06 AM, geoherb said:

Last night's comedian, Bengt Washburn, was very funny to me. He brought me to tears from laughing a couple of times. I needed that. I did not go to the 9:30 comedy magic show in the theater with Trigg Watson. He'll repeat his show twice tonight. Instead I came back to my cabin and watched the movie Judy. I thought Renée Zellweger did a great job as Judy Garland. It's too bad she did not have a happier story to tell.

 

The captain just announced that we're cleared by Costa Rican authorities for passengers to go ashore. My excursion's meeting time isn't until right before noon. I'll probably do a little shopping this morning near the pier after breakfast. I'm taking the rainforest walk and canal cruise this afternoon. On our first Panama Canal cruise--on the Island Princess eight years ago--we joined six people from our rollcall on an excursion in a minivan. We toured the sloth sanctuary, stopped by a fruit stand, ate at a beachside restaurant, and took the small boat ride through the Tortuguero Canals.

 

We are going on a Panama Canal cruise next April.  Do you recall the tour company that you went with on a private tour in Costa Rica?

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47 minutes ago, CruzinNoony said:

 

We are going on a Panama Canal cruise next April.  Do you recall the tour company that you went with on a private tour in Costa Rica?

 

No. Someone else on our rollcall made the arrangements. All we had to do was show up.

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1 hour ago, CruzinNoony said:

 

We are going on a Panama Canal cruise next April.  Do you recall the tour company that you went with on a private tour in Costa Rica?

I am not geoherb, however we did a private tour last winter with Thumbs Up Tours.  It was excellent!

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